Things that make you go ‘vroom’

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I’ve always felt a fair sigh of relief that my first child happened to be a boy; not that I wouldn’t love a little girl of my own one day. It’s just that I was never a girly child myself. I never really cared about dolls or princesses or dress up. Never ever even thought about dolling up Barbies or bottle feeding a Cabbage Patch. I loved animals (SO much) and wanted my own of every variety for a pet. Bats and spiders were definitely on my list. I liked playing in the dirt, climbing and jumping off of things, pocket knives and cool rocks. Catching crayfish while wading in murky creeks was the ultimate in sheer joy. Pink was never a color I picked for anything. I really liked forest green back in those days. All this being said, I guess I might not need to be worried at all that I’d end up the mother of a girly girl. It’s probably rather doubtful I’m even a carrier of Barbie-loving-genes the more I ponder it.

So, sweet. A boy. No sweat. He’s sure to love all the things I mentioned above. And he does. And then some. Like cars. And trucks. And motorcycles. And airplanes, helicopters, tractors, trains, fire trucks, dump trucks, cement trucks, tow trucks, 4 wheelers, monster trucks, buses….you get the picture. Engines, motors. Things that go. Of course he does!!! It’s that Y chromosome thing! Why hadn’t I factored this in? I don’t know.

I was beyond prepared for the love of tools/worker guy phase. I’m married to the man who eats, breathes, sleeps all things tools and work related. I was prepared. And I thought it was adorable watching a shrunken version of my husband go through the motions of being a “worker guy”. I even played along, making phone calls to line up jobs, help build things, run (pretend) power tools. I also was his biggest groupie when he formed a band with 3 of his imaginary friends, often making guest appearances on “stage” to sing along or play an extra instrument. So fun.

And then one day it all changed direction. I honestly cannot pinpoint when exactly or what/who triggered it, but all of a sudden the only thing that mattered in play world had an engine, wheels, steering wheel, horn, rims, and gas tank.

And the collection began. And grew. And grew. And grew.

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In addition to the growing collection and everyday, all day play with vehicles, there is the indefinite chatter and questioning about all things endowed with engines and motor sounds (which he makes constantly under his breath and/or very out loud, pretty much from the time he wakes up).

There is also the daily incessant begging to be allowed to go out and sit in one of our vehicles parked in the driveway–even in 8 million degree heat. I cannot begin to imagine the hours I have spent hanging out in the driveway while he played “driver guy” in the car or truck –with all doors and windows wide open, of course. Now we have an (almost) 4 year old who stays up to watch Top Gear next to daddy, and even browses through the latest issue of Car and Driver. I’m serious about both of those things.

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This new obsession of his is rather adorable really. I love that he is so enthusiastic about learning all there is to learn about every vehicle ever made and I will encourage him to do just that if it makes him tick. It’s just that, and ironically this is where my apparent girly side beams through, I have absolutely no knowledge or remote interest in vehicles whatsoever. Ok, well aside from having a basic like or dislike of the particular vehicle I’m owner and driver of I mean. If it looks decent and runs without causing me any kind of annoyance, I’m good.

This has never been an issue in my life until now. Now I am peppered with questions and comments all day everyday about every make and model on the planet. Upon waking, Liam asks, “Hey mom, what do you want to talk about? Cars! Let’s talk about all the cars Chevy makes! And then we can get all my Chevys out and you can be the tow truck guy and fix them all at the garage!”. While driving, I need to try to pay attention to traffic as well as name off each vehicle on either side of me. In parking lots, without any exceptions, we inspect each and every car on the walk to the entrance of store, restaurant, etc. I have to say, shopping is easier when there are vehicle shaped carts to ride in!

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While I am nearly nauseous from being forcefed all things vehicle, I guess there may be perks to being the mother of a little motorhead. I am slowly, though by default, learning just how many darn vehicles are out there! And while I may be an unwilling participant in my accidental “schooling”, this obsession sure is making the wheels turn (pun actually not originally intended) in his little noggin. I can just see all those new brain synapses firing off like little tanks of nitrous as he’s lost playing in vehicle world. Hopefully there isn’t a downside to it. Should I be concerned that the other day as we sang our ABC’s, one of us started out, “A-B-C-D SUV“??

Ta-Da!

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Drumroll please. I am so very pleased to announce that I feel confident enough to proclaim that Liam is potty trained!!! It has been over 3 weeks with barely an accident. It took the little man right around 3 1/2 years, which being the mom of a singlet, I’m not sure how “on schedule” that makes him. And frankly, I don’t care. I’ve never been one for averages of any kind. I will just say I am very proud of him and find it very liberating to not have to tote a diaper bag every place we go. Oh yeah, or buy diapers anymore.

Who knew that literally running out of diapers would be the ticket to these freedoms?? Seriously. Who says, “Oh yeah, we ran out of diapers so now my kid is potty trained…ho hum…”? Uh, we do. No kidding. Up until now we have tried every trick in the book. Gushes of praise, rewards, charts, singing potties, potty books, super cool undies, cold turkey method…..you name it. He really wasn’t budging on his stance to wait till he was “big like daddy” to go on the potty.

And then it happened. We honest to goodness ran out of diapers. I had thought we had a backup stash in his closet but I was wrong. It was late in the evening and he was wearing the last one. Everyone was in jammies and we weren’t down with making the run to Target. That combined with just being done with this potty training drama after so so many failed attempts was the clincher. We simply told him that we had no more diapers and that the one he was wearing was the last one ever and that he could absolutely NOT pee or poop in it. Once that one was dirty that was it. He would have nothing but his undies (which for some reason he was terrified of wearing).

At first he was a hard sell. He named every store we could go buy them at and insisted we go do just that. It took awhile but then we convinced him that they don’t sell any size for boys as big as him. His goal from then on was keeping that diaper dry, because god forbid, underwear was the next stop.

Of course the next morning we ran out for diapers just in case, but we kept this a secret from Liam. As far as he knew he was making that “last” diaper live forever. And that he did, day after day, night after night. Obviously, we swapped out with a new one when the filling sort of separated into cottonball-esque clumps inside the liner. He had not a clue however, and was just thrilled to still have that diaper. (Those clumps would work to my advantage later.)

Then one horrid day, he stumbled upon the hidden box of diapers (in Shawn’s shop) and was ecstatic that, in fact, there were plenty more after all. Despite our panic and being totally caught off guard, we were able to convince him that they belonged to his little cousin and that we needed to ship them to her right away. So off that box went to another undisclosed location. Whew.

As far as the bodily function part of the training? The peeing part was pretty easy. He had already been pretty good on that. The pooping? Not so much. After a few days of holding those little cheeks together and sustaining a bellyache the size of Texas, he finally caved. Off to the singing potty he went and with BIG results. So much so that he exclaimed, “I did it! I pooped on the potty! It’s big like man poop!!”. Yay us. . .it’s definitely grosser to scrape poop out of a potty into another one and then have to scrub it out each time, than simply changing a diaper. Not to mention the fun (and fear) experienced as you have to trek the loaded potty through the living room, past furniture, over rugs and up a set of stairs to the real potty for flushing. All while trying not to trip (and send it airborn) over the toys laying all over the place along the way or the 3 year old excitedly scurrying after your heels to “help flush”. There have been more than a few close calls. Can’t wait till we’re sure he can hold it in till he gets upstairs to the real bathroom.

So….the final step in this journey ended with graduating from diapers to underwear. Those clumps in the diaper lining I was talking about earlier became such a nuisance and sooo uncomfortable (part of the plan!) that Liam finally listened to all our oooing and awwing over how awesomely comfy undies are that he broke down.

At first we did the tighty whities, which by the way, are absolutely adorable in the little man sizes. Not so much in the grown man sizes, I know. After getting accustomed to what wedgies are and how to get rid of them he became a huge fan and was ready for a “cool undies shopping trip”. Now we’ve got boxer briefs in all colors as well as many a super hero, my personal favorite being Batman. He doesn’t wait for people to get through our door before he’s dropping his drawers and showing off his undies of the day. It is truly adorable to see how excited he is and there is nothing cuter than a little man running around the house in mini underpants!!

There is one more bonus to this happy milestone. We now get to see the bathrooms in virtually every place we go since he mysteriously ALWAYS has to pee in any public setting. Usually he eeks out a drop or two. This may happen 2 or 3 times during a given visit wherever and since we never really know and we don’t want to dampen his zeal we go along with it. Guess it’s the novelty of peeing in public restrooms, one that will surely wear off later in life.

Naturally, there has been an accident or two. Last week was a rather funny one. We had friends show up to go out to dinner and Liam got so excited he literally peed himself when they drove in the driveway. Pretty much like a cute little puppy unable to contain it’s excitement. He was mortified and so disappointed with himself, poor guy. But he hasn’t skipped a beat since. He is so pleased with himself and has been telling everyone.

And there you have it, my first experience potty training a person has come to a close for the most part. Way to go Lambchop, we’re so happy for you!!

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Dyslexia Gone (More) Wrong

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The other day a friend named Nate came to pick Shawn up for a long weekend guy adventure. We had prepped Liam ahead of time that he was coming, not only because he can sometimes be shy, but also because Nate happens to look uncannily like Shawn. We couldn’t wait to see Liam’s reaction.

When Nate walked through the door he stared at him with the happiest look on his face and instantly loved him–probably because, well he looks so much like his daddy. As a side note, this same scenario happened the first time we met Liam’s pediatrician. He looks EXACTLY like my father, so much so that Liam blurted out, “It’s Pap!” as soon as he saw him! He liked him from then on and needless to say, that makes trips to Dr. Marchini a cakewalk–most of the time.

Back to my story. The moment Nate left the room Liam said to Shawn and I, “You’re right! He is nice! And he does look like daddy!”. A little later while I was making Nate a bite to eat I heard him laughing at something Liam said. Then I heard him ask Liam while laughing, “Did you just call me Satan?!” I quickly chime in, laughing as well, “What?! No! He must have messed up your name and said ‘Snate’ or something–haha!”. Nate was pretty convinced otherwise.

Not more than 10 minutes later Shawn was driving away with Nate. As Liam and I waved them goodbye I heard his little voice.

“There goes daddy in Satan’s car.”

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The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow

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Or will it? This may be a rather boring, head trip post but I can’t help myself. Spending virtually all of my time with a 3 year old has given me an incredible vantage point of his angle on everything. This is a concept I have never given much thought until over the past few months. I hear myself talking about things like “yesterday”, “last night”, and “tomorrow” very frequently with Liam. He is quite concerned with the passage of time, when things happened or will be happening. But being that he’s so little, his idea of time is a bit obscure. When he says things like, “remember a loooong time ago”, he usually means last week. And when I tell him that we’re going to visit someone in two weeks, he asks me every few hours if it’s two weeks yet. So I never do that. Since he wants anything exciting or fun to be happening “today”, and he is 3 and impatient and easily disappointed, we tell him about those upcoming events only when we are about 200% sure they will be taking place.

This is where “tomorrow” comes into play frequently.That seems to be the safe timeframe when we feel secure in getting his hopes up about something. It seems we are forever telling Liam about some awesome thing that is happening “tomorrow”. This concept always gets cloudy but we try our best to explain that after you go to bed for the night today, you will wake up tomorrow. Makes perfect sense. Until you wake up. Tomorrow. Have you ever really thought about “tomorrow”? It’s kind of an illusion. It’s always coming but never the here and now. It’s kind of a cop out to a little kid. When they wake up “tomorrow” it’s not actually “tomorrow” after all. And it never fails. Liam always comes flying out of bed asking, “Is it tomorrow?!”. Then the confusion sets in. I’m all, “Yes it is sweety!”. I should just stop right there. But no, unable to contain the need to clarify, I add, “Well no, it’s actually today…but yeah kind of tomorrow too.”. The blank stare and the gaping mouth on his face say it all. “Huh?”. Then I bring out the big guns in logic world and get him all wigged out with statements like, “Well you see yesterday today was tomorrow but then last night you went to bed and when you woke up today, tomorrow turned onto today. See sweety?” Not a chance in hell he sees. And honestly, that melts my heart. I love that he doesn’t get the time factor in life just yet. I believe things like “tomorrow” were meant to be giant question marks in little kid land. Even if it frustrates the heck out of them!

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So That’s Where it’s All Going

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It’s definitely a fairly regular occurrence that I find very little money hanging around our wallets or bank accounts, let alone anywhere in our house. Up until today I just assumed we were spending it all up on our mile long list of monthly bills…and at Wegmans of course, the biggest and tastiest, not to mention the most unavoidable, money pit of all. But apparently there could be a more obvious reason it all disappears so quickly around here.

Tonight at dinner, totally out of the blue, Liam nonchalantly mentioned that he had thrown some “paper money” away. Huh?! What?! When and where?! Shawn and I pretty much asked all of those questions in stereo.

“Oh just up in the computer room”, he answers after a bite of rice.

Whew. At least it was still in the house. After explaining why we never ever EVER throw money away because we won’t be able to buy food, toys, clothes or anything else he cares about, we throw in a little extra scare just for good measure. We let him know that it’s against the law to throw money away and if the police find out they’ll come to the house.

Well there went dinner. He just about drug us upstairs to retrieve the defaced currency. In an effort to enjoy the rest of our dinner, we tried to back peddle on the actual not-so-seriousness of the situation but there was no chance of that.

“We need to go save that money now so the police don’t come get me out of my bed tonight!”, he pleads while tugging on both of our arms.

On the way upstairs he comforts us, “Don’t worry. It’s just really old dollars from my room.”.

Those “old dollars” have been adding up over time from aunts, uncles and grandparents. Of all the old crap hanging around his room he decides to throw the old money away?! Apparently the piggy bank needs to go on a higher shelf.

After all was said and done, a stinkin’ penny ended up being the “paper money” that had been tossed. Not a clue why he said that. Maybe he was bored at dinner and because he’s way smarter than we are, wanted to shake things up a bit and be entertained by our reaction to a claim like that. Good times, Liam. Good times.

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