Monday, January 31, 2011

M stands for Mac and Math

Last night, just before falling asleep, I nudged Mac and said "Hey, its after midnight you know what that means right?" He mumbled something so I explained.
"That means its now February so we've got 16 months left"
"So a year and a half, right?" asked Mac
", 16 months. 12months plus 4 months"
"Right, a year and a half." Mac insisted.
"Mac, 12 divided by 2 is what?"
"12 months plus 4 months is a year and a half" still certain he was going to win this.
Finally I had to spell it out for him, "Babe, 12 divided by 2 is 6, plus 12 is 18. Eighteen months is year and a half, we're down to 16 months so we're over the 18 month hump."

"Whatever, its too late to be tricking me with math" and he fell asleep.

Yep, another month behind us. Sixteen months before we leave here. Now it won't, most likely be, exactly May 1st that we're out of here next year, but for now a monthly countdown works.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Peaceful Slumber

It's no secret, if you know me, that Nixon has 2 items he can not live without. There's his beary, aka BeBe his first love. Bebe goes everywhere with us, and thanks to a friend back in the states, we have a backup which has been in heavy rotation to keep them both equally worn in appearance. The second item is his Fisher Price aquarium mobile of sorts. We have to change the batteries close to every 3 weeks and even with the sudden affection Nixon's developed for the constellation turtle it seems we haven't reached a point where the aquarium can be let go.
With potty training looming in our future, I'm finding myself selfishly thinking of ways to keep Nixon my baby just a little longer. In truth, potty training is the last milestone before my baby becomes a boy. I'm not sure I'm ready for his independence to be complete. I know i NEED him to be potty trained before we leave Okinawa. Flying here with an infant in diapers needing to use the joke of a bathroom on the plane was one thing, doing it with a fully mobile toddler is another obstacle I'd prefer to avoid altogether.

When Nixon was an infant, newborn really, he slept in the same bedroom as Mac and I did. I woke up more often than just for feedings to watch him sleep, staring in awe at the wonder that my son was. When we got settled in Okinawa, he got his own bedroom, and even though we had monitors in his bedroom, I admit to checking on him every night, at least twice before going to sleep. In fact, I still check on him nightly. Its a simple act of comfort to me, gazing at the sleeping form of my son, still as amazed by him today as I was the first time I held his sleeping form in my arms.
Sometimes he'll roll over, eyes still tightly shut and grab for Bebe. Other times he moans softly and sucks his fingers in his sleep. Still there are even fewer times when he'll open his eyes and catch me looking down at him or stroking his forehead. Those times he'll give a little smile and whisper "momma" before grabbing Bebe, closing his eyes, putting his fingers back in his mouth and promptly falling asleep. Those are the nights that I fall asleep with a smile on my lips. Because I know, for as fast as his first 2 years of life have passed the rest will follow and one day, when I try to turn the handle of his bedroom door to check on him as he sleeps, the door will be locked. I hope I become the mother who's never locked out of her son's life, but puberty is hell and I could be Mrs. freaking Brady and I might still find the door locked on that night.
I'm sometimes shocked at how desperate I want to hold on to Nixon as a baby, MY baby, just a little longer. If anyone's found the pause button for life can I borrow it sometime? I've got a few moments I want to hold onto a little longer.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

We now return you to your regularly scheduled laughter

I realize I've been kind of a downer and a little too serious lately, and I apologize for that. I've learned that getting these things out of my head has been helping me let things go and be happier.

Part of that happiness has led me to FINALLY setting a schedule of sorts for Nixon. Our days start between 8:30-9am, with a cup of coffee for me and milk for Nixon. We watch a couple cartoons, I check emails and then it's breakfast time. After breakfast we color for a bit, play outside depending on the weather, Nixon gets his time and snacks. Then its nap time, which lately has been 2-3hour long naps for him. Overall, his temperament has changed. He's not throwing temper tantrums as much, though we still have some of those now and then, he's 2 they happen. Nixon loves walking down to the shoppette. He gets to see trees, birds, airplanes, cars and he gets to practice his stair walking since there's a long staircase we have to walk up and down to get there. Walking with him allows me time to focus on him and seeing how he sees things. Our walk is filled with endless "look it that!" from him.

Yesterday morning during his wakeup diaper change, Nixon was saying "shhh...." and some babble. I finally dropped down right next to his face and asked what he was saying. He said "shhh mommy lub daddy", which translates to "mommy loves daddy" in Nixonese. I'm not sure why he felt this was whisper worthy, but it was cute as hell!

On a final and separate note: potty training is around the corner here in the Wilcox-Ball household. I'm aiming to begin the first of March which, as fate would have it, is when mac put in to take 2 weeks leave. So it'll be the 2 of us helping Nixon figure out the potty. Exciting and scary at the same time. Overwhelming is the main thing that comes to mind when I think of this task. It's the last thing I have that really keeps Nixon my baby. Once he's in underpants he's not my baby he's my little boy. It's sad that its come so fast but its been amazing to see him change from helpless newborn to independent little person.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"Everyone has stuff that no one can see"

Sometimes the only way to learn from the past and move beyond it, is to stop hiding the truth. There's a new music video out that's been causing a stir, because much like almost everything in society today, parents are claiming it glamorizes a disturbing behavior. The video is Pink's Fucken Perfect.

The uproar is not the F-bomb being said multiple times, though I'm sure that does irk people. Instead people are upset by the disturbing bathtub scene in the video. The cutting/self-mutilation scene. GASP! I said it, I called it what it is. Its becoming an epidemic among our teens and young adults but we still want to pretend it'll never happen to our kid. If Pink never showed those images, little Sally would never have thought of it, right? Wrong, because little Sally already bears the scars from this behavior.
The numbers read like this:
  • 90% of self-injury individuals begin harming themselves during their teen years or younger.
  • Cutting and other self-injury behavior crosses all cultures and socio-economic norms.
  • Cutting and self-injury is a method used by individuals to take care of themselves, their feelings and actions.
  • 40% of all individuals who commit self-injury type behaviors are males.
    Almost 50% of cutters or self-injury individuals have reported being sexually abused.
  • Almost 50% of self-abusers begin at the age of 14 and continue into their 20’s.
  • Some studies indicate that cutting and other self-injury behavior is learned from friends or peers.

Statistically, cutting occurs most often in female teens and young female adults. One such study, done by the British Medical Journal, estimated that 13% of teen between the ages of 15-16 were participating in some form of cutting or self-injury behavior. In the United States, it is estimated that one in every 200 females between the ages of 13 and 19 have tried cutting or are currently cutting. Typically cutters come from homes where physical abuse, alcoholism or sexual abuse has occured.
Medical Health America and Discovery Health report that during the past decade, 1%, or over 2 million people in the U.S. have been involved in cutting or self-injury behavior


So there's some actual numbers, facts and a bit of research I did in less than 5 minutes. But who cares, right? Who actually knows someone who's cut themselves? These people, the cutters, they're all freaks who wear all black and hate the world, right?

Actually, there's some truth to that. I know I wore black and hated the world when I first cut myself. I also know I was in an abusive home, an emotionally co-dependent relationship from the age of 16 which later because mentally abusive, I felt alone, I was an outcast at high school for the most part parents knew what I was doing. I remember sitting in the living room, razor blade in my hand, cutting my leg in front of my parents and all I was told was "don't get blood on the carpet". Its a wonder, and a testament to my own determination to get the hell away from my parents without hurting the rest of my family (especially my sister) that I never killed myself. Balls to the wall serious, it was that bad more than once by the time I was 18 years old.
Only a handful of people, before I publish this blog, knew this about me. I have scars on my thighs, ankles and inner bicep. All on the right side of my body, which is odd since I'm right handed. They've faded as I've gotten older, but I still know they are there. I have one in particular that I have occasionally caressed almost lovingly because its the deepest and also the last time I ever cut myself. It's on my thigh, very few people have seen it and if they have seen it they never ask about it. I appreciate the privacy allowed to it. It's personal and I'll share when/if I'm ready to.

The thing is, I was never alone. As I learned today from a surprising conversation with a loved one, we're never as alone with our life experiences as we think we are. We just never know who to open up to because our secrets are so controversial, if that's the right way to describe it. How do you know who to turn to when everyone around you seems to have their shit together?
I've been shattered, broken, bruised and ruined. I've had to make peace, forgive and let go of so much more than I ever want to admit to. I'm a firm believer in Karma, but I had to ask sometimes, what did I do that was so horrific THIS can be justified to come back to me? I never quite know the answer. Because for all the bad things I've had done to me by people I've loved, I have been the person responsible for most of the damage to myself. It hurts like hell to realize that. Choices I made put me in bad situations, bad situations left me in bad places, bad places put me in worst circumstances for a while it felt like it'd never end. And it wouldn't have if I didn't find the courage to end the pattern.

I was told I inspired someone. I'm an inspiration?!?! This person has 2 of the most amazing role models in his/her life and I'm an inspiration to him/her?!?! It shook me. It shocked me. It flattered me. But most of all, it made me realize someone else sees a me I don't see. When I look in the mirror I see a damaged, abused, tired, fake of a person. I feel like I spend most of my time pretending to be whole. But the reality is: I am whole, I just have scars. Scars are just healed wounds. The wounds are gone but the memory remains. I'm plagued by memories but my wounds have healed. I haven't forgotten the lessons they've taught me but it might be time to stop letting the scars control me.
Part of doing that, just might be opening up and letting people see my secrets. I have many secrets but to keep quiet about them gives them power. Today's secret is: I used to cut myself to make myself feel something. I was so numb from the high school bullshit that I put up to the shitty home I lived in. The only way I could survive day-to-day was to become numb to it all and the only way to remind myself I was still alive was to cut. It won't make sense to you unless you've been in a similar situation.

I'm rising above it. I've stopped being a victim. I've opened up to love, really love, someone. I've even bound my life with someone else through a child. A child that I am trying desperately to NOT screw up. I might fail at some things, but I will not fail him.

Shows like 16 & Pregnant, Teen Mom and even this video from Pink can all be used to open communication between parents and kids, if the parents stop pretending this stuff only happens to other kids, in other cities, in other states. Instead of blasting this topics and accusing them destroying innocence of youth how about realizing there are messages to learn from and learn. If I can only have one goal as a mother for Nixon, I want it to be that he learns from my mistakes, but he will never do that if he never knows about them. I have to find a balance between TMI and sheltering to keep him from making a mistake he can't recover from. Sadly, I'm almost abnormal in everything I've accomplished so far in life. There are so many statistics out there that would tell you I CAN'T do what I've done from where I've been and what I've done. And it pisses me off because kids in situations exactly like what I was in hear this shit and assume that'll never do any better so why try, right?? WRONG! Fight for it, get out and fight like hell to get as far away as possible!!
I'm not that fucken special. I just hate being told I can't do something and I'm too stubborn to give up sometimes. Its not my best quality, but look how far I've come.
My parents married at 19/20 years old, they had me at 20/21 and my sister 15 months later, struggled financially all my life, I have a alcoholic parent who is also bi-polar, my parents separated for 6 months only to get back together and send my sister and I to live with their parents for a year while they "fixed" their marriage (guess since we were only the result of the marriage we didn't need to be included), I was in an abusive relationship at the age of 15, I did graduate high school, went to college, then dropped out for 2 years. Here's where I started fighting back...I went back to school after the time off. I graduated with a 2 year degree then went on immediately to get a 4 year degree! I left an almost 9 year relationship and moved over 500 miles away from home knowing only one person in that city.
I'm now almost 32 years old. I'm married (3 years in March!), I'm a mom to one helluva kiddo. I have an amazing circle of friends who I love more than most of my family and who see me for me, not my scars. I have family members who hold my secrets in their heart and don't judge me for them. Instead they support me and give me the unconditional love family should give each other. I've cut many ties from my past and I continue to let people who are less than stellar come and go from my life. I've survived!

I'm not cured, but I'm whole.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

...and boom goes the dynamite

(small disclaimer: this was written several months ago, I'd just saved it somewhere else)

So here it is: the demise of a friendship

I lost a friend this week. She's still alive just not my friend anymore. Part of it was my fault, I don't censor myself. Part of it was small things that I'd seen coming and instead of pretending everything was fine, I asked what was wrong. It was as if I'd held a grenade in my hand. The whole thing blew up and I was left shattered and in pieces.

It all began with opinions. Everyone has an opinion on things. I just don't hesitate to share mine when asked. I always tell people not to ask for my opinion if you really don't want to hear it. See? Fair warning, right? Well, this particular friend was fine with it until she wasn't. She has her own life going on and she found herself in a situation she wasn't ready for or 100 percent expecting to be in. She came to me and told me her situation and I'd supported her no matter what the outcome. She asked my opinion on what to do. It's not a fair question because I'm not her, not in her marriage and can't make the choice for her. But according to her I "pushed" my opinion down her throat. She had asked, I had told her. I guess in her mind it was push.

She grew distant, I asked her about it. She'd accused me of bullying her with my opinions and trying to control her life with my demands to know what was wrong. I'm too overwhelming for her, apparently.

The truth of the matter is, everyone has opinions. Some people keep them to themselves and parrot someone else's opinion when asked for their own, because it seems nicer. I'm what some call "brutally honest" or, as my grandmother likes to say "rough around the edges". When asked my opinion, I'll honestly tell you on just about any subject. You take what you get with me. I'm used to people getting offended after I answer. It still hurts from time-to-time, but I get used to it.

I have good reasons for speaking up. Well, I see them as good reasons. I blanket myself with these reasons and its why, sometimes, being my friend is a chore. Gone are the days I apologize for being myself though.

I grew up in an abusive home. I watched my father cheat on my mother (not actually watch the physical relations happen, but the mistress was a regular guest in my childhood home). I watched my mother lie to herself and her children about the affair. I was only twelve and I knew something wasn't right. My mother's response when I'd said something about the subject was "keep your opinions to yourself". Even worse was, when I finally did get someone to listen to me, the end result was a year apart from my sister and my parents while they worked to repair their marriage. My father became a raging alcoholic and my mother was a superb liar and an expert in denial. My family never fixed anything. We never spoke about things, never addressed the past and, once again, my opinion went unheard. I'd asked family members for help and they'd all said it wasn't their place. Years later, so many of them have apologized after learning how bad things really were at home for me.

Its that unopinionated non-involvement of the adults in my life that had led me to be as opinionated as I am today. Especially in regards to issues about the safety of children and domestic violence. These are two topics I have the strongest opinions about and I'm especially vocal about them. These are also two topics that eventually led to the demise of my friendship.

At lunch one day, while talking about an acquaintance, the conversation became about a fight the couple had. Our acquaintance had admitted to beating her husband during an argument. I was appalled as this friend laughed at the violence. She was laughing because the wife was much smaller than her husband and the thought of him cowering to her was humorous. She asked what I thought. I was honest. I felt instead of laughing she should have suggest anger management or therapy (at the least) and asked if he was seriously injured. I voiced that she also should have asked where the young child of this couple's was at the time of the beating. She told me I was over reacting and it wasn't that big of a deal, since he didn't call the police everything was fine. I'd asked her not to mention this acquaintance to me again, because I was very sensitive to domestic violence situations. She told me I was censoring her because I didn't like that one particular person. I apologized for not seeing the humor in domestic violence and not joining in the giggle fest she'd had at the expense of this one couple's martial issues.

Another issue that everyone has opinions on, is parenting. Everyone wants to raise their children their own way. But some things are legally required in raising children. A very simple example is the placement of a car seat: forward facing versus rear facing. A young mom had turned her 5 month old to a forward facing position, which is 7months too soon, not to mention he wasn't over the 20 pound minimum weight requirement. When asked about my own son's car seat placement I'd said he was still rear facing because he was happy like that. Also, at 12 months he was still a shade under 20 pounds. I did take the time to explain legally she had to keep her own son rear facing for 7 more months, as well as the risks to forward face him too soon. This young mom felt I was telling her how to raise her son and she'd complained to my friend. I was told (only recently) I was being a bully and was overbearingly blunt with my opinions. But it wasn't an opinion. Its the law!

I let the friendship go. In the end, the hurtful things coming out, that she'd thought about for months and finally felt the need to vocalize them all to me, was too much. I've never hid my opinions. I've always told people close to me, not to ask for an opinion if they didn't really want to hear my opinion. I was actually told "just once it'd be nice if you weren't so honest". That's the problem isn't it? As a society, we site honesty as an important value in any friendship or relationship. But when the opinion isn't the same as your own or the honesty is too honest, we tend to wish we were lied to instead. I don't kill people with honesty, but i will give you an honest opinion when asked for it.

Some opinions are simple and subjective: favorite color; time of day; favorite season; best football team. Not one of those is a true friendship buster, because not everyone will ever feel the some about the small details. The opinions are expected to be different from person to person and most friendships survive. But when you introduce bigger opinions and factor in different life experiences, you get the friendship killing opinions. I could have simply kept my opinions to myself when asked, but would I have been being true to myself or putting more value a friendship with no true base of honesty? In the end, being myself is all I can bring to any friendship. As friendships grow with new people I meet, I slowly introduce my opinions. I don't go "balls to the wall" straight out of the gate. Even I'm not that foolish.

Deep down inside, everyone has an opinion. If ever some says they have no opinion, what they really mean is; they have an opinion but they'll keep it to themselves.

There you have it. A secret, squirreled away entry now released for your viewing pleasure. All 1-3 of you who actually read this thing.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Some depth with your bacon?

Okay, while this post will have very little to do with bacon (Mac doesn't like crispy bacon....WHO doesn't like crispy bacon????) so apologies for the misdirection in advance.

Mac is out with friends, Nixon is asleep for the night and I'm thinking while listening to Fiona Apple. I'm thinking thoughts of randomness and realizing how I've changed and continue to change and likely will change again and I grow older and become mother to a school aged child then a teenager and later still mother to an adult. But wow, I just got way ahead of myself. Plus, this actually has very little to do with Nixon.

Instead, this is about marriage. More specifically, my marriage and how living in Okinawa has contributed to it being stronger. Its a foolish thing to suggest moving to a place where I knew no one but my husband and my infant son was best for my marriage. Because the reality is, those first 6 months could very well have ended it. I felt abandoned, emotionally raw from dealing with a teething infant practically alone while Mac was working midnights, I felt betrayed by all of womankind for not preparing me better for motherhood, I was unappreciated by Mac for all the meals I made/laundry I did/cleaning/organizing and my best attempts to make this home. Most of all, I was cutoff from the people I'd run to if I'd been home. I had made a couple friends, but the closest I had to a best friend turned on me and left a bad taste in my mouth for trying to cultivate another close friendship with my remaining time here.
I didn't marry my best friend. I married the man I loved and whose company I enjoyed. He knows me and my secrets and loves me all the same, but he's not my best friend. I'm not the white horse, knight in shining armour, damsel in distress kind of girl. I gave up the fairy tale long before I met Mac. I never fell for the "happily ever after" or the "love conquers all" bullshit that is forced fed to little girls in the womb. It's probably why it took me so long to find the right man for me. I was writing my own happy ending and Mac kind fell into the middle of the story.

So finally, after being so angry and so bitter and having nowhere really to go, I was forced to talk to Mac about things that bothered me. I think one day I finally explored and just had an epic fit: tears, cussing, screaming everything. Big, angry and ugly but enough to finally get Mac to pay attention. I finally had to admit if things didn't change I didn't see Nixon and I staying here. I was not bluffing either. I needed to be a priority in his life or I'd be gone.
I've had to remind him a couple times since then, but he's a lot better now. Life is better now, because with nowhere to go I'm forced to talk things over with him. I can't ignore it because when I do, I'm a volcano brewing and the eruptions are never planned and rarely end without some causalities. Plus, let's be honest here, what man really understands the words coming from a blubbering, crying mess of a woman?? NO, its much better if I come to him with something bugging me before I get to the point of blubbering. Although, tears make him realize how hurt I really am. Best not exploit that or the effect might be forever lost and there will come a time when tears will be needed and I'd hate to have only the "little boy who cried wolf" be my reality.

But, living far from friends and family is not easy. Mac and I have learned of several friends divorces in our time here. Some have been longtime coming, others shocked us and still others were statistically doomed from the beginning and therefore we lacked a real emotional response to the news, though we'd never admit that to the faces of those friends. That's something we discuss between ourselves in the comfort of our own home and within the sanctity of our marriage. Every couple has things like that, so I'm sure we're not the only couple that does that. Our technique and conversation is, no doubt, unique to us though. Our marriage is one filled with silliness, laughter, concern, mild conflicts over parenting styles mostly and love. I still love being held in his arms. I still get a silly smile on my lips thinking of our wedding (almost three years ago already!). I have moments when I can't see myself without him in my life, but I also have moments I can't picture him without me. We don't NEED each other, we WANT each other. Things get stale in marriage, its inevitable. Thankfully, we both have interests of our own we don't share and we have Nixon, not that we had him to save a marriage. He was conceived purely from our conscious decision to become parents together and out of love and planning.

Mac is blunt when it comes to marriage. Don't do it young. Live life, enjoy life and wait for the right person to come along. I share that feeling. We avoided, rather unsuccessfully, anything serious in the beginning. Until it became painfully obvious to everyone around us, that we were perfect for each other. We're not the ying yang type couple, or soulmate material, but realistically we are happy together. Mac keeps me from taking things too serious and I make him homecooked meals. The balance we discovered while living in Okinawa, may not have been possible if the option of going home for a weekend or so when things got tough had been our reality. I'm a runner. I run away and try to avoid issues. So if I'd been able to take a trip and get some distance between us when things got tough we'd never have found our solid ground. I'm also irrational when I get emotional.

And, in the same respect, parenting would've been more difficult with family around. Being here has meant we HAVE to be the parents. We have to set the rules, enforce them, punish and guide Nixon on our own. We don't always agree, but Mac is fine with following my lead for the most part. I've learned to trust my gut way more than ever before when it comes to Nixon and all things related to him. I'm desperate to not repeat my shit'tacular childhood mistakes with him. Seems like it'd be an easy task, just don't do what was done to me, right? Well, mostly but punishment and boundaries are where the biggest damages done to me happened. SO I'm stuck attempting to find balance when emotionally I'm still raw. I'm not doing horribly, but I fear I could be doing better. Nixon is such an easy going kiddo 95% of the time, that its easy to just live and let live with him. But I realize more and more everyday that I have flaws and I need to correct them before my flaws become his downfalls.

As I said, this had very little to do with bacon, but since I wrote it when most of my friends back home were starting their day, bacon seemed a fitting title.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Short and sweet....he gets it from me!

Nixon has random moments of affection. Sometimes he'll come over, climb up on the love seat with me and snuggle. Sometimes he just throws a kiss to me.
He also has random moments of impeccable aim, toy in hand and launches it at me. And almost always hits me in the face. Yeah, those moments are the ones that test my patience as a mom.
He's curious as can be about everything. His latest obsession/accomplishment is mastering drinking from a real cup. His favorite tool to practice with is my coffee mug. I don't usually leave it alone when it's full, because well let's face it I love my coffee! But the other day, I was checking email and forgot about the full cup of coffee in his reach. He picked it up and spilled half the cup. My first reaction was "oh no, how hot was that coffee!" and I rushed to him to make sure he didn't burn himself. He looked really sad so I cleaned it up, took him into the bedroom and cleaned him up. The whole time I was making him giggle and laugh and smile because, after all, I was the one who had left a full cup of coffee where his curious little hands could reach it. He didn't know it was full, he just knew that it was there and he can drink from it. (He was fine by the way and he did help me clean up the spilled coffee)

I've been sporting a thumb splint because I sprained my thumb a couple weeks back. Mac had the day off so I was pretty much not doing anything. Nixon came over to me and patted my shoulder. When that didn't get the reaction he was looking for, he started patting my breast and saying "babe, babe, babe" until I looked at him. He then gave me a kiss and ran away. He came back a couple seconds later and put his little hands on my face, pulled it close to his face and brushed his nose against mine. For those of you who don't know, these are Eskimo kisses and I've been giving them to Nixon for a few months now. Today, he gave me one back.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

It was a good day

Parenting is hard work. Anyone who tells you differently, isn't doing it right.

Terrible two's is an illusion and a reflection of parenting errors/accomplishments and a few random rays of sunshine found in your toddler's crooked smile.

There are bad days. A good parent knows they happen and learns from them. A poor or failing parent repeats them from sunrise to sunset like that movie "Groundhog Day".

Today was a good day.

Nixon and I went to the Okinawa Zoo with some friends. The other mom and myself star
ted the day with a coffee treat before heading to the zoo. The zoo itself is far from stellar. But don't tell the kids that. To them this place where you can stand only feet away from giraffes, hippos and be nearly sprayed by an elephant is wonderful. To adults its a sad place where animals live in small barren cages. To a child you can say hello to a tiger or a lion or a monkey and the animal hears you. To a parent, the photo warning of big cats peeing in a person's face is something to giggle about and wonder..who was the person the actually got pee in the eye before the sign was up.
Nixon's growing up and our time here is winding down. So trips to the zoo are a great way for him to get some energy out while enjoying an experience that only Okinawa can offer him. I purchased another year long membership, the last I'll purchase while here. When this one expires it'll be a pay-per-visit kind of trip. Nixon will be free for the rest of our time here, since he's still under 4 years old.

Today, Nixon said "monkey", "bat", "duck", "bird", "hippo" and even "elephant" talk about a vocabulary explosion! He laughed while watching the elephant kick a ball, and squealed with glee when the elephant sprayed water at bystanders. He said "hi chica" to every monkey and bird we saw. And even called the Bengal tiger "arwee". It was amazing to be with him and be able to really interact and see him so into his surroundings. He's far from behind his peers, but since we spend a lot of time at home, I worry that he's not comprehending things like his peers do.
Not today. Today my baby boy was shining!
I got brave (or stupid depending on your point of view) and let Nixon out of the stroller so he could walk and explore on his own at his own pace, for the most part. At first he was tentative, walking a few steps then turning to make sure I was still behind him. Once he got comfortable, he was never out of my sight but out of my reach. We wandered towards the petting zoo part only to get there just as the animals were going on break. Not to be deterred, Nixon started following another little boy with a yellow construction vehicle
of some kind in his hand saying "preez" over and over again, which is Nixonese for "please". Several times I had to tell him its not his and no matter how nicely he asks for it, the little boy will not be giving it to him. The boy's mom looked back at me and gave a small smile, while her son kept running from Nixon clinging to his toy saying "mine" over and over again. I watched anxiously as Nixon and his little friend took on a steep sloping hill and nearly had a heart attack when they both started doing a toddler run down the hill. Both made it down safely, even if Nixon did do a fake fall at the end.
We made it to the pond area. I bought fish food and let Nixon feed the fish, duck, geese and pigeons. Yes, pigeons. Rats of the sky, poop dropping all over the fresh-from-the-carwash-car pigeons. These are the creatures Nixon spent the most time feeding. And they loved him. One in particular followed Nixon from the beginning of the pond walkway to the very end. Nixon had so much fun feeding the birds. We spent close to 45 minutes in that area and the
kids were loving life. Except little missy, my friend's daughter, who teased a goose with fish pellets and got bit in the hand. Even then she still wanted to feed the fish and ducks but yelled at every goose that got close to her. The girl's got gumption!

When all is said and done, I throughly enjoyed my day with Nixon. These are the days I'll remember and smile when he's a teenager yelling how I've ruined his life and I'm so mean or the gem every teenager tells his/her parents at least once "I hate you". Hearing those words will, no doubt, break my heart but I'll have today's trip to the zoo to remind myself, we've had some good times kid. Some good times, indeed.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Growing up so fast

Nixon's getting so big! Not just size wise, although he's big there too but also with his verbal skills. He picks up on some words and its random when he decides to use them.

I decided from the very beginning I'd like Nixon to know Spanish as well as English. So right now he says "hola" and "chica", and he uses them correctly. Today during breakfast, Nixon busts out a "bye bye Diego", clear as day! I was so shocked and amazed.

In other Nixon news, he's obsessed with Cats & Dogs. He'll bring me the playstation 3 controller and say "doggie, doggie" until I turn it on for him. Its cute, but we've seen that movie at least 100 times got old around the 4th time. haha

Nixon's wearing monkey slippers these days. We went to pick up Daddy from work and Nixon insisted he wear his "mummy" (monkey) on his feet before we left. He also brought me a hoodie even though it wasn't that cold out. Its awesome to watch him become this determined little person with his own ideas, wants and needs. Its frustrating, for us both, when I can't figure out what he wants but we're getting there as he learns more and more words.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Perfect Mom??? Probably not

Nixon is attempting to master drinking from a cup. While he's getting better accidents still happen. Thank goddess I'm always there, with a camera, to capture moments like this for family far away.

Nixon finger painting. He's pretty dainty about it, unless he's in a mood then he slaps it all over the place. Thankfully, he's never tried to paint the cats.
We've had a cold spell lately, on the island, so we've spent some time cuddled up under a blanket watching "doggie" (which is the movie Cats & Dogs, a favorite in the house). He'll sit still for a few minutes, get up run around and then come back and want his feet covered up by the blanket again.

It's such a hard life he lives.