Posts Tagged ‘Milestones’

Taking Off the Training Wheels

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

In all the school speech hubbub of yesterday, I didn’t get around to posting what I really wanted to post: My baby boy learned to ride his bike without training wheels yesterday.

My mom told me that I started wanting to learn to ride my bike at age four. She said all the older kids were riding theirs, and I wanted to also. I don’t remember that, but I do remember riding my brown, orange, and yellow (it was the 70s!) Roadmaster down a short sloped driveway at a neighbor’s house, my dad holding the hard yellow seat behind me. I remember skinned knees, and no helmet. I remember exhilaration.

I tried teaching Rollie this spring. I took him over to a parking lot nearby, and it was a disaster. No one got hurt, but I was nervous, he was wobbly and frustrated, and it was hot as Hades. We did not last long on the asphalt, and we gave up.

So, Rollie had a play date at a friend’s house earlier this year and the little girl could ride with no training wheels. Rollie was interested again. We have no flat area to learn to ride bikes in our yard, so we have to take the bike somewhere else to teach him to ride. We have been, shall we say, less than proactive about doing so.

Rollie started asking us more often to teach him, but something always came up. Then yesterday, Todd told us all to pack up and we headed over to the local park. We took Tiller’s little bike, too. We strapped them both in their helmets. Rollie even wore his knee and elbow pads (overkill, as it turned out). Todd got Rollie on the bike, and we showed him how to set up the right pedal (he is right-handed), so that he could stand on his left foot while using his right foot to step on the high right pedal, thereby giving himself a sort of initial boost of speed. We told him that he had to pedal fast to keep going. We told him that he needed to put his feet down when he came to a stop, that he needed to remember to steer.

I sat on a curb and bit my fingernails.

Todd went to the opposite end of the parking lot with him, and then slowly they started. Todd held onto the back of the seat, just as my own father had thirty-plus years ago. I wondered if my Mom could even watch me learning. I watched as my firstborn sped up, and wobbled, and freaked out and put his feet down on the pavement. I heard Todd say, “Slow down, Buddy. I can’t keep up with you.”

I watched as they tried again. Rollie took off, and started a little faster, and he was wobbly, and the look on his face was one of pure terror, mirroring my own I am sure, and suddenly, i realized Todd was not holding him anymore, just running right back and to the left, arms creating a waiting safety net around Rollie’s sides, but not touching him. I heard Todd speaking to him, “You’re doing it all on your own, buddy. You’re doing it.”

Tiller rode in circles, training wheels flashing in the sun. Todd and Rollie got ready again at the end of the parking lot. Tiller straightened out and pumped her legs as fast as they would go, sparks almost coming off the training wheels, her bike leaning precariously to her side. Rollie started off from a low incline, picked up speed, then started pedaling furiously as he quickly moved away from Todd. Rollie was moving of his own energy. Todd was left in the dust, looking panicky. I was in a panic of my own, my heart in my throat. I yelled, “You’re doing it, Buddy! you’re doing it!” Tiller’s bike rattled and she toppled over, a slow motion, non-life-threatening wobble. Meanwhile, Rollie came to a shaky stop, feet dragging on the pavement, and I was completely torn. Tiller’s training wheel came right off the bike and rolled in a large circle, slowed, came to a stop, and fell over.

We all looked at each other in amazement.

Rollie had ridden a bike by himself, and was all pride and bluster. Tiller had ridden the wheels right off her bike.

It was a good day. I only wish I had gotten video of the baby that once came out of my vagina now riding a bike around on his own bottom and two legs, laughing and getting mad because we wanted him to slow down. It just happened so fast.

Tiller Milestones: Climbing her First Tree

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

Tiller shows off a dandelion.

Tiller shows off a dandelion.

My new neighbor and friend, Lucy, snapped these great pictures of Tiller. Lucy has a couple of HUGE fig trees in her backyard, and the kids love to climb in them. They are the perfect size for little ones, and this time, Tiller tried it too. She loved it and can’t stop talking about how much she wants to go to Lyle and Cooke’s house to climb trees.
Tills climbing the figs.

Tills climbing the figs.


That’s my girl!

Heartwarming Milestone: Rollie’s First Bottle of Robo!

Friday, May 2nd, 2008

Like those other milestones, “First trip to the Emergency Room,” or “First Projectile Vomiting Episode,” they are so precious. This morning, it was “First Call to Poison Control.”

Rollie has a cold and cough. He often wakes up earlier than Todd and me, goes to the bathroom, and then plays in his room until the sun comes up. This morning, I could tell he wasn’t feeling good, and he was coughing like crazy, so I made the call to keep him home from school. He was laying on the couch, watching The Flintstones, and just feeling puny. Yes, Mom, his eyes were peaked, too.

It was my turn to get up with the kids, so Todd woke up later and i heard him jump in the shower. Then he came down with the news that someone had gotten into the cough medicine. Now, any parent knows that kids freakin’ love taking medicine. It always tastes like Cherry, Grape, or Bubblegum! It’s the best! Yes, i realize that kids are not supposed to take the cold and cough medicines anymore, but we never cleaned the old ones out of the medicine cabinet. I mean, who knows? Next month, they might come out with a study that shows children’s cough medicine prevents cancer.

We interrogated him for a few minutes, trying to find out how much he took. We had no idea how much was in the bottle in the first place (or how he managed to open a “childproof” bottle.) He kept repeating that he took “four.” Four sips? Four chugs? Four teaspoons? Four cupfuls? Sure, his liver might be experiencing irreparable damage, or his heart might be about to explode out of his chest, or he might be about to slip into a coma at any moment, but I still want to throttle him for not being able to express to me exactly how much he took. Mother of the Year!

I got on the phone with the pediatrician’s office. When you tell the doctor that your kid ingested poison or got into cough medicine, all you can think is that the nurse on the other end is thinking “why the hell do you still have that medicine in the house, and why weren’t you watching your kid? Just another dumbass, crappy parent.” They forwarded me to Poison Control. While I waited for them to answer, I looked at the bottle. There was no Tylenol in it. Phew. For Rollie’s size, he should have a teaspoon. A cup of it is four teaspoons. 98 pound kids are supposed to get four teaspoons. Rollie only weighs 40 pounds.

Fuck. What the hell is Dextromothorphan.

This is obviously some kind of karmic ass-biting the world is bringing upon me for all the times we shoplifted Robotussin in high school and then drank the whole bottle. I was a terrible kid and now I am the worst mother in the world. What the hell made me think i could be a parent? Just to get it out of the way, I should admit that there was also shoplifting and sniffing of Scotchguard and whipped cream. Maybe a confession here will be considered proactive good karma and the universe won’t require Tiller and Rollie to fulfill the “I hope you have one just like you” curse to its full potential.

Poison control guy gets on and asks me questions and then tells me to hold on while they crunch numbers. Seems like forever, and it is not encouraging that Georgia Poison Control is somehow affiliated with Grady Health Systems. I start Googling directions to Children’s from the new house.

Guy gets back on the line, and tells me Rollie will be fine. He should not have any other meds today. Drink plenty of fluids. He might be extremely excitable, or really drowsy. (Come on, drowsy!) He is definitely acting a little odd (he called me Tiller and keeps babbling nonsense) and his pupils look like saucers, but he seems okay.

I am so relieved. You forget how much you love the little shits, because you get so tired of the endless questions, and constant chatter, and neverending requests, and the fights, and crying, and messes they make. But when you have ten minutes wondering if you’ll be sitting in a hospital that day and if your little man is going to be okay, it puts it all into perspective. You think that sitting on the couch watching cartoons and cuddling with a sick, doped-up kid is pure heaven.

We are sitting here on the couch now, and he is definitely acting squirrely; he keeps repeating “I’m sorry, mama.” And I keep telling him that it is okay, that mama and Daddy got mad at him because it scared them, and he just can’t ever take medicine without us ever again. Then he says, “I’m sorry I took the medicine, mama.” We have been repeating this about every ten minutes for the last hour. I am reminded of the time Mike M. fell off the skateboard and got a concussion. He had no memory of the accident.

He kept asking: “What happened?”
Us: “You have a concussion.”
Mike: “How did I get it?”
Us: “You fell off a skateboard.”
Mike: “Who the hell let me on a skateboard!!??”

(For those that don’t know Mike, he is about 6’8″ and should never have been on a skateboard in the first place.) He would seem happy with our answers, and then five minutes later, forgot them and we went through the whole thing again. This happened so many times that da Crease finally wrote “Concussion” and “Skateboard” on his arm and just told Mike to look at his arm when he asked what happened. Still cracks me up to think about it.

The upside to this Robo episode? Rollie is so out of it that I am able to make him watch cartoons I like, rather than the Dora and Diego crap that we usually would have to watch. Right now we are watching The Perils of Penelope Pitstop. He keeps telling me he loves this show. It is his favorite.

Oh, and his cough is gone.

Tiller Turns Two

Monday, October 8th, 2007

Dear Tiller,

Today you turned two. We celebrated your party on Sunday. It was a Hello Kitty themed party. Aunt Lisa and Papaw Palmer couldn’t make it, but your Grandma Palmer was there, and also your Johnson Grandparents. Uncle Mark showed up, even though Aunt Lisa didn’t make it – I think he is either in love with you, or cupcakes. Maybe both. Other attendees were Mama and Dada, Rollie, Ned, Vanessa, and Scarlett. We had chocolate cupcakes, and some with colored icing, but everyone wanted chocolate. We ate pizza for lunch, and you received way too many gifts. You received a stroller, baby bed, and infant carrier, a couple of baby dolls, two cel phones (just what a little girl needs), a stuffed dog on a leash, a vacuum cleaner that really vacuums, a tea party set, a doll case, and a ton of clothes. You are a very lucky girl to have so many friends and so many people who love you.

I remember when Rollie was two, and you were about to be born. It seems like just yesterday, and now he is four and you are two, and I am really, really a mother. You have learned so many amazing things in the last year. You learned to walk a little after you turned one. Now you are running and hopping. Of course, you don’t actually leave the ground yet, but you say “I am hopping!” and do a lot of bending at the knees. You like to do whatever Diego and Dora are doing – All the actions: Climbing, swimming, rowing, hopping, swinging, climbing. Thanks to Dora and Diego, you intersperse your English with Spanish words. Sometimes I have to act out actions to figure out what you are saying to me.

Your talking is just amazing – what a vocabulary! You string so many words together in run on sentences and your dada and I just look at each other, wondering what it is you are saying, because we just don’t understand all of it. That doesn’t matter to you, though. You just keep on talking, and are so expressive when you do it, nodding your head convincingly, or holding your hands palm up when asking a question of us. You repeat everything that we say, and think that Rollie’s word is God. If Rollie says or does it, you want to say or do the same thing.

You are starting to show a bit of stubbornness. When we say “time to change your diaper,” or “Let’s put on pjs” your first reaction is to take off running. We spend a lot of time chasing you down. You love the water and will pour water over your own head when in the bath and then laugh and laugh. You are the laughingest goofball of a child I have ever known. Your sense of humor is corny and quick. You love to sing in goofy voices and then laugh at yourself. Did I mention the dancing? You love music and singing and love to dance. Your dances are a sight to behold, too – You do one where you move your arms around. I couldn’t explain it if I tried, but will have to show you the video someday. Your favorite songs are “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,“ “The Wheels on the Bus,” “You Are My Sunshine,” and “The Itsy Bitsy Spider.”

You love animals and babies. You crack us up, because when you talk about the other kids in your Mommies’ Morning Out class, you call them “babies,” but you think you are a big girl, even though you are all the same age. You started the MMO this fall, and I was worried you would miss me, but you love the class, and the other kids (Kai, Claire, and Abby) and your teachers, Miss Betsy, and Miss Janet. You cry on the days when Rollie has class, but you don’t.

You are kind of a bruiser. Sometimes I am in another room, and I hear Rollie screaming bloody murder and I walk in, and you have him in a headlock, or you are lying on top of him and won’t get off. I am hoping you will turn out to be a gentle soul, but it is nice to know that you stand up for yourself, too.

You love swimming. I am amazed at how much you love the water. You laugh and laugh in pools, and you love the kiddie pool at the lake. When we take you in the lake, you lie back as if you could just float on your back, all by yourself.

When we go to the park, you like to swing, swing, swing. You are not scared to climb or slide, but swinging is where it’s at for you. I have pushed you on a swing for almost an hour at a time before. You cry when I make you get out of the swing.

In the mornings, you scream and cry, “Mama” or “Daddy, come get me.” “Mama, Help!” You sound pitiful and sick, but as soon as we walk in, you start chirping away in your excited, sweet morning voice, asking “Where’s Dada?” or “Where’s Rollie?” You start talking in a waterfall of words and if other people in the house are still sleeping, I try to shush you, and you just won’t quiet down. It is endearingly annoying. When you wake up from your nap, you are the same way, except crankier, just like your Mama and Aunt Lisa, and Grandma Palmer. I carry you down the stairs, you crying the whole way, and when we get to the bottom, I ask if you want a snack, and you turn the tears off immediately, a smile breaks across your face, and you say, “Sack” while nodding your head at me.

Let’s see. What else:

You sleep well at night, usually going to bed between 7:30 and 8, but you aren’t a great napper. Most of your naps are 35 to 45 minutes long. I am thankful when you give me a whole hour.
You never let me fix your hair, which I guess is part of the curse. I never liked having mine fixed either.
You love eating. I have been lucky that both kids have healthy appetites. I try to feed you healthy stuff, and you do a pretty good job with it. You do love gold fish. You call them, “Olefish.” So cute.
You are starting to love to read, and we read to you every night, but you also will grab a book and sit down with it, turning the pages and pretending to read.

Since your birthday party, you have been walking around saying, “I’m a baby!” and then “I’m a big girl!” You may be growing up to be a big girl, a young lady, but you will always be my little baby girl, even when you are fifty. I am so lucky to have you for a daughter. I knew that being a parent was special, but I never knew how amazing it would be to have a boy and a girl. Mom always said that there was something so very wonderful about having a daughter, and now I understand what she meant. You are sweet and mercurial, tough and sensitive, beautiful and ornery, girly and tomboyish, smart and silly, all wrapped up in the cutest, roly-poliest package I have ever seen. You are a little like your father, and a lot like me, and better than both of us put together. I have learned so very much from you and Rollie. Having a little girl, though, is a slightly more daunting task for me. I know that I am your foremost role model, the woman from whom you will learn so very much in your life. You bring out so many things in me that I didn’t know I had inside. You make me a better person. You make me want to be someone you can look up to, someone you can learn valuable life lessons from, and someone you can respect. I hope that I do as wonderful a job as my Mom did. I hope that I set an example for you that will make you as proud of me as I am of you.

Happy Birthday, Baby Tiller.

With love,
Mama

Thanks to Uncle Mark for the cute Tiller with Stroller vid.

Back to School

Tuesday, September 4th, 2007

I cannot believe that I dropped off my little Tiller for her first day of school today. Okay, not real school, but the Mommies’ Morning Out program. She goes Tuesdays and Thursdays for three whole hours. She was so excited to put on her big girl backpack. Keep your traps shut about the fact that it is Rollie’s hand-me-down backpack; He got a brand spanking new Diego backpack for his birthday, and it just seemed ludicrous to throw the old one out, so I just crossed out his name and put hers on the backpack. I also drew her a nifty flower to girl it up a little. Then I felt guilty for not drawing anything on Rollie’s backpack, so I drew him a car. Two more fun things about being a Mom – 1) You can guilt yourself about just about anything where your kids are concerned and 2) You will need a Sharpie. Often.

Both kids got out of the van, with Todd’s help. He followed us over to school for her first day, since we did it last year for Rollie’s first day. Yes, Todd is the best Daddy ever. They were so cute, with backpacks and raring to go. They humored me while we took some pictures to commemorate the big event. Rollie was cracking me up, saying hello to the Pastor and to his friends from last year. We took him to his classroom first. He went right in, found his hook, hung up his backpack, and started playing. He said, “Hey guys!” when he walked in the room. Tiller followed him in at a run, with her backpack too big for her body, and mimicked big brother with a very cute, “Hey, guys!” to the big kids in Rollie’s class. Luckily, she was not upset when we put her in the room with kids her own age.

We walked her down to the room, and the door was shut. She went right in, starting to play before we could get her backpack off her. We showed her where her hook was and hung up her backpack, because she wasn’t able to reach the hook yet. She went right back to playing with cars. Todd and I said bye-bye, and slipped out. No tears, not even a glance.

Then I went to meet Lisa for coffee and unadulterated adult conversation (can adult conversation be unadulterated?) for over two whole straight hours. It was good. Really, really good.

A Couple of Firsts

Friday, April 13th, 2007

Rollie had his first field trip today. I had my first experience chaperoning a group of three and four year olds. Me being in charge of a group of kids is kind of funny, as I think I still need a guide when I am out in public. I had total flashbacks of my middle school getting kicked out of the Atlanta Symphony Hall one year for bad behavior.

It was also pretty scary to put other people’s children in my car and drive them around, even if I do drive like a Grandma. I had two other kids in my van, in addition to Rollie and Tiller, who seemed thrilled to be hanging with the big kids.

Note to parents: If you want someone else to take your kid in their car, do that person a big favor and know how to install your own car seat.

Note to self: Next time you volunteer to chaperone a group to a puppet show, or to anything else for that matter, don’t stay out till one a.m. drinking wine with the girls the night before.

I thought sleep-deprivation and a slight hangover were bad with two kids. If I had three-year-old triplets, i would never touch a drop of alcohol ever again for fear of experiencing what I experienced on the 15 minute ride to the puppetry theater. Every time I write “puppet,” i keep thinking Metallica’s Master of Puppets, which my friend Owen blasted for a good year in the car on the way to high school, which was actually quieter than what I experienced this morning. Those three wouldn’t shut up for a minute. There was one point where I was trying to merge onto 85 South and all four kids were screeching and screaming at top volume, and I thought momentarily about driving the van off an overpass just to shut them up.

Also, while one kid was a joy, the other one kept saying things like, “Rollie, why does your Mom drive so slow?” and “My Mom’s car is faster than yours” and I know it is not a sign of maturity that I wanted to tell the kid to shut the fuck up before I kicked his mom’s ass. Instead, I made myself feel better by telling him in a sweet voice, that “Yes, I think your mom is fast.”

Tiller: 17 Months

Wednesday, March 7th, 2007

Tiller, you are 17 months, and I have been pretty bad about documenting your milestones. You started walking a while back and now you are on fire, hurtling forward so quickly on your not-so-steady feet that I fear you will fall face-first into whatever is in front of you. Sometimes you do, but often you recover, and I laugh at my nervous stomach afterwards. You have learned to climb stairs and just started coming back down on your own (backwards on hands and knees, of course.) Thank God, because I was getting pretty tired of coming up the stairs to rescue you at the landing when you got up there and then cried, realizing you couldn’t get back down. I am amazed by the way you little ones push the envelope, exploring everything, even when you don’t know what you will find, or how you will return. It is like a person choosing to fly a plane without knowing how to land, or climbing a mountain without knowing how to come back down. You are pretty fearless.

You are talking up a storm. It started very slowly, mostly “Dada.” Then: “ball,” “bear,” “bowl.” Other words: dog, kittycat, book, moon, balloon, elmo, shoe, ear, milk, hello, bye-bye. Now you are chatting us up, and the other day you said your first two-word phrase: “My Dada.” You are Daddy’s little girl already; I almost feel sorry for him, for he has no idea how much a little girl can love her Daddy and how much suffering she will put him through later. Most of the time, though, I just roll my eyes, because you and Rollie both prefer him to me. You would think Jesus Christ was walking through the front door every afternoon, the way everyone flips out and brightens and dances in the streets. I mean, come on, I change the poopy diapers all day, and plan the meals, and pick up your coveted damn Goldfish at the store – Show your mama some love.

I am kidding, though, because you are the lovingest thing I have ever seen. You love to hug, and kiss and get kisses. You pat us on the back when we hold you. Rollie and you have hugfests, where you hug, he kisses you on the head, and then while still locked in the hug, he drags you around until you both fall over and you hit your head on the floor. Then the tears begin, but it is hard to get mad at you guys for hugging each other so vigorously.

You are very adamant about whatever you want. At dinnertime, once you realize food is in the picture, you cling and cry and follow me around, saying “bowl” which seems to be your all-purpose word for anything having to do with food or drink. If you can get your hand on a bib or bowl or cup, you bring them to us to tell us you want to eat. Now. If I am in any part of the house and the words snack, dinner, lunch, or breakfast come out, it is all over. You are ready to be picked up and taken downstairs, or you will rush straight and with purpose into the kitchen, ready to be fed. Same thing with “outside,” or “go.” You hear those and go find your shoes and jacket and bring them to us, ready to be dressed for whatever journey we embark upon.

Bathtime? Bedtime? Same thing. You love the bath and you love being naked. I have no idea where you got that. 🙂 The only thing that makes you run for cover? The word diaper. You will run like the wind to avoid having to lay down and put on a diaper and pjs. Once we have pinned you down and dressed you for bed, though, you are all business. It is story time and you will not be swayed. You bring us your favorite books and then go walk over to the rocking chair to climb up and be read to. Right now, your favorites seem to be “Goodnight Moon” and “The Moon in My Room.” You also like the Sandra Boynton books and the duck book whose name I can’t remember. You sit up in our laps as we rock and read, clutching your bear, pointing out your favorite things in the books, and twirling your hair, which is what you do when you are sleepy. When we finish reading and turn out the light, we hug or talk or sing for a minute, then put you down. You start twirling your hair again, clutching the bear as we shut the door. You never make another peep.

You have a funny little laugh, and you think Daddy is the funniest, then Rollie. You like to sit with us and play games. You LOVE to dance. Sometimes we have dance parties before dinner, but often a song you like will come on the radio, or the computer or the t.v. You will start turning circles to it, then look at us with big smiles to make sure we see what you are learning to do.

We see it all, and every bit of it is as thrilling as watching Rollie do it for the first time. I just wish I had more time to treasure it all, to make sure you know how important these little milestones are, and how much prouder we are of you with every step you take.

Same Old Same Old

Tuesday, February 6th, 2007

Rollie came down with another ear infection last night. That makes, oh, the 4th or 5th one he has had since Thanksgiving. Poor little guy is piled up on the couch watching Cars and saying, “I’m a little bit sick,” every five minutes.

Tiller woke up this morning walking! Last night when I left the house, she was still in carry me or I cry until you want to blow your brains out mode. Then, today, she just started walking. Not two or three steps like the last month or so, but circles around the kitchen, through the dining room, and back into the kitchen.

I am a little scared, as she likes attention, and now she can actually chase us down. Lucky for us, she doesn’t come close to Dwight Shrute’s 2/3 scale rule.

The Little Champ

Thursday, January 11th, 2007

I forgot to document the girl’s fifteen-month stats:

Weighing in at 26 pounds, 14.4 ounces (90-95%), measuring a lengthy 32 inches (90-95%), and with a noggin circumference of 46 1/2 centimeters (75-90%) . . .
Welcome, the Tillah . . . the Thrillah-from-Manila . . .

Matilda the Hon!!!!

Youth Recapture Interrupted: First Steps

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006

I kind of figured that after recovering from my hellacious basement party hangover, that the first thing that I would do is download the pictures and blog all about it. Funny thing about kids: they have a way of trumping anything of importance in your own life, in favor of their own crises, milestones, and illnesses. Take Tiller for instance. . . .

I crawled back home on Sunday at about one in the afternoon, took a bath, changed clothes, and then fell into bed for a few hours sleep while the kids napped, it being impossible to nap while children are awake within a mile radius.

When they awakened, Todd took pity on me, and let me sleep a while longer. I planned on waking, eating grilled cheese, and blogging about the previous evening. I finished the grilled cheese while Todd played with Rollie and Matilda on the den floor. Todd was sitting on the floor about three feet from the ottoman, and my feet were on the ottoman. Tiller came over to stand next to me, holding her arms out to be held. I picked her up, hugged her, then set her down on her feet in Todd’s direction. Todd held out his arms, Tiller’s eyes lit up like the sun, and she put her arms out towards him. She took two wobbly steps, maybe three, and fell into his arms. First steps! He and I both welled up a little in the eye area. It is easy to forget about the little things with a second child, but some things are just monumental: A child’s first steps, always towards one of us, and setting off so suddenly a chain of milestones in the future, reminding us that they will continue to walk on and on, farther and farther away every day.

We practiced her new trick the rest of the afternoon and into bedtime, my attempts at recapturing my own youth completely forgotten for the time being.

Way to go, Tiller baby! We are so proud of you, sweetheart.