Monday, December 25, 2006

Don't Spill the Beans . . .

Among other things, my son got this game, from the small line of “Cootie Games,” for Christmas. This is the one from that series I do not remember from my childhood. Here are some things that I now, as the parent of a toddler, appreciate about this game:

5. It teaches him that plastic beans are not food. (Though his sister caught him going for a taste after I was out of the room.)

4. It encourages him to develop fine motor skills by having to pick out a “bean” from a Ziploc bag and place it on top of the “pot.”

3. It also causes him to have to be “gentle” in placing the beans, so further motor skill development occurs.

2. He learns how to take turns. Theoretically.

1. It’s fun.

Squishy C. and I just came back from a week-long trip to New Jersey where we visited family and friends. This means that he and I flew all the way there and back. I have learned a lot about parenting, and about myself, in the past week. And my son has grown immeasurably in that time as well. We live in California, where we have NO family on either side. My husband is from Scotland, where his two sisters live, and where we don’t get to visit very often. His parents are both deceased. I am from Northern New Jersey, where my parents and two of my three siblings still live. All my family (in this country, at least) is in that general region, except my brother in Oregon. Needless to say, my son is growing up almost not knowing his relatives.

So, what have we learned from our journey?

10. A toddler can vomit in his sleep on an airplane.

9. Six and a half hours is a long time to wear one diaper.

8. There’s really no point in bringing an iPod on a flight if you also bring a toddler and no other adults to help out.

7. Single parents are never given enough credit for what they deal with.

6. Even a toddler instinctively knows family from strangers, and a shy kid can be very loving when he senses unconditional love coming his way.

5. The power of Santa knows no bounds.
Our mantra for this trip . . .
ME: What is a good boy? No . . .
C: Tweaming (Screaming)
ME: No . . .
C: Whining
ME: and No . . .
C: Twying (Crying)
ME: And Santa . . .
C: Bwing a CAH! (Brings a car)

Not sure what I will do for the next eleven months.

4. When you’re visiting the cousin’s second grade classroom, all the crayons in the world don’t mean a thing if the toddler can see the “shwingpahk” (swingpark) out the window.

3. Irrational fears will develop out of nowhere. Live with it. (We are currently on leaves. Yes, the ones on the ground during the colder months of the year. Here in California, this has extended to palm tree berries on the ground. If you know where I live, then you know that this is a VERY bad thing.)

2. A toddler will always pick a favorite among the cousins. The key is to not letting the others know. They will usually develop some kind of catch phrase or secret handshake. In our case, when he and the pre-teen do high-fives, they each tell the other, “Solid.” I don’t get it either.

1. Family is wonderful. Family is stressful. I love my parents. I like living far away from them. I miss them (and the food in New Jersey) often, but my life is here, and I love it. Someday, I will be the parent to a grown-up son. And I hope he never moves as far away from me as I have from my folks. If he does, he gets to make the pilgrimage I just made. And I will not be making such a trip again until he is at least a few years older.

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