The Tuckerator Toddles.

The Tuckerator Toddles.


Tucker….dude. What is this upright thing you’re doing?

A few months ago, he started doing this:

Pulling up!












Then….he started getting a little cocky and began doing stuff while standing:

Gettin' cocky










Then…he was the mayor of Cruise City. Wall, couch, toy pushing, hanging on to anything that would help him get from point A to point B.

And then we finally got to:

Standing solo











And now….AND NOW….he’s walking. Bonafide, check-me-out-I’m-so-cool, walking.

Well, I guess it looks more like he's dancing











All pictures of Tucker are now blurry. He’s fast in his zombie toddler lurching.

This is crazy.

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Posted by on October 31, 2011 in Uncategorized


Juuuuuuust when I start thinking Ollie’s never going to do something, he proves me dead wrong.

This kid likes to keep me on my toes. Juuuuuuust when I start thinking Ollie’s never going to do something, he proves me dead wrong.

Walking: When your child is nearing his second birthday and not really caring about walking, you start thinking, Oh, maybe his body just isn’t programmed to walk. I started thinking about things like pediatric walkers or those crutches that kids use and tried to brace myself for the idea that he might always require some help to get him upright and stay upright. And then….he up and walked and my fears were alleviated.

Eating: When your child is gagging and vomiting over a small piece of corn flake when he’s nearly 2 and a half, you start thinking maybe he’s just going to be the kid who can only eat applesauce and yogurt until he realizes chewing isn’t impossible and real food is good. And then….he eats a potato chip and then some macaroni and cheese and then a bowl of Fruity Pebbles and some Ritz crackers and proves me wrong. Again.

Talking: Ollie is nearly 3; when he turns three, he’s booted out of the Birth to Three Program that has given him his various therapies for over two years. Just….booted. From three on, his therapies are taken over by our school district as part of the IDEA Act (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). When the meeting date of our transition meeting was coming up, I bogged down pretty hardcore with the idea that Ollie will be considered “Special Needs” or “Disabled,” just the name of the program that he’s clearly needing help from took me to a strange place that no parent really expects to be. The Official Parent of an Official Special Needs child.

Just the title of the program was enough to send me to my cave to process these new details. I started bracing myself to have the kid that just doesn’t talk. On the day of the meeting, with our school district, our Birth to Three liaison, Ollie and me, I spent the morning trying to work with Ollie to get him to say something that would prove to these ladies — and myself– that my boy is able to talk, but just hasn’t needed to. My efforts were met with more fortitude than a castle wall. Ollie shut down, covered his eyes, communicated in his way that he wasn’t going to say anything that day. Just like every other day.

The meeting ended with Ollie only chirping and peeping in his way that gets his needs met and the ladies all agreeing that he would need to continue Speech Therapy with our school district.


Three days later, as I settled into the idea that he might be the kid who doesn’t talk, he surprised me…AGAIN. As I changed his diaper, I asked him randomly to say Mama. He said “mama.” I asked him to say “Dada,” he surprised me with “dada,” “Moo?” “MmmmmmOooooo” he said. “Cat?” “acat!” he replied. Clear as a bell, he popped them out, grinning at me. Later that day, we got “ARRR” like a pirate and “hi!”

Holy smokes, this was a MAJOR development from just the day before when requests to say words were largely ignored.

In the weeks since, he’s added to his vocabulary of things he’ll say. While driving around, he’s obliged my requests to try to say his alphabet letters. “F” is actually pronounced correctly, “eff;” “T” has a very strong proper T sound. He holds his laminated letters up and chirps to let us know he wants to know what they are. I say “A” he says “A,” he holds up the “B,” he says “bah!” On a day that I’d forgotten we had therapy, I looked at him, said, “Ollie, we have therapy today, doggone it!” He looked at me and said, “Dawg – gone!” and grinned.

My favorite word he says right now is “ball,” he draws out the word in a way, perhaps to make sure we know he’s not saying “bah!” “Buawww” he says.

He’s always been a cautious kid. When he started actually cruising along the furniture, he didn’t really ever let go. A few months passed by with him moving about the house clinging to furniture or buttscooting. The day he actually DID let go was the day he actually walked. He’s sure about his abilities before test driving them, and while I know that’s his MO, that didn’t stop me from getting discouraged about his speech. For a few months now, he’s been sitting with a book, pointing and chirping at the photos wanting to know the name for everything. I called it “collecting” his sounds and words, getting his confidence up to the point where he’d surprise me with a word or two.

Last night, he opened his alphabet book, pointed at an M and said “M.”

That surprised me. And it may have made me cry.

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Posted by on October 17, 2011 in Uncategorized


I did not name my son Liver

I bought a pair of jammies for Ollie a couple weeks ago from Walmart. The bottoms look like this:

Like a bowl of Alpha-Bits was accidentally spilled on his pants.

I try to find ways to sit down with him to learn things without him realizing he’s sitting down and learning, so we sat together and looked for letters on his pants. A different enough activity to keep his attention long enough to look for almost all the letters, and he can’t tear them apart with glee, when I made a surprising discovery.

I was able to point out A through N with no problems, but then I got stuck.


Which, incidentally is somewhat integral in spelling a certain someone’s name in this house.

I participate in an online group of other mothers and I put an APB out for anyone else with these same jammies to find an O. (I know, with every post, I reveal more and more details of my dorkitude, participating with an online group?)

But, another member revealed I didn’t actually get a dud batch, cut from the discount material, someone else from my group was also surprised by the omission of the letter O on these jammies.

In Walmart’s alphabet, the letter O doesn’t exist.

Where is with the letter O, Walmart? Has it offended you in some way? Is it because there is no O in Walmart that you didn’t care? There are other words important to Walmart’s image that does include an O, though. DiscOunt. LOw Prices. “Save MOney, Live Better” is their current tagline. Clearly they don’t omit the O in those materials.

WTH, Walmart?

Someone suggested that there are lion’s head hidden in the letters and perhaps those heads are supposed to be the acting O, as a tie in to the jammy top, which proudly displays two Os in its theme, “LiOn ArOund.” Perhaps stand-in, if you will, for the actual letter?

I’m not buying it. Does this look like an O to you? No, it looks like a lion’s head.

Is this why they were only $5? They don’t get the whole alphabet?

Whatever their thinking is, I’m just disappointed I couldn’t sit down and point out letters with my son.

I didn’t name my son Liver.


Posted by on June 9, 2011 in Uncategorized


In a WWF wrestling match between Elmo and Caillou…

We are a living commercial for the Sprout Channel in our house. Ollie loves Chica, the puppet on the channel’s morning live program, The Sunny Side Up Show. She “talks” in a squeak, and I’m impressed by the puppeteers abilities to make her understandable. I get him up in the morning, ask him if he wants to see Chica, and he nods, vehemently. He’s pushed me out of his way on his way to see her.

I’m happy to report that, for the most part, I enjoy the Sunny Side Up Show enough to let it accompany our mornings. Outside of a dreadful 20 minutes where they show Barney, I can happily tolerate Bob The Builder and Fifi & The Flowertots to give him lots of opportunities to dance and point excitedly. Thomas & Friends is a huge hit with him. Like other little boys I know, Thomas’ adventures are an Ollie favorite. But, interestingly, he does realize when they show a newer episode, an episode where George Carlin is not the narrator. He likes the Carlin episodes, he doesn’t like the replacement ones. As much. (And, really? George Carlin? Bizarre.)


After the Sunny Side Up Show, they segueway into an hour of Caillou. An hour of a cartoon that sucks to epic proportions. When I realized it wasn’t just a couple episodes, but a whole hour of this torture, I groaned. Loudly. I don’t do a good job of concealing my distaste I have for this show. I’ve even rewritten the theme song to more appropriately express for my feelings. The way the show’s producers planned, theme song should be this:

I’m just a kid who’s four

each day I learn some more

I like exploring

I’m Caillou

In my house, it’s this:

I’m just a kid who’s four

each day I whine some more

I’m so annoying

I’m Caillou.

I know I should try to hide my feelings for this whiny little bald-headed boy with the randomly giggly little sister Rosie. I know, I know. But I’ll tell you, the random giggling, the primary colored shirts, the way that Caillou always seems to get his way, the “cute” way that Rosie mispronounces “butterfly” (flutterby) is just too much. It irritates me. It irritates me like a loose hair that I can’t reach stuck in my bra strap.

Caillou and his stupid cat, Gilbert.

My disdain for this show has maybe perhaps rubbed off on Ollie. And for that I am eternally grateful. From the opening chords to the theme song, until I turn it off, Ollie shows distress. He fixes his face to its dislike setting, points to the tv with more urgency, and uses all his communication skills to express that he does. not. want. to. watch. Caillou. Change the channel, Please and Thank You. And while I try to not to satisfy every whim of my stubborn almost two-and-a-half-year-old, I do comply. Happily. We switch to PBS when Caillou’s on Sprout, to watch a tried-and-true favorite, Sesame Street. When Sesame Street is over on PBS, they switch to Caillou, and I switch back over to Sprout for another hour of Sesame Street. Why is this kid shoved down our throats? But, Ollie likes Elmo, and that’s something I’d much rather encourage. In a WWF wrestling match between Elmo and Caillou, I’d be the one shouting from the sidelines at Elmo to clothesline the baldy.

I’m not sure that pride is the appropriate response to Ollie’s distaste for Caillou, but I am proud. For all my efforts to have shared interests with him, he dances to Achy Breaky Heart. (I know. The former music snob in me cringes at this confession.) He likes monster trucks. He doesn’t like tomato soup and noodles. Grape jelly makes him cringe.

I will take this shared distaste of a bald-headed four-year-old who’s name means “Pebble.” And thank my lucky stars that his interests aren’t reversed. If he loved Caillou as much as he seems to hate him, I’d wonder if he was really my kid.


Posted by on May 25, 2011 in Uncategorized



We didn’t use the jumperoo too much with Ollie. All of his therapists told us it’s not the best thing for kids to be in them for too long. Something about hips and whatnot, and with his apparent delays already blossoming, we didn’t want to roadblock him in any way. With Tucker, though, we’ve used it slightly more, not as concerned about mobility issues.

He fell asleep, so of course, we took a picture. A few pictures, actually. But I’m going to dissect this one a bit to illustrate why this one is my favorite.

Why? Because although it’s a sleeping baby in a ridiculously uncomfortable position, it’s also got some great details.

First: Although he’s sleeping, he’s assuring us he’s Okay.

Second: The onesie he’s wearing, it’s a 6 month size. He was just over five months in this photo. It’s a teensy bit tiny.

Third: Oh my goodness. The CHUB!

Fourth: RAWR! YOUR PUNY TOY IS SO PUNY! I’m so awesome, I can pick this tiny toy up with with just thumb and index finger!

Thank you for indulging my photo dissection.


Posted by on May 13, 2011 in Uncategorized


My Little Wrecker Brother

Last month, I embarked on a project. I created The Alphabet for Ollie. I booted up my old design program and created the letters, two to a page, ready to print out, cut out and laminate. I even downloaded a super cool new font to use and bought colored construction paper to get the job done right.

But then my new font wasn’t loading properly, or maybe I’d forgotten how to install it properly, but I had to do some thinking outside the box to use it. Then the construction paper was too big to fit in the printer. Then I discovered the printer’s USB cable had been chewed by the cat and was unusable.

Maybe the universe was telling me I shouldn’t continue this.

After a week, seriously, of working on The Alphabet, I’d solved all the issues that cropped up. I bought new colored PRINTER, not construction paper, duh. I worked some design tricks on the font so I could use it, electrical taped the cable. Cutting out the laminated letters kind of sucked and the kitchen scissors are now a little sticky, but whatever. I was done, and proud of my mommy project, and the letters were nice letters.

I proudly showed them to him, making the sounds. We brought them into the living room and he threw them around. All 26 letters strewn about the room. He picked them up one-by-one and brought them to me. “B! Can you say B?” He’d look at me like I’d grown a third eye. So no, he wouldn’t say “B,” but he kept bringing them over and I kept asking.


He sat down with his letters, cut out and laminated. He pushed them around a little. Put them in his little pencil case.

And then started tearing them up.

First went the N (or the Z, with the super cool font, they both looked the same), tore directly in half.

He brought the pieces over to me, urgently signing “Help!” “Please!” “Help!”

Dude, I can’t fix it. You broke it.

He cried and sat down next to his pile of letters.

Next went the L.

Tore apart again. Same deal. Brings the pieces over, cries when I can’t help him fix it.

I was slightly irritated at him, honestly, and wanted to pout a little myself, when I saw that he tore through the laminating sheets, and how quickly he started destroying them.

Seriously? I thought. Don’t you know how long it took to make those just for you?

Hopefully someone’s learning something with this project. Maybe Ollie, if not learning the letters and the sounds they make, is learning to take it easy on things he likes. Doubtful, since he’s still tearing letters apart, weeks later, and still asking me occasionally to “help” fix them. It’s probably me, since I’m learning not to put a week of effort into something could possibly be destroyed by a toddler in a matter of minutes.

At least somebody learned something?

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Posted by on May 13, 2011 in Uncategorized


Boys in pajamas.

Tucker fell asleep on the floor, waiting for his bottle.

We have pajama days a couple times a week, just because I think kids in jammies is one of the best parts of having kids.

Tucker woke me up the other morning, laughing in his sleep. A few minutes later, he was cooing and gooing telling me he was up. It’s so nice when they realize that they’re not dying of starvation and screaming about it the moment they wake up, but can spend a few minutes stretching, cooing, yawning in the morning.

Ollie looks so old in his two-piece jammies. We had to switch from the footed, zippy jammies when he unzipped and went digging in his diaper and found poop. So two-piece, top and bottom jammies is the way he rolls these days.

Ollie wakes from his naps like a little teenager. On the rare instances we have to get him up, we’re not so welcomed. He’ll put his blanket back over his face and snuggle deeper into his blankets. He’ll sit there, stunned that I’ve woken him, blinking and smacking his lips. After a good couple yawns and stretches, he’s ready to come out to the living room, blanket in hand, ready to play.

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Posted by on May 13, 2011 in Uncategorized