Thursday, August 20, 2015

"Crazy 'Bout" an Odyssey

This may be one of my favorite videos ever.

It's BEAUTIFUL here in the mountains this morning, so when Jones asked to ride his "mo-kye-cull" when we got home from dropping Jeremy at work, I didn't even care that the boys were still in their pajamas. We just jumped out of the car and into the (paved part of the) backyard. Jones was riding, and Freddie was "helping" me pull weeds.

Quickly tiring of this endeavor (I feel ya, Buddy), Freddie made his way to the van. Both boys - like ALL boys, I imagine - LOVE to "drive Mama beeg car" (or ANYBODY'S "beeg car," for that matter), as Jones puts it.  Jones soon saw Freddie in the driver's seat and went to climb in the passenger door.

I thought this was great. They were confined but still about ten feet from where I was weeding. I opened the tailgate for a better view from the mulch bed and settled in to get some work done.  Of course, this didn't last long. While Freddie stayed behind the wheel, Jones jumped in and out of the car like a ping pong ball ricocheting from one end of the table to the other.

Then Jeremy called to invite us to lunch. This meant I'd need a shower (YAY!), which meant we'd all have to go upstairs. When I went to get the boys out of the car, though, I found that Freddie had SOMEHOW turned on the ignition switch and, thereby, the radio. Brother Bear was enjoying himself a little Alan Jackson when JoJo jumped in (again) to join him.

At least, they've got great taste in tunes.

(The song, which is kinda hard to hear in the video, is "Crazy 'Bout a Mercury.")

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

My baby has a baby book!

When I said before that the second child in me wouldn't let Freddie be a "second child" in terms of memory keeping, I meant it.

Here is the book that's been 97% done for the last six months but that I didn't push over the finish line until Shutterfly's current "40%-off-of-40%-off" promotion gave me the motivation I needed to finish this bad boy.

Of course, if you find anything "bad" about it, please don't tell me. Much as I hate typos, I don't think I have it in me to do a second edition.

Turn your favorite photos into a photo book at

Sunday, August 16, 2015

All About Freddie Bear

Freddie Bear gets way too little ink on this blog, so here are a few little quick hits about my buddy:

1) Today, we were driving to church, and we passed an Ingles. Freddie pointed to it and said, "SEA-SEA!" The fact that we were 72 miles from SeaSea's house doesn't matter. To him, he saw an Ingles, and recognized it as the one that sits at the mouth of her subdivision. Boy genius, am I right?

2) Nine times out of ten, when I ask Freddie, "Where's JoJo (or Dada or Nana or whomever)?" he'll respond, "Seeping, seeping" (Sleeping, sleeping), usually while nodding his head.

3) Because of his eczema, I lather Freddie's belly with lotion almost every time I change his diaper. Now, when I lay him on the table, he'll say, "cooooooo-lllllddddd," which is code for "cold," which is what he calls lotion, because it's always ... say it with me ... COLD! In fact, it's so cold that when I put it on his belly, his smiling eyes get wide, and he makes an "O!" face and laughs. He also likes to hold the tube while I change him.

4) Freddie has figured out how to do what my friend Chuck always called "Shamu." When I give him juice, he'll sometimes take a big drink in and blow it out his mouth, like a whale through its blowhole.

Today, in fact, as soon as we got to church, I discovered his entire shirt - and some of his shorts - were totally soaked in milk.

So there are a few of the things that have been on my "Freddie list" for a few weeks now. Also, he makes the "more" sign whenever I say say, "please." Jones said, "Puh puh" for "please" for nine months. What is so hard about "please"?! Oh, well. At least, he says SOMETHING.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

a Baby No More

There's a song in the musical "Ragtime" called "Back to Before." It's one of my favorites, talking about how, once you've been exposed to one way of thinking you can never again think the way you previously thought. That's what I was singing to myself when it was 9:30 last nite, and Jones had been in bed for two hours but still hadn't fallen asleep. Jeremy asked, "Should we just put the crib back together?" I didn't respond to him but thought to myself, in my best Marin Mazzie impression (which isn't a very good one, by the way), "We can NEVER go back to be-foooorrreeee."

You're probably gonna need some backstory to understand parts of that paragraph. Last I posted, the crib was still standing alongside the "big boy bed" in all its John Deere regalia.

Well, yesterday, that all changed.

The boys and I had come in from the park, and it was nap time. Jones told me his firetruck was sleepy. Unluckily for Jones, I learned at the beach that he won't go to sleep with that firetruck in his bed, so I told him it could sleep on his shelf or in his big boy bed but not in his crib with Jones. Hearing that the firetruck was sleeping in the big boy bed, Jones climbed in, too. No tears. No singing. No anything other than "Where he is, there I will be also." In not so many words.

I made sure he understood that, if he got up, he'd be in big trouble. I then sat outside of his closed door, and while he didn't get up, he DID keep talking to his firetruck, so I went in and put the firetruck on a shelf where I thought he couldn't get it. Ten minutes later, he got it. Stealth little sucker got out of bed and climbed up to the truck without me even hearing him, until I went in to check on him and saw him standing there.

After the promised punishment, he got back in the bed, where he stayed, quietly (but not asleep), until I went in to get him up an hour or so later. I saw this as my chance to make the break with the crib, like when Camden said he wanted to give his papi to Payton, and Sissy used it as an excuse to rid him of the "fakers" that he'd double fisted since birth.

As Jones and Freddie played post-naps, I took the crib apart and carried it down to the basement. Jones didn't seem fazed at all by this. In fact, he and Freddie were in Jones's room, playing on the new bed, while I took down the old one. Jones would say, "It BOOM, Mama!" every time one of the crib walls fell.

At bedtime, I expected a fight. There was none. We sang, as usual. He then walked over to his bed and climbed up and in. He stayed there, too - I kept walking back every so often for two hours, and he never fell asleep, though he never got up, either.  When I went back about 9:30, he was still awake, saw me peep in (trying to get a picture, if the truth be told), and started the waterworks.

He was then up ... I don't know ... SIX? times in quick succession. Each time, I'd punish him and put him straight back in the bed. He'd immediately jump up and run to the door again, waking up Freddie in the process.

That's when Jeremy asked about putting the crib back up. It'd have been so much easier, but I also knew "we could never go back to before." The toothpaste was out of the tube. Our little boy is all grows up, and there's no undoing that now.

So after about six or so rapid-fire jump-ups, he just didn't get up again. He just stayed there, finally sleeping. A little later, I took the air mattress in to lay beside his bed (just in case). When I walked back into the den, I passed the giant canvas of his newborn picture. I kind of lost it.

Jones was none the wiser. He just stayed in his bed, sweetly sleeping, until I went in and got him up this morning. Even when Jeremy and Freddie paraded by his partially open door around 6:45, Jones stayed in his bed, talking to the tractors on his sheets, and waiting for his mama, just as he'd been told to do.

When I went in, we cuckled on the new fleece on his new bed. I told him how incredibly proud I was of his obedience, and he jumped all over the bed before asking if he could get up. Jones Pressley is a VERY good boy, and I really AM incredibly proud of him.

Still, I dreaded today's nap time. He did great, though. It took about 45 minutes for him to fall asleep, but he never got up, and tonite, he went to bed with no fanfare whatsoever. I honestly can't believe how much easier this transition was than I thought it'd be.

I shouldn't be surprised. I've been praying about it, since the first time (one of only two) that Jones jumped out of his crib several months ago. Why should it surprise me that God eased the transition like I asked Him to?  Oh, me of little faith ...

Now, I fully expect to go get Freddie up one day soon. He'll widen his eyes, tilt his head, and softly say, "Big boy?" THAT transition, however, is gonna take a LOT more prayer.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Jones Deere

Well, Jones's transition to "big boy bed" has begun.

I say it's begun, because we've put the bed in his room, but he's yet to actually sleep in it. He's surely excited about the wood stained twin that belonged first to his great great grandfather Stultz and then to me, but each of the two nites that my childhood bed has been in Jones's room, he's finished singing with me and walked right over to his crib, no matter how much he talks about his new "tractor covers" throughout the day.

This transition was inspired by my friend Jennifer. She's expecting her second son in September, which means her just-turned-two-year-old got bumped to the guest bed earlier this week. Talking to her made me realize that we need to get a move on this upgrade, too, but I know Jones well enough to know that it's gonna take him some time to get used to the idea of sleeping some place new.

I thought that, maybe, some new sheets may sweeten the deal. Thursday morning, I showed him pictures of Thomas sheets, Paw Patrol, and "Wahken." "Oh! It's so cute," he'd say (as he does). I'd ask, "do you want Mama to put those sheets on your bed?" "No" was his answer every time ... until I showed him the John Deere tractor set. He went a little bananas, so he went down for his nap with the promise that, after he got up, we'd go to Wal-Mart.

In Jones's words, "Oh, boy!"

But before we did, he saw the actual bed put together. Immediately, he ran into his room and said, "A new bed! Cool bed, Mama! Dat cool bed! ..." I asked him, "Could you SLEEP in this bed?" He looked at the floor and said, "BOOM!" Then I asked, "Do you like it?" He responded, "I like it, Mama! Awww. How cool!"

Then came the promised trip to Wal-Mart, which was just as exciting.


I have truly NEVER seen this child so excited about ANYTHING. Later, when I got his bed made, he jumped on it. He laid on it. He couldn't talk about anything else.

Still, I knew his staying in the bed all nite was a long shot - which is why I'd left the crib up to begin with. So after singing our songs, Jones jumped out of my lap and walked straight to his crib. I didn't even try to dissuade him. First, I knew it'd traumatize a kid as averse to change as my boy is.

Secondly, I'm not sure I'M ready for the big boy bed. All afternoon when I'd walk by and see it set up in there, I'd feel all funky inside, which is a weird feeling for the kind of mama who prefers "big boys" to babies. I've never been the one to think, "Stay small." But this bed thing is throwing me for a loop.

It reminds me of when Jones turned about 18 months old. All of a sudden, I had the awareness that we no longer just had to keep Jones ALIVE (fed, safe, clean, etc.). We, all of a sudden, had to start  teaching him how to LIVE - how to be a good and decent human being, a functional member of society and all that.

This is another one of those parental turning points, where I'm seeing the transition from crib to bed as a giant metaphor for the fact that he's growing up and out of the safe little space where I can enclose him and protect him, and though I most definitely want him to grow up, I don't really like this suddenly-vulnerable feeling at all.

So while Jeremy didn't understand why I didn't force the transition that first nite, that's why. I'm not ready to make the leap myself. Maybe Jones gets his aversion to change from me?

Not surprisingly, Jones's first words this morning were "big boy bed." He's repeated the phrase a thousand times today, and he and Freddie spent I don't know how long sitting on it, reading books this afternoon. In spite of that, Jones still went to sleep in the Jenny Lind la-la land that he's called home, since his first nite home from the hospital.

I'd kinda like to crawl in there myself.

It never fails. Freddie ALWAYS "reads"
upside down.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Back to the Beach

I left my heart in Pawleys Island almost 20 years ago, and for almost 20 years, I've tried to tell my parents how much they'd love it there, too. Last summer, they finally listened. And what do you know? They love it there, too.

During our visit there earlier this year, Mom and Daddy dropped the bomb that they'd be coming back in late-July. Though they said the week would be "just them," I don't think anybody in attendance actually believed it would, so no one was surprised when Mom called the week before they left and said, "Why don't y'all come down on Tuesday for Daddy's birthday."

Done. In fact, I was already packed.

In a lot of ways, the trip was every bit as awesome as our first one this year. The kids played great together. The proximity to the beach is perfect, and a week in a house with so many of my favorite people is beyond belief.

In some other ways, though, this second trip was even better than the first. Jones was a sea dog from the second we got there, and I'd learned from the first trip how to handle the boys at the beach.

Here are some highlights - in list form, just like last time:

1) On our way to the beach, the boys and I made a pit stop in Orangeburg. As soon as the three of us got locked in a narrow bathroom stall together, I squatted and said, "Mama's got to go potty." Standing six inches in front of me, Jones immediately directed, "... 2 ... 3 GO!"

2) We were almost to Georgetown when, out of nowhere, Jones said, "I coming! I coming, Beach!"

3) My plan was to get there right at nap time. I'd assumed the boys would take a good snooze and be ready to hit the beach as soon as they woke up. You know what you get when you assume. After they'd been down for a good while, I heard a thud. When I went upstairs to investigate, Jones was not in his Pack and Play. Investigating a little further, Ifound him in the bathroom where Freddie slept. I opened the door and found both boys - Freddie awake but still in his bed and Jones, who'd somehow extricated himself from his bed, standing and saying very innocently, "I ready go beach!"

4) Heading out to the beach to play, I asked Jones where his "boat hat" was. He said, "on my head" an indicated as much by rolling his eyes up to look at the brim.

5) Jones, a little skittish at the start of our last visit, immediately took to the water this time. He and Daddy played in the water for a long time when Daddy took his shirt off. In an instant, Jones came to me and tugged at HIS shirt, wanting to take it off, too. This Pete-and-Repeat behavior happened again the next morning, while we waited for a table at the Eggs Up Grill. Daddy took a phone call, and Jones put his hand up to his ear to "take" one of his own. Minutes later, Daddy stood with his hands on both hips. Jones ran over to right beside him and did the same thing.

6) "Mees"-averse Jones wanted to put on his "pay (play) shoes" to get the sand off of his feet. As he did, Daddy said, "You're an original Cat Dude." Jones smiled and repeated, "I a Cat Dude," which he continues to call himself still today.

Other things to not forget:

7) the trip Daddy, Camden, Lila, and I took to the Food Lion. I don't think Lila had ever experienced the magic that is going grocery shopping with Pop, who never says NO to anything. I'm glad she got to see what it's like. The only thing better than being at a grocery store with Daddy is being at a BOOK store with Daddy. Heaven IS a place on Earth.

8) Murrells Inlet Marshwalk. That thing is AWESOME. I can't wait to take Jeremy back when we go again next June.

9) my "midnight ride" with Doodoo behind the wheel. He's not only a great driver; he's also an incredible conversationalist. That he'll wear the tackiest tank tops on the Grand Strand makes me love him all the more, as does the way he plays with my baby boys.

Also, at one point, Camden mentioned how he'd never used a selfie stick. I just so happened to have mine on me. As you can tell from the picture to the left, we both need to work on our skills.

Here's further proof that we had an awesome week: on the Monday after we got back, I was dressing Freddie and said, "Guess where we're going tomorrow." The answer, of course, was Greenville (because that's ALWAYS where we're going). But Freddie, not knowing, very hopefully and boldly, responded, "BEACH!"

I wish, Buddy.

295 more days.

(For the record, I'm not nearly as excited about THIS trip's slideshow as I was about LAST trip's, but for what it's worth, here it is. Photo book to follow. Soon. I hope.)

Oh, and here's something else about the trip that I don't want to forget ...