26 9 / 2013

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John came bounding out of school yesterday afternoon.  Before we could walk to the car, he fished a note out of his backpack and told me _________ punched him in the eye.  What the whaaa?  The note from the school nurse’s office informed me John was seen at 1:45 p.m. for “hit in rt. [sic] eye.”  An ice pack was applied.  No follow up recommended.

As we drove away from school, I gently questioned John.  I’ve found a direct examination is not helpful with him.  It’s best to gather information in a seemingly casual manner.  I was able to ascertain they were standing in line, __________ punched John in the eye, John told the teacher, and ___________ didn’t get to go out for recess.  There had to be more to the story, because missing recess didn’t seem like an adequate punishment for punching someone — “zero tolerance” and all that.

So I did it.  I emailed the teacher, telling her I’d received the note from the school nurse but no additional details.  John’s account of the incident was unclear.  Did she know what occurred?

I heard back from her this morning.  The students were lined up to come back from music class.  A boy hit John — not in anger but “pretend hitting that connected,” resulting in a time out for the boy.  John seemed fine but was sent to the nurse’s office as a precaution since it was the eye area.

Fair enough.  I understand.  Numerous incidents occur throughout the day in a school setting.  Some are minor; some are more serious.  As a parent, I trust my son’s educators to handle these situations as they see fit.  I don’t necessarily need to know every single thing that happens in a given school day.

There are two things about this incident that strike me, however:

1.  John has come out of school every day since the first week of classes telling me ___________ threatened to punch him out.  Every.  Single.  Day.  Now ______________ is pretending to punch him out.  Granted, my background is not in education, but from an outsider’s perspective, it would appear this kid is escalating.


2.  I am a big proponent of imaginative play.  I believe it strengthens pre-literacy skills.  I think it encourages independence and teaches problem solving.  I know “boys will be boys,” and I understand imaginative play — for both boys and girls — can get a little rough and tumble.  However, I feel very strongly imaginative play depicting violence is not okay.  Violence should not be tolerated, let alone encouraged and glorified.  ___________ may have been “pretending” — this time.  That doesn’t make it right.

John is not perfect.  At times, he can be a little shit.  He is, however, predictable.  This is his fourth year of formal schooling, and I have learned several things about John since he began his educational journey.  He has great respect for adults in positions of authority.  He is appalled when he witnesses others misbehave.  He thrives in structured settings and enjoys learning and following the rules.  He is quiet at school, preferring to observe before joining in.  He is a follower.  He seeks out friends who are more outgoing.  If I felt — even the slightest bit — John contributed to this incident or provoked _____________ in any way, I might feel differently.  But I don’t get the impression that is the case.

Lastly, I know teachers deal with a lot of shit all day, every day.  I don’t think ________________ and his behavior should necessarily be the teacher’s or administrator’s problem.  Ultimately, his family is responsible for the person he is becoming…but when their child’s behavior negatively impacts my child, then it becomes a larger problem.

08 9 / 2013

My dad started taking John to his own stylist for hair cuts when he was around two and a half years old.  Dad trained him to request “Just a little off the top, please.”  John immediately became great friends with his stylist and the other girls in the shop.  Picture Norm walking into the bar on “Cheers” — when we walk into Pro-Cuts, all the stylists call out “John!”  The last time we were there, out of the blue, John asked “How about a little gel?”  We all laughed, and she put gel in his hair.  Today she made a point to ask if he wanted some gel; he did, of course.  On the way home, I teased him and told him the girls at school will say “Oh, Johnny…you’re so handsome.”  He said “No, they will think I am ‘gel.’  They’ll say ‘Johnny…you’re so gel!’”

If “gel” catches on as an adjective, you heard it here first.

03 9 / 2013

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When I pick John up at school, he usually comes running out shouting, “Mommy!  Mommy!”  Before we leave the premises, he has to show me the contents of his backpack (“I made artwork!”), then he chatters on the way home about his day.  Early last week, he told me, “There is a bully in my class.  His name is _______.”  My body stiffened, poised for action.  I was tempted to storm into the front office and demand to speak to Mr. Murray immediately.

Then I remembered I was dealing with John.  He had recently watched an episode of Arthur & Friends that addressed bullying.  Could he, as he sometimes does, have blurred the lines between his life and Arthur’s?  I decided further research was necessary.

When we arrived home, I got him a snack and scanned the class list.  Sure enough, little _________’s name was on it.  Kid’s got a girls’ name.  No wonder he’s angry.

"About this bully…" I began.

”________,” John clarified.

"Yes.  What does he do that makes him a bully?"

"He threatens to punch me out."

"Just you?  Or other kids too?"

"All the kids.  Even the girls."

"Has he ever actually touched you?"

"No.  He just threatens."

"Maybe he’s nervous and a little bit scared about starting Kindergarten, and this is how he shows it," I suggested.  John looked doubtful.  "Or maybe he has other things going on in his life we don’t know about.  All you can do is be kind to him, and if he says something mean, you tell him, ‘That’s not nice.  I’m not going to play with you if you act like that,’ and walk away."

"Yes,"  John still looked uncertain.

"And if he ever does touch you, you run and tell a teacher right away.  Do you understand?"

"Yes, Mommy.  I will tell a teacher right away.  I promise."

Part of me still wanted to email his teacher, just to bring it to her attention, but I didn’t want to be THAT mother.  You know the one…she is at the school all the time, not because she’s volunteering or chaperoning, but because she has nothing better to do than be involved in every facet of her child’s life.  The mommy who emails the teacher so often, the teacher thinks Oh shit…when she sees THAT mother's email address pop up in her inbox.  The mommy who marches into the office at every perceived injustice against her child, the mommy the secretary smoothly tells “He's in a meeting,” when she demands to see the principal for the fourth time that week (and it's only Wednesday).  THAT mother…we all know one.  (Some of us may even be one.)

Besides buying the wrong school supplies at Target, my greatest fear is being considered THAT mother.  This bully situation could rapidly escalate, and I could be branded THAT mother the second week of Kindergarten.  Not cool.

My husband is a former teacher, so I like to run these situations by him before acting.  He may not always tell me what I want to hear, but he has prevented me from becoming THAT mother in the past, and I value his input.

We discussed the matter after John went to bed.  “So it’s all the kids?” he asked when I explained the situation as I understood it.

"That’s what John said.  He told me _________ threatens to punch out all the kids."

"I imagine if it is all the kids, the teacher is already well aware of the situation.  You know at least one of them has said something."

"Yeah…"

He could tell I remained tempted.  “Don’t do it,” he said.  “Don’t be THAT mother.”

"I’d be her if I emailed the teacher, wouldn’t I?"

"Yes, at this point.  John will definitely tell us if something else happens.  If ________ actually hits him, then yeah, we contact the school."

"Okay."  I trusted Marty’s advice.  It seemed sound, but I decided to consult the ultimate parenting resource:  my mother.  The woman is a genius.

I explained the situation, told her how I had handled it thus far, gave her Marty’s perspective, and asked what she would do.  She agreed with our reasoning, though I got the definite impression if _______ ever does punch John out, she will join me in the march on the principal’s office.

After school today, John mentioned _________ again.  “Is he still being a bully?” I asked.  “Yes!” John exclaimed.  “He is a really mean bully.”  “But he hasn’t actually touched you?”  “No,” he said, before telling me about playing Freeze Tag in gym class.  (“I got to be the Freezer!”)

For the time being, I will repeat the mantra Don’t be THAT mother.  Don’t be THAT mother.  Maybe  __________ will chill as he gets used to being in school all day and the expectations that come along with that.  If not, I may become a little bit THAT mother.  Just a little.  Just one time.

25 8 / 2013

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With John in school all day, it’s time to undertake some major projects around the house.  I’m starting with John’s toys — sorting, organizing, throwing away random pieces from old Happy Meal toys.  Out in the garage, we have had a piece of furniture from Marty’s son’s youth — one of those pressed wood frames that holds multiple brightly colored plastic tubs.  It would be perfect, and I could easily sort all the superheroes into one bin, the pirates into another, etc.  I told my mom about it, and she recommended I tell John the rule is “one bin at a time;” he could only play with the contents of one tub and would have to pick those up before getting out another tub.  Genius.

Since it’s sat in the garage for a number of years, it was filthy.  Before Marty started mowing the lawn today, he dragged it out to the driveway, and I got to work.  I removed the plastic storage bins and hosed them off to remove the cobwebs, insect corpses, and first layer of grime.  Then I wiped down the frame with warm, soapy water.  I decided I needed to go back over the bins with a washcloth to make sure they were thoroughly clean before bringing them into the house.

Before I continue, there is one important thing to know about me.  I hate to be outside.  Hate, hate, hate, HATE to be outside.  (Growing up, my grandmother always encouraged us to find a word other than “hate” when we disliked something.  She felt it was an ugly word and we could do better.  Sorry, Grandma, but in this case, only “hate” can adequately describe my feelings.)  Summer is my least favorite time of year; everyone wants to sit or — God forbid — eat outside, and I can only take so much before I run screaming indoors.

This cleaning project needed to be done outside, and I was actually doing okay.  It’s hot today, but the nice breeze made it bearable and kept the bugs away.  I was focused on my task, and I tried not to let the surrounding nature interfere.

Then a bug flew into my hair.  A big, buzzy bug.  I shrieked, brushed it out, did a full-body wiggle to shake it off, and continued my job.  I was nearly done — I just had to finish wiping out the plastic bins.  The big, buzzy bug came back, flying once again into my hair.  I screamed and tried to dislodge it, but it had become thoroughly entangled in my curls.  I grabbed it with my left hand to yank it out, but it stung me!  I went at it from the right, and it stung me again.  I grabbed the grimy washcloth I’d been using to protect my hand and yanked it out, flinging the washcloth to the ground.  I bent over, lifting the corner of the washcloth to take a look at my assailant.  It was HUGE, black, hairy, terrifying.  I screamed again, let go of the cloth, and ran into the house shouting, “Oh my God!  Oh my God!  OH MY GOD!”  I patted my hair to make sure there was nothing else there, then I washed my hands several times.  My fingers were throbbing from where I’d been stung, so I popped two Benadryl.

I wondered if the insect was venomous.  Should I go to the hospital? I walked around to the back yard to flag Marty down on his lawn tractor and told him I needed him to come to the front of the house immediately.  I shared my tale of terror and encouraged him to lift the corner of the washcloth to see my attacker’s corpse.  It was gone!  Not only was it still alive, it was probably very angry!


"Don’t worry, Honey," Marty assured me, after asking me to again describe the insect.  "It was probably just a wasp."

Just a wasp?!  JUST a wasp?!  You didn’t see it.  You have no idea.  It was a monstrosity.”

"A terrible, horrifying wasp," Marty corrected, helping me gather up the remaining bins to finish washing inside.

My project is done.  I am secure in the air conditioned comfort of the kitchen.  It will be a long damn time before I spend any amount of time outdoors, I assure you.  And if I meet you for lunch at a restaurant with patio seating, you already know my preference.

21 8 / 2013

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John started Kindergarten today, and I was a freaking mess.  He attended two years of preschool plus a year of Alternative Kindergarten, so I’ve done the whole “my baby is going to school” thing before, and I will admit I got teary on those occasions.  Teary does not begin to describe my reaction today; hysterical is probably a more accurate word.

We toured his potential new school last spring.  He attended Kindergarten Orientation a few weeks later.  (I may have cried a little after I dropped him off that day, but just a little.)  We talked about Kindergarten all summer.  We had a one-on-one conference with his teacher and dropped off supplies earlier this week.  We went to the grocery store to select special treats for their daily snack time.  I gave him a little gift yesterday to enjoy on his last day of summer vacation.  I laid out his back-to-school ensemble.  We all got a good night’s rest.  His backpack was by the door.  I printed off a cute little sign for him to hold in pictures announcing his status as a Kindergartner.  It was going to be awesome!

It was awesome.  John happily ate breakfast, cooperated for teeth brushing and face washing, and got into his outfit with minimal wiggling.  He even posed for the obligatory first day of Kindergarten photos, telling us, "Hello, my name is John Thomas Bednar. I am going to Kindergarten. If you would like an autograph, please see the staff."

My husband arranged to go to work a little later so he could accompany us on this momentous occasion.  John chatted on the way to school, making up stories about his imaginary dog, Max, and ordering me to sneeze since I’m allergic.  I made John stand in front of the flag pole at school for a few more pictures, but he made it clear he was done posing.  I hugged and kissed him before we entered the school, since he often accuses me of cramping his style.  I told him I loved him and was so proud of him.  “I know, I know…” he muttered impatiently.  He was ready to get his day started.

We cut through the building to the back of the school.  The big kids started Monday, so they knew the routine.  They placed their backpacks on painted lines on the cement, each line behind a cone indicating their class.  John set his backpack down, and I told him he could play until it was time to line up.  He ran toward the playground, and my eyes filled with tears.  The school isn’t far from our house, and we’ve played on its awesome playground many times.  Full of screaming children, it looked completely different today.  I worried John would be intimidated, but he jumped right in.

"Well, that’s it.  Let’s go," my husband said.

"I am not leaving until the bell rings and he goes inside."

He looked around.  “Um…it doesn’t look like any of the other parents are staying.”

"I.  Do.  Not.  Care." I glared at him.

"The note from the teacher said we should make the good bye quick and brief.  I really don’t think we’re supposed to stay."

"If you want to leave, go ahead.  I’ll walk home.  But I am not leaving until I see him walk into the building."  Fortunately, I was no longer in danger of crying, because I was so angry Marty would even consider leaving.  My great fear was John would end up in a third grade classroom and no one would know where he belonged.  Even though I’d said his teacher’s name a hundred times, I wasn’t convinced he would remember when pressed.

The bell rang, and the mass of children ran to line up.  “Where is he?  Do you see him?”  I asked Marty.  “There he is!” he told me.  “He’s going over there.”  John is so short compared to the other students, it took me a minute to spot him, but I finally did — he was in line with a group of third graders.  John does a great job standing in line, I’ll give him that.  He stood facing forward, hands at his side, lips zipped.  He was just in the wrong line.  His SuperMan backpack lay lonely on the cement where he should have been.  I hurried around the lines toward him.  Two little girls standing behind him were pointing and asking each other, “Who is that kid?”  “John!”  I hissed.  He continued to face forward.  “JOHN!”  louder this time.  He turned, smiled.  “Hi, Mommy!”  “You’re in the wrong line, Buddy.  Over here!”  I took his hand and led him to his backpack.  I stepped away and watched him march with his peers toward the building.  “They were looking for him, you know,” Marty whispered.  “One of the staff noticed there was a backpack without a kid.  They had started looking.”  He was still miffed I hadn’t left when he suggested it.  “But they didn’t know to look for him!  No one knows him here.  It was just a backpack — they didn’t know to look for John specifically!”  I sounded shrill, even to myself.

We dodged a line of first graders and walked back through the building, out toward the car.  Marty was a bit ahead of me — I wore super cute wedge heels and was having difficulty navigating the gravel parking lot.  I started to cry then, silent tears running down my cheeks.  Then I was in the car, and I was sobbing, great gulping sobs — ugly, ugly crying.

I kept thinking about his birth, how I didn’t get to visit him in the NICU for two and a half days.  When I finally saw him, he looked so tiny in his isolette — two pounds five ounces of practically nothing, covered with wires and tubes.  I remembered the first time I held him for Kangaroo Care; I held him in one hand, cradled against my chest, while I read a hardcover novel with the other hand.  The novel felt weightier than John.

I remembered the night he transferred from the NICU in our hometown to the more advanced NICU at the University of Iowa.  I remembered his doctor standing on the curb, tears running down her own face, as the ambulance pulled away.  I remembered the transport team handing his nearly lifeless body to the team at Iowa, and I remembered a nurse leading me out of the room.  I remembered the hours and the days and the weeks I spent waiting for him to die, worried to leave his room to go to the bathroom or get lunch lest he not be there when I got back.  I remembered him gaining weight, growing stronger.  I remembered being told he would live, he would come home, he would have a childhood.

Now I was entrusting him to other people — not just for a few hours in the morning, but for an entire day — people who did not know him or what he had been through.  People who might not appreciate his quirkiness or understand he is far wiser than his six years.

I sobbed for almost three hours this morning.  Then I was done.

17 8 / 2013

When John was little, his playmates were the children of my friends.  Now that he’s older, he’s making friends at school or at day camp.  Situations come up, and I find myself telling him “We have different rules at our house.”  A lot.

I believe some things are appropriate for a six year old and some things are not.  The more John’s social circle widens, however, the crazier I think I must be.  Yes, we seem to have different rules at our house, but I can’t be the only one?  Right?  Right???

15 8 / 2013

I freaking love school supplies.  In fact, my affinity for pristine notebooks, folders, and pencils borders on unhealthy.  Long past college graduation, I continued to haunt the “back to school” area at Target each August, convincing myself I would indeed write something worthwhile if I had a hot pink flowered composition book.  (They only came in mottled black and white when I was in high school.  Things were rough in the nineties.)

The absolute best part of parenthood (besides the unconditional love and affection and having someone to take care of me when I’m senile) is shopping for school supplies.  John attended two years of preschool plus Alternative Kindergarten and starts Kindergarten next week, so this is the fourth year I have gotten to experience the joy of purchasing supplies that will actually be used by children and not sit, unused, on my desk, while I try to think of words worthy of a hot pink flowered composition book.

In the early elementary years the supplies are communal — the brightly colored markers, perfectly sharp crayons, and unsullied glue sticks are put into plastic totes and shared by all.  The lists provided by the schools are also incredibly specific.  Weirdly specific.  So specific that the required supplies may not actually exist.

I set aside time to shop for John’s supplies at Target by myself.  I enjoy taking John places, and he is typically well-behaved, but for precision work such as school supply shopping, I needed to be able to concentrate.  Armed with the list I printed off the school’s website (which was different from the list provided at orientation last spring), I embarked on my quest.

I took care of the boring items first:  Kleenex, Ziploc bags, disinfectant wipes, plastic spoons (WTF?).  Then it was time for the fun stuff.  I found the eight basic washable magic markers easily enough, but then they asked for four glue sticks.  Glue sticks came in packs of six or 12.  Do I buy the six pack?  I mean, I’m sure they would use the two extra sticks, right?  But the list specifically called for four.  If they’d wanted six, they would have asked for six.  I didn’t want my child starting off on the wrong foot with his new teacher because Mommy couldn’t follow instructions.  I searched and searched, making two complete circuits of the school supply area.  Finally, I saw them — glue sticks in a two-pack!  Sure, they were Elmer’s brand versus the Target brand, so they were a little pricier, but I felt so much better being able to buy the exact number requested.

Next up — four low-odor EXPO dry erase markers.  EXPO was underlined.  Underneath it said (in bold-type) CANNOT BE EXPO 2.  The only four-packs of EXPO markers featured lime green, turquoise, violet, and orange.  I’m not a teacher, but those are pretty shitty colors in my opinion.  Lime green?  Wouldn’t that be hard to see?  I found two two-packs of black EXPO markers and decided to go with those, though I wasn’t entirely comfortable with that decision.  They hadn’t specified a color, but I felt maybe four black markers was too much black.  Fortunately, while searching for glue sticks, I stumbled across another display of EXPO markers.  (I would have placed all the dry erase markers in one area, but I’m crazy like that.)  This display had four-packs featuring red, green, blue, and black.  That seemed a better option, so I went with it.

I was baffled by the next item on the list:  four boxes of eight basic color crayons (regular size).  I could find boxes of eight JUMBO size basic color crayons.  I could find boxes of regular size crayons in 16, 24, or 48 counts.  Eight?  Nope.  I am ashamed to admit I almost gave up at this point.  I had pulled out my phone to order them from Amazon (Amazon Prime!  Ships free, baby!), when I saw, hanging down low on an end cap, eight-packs of crayons.  I bent down and realized they were “special” packs — sparkly unicorn, pretty princess, action heroes — there were eight crayons, all right, but they were effed up colors, like eight shades of pink.  But…but…they had one pack called “The Basic.”  It was almost what I wanted.  I was apprehensive.  Would my decision to buy the not-quite-right crayons cost John his entire academic future?  They were Crayola brand, which I felt was a strength, but they included baby blue and lavender — not exactly what I would call “basic” colors.  I took a chance.  I bought four packs of them and called it good.

Tonight, after John was in bed, I separated the school supplies from the rest of my Target purchases and organized them to take to the open house Monday evening.  I feel good overall, but I’m still apprehensive about those crayons.
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07 8 / 2013

During the school year, I got up and showered before my husband left for work — not so much for myself or my loved ones but in case I ran into someone I knew at Target.  This routine continued for the first few days of summer vacation, then I thought Oh, hell no!  It’s summer.  I’m sleepin’ in! John is six years old now and can surely be left unattended for a quick shower.  I’d leave out food and water.  It would be fine.

Most days, I encourage him to sit on my bed and watch television while I shower.  The bathroom is adjacent to our bedroom, and I can usually hear him answering Super Why’s queries over the noise of cascading water.  Sometimes he will tell me “No, thank you.”  Only then will I make the real offer, the offer he has been waiting for:  “Well, how about you sit on Mommy’s bed and use the iPad?”  This almost always works.  Today, it did not.  “No, thank you,” he said again,  “I think I will just play Imagination Games.”  Imagination Games, as John calls them, are great.  They are fabulous.  All children should play more Imagination Games, in my inexpert opinion.  Imagination Games while Mommy is in the shower can be trouble, but I assured him we would do “something fun” (John’s two favorite words) if he was a good boy while Mommy got ready.

"Are you hungry?"  I asked.

"No, I am not hungry," he answered.

"Are you sure?"

"Yes, I am sure."

"Because I’m getting in the shower.  Once I get in the shower, I won’t be able to get you a snack.  You’ll have to wait until I’m done.  Are you sure you don’t want anything to eat?"

"No, thank you."


I got in the shower and turned on the water.  Balancing on one leg, I started to shave the other, but only up to the knee.  (I’ve worked out an ingenious system — I shave up to the knee every other day.  On Saturdays, I shave all the way up.  Well, most Saturdays.  If my husband’s lucky.)  I had just started when John burst into the bathroom.  “Mom!  I’m hungry.”  Shit.  “When I asked if you were hungry, you told me you weren’t.  I’ll get you something as soon as I’m done in the shower.”  “Okay,” he agreed readily.  That was easier than usual, I congratulated myself before returning to my legs.


I had just begun shampooing my hair when John came running into the bathroom screaming, “Help!  Help!  There’s blood everywhere!”  Whaaa???  I poked my head out the shower door.  I didn’t have my contacts in, and there was shampoo in my eyes, but I could see well enough — the entire tip of his index finger was bright red!  “What happened?” I gasped, grabbing his little hand.  He’d placed a plastic game piece over his finger.  “I was pretending I was at the doctors’ office, and the girl was taking my blood,” he told me proudly.  “Don’t you like my good imagination, Mommy?”  “Yes, John,” I told him.  “You have a wonderful imagination.”

After that false alarm, he seated himself outside the bathroom door and began a little sing-song.  I rinsed the shampoo and applied the conditioner.  Some will tell you not to even bother with conditioner.  They will claim there is simply no time for frivolities when you are a mother.  Listen, Sisters, I have naturally curly hair, and there is NO WAY I am not conditioning.  No way.

Then it was quiet.  No more sing-song from outside the bathroom door.  Quiet is usually far, far worse than screaming.  I rinsed the conditioner and turned off the shower, grabbed a towel and stepped out.  Dripping a trail down the hallway, I saw John’s door was closed — never a good sign.  I knocked softly.  “Johnny?”  I called, opening the door.  “Quick!  Hide!” he cried, shoving something behind his back.  “Nothing to see here, Mommy.  Nothing at all.”  “What’s behind you?”  I asked.  “Oh, hee hee, that’s nothing,” he laughed nervously.  I moved further into the room.  He had taken apart all five of his nearly identical Batman and Friends puzzles, mixing the pieces into a large pile in the middle of his rug.  “Carry on,” I told him, returning to the bathroom, “Carry on.”

11 9 / 2012

I love, love, love Telluride.  I could not, however, live here, for several reasons:

1.  Money:  As in, I don’t have enough.  We rode the gondola from Mountain Village to Telluride with two of the most obnoxious, pretentious couples I have ever encountered.  One couple was debating buying a yacht based in Greece.  In Iowa, we are comfortably well off.  In Telluride, I think we qualify for food stamps.

2.  Maintenance:  I am admittedly high maintenance.  I mean, we had to check a bag to accommodate my toiletries.  Since we’re on vacation, I’m doing my “no makeup” makeup look; this still requires ten minutes & multiple products.  In Colorado, lipstick is not mandatory.  That’s cool:  I wish I possessed that much confidence.

3.  Shoes:  I packed several pairs of ballet flats for this adventure, ‘cuz that’s how I “rough it.”  In Telluride, sneakers are an acceptable form of footwear.  Also, the locals seem to favor Keens.  Were we not flying home tomorrow, I would even buy a pair.

4.  The school system:  no one is “from here.”  They all seem to have migrated to Telluride from elsewhere in the lower 48.  Therefore, no one is able to speak to me about the local public schools.  Are there local public schools?  Or does everyone ski & hike in lieu of formal education?

5.  Speaking of skiing & hiking…I was visiting with a local on the gondola the other day.  He asked if I skied or hiked.  I burst out laughing:  “Neither,” I said.  “I don’t really belong here.”  He laughed in agreement.  I don’t even bicycle.  Would they even accept me as a permanent resident?

Don’t get me wrong…I have thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Mountain Village/Telluride.  I hope to return some day soon.  To those who live here year round, I salute you.  I want to be like you.  I’m just not.

21 8 / 2011

When I found out I was expecting, I quite literally bought half the books in the parenting section at Barnes & Noble.  I immediately subscribed to several parenting magazines, clipping & filing interesting articles for future reference.  I felt well prepared for parenthood & perhaps a little competitive.  No way would MY child be walking around with a binkie at four years old.  (Per their advice, John was weaned from the pacifier by six months & from the bottle at 12 months.)

Then it was time to potty train.  I purchased an adorable potty chair, a supply of “big boy” underwear featuring an array of “Sesame Street” & Disney characters, & several books showing big boys using said potty chair.  I figured he’d easily be trained before beginning preschool.  I had read all the books, after all.  How hard could it be?

John turned four in May & is poised to begin his second year of preschool, yet the big boy underwear remains folded in a dresser drawer.  Thankfully, he stays dry all night & goes on the potty during the day as long as I remember to take him every two hours.  If I am at all lax, he’ll approach me, tell me he has to pee, then stand there with a funny look on his face before happily announcing, “I peed.  Change me, please, Mom.”

Poop is another matter entirely.  He can identify when he has to poop.  “I have to poop,” he calls as he heads for the kitchen table.  Yes, my son, boy genius & apple of my eye, sits under the kitchen table to poop.  I’ve tried grabbing him & heading straight for the toilet.  This results in hysterics & constipation.  I’ve found it better to allow him to get it out, so to speak, under the kitchen table.  [Side Note:  The character of Curly Bear hides under the table to poop in “Elmo’s Potty Time.”  Since John lives & breathes his books & television programs, I have to believe this is what started his under-the-table pooping.]

Following such incidents, I lovingly suggest we poop in the big toilet the next time.  “Okay, Mom,” he happily agrees…yet the next time nature calls, he’s right back under the kitchen table.

Friends tell me potty training will eventually “click” for John.  I know they’re right, but I can’t help having visions of moving him into his college dorm with a box of Pull-Ups.