The other day, on my drive home from work, I started counting up the words that the dumpling can say now. I came up with quite an impressive list (at least, impressive to me) and I realized that I haven’t memorialized what he can say in a while. So, without further ado and presented in as close to chronological order as I can get, a narrated list of the words that my child knows:

Uh-oh – a classic favorite that really just means, something needs your attention!
Dada –
a word for either mama or dada if I am in a good mood
Mama –
a word explicitly for mama if I am very upset
Up – now woman!
Down – now woman!
Off –
comes out as “oss” and it really means will you open/close/put-on/take-off this?
More –
self-explanatory, but it comes of as “ore”
All done! – and you have two seconds before I toss this to the floor!
Water –
Outside –
Walk – I don’t care what you’re doing, but it’s time to get outside for a walk!
Shoes – shus?? shus??? where are you???
Sock –
This –
Oh this! – oh my gosh I need this right now!!!
Cracker –
he actually pronounces this one pretty darn close, he’s just missing the hard c
Yes –
I feel like it must be noted that he’s a toddler who actually does say yes
No – and I’m not even sure why you would suggest that, mother
Dressed –
as in, let’s go get you dressed!
Block – let’s play!
Bye –
the sweetest little “bye” you’ve ever heard
Truck –
OMFG it’s a TRUCK!!!!
Hi –
only said if you’re very lucky
Circle –
“ircle” said every time he sees a circle

Currently, he’s working very hard on brush (as in, to brush his teeth), wash (as in, to wash the clothes), and mulk (aka, milk). Then, there are other things that I’m fairly sure he’s just mimicking, like just like that (as in the spider caught the fly in her web, just like that) or coke (as in, gotta get dad a coke!). It’s always challenging to find the line between he knows that word and he’s repeating that word. He can also answer what sound a (1) dog, (2) cat, or (3) dinosaur makes.

All in all, he’s made a lot of progress since as of about three/four months ago he could only say uh-oh and dada.


In an instant

Last night, after we’d tucked the dumpling into bed, Luffy went out to pick up our dinner. He was gone a little longer than usual. When he arrived, he told me that there had been a bad accident and he’d had to take the long way to pick our sushi. The Facebook page of our hometown had been talking about the accident, Luffy told me. Two vehices, a truck and a sedan, had collided head-on when the truck unexpectedly veered into oncoming traffic. They said there had been a fatality. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.

You see, this took place on the main road outside our development. Even more startling, the accident occurred at an intersection less than a quarter mile from the turn in to our neighborhood. It’s an area I pass through many times a day for everything from picking up the dumpling at daycare to running to the grocery store. According to Facebook (which I’ll admit isn’t the most reliable of sources), the man who died was picking up dinner for his family. Just like Luffy was doing when he encountered the accident. I cannot fathom Luffy heading out to get our dinner and never returning. The heartache that must bring. About two weeks ago, Luffy was out picking up dinner. He had been gone for almost a half hour when I heard sirens in the distance. Logically, I knew that the restaurant we had chosen was further away than our usual choices and thus it would take him longer. My brain reassured me that he was fine, but that didn’t stop my stomach from becoming lead and my mouth to dry. When he walked through the door, I was so relieved. That same relief never came for the man’s family last night and my heart breaks for them.

I also feared for the other driver. A man on Facebook who had witnessed the accident happen said that the driver of the truck appeared shaken and sick over what had occurred. Though the comments were civil, it was clear everyone wanted to know what had happened. Was he texting? Was it a teen? My mind immediately went to the driver of a black truck down the street from us. He’s young, still in high school – what if it was him? I felt an inordinate amount of relief when I saw his truck, intact, parked outside his house this morning. I don’t even know him, yet I feared for his future and mental health if he had been involved. To know you took a life with your actions must be a heavy burden to bear. Even if he wasn’t a distracted driver, even if there was a fault with the truck or a freak accident… I know I’d have a hard time forgiving myself if it was me.

And that’s what has me most upset, I think. The fact that this happened so close to us. It could have been us. It could have been Luffy, returning with our sushi last night. It could have been Luffy and the dumpling, coming home after daycare last night. On another night, it could have been me and the dumpling coming home. On any given day, it could have been all three of us. It’s a sobering reminder that our lives can end in an instant. That our hopes and dreams for the future can drastically change, just like that. Two families face devastation and tragedy now, for something that happened in a split second.

Hug your loved ones tight when you can. Remind them that you love them at every opportunity. Our lives are precious.

Nighttime Moments, a redux

The dumpling once again had an odd night last night.

I’ve mentioned before (though I’m not about to comb the archives for the reference) that the dumpling moves in his sleep differently. Some nights, he’ll fall asleep and remain still until about 9:30pm. Then he’ll wiggle around a bit, settling into a new position. Some nights, he’ll fall asleep and start moving within thirty minutes. These nights, he seems to toss and turn and toss and turn all night long. Other nights, I’ll see him sit up in his crib and blindly search for his stuffed animals, face-planting back into his mattress once he’s found both puppy and kitty. I always wonder if there’s a correlation to his movements and the quality of his sleep. On the nights he moves so much, is he getting poor sleep? Are those the kind of nights I have when I wake up still feeling tired the next day? Do I move that much? Does less movement equal better quality sleep?

All questions for another time, alas, and we’ll go back to last night. Last night, he moved quite a bit after he fell asleep. It also took him a while to fall asleep, though he seemed perfectly content in his crib, singing to puppy and kitty and rolling around. Around 9pm, I noticed him moving again, though that wasn’t surprising. What did surprise me though was that he started moving and just kept moving. Rolling and tumbling. Sitting up and laying down. Grabbing puppy and kitty and tossing them. One minute he’d be in the top, right corner of his crib, facing me, and the next minute he’d be in literally the opposite corner of the crib. I also noticed his eyes open quite a bit. It’s normal for him to open his eyes and look around for a few seconds, but last night was much more than that. The dumpling was still rolling around when Luffy headed to bed about 9:20.

By 9:40, he started calling for me with soft “mamas.” He wasn’t crying or agitated (any more than he already was with all that moving), but he just called me. I decided to go check on him. He’s been having two pain-related issues lately (all four canines are coming in at once and some GI issues that I won’t go into detail on), so I thought that he might be uncomfortable. After a few minutes with him, it was clear that he thought it must be morning*. I have no idea what was truly the cause of the disturbance, but after a dose of Motrin and an entire cup of water, I was still up with him until midnight. He finally settled back down only after I left him, when it was clear that my presence was only keeping him awake as he wanted me to continue rubbing his belly while he chatted with puppy and kitty.

And of course – OF COURSE – you’d think that after getting back to sleep at midnight he would sleep in some this morning. Right? That makes sense. Except that’s not how toddlers work and he was up before 6am this morning, happy as a freaking clam, while I dragged my butt out of bed feeling like a small truck had run over me. All in all, not a night any parent looks forward to when they contemplate becoming parents.

And yet. For the first hour or so, I was perfectly content to be up with him. I sat with him, in the chair that I nursed him in all those nights, marveling at how much bigger he’s gotten. He sat in my lap, this small child of mine, his head resting against my chest as I rubbed his back. His legs dangled off my lap, kicking at his crib until I moved farther away. He drank water from his cup, rather than milk from my breast. He communicated, in no uncertain terms, that he wanted to go outside his room, to see the kitty and the house, cloaked in darkness**. He wasn’t content anymore to lay on my chest while I reclined on the guest bed. He just wanted to sit with me, in our chair. In the quiet moments, as I held him in my lap, I tried to snuggle him close and hoped to always remember the feeling of his now toddler-sized body next to mine. The same way I hope to always remember how I held him close to nurse or how I laid next to him in the darkness, all those nights ago.

*Have you ever done that? Woken up from a nap or in the middle of night and thought it was morning? Because it is super disorienting and if that’s what was going on, I totally empathize with the dumpling. One time, back when I was in college, still living with my parents, I had taken some Benadryl in the early evening. My dad put on a movie – Tears of the Sun. I dozed off during the movie (which we both thought was terrible) and woke up as it was ending. I suppose it was the Benadryl, but I was SO disoriented when I woke up. I thought it was morning and was super confused as to why my dad and I were watching a movie in the morning, like didn’t he have somewhere to be? Didn’t I have somewhere to be? I remember making weird statements to my dad, asking him about getting ready for the day and whatnot. I remember heading to the kitchen to pour cereal for breakfast and finally figuring out what was going on because the light outside was clearly dusk, not dawn. I felt much better after this revelation, but it’s clear how unsettling the whole thing was given this happened a decade ago and I can still recall it with such clarity.

**Hindsight being 20/20, I think that this was part of the problem. I took him outside his room, thinking that if he saw it was still dark outside, he’d realize that it was still nighttime. Instead, I think I piqued his curiosity. I realized that he never sees the house completely dark like that, all lights off and total darkness outside. He probably thought it was really cool. I’ll have to remember this for the next random night waking.

Happy Fourth!

Happy 4th of July!

[Complete side-note: I laughed so hard the other day because a mix of politics and a dash of proper-holiday-greetings culminated in someone ranting on Facebook that people these days aren’t saying Happy Independence Day anymore. We’re being …. cautious? Politically Correct? Squeamish? I don’t even know, to be honest, but their point was that we should say Happy Independence Day rather than Happy 4th. It was funny and I laughed and then I kept scrolling, but I keep thinking about it every time I’ve said happy 4th of the past week. Crazy what people get offended by these days.]


I hope you had a fantastic holiday! Little odd, with it being smack-dab in the middle of the week, but we enjoyed it nonetheless. My family came into town, so we hung out with them and the dumpling. In the afternoon, we filled his water table and wading pool and let him play with the water. We busted out the frozen treats – popsicles, ice cream sandwiches and cones, and chocolate-dipped frozen bananas. The dumpling had three cherry popsicles and his skin is still a little stained today. We had cinnamon rolls for breakfast and BBQ for our late afternoon meal. And so much champagne. It was fantastic.

I’m still enjoying my hair. I’m firmly of the belief that I’ll never go back to long hair now. I don’t think I’ll be able to because my hair is so easy now. And cute! I seriously look more put-together now than I ever have before because it doesn’t take much for my hair to look great. I feel more confident too.

In other home improvement news, we’ve finally started on a landscaping project I’ve been working on for weeks. The project has quite the price tag (sorry Luffy!), but they’re doing a lot of clean-up work for us, as well as completely redoing the garden beds around our house. The main reason behind doing the project now is that the existing garden dividers in our yard are metal. Or were metal. They’re rusting away, creating a very dangerous hazard just waiting for little toddler toes. I wanted all of that pulled up and replaced. While they’re out, they removed two old DIY sandboxes. They also removed the drab plants we had in the front and are planting some new things! It’s looking nice, though they aren’t quite done yet. I’m excited to see it all come together.

Also, you guys, I’m prophetic. Remember when I recounted our experience with the wildlife people? And I remembered having to call them back a few times to get something finished up properly? Well you’ll never guess what I’ve been doing for the past two weeks. When they replaced our chimney, they also fixed a few soffits. In one of them though, the one that had the visible nest, they placed a one-way door. It allows anything that’s still in the attic to get out. They said they would leave it for a few days, a week tops, and they’d be back to permanently patch the soffit. Yeah, that was almost eight weeks ago and we still have the one-way door in our soffit. I’ve called their offices numerous times over the past two weeks and each time the receptionist or office manager or whatever she is tells me that she’ll have the manager call me back. I haven’t heard anything from them. I got fed-up this morning and called the guy who came out to give us the estimate directly as he seemed to at least be able to schedule things. He said he’d text me with a date as soon as he could (he was driving), so we’ll see about that.

Chop Chop Now Y’all

Guys. I did it. I finally gathered the courage and moxie to cut my hair off. All of it. Chop chop. I am now the proud sporter of a pixie cut, very similar to this. And I am loving it.

I’ve thought about a pixie cut for years, wondering if I could pull it off. Even back in college, I was curious. The most I managed to do was a pretty short bob, about a half inch above my jaw line. My boyfriend at the time made sure that I knew I looked like a boy and that he much preferred long hair. I didn’t really give a crap about his preferences regarding female hair, but the comment about looking like a boy stung. It eroded any confidence I had in the look and guaranteed that I never went shorter. (I will say, with some pride, that I still frequently sported bobs when I was with him, despite his preferences. A little bit of resistance against my controller.)

But still, every year when I inevitably got tired of long-ish hair and made the appointment to go short, pixie thoughts would pop into my brain. I never took the plunge, but still, they were there. When I made my appointment this time, I didn’t think it would be any different. I figured I would go in and cut it about chin length and go about my merry way.  Then, Sunday evening, manic took hold of me. I googled pixie good or bad and what to know before you get a pixie cut and pixie cuts in image results. I saved ideas. I read articles. I browsed Reddit. I researched cuts for face shape. I discovered that my particular face shape is well suited for a pixie cut. And I decided. Chop chop.

My stylist was super excited when I told her what I wanted. My hair was mid-shoulder blade length, so this was a drastic difference. I had a moment of panic, sitting in the chair as a I watched her cut the sides (wow, that is VERY short), but all in all I handled it well. I had worried that I would have an immediate gut reaction of hate when she was done. After all, I’ve been looking at myself with hair for a very long time. This new cut was/is far shorter than I have ever attempted. I needn’t have worried though because I was already in love, even before it was dry and styled. It really is a great look on me and I think it suits my face particularly well.

I headed to Ulta as soon as I was done to pick up some new product on my stylist’s recommendation – an awesome volumizing powder and a pomade. I showered and washed my hair last night under the guise of getting the hair remnants off my neck, but really I wanted to test two things: how well it air dried and how it would look in the morning after sleeping on it. I am VERY excited to say that it air dried perfectly well (though, in the interest of full disclosure, I will likely still blow dry it if I need it looking super polished). I am even more excited to report that for the first time in my life I actually have hair that I can spend five minutes styling in the morning and go. Shampooing and blow drying are no longer essential to looking barely passable at work. I can get up and go and it is fantastic! A quick spritz of water this morning rectified any bedhead and my volumizing powder brought my look from passable to cute AF.

So yeah, I love it. I’m so excited and I really can’t see myself going back to longer hair any time soon.

In other news

My office is moving next month. (Not my home office, though that would be a pretty swanky way of telling you guys that we’re moving. tucks away line for future use) Very long story short, we’re moving into one of the towering skyscrapers downtown. We are currently in a modest office tower, just twenty stories tall or so, and we’re moving into a much higher floor. We got to tour it yesterday and it’s really nice. I’m looking forward to new views and a new space.

I’ll be interested to see what sort of tenants are in the new building. It’s very stately, with a lot of law offices, which probably means slacks and low heels. Our current building has “creative” tenants (think magazines and PR firms) which means bright tops and high heels. I usually feel dowdy as I walk into the office, surrounded by smartly dressed women in their on-trend heels and skinny jeans. I try to dress well, but I tend to buy classic pieces that I can wear for years rather than a trendy top that will be dated by next season. My style suits me, I think, but I can’t help but feel wistful for the cold-shoulder dresses and flouncy tops as they go strolling past me.

As I mentioned, we visited the new space yesterday. It’s a few blocks away, so we all gathered at 3pm to walk down there. I ….. misjudged yesterday morning and chose to wear heels. That was a mistake. The walk down was fine, but then we all stood around for 45 minutes in a warm-ish office (the AC is on for construction, but set to like 78 which feels especially warm in business attire) and then we walked back in the 100 degree, 70% humidity afternoon sunlight. My feet were not pleased with me. I’m sporting about five new blisters, one of which even required bandaging for me to teach class after work. I had it coming to me though as two people commented on my heels and asked if my feet were hurting and I smugly proclaimed them to be fine as each woman shook her head and admitted to not being able to wear heels that long anymore. Hangs head in shame. Me either, apparently.

Cleaning the domain

When I was growing up, my dad (a Navy guy) had us on a strict cleaning schedule. Every other weekend we cleaned the entire house, top to bottom. I’m talking toilets scrubbed, showers de-scummed, floors mopped, rooms straightened. When we were young, our only task was to straighten our rooms. In typical child fashion, it took my brother and I just as long to clean our rooms as it took my dad to clean the entire house. As we got older, he added chores until we were responsible for cleaning our bathroom too, as well as mopping/vacuuming our side of the house. When my brother moved out, I offered to take over cleaning myself. So every other week, I put on some music and dusted, mopped, vacuumed, scrubbed, shined, wiped, straightened, and more!

My internship was the first time I was free from the every-other-week schedule and I took full advantage of it. A humorous anecdote from the time: my apartment’s shower developed an orange scum. I seriously had no idea what it was and didn’t know that could happen – that’s how often we cleaned our home. I blamed a crappy apartment shower, rather than the fact that I hadn’t cleaned it in six weeks. I didn’t realize my mistake until I was cleaning for move-out and realized that the stuff wiped away. Whoops.

Anyway, ever since moving out and being gloriously free from the every-other-week thing, I’ve struggled to find an adequate schedule. I mean, no one likes scrubbing toilets, but there’s got to be a better way other than my current mode (which is to invite friends/family over and then surreptitiously wipe down the toilet with Clorox wipes while they aren’t looking after freaking out because the smell is suddenly QUITE noticeable). Plus, I’m one of the weirdos that loves a clean house. It’s like I can’t fully relax unless the living room is straightened and the counters have been wiped down. Luffy thinks I am crazy, but I embrace it.

I say all of this because I’ve gone on a sudden cleaning binge. In probably the first time since well before the dumpling was born, all of our toilets and showers are clean at the same time. (And not just wiped-down-with-Clorox-wipe clean, I mean scrubbed-with-a-toothbrush clean.) The dumpling’s toys have been put away. The ever present entryway jumble is mostly organized. And I remember again why I love a clean home. But, you know, a toddler lives here and thus a clean home takes a lot of work. So cheers to me, for fighting the good fight. The living room will devolve into chaos as soon as the dumpling gets home from daycare, but at least he can’t muck up the toilet. Yet.