neither here nor there

The air, the hair.
All I ever want to do is talk about the Boy. We packed up our Delaware apartment, traveled 900 miles cross country, and settled into a grand new place, and Jason has just finished his first official week of professor-ing, and yet all I want to write about is Lucas and the minutiae of his days. Everything about him is notable and wonderful and hilarious and worthy of being yammered about. In my opinion. Pre-Lucas, I was a bit of a bore when it came to conversations and socializing. Post-Lucas, I am most likely an even bigger bore when it comes to conversations and socializing, unless the topic is Lucas and then I will jabber until the cow comes home [and yes, I mean Lucas's stuffed cow that resembles a giant soccer ball and moos pitifully if you step on his left hoof]. Yes, I am one of those parents. Unashamed. My kid is that awesome. But, I suppose I should touch on a few non-Lucas things before I get pulled into the never ending whirlpool of life with munchkin. Cue the bullet points!
  • Due to rather unprofessional dealings on the part of the moving truck company we used, our moving day was unexpectedly moved up a day. This led to an abrupt end to our packing procrastination and Jason became Super[packing]man for 24 hours. It was a sight to behold. I did my part which mostly consisted of telling Lucas, "No, don't eat that dust blob." We're a great team. Due to Jason's heroic efforts, we were completely moved out of our apartment with seven minutes to spare. Our last night there was spent pretty similarly to the very first night we moved in five years ago: Sleeping on the floor of an empty living room with an open-weave blanket. It was perfect. 
  • We planned our cross-country trek to perfectly coincide with Lucas's daily schedule, which led to a pretty stress free [read: cry free] road trip. However, while our stops in Ohio and Indiana were timed well to ensure getting to the hotel in time for dinner and Lucas's bedtime, we did not put much consideration into the town the hotel was located in. And because of this, we ended up staying the first night in some Ohio town [if you could call it that?] that had no easily accessible grocery stores or dinner options other than a gas station Quiznos and whose hotel requested that you use their boot covers and boot scrapers before entering the building. [Note: Boot scrapers are not effective on flip flops.] Also, if you didn't own a pickup truck and/or a hard hat, you stuck out like a sore thumb. So, we were just three sore thumbs who were tired and hungry and lacking boots, dirty or otherwise.
  • Missouri greeted us with humidity you could slice through and swarms of weirdly tiny mosquitoes. I would have preferred a bucket of cherries and maybe an ice cream cake or two. Hear me, Missouri? Are you listening? CHERRIES.
  • Our new apartment suits us. It has many a perk, only a handful of "Hm, I wouldn't mind that being different," and ceiling fans. Perks are as follows:
    • Mail slot in front door. I, for whatever reason, have always wanted this. [Come to think about it, there are more items on my bucket list having to do with mail delivery than one would expect from someone who receives 6.4 pieces of personal mail a month (and yes, my USAA policy update counts as personal mail)...] I want to place our bin for recyclables underneath the slot so those annoying weekly coupon flyers are just immediately recycled. I want to figure out the mailman's schedule so Lucas and I can peer out the mail slot forlornly four days a week when he doesn't have any mail for us. I want to sit on our front steps, collect the mail from the mailman in person, and then turn around and schloop it through the mail slot piece by piece myself. So many plans.
    • Kitchen cabinets and drawers for days. No longer do I have to reach into a dark, overcrowded cabinet stuffed with our seasonings and spices and hope, hope, hope I pull out the cinnamon and not the cumin. Because, face it, people, cumin oatmeal is just not the best part of waking up. I now have two drawers filled with all of our seasonings! It's excellent. As for cabinet space, my Pyrex and other baking dishes are now on a shelf that I can reach without Jason's help or climbing on top of the counters. Fantastic.
    • Mario and Luigi survived [fingers still a little crossed] the trip in the moving truck and are now placed outside our front door. They look happy and get a lot more sun than they did on our patio in Delaware. Plus, they can now squirrel watch to their little leaves' content.
    • Ceiling fans. Ceiling fans. Ceiling fans.
  • Have you ever packed up all of your belongings inside a truck and wondered, "What if something happens and all of those things somehow disappear?" Well, we got to momentarily experience such a situation. The big truck pulled up in front of our new home to unload, opened its giant door, and... it was absolutely and completely empty. In case you were wondering, it's not the best feeling. Thankfully it was just another case of this moving truck company's incompetency and not because our stuff had mysteriously been stolen by a herd of moose somewhere between Delaware and Missouri. Whew.
  • Jason has finished his first week as Dr. Jason Vermette at MBU. Syllabi and lesson plans and calendar-ing have filled his days. Finally teaching something other than Calc 1 and 2 is pleasing to him, I think.
  • We are already frequenting the library. Kudos to their nifty self-checkout system. I needed this technology back when I was 12 and too shy to talk to the librarians. Seventeen years too late, library world! *shakes fist*
  • Sometime between unpacking our wall clock and finally getting around to hanging it up on the wall, the battery died. And we don't know where our extra batteries are. And we are particularly opposed to buying new batteries ever. So, in case you wanted to know, it is always exactly 3:44 in our living room. 
Ok, surely that's enough non-Lucas stuff to balance out this post, right? Now, if any of our five readers are of the "parents who talk about their kids all the time are annoying" opinion, this is your opportunity to stop reading. Go on, no offense will be taken. Go, shoo. Quickly now as I am about to Lucas-ify this whole thing.


Ok. Here goes. 

Lucas is incredible. I am pretty sure if the world were filled with Lucases, the world would be much funnier, healthier, and more drool-filled. My days literally consist of playing with Lucas, feeding Lucas, napping while Lucas naps, and saving the cat from Lucas. A few loads of dishes and laundry are sometimes thrown in there. It's a pretty nice gig. 

Sigh, I just became overwhelmed with everything that I wanted to say about the Boy and am fighting the urge to just overload this post with pictures of Lucas instead of words about Lucas.

The boy with the beat.
Lucas loves to eat. He is one of those human garbage disposal eaters. I had no idea this was a phase that could start even before his first birthday. He just eats and eats and eats. The kid still nurses every 2-3 hours during the day [no complaints here]. He shovels in yellow squash and broccoli like it's syrup-covered pancakes. He skillfully downs tofu cube after tofu cube, even when I offer them to him via chopsticks [he is an a-DOR-able chopstick-feeder Asian. seriously, it's ridiculous]. If you hand him a cheerio, he will deliberately place it between his front chompers and crunch down, every single time. That tiny little crunch is magnificent, every single time. We have reached the point where we cannot eat a meal without him waddling over, his tiny feet smack-smack-smacking against the floor, and asking for food. And don't even mention the word milk unless you're ready to fend off a very handsy 11-month-old. To round off his well-rounded diet and to further solidify his status as Human Garbage Disposal, Lucas loves to eat garbage. It can be cardboard, cat fur, strands of my hair he scrapes off the carpet, shoes, anything delectable he can lick off the stroller wheels, paint chips, grass, anything he can salvage from the bathroom trash can, tiny flecks of unrecognizable something from underneath the couch... You name it - if it is dirty, inedible, or not fit for a rodent, Lucas wants it in his mouth.

Story time: Lucas [luckily] has a very distinctive movement of his mouth whenever he's busy mulling over something he shouldn't be eating. It is one of those special safeguards God installed in young children so you know immediately that a prompt finger swipe of their mouth is needed. Oh so many finger swipes are needed... Anyway, upon seeing his little lips clamped tightly shut and his jaw methodically working back and forth, I swooped in for a swipe. In went my finger and out came... a stalk of broccoli? He had eaten lunch about an hour earlier and did indeed have broccoli, but he had definitely just been exhibiting his I Have Delicious Inedibles face, not his broccoli face. I asked Jason to finger swipe him and Lo and Behold! out comes some styrofoam. Little sneak. He thought he could fool us by relinquishing his broccoli stalk so he could keep his styrofoam. But we're too smart for him. And our fingers are too invasive. Better luck next time, little champ.

Cat and Boy are Friends-ish.
Lucas loves to look at books. I love to read him books. We make a good team. We order dozens of books online, pick them up from the library, and then it's like Christmas for the both of us. I am not ashamed to admit that on more than one occasion I found myself wanting to skip ahead to the end of the 16-page book to see what happens. But I resist. Most of the time. He loves books about cats, books that have flaps, books that mention Tweedle Beetles, and books about bears losing their hats [I do not think I can say enough good things about Jon Klassen's I Want My Hat Back and This is Not My Hat. Absolutely hilarious books.]. Is it weird or terrible or inappropriate to have my list of favorite books slowly but surely coming to include a good number of picture books? Really though, I could read some of these books over and over and over again, even if I didn't have my captive audience of one rocking back and forth, toe-monsching, page-turning little boy. 

Lucas loves to play with a whole assortment of different things. Some favorites are:
  • Puma.
  • Me.
  • Jason.
  • His stuffed animals. Quietly opening his bedroom door and watching him play with his moose, elephant, fox, and hedgepig friends when he wakes up from his naps is priceless. Usually they all seem to get along grandly, but the other day I witnessed Little Critter being threateningly dangled by his mess of hair over the edge of the crib right above an already cast aside Eddie the Elephant. It was Lucas's first time to throw one of his friends outside the crib. I am afraid it will not be the last.
  • Things with moving parts.
  • Things with wheels.
  • Jason's keyboard. He especially likes to spin the dials so that the keys sound like explosions. Out of almost 500 sounds to choose from, I have no idea how he so often ends on explosions.
  • Uno cards. The blue 3 and the yellow 6 have been retired from duty. RIP.
  • Anything we don't want him to play with, like phones and wires and the television remote.
Lucas loves to climb on a whole assortment of different things. Some favorites are:
  • Puma.
  • Me.
  • Jason.
  • His stuffed animals.
  • Things with moving parts.
  • Really anything that will make him even a centimeter taller. Once, he put Jason's checkbook on the floor and then stepped on it in the hopes of reaching something previously out of his reach. He was sorely disappointed. 
Lucas is learning so many things these days. One of my constant struggles is deciding whether Lucas is a baby or a toddler, especially when it comes to knowing how to address various behavioral things. Is he a baby who is just acting like a baby or is he a toddler who needs to know there are boundaries he is expected to learn? Is he being stubborn or does he just not understand what is being asked of him? Being eleven months is a tricky age. He shows so much awareness and intelligence and understanding, but then he still can't make heads or tails out of how to make a food-filled spoon land in his mouth.

However, in the midst of all the whining for things he can't have and the fussing about things he doesn't want, there are so many more moments of sheer joy. They far, far outweigh the fussiness [though those 10 minutes of trying to get him into his pajamas every night make it awfully easy to forget his shrieks of laughter about you pretending to burp just moments ago]. He is truly becoming a tiny little individual. With each new skill he learns, whether it's how to wave or how to walk or how to gently pet the cat [ok, so he's still working on that one...], he seems more and more grown up.

Story time Part 2: Lucas has an obsession with tissues and toilet paper. He loves the stuff. He loves to unroll it, pull it from the box, rip it in pieces, and, of course, eat it. I think if you just set him in a room with rolls of toilet paper, open boxes of tissue, and maybe a thing or two of paper towels just to keep things interesting, he would be set for a full hour. Or three. However, as you might guess, this destruction of paper goods isn't the most pleasing pastime for the parents. Cute as it is, watching him rip and slobber on the last three sheets of toilet paper that you were just going to use [forcing you to awkwardly sit there wondering whether any of his scraps are salvageable] is a bit problematic, not to mention potentially costly.

So what's a mom to do? How do you manage to wrangle from him all of the tissues and toilet paper that he is trying to eat? The idiom "like taking candy from a baby" most definitely does not apply in this situation; in fact, I would like to make a motion that the phrase "like taking toilet paper from a baby" should be officially instituted as the direct phrasal opposite. If I try to take the tissue from him, he either cries like his cat died or immediately starts stuffing it in his mouth as fast as he can. Neither situation is acceptable. So, the following is what we now do:

I hold out my hand: "Lucas, may I have that please?"
Lucas holds up his fistful of paper, looks at it, looks at me, looks back at it, continues playing.
Still holding out my hand: "Lucas, may I have that please?"
Lucas holds up his fistful of paper, looks at it, looks at me, looks at it, and then rips the tissue into two and places the bigger piece [which is always in his right hand] in my palm. Continues playing.
I quickly hide the piece he gave me and offer him my other hand: "Aw, thank you. Lucas, may I have that please?"
He considers the request, takes his remaining [now much smaller] piece of tissue in both hands, rips it in half, and hands me the bigger piece.
This continues four or five times until he has just the tiniest scrap of tissue left.
I hold my hand out once more: "Lucas, may I have that please?"
Lucas looks at his fist, the last remaining bit of tissue just barely visible between his fingers, looks at me, looks at his fist, and then promptly shoves it as far into his mouth as he can.
And then it's finger swipe time.

The finger-swiped remnant was too gross to be included.
This is a regular occurrence. It's awesome and hilarious and oddly pleasing. Even though the paper is never usable by the time our "game" is over, I always feel like such a successful parent by the time we get down to that last tiny scrap. Maybe I have low standards, I don't know. I just immensely enjoy feeling like I made some kind of intelligent/behavioral connection with this tiny person. He's the best.

So, that's that. I believe I have covered a little of everything. It just barely scratches the surface, but it will have to do for now. I should blog more often. Perhaps then my posts wouldn't be such a spewed out explosion of words and thoughts. Ha. Good luck, me.

Oh, one last mentionable... I wasn't sure if this belonged in the non-Lucas section or the Lucas section, so I am going to put it here. At the end. So, before leaving Delaware, Jason and I had our first outing together without Lucas. Longwood Gardens was having a new light exhibit and it would our last time at Longwood for a long time so... We left the munchkin asleep at the grandparents' house and headed off into the night. Just the two of us. Like the good ol' days, back when we were just kids together, before we had a kid together. It was nice. It was fun. It felt adventurous being out past 10 pm. But it was also weird. And I think we both felt a bit anxious. We semi-rushed through the sights and quickly headed back to our little sleeping fellow. On the way home, I asked Jason what he thought of our venture, and I think he summed it all up pretty accurately: "I had fun. I didn't worry too much... I worried the right amount. I do want ice cream though, to calm my nerves." Amen.

Life continues to fly by, and we are just trying to soak it in and make the most of it. Hooplah!

ps. My baby is not about to turn 1. Seriously. It's not happening.

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