Looking in the Mirror

Last year when I would drop off and pick up Cooper from school it always seemed to me that everyone else, not including the nannies, knew each other.  Everyone but me, that is.  I would usually stand quietly in the hallway waiting for Cooper to be released from his classroom, while seemingly everyone around me chatted away, or waved their parade princess waves to each other in the parking lot, sing-songing their “good mornings” all around me, while I maybe uttered a few words to other familiar faces here and there.

Over glasses of wine at my neighborhood wine bar with my high school girlfriends this summer, I confided in them that I was feeling frustrated that I didn’t make a single connection there.   At one point I said “maybe they are just all really snobby.  I mean, it is Edina.”  To which Betty responded in loving fashion “Well, you’re kinda snobby too…you should fit right in.”  It takes a friend you’ve know for some 25 years to offer that kind of honesty, right?

This school year feels a little different.  I feel like I know more people.   I am the one who waves to others as they exit their vehicles in the lots and haul kids out of SUVs.  I am one of the ones who has hushed discussions in the hallways about the teachers, about which mom got a Brazilian blowout, and who is actually going to volunteer to ride the bus to the apple orchard this year.

It occurred to me that I didn’t really change.  Neither did they.  Nothing really needed to.  I think it’s as simple as the fact that now I’m a familiar face to them, as they are to me. 

It’s hard to realize that sometimes it simply takes patience.  There’s no Dr. Phil moment where I “left my comfort zone” or invited all of these ladies over to lunch, or whatever.  It just happened….and I’m glad.

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In unrelated news…why am I so overtired right now that when Cooper exclaimed from the backseat on the way to school today “this isn’t the way to my school”, that I actually looked around, had to think about it, and then decided yes…yes it was actually the right way.  But for a moment, I was definitely concerned.

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Actual Conversation

On Saturday I said “hi” to our neighbors as we were loading the kids in the car to run some errands and go grab some dinner.   I said “looks like you got good weather for your housewarming party after all” to which she replied “Yes!  And please stop over.  Oh wait…Brian said that you might be out of town?”

I just smiled and got in the car.  As we drove away this actual conversation occurred:

Me:  “So, why would she think we were going out of town?”

D.Jones:  “Well, I told them that so we’d have an excuse if we didn’t want to stop by their party.”

Me:  “Um.  Well.  We live about 5 feet from them.  They can see us.”

D.Jones:  (laughing) “Yeah, I guess you’re right.  Huh.  Not the best excuse, huh?”

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On that note…I’m back.  Not from out of town in some faraway land where your next door neighbors can’t see you because you’re invisible, but instead, simply back from my blogging hiatus.  A hiatus that has included a ridiculous lack of sleep, too many changes of newborn diapers to count, and happiness and joy beyond words.  That’s right.  As you could probably already tell from my “countdown to baby Jones” counter, that shows that I am now 53 weeks pregnant (God, what a nightmare to even consider!), our baby girl has arrived (as of April 2).

She is absolutely the most precious, beautiful baby girl ever, and I have actually been enjoying every moment since her arrival.  I’ve got so much to tell you all!  To start with, I’ve been so neglectful of my blogging that she already looks like this:

and this:

I’ll start from the beginning very soon.  In the meantime, my little girl needs a bottle.  See.  This is why I’ve been gone so long.

“Scary” Email Exchange

Me:  “Doug, do you realize that you’re soon going to be the Daddy to a little girl?  That means learning how to put her hair up in cute little pigtails, playing with her dollies, comforting her in times of girly drama, and someday, dealing with dates who come to our house to take her out.  How do you feel about that?”

D.Jones:  “Petrified.”

In General

Quick news flashes from the Jones residence:

-We are happy to announce that Doug’s niece Jessica has given birth to a healthy baby boy named Landon Cole.  He was stubborn and didn’t make his big arrival while we were in WI and hoping to meet him, but we won’t hold that against him.  He is absolutely beautiful in the pics we’ve seen so far and we look forward to an opportunity to hold him very soon!

-Cooper and I are waiting patiently to be called for the first round of H1N1 vaccinations available in the state for our “high risk” categories.  After spending the weekend trying to get through on the hotline, we found out that they shut the phone lines down due to the massive amount of calls, and we’ve now sent the appropriate email and are hoping to hear from them soon!

-Cooper is going on his 2nd field trip of the year already for his preschool.  They leave tomorrow morning for a health care center, where all the children, in their Halloween costumes, will entertain the troops patients with their thrilling Halloween songs.  He is beside himself waiting for tomorrow morning to get here.  Pics to follow….

-In other preschool related news, Cooper seems to be doing better at his listening and/or disruptive outbursts at school…or else they’ve just grown tired of providing me with feedback.  Either way, the dropoffs and pickups are more comfortable for me right now, so I’m not questioning it.  The only moment this week that I got a little nervous was when I had taken Cooper to use the restroom before class, as required, where other moms and boys were trying to navigate the chaos of numerous small males trying to use the urinal, wash the hands, etc.  I told Cooper to hurry up at the sink because other boys were in line, and one of the other moms looked at me and said “Is that THE Cooper?  The one in Ms. Beth’s class?”  Oh Lordy.  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to respond in the positive or not, so I smiled and said “It depends.  Why?”  She laughed and said that her son comes home every day talking about Cooper so she was happy to finally meet us.  Hmmm.  Still not sure if that was a positive conversation or not.  I wonder what on God’s green earth the child is telling his parents that my son does during the day.  Yikes.

-I will be spending the Halloween weekend studying like a maniac for my 2nd big exam for my current class.  It’s another “name that disorder” test, where I’ll be diagnosing fun things like Schizophrenia, sleep disorders, eating disorders, Schizoaffective disorders, etc.  You get the point.  I didn’t do as well as I hoped on my first exam, so I’ll be spending even more time in preparation for this one.    I got a B, but apparently my Dad did more damage than he perhaps intended when he used to tell me in high school and undergrad studies “Sure…a C is fine if you’re okay with being average” and now even a B makes me want to tear my hair out and then flog myself in front of the school. 

-D.Jones has decided not, in fact, to pursue the position that he’s been mulling over for almost a year now.  It would still be with Piper, but in San Francisco.  There are many reason, not the least of which is that it would take us away from family and friends.  Other things he considered are that he’d have to actually commute more than 15 minutes (his current bus ride) and the SF cost of living, plus other trading-related reasons that I won’t bore you with right now.  Suffice to say, we’re staying put for now and with small Jones #2 on the way in the not too distant future, I think that’s for the best.

-Lastly, we are closing in on the halfway mark to the arrival of Baby Jones.  Still no name.  Still no gender identified.  Still no decision on whether to C-section or not to C-section.  So many decisions.  At least my mom bought Cooper a book about “what’s in Mommy’s tummy” so he can stop asking me excitedly if I think it’s a small animal, so I guess we’ve made some progress.

Until later~

My Mama Never Told Me There’d Be Days Like This…

This past weekend D.Jones and I decided to head to visit his Dad in southeastern Wisconsin.  Pre-Cooper, the trip could take us 5 hours or so, with me driving, but post-Cooper, with bathroom stops and snack stops and whatever else comes up, it usually takes us closer to 6 1/2.

We left Friday morning (more like noon) after my scheduled doctor appointment.  We made it to our destination with no problem, and not long after we arrived, ordered Papa’s favorite pizza to be delivered.  It ended up being a nice, relaxing night in.

On Saturday, Doug’s Dad and I ran a few errands in preparation for some more family joining us that evening, and Doug stayed home trying to coax Cooper in to taking a nap.  In the afternoon, some additional family members began their arrivals.  Doug’s brother Tom and his wife Michelle, their kids Casey and Suzette, Doug’s sister Diane in town from Alabama, and her daughter Jessica, who was 1 day past her due date at the time, along with her fiance.  A little later in the evening, Doug’s niece Kristine and her husband Dicky arrived with their son Collin, which was a fantastic surprise as we hadn’t expected to have enough time on our quick trip to see them!

We spent a lovely evening of conversation, good food, and a heated game of cards.  Cooper was absolutely exhausted by the time I took him up to bed, but insisted I stay with him until he fell asleep.  Apparently he wasn’t the only exhausted one, as I crashed out myself, only to wake up an hour later wondering where the heck I was…

Sunday morning we planned to go out for breakfast with Tom and Michelle, hang around for a little while and head home in the afternoon.  Unfortunately, as Cooper was eating his morning cereal, he declared that he didn’t feel good and didn’t want to eat.  Very odd for our child.  We literally watched him get paler and paler by the moment.  Soon, he was in a limp ball on my lap and I moved to a rocking chair in the living room, where I rocked him as he was essentially unable to even keep his eyes open.  I began to get worried.  I told Doug that we should go and he quickly packed the car for our hasty retreat for home.

Doug sat in the backseat with Cooper, and we were both getting very stressed out as we made our way down the freeway and the boy, covered in a blanket and curled in a ball in his carseat, shivered so violently that it was visible.  He was white as chalk, and couldn’t keep his eyes open, much less keep his head up.  He drifted in and out of sleep, muttering incoherant things in his fitful sleep. 

In my head, I was deciding which urgent care we’d end up at once we arrived back in Minneapolis and familiar territory.  My adrenaline had definitely kicked in and I drove faster and faster, praying I wouldn’t get pulled over.

We were about an hour and a half in to our trip, when Cooper woke up a bit and I asked him if he thought he might want some juice or something to eat.  I told myself that if he at least had a bit of an appetite, I’d feel better.  He didn’t seem interested, but drank about half of a juice box.  When I told him he could go in to a gas station and pick out any thing he wanted, he agreed, though he had absolutely no energy and seemed like he was just going through the motions.  Doug took him in to the store and he picked out some Chex mix, and some water. 

We pulled out and across the street where Doug and I were going to get McDonald’s and as we were in the midst of the sort of long drive-thru lane, Cooper got sick.  Violently sick.  Like 4 times in a row.  Poor D.Jones was the recipient of much of it, on his lap, and with no other pair of jeans to change in to, that was an ugly thing.

Doug was saying “cancel the order, get out of the line!” from the backseat, but I felt compelled to get our stuff that we’d already ordered, which we promptly through in the garbage.  We drove back across the street to the gas station we’d just left, and began a lengthy clean up process.  To our surprise and amazement, as we began cleaning, Cooper was literally jogging laps around the car.  His color was back, his energy was back, and he was seriously back to 100% within moments.  It was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen!

After much use of Lysol, Febreeze, and half a roll of paper towel, plus many trips to the gas station bathroom, we were back on our way.  D.Jones and I were marvelling at our child’s recuperation, which included him begging for food, and instead being given a cup of ice chunks.

He did end up eating cheese and crackers on the way home, though, and dinner when we got back home, too…and was just fine.  So bizarre, but like I told Doug, I’ll take it.  I was terrified for my boy for the majority of the morning.

Last night, as D.Jones and I sat in the living room after putting the boy to bed, I said “thanks for being the man of the house and taking care of most of the mess…I was having a hard time.  I could never be a single parent because without you, I have no idea what I’d do.”  Doug laughed and then said “Well, good…I guess…though I’m a little concerned that you were actually thinking about it.”

I went to bed reminding myself that I need to be thankful of the little things because boy was the morning scary.  My reminder lasted until…oh…I woke up.  This morning I woke up to find that the Yorkie had pooped in the office, my child woke up at 6:30 in the a.m. wanting me to play trucks with him, and when I staggered to the kitchen for coffee, found that my sister who had been dog sitting for us had retuned a completely empty bottle of coffee creamer to my fridge, which left me sans caffeine.   Well, I intended to be thankful, anyway.  Perhaps I’ll try again later today.

Like Wall-E?

Cooper has been attending Sunday school for a little over a month now.  He really loves going, and his favorite time seems to be the “big group” time, when about 100 kids between 2 and 5 years of age all meet in one big auditorium-style room for songs and fun stuff.

This past Sunday when D.Jones and I went downstairs to pick him up from his classroom, his teacher made a point of saying “he was so good today!”  Awesome!  He may not always behave himself at his regular school, but he seems to at Sunday school, anyway.  Then she said “Cooper, tell your parents what you are going to remember this week.”  Apparently, he had a “takeaway” that he is supposed to remember this week and she’ll ask him about it again next week.  Cooper thought for a minute and then recited “Even in tough times, God keeps me safe.”  It was cute to be sure, and D.Jones even got choked up for a minute.  He blames it on “sympathy hormones” and says it’s my fault, but as I pointed out to him, it wasn’t my eyes welling up.  He’s just a big softie.

Coops recited it a few more times on the walk to the car to be sure he’d remember it all week.  I have been forgetting to ask him about it since, so I was surprised, when we got into the car to go to school today, that he recited it unprompted.  I said “Wow!  Good job, Coops!” at which time he informed me that he’s going to tell his teacher today what he learned at Sunday school. 

I said “I think they’ll like that” when he said “but mommy…who is God?”  Huh.  Ummm…..

I kinda drew a blank.   The best I could come up with was something about how He keeps everybody safe.  Cooper ran down a list of folks and I said “yeah…everybody.”  He thought about it for a minute and then said “So, sorta like Wall-E?”   Uh…sorta Coops.  Sorta.

Teacher Anxiety

Not Cooper’s.  Mine.

We are a few weeks in to Cooper’s first “school year”, albeit only a 2 morning per week preschool.  It’s still new to him, and to me. 

I have been a little concerned about the less than stellar reports about his behavior that I’ve been getting from his teachers.  It seems that on more days than not, when I arrive to pick him up, I get pulled aside to get told about something that little Cooper Jones has done throughout the three long hours of his time there that has warranted a time-out.

In response, I have spoken with my child at great length about the importance of listening to his teachers, acting appropriately in class and not throwing toys at others, among other things.  Believe me.  We’ve gone over and over it until he now gets a blank look on his face and appears to zone out as soon as I say things like “So, are we going to remember to listen to the teacher today??”

So imagine my horror when I arrive early to school to pick him up today and I’m waiting patiently in the hallway, when one of his two teachers exits the closed-door classroom and makes a beeline for…you guessed it…me.  There were numerous other parents and nannies there waiting for kids and I was silently praying that the report wouldn’t be anything too crazy, as I’m sure everyone there would hear it and plan to not invite the crazy Joneses to any future birthday parties until and not before high school graduation.

I smile nicely while she launches in to the usual beginning of our conversations and says “Hi…so, during story time today, Cooper tackled another boy.”  I pull Cooper’s response and my eyes glaze over.  I want to lunge in to one of the other classrooms and hide behind a stack of blocks, but outwardly I continue to smile and nod.  She continues with “I pulled aside Cooper and a few of the other boys who then got involved and asked them to sit out for a moment and calm down, at which time, Cooper approaches me and says in a very sincere voice, “”Ms. B., I am so sorry I tackled that boy.””  My eyes well up.  Could this mean he really does listen?  She smiles and says “I was so impressed! And not only that, he then went straight to the other boy and apologized, at which time the other boy put his arm around him and said “”I forgive you.””

I am a little embarrassed to admit that I almost cried on the spot.  My boy.  My wild, crazy, very unique and challenging child does listen, and finally his teachers got a chance to see the sweetness that is the flip side of the child who pushes, throws blocks, takes other kid’s jackets and runs for the hills during a fire drill.  Yep…that’s my boy.  I can foresee getting more “reports” of a not quite as positive nature as this one, and I will continue to brace myself each time Ms. B. approaches, but today is good.  Today is really good.  And my child could not be more proud of the “good behavior” stamp that he got on the back of his little hand for the above display.  We just finished washing our hands for lunch and he insisted that we not scrub the back of his hand and/or use the towel to dry that particular fist because he must show daddy when he gets home. 

Sweet. sweet tiny little hellraiser.  That’s my boy.

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