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I Wanna Go To Camp Screamy

Oh, please; put your eyes back in your head. Surely I'm not the only woman in southeast Wisconsin who sings, full voice, to keep her baby from fussing in the shopping cart. Get a grip.

(Or perhaps it was what I was singing that earned me the stares. Hey, my kids happen to groove on They Might Be Giants, thank ya very much. "Human skull...on the ground...turn around!")

So, yeah, fussy baby. First tooth came through Gabe's little gum without fanfare, or even a tinny little kazoo humming, so I suppose it was to be expected that Tooth Number Two should be the Big Bad. He's been wailing about it on and off and outright refusing to be his normal, smily self most of the time this week. Last night before bed, I was helping Sam into his PJ's when I heard Gabe start up an air-raid-style howling at Eric. I traded sons to rescue Eric's ears and sanity, and I swear, you'd have thought I was dangling Gabe by his thumbs over The Spinning Blades of Death from the noises he was emitting. This was not crying; it was Siren-esque screeching. Every time I thought he couldn't possibly get any louder or higher, he'd do just that.

Teething tablets: you let me down, man. I had to go with your butcher cousin, Ol' Tylenol. He laid down the law.

Sam does not like this turn of events. He doesn't like it when Gabe screams ("He's hurting my ears!"), he doesn't like how it puts Eric and me on edge, and he really doesn't like how it seems like we're pampering Gabe because of it. If Gabe drops off to sleep on my lap after fussing for an hour, I'm not about to wake him up so we can play running games, and that, for example, upsets Sam greatly. He tries to take his frustration out on Gabe, even more unfortunately. Last night, he kept knocking Gabe over from his sitting position whenever he got half a chance. It's maddening.

I hate feeling relieved that Sam's in school today, yet Gabe's been peacefully napping and I'm sure Sam's appreciating squall-free playtime. I just hope that Gabe doesn't teethe like this every time.

Sam's into "projects" lately. Yesterday we decorated a big cardboard box with markers and stickers, used stickers to similarly decorate an empty biscotti jar, made "things" with playdough (ordinary kids make snakes; my son sculpts unidentifiable creatures and asks me to figure out what they are), did about twenty-five pages in a preschool workbook, and built a mammoth train set. After all that, he was still raring to go.

I can't keep up with him. He used to be content to push cars around on the floor, but now he wants to make garages for them. He comes into our room in the morning with elaborate plans for the day already established in his mind: "We're going to the mall and to the toy store, but first I have to go to school, so I need to get dressed! Go take your shower!" It's like living with a manic camp counselor sometimes.

Once we get past this whole teething thing and into increased mobility for Gabe, I'm intrigued to see how the relationship between these boys plays out. Sam's such a leader, but I don't see Gabe wanting to remain a follower for long. (I predict that will be my role.) I wonder how Sam will adjust to Gabe becoming less and less of a rather animated marionette. It will happen quickly; I predict crawling inside of a month. He's already getting on hands and toes and moving...well, backwards, but not for long, I think.

I'm coping, I think, better than I have been. Little things, like Sam being finally completely potty-learned and in his own bed all night long, or like Gabe willingly riding in the shopping cart for the entire length of a grocery shopping trip...these things help me to recover a little bit of sanity in an otherwise mad world. Eric's cooking to preserve his own mind, and I get to reap the benefits of that, too; kidney bean curries and mango lassis go a long, long way toward making a day more than just survivable for me.

Next month is our eighth wedding anniversary, and if things keep progressing at this rate, we might just feel comfortable enough to go out for a little date sans both kids. It's earlier than we tried it after Sam's birth, but Gabe is tolerating solid foods nicely, and Sam is old enough to let me know how things go without too much embroidery or "interpretational issues." We'll see. God knows, we sure could use a date right about now; just to be able to eat a meal without interruption (and not because we waited to eat until almost nine o'clock, so the boys are asleep) sounds almost decadent.

Let's just get that little tooth through first, though. It would be cruel to subject any babysitter to that sort of treatment.

previous one year ago:
Sam's turning three years old soon, and it's looking as though this will be the Year of Horrors.
two years ago:
The lessons are for the grownups; the chocolate is for the baby.
three years ago:
I turned around to see that he was nose to nose with our next-door neighbors' little girl, who was standing on the other side of the screen.
four years ago:
Hey, if you look closely at that bottom picture, you might notice that my navel is very definitely protruding now.
five years ago:
The final straw came when he left me this cryptic note: "Please upload powerpoint to frontpage for me."
In the ears:
Baby snores

On the Bookshelf:
Matilda Bone

Gratuitous Sam

The Card

Backwards roll

Pushing a 'train'

Extra Gabe


In a box



©1999-2003 C. Richmond.