Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Little Man to English Dictionary

In the last two months, since starting therapy services through Early Intervention, Little Man's vocabulary has increased by leaps and bounds. I can't really keep track of all the words he says—he's likely at a couple hundred individual words—but I want to start noting down the cute ways he mangles the English language. I know it's common in toddlers and I'm just enjoying the way he says things.

Here are what I remember off the top of my head. I'll post blog entries under Toddler Speak periodically and eventually mourn the loss when his diction improves.

Oh-In = Open
Puh-In = Pumpkin
Plau = Pluto
Donnuh Duck = Donald Duck (his favorite)
Me Mou = Mickey Mouse
(Goofy he says perfectly now)
Chee-Ohs = Cheerios
Baums = Teddy Grahams (not sure why)
Mal Crah = Animal Crackers
Caykee = Casey (our dog)
Gawaffe = Giraffe
Effent = Elephant
Wion = Lion
Ah-pull = Apple
Pee-Pah = Pizza
Pah-Tah = Pasta
Muh-In = Muffin (generally prefers corn)

And I love when he burps (whether truly or deliberately) and then goes: "Oose Me!"  He's being polite!  He's also said "Peese" for please and he asks for both hugs and kisses. He's such a sweet little boy and I'm so blessed to have him.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Impact of Bullying

I'm glad that bullying has been very present in the news lately. I'm not glad that it is, because I feel so badly for children who are bullied. But I'm glad it's being reported and that it seems to be getting more serious attention. Sadly it wasn't the case when I was a child.

I was bullied from the time I was 8 years old until I went to college. By then the damage was done and I was a mix of restraint and complete openness which didn't really serve me well. While I did have some very supportive friends, a few who I am still friends with today, I also chose toxic people who did my self-esteem more harm than good. I'm not sure why. But, then I had such a low self image that it makes sense. And I hardly dated until I was 35. Somehow, around that time, I got some more self-confidence back--or I just didn't care and was willing to take more chances than before.

I remember being teased in the Second Grade by another child. That child, whoever she was, just said something mean to me. And I started crying in the classroom. My teacher at the time was a nasty older woman (at least to my 8-year-old memory, I have no idea how old she really was) and she sent me to the principal's office for crying. And I think by doing so, I was conditioned to just "take it" from then on. I felt that I had no support. And I was only 8 years old!

Most of the children in my neighborhood were not nice to me. I remember being chased up a huge snow mound, during that Winter in the late 70s, and the kids--who lived next door or across the street--were throwing snowballs with rocks in them at me. My dad rescued me and spoke to their parents. And while it stopped any physical abuse, the emotional torture got worse.

For some reason I was called Cheese. It started because another little girl, who eventually moved away, ate American cheese on the school bus. She was Cheese 1 and I was Cheese 2 because I was friends with her.  After she moved, I was the sole target and the lone Cheese.  Maybe I got that name from the song with this line: "The cheese stands alone." I sure did.

I'm not even sure what else to say. I remember a neighbor girl asking me to play and I was so thrilled to be included. We played doctor (not in a sexual sense) and she jabbed me with real needles! Real needles! I was maybe 10 at the oldest.  Around that time I did have a few good friends, one girl named Jennifer was particularly sweet. And, oddly, in middle school I had a large circle of friends and I wasn't really tortured those 2 years. (At the time, middle school was just 7th and 8th grades so the older kids weren't around.)

By high school it got somewhat better as I went to a regional high school and the kids from the other town didn't have preconceived notions about me. But the kids who put me down were still there and their mental torment was overpowering. Just nasty comments about my looks and my hair or my glasses. A friend asked me to his Junior Prom (when I was a Sophmore) and his friends said, within my hearing, you asked HER?? She's an ugly dog!  He ended up getting the Chicken Pox that Spring and we didn't go. And I tried to kill myself by taking an entire bottle of aspirin with some vodka that I found in my dad's liquor cabinet. I was only 16.  So young. Too young to give up.

Thankfully it didn't work. And my best friend, who is my best friend to this day, was a big part of why. She kept giving me reasons to live. One simple one was a new Duran Duran album. Sad but true but my teenage crush kept me going. And by college I was seeing therapists for depression. I managed throughout my 20s to hang on, but the year I turned 30 I hit rock bottom. I was single. A virgin. No prospects. I felt I was ugly and unappealing. And I was having thoughts of harming myself again. So I got help. Antidepressants and therapy is what saved me. And my dog Casey, who I rescued that Summer.

Honestly, to this day, I still often doubt that anyone truly wants to be my friend or desires my company. Even though I KNOW in my head that I am well regarded by many and shouldn't care about those who do not like me. But there are days when it's really hard to remember that. And now that I have a son who has a speech delay, I worry about his future. Will this affect him? Will he be liked? Will he be able to get along with others? I want my son to have a better childhood than I did.

Not that my entire childhood sucked. It didn't. There WERE good times. But the memories of being called names, being hit and pinched, being told I was ugly and didn't deserve to live (yes, that happened once) sometimes overshadow the good memories. But at least I know about this and can be there for Little Man in any way he needs.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Boo at the Zoo

Every year, in October, the Bronx Zoo has "Boo at the Zoo" where the creepy crawly creatures at the zoo are featured and there are treat stations at various spots in the zoo. Kids (and adults) also dress in costume. Our first visit to the zoo was 1 year ago today (10/10/10) and we ended up going yesterday (10/9/11) during a gorgeous, sunny, Indian-Summer October day.

I wasn't feeling so great (see last blog post) having a nasty cold and feeling quite congested. But when I woke up, I took a Zyrtec D and felt well enough to head East. The drive from where we live in NJ isn't too bad. As long as you leave early you don't hit a lot of traffic. So we left a bit after 9 am and arrived a bit after 10 am (after a wee bit of a delay by the zoo entrance, on the Bronx streets).

The first thing we did was head to the Monorail by Wild Asia (basically the opposite end of the zoo from where we parked). The last time we did that, there was a long line and entertaining Little Man (who wasn't walking at the time) was NOT easy. Plus he was heavy. This year the line was short and we were on a tram car within minutes. Little Man still made my husband carry him. I think he was nervous. He's not very good about walking when there are crowds. I think he feels overwhelmed. But we managed to get him to walk by himself a bit.


Anyway, I digress. We saw lots of animals. He LOVED the elephants and was saying the word (pretty close to how it really says) often. He liked pretty much every animal. But what he liked the most were the ducks at the Children's Zoo. He LOVES ducks. So he spent a good 20 minutes just watching the ducks and quacking back at them. It was really sweet.

We're members of the zoo and I can't wait to go back. It's one of my favorite places now. Even more so now that Little Man is really into the animals. He was in awe of the giraffes and gorillas. He was thrilled to see ducks, drakes, goats, cows and alpacas. He loves animals. And even though there's a very nice little zoo closer to us (Turtleback Zoo), there's something majestic about the Bronx Zoo and I'm glad we're close enough to go pretty often.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

When Mom is Sick

She doesn't get a break like Dad does. I'm not sure why. Though, perhaps it would be different if the dad was the primary caregiver. But in my case, I still generally do more. This is NOT to say that Dude doesn't do a lot as father. He does. He's very involved. But it generally seems to fall upon me to do more.

I have a cold. It's just a cold. But I'm feeling pretty crappy and I want to rest and I CAN'T. I tried to nap and my sister-in-law called to check in on us. So no nap. Then Little Man woke up. Dude tried to take him out to play on the swing set but someone was mowing the lawn and scared him. I was trying to rest and watch Project Runway. That ended.

And I feel terrible for complaining. I love my son. I yearned for him. But I guess I'm selfish. I like me time probably just as much. I guess it's a good thing I'm only having one child. I don't think I'd be able to divide my time. And add my parents to the mix...

There's more to it. But even though I'm pretty open here on the interwebs, I realize that I should show discretion, too. Not all of my life should be an open book. Even though I find my blog to be cathartic. I know I need to keep some things private.

I guess that's the worse part of when I get a cold. My mind wanders.