Friday, December 31, 2010

Ring Out the Old, Ring In The New

In a couple of hours it will no longer be 2010.  That is perfectly fine with me--it was'nt a terrible year, personally, but it certainly was not without its heartaches and I am more than ready to GET ON WITH the rest of my life.  I have many plots and plans and here's hoping I'm actually not insane and that at least some of them are viable.

While I harbor the suspicion I'm having a midlife crisis, none of my plans involve a trophy husband or a shiny red car.

ANYhow, you can't be looking at a blog about a 3 year old and not wondering how Christmas was.  Christmas was nice and not too ridiculous.  It was the year of the Gender Specific gifts--matchbox cars and plastic power tools--

but the hands down winner in the gift department was the Big Fold Out Cardboard House.  I know its supposed to be for girls (there are flowers printed on the door) but I say f**k all that: my boy has loved the cardboard box houses I've made him and when this thing went on super sale I decided we needed to trade up:


I had it ready to go on Christmas morning and he spent most of the day in there with his stuffed elephant and his glockenspeil:

A couple days later, Mike says he caught Donny saying, "I love my new house, its so BEAUTIFUL!"

Mama must have been pretty good this year too.

We had a nice Elyria visit despite the fact that I have been, and continue to be, sick like the dog with a cough that will not let up. 

The other big news is that I took the plunge and put up a facebook page for Polish Hill parents with preschoolers.  We had a playdate on Thursday with some sweet kids and great parents: this just might work!

And now, to start on the wine.  Happy New Year! 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

You Can Actually Go To Someone Else's Home Again


I've been working very hard to simplify my life which, for an old school Gemini like me, is tough. Every since my last cemetery tour of the season I've been guarding my Saturdays like a growling dog. That being said, there are somethings I can't say no to and one of them is The Frick.

I used to work and the Frick and the joke I make about it the most often is that the Frick is like my first real boyfriend: I knew it would never last but [fake voice breaking into uncontrollable weeping] I still love him!!! Working there was one of those crazy stumbleintoit things that can define the rest of your life, for me, in a very good way. So when one of my favorite people from the Frick invited Donovan to attend a Pre-School event, I couldn't say no.

Even tho I woke up grumpy and with a sore throat.

Luckily it all worked out--it was a two bus trip and both were on time, we had to walk but the kid was a trooper. And even tho I forgot his bag at home another mother kindly and knowingly gave me one of her (adorable) son's pullups: WHEW.

The program itself was very sweet and when I complimented the folks who put it together today, all of them sort of rolled eyes heavenward and said "GOOD, 'cause we haven't done this before!" By "this" I'm guessing they mean preschool programs that include the house museum as a component. The program started with a story about how Spencer, the Frick's chef (Spencer! Lookin' good! I've missed you, dude!) would make gingerbread men for the Frick kids for Christmas and one got away so we had to go in the house to find him.

The gingerbread boy that got away left his shadow all over the house (shadow=felt cut out) and the kids went from room to room to find them. The kids really got into it--even Fauntleroy, The Lone Gunman--but they were all very good. After we found all the shadows, we went to decorate real gingerbread cookies. Donny needed a bit of nudging from me but he did a nice job of decorating his.

And also of eating them.

As for me, it was so nice to go back on a springlike sunny day. I even got to see some of my favorite folks. Plus Donny and I both got majorly fussed over. He seemed not to notice but, you know, I think I needed that!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving and The Weekend Before

WOW, its been awhile and so much has happened! We went for a same day trip to Elyria to see the old folks. Mike and I had been waiting for us both to have 2 free days off in a row. When that did'nt happen for 7 MONTHS we decided the hell with it and left Saturday morning and came back Saturday night. This was the weekend before thanksgiving so luckily the traffic was on our side. We had a good visit, although Donovan started to break out in hives while at my Mom's house. I have a feeling it was less about the cat and more about the Glade airfreshener my sister was spraying around. We also got to see the Aunts. Photos below:

Then, of course, was thanksgiving. We spent that here with Mike's family. Aunt Claire and Aunt Heather made the trip from NYC and Donovan picked right up where he left off with them. After 10 minutes of fussing, that is. Sadly, no photos from that visit. We were all too fixated on the turkey.

Today is day #3 in the 4 day weekend. Mike has to work so its just Donny and me. So far today we have made the first paperchain of the season (Donny stopped it short. He doesnt understand his mother's obsession with making the Longest Paperchain In The World. But it was a good start.) We also had Baby's First Jiffy Pop, which I found at the Shur Save in Bloomfield. Shur Save is odd, first of all in the fact that you Shur Don't Save. Its not exactly inexpensive, which is strange because its kind of crappy. That being said, they had all sorts of stuff you can't find at Giant Eagle: penny matches, Jiffy Pop Popcorn, Fels Naptha Laundry Soap and Washing Soda. Just to name a few.

Now I'm typing this up while Donovan plays with his gears downstairs. Little does he know that a nap is coming his way. I hope he's enjoying his limited window of independent play...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Thankful at the End of Quite The Day

WARNING: This post contains poop and pee references. Reader discretion is advised.

So many mornings when I bring Donny to our bed to wake him up, I joke with Mike, "I think we'll just stay here all day. Have fun at work." And usually, once the kid wakes up, he wriggles away from me and runs downstairs to have breakfast with Daddy. Today was my first Saturday in MONTHS when I had nothing planned and the kid could not get enough of me. I was getting climbed on, kissed, hugged, pulled away from the kitchen into the front room to sit on the couch with him, even followed into the bathroom. It was very sweet but even in the middle of that sweetness I was thinking, "Uh oh." No temperature, tho, and he seemed happy. Very odd.

Well, it all made sense when we got alllll the way to Phipps and the kid had a major bout of diarrhea. To the point where I thought, "Its warm. He can walk home in his underwear." And, "Maybe they sell kids pants in the giftshop--I mean, I know they sell tshirts..." I cleaned the poor kid up and did something I never do unless its desperate: I called Mike at work. He got the go-ahead to leave work, take us home, and got back to finish up. Perfect except the brakes went out on his car. On Negley Hill. Luckily he was able to put it in park and use the emergency break to avoid killing himself or anyone else. This being Pittsburgh, the guy who stopped to help him turned out to be friends with one of Mike's friends from a different band and he offered to drive to Phipps, get Donny and I, and then drive all of us home to Polish Hill. Mike had to go to the Pharaoh Sanders show for work and he ended up throwing himself upon the mercy of the busway to get downtown. Lord help us all.

Oddly, this is also the night I tried to teach Donovan how to pray. I ordered a couple books of prayers and blessings for children for him from the UU suggested reading list. The one I like the most, "A Prayer for a Child" has one lone Jesus reference thrown in at the end but the pictures are so good and its a simple exercise in being thankful. So tonight he blessed alot of people after he crawled into bed but before he laid down. I'm hoping the prayer thing will help him be a little less feral. Not so much feral in the ripping squirrels apart with his teeth sense, but less feral in that he can use other parts of his brain, so he can access thankfulness and empathy. I know its in there but its not very spontaneous.

And in case the whole praying thing freaks you out, you might like to know that Donny and I spent about an hour in the front room listening to my classic rock mix and spaz dancing. He really got into "Under Over Sideways Down" and Zeppelin's version of "Walking the Floor." He was'nt too sure about Mott the Hoople but he really liked saying "All The Way to Memphis."


Tuesday, October 26, 2010


About three days ago, Donny started asking, "When do we get OUR pumpkins?" He had seen some around the neighborhood and we told him we would be carving some too. Tonight was the night so, of course, we had to have cider and donuts to get into the mood:

Donovan had very specific ideas about what he wanted his pumpkin to look like, so I did the carving via his dictation: round eyes, triangle nose and a smile with no teeth. Et voila!

He was very excited about his pumpkin. He named it Monk.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pictureheavy Update

Its been a busy couple of weeks--forgive the lack of action here at Donnycentral.

Below is a compendium of Donny photos with brief commentary. The only thing it doesnt really cover is Donovan's time at his new school. He's still getting used to things but so far, so good. I had to pick him up early last week and all the kids in class got up to give him hugs goodbye. I could tell part of it was an excuse for all the kids to jump up out of the reading circle and move around but alot of them seemed to genuinely like the kid--it did my old heart good.

So the photos. Here are a few of Donny drinking hot chocolate out of a little cup while wearing his Dad's big robe:

We've made a couple of trips to the Carnegie Musuem this month. Here is the kid looking thru the Henry Moore (?) in front of the Art Museum. There are more of these, if anyone needs 8 versions of Donovan sticking his tounge out:

Not having a daughter I thought I'd be spared this particular humiliation but I'm realizing my son will always look better in my hats than I will:

Posing at the well intentioned but disturbing pink fountain in front of the funeral home:

As you can see, Fall is getting off to a good start.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Surrender Donovan!

Donovan's last day at Waldorf was this past Friday. When I left the house that morning I thought, "I should take the camera" and then immediately thought, "Nah. No need." Which of course means there were photo ops galore. I was able to capture a few on my phone, including the inexplicable skywriting that happened while we were at the bus stop. It ended up saying "ALL SALES FINAL" and, try as I might, I could not get that once in a lifetime shot of my kid framed against the word FINAL in the sky. You'll see that I came close--does "fina" translate to anything?

The first day or two at Montessori were a rough transition for the boy but I did'nt get any calls from his teacher yesterday or today and that is a very good sign--his first day there she called to ask if he always cries that much...

Fall is officially here and with it came the realization that Donny doesnt really have enough longsleeved shirts or socks. Its been a mailorder bonanza at home but I also found some damn goofy polarfleece pants on a sale table at Whole Foods. They are now Donny's favorite piece of clothing as they are both soft and purple. And, truely, do you know how hard it is to find purple clothes for 3 year old boys? I feel like the Toddler Gods smiled upon us when I bought these. Of couse I had to put two darts in the waistband. The first day he wore them he'd turn to me about every 5 minutes and say, "Mama, wanna pull my pants up?" Not good when you are jumping off the big rocks:

It's only been a few days at Montessori and I could be reading too much into it but I really think Donovan is acting more like a big boy; he's talking more, just seems more engaged. I think being around older kids is good for him--even tho he has learned how to yell.,,

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Farewell, Happy Fields...

I forget exactly where we left off so I’ll try to do a quick summary: Last month, Donovan was supposed to start school at Pittsburgh Montessori. I, of course, was stricken with grief that he would be leaving Waldorf Fairyland behind. At the end of his first day of Montessori, we were told he was’nt potty trained enough and that we had until September 30 to get him up to speed or we would loose his place. That is significant as Pittsburgh Montessori is a magnet school and we were lucky that we got thru the lottery to place him there.

We were also lucky in that Waldorf was kind enough to take Donny back into the Little Friends program until things got sorted out. A funny thing happened tho—in the 72 or so hours between Donny’s last day of Waldorf and his starting up there again, he got too big for Little Friends. Suddenly he was the oldest kid in the group and all his running buddies were in the Nursery School program. So I started up with the angst again, but it was a different brand of angst.

Fast forward: I told Donovan’s speech therapist that he would be back at Waldorf due to potty training issues, she mentioned this in passing to her boss and suddenly Donovan is invited back to Montessori and they are buying equipment and (this is the crazy part) rewriting job descriptions because it turns out it is illegal, or at least against school board policy, for public schools to “discriminate on the basis of potty training.” So Donovan’s last day at Waldorf is TOMORROW.


Oh, sweet Jesus. Here I go with the angst again…

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Le Sigh

What is it about 3 year olds? I suppose I should just contain that question to my particular 3 year old. He’s so little but so big—its like I can’t get my Personal Viewpoint lens to focus on him. Two Fridays ago he had his first day at Montessori and the whole week leading up to it I was a mess. He’s too young! He’s too little! He can’t be cooped up inside all day, he’s just a baby! Its too soon for him to be in a real school! At the end of that first day, we were told he was’nt potty trained enough and we had until September 30 to get him on track or he would loose his place in the school. We put him back at Waldorf in the program he had been in. We drop him off there and my heart breaks: He’s so big! All the other kids are tiny! All his friends graduated up to Nursery School! What’s he supposed to do outside all day with all these babies? He’s not going to progress!


And, really, that’s been the theme of the past two weeks: is he a big boy or a little boy? I’m at a complete loss to figure that one out.

While I have a nasty feeling the potty training deadline will come too soon for us, we are still giving it the old college try. Please say some Novenas to St. Jude. Which reminds me—as far as I can tell, there is no patron saint for potty training. Considering the manner of martyrdom often determines the assignment of various saints to various causes, I guess is good news

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bait and Switch

Lordy, but its been awhile! August is the craziest month of all so far but it is slowing down. I got to go to Washington DC for a conference and I did no sightseeing at all. In fact, I have come up with a new phrase: "Offsite Staycation." Basically, I set up shop in my hotel room--which assisted me by providing a mini fridge that was in no way connected to a minibar--and lived an in-between-the-sessions life as a lady with no responsibilities. It was lovely.

Once I got back home, however, it was potty training bootcamp. Donny has basically 3 weeks between the end of Waldorf and the start of Montessori so Mike and I have been taking turns taking off of work to look after him and work on the whole Pee In the Toilet message. The jury is still out but we, the Defense, are optimistic.

Here are some photos that have been piling up from the last three weeks or so:

From the series starting with our "cover photo" for this post, Donny has been playing outside alot (our house is mostly carpeted...) Here he is in a pair of his big boy microgutchies in the role of Nature Boy:

Ah, crap--the other photos did'nt download. Check back in a day or two for more photographic evidence of Donny's Between School Adventures...