Friday, February 27, 2009

Baby Oliver

Biddy and I met baby Oliver for the first time today. He is the newest addition to our family. My first cousin's son. Biddy's second cousin. 

When we walked in and saw him, I was struck by how tiny he is. So little, fine and delicate. What did I expect? Oliver is exactly two-weeks-old today. Born on Valentine's Day. A gift from Cupid. 

His teeny tininess amazed me because I had forgotten. Forgotten what a newborn looks like. Forgotten what a newborn feels like, smells like, sucks like, cries like, sleeps like, poops like. I had forgotten it all. A two-week-old is very different from a two-year-old and it's absolutely amazing what two years worth of growth, development and love can do to a kid.

I had also forgotten how cute newborn onsies are and how much I love the sweet sneaker-like socks they can wear. They are from a company called Trumpette and they are downright adorable. Biddy wore them until his feet grew so big they no longer fit. Oliver is wearing them now. I had forgotten about the teeny hats, the tiny fingers and about the pastel-colored baby footprint blankets that came home with him from the hospital. I guess I had forgotten because of being all wrapped up in "toddlerdom" but I have to tell you, it was nice to remember.

I also have to tell you that I wouldn't want Biddy to be tiny again but it did make me think about having another baby. Holding another sweet child in the crook of my arm. Sometimes Biddy plays baby and allows me to cradle him in my arms. It doesn't work very well any longer as he is now three feet tall and around 32 lbs. He was 8 lbs. 2 oz. and 20 3/4" inches long when he was born. That's a drastic difference but still, we both like to rock awhile remembering what used to be before moving on to the next adventure.

Having a child is one adventure after another, each adventure a wonderful set of moments to be savored. When we were new parents, other more seasoned folk constantly advised us to cherish each and every second wistfully repeating, "they grow up so fast." They were right. They do. Thankfully we listened.

Welcome to the world Oliver! Big cousin Biddy can't wait to show you the ropes.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


I was watching Supernanny the other night on TV. Jo Frost is good. Jo Frost is really good. 

I have only watched it a few times before because honestly I keep forgetting about it, but each time I catch it, I come away with some very cool, very needed piece of parenting advice. 

This time I learned about the art of an effective time out.

In the episode, Jo was coaching a family with five kids. The mom had recently had cancer and was overwhelmed. The dad was checked out. The kids were out of control especially the youngest ones. Time outs were an issue so Jo wrote out her time out steps on a large piece of cardboard. I found it so helpful to see it visually. I wrote it down myself right after the show not on a large piece of cardboard but on a small sticky note. 

1. Give a warning and if Biddy doesn't listen proceed swiftly to step 2.
2. Put Biddy in time out.
3. Give explanation of what he did wrong.
4. Set timer.
5. Give explanation again.
6. Have Biddy say he's sorry.
7. Hugs and Kisses all around. 

Very helpful steps indeed.

The show also got me thinking about patience. My patience.

At one point the mom who pretty much does it all with very little help admitted that she needed to work on her patience. She said this in passing as she hauled one of her kids to their time out location, the naughty step. I hear ya sister! I think for the most part I have a pretty long fuse when it comes to Biddy but once it is set, it goes off quite quickly and powerfully.

Take the other day for example when Biddy bit me on the upper arm. We were playing and I went to tickle him and he grabbed hold with his teeth. Ouch. Double ouch.

In an instant my patience jumped right out our 3rd floor window. I grabbed him and faster than I thought possible, made it down the hallway to our time out location forcefully sitting Biddy down on the floor. He looked at me with a half-grin on his face waiting to see what I would do. Time outs haven't meant much to him. He puts himself in time out on a regular basis. Instead of scream (which is what my brain was telling me to do) I took a really big, really long, really needed, really deep deep breathe. As I exhaled I heard Jo's British accent reminding me about the steps. Follow the steps and you have a script to persevere. A script so you don't bite your Biddy back to let him know how much it hurts. 

I took another deep deep breathe. I had already skipped step #1. Giving him a warning went right out the window with my patience but I think the egregious act warranted proceeding directly to a timely time out. I then took my arm out of my shirt sleeve showing Biddy the red angry mark as I calmly and crystal clearly explained again (we have been having issues with biting for several months now) that he couldn't under any circumstances bite. It was unacceptable. I then set the timer and walked into the other room to give myself a time out too. When the buzzer buzzed, I went back and again explained why he was in time out. He started to cry. He wanted to see my boo boo again. He said he was sorry. He gave me a big kiss and a bigger hug and then it was over.

We walked down the hall hand-in-hand. My patience restored.

I continue to follow the time out steps and am happy to report that although there have been a few time outs in the last few days none of them have been because of biting. The time out process has been smooth and effective. Thank you Supernanny. My patience doubly thanks you.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Cat Puke

I live in fear of my cat throwing up on our duvet cover.

I cringe if I hear the slightest noise that could possibly be construed as a cat blowing chunks because nine times out of ten I am justified in my visceral reaction. 

Today, when I hear that unmistakable heave, I frantically scour the house for Tigger to see where his masterpiece may lie. I hope and pray that this time he has decided to choose the hardwood flooring as his medium but as I round the corner to our bedroom, and see our huge Eastern King, my hopes are dashed. There he sits, in the middle of our masculine-yet-pleasing navy blue duvet cover, licking his lips admiring his newest creation. 

I can't even begin to explain how angry, upset, infuriated, and over-the-top dismayed his throw up makes me. Why? Well, for one thing, it's absolutely disgusting. Little chunks of half-eaten kibble in light brown digestive juices. Yummy! Sorry for the visual but I'm fuming. 

For another thing, the BIGGER thing really, it is bloody inconvenient. Why?

It's inconvenient because we don't have a washing machine or dryer in our apartment! When we have an urgent load that needs urgent attention or even just an everyday load of everyday socks and undies I have to walk down three flights of stairs, out our front door, around the corner and down the block, take a right into the back alley behind our sister building, open our sister building's back door, and enter the dank dark lint-filled laundry room. Argh. You try doing that with a two-year-old in tow!

I have to tell you: I love living in San Francisco. I love our little three bedroom flat. I love the views, and the neighborhood, and the fact that we are only two blocks from Golden Gate Park. I love everything about our home except for the following: I wish we owned it and I wish we had a washer and dryer. 

The fact that we don't have a washer and dryer is the leading reason why I want to move to Colorado. Yes - there are other very worthy, very significant reasons to move, but right now none are more important than owning my very own washer and dryer. They are going to be red by the way, because red is my favorite color. 

I can't wait to hear the siren signaling the clean clothes are dry and ready for folding. That loud obnoxious horn blast will be like Mozart to my ears when it is my very own loud obnoxious horn blast. 

Right now all I hear is my microwave timer going off telling me the laundry is dry. Telling me to get my butt downstairs. Telling me it's time to make my awful trek. Telling Tigger the duvet cover is clean again and ready for his next assault.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009


What to write? 

I promised myself I would write Monday through Friday but I don't have it in me to be quippy right now. 

I don't have any Biddy antidotes to share. He did bite me today HARD but that isn't a blog post, that's a time out. A BIG time out.

I don't want to write about Biddy every day anyway. He is certainly fun to chronicle but I have more to me, more in me to share. 

Mamma Boo is introspective tonight. In a quiet place distilling my thoughts and ideas of what this blog will truly be.

Monday, February 23, 2009


Biddy wants very badly to take a karate class.

There's a place down the street that offers karate for kids and every time we walk by Biddy laments that he wants to participate. Whether the dojo sits empty or there's a class in session, as soon as we see the awning, Biddy tells me he wants to do karate. He doesn't even know what karate actually is or means or what he would "do" in class but the first time he saw kids running around the room dressed in gi belted with white obi he was hooked.

Today we walked by and there the kids were sitting in quiet uniform rows listening intently to their black belted instructor. 

"Mommy, I do karate." 
"I know Biddy, I know but you need to be three to take karate." 
"Mommy, I want do karate now," he said emphatically. 
"I know Biddy. How about this? When we get home I'll check their Web site to see whether they offer classes for two-year-olds. Okay?

He ran all the way home and made me run right along with him. As soon as I unlocked the door, he bolted down the hall towards the office yelling, "Hurry mommy, hurry."

I opened my laptop and typed in the URL. Biddy climbed into my lap. According to the Kick Start SF homepage they offer classes for two-year-olds but in reading further–Tiny Tigers, the youngest class, caters to three and four-year-olds only. What's the deal? Can Biddy be a Tiny Tiger? Biddy wants to be a Tiny Tiger! I want Biddy to be a Tiny Tiger too primarily so I can see how cute he looks in gi and white obi. We emailed them and are waiting for a reply. Think good "tigery" thoughts and we'll keep you posted. 

Friday, February 20, 2009

Library Books

I took Biddy to the library for the first time. We have been meaning to go for a while now but finally managed to make it there this week. 

Every night since he was tiny we have read a story or two before bed. A milk/book double whammy. His first favorite was Fire Engine Man. He wouldn't hear of reading any other book for about three months. B and I can still recite it verbatim. Thank goodness he has since branched out and I am proud to say Biddy is becoming quite the bookworm demanding we read him book after book not just at bedtime but during daytime snuggle sessions too. I'm all for it. Sure thing kid. Let's get the encyclopedias out and start at A. 

It's like he's quenching a knowledge thirst. He needs it. Lapping up words and pictures. Learning. Hence why we needed to hightail it to the library.

We ducked in out of the rain just after 3pm and walked the aisles to orient ourselves. After canvassing the entire children's room we came to the picture book section. A huge wall of book after book after beautiful book stacked to the ceiling. I have to say Biddy was much more interested in the kids who had just filed in from school, that is until he found a book called Dig Dig Digging. He was giddy. Sat right down at the table and started turning pages. Did I mention he's a sucker for basically anything that digs, hauls, moves, beeps and requires gas? (We're pushing for natural gas.)

In the end we took four books to the check out counter. The book about diggers, The Cow Who CluckedScoot on Top of the World, and Who took the Cookies from the Cookie Jar? As I filled out the library card application, Biddy chose which card design he liked best from four design choices drawn by San Francisco students. The librarian entered all our information into the computer and proudly handed Biddy his very own laminated library card. It was a Kodak moment indeed.

As we walked back out into the pelting rain Biddy exclaimed, "Come Mommy. Let's go read diggers."

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tacos and Toes

It turns out the old adage "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree" is true in our house at least as far as tacos and toes go.

Let me step back two plus years to the night of Biddy's birth. He was delivered at 1:26am and placed directly on my chest. In that moment of ooh and ahhing as my mom and B got there first full look at his sweet face, all I could see was his toes. I craned to see his face but all I could see was his toes and couldn't help but notice they were remarkably familiar. Through my elation, exhaustion, and epidural haze I exclaimed, "Oh my God, he has your toes!" I can't believe those were the first words our new son heard me say. Oy vey! 

Fast forward to tonight. It was love at first bite. Pile taco meat, shredded cheese, tomato, and sour cream on a crisp open-faced taco shell and you have a recipe for a happy boy. B was so proud. Ever since he was a little boy, tacos have been his most favorite meal. Biddy concurs. You should have seen how far his tummy stuck out. Oy vey!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Basket Head

Biddy found a dark brown wicker basket the size of a large Easter egg basket in the laundry room today.

He put it on his head and declared himself a "basket head." That's not the same as a basket case, is it? We have at least until teen-dom before having to worry about that potential persona, right? 

"I'm basket head with Gr'uncle," Biddy said proudly. He and Gr'uncle had played with baskets when we visited him and Noni in Sacramento last week. Biddy wanted Gr'uncle to magically appear and play today. He wanted to play with baskets and ride Gr'uncle whale's back in the deep blue ocean. He wanted to "get" Gr'uncle's bellybutton with clackers (tongs) and read a bedtime story about dragons. He wanted to play with Gr'uncle again right there and then in our dingy little laundry room. 

"I'm sorry honey, Gr'uncle can't come see us right now." 
"Why Mommy?" 
"Gr'uncle is at work Biddy." 
"Gr'uncle at work? Why Mommy?" 

The "why" game went on for a good long time as only the "why" game can. In the end, I'm happy to report, we avoided a major meltdown when mommy couldn't summon her inner witch and attempts to summon Gr'uncle with a perfected nose twitch failed.

"I see Gr'uncle, Noni, Caramel the doggie, and Soup the turtle soon?" he pleaded as we walked back upstairs.
"Yes Biddy, we'll see them again soon."
"No Biddy, not tomorrow but soon."
"Okay. Good." he said, "I love Gr'uncle, Noni, Caramel and Soup."
"I know you do honey. I love them too."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


"Walk Mommy?"
"It's raining Biddy. We need to wait until it stops."
"Walk now Mommy?"
"Still raining Biddy."

Almost everyday Biddy and I walk three blocks to our favorite coffee shop. Sometimes we take the stroller stopping only for a quick hello before heading into the park to feed the ducks. Other times we meander on foot. That's what we did this morning. Clear and mostly cloudy came and we hit the pavement. 

Biddy skipped the entire way there happy to be outside. On the way home we played GO. 

We both readied ourselves like Olympic sprinters taking our starting positions–legs spread, arms flexed, eyes focused. I would yell "On your mark, Get set, GO!" and off we'd go darting down the sidewalk. Every time we would begin to pick up speed–Biddy would yell STOP and we would freeze, quickly set up again, and then...On your mark (wait for it), Get set (wait for it), GO. Sometimes Biddy waited and sometimes he would jump the gun running full speed through a puddle.  At one point we came upon a older woman who was so amused she decided to join the race.  

As soon as we turned the corner onto our street he switched gears so fast it would have made your head spin. Mine did. One minute we're running and the next we're picking up little pink petals fallen in the storm. "Put flower back?" he asked concerned the tree would miss it. "Tape?" he suggested. After several minutes of discussion and saving soggy petals he spied something shiny. "Money," he said. "Yes Biddy, a penny." See a penny, pick it up, and all day long you'll have good luck. He picked it up and promptly put it in his pocket.

It then promptly began to drizzle. Luckily we were home.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Iron Chef America: The Toddler Challenge

Dinner. It occurs every night. You'd think the planner in me would willingly rise to meet the challenge of meal planning easily and effectively. Unfortunately, you'd be wrong.

So here we are at 4:30pm (the witching hour) and yet again I don't know what I'm going to make. Biddy walks in just as I bury my nose in the fridge. "Mommy," he says with a smile, "I cook you dinner." 

That's when things got fun in a weird sort of way.

All of a sudden the lighting went futuristic with spotlights searching and strobing. Video cameras surrounded us panning quickly and abruptly. Blades being sharpened became the soundtrack. Our kitchen had morphed into Kitchen Stadium. The Chairman appeared looking as dapper as ever. He introduced the chef challenger who it turns out is me and then welcomed back the great and super fabulous Iron Chef Biddy. Iron Chef Biddy? When did Biddy turn into a tiny Bobby Flay? 

The Chairman then unveiled the secret ingredient with grand cheesy flair. "Today, brown rice is your weapon. Let the battle begin!" And with that it was game on. 60 minutes to create our masterpieces. Who's cuisine will reign supreme? Allez cuisine!

Welcome to Iron Chef America: The Toddler Challenge.

As the brown rice simmered on the stove, Biddy opened his designated kitchen cabinet and poured over ingredients deciding on menu items and course presentation. Tupperware came tumbling out, so did wooden spoons, plastic cups, measuring containers and even the plastic Halloween pumpkin he carted his candy in.  

Kitchen Stadium's energy was electric as the refrigerator open and closed, the microwave spun and beeped, and the table was set. I ran around like a maniac while Biddy, cool and collected, readied to roll out his delicacies.

One minute to go.
Plate last minute dishes. 

30 seconds.
Drizzle droplets of sauce.

15 seconds.
Wipe plate edges with a paper towel to make them sparkle.

Tongs down. Aprons straightened.

And with that, the battle is over and judgement about to begin.

As the challenger, I was first to present my fare. I explained to the judges that I created my meals with nothing but a smorgasbord of leftover favorites because due to the economic downturn - that's all we had in the fridge! First up: day-old Shake & Bake pork chops, brown rice seasoned to perfection with salt and pepper, and steamed white corn with a dab of butter. The judges called it boring and word to the wise - don't try to microwave S&B pork chops. They turn out tough and cardboard-ish. Next, I presented two-day-old London broil served cold, brown rice and a spring salad mix. They called it average. For my third and final dish, I made brown rice and petite pea cakes. That qualifies as dessert, right? Its got the word "cake" in it. The judges thought them awful. Personally I thought them awful too.

Iron Chef Biddy then took center stage. He decided to rebel and ditch brown rice completely. He also ditched the judges and instead cooked only for mommy.

This is when all the weirdness abruptly came to an end. The lighting returned to soft dusk colors, the cameras disappeared, and the knife scraping ceased. The Chairman also vanished. Thank goodness.

Biddy tenderly took my hand and sat me down on the floor in front of his cabinet. "Mommy, I cook dinner for you." He started me off with a chai latte because he knows they're my favorite. He was very proud of it and kept me sipping from the jumbo-size fast-food drink cup he presented it in. He then brought me a empty yogurt container as an appetizer. "This is oh-gurt," he said, "with blueberries, flax seeds and almonds." We ate it together, each spooning out delicious dollops with a large wooden spoon. The main course was bow ties with tomato sauce. The second main course was penne with butter and parmesan cheese. What can I say, he's a pasta head! The salad course came next with lettuce, fennel and cauliflower crammed into the smallest tupperware container we have and just when I thought we were done, strawberry jello was served in his humongous Halloween pumpkin. It made for quite the finale. 

"Mommy full?" he said as he handed me my chai for the 20th time and I finally finished it. 

"Yes Biddy, Mommy is full." Full of love. 

And with that, I tossed all the leftovers into the garbage.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Say what you need to say

Before yesterday we considered Biddy a "singing in the car" kinda guy. Sorta like singing in the shower but different. Get him in his car seat and he has been known to let out a mean David Lee Roth guttural rock groan. Okay, so he only harmonized with Van Halen once but hey - we were proud.

Yesterday, we took proud to a whole new level when he sang his first refrain.

The radio was on as it always is set to my pop music station. I was running around trying to finish fifteen things in the five minutes I had left before leaving to drop B at the airport. B and Biddy were playing Legos in the living room. This is when he decided to burst into song.

"Say what you need to say." 
Huh? Who said that?
"Say what you need to say." 
That voice is so familiar.
"Say what you need to say."
OMG - Is that my son carrying a tune?

I stopped in my tracks riveted by our small blond boy singing in a soft clear voice. He didn't even have pitch problems. Randy Jackson would have been proud!

"Say what you need to say."

It's classic he chose Say by John Mayer as his first song choice. I happen to really like John Mayer and I LOVE that song. It speaks to me. Not so much for B. He would have much preferred Biddy sing Radiohead or Prince or practically any other artist on earth. He isn't the biggest John Mayer fan. Touchy subject. Don't go there. That said, we were both awed by our little songbird. Fingers crossed, he'll be the next American Idol. I wonder, is two too young to audition?

"Say what you need to say," Biddy sang looking directly at me, "Say what you need to say."

In that moment, I knew what my first blog post would be about. 

"Say what you need to say."

Welcome to Mamma Boo!