Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Nice Young Man!

When I walked into day care yesterday afternoon, I saw that Andy was dancing with one of the other toddlers. Music played from a stereo, and Andy held the little girl's hands as they gently swayed back and forth. He saw me enter the room and threw me a smile that seemed to say, "Hi, Mom! Be right with you!" Andy swayed and danced, and when the song ended, he gave the girl a hug and a little kiss on the cheek.

The whole exchange was very respectful and sweet, and I had an image of Prom Night, 2028, in which Andy takes the girl next door (or the girl next door type, at least) to Space High's Prom (theme: A Night To Keep Your Hands To Yourself) and has the kind of evening that begins with a firm, polite shake of the girl's father's hand and ends with a chaste, closed mouth kiss as he drops her off at home thirty minutes before curfew.

It is important to me to raise Andy as a Nice Young Man. Specifically, he should be considerate of others, only date Nice Young Girls (or perhaps other Nice Young Men if that's what he wants), and engage exclusively in appropriate behavior. For future Andy, here is a list of your mother's wishes and expectations.

* Be kind, rewind. This is assuming that VHS tapes make a comeback at some point (here's hoping!).

* Don't ever drive drunk. Seriously. Also, don't offer to drive other drunk people, because the drunker they are, the worse their directions will be, and it'll be hours before you're able to get home. Unless you already know where they live, in which case, I guess you might as well.

* Be VERY respectful of women. Even if the women in question are total bitches.

* Do not experiment with drugs unless you've become a pharmacist and said experiments take place in a laboratory. Also, sidenote, I'm okay with drug testing on animals as long as the animals are older and on the ugly side.

* Study, get good grades, and finish college. If you're not interested in going to college, then my next recommendation would be to take the year long program at the junior college to become an X-ray Tech. I kick myself about once a year over not doing that. You should check out the starting salaries. And, BONUS, you get to play with X-rays! Just don't radiate yourself too much by accident unless you're sure that the radiation will cause you to become a superhero. I'm looking for odds above the five to one range.

* Make it a point to spend time with your family. Even if you've decided by then that we're a bunch of jack-asses.

* Wear a belt on your pants at all times. Remember, Andy, crack kills.

* Practice niceness. Open doors for people, help old ladies cross the street, and lay your jacket across puddles for ladies. Actually, I take all those things back. Opening doors for others just means it will take you longer to get where you're going. Helping old ladies cross the street invites a whole world of litigation into your life should something go terribly wrong in the crosswalk (think speeding SUV and old lady stooping to fix her droopy nylons). And the jacket in the puddle thing is just dumb. The ladies' shoes will still get wet. Your jacket will get ruined. And if your employer sees you doing that, he may assume you're high and immediately order a round of drug testing. But, other than these three things, try to be nice to others.

What a nice young man.
* Don't be a bully. Even though you're more attractive, smarter, and clearly more superior than those around you, never ever be a jerk to others. Get all the hitting and biting out of your system in your toddler years, Andy. I don't want to get a phone call from the principal in thirteen years regarding an incident that requires needing to pull your dental records in order to positively identify the bite marks in someone else's arm. I'm assuming I have better things to do than make an uncomfortable call to the dentist.

* Take a multi-vitamin. Just be careful with the B vitamins, because they'll turn your pee green and you'll be up all night with the jitters. Also, anything that's 1,000 times your daily recommended dosage is way too much. Take it from me.

I have faith that you'll grow up into the Nice Young Man that I want you to be. Or, at least, a suitable approximation. I know you will not be perfect, you will make mistakes, and you will do plenty of things that I don't approve of. All I ask is that you follow the path you're on right now as best as you can. Dance nicely with girls. Give sweet, innocent kisses on the cheek to show your affection and that you want to be friends. And then push them over when they toddle over to your mom and reach her before you do.

It wasn't a HARD push. It was a nice push, a tender push. Seriously, Andy, I'm mostly okay with the push.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Bedtime Battle!

There are nights when Andy is reluctant to go to sleep. This reluctance is illustrated by a refusal to lay down in his crib, so he stands in the corner nearest the door, aims his face out into the rest of the house, and howls a panicky cry that insinuates he's being eaten alive by wolves. On these nights, I have to call Chris in for help. When Andy is fussy about sleeping, Chris is the more successful one at soothing him down. I can only imagine what goes on in that room since I try to stay away and avoid being a distraction. I imagine Chris whispering vivid threats into Andy's sweet little ear and scaring the child to sleep, and I also imagine Chris lovingly half-smothering our beloved son into slumber. You know what I mean- putting a pillow over Andy's face just enough to kind of knock him unconscious but not enough to do any permanent, lethal damage.

Last night was one of those nights when Andy was "reluctant" to go to sleep. And Chris wasn't home, so I had to deal with it on my own.

It may have been my own fault. I let Andy sit at my computer for a few minutes before bed while I ran down to get his cup of milk. Andy was watching an Elmo video on You-Tube. I'm not going to lie- I think I heard Elmo call Oscar a c*ck-sucker, so it may not have been an authorized "Sesame Street" video, but Andy seemed pretty interested in what was going on, and that was good enough for me. I let the video run out, and then I tried to coax Andy into his room for some milk, a bed time story, and eleven glorious hours of sleep.

Andy wasn't having it. I had to literally drag him away from the computer and hold him down in our reading chair while he struggled to get away from me. He wanted more Elmo on You-Tube, and not even his favorite books were good enough to calm him down. He escaped from my grasp a couple times, running back out into the loft and pointing up at my computer while moaning, "Mama." You may or not remember me mentioning this, but when Andy says "Elmo," he's basically saying "Mama," which is supremely irritating since Elmo doesn't even have a uterus, much less one that Andy came out of. The only muppet I know that has a uterus is Grover, but that's a long story for a different night.

Finally, Andy finished his milk, we finished our books, and I turned out the lights. I like to sit in the chair and hold Andy in the dark for a few minutes before laying him down in his crib as a way to transition him to sleep. This time, our usual night time cuddle minute was cut short as Andy leaped away from me and bolted to his bedroom door. He paused at the door once to look back at me as I glared at him through the pale glow of the night light, and then he continued to scoot out the door, slowly as if he could possibly sneak away from me in stealth mode while I watched his every move.

Out of the bedroom, into the loft, up to my computer, asking, "Mama?"

"Elmo's sleeping," I said, lie number 36,832 I've told my son. "You can see Elmo tomorrow. Andy has to go to sleep, too." I hefted him into my arms, feeling a twinge in my gut from the other baby, who was most likely thinking, "She thinks this is annoying? Wait until there's two of us!"

Back into Andy's room, where I gently put him down in his crib with his various blankets and singing glo-worm. He immediately rolled over, stood up, and held out his arms to be picked up. He began crying.

I kissed his head, tried to get him to lay down, and backed out of the room.

Andy screamed for five minutes straight while I played three hands of Words With Friends.

I went back into Andy's room and did the one thing I know you're not supposed to do. I picked him up. He clung to me like a spider monkey, then struggled to get away, clearly gunning for Elmo. I put him back in the crib. Up he shot, but this time the screams and cries were even louder.

I left the room, went down to the kitchen, drank a glass of milk, and ate four cookies. Upstairs, Andy wailed away. His screams were louder and more urgent than before. I sighed, climbed the stairs, and peeked into his room. Sure enough, he was standing in the crib, aiming his face out, sobbing as if he had one of his legs stuck in a bear trap.

"Maybe there's something legitimately wrong with him," I suddenly worried. "Maybe I shouldn't have eaten those four cookies so slowly." I entered his room and stared at him for a second. He reached out for me, moaning, and I picked him up. I checked his diaper, which was fine, and felt his forehead, also fine. But, I knew instantly those weren't the problems. Andy had stopped crying the nanosecond I had lifted him up. He curled against me, this time content just to be held and uninterested in escaping to You-Tube Elmo Land.

"Shit," I thought. I held him for a few minutes, rubbing his back and swaying gently. Then I put him back down in the crib. Screaming commenced instantly. I told him good night, which I'm sure he didn't hear over his wails, and left the room.

Andy cried and screamed for another ten minutes. After ten minutes, I peeked into his room. He saw me and screamed louder. I uttered another "shit," wondered if there was any chance I could get Chris to come home, and then decided that the only way we were going to get through this was if I truly ignored him. I double checked that the baby gate at the top of the stairs was locked and then took a quick shower. The sounds of my sons screams were then muffled by the running water and by my own voice, which was tunelessly singing Liz Phair's "Perfect World." "I want to be cool, tall, vulnerable, and luscious. I would have it all if I only had this much!"

I got out of the shower and, lo and behold, Andy was silent. Or close to silent. There was the sound of light sniffling coming from his room, which made me bite my lip for a second, but then- nothingness. For a moment, I worried that maybe something had happened to him. I threw on my robe, tip-toed to his room, and peeked in.

He was laying down, looking asleep, his head crammed into the corner of the crib closest to the door and his hands dangling out between the bars as if to try and reach me while I was in the bathroom.

Good enough. Although, I'm relieved that Chris will be home tonight...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Stay At Home What??!!

I made the ever difficult decision of pre-quitting my job. I have told my boss that when baby number two comes on the scene, I won't be returning to work.

I'm about eighty percent sure this is the correct decision. I'm about ten percent certain it is the wrong decision, and the remaining ten percent is full of a bevy of other miscellaneous emotions, including fear of the unknown, worry about impending cabin fever, and the justification that eating nine cookies before bed last night was okay because I am, after all, over-eating before bed time for two.

My obvious fear about not returning to work is my lack of income. The math, however, just didn't work in my favor. Day care for two young kids is really expensive, especially here in the Chicago area. I can't justify working forty hours per week just to net a couple hundo after taxes. And, clearly, if we need that couple hundo, I'm not above putting in fifteen hours per week at a part time job. But I refuse to slave away all week while I'm away from my babies so that I can basically pay the lucky bitches who get to spend all week with them.

Chris is convinced that we'll be fine without my income and that it's a non-issue. For a smart man, though, sometimes Chris is really bad at basic math. Or is that me? I think we both took AP calculus in high school (different high schools, different years, different nap schedules). Chris passed, probably with an A. I got the kind of F that is so F-tastic, it's almost a G. My argument about this F, however, has always been that you have to pretty damn smart to get into AP calculus in the first place. So an F in calculus is still a B+ in life. Except that, no, I'm wrong, it's actually an F.

I digress.

So, the income is one thing, but another major concern I have is this. I am convinced that day care has been an overwhelmingly positive experience for Andy. He has friends that he's come to rely on seeing (like his buddy Bobby, with whom he exchanges hugs and mouth kisses on a daily basis. I am expecting they'll grow out of the mouth kissing... eventually). He is in a preschool setting and every day completes an art project, reads a book, and is taught a "lesson plan." Day care has given him confidence and the kind of socialization that he would have never received if I'd have stayed home with him. It has helped make him into an out-going, well rounded toddler, and I am so worried what taking him out of day care will do to him. I am minorly concerned about keeping the new baby OUT of that setting, but I'm pretty sure that by the time new baby is a toddler, he/she will be put in some kind of day care setting anyway. My career as a stay at home mom is most likely going to be a temporary thing. I mean, let's face it, the professional word is not going to remain in tact very long without me. I'm a key player out there in the land of ... what is it I do again?

Removing Andy from day care is a huge worry for me. In fact, I'm already looking into substitutes so that his little world isn't rocked completely off axis. I'm planning on putting him into the 2 year old preschool program at the park district (we can swing $48 /month on one income, right?), but their preschool program is a bit... short. It's for 90 minutes a day, two days a week. Um, Andy is used to being in "school" five days a week, ten hours a day. What about the other 47 hours he's accustomed to being out and about?

How the hell am I going to keep Andy active, engaged, and busy? How am I going to foster his socialization skills? Especially while I have a needy newborn to tend to?

This is already becoming a major concern. I admit it's possible I may be a little overly concerned. I'm sure Andy will love being at home with me and his little sibling and that we'll find plenty to do to occupy our time. Especially if Andy learns to change diapers.

And, what kid wouldn't rather be with mommy than "stuck" at day care? Perhaps THIS is the way I should be phrasing my upcoming situation. Hopefully, I give day care too much credit and that the move from day care to being with mom and little sib will be so great and healthy for young Andy that it'll be THE BEST thing I've ever done for him as a parent. Just think! All the Sesame Street Andy desires! Getting yelled at for coloring on the walls while Mom sneaks off to the toilet! Overly complicated trips to the park with a double stroller and a bulging diaper bag! Ninety minutes two days a week at preschool! Trips to the library! Play dates with friends! Which reminds me. I need to make some more friends. Married White Female seeking Stay At Home Mom types who have young children and are interested in getting the kids together while we sip margaritas and compare couponing tactics.

Ahh, we'll be fine. We'll have fun. And they say no one has ever regretted staying home with their kids. Hopefully this goes for the kids, too.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Hooray For "Hooray For Fish!"

I checked out this book, "Hooray For Fish," from the library on Saturday. I am starting to graduate Andy from the board books to the big, paper picture books, and this was one of the more attractive items in the paper section. I'm not entirely sure Andy's ready for paper books- he's always loved to rip, and that hasn't necessarily changed lately- but the board books are getting a little old. And, bonus, this book is pretty big, and how much fun is a big, brightly colored picture book?

TONS of fun. Andy likes books, and enjoys being read to, but he absolutely LOVES this one. We've read it almost a dozen times over the past few days, and Andy is absolutely absorbed by the pictures and the rhyming verse. But here's the best part of how Andy reacts to this book. At the very end, the little fish kisses the mommy fish. Andy knows that part is coming, and before I even read the words "kiss, kiss, kiss," Andy is all over Little Fish and Mom Fish, kissing both of them repeatedly. Then, when I close the book, he kisses their pictures on the cover, too. I know kissing books is probably something the library frowns upon (they are in the process of flagging it right now), but it is the most adorable thing I've seen Andy do lately.

Hooray for "Hooray For Fish." Best book ever.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Sixteen Week Preggo Ramblings!

I had my sixteen week appointment yesterday. The sixteen week appointment is the most uneventful of them all; I jumped on the scale (I've only gained six pounds in eight weeks!), had my blood pressure taken (beautifully low), peed into a cup (I really filled that cup up), and then listened to the baby's heartbeat (reading came out in the mid-150s). And then I was off, thrown back into the snow storm to make the slow drive home while I thought about my next appointment, THE most eventful appointment of them all- the 20 week one where I find out the baby's gender.

Is it a boy? Is it a girl? Is it a boyish girl? I am convinced that the baby is a girl. This could be a sort of wonderful thing, as I'm pretty sure I'm only having two kids, and it might be nice to have one of each. That being said- jeez, how super convenient would another boy be? They could share EVERYTHING- a room, clothes, video games, girlfriends, fake IDs, sports cups, etc. In our modest three bedroom home, a boy would be the ideal gender. Chris could keep his office, the boys could bunk, and we could pretend for a couple years that we're choosing to keep living in our home and are not stuck there due to our current housing crash crisis. Also, I like having a boy. So it stands to reason that I'd like having two boys. I am not especially girly (i.e., not girly at all), and being a mom of boys just feels right. Like pajamas straight out of the dryer. Or extra cheese on just about anything.

But, despite the fact that Chris would lose his only sanctuary in the house (and the place where he legitimately works when he's not playing Words With Friends [which I think should be called Words With Ex-Friends] or shooting dragons in his latest video game), I get the feeling that he really wants a girl. Mostly because he's said so. He wants a little princess to be the daddy hero to. Underneath his hard, garlic toast exterior is a soft, cinnamon roll interior that really just wants a little girl to spoil.

Anyone else really wanting some garlic toast right about now?

Anyway, either way, it really doesn't matter, as long as the baby's healthy, yada yada.

While we're on the topic, there's something that's been bothering me lately. I'm not feeling as "into" this pregnancy as my previous one. I'm not as excited or anxious or tuned in to what I've got going on in there. Perhaps this is a somewhat universal feeling among second time moms. We become pregnancy professionals after our first successful run at it and don't feel as engrossed by the newness of it. However, I'm still alarmed by my lack of- shall we say, interest- in all of this. I have to admit, I'm a little fearful of how that's going to translate into what I'll feel when this baby is born. I was head over heels in an instant after holding Andy for the first time. I fell in love more deeply and fully than I even know I was capable of.

Horrible question- but is it going to be possible to feel that same way about the second?

Logically, I know that I will, and that I will love this new baby just as fiercely as I love Andy. I know that in six months, I'm going to have written countless blog entries about how New Baby hung the moon, how I'm just so full of love for both my children, how amazingly wonderful everything is, and so forth until we all feel like barfing. That's pretty much the only reason why I'm comfortable sharing this fear in the first place.

Quick, change of topic. Here is a list of creatures that Andy calls Mama:

Me (actual Mama)
Elmo (a male muppet, no relation to us)
Mickey Mouse (another male, a cartoon character, and a rodent that I'd probably kill if I saw in my kitchen)

There you have it. Elmo and Mickey have been elevated to the same status as Mother. And they've never once offered to change a diaper.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Worried About My Andy-Doodle!

Something's going on with Andy.

His day care teachers have said that he wakes up from his nap screaming and crying on a daily basis. He's having terrors, and he's obviously freaked out. He's been extra clingy lately, and when I went to pick him up yesterday, he was sitting on his day care teacher's lap, sucking on his binky, with a single tear rolling down his cheek. When he saw me, he ran right over, and then in the car, all he wanted to do was clutch his security blanky. At home, he doesn't want me out of his sight, but, at the same time, when he grows frustrated with me (What do you mean I can't climb over the couch and stand on the side table, Mom?), his solution is to hit or bite me. And when I scold him for his behavior and act angry or disappointed with him, he panics and climbs into my lap and hugs me.

What is all this? Separation anxiety? Severe emotional distress? Toddler depression? And how do I deal?

I wonder if something's going on at day care. I don't doubt the capabilities of the day care, but when your kid is away from you over 40 hours per week, it's quite possible that there are things going on of which I am totally oblivious. Or maybe that's just it- perhaps Andy's at a stage where the 40 hours away from his parents is too difficult. He's been at the day care for well over a year, though, since he was four months old. Sooo- if that's the case, then why now?

I'm not a great detective, unless we're talking Encyclopedia Brown stuff, in which case I'm a totally awesome detective. But figuring out these parental mysteries is not one of my strong suits, I'm sad to admit. Toddlers are intriguing creatures, though, and they don't have the language skills to simply tell us what's wrong. If so, perhaps I'd be amazed at what the solution to this problem is.

Mom, I miss you during the day.
Mom, Bobby and I had a fight at day care, and it's really getting me down.
Mom, I can't tell you how much I loathe that "Wheels On The Bus" song.
Mom, I'm embarrassed about my hair cut. Will you please stop cutting it yourself?
Mom, I can't help but worry about Illinois' economy and whether or not this "temporary" tax increase is here forever.
Mom, my cot at day care smells strangely like feet, and not in a good way.

I can't wait until Andy learns to construct sentences. Until then, though, I'm stuck figuring out what's got my little guy down using only my maternal instinct, which has occasionally led me astray. It took me MONTHS to figure out that Andy was using sign language to tell me he wanted "more." And I didn't even actually figure it out- my neighbor noticed and pointed it out. All that time, Andy wanted more, and I just assumed he was trying to clap and failing miserably.

I hope this is all a normal, toddler phase and that Andy starts to feel better. We have a doctor's appointment this weekend, so I may bring this up along with my other concern: tooth brushing. Andy's teeth just don't get brushed. Lately, he's been seeing the toothbrush and covering his mouth. I mean, really, what I am supposed to do with that? Andy, your teeth are going to fall out and your breath stinks like milk and bananas. And, no, not in a good way.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


The dinosaurs came to town, and we packed up the car and drove to the convention center. "Discover The Dinosaurs" featured replicas of the dinosaurs along with "excellent photo opportunities" and other dinosaur related activities, such as digging for fossils, playing in a dinosaur themed tot area, and paying $13.00 for parking.

Andy was suitably impressed with the convention, exclaiming "Wow!" at various times, mostly when we were inside the parking garage. He smartly pointed out the dinosaurs as we walked through the displays and murmured the word "Dinosaur!" to himself in an almost introspective manner. We let him walk around holding our hands, and he enjoyed the semi-freedom, breaking off into a spirited, stumbly run only eleven or twelve times during the two and a half hours we were there. And, he sidled his way over to a little girl, another toddler, in front of one of the displays and managed to give the girl a tight little squeeze. Hugging strangers in a convention center: heavily frowned upon for adults, somehow okay for one year olds.

The only part that Andy did not enjoy during our visit was the man in the dinosaur costume, the dinosaur mascot. The dinosaur was cartoonish and smiling and friendly, and while the horrifying, seven foot tall replicas of real dinosaurs did not scare Andy for a second (even when we picked him up and aimed his head directly into some of the gaping, sharp-toothed mouths), the happy dinosaur mascot upset him greatly. When we tried to get a picture with one of them, Andy basically had an emotional meltdown, sobbing hysterically as the dinosaur mustered a cheerful thumbs up.

Not that Andy will remember any of this, but if he could only keep one memory from the dinosaur show, I know that would be the one. The bad one. Waiting in line for our tickets, I recalled all of the various events my parents took me and my sister to as children, and the sharpest detail I could recall involved my parents trying to cheat the age requirements on ticket prices, passing a three year old off as a two year old, a seven year old off as a five year old, and, my most embarrassing one, a fifteen year old off as a ten year old.

Really? I know I was kind of a late bloomer, but I was wearing EYELINER. I was carrying an ACT prep booklet. Ten? REALLY? How come the ticket-taker didn't bat an eye? I could almost drive, for crying out loud! I'd had my period FOR YEARS.

Don't get me wrong- I have about ten (maybe fifteen) years ahead of doing the exact same thing with my children. Seeing the dinosaurs and whatnot gets pretty pricey. But, my point is, my memory is not filled with the good times had at various carnivals, museums, etc. It's filled with the embarrassment of my parents trying to save two bucks. I know that Andy's brain will highlight the less attractive moments of each family outing as well, and as far as a fun-filled day at the dinosaur expo goes, the moment that probably stuck with him the longest was being terrified by a purple, plush dinosaur who wanted nothing more than to be his friend- and give us an excellent photo opportunity.

Maybe I should give Andy more credit, though. Perhaps all children are not as sensitive and glass half empty as Young Jackie, who died of embarrassment of cheap parents rather than rejoice in all of the fun (fun-ish) things we did as a family. But, these are the things I have to be prepared for, which is why I write this blog entry. I must remind Andy of all the fun we had before the dinosaur mascot came on the scene. Andrew, remember- you were VERY impressed with the parking garage. LOVED the elevator. And, yes, you even liked the actual event.

Overall, good family day. Wow.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Andy has learned a new word. MINE. The first time I clearly heard him use this word was when we were at a friend's house. He had snatched up a pink ball that belonged to my friend's daughter, J, and when J tried to politely retrieve it, Andy yanked it from her grasp and called out "Mine!" Unfortunately, my first instinct was to inwardly cheer that Andy had learned a new word. Then I remembered that, oh yeah, I'm in charge of raising a human, and my second, slower instinct was to try to remind Andy that NO, the ball was not HIS, it was J's, and if we can't share, then we're going home.

It was especially painful to see Andy being so blatantly selfish with other people's toys because I had earlier witnessed J saying a magic word that I'm not sure I've ever even uttered in front of Andy. "Please," J said sweetly when she asked for more snacks. I was blown away by the utterance of this one word- equally impressed by J and ashamed of myself for not teaching Andy basic, polite manners. When Andy wants more snacks, he just calls out "More!" And I oblige him, haphazardly spilling out raisins or crackers onto his high chair tray while I casually utter swear words under my breath. It never even occurs to me to request that he say "please" when he wants something else.

Earlier in the day, we were at the library when J and her mom showed up. J immediately walked up to another older girl and took her hand in hers as if to say "Let's be friends!" At the same time this was going on, I heard a ruckus somewhere off to my left and looked over to see Andy in a tug-of-war match with another little boy, as they fought over three plastic trays from the library's preschool kitchen and food set. "And that's the difference between boys and girls," I said to my friend as I ran off to try to divide the trays between the two toddlers. Of course, Andy wanted ALL the trays and had a cow when I tried to give the other boy even one of them, but, after a few minutes of screaming, Andy was ultimately distracted by a ball somewhere off in the distance and took off running through the aisles.

After witnessing the "please" and the "mine" later that day, though, I started worrying that maybe there wasn't an inherent difference between boys and girls. Could it be that my friend was just a better mom, actively promoting use of the word "please" and innocent hand holding with grade school strangers? Could it be that my inability to share with others (just ask Chris how I respond if he asks for a sip of my drink) is rubbing off on my son? Do I have to put more effort (more than zero) into teaching Andy how to be even begrudgingly nice? Maybe there is a slight, basic difference between the two genders; I'm not letting this theory totally off the hook. But maybe, just maybe, I'm kind of an ass and am failing my son in some of the first how-to-be-decent lessons of his life.

I am working diligently to cure Andy of his biting problem, though, so I'm not a total parental slacker. I even got him a book at the library yesterday called "Teeth Are Not For Biting!" There's only one problem, though- teeth ARE for biting. Just not for biting people. I tried to explain the error in the book's title to Andy after our maiden read-through, only to become frustrated and throw the book off to the side.

Have I mentioned that Andy also has a problem with throwing things? Ohhh. I see.

God dammit.