Monday, July 26, 2010

A Mom on the Moon

I don't know what it is about watching your baby take his first steps that gives a parent such a rush of excitement and pride. After months of waiting and sweet coaxing, our boy is finally mobile. And I am a mom on the moon.

As our son was approaching 16 months old, he was at the tail end of the usual age range that babies start walking. But, he was too busy "driving" his cars and trucks, pronouncing the word "tractor" flawlessly, and throwing a ball like a 5 year old to care.

For weeks, I asked him multiple times a day, "Will, are you STANDING?"
He would flash his toothy grin at me with great pride. "Yeh! Yeh!" He clapped his hands.

"That is soooooooo good!" Do you want to walk today?"
He would smile at me angelically, with just a hint of mischief in his bright eyes, and slowly shake his head, singing, "Nooooo."

So, one morning recently when I asked him, "Do you want to take a step?" I expected his usual negative response. I think he thought this was actually a game. And he was winning, clearly.

"Go ahead. You can do it," I coaxed him from 5 feet away.

"Ma-ma," he said softly, as his little bare feet took their first couple of wobbly steps across his foam play mat in my direction. He fell on his tush and said, "Boom."

I could not believe my eyes. "You WALKED! You WALKED!" I swooped him up into a bear hug and cheered and hollered for his daddy to come see. I danced around the living room with him, laughing.

I was so ecstatic I could have popped open a bottle of champagne, yelled to all of my neighbors to come witness this vision. I debated calling the local news stations where I used to work. ("Yes, I have breaking news! My baby just took his first steps! Send a news crew immediately! And get the chopper up for aerial views!")

My husband ran in and grabbed the video camera and Will took step 1, step 2, "Boom." He clapped his hands and grinned. And he was right back up on his feet. Step 1, step 2, "Boom!" I'm sure watching his mommy and daddy lose their minds cheering probably didn't help his concentration much. But it was a milestone to be celebrated, and that we did.

The moment I saw my baby take his first steps, I wondered about all of the places that his feet would take him throughout his life. I hoped that he would always be safe and surrounded by as much love and joy as he was in that moment. And I felt with great certainty that when he went step, step, "boom," he would always get back up again.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dear Mr. Air Conditioning Repair Man,

I was hot in utero, I was born hot, always been hot, I'm hot. Okay?

I would be much more comfortable up to my ears in a snow drift right now, waiting for you, than here in my condo, roasting in this hellish humidity, counting down the seconds til my doorbell rings.

I just ate a popsicle. Stuck my head in the freezer. Nothing. No relief.

My forehead is sticky, my patience worn thin. I just called your boss for the 4th time in 12 hours. Thankfully, she did not refer to me as, "Ma'am," this time. She actually gave me good news. She said the part is in and you're on your way.

I have never been so excited to see anyone in my entire life. I would cook you a feast fit for a king if: a.) I could cook and b.) I wasn't worried about steaming up my kitchen even more than it already is. Come to think of it, I could probably grill you a filet right on my dining room table.

(Knock, knock, knock!)

The gods must be crazy!

Here you are!


You're not the same gentleman who tried in vain to fix my air conditioner for hours last week (in between chatting about your baby when you couldn't help but notice mine who was driving his trucks around the living room). I don't care who you are. You are wearing a shirt with an air conditioning company logo on it and you have a small toolbox and that is good enough for me.

"Oh, it's cool in here," you say as you enter my front door.

"You must be coming from hell," I say. My thermostat reads 81. My son's sometime straight hair is in all of its Jew-fro glory.

"Can I get you a drink? Anything?" I ask as if I'm on a first date.

"Not right now, but do you have a stool I could use?"

"Of course, you could use this, or that, stand on my shoulders, whatever you need."


I remember a few years ago when my cable was out for a week, I flipped. I called the cable company, "Please, take my oven, my stove, my bathroom, I don't care, just not my cable!"

Now I can appreciate what an idiot I was back then. Air conditioning is vital.

Sir, just hearing you puttering around on my balcony right now warms (or rather cools) my heart.

Please, please, please, Mr. Air Conditioning Repair Man, you suburban superhero, sitting on my dainty little stool where I iron my hair every morning, please make sure my air is kickin' once again. I want to rest peacefully tonight under my down comforter and pretend I'm hunkered down in the middle of a February snowstorm.

As for now, I'm melting. I don't think I'm fit for this climate. I was hot in utero, I was born (in August) hot as hell, always been hot, I'm hot.


One Hot Mama

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

My son zooms around our living room on a baby Harley. He does the "vroom vroom" and all.

He fills and empties his dump truck and carries a Thomas the Train bath toy with him most of the time.

He "reads" car brochures in his spare time and points out every truck and school bus on the road. He can identify the sunroof, window, windshield, and steering wheel. He has never met a vehicle he doesn't like, and that includes wheel barrows and wheelchairs. His face lights up when he sees wheels of any kind and he usually yells, "Whoa!"

I read an article recently, titled, "Even 9-month-olds choose gender-specific toys," and I witness this phenomenon every day with my son. He went gaga for cars and trucks and soccer balls and footballs at about 8 months old. And, it's been off to the races ever since.

I seriously think he is counting down the days until he gets his drivers' license.

He's 16 months old and he sees cars wherever he looks. He picks up a shoe and pushes it along the floor, "Vrrrooom." He transforms plates and even Cheerios into tiny steering wheels and turns them back and forth, with sound effects.

It's amazing to watch. Nature definitely has him wired to love wheels.

Sure, he'll entertain the thought of playing with a baby doll in my old bedroom at my parents' house. He blinks nervously when "Nicole" gets too close to his face and sometimes claps his hands and rolls his arms to impress her. After a few minutes, he yells, "Caar, car," with a Boston accent. And he's moving right along.

He squeals when he sees men working in our development and I make sure to take him outside to see the cement mixers or diggers or whatever equipment is on the job.

CRAZY OLD NYMPHO NEIGHBOR LADY asks, "Whada ya want em to grow up to be a truck driver?"

I smile and respond, "He can be anything he wants to be."

Needless to say, CRAZY OLD NYMPHO NEIGHBOR LADY is not the sharpest pencil in the drawer. Just because my son is obsessed with cars, trucks, and tractors doesn't mean he's going to become the next Mario Andretti, or haul furniture
cross-country for a living, or marry an Amish woman and work on a farm in Lancaster. And, if he did choose any of the aforementioned occupations, I would support him 100%.

As for now, my baby boy has the need for speed, and whatever makes him happy, (within the speed limit) makes me happy too.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Once in a While, You Get Shown the Light

July 1, 2007 started out as an unremarkable day.

We drove to the shore for my nephew's birthday party on the beach. After a long day of playing with 60 children in the sand and hanging with family and friends, we took a walk on the boardwalk just before sunset. I wore my Wonder Woman flip flops. He suggested we walk on the beach, towards the pier.

His face turned dark, somber, as we strolled along the surf. He said that being at the shore reminded him of his grandmom and how much he missed her. I wrapped my arms around him. We sat down in the sand, watching the waves breaking gently on the shore.

"I had a dream about her the other night," he whispered.

"Was it a good dream?"

"She was wearing some crazy dress and I was telling her all about you," he said, as a couple of tears streamed down his face.

"What did you tell her?" I asked.

“I met this girl, grandmom, and she's the most wonderful person I've ever met . . . I love her so much….I’m going to marry her…and have children with her…and be with her for the rest of my life….”

I responded, “Well, that sounds like a great dream…what was her response?”

“She said, 'Well, what are you waiting for?!'”

Suddenly, while hugging him, I felt him fumbling in his pocket and I started shrieking, “Babe, you’re freaking me out, what are you doing?!”

He dropped down to one knee in the soft sand and pulled something bright out of his shorts pocket. In a sheer panic, I tried to yank him back up to his feet.

"Will you marry me?"

I saw light transfer from his hand to mine and dance back and forth between us.