Monthly Archives: August 2010

The Baby is 2

Little O had a birthday last Friday.
It was his second.
He is now a little boy.  No longer his mama’s babe.
Maybe that is not true, but with his ever-increasing vocabulary and his ever-shrinking pant legs – it sure looks that way.
The Keet and the Huz told little O that his birthday was coming.  There were packages arriving in the mail and he wanted to open them. They said he had to wait for his birthday.  He didn’t quite understand and would run to the boxes and say, “Let’s do Birthday!”  Then they explained it would be a birthday when Brigitte and Erin both came to play.  Brigitte is Little O’s godmother.  He goes into insta-hyper super fun mode as soon as she arrives.  Erin is Little O’s regular babysitter.  He thinks it is her every time the buzzer rings, and there is no one he likes to order around more than his “Ear”.   The idea that they might both come to the house at the same time blew his mind and he got very excited.
The Huz was working from 9Am to 10PM on Little O’s actual birthday so they waited to celebrate until Sunday afternoon.
The Parakeet spent the evening before embarking on an experiment that turned into a “TRUCK CAKE”.  Wahoo! Barely second to Little O’s excitment was the Parakeet’s at actually having pulled that off.
Once both Brigitte and Erin arrived – they all sat around the truck cake and sang to the Little One.  He sat silent the whole time just looking around and listening.  When they finished the song, he shot his little fists into the air and said “We made a Birthday! Yay!” and started clapping.  His mother almost teared up at how happy he was.
He, of course, wanted to eat the wheels and the blue ‘2s’  and lots of cake.
Then,  it was time for presents.  The Huz wheeled the red wagon into the room  filled with wrapped goodies from GB and Poppy and Mimi and Pappy.  Little O was so excited to have the Wagon, his new sand table, his doll who was later named “Max”, lots and lots of art supplies, books, a choo choo train, and a remote control car of his very own.  He’s a pretty lucky guy, that O.
They ended the night with a walk in the wagon taking Brigitte back to “the shop” and Erin to the “choo choo train”.   Little O was nearly crashed from a sugar high before they got back to the door. As they were nearing the alley he just kept repeating, “I in a wagon, Daddy.  I in a wagon, Daddy.”  He went to sleep with no trouble at all.
Night Night, Little Man.  You’ll always be the first Baby.


How Does She Do It?

The Parakeet is like so many moms. She works downtown a few hours a week.  She has her own business that takes time, too.  She cooks. She plays with her child. She wants to do fun and exciting things as a family. She wants to stay in touch with friends. Her husband also works. He also has his own business.  She tries to blog and read and exercise…the list goes on.

Occasionally (and it seems more often lately) someone will say to her, “How do you do it all?”  The Parakeet usually responds with something like, “all you have to do is visit my house to know I don’t do it all. There is laundry to be put away and some pretty old leftovers in the fridge…”
They chuckle. HaHa.
But the truth is, most of the time, the Parakeet prides herself on being pretty organized with time, pretty relaxed under these “pressures”, pretty good-to-go with 2 cups of coffee and six hours of sleep.
Lately, like the in the past week lately, a few instances have risen up to remind the Parakeet she is not, in fact, ‘doing it all’.
They range from funny and irritating to OH SHIT! You all deserve to hear about them.

The Huz and Parakeet decided they wanted to buy Little O a wagon for his 2nd birthday.  A beautiful Red Wagon. You know the one. They wanted to support their local toy store, but after talking to the owner – he said their best bet was to get it online or from one of the “big guys”, but that the “big guys’ mostly carry plastic.  So – they went to good old and found just what they were looking for.  They were clicking around discussing shipping and other nuances of the purchase, and Little O was getting quite frustrated that no one was playing with him.  The Parakeet said she would order it later when he was asleep.  So later that night, she ordered the wagon. Hooray! Thursday night, two wagons arrived at her door.  Sure Enough – she had ordered it twice. On two different credit cards.  !!!???? Little O is awesome but he does not need two wagons.  So….she had to refuse one and hopefully will be refunded the entire amount in a few days…oops

Registering for classes with the Chicago Park District is a special pleasure.  95% of registration is done online. Awesome.  Classes are 100% full after 15 minutes. Seriously. Not Awesome.  In order to prepare for this virtual stampede, one must plan ahead (The Parakeet’s specialty, right?).  You can view all available classes a week ahead of the Registration Date.  You can put the classes on a wish list. Then, at 9AM SHARP on the appointed day – you just “register” your wishlist and are hopefully one of the first ones.  This Fall, the Parakeet had chosen for Little O a Swimming Class (to take with Daddy) and another Gymnastics class.  She put two times for each in the cart (you have to be flexible, people).  She made a note on the kitchen calendar and in her planner.  It’s perfect to do on a Monday morning because she is downtown and the toddler can not distract her.  On Monday at work, she looked up to see it was 11AM!! Curses!! NOT A SINGLE CLASS LEFT AT ANY TIME.
She will wait in line for an hour on Saturday morning to maybe get into  the swim.  She has also applied for financial aid for this fantastic music class, so cross your fingers….
Before you say, “he doesn’t need all those activities” please remember that he is a two year old boy in an apartment in the city.  These two classes will fill up 2 out of the many hours there are in a week.

And then….the kicker.  A cute little envelope from the Illinois Department of Revenue arrived this week.  You residents of Florida and Texas may not understand this, but here in the mid-west we pay State Income Tax. It’s withheld (from regular jobs) just like the Federal stuff.  The Russells were expecting a small refund. The Parakeet had wondered why they hadn’t received it yet, but felt like looking into it was just not  a priority.  Well, the letter said they owed $xxxx in taxes and had withheld nothing, so they now owed $xxxx plus a late fee and 10% was due immediately or they were going to be drug out of the house by their fingernails for all of the city to see. AHH. What? Why would nothing be withheld?
The small print said, “do you disagree? then mail us your W-2s and prove it”.  The Parakeet thought, well duh, those get sent in with the return. You should have them! Was Illinois just sending these notices out willy-nilly because they are in a terrible financial situation?  So, the Parakeet did a little investigating back into her files where she found her W-2s from last year in order in a neat little stack with the copy for the state still attached.  SERIOUSLY? She had sent her return in WITHOUT W-2s attached.  What an idiot.  She has now enclosed those W-2s in an envelope and sent them back to the state hoping for the best.
2011 may warrant an accountant….


Just sort of Updating

The Summer at the Russell house has been a little jam-packed and crazy – with work, not play.  Sort of not like a lot of summers, but that’s OK.  Someone has to be the entertainment.
The Huz got a seasonal job working at Millenium Park. He has been working the Grant Park Music Festival at Pritzker Pavilion (mostly symphony concerts).  His hours are not bad, just all over the place.  The Parakeet continues to work two mornings a week downtown herself and then odd nights doing Arbonne. So they are often passing ships.  Little O is excited for whoever comes in the back-door. His routine for finding daddy usually goes like this,
“Daddy at the Park downtown?”
“Daddy at the shop”
Not today
“Daddy on the choo-choo train?”
“Daddy sleep on the couch”
They do not psychoanalyze his perception of family life, but they definitely chuckle.
Some pictures from a morning they visited Daddy at “The Park Downtown”

Little O under the “bean”

Playing in the “Kids Tent” making  map of Chicago neighborhoods

Little O was LOVING this Food Pyramid thing.  It’s too bad that even with the pretend food he continued to bring mommy carbs and dairy.  What are you gonna do?

Sitting with the Crew backstage during a rehearsal.  Really hoping to get a bite of Banana.

Walking with Daddy to the BIIIIIG elevator (freight).  Not to diminish Little O’s perception, the elevator is very large – they do move pianos routinely.

On Stage at the Pritzker! Now, how many 23 month olds can say that?

Is it a Monkey?

Many Moms say you should write down the funny things your kids say so that you don’t forget them.  The Parakeet tends to agree.  She has chosen to also share them with the free world by way of blog.
She and the Huz had lengthy discussions about what to have Little O call his private parts. Or anyone’s private parts for that matter.  In the end, they went with the anatomically correct terms.  The Huz reasoned that Little O will have all his life and many other people to teach him the nicknames and euphemisms.  Fair Enough.
So, the Parakeet, finding all things poop and fart as hilarious as a seven-year old, has worked very hard to never laugh as he is learning these terms.  No matter where he decides to use the word penis (Costco) – she has maintained control.
Until yesterday.
After staying up late drinking wine and munching veggies with a couple girlfriends, the Parakeet was dealing with Little O pre7AM.  They were in the kitchen playing with cheerios and coffee.
On the windowsill of their kitchen sits a coconut carved to look like a monkey. It is a souvenir left from a trip to Florida a few summers ago. It’s barely indentifiable, but funny.
O noticed the coconut and said, “what’s that?” (his new favorite phrase) “What’s that? What’s that?”
“A coconut monkey” replied the Parakeet
He stared at her.
“A monkey” she repeated
He looked at her and calmly said, “It’s not a monkey.  It’s a Bagina.”
The Parakeet clutched the counter and lost it in giggles. Just lost it.
She was hoping he would not find that word funny. Ever. But she may have just ruined it.