Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mister Independent - Eli at 22 Months

Yesterday, you, grandma and I ventured over snow covered roads to a magical place called Ann Arbor.  Now, I took my chances with this trip because I knew you would be foregoing your daily nap.  A risky wager, my friend.  Usually when you don't get your nap...well, people die...they just stop living.  But I like to live on the edge, so away we went. 

Usually when we shop, you're fine for the first 20 minutes or so.  About 20 minutes in, though,  you have some sort of epileptic fit for which the only cure is going home or a box of cookies (which I never give you...I mean who would do that...cough, cough...stop looking at me like that).  And that's just grocery shopping.  When we go to the mall, it's like I'm taking you to get a lobotomy.  You.hate.it.  So, I was a little wary to take you out on the coldest day of man's existence, during lunch time, knowing you would miss your nap and you would be in a mall.  However, this time I had my mom to run interference, I packed enough snacks to keep your sugar levels at satisfactory levels, I brought your cars (a necessary item any time we leave the house now), along with a partridge in a pear tree.

My dear Elijah, you were an angel.  There were a couple times here and there where we would go in a direction you didn't want to go, and you simply just lay down to show your protest.  You didn't throw yourself down or pound your fists and kick when you lay down.  You didn't even scream.  You would just lie down and say very matter-of-factly, "no".  It seemed as if you were taking a little rest on the I-don't-even-want-to-think-how-disgusting floor of Briarwood.  And it was pretty easy to lure you away from your awake nap.  It usually just took showing you your me-me (pacifier in Eli) or one of your trucks. 

It.was.awesome.  Thank you.

As with any other month, you never cease to surprise and shatter my expectations.  Month 22 has been one in which your verbal skills have taken off.  You communicate so much more clearly, you mimic lines from Toy Story (the only thing you want to watch except for an occasional Thomas video), you ask to go see people (like daddy's friend Jacob or your friend Ben or Gaga and Gampa).  And it all seemed to happen overnight. 

You've got a little something on your face there.
(juice break with your bestie, Ben)
You definitely like things done a certain way, too.  You have to have every stuffed animal you own in your crib with you while you sleep.  It's quite the stuffed menagerie.  Elmo must accompany you whenever we leave the house.  You line up your cars a certain way, and if I try to mess with the system you shoot fire from your eyes.  Your grandpa watched you this past Saturday morning.  And as your typical procedure requires, he made you your oatmeal and gave it to you complete with your standard five spoons.  A little after he gave it to you, he thought it still might be a little too warm, so he added some milk.  And then all the puppies in the world died.  You were shocked. Dismayed. How could he have done that?!  What's next?  Grape jelly instead of your standard strawberry? Disgusted at this departure from normalcy, you refused to eat any more of the obviously ruined oatmeal.

It's so interesting to see you exerting your independence in such a way.  There is a way you like things done and it doesn't always go along with how your father and I do things (sometimes this is more exasperating than endearing).  I love that you feel secure enough to be independent.  You still cling to my leg (which I secretly love) in unfamiliar situations or when animals attack, but usually you like to leave my side to explore and figure things out for yourself.  I hope you always have this security.  I hope you know that no matter how far away you go, your father and I will always be here when you come back. (Side note: I mostly mean this figuratively.  You're really not allowed to leave my sight when we're out in public.)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Falling Behind in the Radvent

 So I meant to do this yesterday, but then...I didn't.  I, like my friend Rachel, l-o-v-e creating play lists.  Even more, I like relating things to my life.  Combine the two, and we have narcissistic bliss.  So, I'm going to go month by month.

Radvent Day 4: Rocking Out

Write down the soundtrack of your year so far. Play it for someone who loves you.

January:  "I Still Care for You" - Ray LaMontagne
If "they" ever wrote a love story about me and Ben and then adapted the story for screen, this is the song that would play when they did a montage of our sweetest moments. 

February: "In a Tree" - Priscilla Ahn
I chose this song for a photo montage of Eli's first year.  I love that it has a playful innocence to it.  It was the perfect fit for a collection of pictures detailing the first year of one of the most playful people I know.

March: "Us" - Regina Spektor
I don't think I listened to any other song on my Ipod for days after buying this song.  I couldn't believe that I didn't already know about it prior to 2010.  It's such a whimsical song.  I love her.

April: Three-Way Tie
 "I Already Know" - Mandy Mapes
Thank you, Rachel Parton for suggesting this song.  April was a tough month, and this song was a comfortable reminder of God's unrelenting grace and protection. 

"Your Hands" - JJ Heller
Another great one during Awful April (the official name of April 2010).  Favorite lyrics, "When my world is shaking, Heaven stands.  When my heart is breaking, I never leave Your hands."
"...And As the Ship Went Down" - Woodpigeon
This song is orchestral perfection.  I love the vocals, I love the instrumentation, I love everything about it.  It was on repeat a lot. And I actually think I did something to the speakers in my car b/c I blasted this (when Eli wasn't in the car, of course...cough...cough).

May: (don't laugh) "Sweet Dreams" -Beyonce
I started running outside in May, because that's when it was warm enough for me to run outside without getting that blood taste in the back of my throat thanks to frigid temps.  What?  That doesn't happen to you?  Me neither.  Aaaanyway.  This song was my first song during my runs.  EVERY.TIME. It's actually not a really good running song, but it got me on the road.

June: "Rebellion (Lies)" - Arcade Fire
This was another running song which became an Eli/Mama dance party song.  Fun song.  My hope is to see Arcade Fire in concert before I get so old that people think I'm there to drop off my teenage kid.

July: "Curs in the Weeds" - Horse Feathers
Great lazy summer day song.  If I had a front porch and lived in Montana during the summer, this song would constantly play.  I don't, though, so it played in my Element on repeat.

August: "Don't Rain on my Parade" - Barbara Streisand
I went through a Babs revival in August.  I simply adore her and wish we could be friends.  But she's pretty liberal and we'd probably get in arguments.  If I ever win a karaoke contest, it will be to this song. 

September: "Beg, Steal or Borrow" - Ray LaMontagne
This is off his latest c.d.  It definitely has a country twang to it, but I am still in love with it, as September can atest.

October: "Go Do" - Jonsi
Musical nirvana.  That's it.  I love this whole album and "Tornado" was a very close second.  Go buy this c.d. right now (unless you don't want to...it's cool).

November: "Dog Days are Over" - Florence + The Machine
This is a good dance party song.  You can't help but smile when you listen to it...which is great during stressful holiday times...like when a woman yells at you on Black Friday at Target...just as a random example.

December: "O Holy Night" - Sufjan Stevens
One of my favorite Christmas songs sung by one of my favorite artists -- it's beautiful.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Once Again, Stealing from Rachel

I found this on Rachel's blog, who I think got it from someone else's blog.  Anyway, I love the idea of (r)advent blog posts.  So, I'll give this one a try.

Radvent Day 4: Forgiveness

Practice forgiving about small, everyday things. Who and what are you ready to let go of resentment toward?

I have actually written four apology letters to people I once knew.  I have yet to send them out, because I haven't built up the courage.  I know that these people deserve my apologies.  And honestly, I'm not really expecting forgiveness, but I want them to know that I am aware I treated them poorly and am deeply sorry.  I'll send them someday.  In this same vein, I feel that I need to forgive myself of so many things.

Additionally, there are far more people who deserve an apology from me than there are people who need my forgiveness...FAR MORE! 

That being said, this post requires that I forgive.  So, I'm not going to be completely forthcoming, because this is the Internet and you don't need to be all up in my bi'ness, Internet (she writes fully aware of the irony that she has a blog).  Some of these are serious, and some of them...not so much. 
  • I forgive the sister of my childhood babysitter who I would overhear talking about how annoying I was.
  • I forgive myself for periodic lapses in judgment in my life.
  • I forgive that girl in middle school who said I looked like a small dog.
  • I forgive that guy in high school who incessantly made fun of me because of my stupid haircut.
  • I forgive the writers of Friends who let me down in Season 10.
  • I forgive my high school history teacher for showing North and South instead of teaching us history.
  • I forgive Netflix for suggesting Confessions of a Shopaholic to me.
  • I forgive Ann Curry for being so annoying to watch.
  • I forgive the unfriendly people in my church youth group.
  • I forgive the principal who told me I had a job at his school and then didn't give me a second interview (I also forgive myself for blowing the first interview).
  • I forgive that girl in college who made me feel horrible for something I didn't do. 
  • I forgive those people who can't seem to get my name right.
  • I forgive the professor who gave me my first F on a test.  
  • I forgive the three cavities in my mouth that have made it impossible for me to enjoy Grape Nuts.
  • I forgive the student who made me question why I wanted to be a teacher.
  • I forgive that student who told me I looked old and had a lot of wrinkles.

This next one is the hardest and the one I've wrestled with the most.
  • I forgive the woman who took my grandmother away from me. 

Sorry to lay that heavy one on you last.  So to break the tension...here's an added one:
  • I forgive NBC for Passions

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Formal-Wear Pajamas

Yesterday morning I walked into Eli's room and found that he had modified his pajamas.  His fashion line should be hitting stores this spring. 

(In case you were wondering, the pajama shirt comes equipped with two sleeves. 
He went to bed with both sleeves on.)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Punctuation Lesson

A few days ago, my friend Sara was over, and she and I were bemoaning the fact that people don't know how to properly use an apostrophe.  And by bemoaning, I mean making fun of people.  Sara runs a wicked-spectacular Etsy card shop (you can find it here - you're welcome) wherein she designs cards that people can purchase to suit their own special occasions.  Anyway, people will send her what they want their card to read.  And, oh the stories she has.  Our conversation was limited to improper usage of apostrophes, so this post will be limited specifically to that.  Now, friends this is a huge pet peeve of mine.  Almost as big as when people say 'I seen it."  What?!  WHAT?!  Or when people say 'acrossTTTT".  What?!  Please show me where the 't' is in across.  It's not there, people. 

(Breathe in...breathe out)

I digress.

So, I'm going to give you a few examples of incorrect apostrophe usage followed by the correct way.  Does this seem pedantic?  You bet it does.  And you're welcome.

Merry Christmas! Love, The Parker's

There are two reasons this is wrong: 1.) There's probably more than one Parker, which means you should put the apostrophe after the s and 2.) You are not showing ownership.  Perhaps if you were to write Love, The Parkers' dog, you would be correct

Merry Christmas! Love, The Parkers


Merry Christmas!  Love, The Parker Family

I love the 80's.

Nope. You love the 80s.


You love the eighties.

I just bought a 92 Chrysler LeBaron.  It was Jon Voights' car.

I just bought a '92 Chrysler LeBaron.  It was Jon Voight's car.  

(Bonus points if you can name the tv show I got this from ... or from which I got this.)

I received all A's on my report card.

Except in English...

I received all As on my report cards.  Does it look like a bad word...yes.  But plural nouns do not need an apostrophe (like houses, boxes).

**The only, ONLY time you would need an apostrophe between a letter or number and s is if the meaning is unclear...use SPARINGLY.

I have three 5's in my cell number.

I have three 5s in my cell number.

(**See note above)

I just gave my two week's notice.

I just gave my two weeks' notice.

 Okay, just a small lesson, but a needed one.  Now go out there and punctuate correctly. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black (Like Your Soul) Friday

I woke up at 4:30 a.m. today.

I drove to Target.

I put items in my cart that seemed like a great deal, but will (let's be honest) still be there at 10:00 a.m.

I got in an argument with a lady in line at Target (that's when I really think I showed people Christ).

I went out in public with my sleepy/4 hours of sleep face (it's the exact same as my "I just got punched in the face with poison ivy" face).

I had a completely insanely fun time with my sister.  I've never laughed that much at 6:30 in the morning.


And to top it all off, I came home, gave Eli a bath and he pooped in the tub.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sorry Mr. Chapin, No Cat's in the Cradle in This House: Eli 21 Months

I'd like to begin this post by saying you're my favorite person and showing the following picture:

What is it, you ask? It's your breakfast.  And although it looks like vomit, it is actually oatmeal.  The telling thing(s) in this picture are (is) the four spoons and one fork.  This picture so perfectly captures  you over the past month.  You insisted that you have four spoons (or spoooooo -- spoon in Eli) and a fork to eat this meal.  You like things done your way, and if they are not done your way in 5 seconds you will cause the earth to collapse in on itself with a single bloodcurdling scream.

You are strong willed, kid.  When I was in labor with you, you turned at the last minute.  The doctor kept trying to turn you the right way, but you were insistent on staying sideways.  I remember hearing the doctor say, "we got a stubborn one here."  And as I was cursing Eve, I thought "awesome."  When you don't get your way, you throw the nearest thing you can grab and look me in the eye and scream.  Not a long scream.  A short, Mariah-Carey-circa-Emotions-album scream.  It's your equivalent to stomping your foot.  This past week you were sick with a cold as well as suffering from two-year molar pain.  My friend, it was like living with Aretha Franklin after a particularly infuriating VH1's Divas special.  You were angry with life.
 (yes, yes you are eating marshmallows straight from the bag...after crying for 20 minutes straight...I went with it.)

I don't want you to think life with you this past month has reduced me to an unhappy, Xanax dependent mom.  I love every minute with you.  You're just catching me at the end of a week where, at one point, we were both crying because we didn't know what you wanted.  Actually, you're quite the little charmer.  I was talking with a friend the other day telling her how more people on campus know you than me.  You love to play out in the lounge area of our building and greet people as they walk in.  You're like the host at a restaurant.  Guys will walk in and give you high fives and fist bumps; it's completely melt-your-heart adorable.  I feel like a majority of the guys in our building would step in front of a bus for you.

In other awesome news, you have started asking to go potty.  Now, I'm the kind of person who puts off challenging tasks until the last minute.  So, honestly I was expecting to give you a crash course in potty training prior to your first date.  But, one day you pointed to the toilet and said "tinka" (Eli for tinkle").  I put you on it, and you went "tinka." I.was.amazed. And then you did it again and another time.  It's not a consistent thing and you haven't dropped a deuce yet, but yowza, kid, you are incredible.  You amaze me every day with things you do or say.

Also, you're the funniest kid I know...funnier than Rudy Huxtable (the early years...don't get me started on Rudy during the desperate Olivia episodes).  In about ten years, what I'm about to write will have you requesting change of name forms and a PPO against me, but you, my friend, have inherited your mother's gastrointestinal tendencies.  Which is a fancy way of saying you fart and burp a lot.  Now before any of my readers start suggesting vegan, non-dairy diet plans, relax.  The Ricks and the Parkers are gassy people, so it only makes sense that my child would also be a gassy person.  The great thing about it, is that you think it's hilarious when you fart or burp.  I've even caught you lifting a butt cheek to get full push.  You will say 'xcuse you' (which is what we say to you when you do it) and give the nearest person a high five.  It.is.AWEsome.  If you're gonna survive in this family, you have to think gas is funny.

Speaking of funny people, you have become the president of your father's fan club this past month.  Now, I'm going to admit something that will earn me top billing as the most horrible person on this planet next to Rosie O'Donnell, but this was hard for me.  Up until a couple months ago, you were the president of my fan club.  I was your go-to-gal.  Now, though, it's your papa.  I was walking behind you and your dad (walking hand in hand) at Target the other night and thought, "Wow, what am I being a dork for?  I am so blessed to be married to a man who is an amazing father."  Your father loves you more than anything, more than the Detroit Tigers or Oreos.  You're his little man, and I am brought to tears when I think about how blessed you are to have such an amazing role model.  I worry about you and the world you're growing up in (a world where dangling prepositions run rampant).  But I feel a peace knowing that you have a Godly father who will help you become an equally amazing man of God.  I love that my favorites are each other's favorites.

Despite our differences these past couple months, you're still one of my favorite people to be around.  I hope you never doubt my unconditional love for you.  There is nothing you could do that would make me love you any less.  Not even if you voted democrat.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fifteen Authors

I was tagged in a note on Facebook by my brother in which I was challenged to name fifteen authors (poets included)  who've influenced me and that will always stick with me.  I'm supposed to identify fifteen authors in fifteen minutes. 

Challenge extended....challenge accepted.

The Holy Spirit

C.S. Lewis
Dorothy Sayers
Harper Lee
Jane Austen
John Donne
J.R.R. Tolkien
Mark Twain (that's right, Julia)
Beverly Cleary
John Steinbeck
Charles Dickens
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
William Shakespeare
Frank McCourt
Jim Fay

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Laughter is the Best Medicine

Eli is just starting to laugh at things he sees on t.v. In this video he's laughing at Murray from Sesame Street demonstrating "half" by ripping a chair in half. He's laughing so hard he gets the hiccups. I would compare his laugh...ummm...to an angels' chorus.

Eli and Sesame Street from Jeanette Parker on Vimeo.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Parkers

Ben: Go like this...you have something on your chin.

Me: Did I get it?

Ben: No, it looks like spaghetti sauce or something.

Me: It's a zit.

Ben: Oh.

(I must post script this by saying that I have been emphatic with Ben about telling me when I have something on my face or chin.  This, however, was not easily removed...even the lapse of puberty has not worked).

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Guest Starring Matt Lauer

Last night played host to the weirdest dreams I can recall in a while.  I can't think of anything weird I ate or any illicit drugs I consumed to beget such random, Inception style dreams.  I wrote down the weirdest one out of the bunch just because it was so funny at star-studded.  That's right, I wrote it down.  To share with you.  So here is my warped dream:

I was interning at News 10 (you know, home of Darrin ROCK-c.o.l.e.), and I was working with the production team.  During a newscast, I was standing next to the cameraman when he suddenly fainted.  David Andrews told me to get my act in gear and run the camera.  Not wanting to disappoint such an acclaimed newscaster, I quickly got behind the camera...except it was too heavy and so it kept dropping down or going off to the side.  All of the sudden Matt Lauer was reporting alongside David Andrews, as was Rachel McAdams.  They were all yelling at me to follow them with the camera because A.C. Slater was saving someone from the ocean outside the studio (not Mario Lopez, A.C. Slater).  I was running, but I couldn't keep up because the camera was too heavy.  We got outside (at the beach) just as A.C. and Kelly Kapowski were running into the waves.  But then we were all talking outside of the studio (no more Saved By the Bell cameos).  Matt Lauer was trying to give me a pep talk about working with the camera and that tomorrow would be better.  Then, Sue Sylvester (the producer of News 10) came out to yell at me for screwing up the news.

The end. 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

First Master's Class: Done

I am currently enrolled in Spring Arbor's MAE program.  Did you know that, Mom?  One of my three goals this year was to start my master's.  Check. (What are my other two goals?  I guess you'll have to come back and see...that's called a hook.)  Anyway, why did I choose Spring Arbor to get my master's?  Well, the reasons are two-fold:

1. I feel Spring Arbor has grown into a well-reputed school for degrees in education.  I did research on MAE programs at various state schools, and decided SAU could hold a candle to other schools.  (Eastern also has a great graduate program, as does Michigan State.)

2. I get a significant discount on master's classes at SAU since my husband has been an employee here for so long.

The later had significantly more pull than the former. 

So, my first class was actually a workshop that met every other weekend for the last two months.  The class covered a program based on Howard Gardner's multiple intelligences theory.

Now, I admit I'm a bit of a school geek.  I likes me some education.  So, I was pretty pumped to start classes again.  There were thirteen people in my class which made it so much more accessible and comfortable.  And the group I was placed in was made up of three other secondary teachers.  A huge bonus. (Don't get me wrong, elementary teachers, but we know there is something to be said for homogeneous teacher groups...secondary teachers are a different breed from elementary teachers.  We find words like 'duty' funny.) So, yeah the group I was in...was...AWESOME.

We all clicked phenomenally well.  I was able to glean a lot of useful tips and suggestions from these three amazing women and laugh my buttocks off every class meeting. These women have such generous spirits and a genuine love for their jobs.  Additionally, we all shared very similar beliefs about our classrooms and our role as teachers. 

My instructor was equally awesome (third awesome in this post, must buy a thesaurus).  She was very knowledgeable about the content, engaging, open to different ideas, and fun.  Also, she indulged us when we would giggle at the word 'duty'.

It was a great class, and it has set the bar pretty high as far as my expectations are concerned for future classes.  So, come on Spring Arbor, wow the socks off of me.  Challenge extended.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Jeanette: 411

Lately I've been...

Excited About: Going to bed.  I only got 5 hours of sleep last night which equals no sleep to those of you who only need 5 hours of sleep, weirdos you interesting people.

Not Looking Forward To: Doing the dishes before I go to bed.

Procrastinating: Doing the laundry...which is slowly building itself into a living-entity

Thinking: I might not do the dishes tonight.

Reading: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Nov. 19, suckas).  In related news, I just finished Pillars of the Earth -- when I finished, I wanted to start over and read again

Cooking Eating: Cottage Inn Personal Pizza...sweet bliss

Watching: TiVoed Modern Family

TiVoing: How I Met Your Mother - I'm currently obsessed.  Oh, Doogie.

Listening To: Jonsi

Missing: my sister (Carol T. Rick)

Laughing With: Modern Family - "I found a place online that would buy my organ.  Can you drive me to the black market?"

Wishing:  I could go to Hawaii with my in-laws in two weeks...so jealous.

Dreading: Sitting through seven hours of class tomorrow (thank goodness for fun people in class)
Will Start: Running again...starting Monday.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Intervention Needed

The signs of a serious problem:

When one just isn't giving you the fix you need.

"What?  I do not have a problem."

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Verbal Confusion

I'm trying to do that thing wherein I post daily on my blog...at least for the month of November.  I gotta tell you...the pressure is exhilarating.  So here's my post for today.  You're welcome, Internet.

Stuff I'm Bad At (this list definitely exceeds 2 items, but for the sake of time and Internet space, I will highlight 2 of them...actually, just one):

1. Not ending phrases with dangling prepositions

2. (And definitely, the broader subject of this post) Small Talk

I am irreparably awkward.  I have been all my life.  I have little to zero kinesthetic ability.  One of my worst fears is that I will be with a group of people and an impromptu volleyball game will break out.  My awkwardness is not limited to my lack of athleticism.  From ages 5 - pregnant, I bore a striking resemblance to Olive Oil.  I was this awkward skinny girl who looked like she suffered from Marfan syndrome (look it up...Abe Lincoln was most likely suffering from it, too).  It wasn't cute skinny...it was dear-God-her-knee-caps-stick-out-farther-than-her-well...they just are really pronounced. 

But the area in which my awkwardness is ironically evident is my verbal skills.  The irony being, I am an English teacher.  To quote Jocie-grossy, words are my life. But, when I first meet people or have to engage in small talk, I am reduced to a babbling weirdo with a speech impediment.  For example, the other day a guy in Ben's dorm asked how Eli was doing.  I was caught of guard, and quickly spit out a hodge podge of words that only the most gifted interpreters could have deciphered.  It sounded something like, "Fine...he's good...I mean well...he's f...flabaalkd;fha dvlkamn." (and yes, the semi-colon belongs).  The guy looked at me like, "Are you having a seizure?" and then quickly walked away. I don't know why.

Most times, my awkward small talk results in a confused blend of phonemes.  However, there are times when I try to throw funny in with my awkwardness and it results in something completely inappropriate being said.  This usually happens around pastors or employers.  It's what the mean girls refer to as "word vomit."  Usually something about farts, menstrual stuff or boobs comes out (ask me about my first time visiting Ben's parents--yikes).   These completely inappropriate words are coming out of my mouth while my brain is screaming at me to STOP TALKING, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY!!! 

Sometimes I realize my social faux pas immediately -- other times I realize it as I'm leaving the person or while falling asleep at night.  I don't think I'm a dumb person.  I mean there was that time I cut my hair to resemble a man.  Oh, and I dabbled in missionary dating in high school.  But, other than those isolated incidences, I am a fully functioning member of society.  Why can I not have an intelligent small talk interaction with someone? 

So, if you are ever the victim of my word vomit or phonemic firework show, please know I am aware of my awkwardness and am working to correct it...at least the verbal part.  Volleyball is forever beyond my reach.

Monday, November 1, 2010

This is Halloween

This was our first Halloween trick or treating.  Now before you report us to the American Dental Council and Diabetes Association...we don't give him all the candy.  Just a couple of little things...with no dye...which are organic...made by angels.  We took him to Concord (where my parents live) and went to a few houses on main street.  It was really a lesson in saying thank you and good bye.  He passed with flying colors.

Anyway, Eli dressed up as a hamburger (sorry, PETA) and I dressed up as Wendy from Wendy's...get it Wendy and her hamburger.  Ben dressed up as a guy who doesn't want to dress up or an avid Detroit fan...take your pick.  All in all, we had a great night.  And I'm topping it off by eating m & m's and watching Harry Potter (19 days, friends...19 days).

Monday, October 18, 2010


I found this poem today in an anthology of poems I didn't know I had (and with which I am currently obsessed).  It nicely sums up my adoration for fall.  So, for your reading pleasure (mom), here it is:


Out of my dooryard maple
A gilded leaflet fell,
Twinkling down on a sunbeam,
Like music from a bell.

Nor hand nor foot disturbed it,
And frolicsome gusts of air,
Whirling the wayside atoms,
Danced on, and left it there.

Slowly away it wasted
Till only a film remained --
A skeleton leaf, a shadow,
Lost wholly when it rained.

Yet lo, on the stained foot-way,
Etched where the gold had lain,
A delicate shape -- a spirit --
Tarried in wind and rain.

                              -Charles H. Luders

You're welcome.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Herzlichen Gluckwunsch der bruder

The title of my post today is in honor of my German ancestry, and it's a shout out to one of my favorite people (and fellow German): my brother!  It actually says Happy Birthday the brother.  I tried looking up how to say Happy Birthday in Klingon, but I couldn't find it.  Aaaanway...Happy Birthday to the smartest person I know.  I hope you have a great day!  Love you!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fall Playlist

Posting what I'm listening to may at first strike you as self-absorbed, and perhaps you would be right.  But, my intentions are purely altruistic, which is 60% true every time. That being said, I do like to post what I'm listening to every once in a decade for several reasons:

1. I have written down proof for my future teenage child that his mother actually listened to somewhat cool music (those of you who think my music is not cool can go tell your mom).

2. Perhaps it will inspire you to add new melodies to your library (and by you, I mean my sister).

3. I like to look back at previous posted playlists and reminisce. 

4. I enjoy reading your playlists (and by your, I mean Rachel -- who is not self-absorbed at all--little disclaimer there). 

The following are songs are from my "Fall Playlist".  And yes I do have seasonal playlists.  I feel each season warrants its own music. 

1. Go Do - Jonsi : for those of you who like Sigur Ros, you will love Jonsi...because it is the lead singer of Sigur Ros.  It is an upbeat, ethereal tune.

2. Tornado - Jonsi: for those who like the slow jams...this is a more somber selection...still musical bliss, though.

3. Staralfur - Sigur Ros - Listening to Jonsi compelled me to visit one of my Sigur Ros favorites.  If you're not into Icelandic music...move along.

4. Concerning the UFO Sighting... - Sufjan Stevens - Every playlist I create will have a song from this eclectic musician.  The Illinois album is my favorite, and this song (off said album) epitomizes fall for me.

5. ...And As The Ship Went Down...-Woodpigeon - This band reminds me of my good friend, Sufjan.  The sound is very eclectic.  Bonus: They're from Canada. 

6. Beg, Steal or Borrow - Ray LaMontagne - This one is off of his latest album.  I'm not sure I have a favorite Ray LaMontagne song because they are all amazing.

7.  Curs in the Weeds - Horse Feathers - I likes me some strings in my music and this band has it.  The lead singer's voice has a lazy, slightly raspy feel to it.  Perfect for rainy days. 

8.  Finch on Saturday - Horse Feathers - see above.

9.  Yellow - Jem - This is a fantastic cover of Coldplay's song.  It has a lullaby quality to it.  (Thanks, Rachel!)

10. Take On Me - A.C. Newman - Brilliant.  I love the A-Ha song...I love this one even more.

11. Videotape - Radiohead - Autumn driving is not complete without Radiohead.  Gotta admit, kind of a downer, but surreal Radiohead, nonetheless.

12. Casimir Pulaski Day - Sufjan Stevens - see above.

13. I Found a Reason - Cat Power - Cover of a Velvet Underground song. 

14. Mandi Mapes - I Already Know - inspired by the book of Ruth.  Unassuming acoustic melody that I cannot get enough of.  (Her voice kind of reminds me of Priscilla Ahn's.)

Go. Listen. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Happy Birthday, Faja!

"It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived."  To Kill a Mockingbird



Thursday, September 23, 2010

My Life with a Banshee - Eli at 19 Months

This post will take a different direction than previous monthly letters.  I feel that the story I'm about to tell will sum up our month with you, my sweet Eli.  Prepare yourselves, Internet, for a harrowing tale.


I feel that as an English teacher, it is only fitting that I would want to pass on my love of books to my son. So, I have made every effort to make sure your library is fully stocked. You usually migrate to the ones that were free or came in a happy meal despite my best efforts to steer you toward the ones that cost me money or took thought on my part.  But I digress.  I love reading to you.  You are such a fun audience.  Whenever I used to read to my students, I felt as if my voice mimicked the lulling sound of ocean waves, as half my students used that time to catch up on sleep.  Not you, my friend.  You revel in my voices and my gestures.  You laugh, you indulge me, we discuss themes and motifs with excitement (and by we, I mean me).  Granted you don't really sit through an entire book, but I don't care; you at least stay in the same room.  You grab stacks of books and put them in my lap.  Reading is definitely FUNdamental in our house. 

With this in mind, I decided that perhaps you would have fun attending the story time half hour at our local public library.  To make sure that this half hour of literary bliss would be appropriate for someone of your energy level, I went to the library a week ahead of time to ask about this story time.  Is it appropriate for your age group?  What did they do?  Were they aware that my child's record for sitting still was 1.2 seconds?  The librarian reassured me that they had several young children Eli's age who rarely sat through an entire story.  She said that by the end of the story, she is usually reading to herself while the young ones walk around.  The half hour consisted of reading a book, dancing, and coloring to mix it up for those with the attention span of an Eli.  I thought, "This will work."  And the following Wednesday morning, we set out for the library eager with the anticipation of a new social outlet. 

When I inquired about story time, the librarian told me there were usually six to eight kids who attended.  At this session, however, there were two: you and a three year old girl...who was afraid of you.  I noticed that there were six books out...all about cats.  Okay.  Eli likes cats.  Maybe we'll draw pictures of cats or make cat sounds.  Whatever.  This should be fine. My friends, the situation progressed very rapidly to DEFCON 1 status.  The sweet librarian (who was not the librarian I spoke to the week before) began reading one book.  You were not interested.  If I tried to keep you on my lap, you would make a sound that can only be described as a pig/cat hybrid being murdered.  So I set you down.  You walked over to the sweet three year old girl and began patting her on the head.  She recoiled in disgust/shock/horror.  Her face conveyed all these feelings.  So, I tried to steer you toward the table to draw.  That worked for 2.1 seconds.  You took the crayon bucket and dumped it on the table, made your pig/cat cry and got back down.  Then you decided to help the librarian with turning the pages in the book (a fun activity at home)...before she was done reading the page -- she was not amused.  So then I steered you toward some puzzles...pig/cat cry.  Finally, the librarian was done with the first book.  "Good," I thought, "we'll sing a song or act like cats or something."  Nope.  She asked the three year old to pick out another book. 

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" I screamed to myself.

By this time, you picked up one of the cat books and took it over to the the three year old's grandpa.  He did NOT want to read to you.  So I took it and tried to show you the pictures...pig/cat cry.  You found a baby doll in the corner to occupy you for 1.3 seconds.  After you hugged the doll, you took it to the three year old to have her kiss it (you're so cute).  She did NOT want to kiss it.  So I kissed it...pig/cat cry.  Finally, book #2 was done, but not until you tried to rearrange some of the library books on the bottom shelf. 

"Okay, now we'll sing a song or color or clean toilets...anything besides reading another story out loud," I thought.  Wrong. 

The librarian asked YOU to pick out a book.  You pondered over the selection for 1.1 seconds and picked up three of the books and started walking to the door.  "I hear ya, kid," I thought.  So I grabbed you (pig/cat cry) and took one of the books to the librarian with a pleading look that I hoped she would pick up on.  Alas, book #3 began.  You tried helping her turn the pages (before she was done reading the page), but she looked like she could handle it, so I picked you up...pig/cat cry.  I took you to the back of the library to show you the biography section, hoping a diversion would calm you down.  You informed me, however, that I should not take you away from your audience ever again and topped off your complaint with a Meryl Streep performance of falling down on the ground and writhing as if I had poisoned you.  We should hear about your acceptance into Julliard any day now. 

I decided it was time to go.  But, I had to pick up the crayons you spilled, collect your jacket that you tried to put on the librarian and get you out of the building without you pulling a Rosemary's baby.  So I set your writhing body down by the door, hoping you would look out and see the fire station across from the library and day dream about the fire trucks housed inside.  Big mistake.  As I was picking up crayons (mind you, the librarian is still reading, three year old is trying to listen, and three year old's grandpa is dialing Super Nanny), you began to roll the computer chair across the tiled floor very conspicuously.  Dear Jesus, give me patience.  I quickly picked up the crayons, grabbed your jacket, put the computer chair back, picked you up, and ran out of the library.  I didn't say goodbye.  I just left vowing never to return until you were in college. 

Now let me explain a few things to you and my readers who may think you are out of control and you probably smoke and run dog fights in our house.   This month has been a challenge.  I think you have made your transition into the the terrible twos (ahead of schedule).  You like to say no.  You like to throw your pacifier in a fit of frustration when you don't get your way.  You like to gently lay yourself on the ground (thank you, by the way) and fake cry when we tell you, "I'm sorry, you cannot eat that Twix bar...how about a banana?"  And we are learning how to deal.  We send you to your room, we try so hard to be consistent, we try to speak calmly to you.  We're all new at this.  And don't get me wrong, 80% of the time you are a pleasant child who is in love with life.  And I probably should have thought twice about taking you to library story time so close to your nap.  But again, we learn. 

It's hard for me to accept that you're not really a baby any more.  You have this strong desire to be more independent.  And honestly,  you have been strong willed since the womb.  But, you have to know that I may know a little more than you and when I tell you to put down the bottle of toilet cleaner, it's for a good reason.  I really am looking out for you.  I know that these next years are going to be challenging, so please bear with me--I'm just as new at this as you are.

Please know that I love you so much and only want the best for you.  And even when you're doing your best Kraken imitation, I don't love you any less, my sweet Eli-eli-oh.  

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mater!

Mater - A Haiku

Bathroom humor fan
Hey don't forget, I don't know
Awkward times abound

Happy Birthday, Marmee! We love you!  Oh, and don't forget!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

This Little Piggy Went to Therapy??

The other day, whilst Eli and I were patronizing our local Taco Bell, Eli befriended a little girl in line with us. As I was admiring the hospitable nature of my child, I looked down at the little girl's bare...BARE!!! feet...(on the gross Taco Bell ground) and noticed she had six toes on one foot.  She had five on one foot and six on the other for a grand total of eleven toes.   After I quickly recited a line from The Princess Bride in my head, I began to wonder about Eli's little eleven toed friend.

How does she find shoes that fit?  Is that why she's not wearing shoes? How do her parents modify the "This Little Piggy" game?  Does the actual pinky toe have pinky toe envy?  Why is she NOT WEARING SHOES WHILST WALKING ON THE TACO BELL GROUND?  She will have a great 3 lies and 1 truth bit for youth group.  Could she have it removed if she wanted?  Or is it integral to her balance?

That's all I got for you, Internet.

Also, I was in the mood for pumpkin bread when I selected the latest color layout for my blog.  That's why.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Another Post Wherein I Plagiarize Rachel Parton's Blog

 Lately I've been...

Plagiarizing: Rachel Parton's ideas...can you blame me?  Check this gal out.

Excited About: Hanging up pictures in our apt...naked walls are unsettling.

Not Looking Forward To: Hanging up pictures in our apt

Procrastinating: Unpacking Ben's box o' sweatshirts.

Thinking: What's so great about Mad Men and Breaking Bad, Emmy Academy?  Huh?

Reading: Sense and Sensibility and, starting tomorrow,  The Help

Cooking Eating: Subway's buffalo chicken sandwich...well done, Jared, well done.

Watching: The Emmys
TiVoing: Public Access television (what, TiVo?)

Listening To: Woodpigeon and Barbara Streisand

Missing: the buffalo chicken sandwich I ate earlier...

Laughing At With: Heather Wikler...I just talked with her on the phone. 

Wishing: I wouldn't have watched Confessions of a Shopaholic last night.  Be ye not so careless with your Netflix queue.
Also, that Sara Luke and I can be reunited sometime this week. 

Dreading: Getting 3 cavities filled on Tuesday.
Being Adventurous: ...and cutting my own bangs.

You may now rest easy, Internet.  You're caught up on the life and times of Jeanette Parker. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

I Likes Me Some...

In my latest Eli post I neglected to highlight his recent likes.  These are more precious than silver to not write down, so here's a bulleted list for all you type Aers.
  • Hugging.  Eli has always been an affectionate child, but he has stepped it up.  Any time he sees children, he squeals with delight and runs over to welcome them to his vicinity...by hugging them.  Tonight at Cottage Inn, these two little boys walked in with their dad.  Eli's kid radar immediately started going berserk.  He ran over to them after clawing his way out of our booth, leaving none alive, and started laughing, like they had just quoted a line from 30 Rock.  Then he followed them to their table and started hugging them.  First the older one, then the younger one (who returned his hug).  Then was inconsolable the rest of our time there, when I insisted he stay at our table and let his new found BFFs eat their dinner.
  • (Not a new one, but warrants mentioning) Tractors/Trucks.  He is so in love with tractors and/or trucks, he is able to identify one, just by hearing it.  
  • Elephants.  He loves pictures of them, seeing them on t.v., the one that came with the building we're living in now.  Okay, so that's the only thing this building does not come equipped with (dp).  
  • Fire trucks (this deserves a bullet aside from the truck bullet).  He sees one and will make a siren sound.  If we even walk by the fire station and don't go see the trucks, he has a melt down...it's so sweet to see a writhing child on the side of M-60.  I mean, it's just beautiful.
Ummm...so I think that's it...I can't think of anything else...ahem (Pringles).  What?  Who wrote that?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I Am 18 Months Going on 18 Years, Ladies will Fall in Line

Well, it seems this blog's sole purpose is to communicate your growth to the fans (the fans being your grandma).  18 MONTHS!!!  That's how many you are. Yesterday, I had to buy you a new pair of sandals (thank you, Kohls for still having sandals) because 1.) your feet have grown to such gigantic proportions we have Big Foot hunters camping outside our building and 2.) your old sandals smelled like road kill wrapped up in some bigger road kill that had been wedged in a locker next to a urinal in a boys' locker room for the last six months.  Anyway, I was looking at these size 7 sandals and thinking, "my little baby has turned into a big boy."  And as I was silently weeping, you jarred me back to the present by a squeal that indicated you were, in fact, tired of sitting in the same spot for more than 10 seconds and I needed to move, Jeeves.  Oh, the things that have changed over the last two months.
First off, you have this amazing sense of humor.  Lately, whenever you see a camera or someone appears to be taking a picture of you, you make the above featured face.  You squint up your eyes and open your mouth into this big grin (dimples and all).  It is so funny!  Sometimes, you and I will be playing, and you'll just look at me and start giggling (like Elmo just made fun of my Jay Leno chin, and you're all like, "for sure, Elmo").  You laugh all the time, which I love.  Along with laughter, you have this joyful squeal that is usually used to indicate a dog (or animal of some sort) is within 30 miles of you.  You are such an affectionate, loving child.  My favorite is when you're sitting in my lap and  you look up at me and give me a kiss.  I love that life is mostly a fun time for you.  I love that you feel safe and content and are trusting.  And it's these times of giggling and happiness and kisses that I hold onto with every fiber of my being when I am in the midst of the OTHER times.
The other times.  So, you and temper tantrums have become BFFs.  You guys are texting all the time, especially while I'm shopping...where there are people...with eyes...judging me and my parenting skills.  I was a little shaken by the appearance of Temper Tantrum.  I mean you are my sweet little boy who usually obeys his mama. So, your temper tantrums...how can I describe them?  Well, take that joyful squeal you make around animal life, add some angst, throw in a dash of death metal and sprinkle some Jim Carrey ala Dumb and Dumber (you know, the scene where he's making the most annoying sound in the world?) and you have a resemblance of your angry squeal.  It's horribly grating.  In fact, the CIA has contacted us to see if they can record the squeal to use while interrogating potential enemies of state.  And then, you very gently and intentionally place your body on the ground (which is very nice of you) and kind of cry.  It's not a real cry because there are no tears.  I call it your Meryl Streep cry, because it is quite a performance. It's awesome.  Especially in the check out line at Ikea or in the middle of Office Max after I thwart your attempts to steal pens. 
These temper tantrums aren't a regular occurrence.  They usually take place after shopping for too long, when we you have to come inside, or when you are hungry...kind of like your dad's.  Which, honestly, I can totally sympathize.  When your friend, Temper Tantrum, first arrived, all belligerent and smacking his gum, I was distraught.  Was I a bad mother?  Am I not consistent enough?  Aside from these temper tantrums, you are usually pretty obedient.  When we tell you "no," you are pretty quick to comply.  We do have times (usually when we change your diaper or try to wipe your face after a meal) where you turn into a diva, but we are pretty good with handling these situations.  I did a lot of reading about temper tantrums.  And here's what I've decided: it's normal.  You are normal.  Toddlers throw temper tantrums (and please, random reader, don't tell me your toddler doesn't, otherwise, I may have to talk about you behind your back).  I just need to be patient and hope that when you're 13, you will have outgrown this phase.
You have had such a fun summer.  Not because we've visited exotic lands or conversed with the whales, but simply because you love being outside.  L-O-V-E it!  You swim, you run, you climb up slides, you put bugs in your mouth, you play with any ball you stumble across, you write poetry to tractors, you sing, you dance.  You are at peace outside.  In fact, I think you secretly wish you were born into the Swiss Family Robinson.  It's kind of nice for me (because isn't life about pleasing your mother?  Isn't it?).  I feel like your love for the outdoors forces me to be more fit and less couch potatoey.  It really is an all out workout to keep up with you. 
When you were a wee baby, friends, who had little boys, would look at you and comment about not remembering when their boys were as little as you were.  I remember thinking, "how can you forget what this feels like?"  And now, as I try to wedge my ginormous foot from my mouth, I get it.  You are growing up so fast.  I found one of your newborn diapers during our move (oh, yeah...we moved this month...which is a story that deserves its own post.  Look for it soon.), and could not believe that your cute little tushie (you're welcome, 17 year old Eli) used to fit in that diaper.  I feel like I write this every time I write an Eli update, but your growth and development constantly amaze me.  You can walk (and run away from us), you can talk (not in sentences, but your point is heard), you can decide that you do or don't want to do something, you feed yourself.  You are nearly self-sufficient.  Almost more than some high school students I used to know.

I love watching you grow into a little man.  And it cannot be said enough, but I love you more than I can say to you in a lifetime.  Happy 18 months, Eli-eli-oh!   

Saturday, July 10, 2010

PSA: The Following are NOT Appreciated

I know people mean well (most of the time)...but I've endured the following questions/statements for a while now, and it is time to put my foot down.  If you cross my path and think any of the following...keep them tucked away in that cute little brain of yours and spare me the self-esteem blows.
  • Are you tired?  You look tired.  (Nope, my eyes are just small)
  • (variation on the first) Did you just wake up? (Nope, been up for hours)
  • You look like you don't feel well. (Nope, this is my face)
  • (variation on the third) Wow, you look like you're sick.
  • Don't worry, that pregnancy weight will come off (non-solicited)
  • Your toes are so long. (Unless I'm a sloth, this is not a compliment)
  • You have a lot of freckles.
  • Are you Chinese? (I in no way mean this as a dig against Chinese people, but I AM NOT Chinese.)
  • You cook?
  • Wow, your child is cute! (after looking at me and then back at my child.)
Okay, I think that's it.  I'll make an addendum if I dredge up any other painful memories.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

And I Ran...I Ran So Far Away

I ran my first 5k since the birth of my child yesterday (I know there's a misplaced modifier in this sentence, but I'm not really sure how to reword it to make sense -- mind you, I didn't have my first child yesterday -- I ran a 5k yesterday).  I ran it with my-way-more-in-shape-than-me sister, who was a saint and stayed with me the whole race, even when I stopped for a second to choke down my breakfast which tried making a second appearance around the 2-mile mark. 

I'm not proud of the race.  I finished under 30 minutes (which was my goal--actually my goal was not to die, but 2 for 2 is good for me), but I ran the course a whole minute faster when I did a test run last week. It just wasn't a good running day for me.  I think my final shame came when I was passed by a speed walker....A SPEED WALKER!!!!  Classic speed walker, too -- with the hips moving, arms swinging ready for take off. 

Oh well...I'll just have to run another one so I can prove to myself that I can in fact beat a speed walker. 

Here are some pics for your enjoyment. 

My cheering section

Sunday, June 20, 2010

This One is Going Out to the Dads (you know who you are)

"'Miss Jean Louise, stand up.  Your father is passin'.'" To Kill a Mockingbird

I think TKAM is one of my favorite books because the character of Atticus has always reminded me of my own father.  My father exudes a quiet wisdom.  He is a man of character and grace.  He is a man of God and a faithful servant.  He may not be the best shot in the county, but he has earned the respect and trust of so many people.  I am one of his biggest fans.  I love you, faja!

Happy Father's Day, Dad!

Throughout the last 16 months, my husband has been a model of selflessness.  It's actually kind of annoying, because I really don't know how he does it.  Parenthood requires a person to give up  a lot of the freedom he/she had prior to having children.  While I've had to accept this fact kicking and screaming sometimes, Ben has made the transition quite easily.  He is so gentle and accommodating with our son.  There's no greater pleasure I get than watching the two of them laugh and play together.  Eli has a tremendous role model in his father.  I could not have asked for a better partner with whom to raise a family. I love you, Benj!

Happy Father's Day, Benny!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Molars and Haircuts and Tantrums, Oh My: 15/16 month edition

I've decided that if I ever wrote a book it would be called, ...And Then I Farted.  Classy, right?  It's just I embarrass myself on a daily basis, and a lot of times it's because I've passed gas in a public place... around human beings...who can smell...and have the power of deduction.  However, I've recently come up with a title for a book I would write about you and me (and these last two months, during which I've become an expert in interpreting whining and writhing).  This book would be entitled Mom for Sale.  I envision a picture of me sitting on a curb with a For Sale sign around my neck with you standing next to me.  These past two months have been a journey in discipline, laughter and patience. 

Any extra flubber baby weight I had from being pregnant with you has been burned away due to racking up the miles on my pedometer from chasing you around. Chasing you up stairs.  Chasing you down stairs.  Then up again. Then down.  Then across campus.  Then through Lowell.  You are in a constant state of motion.  Like the earth (and there's your science lesson for the day).  And it's not just walking or running or climbing.  You are touching things and moving things and playing with keys (that we can never find...EVER) and taking clothes out of drawers and strewing my lady products throughout our house.  Ewww, I said lady products....LADY PRODUCTS, Ben. 

We bought a bike trailer to pull you around the Arbor (on our bikes, not rickshaw style).  You love it!  You hold onto your sippy cup and keep us updated on any dogs within a 30 mile radius of us (it's your super power).  I mean, really, we could have strapped a card board box to our bikes, put some pillows in and you would have been just as content, because you're outside, which happens to be your favorite place.  You will stand by the screen door waiting...just waiting for someone to let you out.  And when that moment comes...oh, how the angels sing.  You usually dart for the basketball court because that's where you will see a ball...your favorite word.  And when I try to take you away from your favorite place, your skin begins to peel off your body, you turn into a rubbery contortionist and shoot fire from your eyes.  It's my favorite. 
Over the last two months, you've developed this thing called "a will of your own".  You have realized that maybe if you scream loud enough or whine long enough or cry those very sad crocodile tears your mother or father will let you get what you want.  Maybe we'll let you never bathe.  Or maybe we can just let your diaper stay on you until it disintegrates.  Perhaps we'd let you eat that whole bag of barbecue chips.  It's really, really hard to be consistent with you.  When my mom used to say, "just be consistent." I was like "psshh, piece of cake."  Whatever.  I feel like I'm constantly having to do time out or tell you, "sorry, no, but can I interest you in this?"  And if I slip up, you write it down in your journal late at night so that you can remember to stick it to me tomorrow.  I can handle the writhing and whining at home.  But, when we're in the middle of Meijer, I'm at a loss.  Honestly, I usually just let you whine it out, much to the chagrin of my fellow patrons. 
There was a two week period where I thought you might take out an ad on Craig's List for a new mother, because clearly, I was no longer getting the job done.  I was obviously ruining your life (insert door slam here).  You started to hit me when you became frustrated.  And I just don't like to be hit, not even by someone as adorable as you.  Every time you hit, we do a time out.  Our time out consists of me holding you in your time out chair.  I'm not sure if you're cognitively aware of what time out is.  But, I have noticed a decline in your hitting.  You do this thing now where you act like you're going to hit me and then you put your hands on your face.  Or you look at your hand like, "Oops, how did that get there?  Is that my hand?"   You still hit once in a while, but I am hoping by the time you enter pre-school, your bid for the UFC will have subsided.
I am not saying these two months have not been hard on you.  You had 5...FIVE whole teeth come in.  Four of them were molars.  I remember when my wisdom teeth came in--I thought I was going to die.  You also had your first hair cut.  So, I'm not sure if there was a Samson thing going on there.  You lost your inverted Flock of Seagulls do and didn't know what to do with yourself.  Your whole world was off-kilter.  And then Lost ended and Glee is gone for the summer.  Who wouldn't writhe in frustration?  
These last months have really tested my patience.  I cannot tell you how many times I have prayed that the Lord would give me patience...and a sedative.  When you're doing something you're not supposed to (like washing your hands in the toilet), my first reaction is to get mad.  But, a lot of times you just don't know any better.  I mean hey, it's water...you like water...you like washing your hands...it's your height.  Makes sense to me.  The super-uptight, anal part of me cringes when you wipe ketchup in your newly washed hair or have ketchup covering your entire up half.   I'm sorry if I've ever made you feel uptight or scared.  I don't want you to feel like you're nothing short of incredible to me.  I know it's been 16 months, but I'm still learning about this whole parenthood thing...and that show Parenthood, NOT a big help (sheesh, NBC).
I remember this one episode of the Cosby Show where Vanessa wore make up when her mom explicitly told her not to.  When Claire found out, she started counting to 10 and then calmly and sagely handed out her discipline.  Okay, so I'm not Claire Huxtable.  Sorry.  But, I really try to be fair with you. I make every effort to not react out of anger. Your dad and I are trying to help you become a caring, selfless, conscientious individual.  Sometimes it's not fun.  But sometimes, you make faces like this and all is right with the world.  I love you, my sweet Eli, eli, oh.