Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Awkward Mom vs. the Home Visit (part 1)

Oh, poor Awkward Mom. Not only is she in a tizzy because Super Toddler won't toddle. Not only has she endured the physical therapy evaluation (we thought we would spare you that particularly heart wrenching battle) and been told that Super Toddler has a "35% walking delay." Yes, we know; we would all like to see the math there....isn't it really just 0% walking or 100% walking? Anyway. Not only has she also been told that Super Toddler has a possible speech delay and "over-flexible knees" (whatever that means) while simultaneously being told that there is actually nothing physically wrong with him and the walk delay is most likely his own stubbornness and physical therapy will only be mildly effective. (Lotta onlys here, folks.) Not only all this, but now, yes now, she has to endure the indignity of a home visit because the physical therapist wants to "inspect Super Toddler's home walking environment." Yes, dear Readers. Let the battle begin.

So, it is pouring rain and Super Toddler and I have just dropped Super Preschooler off at Preschool, where he is going on 2 weeks without an "accident" or any "concerned" notes sent home in his backpack, which, incidentally, I have remembered every class! (But that is an another, happier post...) Sensible parents are heading home or to some other dry post to wait this out, so, of course, we are not. We are going to Toys R Us to buy a walking toy for Super Toddler's 3:30pm home visit with his physical therapist. Have I had a week to do this? Yes. Do I remotely have the budget for this toy? Nope. Am I just doing this to try and impress this woman and convince her that I am taking his delay seriously because she may have casually mentioned at the evaluation that I should encourage him to use his "walking toys" more often? Maybe. OK, yes.

Do I even know what a walking toy is? No, not really. OK. Should be a fun trip.

And it would be, if Toys R Us was open.......shoot. I quickly call Excellent Mom, who has agreed to go with me on this fools errand (mostly because she is a saint), and we reroute to the craft store. We spend the time it takes for Toys R Us to open gossiping, ogling shiny holiday supplies, and perusing grow-buddies. This is the best the day will get; it is all downhill from here, folks. Excuse me, oh, you have a question? Oh, grow-buddies; you know, those tiny capsules or itty bitty creatures that you put in water and they grow to 15 times the size. Super Preschooler is in love with them. Oh, they are just called magic capsules? And it is fairly undignified for a grown woman to refer to something as a grow-buddy? Huh. OK, well, good to know. Anywho, I buy a couple grow-buddies for Super Preschooler (a ghost, a black cat, and a castle), and we are off to Toys R Us.

Excellent Toddler jets off for the train table and Super Toddler loudly protests his inability to do the same. But I am focused, heartless, and relentless in my pursuit of this milestone of his, despite his cheerful disregard. I plop him in the buggy and wheel him into the bowels of the store, aimlessly seeking "walking toys."

Hey, Readers, guess what? Turns out that there is such a thing! Turns out there is a whole aisle of such things! Can you imagine? And it also turns out that Super Toddler and I hate them all. These things are amazing; eye-popping purples and pinks, ear-bleeding noises of the sugariest lullabies and most annoyingly happy music. Walkers shaped like trucks, trains, lions, dinosaurs, baby strollers, lawnmowers, and fire trucks. There is one alien looking one that I think might be alive and I have since had a very disturbing dream about. Walker after walker with shiny bells and whistles that just make Super Toddler yawn. And prices that make me want to faint. Oh well, that was fun. Guess he'll be crawling to that graduation, after all.

But just when I am ready to give up hope, Excellent Mom swoops in with an idea of genius. (This is so the reason I asked her to come.....and why I am friends with her in the first place. Now, why she is friends with me is a mystery for the ages.) Excellent Mom suggests one of those toy shopping carts. You know, the cute orange ones I think they have been making since my mother was a toddler. Genius. We find them in the play food aisle. Super Toddler loves it. I love the price. All is good. (Especially with the newly freed Super Toddler, who heads straight for the train table.) Let the walking race begin! Well, not literally. I mean, unless it is a crawling race; then I am sure Super Toddler would win; hands (and knees) down.

Oh, puny Awkward Mom. That is quite enough. I am serious. That is totally enough out of you today. Don't you have children to take care of? Really; hasn't Netflix done enough today? I thought so. Go on. There you go.

Anyway, Readers. Tune in next time for the actual home visit battle. This was merely the set-up. And goodness, it wasn't even all of that. The perfect-walking-toy-shopping-cart-of-delight did have one nearly fatal flaw: it wasn't assembled. That and the directions called for 2 types of screwdriver, a scissors, and a hammer. A hammer, seriously? Have we discussed Awkward Mom's construction abilities? Do we even need to? Plus, Super Preschooler was home by then and wanted to "help." Oh Readers, I will spare you. It got done. Super Preschooler may have learned some new words that we aren't gonna tell Awkward Dad about. Right? But, it got built in time for the 3:30 home visit. Where it sat in the corner, ignored by Super Toddler and the Physical Therapist, but we are getting ahead of ourselves. Tune in next time! Same awkward time, same awkward blog!

Walking toy of wonder!

(glow wands and rave bracelets not included....and certainly not in there during the home visit!)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Awkward Mom vs. Walking

We know what you are thinking, and don't worry, Awkward Mom has not broken anything. We are aware that her tendency to trip is concerning and that, for some unknown reason, she always crashes into the stove when she rounds the corner from the kitchen to the pantry, but rest assured, dear Readers, she is still able to walk. It is Super Toddler that isn't walking. And there is a reason this post isn't titled: Super Toddler vs. Walking. Super Toddler has absolutely no issues with his lack of walking; left to his own devices, he would merrily crawl through the world (at record-breaking speeds, mind you) much like a super-charged tank, busting through anything that got in his way. Super Toddler will take you out at the ankle, believe me, he has no pity for legs that get in his way; early and elderly walkers be warned. Nope, this is definitely Awkward Mom's battle.

So, Super Toddler has not walked yet. I suppose this makes his name rather misleading, but I digress. Super Toddler is 20 months old, as of yesterday. Depending on who you ask, this situation is:

(1) slightly unusual but not bad

(2) perfectly fine

(3) really starting to hurt my back

(4) horrible and makes me the worst mom on the planet.

(OK, the third one is me.....and a little of the fourth one too.)

According to the doctors and nurses, the average walking start is between 14-18 months. As our doctor explains to me (our comforting and soothing "Dr. Graham"), in order to make that "pretty bell-shaped curve," some children walk at 9 months and some wait until they are 2 years old. His nurse further reassures me that there are children who walk at 2 years old but you don't hear about it because their moms are usually too embarrassed. I, personally, think they are just drown out by the moms talking (loudly) about their 9-month-old walkers, but that is just my opinion. Super Toddler has been examined for physical impairments in his legs and hips, by the way. Despite a slight over-flexibility (which, frankly, I thought all children had), he is perfectly fine. Hence, the medical profession thinks Super Toddler will be teaching your next Thursday yoga class and his lack of walking is slightly unusual but no big deal.

My mother, aunts, and any woman I know of that generation just laugh at my worries. "Children are supposed to crawl, it is good for their brain development," they chant at me, as they hand me Dr. Spock's book and some chocolate. My mother claims to have no idea when I walked or crawled or any other milestone whatsoever. (She does however have one bragging touchstone; my first word was Flamingo. She likes to share that one. Oh, and that I made her go into labor during the Blizzard of '78, but again, I digress.) Basically, all the women I know with grown children think that I should calm down. They seem to be well aware of how brief these early years are (and how fleeting and small the worries are). I suppose they are just more concerned with the sons that won't move out of their houses, the daughters that just lost jobs, and the state of their IRAs. All of them seem to think that Super Toddler is perfectly fine and that he will walk when he is ready. My Super Friend, Magnificent Mom (who isn't of my mother's generation, but has the wisdom to be) likes to say "It isn't like he is going crawl across the stage to get his college diploma." So, general opinion here is CALM IT DOWN, AWKWARD MOM!

But my back hurts.

And......the opinion of every random mom I meet at every playgroup, park, store, street corner, doctor's office waiting room, BabyCenter thread, blog entry, magazine, and parking lot seems to be "Oh my goodness, he hasn't walked yet? That is horrible. I think you should just give up and start working on Super Fetus because that older one of yours is so small and clearly not potty trained and this one won't walk at 20 months and they are both clearly not going to Harvard now. You poor poor thing. Thank goodness Perfect Toddler walked at 6 months, she is already on the waiting list for Yale." I may be paraphrasing a wee bit, but you get the message. The ugly, pitying, judgmental, horrid message. The message that, for the same unknown reason that we horde insults and disregard compliments, I allow in to wreck havoc on my mom confidence, while I won't listen to the wise women in my life and the entire medical profession.

Well, the whole point here is Super Toddler isn't walking, and about 2 Fridays ago, after a particularly trying evening with the super kicker (AKA Super Fetus), I call the doctor's office in tears. It is mostly about Super Preschooler and his lack of potty training (but that is an entirely different post and one that neither I nor the general public is ready for), but at the end, I sneak in my concerns about Super Toddler. She tells me to go take a nap and she will tell the doctor about it on Monday. I sigh and lie on the couch. I don't nap, but Netflix may be on and it may be on Pawn Stars. Anywho, it is good that I don't nap because 10 minutes later, the nurse calls me back. (I think my tears got to her.) She has called the doctor at home and they decide (even though they aren't concerned and don't think anything is wrong and that I really should be taking that nap) to refer Super Toddler to a physical therapist. I promise to take the nap (I don't; the pawn store might be buying the BatMobile. I am not missing that.) and I thank her profusely.

Now, for some reason, this "action" makes me feel a ton better. Logically it shouldn't. Nothing happens for a week. Super Toddler continues to crawl. Well-meaning moms continue to stare pityingly. And my back still hurts. But I have a referral. I have confirmation, something official. Someone professional is going to look into this. Someone is going to help me. Someone is going to fix this.

Oh, naive Awkward Mom....

Tune in next time, Dear Readers! Super Toddler is in physical therapy and he could care less, but Awkward Mom is hoping this is the cure for the crawling! However, all is not roses; first there is a giant hurdle to overcome. A hurdle of such insurmountable proportions that it gives Awkward Mom pause and makes her wonder if just letting Super Toddler crawl across that graduation stage isn't all that bad. She has to endure the dreaded Home Visit.....(cue scary music. You should have some, Halloween is just around the corner, you know. You also must know that Awkward Mom will NOT be making the Super Boys' costumes this year. I mean, you must have guessed that, right? What else would make sense? What? Wait; is this thing still on? Oops!) Anyway, join us next time here at the Adventures of Awkward Mom!

Walking? You have to be kidding. I am going straight to driving.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Awkward Mom vs. Preschool

I think we oughta make that "Awkward Mom vs. the first day of Preschool".....because we all know the battles are just beginning.....

So, here he is; Super Preschooler:

Oh my goodness! How did that get in there? That wicked villain, Nostalgia and his sidekick, Holy-Cats-Time-is-going-So-Fast must have been at it again! Let's try this again, shall we?

Here he is; Super Preschooler:

That's better. Yes, Super Preschooler (as he will now be known, unless I get lazy. Then I might shorten it to Super P....I'll let ya know) took the plunge today and went to Preschool! We all trooped down there; Super Preschooler, Super Toddler (aka the Super formerly known as Super Baby), Super Fetus, and me. I don't think Super Fetus wanted to go, but sometimes you do what you gotta do for family, eh?

We all showed up (15 minutes early! You would think we were excited or something...) and listened dutifully to the teacher's introductions....OK, I might have been the only one who did that, but we know now that free play is from 9-9:30, "accidents" will be reported via cell phone, and no peanuts are allowed in the room. There was other stuff, but I thought it was best to gather the urgent info on the first day. Plus, a letter came home with Super Preschooler with all the rest. My very first piece of school-related paperwork! Sent home in Super Preschooler's backpack! would have been sent home in his backpack, if I had remembered to send him in with a backpack and not left said backpack in the it was, it was sent home to me in a plastic shopping bag. I know. I know. Picture it, dear readers: Super Preschooler, standing there on the corner, waiting to be picked up, surrounded by other Dora-packing and Lightening McQueen-laden children, forlornly clutching his PLASTIC SHOPPING BAG. Sigh....and we are off to a rather awkward start, it would seem.

But, the teacher is sweet and seems to understand that some children have awkward parents, so Super P. (yes, I like that) is also holding a purple backpack in his other hand. This purple backpack is called the "Magic Bag" and is given to one child everyday, in order to put a special object into it to bring back to the class for Show and Tell. I suppose that makes it a "Show and Tell Backpack," but, let's be honest, "Magic Bag" sounds a lot cooler. So, Super Preschooler has been given the honor of the first Show and Tell. He wants to bring a fairy, but we don't have one, so he says some pretty earrings on mine will have to do. I am not sure that is a good idea, but I imagine we will find something we can all agree on by Wednesday.

By the way, Super Toddler was seriously not pleased that he was stuck with me for the morning and his brother got to play with a bunch of new kids and toys.....more importantly, new toys. He tore it up during Free Play/Parent Introductions and even got into a fight over some cars with a kid twice his size. Double sigh. Now, in the introduction letter, there is a section about wanting a parent-helper to be present at each class. There is even a sign-up right by the door. However, there was also that part in the teacher's speech (where I could swear she was looking right at me) when she mentioned that siblings are not encouraged if they are distracting and we should not feel obligated to serve as parent-helper if it doesn't work for us. I'll let you know how that goes.

I am also fairly sure the teacher didn't break eye contact with me during the entire "what will happen if your child isn't quite potty trained and has an accident while he/she is here," but I totally expected that. I'll also let you know how that goes, because, as we all know, that one is just a matter of time. Personally, I am thrilled it wasn't today!

All in all, we survived. Some more than others. I am sure Super Preschooler is gonna be fine. Super Toddler is gonna resent his lack of preschool-fun for a bit, and I am starting the long road of panic and empty-nesting and wondering where the time went, sprinkled with some oh-wow-shopping-with-one-child-is-a-lot-easier. Expect that last part is gonna change come November, isn't it? Oh well, back to panic.

Way to be brave there, Awkward Mom.....

OK, readers; update time! In view of the recent name changes, here is a little guide. This is now Super Preschooler (AKA Super P.):

OK, well, technically, this is a picture of Super Preschooler and a friend.

This is now Super Toddler (or Super T...might as well embrace the lazy.):

Wow...OK, well, technically, this is shirtless Super Toddler, Buzz Lightyear, Rex, Super Cat, and food/drink. Pretty normal, actually.

Super Fetus is rather camera-shy, so no photo there. Plus, we are letting he/she keep the mantle Super Fetus until the big reveal, come November. At that point, we'll officially declare a new Super Baby! Oh, it is a season of changes, Readers! Meet us back here next time. Super Toddler has a physical therapy visit this week; the therapist wants to inspect his "home walking environment." Yea.....we will totally let you know how that goes....See Ya!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Awkward Mom vs. the End of Summer

Despite the store ads proclaiming "BACK TO SCHOOL" that have been up for, oh, about 3 months now, Labor Day weekend and the unofficial start of fall took everyone here by surprise! Being as we in the Awkward Family view fall as an ally, with her cooler temperatures and crunchy apples (Summer's sweltering heat and requirements to wear bathing suits in public keep him on the villain end of things), this is usually a favorite time of year around here. However, it isn't every fall that Super Toddler changes identities and becomes Super Preschooler, and it isn't every fall that Awkward Mom is grotesquely unprepared for that.

Oh my. My baby is starting preschool in 6 days. What am I going to do? How am I going to feel? Think I can potty train him by then?

Fear not, gentle readers. It is only for 2 days a week and for 2 hours at a time and the teacher is already aware of the lack of potty training process going on in these here parts. So, really, all this transition amounts to is a change to his weekly routine and a change to his blog-sanctioned name. That's all. That's it. The whole shooting match. Right?

Oh, and well, a sign that the little baby I held in my arms just the other day (wasn't it last week? 3 years ago? Really?) is growing up faster than I would like. And with this, I join ranks with mothers across the ages. Sigh.

But more on this later. He doesn't start until next week, so I am gonna do what all sensible people do when faced with a change they don't particularly want to deal with. I am gonna change the subject! (And get some chocolate, hang on.)

OK. Back. And eating some of Awkward Dad's birthday chocolates. You won't tell, will you? Yes, Awkward Dad had a birthday this weekend! I won't tell you his age, as he is all in a tizzy about it. The Super Boys gave him a card, some stickers, multiple kisses, and the chocolates I am currently eating. We had Chinese food for dinner several nights this weekend, endured the zoo on Labor Day (making sure to see the ape house this time), and we generally let him have his way around here (a unprecedented feat).

Awkward Dad's birthday is usually Labor Day weekend and it is part of the hints around here that summer is ending and fall is on its way. So, I am going to use this time to shove every summer related post I didn't do this summer into this post (in picture form, of course). Enjoy!

We weren't very heavy on the milestones this summer. I have already mentioned Super Toddler's complete lack of potty training interest. Super Baby has followed suit with no interest in walking (in fact, he had an evaluation today and will be starting physical therapy in the weeks to doubt followed by freaked-out-Awkward-Mom blog posts). That said, the boy sure can climb stairs.

We took many trips to the park this summer, mostly with our good buddies, Awesome Toddler and Excellent Toddler. I will admit that I was a little deterred from the park after my run-in with the organic-brownie moms, but I persevered and continued to provide outdoor structures for my children to climb. My children, in turn, continued to provide me with plenty of adrenaline by climbing said structures backward, upside down, and way too close to the edge. That all my park pictures look like the one above is something I have no excuse for other than sheer laziness.

Ah, the pool. Although, it is really AH, the pool! (i.e. Do I really have to put on a swim suit and parade around in public? Really?) I valiantly took the Super Boys to the pool at least weekly for a good stretch there (that most of these outings were initiated by Excellent Mom will stay our little secret, eh?) and we (and by we, I mean, the Super Boys) enjoyed ourselves thoroughly, despite the presence of toy-stealers, splashers, and those moms who bring a whole picnic of healthful delicious food that causes your child to look with disfavor at the bag of goldfish crackers in his hand. Yes, despite the bikini wearing moms with 6-month-olds, the damp locker rooms with horror movie lighting, the bugs, the sunscreen in the eyes screams, the wet towels all over the car, the 2 hours of prep for 1 hour of pool time, the sunburns, the weird rash Super Baby got, the teenagers, the difficulty of explaining "adult swim,"and that encounter with that mom I hadn't seen in awhile who declared "you don't look pregnant at all" while we are wearing swim suits and swim suits clearly show everything and mine shows a belly that I think looks like a pregnant belly but I guess she just thought I had let myself go, it was a successful pool season. We did go to the Spray Park once, and you all know what a nemesis the spray park is for the Awkward Family. Well, this time, it wasn't that horrible and I did remember towels. What I forgot was Super Toddler's swim suit, so he went in a swim diaper and I was "that mom" in front of the whole play group. Oh well; when am I not "that mom" anyway?

The Awkward Family took one vacation this summer; we went to Cleveland to visit some college friends of Awkward Dad. This resulted in the climbing of hotel furniture, the delicate balance of eating out with childless friends, and an attempt to steal ZZ Top's car. Pretty standard, really.

There have been several trips back to the zoo this summer, although no more solo trips. Turns out Awkward Dad likes to be included in animal viewing. The zoo in the summer is, well, you know what the zoo in the summer is like; hot, crowded, and full of overpriced frozen lemonade (which Super Toddler has a serious love for). The upside is pictures like this one of Super Toddler dressed as a bee. Priceless.

And the rest of the summer looked like this:

Lots of shirtlessness, beating on things, bandaids, and one very memorable trip to the Science Museum. Lesson learned: the Super Boys are fans of electricity but not of animatronic dinosaurs or IMAX films about space. Ignoring this will result in screaming and stares from other parents. You have been warned.

Thanks Summer! And now, onward to fall! and preschool.....oh shoot, I need more chocolate....

Stay tuned, fearless readers, this fall should usher in a new age in the Awkward Family. The age of preschool. The age of Super Baby's first steps (we hope!). The age of Super Fetus' arrival. All of which will result in name changes all around; except for Awkward Mom, that is. No other name truly fits this Maven of Mischief, this Tireless Tripper, this Seeker of the Slippery Slope. Nope, she is just awkward. Join us for more awkward antics and adventures here, at the Adventures of Awkward Mom!