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.

Memorial Day 2018

Whew! We made it! We took our first road trip with the dumpling and we all survived. We had to break a few rules and we did deal with one round of puke, but yay! WE DID IT!

In all seriousness though, I am very grateful Luffy agreed to make the trip down to hill country Texas for my mini family reunion. In the end, my grandparents really only got to say hi to the dumpling, but it made their day. They hadn’t had the opportunity to meet him. Plus I got to catch up with my cousins and their children, so that was a lot of fun. We compared notes Sunday morning on how our respective children handled the night in the hotel room and our parents marveled over how it felt for their kids to have kids now. Weren’t we just in diapers and swim floaties like last summer?

We were there for less than 24 hours, but it was so wonderful to see everyone. We introduced the dumpling to the swimming pool and taught him how to kick his little legs (from his perch on the pool steps) and splash people (mainly my brother [his target] and my mom [an innocent bystander since he didn’t quite understand how to aim his splashing]). We also found a nearby neighborhood playground that he got to romp through. He also took full advantage of the VAY-CAY-TION!!! rules around food and had snacks on snacks on snacks.

To round out our holiday weekend, we spent yesterday afternoon in the backyard with his kiddy pool and bubbles. I managed to distract him enough to get him to wear a pair of sandals for the occasion (have I told you guys that I bought a couple of new pairs of shoes for him at Target that he has flat out refused to wear? because if anyone has ideas on how to convince a toddler that new shoes are not the devil, I’m all ears) and I laughed over his enormous swim trunks. He definitely had a little booty showing at the end, that poor, skinny dumpling.

I’m looking into water activity tables now because I discovered a great solution for all of those little ow-si??? inquiries when it’s 1,000 degrees outside and I don’t want to take his wagon for a walk around the block. A shady backyard and water activities are where it’s at!

Speaking of ow-si? I have to say that my favorite story from the road trip itself is sitting in the back with the dumpling and having to field the ow-si?? question as he’s forlornly pointing out the car window. No, my sweet baby, we can’t go outside. We’re driving. Ow-si?? I know it’s right there, but we’re driving, we can’t go outside. Ow-si?? We can’t go outside; I know you’re bored. All dun. I know you’re all done baby, but we’re not there yet. All dun. We’re still driving my sweet boy. All dun. If it makes you feel any better, mama and dada are all dun too.

A glimpse

I’m sitting on the couch right now, my feet propped up with a whiskey at my side. A quick glance down shows me an image of my sleeping son, on his belly with his kitty* tucked into his side. I am exhausted, physically and mentally, thanks to that little dude.

Today was one of those days that just beat us down. It started out looking like a good day! I got the dumpling up and we went about our Saturday morning routine without an early morning meltdown. Luffy was in good spirits as I left to go to exercise. But. Somewhere along the way, the dumpling decided that today was a no good day and everything triggered tears and woe.

We were actually supposed to go to a family friend’s birthday party today. They live on the other side of DFW from us, so it was going to be an hour’s drive there. Our initial plan was to leave at 11:30 to give the dumpling a car nap and arrive just a half hour late for the party. We decided, however, that the dumpling needed a real nap today and we definitely didn’t need to be an hour away from home should a meltdown occur. We contemplated attending again, later that afternoon after a fairly good nap and an tantrum-free hour, and even got about 15 minutes down the road before turning back. He was completely out-of-sorts in the backseat and we weren’t doing anyone any good by going.

I’m actually pretty bummed that we missed it. We haven’t seen these friends since January and they’ve moved to a new place since then. I was really looking forward to seeing them, but, alas, the dumpling had other plans. That’s not really something you think about, when having a child, that you may have to opt out of things you really want to partake in. I mean, sure, we say well we can’t go to Italy the couple of years, that will be ok! but you don’t really think about well my child will be having a tantrum-fest day, so I won’t be able to attend a good friend’s birthday party. We think of the big things we might have to wait on or opt out of, but not the little.

True to good mommy-blogging form, I’m supposed to close this by saying that he’s all worth it in the end. And he is. Of that I’m sure. His smiles make my bad mood melt away. His hugs make my heart ache. His laughs are literally music for my soul. And yet, seriously child would it kill you to not lose your marbles over the bubbles? Which you wanted in the first place, if I may remind you. Or the fact that we can’t go outside (ow-si?) right now. Or the way Sharpies don’t go down your train track the same way as the actual train cars do. Or the fact that you can’t actually control the cat. She does what she wants. I know, life’s unfair.

*I feel the need to clarify that this is a stuffed cat. He sleeps with a puppy and a kitty that I’ve dubbed Puppy and Kitty until he can do the honors. Teddy bears are so 2008.


The Quiet

I apologize for the quiet around here lately. I blame the usual suspects: work, child, etc. But there’s actually something else going on too, between Luffy and I, so I don’t feel comfortable sharing. (I know, I’d be shocked if I were you too – there actually is a line of oversharing for Belle! Who knew?!) Anyway, I don’t want to sound melodramatic (even though I know it completely does sound melodramatic), but I thought I’d put the explanation out there. We’re working through some things, trying to be the best version of ourselves for each other and our little family. It’s just one of those times when the only thing I want to talk about is the one thing I won’t. And thus – silence. It happens to the best of us.

To leave you on a happier note as you start your week: the dumpling can now tell you what the cat says! And it’s almost as adorable as his woof woof*. His little meow comes out as a “weow” and it is just too cute. TOO CUTE, I tell you!

* I linked back to that post and then realized afterwards that I haven’t told you guys about his woof woof!! How could I not?! So, I suppose a week or so ago, the dumpling started answering the question what does the dog say? with his own little woof woof. Which, is totally cute, but his is just painfully adorable because he says it in this tiny little voice, almost like he’s a little worried he’s actually summoning the big doggies over. And he doesn’t have the f-sound, so it comes out as woo woo. Gah! It’s just precious.

18 Months!

The dumpling is 18 months old! As of yesterday Wednesday. As you can see, I am awesome at this.

He did well at his check-up. He finally broke twenty pounds, that peanut, and while he is “behind” in communication, we were happy to announce that he learned two new words recently. All done as in I am ALL DONE with this empty bowl, mother, and shall hurl it off the table to demonstrate my all-done-ness and Wow as adorably exemplified this morning as he wandered around the kitchen going Oh wow! Oh wow! Oh wow! at nothing in particular. His block towers, on the other hand, garner an extended Woow-ooah!

There are definitely quiet little moments that fill my heart with joy at this age. Just this morning, I knelt down for a hug to see him off to school and he just beamed at me as he toddled over, diving in for a hug. I then kissed Luffy goodbye and pulled back to see him (the dumpling) run back over, tongue hanging out, presumably for a kiss as well. He then barreled off in chase of Luffy and managed to run right into Luffy’s leg as he was putting on his shoes, like a cute little bumper car. Such an adorable moment.

There are moments that make us laugh, like when he sings in his crib (at the top of his lungs). There are moments that frustrate us, like when he burst a seam on his zippy at bedtime and was completely obsessed and angered by this, yet refused to take it off and then we got him in a new one, but he wouldn’t get over the other zippy and we eventually just gave him the damn zippy to take to bed with him like geez child. There are moments where we watch him figure something, like how to kick a ball, and other moments where he suddenly just knows how to do something, like open doors*. All of these moments, the good and bad and quiet and happy and trying, they all blend to create our every day now. A bit like being on a roller coaster, really, and one that I actually enjoy being on. Usually.

*Our house unfortunately has all lever style door handles, meaning they’re not that difficult for the average toddler to operate. Even more unfortunately for us, the dumpling is tall enough and smart enough and he gets up on his tippy, tippy toes and – BAM – you’re looking at your toddler’s face as you’re trying to pee. So much for privacy!