Monthly Archives: February 2008

You’re the birthday, you’re the birthday, you’re the birthday boy or girl…

Well, we made it. Today is my son’s first birthday. The first year has been a roller coaster of amazing emotional highs and some pretty dramatic sob fests as well (from both me and my son). Every day I am more amazed at the little person he’s become. It’s hard to believe that he is the same tiny being that was so dependent on me not even 7 months ago. Now, unless he’s sick if I want to snuggle, he laughs and runs away to play with toys.

He’s gone from being this sort of amorphous baby blob to having real features. Don’t get me wrong, he was an adorable amorphous baby blob, but man, every day I am amazed at how handsome he is. I’m not bragging here. The kid looks nothing like me. Every single person who sees him feels the need to remind me of this by commenting on just how much he does look like my husband. His hair, I’d like to point out, is lightening and looking a heck of a lot like mine. Red highlights and all. Hah! Take that!

In celebration of his big day (and because I’m still sick and didn’t want to cook), we went out for a Mexican fiesta. This is the second time we’ve gone out this week, which for us is a big to-do (especially when you consider we also went out sans baby on Saturday for our anniversary). Since my son liked the manicotti so much, I figured we’d try a cheese quesadilla. To no one’s real surprise, he loved it. He ate about 3/4 of it and only threw two pieces on the floor.

The whole evening was going great until I went up to pay for the food. I got stuck behind a couple of people who were obviously splitting up a bill. Not a big deal really. It took a little longer than usual because each one came up the register, picked out their items and then the cashier rang them up and cashed them out. I was in line for a couple of minutes behind a guy and two girls when another girl approached the register.

At first I didn’t realize she was in the same party. I couldn’t see the table they’d come from and she didn’t speak to them. She didn’t get in line behind me. She stood off to the side, almost as if she was forming another line (or just too lazy to walk over behind me). I didn’t move closer to the register because I didn’t want to invade the girl in front of me’s space. The girl in front of me then turned to her friend and asked what she had. I assumed she was going to pay for it all together.

You know what they say about assuming…

Instead the girl rattled off her order. The friends dickered for a few minutes about who would get the queso and then the cashier rang up the girl who’d come in line after me and did a wierd sort of sideways transaction with her. He then proceeded to ring her friend who was ahead of me up.

Now maybe I’m being ridiculous here (and I’m sure my friends will tell me if I am), but it rather annoyed me that she just cut in front of me, especially since she never even bothered to get in line. I’ve been in Mexican restaurants where people have split the bill like this before (I’ve even done it once or twice) and we’ve either all gotten in line together, or, if one of us got in line later, we just passed the bill back and waited our turn. It’s not like the cashier was counting the money down on the register. He was adding each one up on a calculator and running each separately.

The thing is, when I realized they were together, I was planning to let her friend go ahead of me. I figured once the girl in front of me finished, I’d let the girl to the side of me just jump in so the whole party could be together. However, the fact that no one even gave me the chance to be polite and just jumped in front of me really cheesed me off.

Luckily, before the girl ahead of me could finish her transaction, my husband brought my son over to me for help putting his coat on. His little face was shinning because they’d been playing a game while waiting for me to pay the check. I took him in my arms, gave him a quick kiss, at which he giggled, and any anger I had toward the rude people in front of me melted away.

Although there was no cake or even a dish of fried ice cream, and even though there were rude line cutters, it was a nice little family birthday celebration. Now I just have to get ready for the party on Saturday. That’s when the real festivities begin! Family, his first cake, an indoor slide (our gift for him) and a house to clean. Even though I want to see him smash cake in his face (and no doubt all over my floor), I almost wish it was Sunday!

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A good night afterall

The anniversary actually turned out ok. We got super yummy Italian food from this little place across the street. It’s not the sort of place we usually eat at. It definitely has that parental, or maybe even grandparental sort of vibe. Throw back is putting it mildly. There are generally a couple of fat, old Italian guys just sort of standing around by the bar talking in really hushed tones. I always expect them to say “forget about it,” and then whack somebody during the antipasta. So far it hasn’t happened, but we haven’t really been in since before the baby was born.

Anyway, I got some extra cheesy manicotti, which my son ended up eating nearly an entire tube of. I couldn’t believe how hungry he suddenly was. For the last week or so he’s reverted to drinking most of his meals (not unlike some of my friends) and clamoring for jarred baby food, which put me in a bit of a pickle since I’d stopped buying it in favor of raviolis and chunkier finger foods. But last night he broke the mushy madness and chowed down.

 Not only was he eating happily, but I ordered my husband and I a piece of chocolate cake to share. It alone would have been tasty, but he popped in the kitchen and whipped us up some fantastic fresh whip cream. It made the cake.

We played with our son for about twenty minutes until we put him down for bed. He went right to sleep. We didn’t hear a single peep. I decided the grading could definitely wait one more day, so we cuddled up on the couch to watch an episode of MST3K–Wild Rebels. It was hideous, as expected, but boy did I get a kick out of it. Nothing like poor acting, fake blood and “Satan’s Angels” to complete an anniversary.

My husband got me a lovely journal and a gift card for a massage. Two things I LOVE.

I still had to chug NyQuil and dose myself with nose spray, but all in all, it was a pretty good anniversary.

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Will this madness never end?

It’s my actual anniversary. I’m still sick. I’ve been chugging generic DayQuil and NyQuil just about every four hours for the last 72. I’ve sucked on Sucrets. I’ve even stooped to nasal spray just so I can breathe. This, I must say, sucks.

That’s it. I’m not cooking dinner. I’m sending the boy out to pick it up. I’m also not grading any of those 60 some odd essays on censorship I really need to grade. I’m eating my over priced Italian meal, getting the baby off to bed, curling up on the couch and watching a movie.

Happy anniversary to me.

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An anniversary disease

Last night we got to go out on a real date. My best friend volunteered to babysit and I’d been looking forward to it for just about the entire month. A real dinner in a grown-up restaurant without the worry of whether my son will eat what we put in front of him or slowly drop it on the floor and giggle. An actual movie in a real theater, not one from Netflix that we have to watch over the course of several days because I fall asleep when I’m curled up and snuggly on the couch.

I even got my husband to agree to go to my favorite Thai place. For some reason, every time I mention Thai food, he shoots it right down. He says I’ve Nancified* it for him, and yet every time we go he gets a heaping plate of Pad Thai which he finishes with zeal and raves about. The movie, Juno, I’ve been anticipating since I first saw the commericals for it. I even had movie times for four theaters depending on when we finished with our dinner.

It might not sound like the most exciting way to spend an anniversary, but ever since our son was born, most of our nights have been spent in either watching TV, playing on the computer or watching videos we’ve Netflixed. I can count the number of new releases we’ve seen in the theater on one hand and I don’t even have to use all my fingers. Our son goes to bed around 7:30, so our night life abruptly ends right around that time.

The last time we had a sitter, we didn’t even make it to the movie (which was also supposed to be Juno), because we were both so exhausted.

The date was going to be perfect. Except for the fact that the slight tingle in my throat and ocassional cough my son gave me had morphed into an achy head, a nose which needed to be blown every five seconds and was bright red and stinging from being blown that often, and a cough that sounded more like a death rattle than a regular ol’ chest cold. Yes, I was sick on our anniversary.

I was also determined to go out and have fun.

It’s not the first time I’ve been sick on an anniversary. Several years ago I was so ill from the flu that I couldn’t even get off of the couch, much less go out anywhere. After an entire day of wretching I was finally able to choke down some vegetable soup, which was served rather lovingly as our anniversary meal. While I may have had trouble breathing this time around, at least I actually got to eat my dinner, and since it was Thai food, the flavors were strong enough that I could even taste some of it!

After a quick stop at Walgreens to pick up some tissue, some generic DayQuil and it’s nighttime counterpart, we were off to the movie. The movie was really fun and somehow, despite having been so stuffed up I had to become a mouth breather, my nose magically cleared in the theater. I attribute it to the quick smell of the special Puffs with Vicks** I bought. I wasn’t even angling for any mentholated relief, I just wanted some sort of tissue with lotion to avoid the sandpaper effect the others were having on my delicate nose.

As soon as I got home my nose clogged once again, but I took my generic NyQuil, so it hardly mattered. In a matter of minutes I was off to slumber land.

Not the most romantic anniversary date, but still a lot of fun.

*For those who don’t know, Nancifying is the term my friends have given to food items that we no longer have any desire to eat. It is in honor of my dear friend Eee who will eat a particular type of food until she makes herself quite sick on it and then will no longer eat that food for the rest of her life. She has an amazing number of foods in this category.

**If you haven’t used these, I cannot endorse them enough. I LOVE them! They don’t exactly cure my stuffed up nose, but just breathing the vapors in makes both my nose and throat feel a tad bit better. Plus, they are super soft, so I don’t dread blowing my nose. The menthol even soothes the skin around my nose. A definite must have in tissue technology.


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He gave me fever

My son had his first fever on Monday. I thought he felt warm from the moment he got up, but it took a few hours of him wanting to snuggle to convince me the body heat he was producing wasn’t just another genetic link he shares with my husband. My son is not a snuggler. He is far too busy running all over the living room, trying to climb everything and hunting for carpet fuzz to patronize me by spending time curled up in my lap letting me rock him. Monday he was all about storybooks and cuddling.

I’m proud of myself for not panicking. I did call the pediatrician, but only to make sure there was nothing I needed to be doing other than giving him some baby Tylenol and letting him lounge in my lap all he wanted. Aside from the willingness to cuddle, the fever didn’t really seem to affect him. He still played, just a bit more quietly than usual. He still had a decent appetite (although he wanted more of it in liquid form) and he still took his regular naps, even with the Tylenol, which I thought might knock him out. After one dose his fever was gone, but I gave him another dose before bed just in case.

After I put him to bed, I did call the sitter to let her know if his fever returned we’d be staying home. I sat down at my computer to type some simple lesson plans. I was trying to recall exactly what we’d done on Thursday (it was a four day weekend for the kids), when it dawned on me that so far this year I haven’t taken a single day off for myself. In fact, I’ve only taken three days this entire year: one when my son had a rash* and I took him to the pediatrician, not because it bothered him, but because it upset me; and two when my father had his surgery and the doctor muttered that horrid word, cancer. Even on the occasions when I have been sick, I’ve trudged off to school in order not to waste any of my sick days.

When I was thinking about this, I remembered the good ol’ days when sick days were made and used and wasted. When my husband and I first started dating, I took a sick day because we’d stayed up late watching a movie and talking and I just didn’t feel like getting up the next morning. If my kids were being particularly annoying one day, I’d call in sick the next day, taking what I liked to call “a mental health day.” There was nothing wrong with me. I wasn’t even in danger of having any sort of breakdown, I just didn’t want to deal with them.

For six years I directed plays and after spending six weeks practically living at the school (including the entire weekend run of the plays), I always took the following Monday off. It didn’t matter that Sunday’s show was a matinee and I was home by 5, I felt I’d given enough for one weekend and spent the next day watching movies, shopping or playing Sims. Heck, my students used to joke with me on their way out of the building, asking what sickness I was coming down with for the next day. I’d laugh, give them a ridiculous name like “Cluelessitus” or “Chronic Godiva Syndrome.” I never thought twice about those days. I’d earned them and I took them.

I can’t believe I was ever so cavalier.

Now that I have a child, this isn’t an option. Sick days are no longer about having fun. They aren’t even about me being sick. Instead they will be spent for my son’s well baby check-ups, or staying at home when he has a fever or is throwing up. Even if I get lucky and he keeps the amazing constitution he’s had so far, I plan to have another child in a few years, so I have to save my days for OB appointments and my maternity leave. Schools are usually pretty flexible and will give you an entire semester off of school, but they’ll only pay you for the sick days you have saved up.

I adore my son, but I have to admit I miss my days of lounging in my pjs on a weekday afternoon watching Can’t Buy Me Love and eating chips, knowing I should be in third period teaching my kids a chapter of Lord of the Flies. Spring break can’t get here soon enough.

*It turned out not to even be a rash. My son just has amazingly dry skin, which might be the only thing he’s inherited from me. He did get medicated lotion which made me feel a bit justified for taking an entire day off.

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A big let down for the big V

Well, it happened again. There was no heart shaped box of chocolates waiting to be unwrapped, its contents to be scrutinized, arranged in order from the one I’ll like most (saved for last) to the one I’ll like least (eaten first). Despite numerous hints including the Godiva catalog left open on the page with Valentine’s boxes right next to the computer my husband sits at every night while searching the web for I’m afraid to ask what, the counter held a vase of the traditional roses and a little tiny bag that I knew could not be hidding the coveted box of chocolatey heaven.

I’m not really sure how much clearer I could have gotten. For the last six years I have actually told him multiple times before Feb. 14th arrived that all I want, all I’ve ever wanted, is a heart shaped box of chocolates. I am not really a picky woman. I don’t want him to worry about finding some obscure gift no other woman will have. I don’t need a fancy dinner out or even a gourmet one in. I don’t need the dozen long stem roses whose prices have been hiked up in an attempt to make gas prices look cheap. I certainly don’t need jewelry of any kind, even if it is heart shaped and “I’m sure to love it.” No, I’m easy to please. If it’s heart shaped and full of chocolate*, I’m happy.

This year I really thought my husband was going to get it right. I thought that after six years of the hints getting less and less vague and me actually getting closer to just taking his credit card and going to the store myself, I would finally get my red velvety box. Once again though, I felt like a child after every present had been opened on Christmas day, realizing that the only thing I actually wanted, the one I’d circled in the catalog, begged for all year and even cleaned my room and not tormented my sister for, was not anywhere under the tree.

Oddly, my husband is not the only one who cannot take my less than subtle hints to heart. No one I have ever dated/been married to on Valentine’s day has ever listened to me and just gotten me the box of chocolates. My husband’s logic is that he feels chocolates are too mundane. They are what everyone gets. My pointing out that every year he’s gotten me roses, which I think proved my point, didn’t make him very happy. Then I felt bad because he thought I didn’t like my gifts.

The truth is, the roses he got me were beautiful. They are white with pink tips (my favorite type of roses–we used to have them in my garden growing up). It’s sweet that he listened and knew what to get. He also did get me something chocolate: chocolate covered bing cherries from Trader Joe’s. Also a nice gift as I do like their taste, even if they don’t have the allure of the assorted box where I’m never quite sure if I’ll get nouget, or raspberry filling or maple whip. He even threw in a gift car to my favorite coffee shop which I know will be used before the end of the weekend. All of which are nice, thoughtful gifts.

Still, they made me feel sad. They made me realize that once again, someone I love didn’t listen to me. Year after year I make the same plee and year after year I am denied. And yet I keep hoping that next year will be the year I come home and find my husband standing in the living room, his hand behind his back, trying to conceal that magical heart shaped box that I know holds the key to my happiness…at least for the next few weeks while I savour one piece each night.

So once again, I was without my beloved chocolates. Once again I had to go to Godiva the day after to buy my own box on clearance. Although it wasn’t the surprise I was looking for, I did get twice as much by waiting one day. Then again, I had to buy them myself.

Maybe next year.

*This is only partially true. I don’t actually want one of those cheap boxes of Hershey’s Pot of Gold or Whitman’s sampler deals. He did get me one of those last year. The one thing I’m a bit snobby about is my chocolate. I’ll still eat those and think they are ok, but my philosophy is that life is too short to eat mediocre chocolate–at least for a special ocassion.


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Learn how to be romantic on your own

Today on the radio I heard about the latest “romantic” trend to sweep the country. Apparently men are really slacking in the proposal department, so a new industry has been created: proposal planners. Yes, that’s right, there are now people you can hire to plan your proposal for you. This is, quite possibly, one of the most preposterous things I’ve ever heard of (and that includes our class discussion today when my kids admitted to watching/being on-line for 9 hours a day and texting/talking on the phone for an equal amount of time and yet denying that they are dependant on technology).

Wedding planners I understand. Although I never needed one, since my only real wedding concern was finding a dress I absolutely loved. I managed to do that on my very first outing, so the rest of it just fell into place. I know I’m a bit out of the ordinary though. Weddings often involve the coordination of flowers, food, churches, halls, musicians and the happiness of anywhere from 25 to several hundred people not even in the actual wedding, so I get why stressed out couples with full-time jobs might need some additional, non-family biased help getting everything together.

But proposal planners? Come on! Proposals should involve two people. They should be an honest declaration of love between them. If you don’t know someone well enough to plan a proposal that you’ll both remember and look back on fondly until old age kicks in and you’re lucky to remember where you put your dentures, maybe you should rethink the whole marriage thing. It doesn’t take a genius to plan a nice proposal.

My husband (who is, in fact, a very smart man) managed a beautiful proposal with no help from anyone. His proposal was something you read about in books or see in movies.

He got our favorite sushi place to open especially for us. Not only was it a Sunday (a day they are always closed), but it was mother’s day. I thought he’d planned a special birthday surprise for me because I’d been complaining a few weeks before that I’d never really had anyone I was dating do anything special for my birthday before. After a meal of all my favorites, he gave me my presents. The first were two travel books about the best places to visit in the United States, since we’d been talking about wanting to visit all 50 states during our life together. The second present was a box of Godiva, my absolute favorite candy treat. Inside were my favorite truffles, his favorite truffles and a black velvet box. When I looked up, he was down on one knee. He told me how much he loved me (in words I won’t share here, but which are burned in my memory) and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. When I said yes, he took the ring, which was his grandmomma’s, out of the box and slipped it on my finger. The owners of the restaurant then came out and congratulated us.

This from the same man who got me a dust buster and a plunger for my birthday the first year we were dating.

It never ceases to amaze me how lazy and status crazy we have become as a society. We don’t want to take the time to plan out a proposal that will touch the heart of someone we love, but we want a good story to brag about to all of our friends.

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