Thursday, July 31, 2008

Our camping trip from hell

So the we went camping this last weekend for the first time with Mateo. One of the traditions Dave and I have been doing since before we even started dating is camping in New Hampshire, usually the North Conway area for you NH fans. So, despite my husband's better judgement, we planned a trip for 3 days and 2 nights of camping (tent camping mind you) in beautiful NH. Here is the run down of how what was supposed to be a relaxing, fun-filled, weekend of cherished memories turned into a trip from hell (or National Lampoon's, whichever you relate to better).

We started off deciding the best way to travel 4 hours with a 2 year old was to do most of the driving while he was asleep. So we left a 4:30 in the morning thinking he would sleep most of the way, then we would entertain him with music and sugary snacks. Well, leave it to my kid to defy all odds and stay awake from 4:30 AM through the entire ride except the last 30 minutes! This was definitely a huge problem for me. See, I don't do well without my 8 hours of sleep a night. Hence why I don't have a newborn. So my condition with this getting up early plan was that Dave would drive and I would sleep. But Mateo's idea of entertaining himself in the car was this, "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy..." and so on. I'm not kidding you. It got to the point where, I'm not proud to say, I actually tried to order a 2 year old to go to sleep. I was clearly not in my right mind. Here's how it went.

"Mateo! Go to sleep right now! I am not kidding! Go to sleep!"

To which Mateo replied, "Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama...." you get the idea.

So that was not the start I was hoping for. After we got to North Conway, everything went well for a little while. I'll skip over the good parts (booooring) and get back to the crappy stuff. Isn't it so funny when bad stuff happens to good people? Anyway, the main spectacle happened when it was time to go to bed.

The first problem was that we bought a new air mattress. We can all fit in our queen bed at home, although I wouldn't say it's roomy, so we bought a queen size mattress, thinking it would be the same. Well, apparently queen doesn't really mean queen according to the air mattress manufacturers. Apparently they think it's pretty funny to send people camping with an air mattress that is much smaller than expected and forces one adult (husband) to sleep in the car. Ha, ha, air mattress people. You got me!

So around 7pm, Mateo started signing that he wanted to go to bed. It was a little early for him, but we had a long day so we figured he was tired. Well, Mateo didn't really want to go to sleep, he just wanted to play on the air mattress. So after a half hour of trying to get him to settle down and go to sleep, I figure maybe it's too early and we should wait till it's dark. But, we had already cleaned him up, put on his pajamas, and all that. So what would we do with him for another hour? I can probably say that he's the only kid I know that still manages to watch an Elmo movie where I can't even get a cell phone signal (courtesy of our laptop). Yes....TV.... it's everywhere you want to be!

So an hour of Elmo's Grouchland by firelight and it's time to try for bed again. Long story short, he finally fell asleep at 10:30. And the real fun hasn't even begun yet. Since Dave was a the designated car sleeper, I was in the tent with Mateo. I should explain that because of complication with the cleft palate, Mateo is a very noisy sleeper. It sounded like I was lying next to a rhinosaurous with a bad head cold. And I couldn't sleep. So, let's say around midnight, I get up and run to the car to switch with Dave. Not a bad deal for him. He gets the air mattress and I'm stuck with the car. But at least it's quiet and I can try to sleep.

Having encountered bears in the wild twice before, you can probably say I'm pretty paranoid (I'll have to write those stories another time). Being in the car is actually riskier than in a tent because we store the food in the car. And I've seen a black bear break into a car effortlessly to get a little snack. So I devise an exit strategy should that happen. That's me, always prepared. Fast forward to 1:15 AM. Husband, bangs....on car door. I about pee my pants. Husband says in an urgent manner, "He's screaming at the top of his lungs and won't stop!" Of course everything little sound echoes in a campground. So, Dave didn't know what else to do except bring him to the car. Lovely.

I take Mateo on my lap and he falls right back asleep. Dave and I argue about what to do next. We decide since he took sleeping pills (Dave, not the kid, although wouldn't that be nice?) he really couldn't stay awake even if he wanted to. So, now I'm stuck in the uncomfortable car and I have rhino boy on my lap while Dave is on the air mattress by himself having a nice quiet sleep. How did this happen? While I'm trying to make myself a little more comfortable, despite being in a car with a 25 pound snoring lump on my lap, Mateo wakes up, notices he's in the car and immediately wants to go in his car seat. Easy enough, into the car seat we go. Now some sleep. No, now Mateo thinks we should be going somewhere since we're in the car and he's overtired and completely unreasonable. So, knowing that this kid will be a bear in the morning if he doesn't get some sleep, I decide I might as well drive around, I won't be able to sleep at this point anyway.

So, I start driving out of the campground and down the dark wooded road heading in towards town. My plan was to drive until he fell asleep then park somewhere so I could sleep. But I was not about to park on the side of backwoods road. That's creepy even for me. So my only choice was to drive into town. I was driving no more than 20 mph and I felt like I was speeding.

When I got into town I parked in the brightest lit parking lot I could find and tried to rest. But Mateo in the car seat was disturbing. His head was hanging awkwardly and I was worried about his neck. Actually, I was worried about the chiropractic bill I might have to pay down the road. So I took my two pillows (my one and only chance for comfort) and made a little bed in the backseat for him. And then I pulled a Britney Spears. As I layed him down on the makeshift bed, he woke up and wanted the car to be moving. So, don't tell social services, I drove slowly around the parking lot till he went back to sleep. And then I nodded off sitting straight up in the driver's seat of the car.

In total I got about 3 hours of sleep that night. Around 5am I kicked Dave out of the tent and took the air mattress for myself. Dave drove Mateo around until a not-quite-as-ungodly hour in the morning before waking up for breakfast. Well, as I said before, I don't function well without sleep. I get very emotional. Apparently (my memory is hazy) I cried because the Dunkin Donuts line was long.

Needles to say we went home the next day. And obviously we will never go camping with him again. Not when he's three, or ten, or twenty. From now on it's timeshares, campers, or cabins. Our tent days are over!

On the way home, we all got to sleep. Mateo sitting in his car seat, me in the passenger seat with my pillows, and even Dave sitting in the driver's seat got a little snooze here and there. It was all good.

Mateo getting his beauty sleep in the back of the car

He, he, I just like his expression in this picture

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Did I Say That?!

Things I Never Thought I'd say...

"That's not a ball, it's a grape"

"The dog is not a step stool"

"Broccoli is not a sensory experience"

"Dogs do not like to wear shoes"

"We don't eat food out of the garbage"

"Belts don't go around your neck"

"Dogs don't like to wear socks either"

"The VCR is not a car parking garage"

"Daddy's nipples are not buttons"

"Don't lick Daddy's feet!"

...and many more shocking things. I guess that's life with a 2 year old.

Dirty looks and full of attitude.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Crazy Mom Club... I'm not joining! Yet.

Okay, two crazy Mom stories. I think you will agree. So I have become a blog stalker (I used to be a regular stalker but I've upgraded) and lately I've been looking through other adoptive families blogs about their children adopted overseas. Which is cool, foreign babies are totally "in" right now. In fact, Dave and I are going for the Jolie-Pitt family look and plan on adopting a child of every color (including green, I hear they do exist). Anyway, I like seeing snapshots of these people's lives filled with the happy family moments of beautiful exotic children with pasty white grown-ups surrounding them. There's something very....I don't know....iconic about it. Okay, don't get all offended. I, too, am pasty white with a gorgeously bronzed son at my side. I'm being sarcastic. Back to the snapshots. It's really the same story told over and over again. Wealthy white couples living in the Bible Belt, sometimes with 1 or 2 bio kids, mother is homeschooling, they suddenly decide it's the "holy" thing to adopt and BAM! their life has changed to become meaningless outside of the adopting of children from third world countries. Like they just discovered the long awaited answer to life, the universe, and everything else. Really, I am not knocking international adoption (or any adoption) at all. If you know me, you know I am truly a huge adoption advocate. I'm just making fun of them cause I have nothing better to do. On with the story.

So, in these pictures are very cute, perfectly formed (has no one discovered special needs adoption?), Guatemalan or Ethiopian children. And what usually happens is, one family decides to adopt overseas, gets their kid, he/she is way cuter than the white kids we grow here, and suddenly all the families on the block are rushing to get their beautiful ethnic babies. Hey, I'm not opposed, whatever gets them loving homes. I just hope people realize these kids don't just sit around looking pretty all day. Anyway, I was at such a blog and was reading the story of the homecoming of a little baby from Guatemala and noticed her mother was completely self-obsessed and I was actually angry for the child. The mother describes in her blog (along with pictures) the 10 hour flight from Guatemala to home in the states and how hard and stressful it was on her daughter. Then she says that the little girl (must be about a year old) was sleeping right before landing. But there were lots of people waiting to meet her at the airport so the crazy mother (not to miss a photo op) actually wakes the kid up to change her from her cozy pajamas to a fancy white Christening gown. Seriously, I saw pictures, the baby looked like she was getting married. Come on! Let the poor kid sleep! Hasn't she been through enough!

This brings me to another crazy Mom vent. Sorry, you can leave now if you want. I wouldn't blame you. What is it with women and dressing their baby girls like they are going out to the baby prom every single day? Okay, I get it. Baby girl clothes are adorable. I get the bows, and the dresses, and the ribbons. I don't have a girl yet, but when I do you can bet I'll have all that too. But not everyday. I dress up my son for certain events; church, holidays, social service visits, etc. But on a day to day basis, my kid doesn't even have pants on most of the time. I mean really. Does the kid need to wear a dress while they're playing with mud in the backyard? Can't kids be kids? Some of these little girls look like pageant contestants, only there's no pageant. Kids are not porcelain dolls you can dress up and put on a shelf to look at. At least mine isn't. Mine is the one in the porcelain store knocking the shelves over, but that's a whole other blog.

Okay, here's another short crazy Mom story. There is a hilarious website designed entirely to making fun of odd baby names. You should totally check it out if you're in need of a laugh. Anyway, the person who writes it finds forum posts that real people have written about baby names they like or are naming their children. It really makes me feel bad for the next generation of children (mine included). But this was an actual entry a real person wrote. You have to read it out loud to get the full effect.

" I think it's good to name your baby a name different from anyone else baby, because there is so many people who have the same name your baby have or it's very difficult. Also, it's hard to name your baby a different name, because when you think that no-one have that name there will be someone who have the same name your baby have when think you have named your baby different. so, you really can't have any name that's different from anyone unless it's something made up."

I think that geographically challenged beauty pageant chick wrote it.

Anyway, if you have other "crazy mom" stories or rants, leave a comment. This will be fun. Doesn't it make you feel better about yourself when you make fun of others?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Summer Pictures

ice cream face


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Goats, the New Family Pet

Here's a story about today's new and updated family pet. Yes, I thought the dog was the quintessential family pet (it is man's best friend after all), but times are changing. Computers can fit in your pocket, and as I've said before, urinals talk. So apparently the favorite family pet has also been upgraded. To a goat.

I sent my son to my mom's for a weekend while we painted his room. Yes, Mateo finally has a big boy room instead of the baby green color walls and little animal curtains. He has a car room in which he has shown absolutely no difference to. Seriously, I was hoping for a little excitement or acknowledgment of the changes but, no. Nothing. Dave says it was a waste of time and money but then again, he would have been completely happy leaving Mateo's room the same till he was a teenager. Pastel animal lamp and all.

Anyway, when we went to pick Mateo up from my mom's house, who lives in a suburban area in CT (suburban mind you, not rural, which is important later). Mateo decided he would like to take Dave and I for a walk around the block. This was funny actually. We went outside and my brother (Jay) started to follow us and Mateo looked at him and said, "Jay! Go!" and pushed him away. Hmm....guess Mateo wanted some family time. And that was the first time he's ever put two words together.

Well, Jay followed anyway and said, randomly, have you seen the neighbor's goat? Goat? Yes, the neighbors have a pet goat. Okay, are we in Mexico? We went over to check out this goat and I was expecting to see him in a fenced area or at least on a leash, but no. The goat was free roaming about the yard and neighborhood. I was shocked. Apparently the goat knows it's way home. Which was surprising to me cause I thought they had the brain capacity of a toaster. The neighbors, not the goat. Anyway, while I was gone, Mateo and the goat became great friends and still keep in touch today.

I'm also surprised that my mom's dog, Demi, which we're not sure of the breed other than Dingo (man, I guess we are in Mexico), hasn't killed the goat yet. Demi is like the Godfather of the neighborhood animals. She always has a posse of dogs behind her as they patrol the streets making sure everyone is in their place. And every once in a while she offs someone. She's killed 3 raccoons, 2 groundhog families, mice, squirrels, and a neighbor's pet rabbit. She hasn't killed the goat, yet, but she did bite it's tail off. I guess that was a warning shot. I think the goat owes her money.

Anyway, since I haven't written in a while, sorry, new job and all that. Here are some of our latest victories. Mateo can say 25 words which is half way to normal (supposedly 2 year olds are supposed to have at least 50, but who's counting?) I'm counting. For several reasons. One, it's the first question the pediatrician asks at all our visits. Second, his speech goal was to have 25 words by July 08. Whoo-hoo! And third, you celebrate the little things when you have a child with a "significant speech delay". Not my words. This actually came as quite a shock to me. I knew he was behind in speech. Most of our friends kids are speaking in complete sentences and all that seems to come out of Mateo's mouth is a loud grumbled mess (you'd understand if you met him). But, I was thinking his delay was mild, maybe moderate at most (I know, I know, semantics). But then his physical therapist kept saying over and over, "because of his significant speech delay..." Okay, well, she didn't really say it in bold print but that's how it sounded to me.

The point is, 25 words seemed like a big success to us. Even though most of the words no one outside of us, and maybe the goat, would understand. But approximations count! So last night, we had a party. Well, not a real party. But I sang an obnoxious song and waved my arms around. Mateo thought it was hilarious and also tried to sing, which sounds like a duck drowning. It was a great time!

In other news. The adoption/birthday party was a success, despite the giant thunderstorm that just so happened to start at the exact time guests were arriving for our outdoor BBQ! Thanks a lot, God. But we had a tent set up and the kids loved using the giant inflatable slide as an giant inflatable water slide. And most everyone still came and had a great time. Of course Mateo left much to be desired. You'd think he would've been in better spirits at his own adoption party. He was moody and cranky all day till my mom and brother came. Then he only wanted to be with them, and gave me dirty looks the rest of the day. Nice. I'm sure it was clear to everyone that he was thrilled to be stuck with us forever.

Well that's all for now. I will update more frequently now, I promise. We're going camping at the end of the month and that should be promising for lots of laughs. Peace out.