Happy end of the Thanksgiving weekend, everyone! We’ve had a busy, busy week around here, so let me jump right in….
Theo was off school all week, which was lovely! I mostly took the week off work because there was just no point in working with everything we had going on. I worked for a few hours on Monday morning (and Theo went to his after-school program, which was nearly empty because everyone was off), but that was it. I had to laugh, though. Sam had PT on Monday morning, so I had Theo home with me while Sam was doing PT. But Theo really likes Sam’s therapist, so if he’s here when she comes, he tends to talk her ear off and kind of butt in. He’s very polite and doesn’t mean to disrupt, but the end result is that Sam doesn’t get much PT done when Theo’s around. So I told Theo that while Michelle was here working with Sam, we were going to do some cleaning. “Really?!” he exclaimed. “It’s like a mommy-Theo play date!” The kid was seriously excited. Apparently in his world, cleaning toilets is pretty much a play date. Ha! Anyway, he was a big helper and cleaned the mirrors and did a lot of vacuuming while I scrubbed the toilets and counters. Meanwhile, Sam got uninterrupted PT. Win-win!
Despite what Theo thinks, I don’t consider cleaning the house a “play date,” so on Tuesday morning I decided we’d drop Sam at Early Intervention and have a real mommy-son date. Theo loves going out to breakfast, and we very rarely do it, so I took him to the Country Waffles restaurant near us, and he was thrilled. In fact, he told me happily as we walked in, “You’ll never forget your first trip to the Country Waffles, Mom!” Which is kind of amusing if you realize that Country Waffles is essentially Denny’s—just kind of a greasy-spoon chain restaurant and not really anything extraordinary. Still, in Theo’s world, a sit-down breakfast restaurant is beyond exciting. Chris had taken him there a couple of times, but I hadn’t been, so he was very excited to introduce me to the Country Waffles experience!
I actually thought a lot about my dad at Country Waffles, because it’s the kind of place he would’ve frequented—and as it happened, I ordered nearly the same meal he would’ve ordered. For the last probably 10 years of his life, my dad went out to breakfast nearly every Saturday and Sunday morning with my mom—and sometimes with me, too, if I wasn’t working. And he always went to a Country Waffles type of place: his favorites were chain coffee shops like Coco’s and Carrow’s and Lyon’s. And 95% of the time, he ordered the same breakfast in the same words: “Two eggs, over medium. Bacon wibbly [limp]. Hash browns, not hash whites. And whole wheat toast with lots of butter. Man was not meant to eat dry toast!” Occasionally, if it was a new waitress or waiter, he would add to the egg order “whites cooked, yellows runny. Is that over medium?” just to make sure he got the eggs the way he wanted them. And so, when I ordered two eggs over medium, bacon, hash browns, and toast, I thought of him. I prefer my bacon crispy and I had sourdough toast (thank you, Gluten-Ease!), but I like my eggs cooked the same way as he did, and I like hash browns, not hash whites. When our hash browns arrived all nice and golden-brown, I commented to Theo that Grandpa Steve would’ve been very pleased with the hash browns, as he didn’t like them when they had a lot of white parts.
After breakfast, Theo and I continued the date with an exciting trip to the chiropractor. Okay, really, that’s not so thrilling, but it needed to be done. My neck was out of whack, and Theo hadn’t had a checkup in probably six months, so I figured I’d have him get adjusted, too. He’s been complaining of headaches lately and is definitely having some growing pains, so I figured it might help. Theo actually likes going, so he didn’t mind. And as it turns out, his right shoulder area was kind of out of whack. Not surprising, given that he uses his ENTIRE ARM to try to write. (He’s worked a lot on that in OT—using more of his hand and wrist muscles while writing—but he still tends to stiffen up and use the entire right side of his upper body when he’s writing, and I’m sure that is a little rough on him.)
Later that day, Grandma Kathy and Papa arrived to babysit the boys so that Chris and I could go to the Fleetwood Mac concert in San Jose! And I breathed a huge sigh of relief. We’ve had the tickets for about six months, and I was terrified that one of the boys would get sick and we’d have to cancel. But everyone held on! Sam ended up getting a bit sick the following day, but he held out long enough for us to go to the concert—wahoo!
It was very exciting to have a date night, too! We drove down to San Jose several hours early to miss the traffic, so we just wandered around and window-shopped to kill time. Then we went to delicious sushi for dinner—always a treat! And then headed to the concert.
This was my second time seeing Fleetwood Mac (third time if you count the time I saw Stevie Nicks solo). It was Chris’s fifth time, I think. He is a huge Fleetwood fan, and it is frankly amazing that we ever ended up dating, as I made a snide remark about Fleetwood the night Chris and I met, not realizing that he was quite a big fan. 🙂 He later said, “Well, I was impressed that you knew who they were—and that you knew them well enough to know that they used to be really good!” Indeed. Actually, they’re still good now. The night we met, they were playing on a New Year’s Eve show that was on television, and they sounded pretty awful, so I commented that they ought to have retired while they still sounded good. And that night, they really did sound kinda bad. But now that we’ve seen them twice in concert, I revise my opinion and say that they still sound good—they just didn’t on that particular night!
Anyway, for those unfamiliar with Fleetwood Mac, the band has five members that were together when they released Rumours in 1977 (I think)—Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks, and Lindsey Buckingham. Rumours is one of the most successful rock albums of all time, and it really is an awesome album, in my opinion. The band was plagued by drama and broke up for quite a while, then reunited in the 1990s, but then Christine McVie retired. So the last time Chris and I saw Fleetwood, it was without Christine McVie. However, she has since come out of retirement and rejoined the band, so this tour featured all five of the members from the Rumours heyday. Exciting!!
Christine McVie, Lindsey Buckingham, and Stevie Nicks alternate on vocals, and truthfully, Christine McVie’s songs were never my favorites. They were okay, and I do think “Songbird” is one of the best songs ever written (though I prefer it performed by Eva Cassidy, not Christine McVie), but I usually preferred Stevie Nicks’ or Lindsey Buckingham’s songs. But I actually ended up really liking Christine McVie’s songs when I saw them at the concert on Tuesday. They were kind of a nice, simple break from the intensity of the Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham songs. So I was glad to get to see them!
And that group really does put on an amazing show. They’re all in their late 60s or early 70s now, but they still manage to put on a three-hour, very active show. Amazing! I hope I’m so spry when I’m their age.
Anyway, we had a great time and were so glad to get to go! We crashed for the night at Chris’s parents’ house, since they were staying up at our house with the boys, and the next morning we went to Psycho Donuts. I have a niece living in San Jose who has recommended them to me, but I had never gone. Um…yum! They weren’t the best donuts I’ve ever had (that honor is a tie between Duck Donuts in Virginia, where they fry and custom-glaze your donuts on the spot, and Blue Star Donuts in Portland, OR, which is just the best-tasting donuts I’ve ever had), but they probably occupy the #3 spot on my list. Fun, interesting flavors, and really tasty! Chris liked the old-fashioned donut with rice-crispies and marshmallow topping the best, and I liked the cream-filled pumpkin spice latte donut the best. We will definitely go back!
Let’s face it: The diet is pretty much ruined this week. So when we got home on Wednesday and relieved Grandma Kathy and Papa, I started in on baking for Thanksgiving. I made a dark chocolate cream pie and a sweet potato pie for desserts. Okay…yum! The dark chocolate cream pie was tasty, but I think there are probably better chocolate pies out there. But the sweet potato pie?? How have I never had that magnificence before?! My homemade crust was a flop, but the filling itself was delicious—Chris actually told me he thinks it may be the best pie he’s ever had. I can’t really take much credit, though—I just clipped the recipe out of the newspaper and followed it. Apparently there’s a soul-food restaurant in Oakland where people order the sweet potato pie for breakfast because it’s so good, so when I saw the recipe in the paper, I clipped it out and decided to try it. Super yum! I will definitely make that again!
I also made cheesy potato casserole (an old standby that Chris insists on every year), a new dressing recipe (with ciabatta, pancetta, and parmesan cheese—how can you go wrong?!), a corn pudding (also a new recipe—not bad!), cranberry-clementine sauce (also a new recipe, and definitely a keeper! It’s my favorite one I’ve found for homemade cranberry sauce so far), and homemade gravy from scratch. Chris made the turkey, which was delicious, and sautéed Brussels sprouts with bacon, which Theo ate five helpings of!
Remarkably, this was the easiest holiday we’ve had in terms of food prep—nothing went wrong, nothing burned (except part of my pie crust), we didn’t forget anything… It just all went off smoothly and easily, which was great. Grandma Kathy and Papa came back up to join us for dinner, and we had a nice, quiet day. Theo talked Grandma Kathy into playing a couple of games of Pugopoly with him, so he was a happy camper. And Sam was a little under the weather but not too bad. He enjoyed a Thanksgiving dinner of potato chips, the little stinker! Though he thoroughly amused me by running back and forth to the pantry and setting his place at the table with a whole bunch of food he wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole. 🙂
Speaking of Sam, he has gotten very good at saying “no,” usually with a waggling finger to emphasize it. “Sam, are you ready to go to bed?” “No, no!” “Sam, do you want some yogurt?” “No, no!” I laugh every time, because he’s just so darn cute about it. The other thing that makes me laugh is his tantrums. He has taken to dramatically throwing himself on the ground to have them, but he loses interest almost immediately and toddles off to go do something else. This morning, I told him it was naptime, and he took a running start across the room and dove onto his belly, as if he was a baseball player trying to reach home plate, just to have his tantrum. But after one plaintive wail, he just rolled onto his back and started laughing. 🙂
Really, I shouldn’t laugh, but I can’t help it. His indignance is really quite adorable. I’m sure it won’t be when he gets older, but by then he should be out of the tantrum stage anyway. At this age, it’s just too funny for me to resist snickering. Here’s a video of his “no no.” 🙂
I think part of it is because he looks so young. He looks like a 15-month-old trying to muster up all the indignance of, say, a four-year-old, and it’s just ridiculous and amusing! Maybe when he finally grows, it won’t be so funny!
Actually, he has grown a bit—he’s 24 pounds now. But he’s still wearing 12-month pants, even though he’ll be three years old soon. He can wear 18-month pants, but they’re too big on him and we have to cinch in the waist with a handy little gadget called a Dapper Snapper. (If you’re the parent of a kid who is between pants sizes, I highly recommend the Dapper Snapper! It’s saving our life!) And in my Rockin’ Moms group, a mom recently posted a question about the size of our kids. I replied that Sam is 34 months old, weighs 24 pounds, and wears a 12-month pant or sometimes 18-month pants if we cinch in the waist. As I watched the replies pour in, I was floored. Many of the kids in there are just turning two, so they’re 24 or 25 months old. Not only do they weigh more than Sam, they’re wearing bigger sizes. And they’re almost a year younger than him, and they have Down syndrome! Kids with DS generally stay smaller than typically developing kids, but I hadn’t realized that Sam was so puny compared to his counterparts who have DS. He’s tiny even by DS standards! Frankly, it makes me wonder about his growth hormone, which can be problematic in kids with DS. But so far neither his naturopath nor his regular pediatrician have flagged that as an issue, so we’ll keep watching and waiting. His naturopath did say she had hoped he’d grow more once we got his thyroid medication right, but at this point she just recommended continuing to watch it. It’s hard to know whether he’s so puny because his eating is so lousy or because he’s just really petite or because there’s some sort of growth issue we should look into. Hmmm.
And continuing to speak of Sam, his “intake” meeting for preschool is Tuesday. Wish me luck. For one thing, he’s been a bit sick and thus isn’t really up to his usual self (and this is the first meeting where they start assessing what they think his capabilities are, so I really want him to show his best possible self, if that makes sense). But for another thing, the meeting is right at his naptime, so I expect him to be rather tired and groggy during it. Argh. This is also the meeting where I have to tell the whole team about our desire for him to be in general ed, so that’ll be…fun. Not really. But I’ll do it, because it needs to be done.
Anyway, back to the week…. We decided to get our Christmas tree on Friday, since starting Saturday we were due to get a week of steady rain. We went to the Christmas tree farm right in our town, and the boys had fun running up and down the aisles of trees and picking one. We put it up and decorated it on Friday, too, so our house is all Christmassy now!
On Saturday, we got the predicted rain, so we took the boys to an indoor activity: the train museum in Sacramento. Since Theo had such fun visiting the Maritime Museum a few weeks ago, we thought he’d enjoy the train museum, too. We went a lot when he was younger, but he doesn’t remember it. Anyway, it was a good idea that worked out reasonably well, but apparently everyone else had the same plan—it was mobbed! They had some model train show going on, too, so I think that made it even more crowded. So it was a bit of sensory overload, with all the crowds and noise, but the boys enjoyed it anyway. And then we went and visited Grandma Diane, and we got to see Aunt Lynnie, Uncle Charles, and Stevie, too!
By Sunday, a certain member of our household was waaaaaay overstimulated from a week of nonstop activities, grandparents visits, and chaos, and it was pouring rain so we couldn’t get him out to the park or on a hike to burn off some energy. So instead, we stayed home. Which was…tolerable. You know how “they” say kids need quiet, relaxing days at home sometimes? Yeah, not all kids. One of our two is perfectly happy with those and will play happily in the house all day. The other one is like a caged lion, which is why we usually try to get him out to at least a park or for a walk or something. But the rain made that distasteful, so we just kept the caged animal at home and dealt with it. 🙂 He did some penny-sorting and some game-playing, which was fun…and a lot of loud noises, which was not so much fun for quiet-craving mommy and daddy. But hey, we survived to tell about it, so it’s all good.
Truthfully, I hate that “all kids need…” type of parenting advice, because one of my kids has never particularly fit into the mold of “all kids.” I think every kid is unique anyway, but I do agree that most kids benefit from certain types of strategies, environments, etc. But notice that I said “most,” not “all.” Now that I am the parent of two kids—one of whom fits a lot of the general ideas about kids and one of whom doesn’t—I’ve had a bit of an epiphany about that “all kids need…” type of advice and how useless it is in some cases. Not that two kids makes me any kind of expert, mind you—just that I feel like I’ve now experienced both ends of the spectrum, so I have a better understanding of what expert advice I might find useful and what I might as well just toss out the window.
Anyway! We survived. We had a mostly excellent Thanksgiving recess. And now I need to wrap up that Valium book in the next five days. Wish me luck!