What's happening with the Hill family!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Midnight Streaker

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Hudson is waist deep in a very annoying habit right now. Streaking. On more mornings than I can count, I have gone into his room to get him out of the crib and he is completely naked and I am almost 97% sure he didn't go to bed that way.


This habit is frustrating for me because it has gone on for so long. I thought it would be a fast phase that he would quickly pass through, but he has developed a taste for the feel of a breeze on bare skin. The first few times, I really just thought it was a fluke because it wasn't happening with any regularity. I was so naive. It wasn't happening regularly because he wasn't good at it yet! Hudson's bedtime routine is bath, pajamas and then he hits the crib. We shut the door by 7:30 p.m. and we don't see or hear from him again for 11-12 solid hours. I thought this was awesome. But now that I have really started to think about it, I might have been bragging a little to much about his sleeping ability. I am now fairly sure that he only sleeps until 3:00 a.m. and then spends the next three or four hours wrangling himself out of his clothes and diaper.


I have tried several things, including the snap up/zip up one piece pajamas (which he looks adorable in). I have witnessed with my own eyes that tiny little toddler pull those footie pajamas apart at the chest like the Incredible Hulk. I did temporarily stump him with fitted long sleeve shirts. I thought I could beat him by putting him a pajama top so tight that it could double as a tourniquet. It worked for a while, several mornings I came in to discover Hudson naked except for what look like a shrug (shout out to the fashions of 2004). He could get it over his head, he just failed at freeing his arms. He would also be sweating from the effort. There is no one more determined than my one year old,though, when he has decided to get naked. Soon the long sleeve shirts also hit the floor beside his crib. I even tried turning his one piece PJ's backwards. I really stressed about this though because he looked like he was in a blue fleece straight jacket and I was afraid I was damaging him psychologically. He just looked at me with pity, his eyes quietly saying, "Amateur."


Now on to the diaper, Hudson absolutely cannot resist pulling off his diaper. As soon as he is pantless, that diaper is living on borrowed time. His big thing right now is recognizing and throwing away trash. Or "tash" as he so lovingly calls it. That is his favorite thing to do and he is constantly grabbing things like socks or his brother's underwear and racing to the trash can calling out in a self-important voice, "tash, tash, ok guy, tash." He is hugely proud of his ability to throw things away. Since he is a very smart boy and has seen me throw away countless diapers, he now associates all diapers, clean or dirty as trash and it is his life's ambition to get them off his body and to the nearest trash receptacle. My sit down talk with him, in which I tried to explain that diapers cost money and our last name is not Rockefeller didn't have much of an impact, so I am on to plan B. Duct tape. Yes, I realize it is a large leap to go from calm, reasonable chat to duct taping my kid's diaper on, but it is a leap I am willing to take. I actually got the idea indirectly from our babysitter, Katie (sorry Katie). She is a triplet and the boys and I were invited over to her house for their recent birthday (can you imagine triplets? Now that would be a blog). Their mom Janice, one of my good friends from school, was showing off all their adorable baby photos when something caught my eye. In one photo, they all had their diapers held on by duct tape. Hello jackpot! That night I had Matt bring in the duct tape and I reinforced that little Houdini's diaper like nobody's business. I imagine he spent half the night trying to work that bad boy off, but to no avail.


It took a pair of Connor's safety scissors to get him out of it the next morning, but it was one heck of a victory for Mom.

Final score: Mom 01-Kids 1000

I'm totally gaining on them!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tonight's secret ingredient is.....I can't remember.

I love the Food Network. I mean, I really love it. Without a doubt, it is my favorite channel and I can turn it on at just about any time of day and be mesmerized for hours.

Paula, Bobby, Ina and the rest of the gang are some of my dearest friends, they just don't know it. Many a time, I will be telling Matt what he believes to be a boring teacher story and he will interrupt to say, "Wait a minute, is this a Food Network story?" Then, I've lost him completely. He ranks Food Network stories lower than teacher stories.

When Matt and I were newlyweds, I was a recent graduate and didn't have a job yet and to be perfectly honest, most of my "job hunting" entailed emailing out resumes while watching Food Network and Dr. Phil. I would spend hours watching my favorites whip up different recipes, then in the afternoons (after Dr. Phil) I would go to the grocery store and buy all the ingredients to make a fabulous dinner. It was impulsive and madcap and we had never eaten better. But, it couldn't last. Matt finally set me down and highly "encouraged" me to get a job. He was gaining weight from all the rich, luxurious food and more importantly, he was sick and tired of being psychoanalyzed by his wife based on what she had learned from that day's episode of Dr. Phil (who he strongly believes might have earned his doctorate online or from a third world country).

Now fast forward six years. I still love to cook, but the quality of my culinary endeavors has been on the decline. On paper, it makes no sense. Based on the countless hours of avid Food Network viewership, I have amassed enough knowledge to earn an honorary degree from Le Cordon Bleu. In fact, I even say the word culinary like a professional. "Cool-in-ary" It all just falls apart in the practicum and I know exactly why, my children have stricken me with a severe form of ADD. I cannot finish a grocery list, let alone an entire meal without 20 distractions.

When Matt is home during dinner prep time, he is in charge of keeping the natives entertained, namely Hudson. This sometimes works. This week, for example, Matt and Hud were hanging out in the playroom while Connor was drawing on the back porch with sidewalk chalk. All was good. After a few minutes though, Connor started coming in and asking Matt to help him with something outside. Matt agreed and all three boys went out back to trace a chalk outline of Kenny. (??) While his Daddy was distracted, little man decided to sneak back into the house and had taken all the knobs off my stove and hid them in the pantry while my back was turned unloading the dishwasher. It took me 15 minutes to find those stupid knobs because he is an exceptionally good hider. It amazed me that in that short amount of time my sons could turn the back porch into a crime scene and render my stove useless. When Matt isn't home to be a buffer, things are so much worse. I am so distracted, it is a miracle we eat at all. One evening, I made a homemade apple pie from scratch, it came out of the oven looking delicious. We were so giddy with excitement that we danced around the kitchen while Hudson yelled, "Eaaattt!" Our bubble of happiness was quickly deflated, however, when we discovered I had left out one essential ingredient, sugar. That little slip up is enough to make a Barefoot Contessa throw on her shoes and head home.

So, I am just going to keep watching the Food Network, after all they are certainly not to blame. I will be anxiously awaiting the day when my mommy ADD wears off, I just pray that it isn't permanent. On a good note, my crock pot is really earning it's keep, at least when I remember to turn it on.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

She ain't heavy, she's my cousin



When my brothers and I were growing up we spent a lot of time, especially in the summer, with our cousins. Even though they were not always our most geographically close friends, we had some of our best times with them and still do as adults. So when Connor was two and a half and I was pregnant with Hudson, we were excited to find out that the boys would be getting a cousin of their very own. This was a big deal to me, because I wanted my boys to have the same connection to family that I did and for a while I was a little worried that they were going to spend a big chunk of their childhood cousin-less.

So, just 10 weeks before Hudson arrived we had a little girl make her grand entrance into our family. I was so excited that they would be so close in age and I just knew that they were going to be the best of pals. Once Marlee arrived, someone was immediately smitten and that someone was Connor Zeke Hill. He was already in high anticipation mode for his own baby and he was giddy with excitement about Miss Marlee Van. He immediately decreed that she was his sister. He knew that he was getting a brother and this is the closest we had ever come to a baby girl, so that was the conclusion he came to and for quite a while there was no convincing him otherwise. He just loved on her and she was great practice for him to get ready for Hud's arrival. But I still just knew that once Marlee and Hudson were toddlers, they would gravitate to one another because of their ages and placement as the babies of the family. Well, that hasn't exactly happened.

Marlee and Connor are best buds. She is absolutely crazy about him and he is just as in love with her. Guess who is the odd man out? It was pretty clear early on that Connor and Marlee have very compatible personalities, despite their age difference. Marlee is very smart and can really keep up with her big cousin. She was an early talker and has a great vocabulary that is easy to understand. Hud, while also very smart, talks like a little caveman. As the baby of the family, he has no real need to talk, Connor does it for him. "Mommy, Mushy would like a sandwich." or "Mushy feels like he needs two hugs and a diaper." It became pretty obvious that Hudson's role in this trio would be as lookout to cover for whatever schemes Marlee and Connor come up with. I think he is okay with this as we often refer to Hudson as a "party of one." He is always pretty happy and can find plenty of trouble on his own.

Marlee is hilarious. She is such a smart, sassy little thing. I love that she is a total girly girl despite Cullin's efforts to butch her up. She loves to have her hair up in rollers and several times I have seen her fake shaving her legs in the bathtub. She is obviously way more mature than Mushy :)

I am not too worried about Hud though, he has another cousin to try and win over, Marlee's little brother Blu. Now every baby we see, Hudson calls, "My Bu?" in a really sweet and hopeful voice. I am keeping hope alive that Blu won't be totally turned off by Hudson's sweet habit of over loving and accidental squishing. I am determined to find that kid a blood relative best friend! I am just going to put it out there that if I can't convince my niece or nephew to be Hudson's friend, someone is going to have to pop out another candidate and it's not going to be me.
I'm just sayin'.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

That Elusive Miss X (Chromosome)

One of the most common questions I hear from people is, "So are you guys going to try for a girl?" I find this hilarious for several reasons, but before I get into all that, let me first just say that it never bothers me. It is totally something I have said many times myself, sometimes to complete strangers. It is just an irresistible statement that possesses even the most logical and level headed of people.

First of all, the implication that you can try for a particular gender really amuses me. I think this is due in part to the fact that I often have the same sense of humor as an adolescent boy halfway down his road to manhood. I know that the nice people that say this to us are not really implying a literal meaning, but could you imagine if that was really how it worked? Um, yes. I'd like to order a baby girl please. I decided to give my sweet husband a hard time the last time we heard this together. We were at a Hill family get together and one of his extended family members asked that magic question, "So are y'all going to try for a girl?"Before Matt could give our usual lengthy and eloquent response of, "No," I turned to him and said, "Now wait just a minute. Are you telling me that you weren't even trying for a girl last time? I am shocked and a little hurt because you promised that you were going to bring your girl baby, A game. Thanks to you Matt, I am now outnumbered 3 to 1! You owe me a girl!"
At the time I thought this was hilarious and in retrospect, I still do. Matt was not as amused.

The second thing that completely baffles me about this question: Who in their right mind sees me and my children, out and about, maybe shopping or playing at the park and thinks to themselves, "You know there is something missing from this picture, I just can't put my finger on it." I imagine that they closely observe my four year old who knows everything and rarely shuts his mouth, and my one year old who could scale an 8 foot fence without blinking an eye. Then the epiphany will hit! They will exclaim,"I know what that attractive, intelligent woman is missing..... it's another child!" Insert my hysterical laughter here. I do not know what causes strangers in public to assume that I could handle another kid, except maybe the same morbid fascination that causes people to slow down to look at automobile accidents. Let me just put it out there, the Hill family is not adding anymore family members, male, female or otherwise. As much as I love my sons, and I really do, I strongly believe that the addition of another baby (which would undoubtedly be a boy) to the mix of our family might be the proverbial straw that severs my often fragile connection to order, control and sanity.

Plus, I think people underestimate the responsibility of caring for the imaginary members of our family. Why, just the other night I had to give an imaginary lecture and spanking to Kenny because he said a word so bad that Connor wouldn't even dare repeat it (Thank God).
The whole deal was highly weird and exhausting.

So I get my little girl fix from my niece Marlee, a smart, sassy little princess who I am secretly training to be exactly like her Auntie M. Insert maniacal laughter here. In the meantime, while I wait for her to grow old enough to help me achieve world domination, I guess I will just take my chances and keep floating around in all the testosterone, keeping my fingers crossed that one day I will wash up on a beach in Fiji.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Shot through the heart

I have had a motherhood first that has temporarily devastated me, Connor got mad and told me he didn't love me. Not only did he tell me he didn't love me he also said he really meant it. Sigh, this is a really tough pill to swallow.

The incident happened under semi-crisis circumstances. Finally at four years old, I have figured out that Connor is a big time gagger. If he gets into a major coughing fit, it almost always ends with him throwing up. There is nothing wrong with his stomach and the doctor finally straight up told me, "It is unnecessary to bring your son in here every time he throws up, he is fine. However, I am slightly concerned about you." I'm not quite sure what he meant by that, but I think it boils down to our real "jokey" relationship (the man has never once cracked a smile at my seemingly irresistible wit and charm). So with this history, I have now made Connor into quite the paranoid cougher. If it is more than a simple throat clearing, I have trained him to race to the toilet in case the urge to vomit strikes. I am sure that during cold and flu season, this little habit, along with the fact that his build makes a toothpick look obese, is really going to help him make friends at school.

So last night, from his bedroom, I heard the warning signs. A tell tale cough. It was around midnight and I let him have a couple of minutes to get over it on his own, but he didn't and so I hopped up and raced into his room because I knew the inevitable crescendo we were building up to was close at hand. I desperately did not want to change his sheets and go through that whole production so I yanked him out of bed and rushed him into the bathroom. He stood there for a few minutes, still coughing, and as I suspected threw up. I was now feeling pretty proud of my mothering skills, I had averted a major crisis. Connor was still about 80% asleep, so I brushed his teeth and got him ready to go back to bed, but he was still having some occasional coughing. So I made the executive decision get him some cough medicine. That is when all hell broke loose. For some reason on this particular night and in this particular mood he decided that he was vehemently against cough medicine. He was very vocal about this with me. I was totally surprised because I rarely ever give either of my boys any medication and so when I do, they usually act like they are getting some kind of reward ( Note, I didn't say we reward them with drugs, they just really enjoy it :). He completely and irrationally freaked and I ended up having to force the medicine down his throat while his dad held him down. It was totally bizarre and lasted all of one minute. After the hated medicine had been administered I started tucking him back in and he, still crying, told me that he didn't love me anymore. I thought surely that I had heard him wrong and said, "Excuse me?" Now in a much louder and clearer voice he said, "I said, I don't love you and I weally mean it."

What??? How could this be? I am his favorite parent! (Chill out Matt, we both know it's true). Here is the thing, my logical side was telling me that this happens with kids all the time (I can sense your head nodding, Mom) but it has never come out of my sweet little man's mouth before.

This part of motherhood really sucks. I am used to being the comforter. With both my kids, when they get in trouble and they do a lot, both as a team and as independent operators, they will be super upset while serving their time and then immediately come to me for comfort as soon as they are released, even though I was the warden administering their punishment. It took me awhile, when Connor was a toddler, to wrap my brain around this. They were loving me unconditionally because I was loving them unconditionally even through discipline. As adults it is so easy to hold grudges and hurt feelings against people when we believed we have been wronged but I have witnessed through my own kids that we are not born with this ability. This little incident with Connor ( which I have thought about incessantly) just felt like a glimpse into the future, a future where I am not always going to be the person who knows all the answers ( he already knows more about space than I do) and where he is going to be mad at me and I won't be able to make him feel immediately better just because I'm his mom and I am awesome (which I kind of am). I know my days of healing owies with kisses and hurt feelings with hugs are numbered and that has totally bummed me out.

So in conclusion, as most of you experienced moms probably already guessed, he didn't remember any of this in the morning. But I sure did . I even wrote it in his baby book "Age four: told mother he didn't love her and really meant it."
Hey, just because I love my boys unconditionally doesn't mean I am above administering a little mother guilt down the road and I am positive this little gem will be making an appearance during someone's tumultuous teenage years.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Good Morning, Please stop riding our dog.

I am admittedly not the most organized person in the world, but I think I do a fairly good job of seeing the big picture when it comes to getting the family out the door on weekday mornings. I generally know the night before what I am going to wear, what the boys are going to wear (Matt's on his own) and what our schedule for the day will look like. I wake up with plenty of time to get everyone ready, out the door and on the road without feeling the pressure of having 22 fourth graders sitting outside a locked classroom door waiting for their teacher to arrive at a dead run. That is the theory at least, the reality doesn't always go so smoothly.

I have thought long and hard on this subject and I think I have finally been able to root out the singular source for all of our early morning chaos: My kids wake up. Once those two pairs of eyes open, it all goes south in a big way.

Take this morning for example, it was our first day back after a glorious spring break. I really had my organizational game face on last night, packing my lunch and ironing my clothes (and by iron I mean put in the dryer). The problems always start when one or both of my sons wake up earlier than planned and I am not personally completely ready for the day. Hud is an awesome sleeper, but in the early light of dawn, he is easily awakened. Matt, bless his heart, has leaving the house down to a science. He is like a cat burglar, shoes in hand, literally tip- toeing past Hudson's bed room. That kid can hear a dog sneeze 3 blocks away and will shoot up in his crib and yell out, "Hi??" If this happens before 6:45 a.m. I am completely screwed. In the time it takes me to finish blow drying my hair, he can have both bathtubs upstairs running, an entire roll of toilet paper unspooled and at least one new bruise that I can't account for. This morning, he fell off of my bed while attempting to ride our dog...naked. The only solution I have found that works for containment is to turn the dryer setting to cool, hold him in my arms while I dry my hair and endure him holding both my cheeks in his hands while yelling, "Hot?" "Hot?"

Connor has two early morning extremes. On some mornings he is almost impossible to wake up. He gets this from his father. More times than I can count, I have dressed him like a little ragdoll, brushed his teeth and propped him up next to the toilet, all while he is unconcious. I have to say that I prefer narcoleptic Connor to his other morning personality. If he wakes up early, he springs into what I call morning project mode. He will all of a sudden remember 47 things that absolutely have to be done before we can go to school. This morning, after being out of my direct line of sight for approximately 10 minutes, he had made six peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (cut with the dinosaur sandwich cutter) that we now have to eat for dinner and packed his rolling suitcase with two puzzles, a rolling pin and several books on space for Kenny to play with all day in the car while I am at work. Yes, alert CPS, we leave our invisible child locked in the car all day while I go to work. As he has recently turned 17, Connor deemed him too old for Ms. Karen's and my elementary school and he has apparently been laid off from his part time job at the donut shop. Although, as I am typing this, the thought has occured to me that with the addition of the rolling pin to the activity suitcase, Kenny might be planning some kind of escape.

So as you can see from this one example of insanity, it is a stone cold miracle that I arrive at work before lunch.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Dechup!



As a new,first time Mom with Connor, I had a lot of big ideas and had a lot of things set in my mind that I was absolutely not going to do. After all, I was so full of knowledge and experienced with raising children. Right. I was one of those people that secretly frowned on other parents in public for "allowing" their children to throw fits or run wild, toddlers using pacifiers and downing happy meals. I was positive that I would do a much better job at handling my child and as Matt likes to say, my number one skills are talking smack with nothing to back it up and believing that I know everything, so I figured I was prepared :)


One of my pre-parenting pet peeves was when kids would refuse to eat anything unless it was drowned in ketchup. I can't exactly say why this bothered me so much but it really did. I made a big stand on this issue and decided the only way to combat it was to allow Connor to never eat ketchup. I figure, if he didn't know what he was missing, it wouldn't be a big deal. Well let me tell you, that little plan worked. To this day, he still doesn't care if he has ketchup and in fact, is not a fan of most condiments or sauces. It got pretty bad for a while though, he started to freak out if he thought he was being served a sauce. I distinctly remember him at two squealing in panic when served green beans, yelling out, "Is that sauce or bean juice? Sauce or Juice??" So I backed off a little after that.




Cut to my second child. I assumed that I would be following the same no ketchup plan with Hudson, since it was obviously so successful with his older brother. It isn't going quite as well. Problem the first, I was able to keep Connor fairly isolated from the temptation of ketchup. However, now that Hud is going to school with Connor and he is the little fish in a big pond, ketchup is available at lunch for any big kid interested. And boy is he interested. He loves it so much that he quickly learned to say the word in order to be clearly understood when he demands it. "Dechup!" I hear this dramatic cry constantly. My one year old is in love with detchup. He has become the child I couldn't stand when I was a childless, self important, know it all. He wants it on everything and not just a little, a lot. He has perfected his dipping hand position and sometimes when he is in his high chair waiting to be served, I will catch him "air dipping" in practice.




It doesn't stop there though, he has decided to refer to all condiments as "detchup." This includes, but is not limited to: syrup, jellies, peanut butter and salad dressing. It has become a one word symbol for all things culinary that he loves. He also likes to lick off all the detchup (jelly, syrup, whatever) and then yell out, "Mo detchup!" When I remind him that he isn't a cave man that turns into, "Mo detchup peas!" Sometimes he doesn't even want it all that much, like in the video with his pancakes (by the way, I don't normally serve ketchup with pancakes, he just wanted it and I thought it was cute.) But he always likes to have it nearby, in case of a detchup emergency.




All in all, I have had to chalk this up as small stuff that I really shouldn't sweat. It drives me kind of crazy and I feel like we are about one bare foot trip to wal-mart away from being "that" family, but the look of pure happiness in his eyes when he sees that bottle of tomatoey deliciousness makes it pretty much worth it, plus he is just adorable when he says, "Detchup!"

video

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Straight up: Caught in a hit and run

Well today was interesting. Matt had to work, so the boys and I were out and about doing some early morning shopping. It was so nice because the weather was gorgeous and it gave us a little glimpse into the upcoming summer when all we do all day, everyday is look for adventure. As we were leaving Firewheel mall, we stopped at a red light, preparing to turn right. All of a sudden we get vigorously bumped from behind. I look in the rearview mirror and see a man and a woman in an SUV behind us. It obviously wasn't a major hit, but it did rock our car and we were definitely taken by surprise. So, I put on my hazards and prepared to turn and pull over so we could get out and discuss this man's transgression. But, no. All of a sudden, even though the light was still red, the guy whips around me and takes off! We were suddenly victims of a hit and run, in front of Macy's of all places, the patron saint of retail!

I was now filled with a rage (some might refer to it as road rage) and I made the clear and level headed decision to follow this vehicle. I had to tell Connor to cool it with the commentary about what he was feeling as our car was "wrecked into by that mean car" so I could focus in on tracking this man down. We followed him for ten solid minutes back into Rowlett and into the Home Depot parking lot, I didn't have a real plan yet as this was not one of my most forward thinking moments. But now this was quickly turning into a life lesson for my children about doing the right thing, so I had to follow through. I whip into a spot near the perp's car and I turned around and told Connor that under no circumstances was he to unlock the door or roll down the window for any reason at all because Mommy had to go out and deal with this man. He solemnly agreed and leaned over and told his brother, "Mushy, you are NOT allowed to get out of your carseat and drive the car". Normally that comment might have given me pause, but I didn't have the time because I noticed Mr. Sunvisor was out of his car and about to head into the store.

I hopped out and went over and very pleasantly said, "Excuse me, but you hit my car back at that red light and I need you insurance information." It was all very nice and casual, I didn't even take off my sunglasses. He then replied, "No I didn't." Oh Sunvisor, wrong answer. So then I was forced to take off my sunglasses and change my tone. I said, "Well my bumper is dented and if you didn't hit me then why did you feel the need to swerve around me in the lane and run a red light to get away?" He still refused to give me the insurance info, so I decided to pull out my big guns and said, "Well if you refuse to give me your info, you should know that I have already taken a picture of your license plate and also of your face (which was a total bluff), so I will be reporting you." We then were at a stand off, in the silence I heard some background noise which I quickly recognized to be my children's voices yelling through the window. In my mind I was willing them to be quiet (which never works by the way) so as I stared this jerk down I had to listen to the sound of my two freakishly friendly kids yelling out "Hi!" "Hi" "Hello sir!" I didn't turn to look first of all, because I didn't want to break eye contact and therefore lose my position of power and second, I didn't need to look because I already knew without a shadow of a doubt that they were waving and smiling. Finally he grudgingly agreed to give me his insurance and while he was fishing it out of his wallet I decided to push my luck and say,"You know, the decent thing to do would have been to stop, apologize and ask if we were okay. Obviously I have two little boys in my car and it scared them." No response from the Sunvisor, so in my final passive aggressive act I suddenly realized that I didn't have a pen or paper with me so I would have to type in all of his information into the notes section of my iPhone. Very slowly.
I felt so much better when I got back into the car. As soon as we left the parking lot, Connor asked, "Mommy did we deal with him?"
Yes son, I think he felt dealt with.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Where it's at: I got two turn tables and a microphone















As my boys are getting older, I love seeing how their personalities develop. Even though Hudson wants to do everything just like his big Bubby, as he's racing toward his second birthday, we are really starting to notice some uniquely "Hudson" personality traits and they crack us up.

For example, music. Every fiber of Hudson's being loves music. Connor always enjoyed it as a toddler and now has a good time singing in his little church choir, but it's pretty easy to see that it is not one of his great passions. Those are geared more toward reading, performing and imaginative play. Hudson hears a song with his ears and feels it all the way down to his toes. Not only does he love to listen to music but he also loves to sing. We discovered this when he started using household items such as my hairbrush, the wand attachment to the vacuum and once, our dumbest dog's tail as a microphone. He has quite the repertoire of what we call the Mushy top 40. One might think that a one year old with a fairly small vocabulary might not have a wide range of musical numbers, but one would be wrong.

There is of course the classic starring his favorite word "Hi." You would be shocked at how long a kid can stretch out the word, "Hiiiiiiiiiiii," in a falsetto worthy of Michael Jackson. He also has a R&B remix of this song, in which he drops his voice 10 octaves and yells out, "Helllooooooo", repeatedly in different tones and volumes. Versatility is his middle name. Some of his other songs are what I like to refer to his as his power ballads, kind of one word dedications to the things he loves most in the world. The boxed set of these will include, "Cuuuuuuuuuuuupp," "Doooooooooggg," and my personal favorite, "Eaaaaaaattttttt!"

So this last Christmas, Matt and I lifted the embargo on battery powered toys in order to buy one "machine" for each of our boys. Connor got his beloved train set and Hud got a one man DJ station featuring a keyboard, turntables and you guessed it, a microphone. Needless to say it was a hit. Now he can not only sing to his heart's content on a "real" microphone, which he prefers to place directly inside his mouth, but he can also accompany himself on the piano or choose from one of the preset rhythms. His favorite is the techno beat. Sometimes we feel like we are only a couple of glow sticks away from a full on '90's rave featuring DJ Dribbles.

Since I have gone off on such a tangent about his singing ability I will have to leave dancing for another post on another day. Let's just say that in keeping with the white boy stereotype, Hudson's moves are almost entirely confined to his head and we have learned to either steer him clear of walls and corners or slap a helmet on his head.

The kid has some mad skills. (or would that be skillz)?

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Eager Greeters


My kids are natural born greeters. They have rarely come upon a stranger that they do not want to say "hi" to. This is especially true for Hudson.

Once again, this is just another way that children differ from me. Don't get me wrong, I consider myself to be a friendly person....to my friends. I can't even think of the last time that I just randomly greeted a stranger. Hudson won't have that problem, in fact during our afternoon shopping trip yesterday I counted 27 separate "hi's". That is not even including repeat greetings. Once it became apparent that this would not be a fleeting phase, I started to feel slightly uncomfortable with the overfriendly greetings. I felt like he was invading people's privacy zones and I really enjoy my own area of personal space and privacy. So I started to find myself apologizing to strangers because my kids can't resist saying hello to them. He is a very persistent little boy. If his initial greeting is ignored, he looks perplexed, thinks about it and decides that they must not have heard him. He remedies this with an even bigger smile and a much louder "hi". So finally yesterday around Hi 18, I decided that my hang up about the overeager greeter was exactly that... my hang up and not his.
My mom tells me that as a little kid, I was not the warmest of children (don't be shocked). I was very selective about who I smiled at and they really had to earn it. While I don't think that there is anything wrong with that, it has however, made me feel unprepared to handle two kids at the opposite end of that friendliness spectrum.

I am amazed at my boys' ability to bring joy to complete strangers. I defy anyone to resist the charm of a blissfully happy toddler yelling, "Hi!" to you. Old, young, short, tall, human or mannequin, everyone gets the same loving greeting. It really transcends all language barriers, so far I have noticed that we have greeted and gotten responses from people speaking, Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean and what I believed to be Romanian. He is like a tiny one man United Nations. They just cannot resist that perma-grin and little high pitched voice. The boys go every week on a field trip with Ms. Karen to the assisted living facility. This is one of the highlights of Connor's week, he loves to visit the "wesidents" and according to Connor, little man is the life of the party. I'm sure he thinks he is in heaven with all those grandmas and grandpas to greet and love on.

Over the last couple of months, I have tried to really pay attention to the public's reaction to these joyous greetings and sure, there are some grumps out there that really go out of their way to ignore the happy hi and that's okay. We will wear you down eventually :) These are not boys that are easily discouraged. I am always surprised by how many harried, stressed and unhappy looking shoppers walk away from a brief encounter with my boys with a totally different expression on their face. Sometimes confusion, sometimes amusement but almost always a smile. As most things in motherhood do, it took me a while but I finally got it. My boys have the spiritual gift of friendliness and that is a wonderful thing, especially since their mother doesn't. So while I am still searching for what my gift might be, I get to learn from watching my sons use theirs every day.

So if you happen to wander into our favorite local donut shop (which we believe we own) on a Saturday morning, there is a good chance you will be greeted by our favorite Vietnamese donut makers and their two blond "honorary sons" wearing paper hats and working the counter handing out "Hi's" and donut holes in equal measure. Most definitely service with a smile :)