August 30th

You know the day is bound to be good when it involves cheesecake:

Yummy in my tummy.

I ate not one, but two slices of red velvet cheesecake. Before lunch. Because? Duh, it’s cheesecake. Also, I feel it is important to take advantage of my currently awesome metabolism before I wean Conor. Metabolism is a terrible thing to waste.

On to the importants: the Internet! Cat!! Video!!! Festival!!!!

Frenching the glass or performance art?

Conor, as you can see, was enamored with the festivities, as well as the numerous cats on leashes. I, not realizing there would be 10,000 people there, was in a slight state of panic given his insistance on running ALL. OVER. Thank goodness for my friend Alli, who runs the pretty fantastic Hot Guys Reading Books blog and who is awesome for the following reasons:

  • 1) She came from NYC. For cat videos. Yes she did.
  • 2) She did not pretend that she didn’t know me when Conor touched an exhibit, prompting a museum docent to panic and me to awkwardly rush us away, mortified.
  • 3) She did not pretend that she didn’t know me when Conor discovered that art galleries echo, and tried out his best shriek at intervals perfectly-timed to startle museum-goers.
  • 4) She did not pretend that she didn’t know me when Conor started to practice this shriek at the exact moment that the videos started and I fled to the outer lawn for 30 minutes to shush him to sleep.
  • 5) She and I have known each other since we were 2, which means she has video and photographic evidence of my 2nd grade bang perm and has not put the photos on Facebook (yet).

 

Alli also carried the diaper bag. A woman after my own heart.

Finally, mercifully, Conor fell asleep while I was walking the outer edges of the festival, meaning I missed the “comedy” and “drama” categories, but made up for it by thoroughly enjoying the “foreign,” “animated,” “documentary,” “musical,” “art house,” “lifetime achievement,” and “people’s choice” award categories.

So many cats; so little time.

The takeaways:

  • 1) Please remind me never to bring a toddler to a museum. Ever. Again.
  • 2) If I find myself in a situation involving a toddler and a museum, please remind me to find either (a) a good friend, or (b) a strong drink. Or both.
  • 3) Why haven’t I seen more cat videos?

 

For your Friday edification: Henri 2 (of course), Maru 4, and Kitty City.

August 29th

So this new daycare center is pretty intense. Considering that if I had a parenting style, I would call it “free-range” or perhaps “unstructured-with-a-high-dose-of-anxiety,” I was a bit concerned that Conor would show up for daycare and develop a complex when confronted with a legion of well-trained 1-year-olds sans pacifiers and bottles. I was therefore thrilled when Chris decided to mix together flour and food coloring and begin Conor’s artisic education:

That will be one hundred billion dollars, please.

Conor was ambivalent and deeply concerned about the paint sticking to his hands. And, like most artists, short-tempered. But now prepared for daycare, according to Audrey’s Arbitrary Daycare Readiness checklist.

In other news, should you care to see my life these days mirrored in a photo taken after arriving home from rehearsal, here it is:

I spy:

  • 1) My favorite berry shoes. I tend to wear a single pair of shoes obsessively until they are completely worn out. Laziness? Aversion toward making decisions? Enjoyment of the color pink? All of the above!
  • *
  • 2) Jazz shoes from rehearsal. We finished our second dance! I didn’t accidentally kick anyone in the face!
  • *
  • 3) Laundry that I just folded after it sat wrinkled for 3 days. Bets on how long it will sit folded until I put it away?
  • *
  • 4) My toe, with chipping nail polish that I should really remove except that I don’t have remover. This reminds me that I need a pedicure. Do you know when my last pedicure was? May 8, 2011. Oh yes I DO remember. It has been Way. Too. Long.
  • *
  • 5) My purse, with pink (of course) wallet and straw wrapper, which is probably from a Diet Coke, because did you know that you can get a large Diet Coke at McDonald’s for $1? That is probably not healthy. Also, I haven’t actually eaten food at McDonald’s for years since I read Fast Food Nation in college. But yes, yes I will take you up on a liter or three of unhealthy soda for $1, McDonald’s. Yes I will.
  • *
  • 6) Chris’s bookshelf, with such illustrious titles as The Riverside Shakespeare, Learning Old English, and a Latin dictionary. Next to it is my bookshelf, with such illustrious titles as True Blood: Dead Until Dark, The Cheerleader Fitness Plan, and a French book or two that I haven’t read in years but keep to (1) remind myself that at one time I spoke French semi-fluently, and (2) maintain a sense of sophistication when covered in baby vomit and who-knows-what-else.

 

That was way too long. I feel like this now:

Post-rehearsal snooze.

Mama loves her sleep. No further explanation needed.

August 28th

When Chris took a second position grading this fall, it only took me, oh, a week or so to realize that “yeah, we should figure out some childcare for Conor.” And it took Chris 30 seconds to let me know that the semester starts NEXT TUESDAY. Yeah, we should probably get on that.

Enter frenzied daycare tour extravaganza:

Checking out his new home-away-from-home.

By “extravaganza,” I mean 2 daycares.  Since this now makes me an expert on the matter, allow me to share the factors that swayed me to Daycare #2, aka Audrey’s Daycare Checklist:

  • 1) Obsessive-bordering-on-neurotic organization (as I am organizationally ambitious but lack follow-through, accomplishing such things as an illness bulletin board, color-coded cubbies, and a lack of clutter in a room of destructive toddlers leaves me in awe).
  • 2) Staff person that spent 10 minutes answering my question about separation anxiety with detailed examples and bullet points of what not to do
  • 3) Lots of art projects, so I don’t have to attempt them myself and very possibly be shown up by an 11-month-old.
  • 4) Plenty of rocks to eat on the playground.
  • 5) Copious outdoors time.
  • 6) Cute baby-sized toilets (no, seriously. I started “awwwwww! soooooo cute!”-ing and didn’t even recognize myself. Those toilets are adorable. You have no idea).

 

Also, they are going to whip Conor into shape. No more of this bottle nonsense: bottles are banned in the 1-year-old room. As are pacifiers, except at naptime. And evidently they are teaching shapes, numbers and sign language (not sure how this works when Conor’s primary mode of communication is screeching…but oh wells). Conor’s transformation to Baby Einstein starts next Tuesday. Wish me luck.

Moving on.

Neither of us is having a good hair day.

I admit that this photo is actually from Monday. But Tuesday’s lunch was the same as Monday’s lunch, which was the same as any lunch-hour-at-home: it always seems like a good idea in theory. In practice, I end up with food ground into my work clothes that I don’t notice until some awkward moment when I’m entering a meeting.

Back to Tuesday:

Friend or foe?

Note Ernie. This Ernie is from the 80s, straight-from-the-unopened-box. Evdiently Chris’s parents bought a stash of them because Chris (or his dog) would constantly lose/destroy them. And there was one left. Ernie is part of my strategy to convince Conor that not all stuffed animals are terrifying harbingers of doom. Here Conor is either making friends, or figuring out how to best pulverize Ernie’s face. Since he’s not howling to be picked up, crying because he cannot pick airplanes and birds out of the sky, or distraught because clicky pens don’t have caps to pull off, I consider this a win-win.

August 27th

Conor has a pretty rough life, as you can see:

Someone has a case of the Mondays.

I took him outside after work Monday for his usual frolic, but he was having none of it. He wanted to touch the tree, and then he didn’t want to touch the tree. He wanted to be put down, and then he didn’t want to be put down. And he wanted to stick his hand in every air conditioner that lined our building.

We tried again later that evening, when there were people evidently way cooler than mom outside:

Emo baby is not impressed.

He did actually enjoy running around with the 3- and 10-year old, trying to eat the bubbles from their bubble machine, and stealing the 3-year-old’s toys, sending her into a tantrum. The wagon put him to sleep. Literally, he started to fall asleep. Hooray, I think?

Had I been thinking ahead, I would have cleaned up the aftermath of dinner’s lasagnageddon while Conor was languishing in the wagon. Instead, I think I laid out on the grass with one eye open, calculating the wisdom of squeezing in a 5-minute nap while Conor’s primary form of supervision was a 10-year-old. Anyway, the end result was that Monday’s grand finale was the cleanup of this lovely scene:

Instagram can’t save this picture.

Oh Monday. Until next time.

August 26th

You may recall Conor’s terror of Figment, Chris’s childhood stuffed dragon. Recently this fear has extended to all stuffed animals.

Yes, you read that right.

It got so bad that he would just point to them one by one in his room and yell out, shaking with fear. As his sitter said, “I think he thinks they’re real.”

The evil empire.

So on Sunday I finally boxed up the entire fearsome bunch and stored them in the closet. Problem solved!

Thinking that perhaps Conor needed to see some real animals up close to better understand the distinction between ferocious man-eating beast and teddy bear, I convinced Chris that we should bring him to the zoo:

Conorsaur meets Tyrannosaur.

Unfortunately, Conor was less than impressed with the animal attractions but was completely enthusiastic about the following:

  • A traffic cone
  • The zoo playground
  • Going through the automatic doors
  • Eating spoonfuls of Dada’s chocolate shake
  • Spotting and pointing at leaves on the walking path
  • The broom used to sweep up goat poop at the petting zoo

 

It was also 86 billion degrees. Precisely. But on the bright side, all that walking tired Conor out enough to allow for this later that afternoon:

Bliss.

Complete silence. Frosty glass. Sunday paper. Heaven.

Of course, Conor made up for it by staying awake until 10:30…but that one hour? I’ll take it.

August 25th

When I ordered my bridesmaid dress for my sister’s wedding back in May, I didn’t realize we’d be moving in just a month. Of course I chose to order the dress from a local shop that happens to be an hour away from where we live now. And of course, when making the trek to pick up said dress, I chose to bring along my trusty sidekick:

Conor Flack is not impressed.

Fortunately I happen to be a genius and timed it so he napped the entire way there and–after a 15-minute bout of howling through my ineffective attempt to calm him down by singing “Old McDonald” with increasingly bizarre animals on that farm (whales, anyone?)–the entire way back.

Unfortunately, my true genius is elusive and fleeting, and was absent by the time I thought to myself, “I know! He’s being so great, let’s stop and pick up a few more groceries on the way home!” I chose not to photograph that debacle, but it can be best summed up as: lost keys, Wal-Mart, hell.

I attempted to recover by embracing my inner child and splashing in the puddles:

Splish splash.

This was ineffective. Fortunately, taking advantage of a sleeping baby by combining wine + The Hunger Games did the trick:

Katniss!

Much better.

 

 

August 24th

Another Friday, another Aldi trip with Conor. You may be wondering: am I insane, considering last week’s Aldi shenanigans? The answer is yes. According to Chris, Conor had been particularly cranky all day, meaning that Chris got no work done on his dissertation. In a particularly weak moment of pity, I offered to take Conor grocery shopping that evening, 0n the condition that I get unlimited Diet Coke to power me through.

Conor’s industrious pre-shopping dishwashing instilled in me the hope that this trip would somehow be different:

Mr. Clean hard at work.

Fortunately I’d thought to wear Conor in the baby carrier this week, and even more fortunately Conor seemed uncharacteristically and bizarrely content as I shopped at Aldi. I should have known something was amiss and perhaps my skills of paying attention needed some honing when I returned to the car to discover this:

Steal me!

Um, yep. Those are the car keys. On top of the car. Where they had been sitting for about 45 minutes.

Saying a silent prayer of gratitude that the Rosemount Aldi parking lot was not rife with car thieves, I proceeded to put Conor in the trunk (temporarily! temporarily, CPS!) while I unloaded the groceries, whereupon I discovered this:

Fang-bitten yogurt.

Evidently Conor had somehow weaseled a container of peach yogurt into the carrier with him, punctured a hole in the lid with his fangs, and proceeded to chug the entire thing while I blithely shopped. While I was unloading the trunk, he found yet another container and did the same thing. (And yes, you will note the grocery explosion in the trunk. In my eagerness to shuttle us out the door, I’d forgotten our megasize Aldi bags, too).

Although I feigned shock, I have to say that it was really nice to have a quiet Conor during the shopping trip. I can’t say I’m beneath using this strategy (minus the forgotten keys and shopping bags) next week.