Drivers Ed… Part 2

Part 1 was back when I was 16 years old, so don’t worry that you might have missed a post. I should note that I’m a licensed driver, never had a ticket and only been pulled over once for one of my front lights going out while I was driving. I should also note that Mike is incredibly protective over his vehicles.

Aside from today, only one other time in our 10 year history have I driven one of Mike’s cars. I believe it was about 9 years ago… so it was actually one of Mike’s parent’s cars and it was only because Mike must have fallen asleep at my parent’s house and didn’t feel like putting his contacts back in before we went out to breakfast. I understand that the car fire that I experienced seven years ago left a few eyebrows raised as to my driving abilities, but as I mentioned above, no tickets and no pull-overs for bad driving. Also, Mike can probably count on two hands the amount of times I’ve actually been the driver when we’ve gone somewhere (talk about a passenger-seat driver… me not driving when he’s in the car is as much my decision as it is his haha) so his only gauge of my driving abilities has been while I have a running commentary from the passenger seat (allegedly I’m a distracted driver. I wonder why he’d think that…)

But I digress, back to the topic at hand: the car that I drive is 19 years old and would quite possibly give Luke shaken baby syndrome from riding in it, so needless to say the car seat has never, and will never, get strapped into my old Jeep. Mike on the other hand as a truck and a one-year-old motorcycle. On days when he rides the motorcycle to work (which is most days between April and November) the truck just sits in the driveway, and Luke and I sit in the house (or go for walks). I’ve been bugging Mike to give me the keys to the truck for quite sometime now so Luke and I can run errands and go on fieldtrips, but there was always an excuse – it’s not starting well, I don’t want to drive the Jeep to work and it’s too cold for the motorcycle, etc…

This morning Mike mentioned that our nephew has a soccer game tomorrow and that it might be a nice outing for Luke while he is at work. I point blank asked him how Luke and I were going to get to the soccer game in the neighboring town. After what I can only imagine was some deep soul searching while he was getting ready for work, Mike suggested that when he got home from work this afternoon, perhaps we could go on a driving lesson so that he’d “we’d both” feel more comfortable with me driving the truck.

As soon as I sat down in the driver’s seat Mike pointed out that I should pull up on the bar underneath the seat to move the seat forward and backwards. So that was how this was going to go. I held my tongue and let him show me where the turn signal was, how to turn on the windshield wipers, how to put the car in reverse and turn on the A/C. I will admit, that I didn’t know how to move the steering wheel down to a more comfortable height and how to unlock the steering wheel – so I wasn’t a total know-it-all. I feel like everything else was pretty Driver’s Ed 101. Ah well, I appreciated the thoroughness and if this was going to give him a piece of mind about me driving his truck, then so-be-it, where are the emergency flashers? Oh, it’s that button that’s in the same exact spot as it is in the Jeep, who would have guessed?!

Then we started driving. “Make a right turn here… you took that turn a little wide, now continue going straight but can you make a left at the next street for me?”. Eventually we ended up in a parking lot so I could get a feel for the size of the vehicle in relation to the parking spots (the lesson that I’ll admit I did actually need). When Mike had me pull next to another car, then pull out in the direction of that car and then to turn the wheel… now! I almost had a heart attack that I was going to scratch that car. He assured me that there was at least a foot in between us and that I probably would have hit the cars parked behind me had there been any. This is why the parking lot at the mall has those spots on the outer edges of their property that are always empty, for people like me, so I don’t have to park next to anyone. I suggested that Mike get out of the car and stand where another car would be so I could keep practicing without fear of damaging some unsuspecting person’s vehicle. He didn’t like that idea…

While Mike is still nervous about my knowledge pertaining to how much space on the road that the truck takes up (that only comes with actual driving experience and can’t be taught), at least I’ve got the green light to get out and about when I need to. As I mentioned above, I did appreciate the level of detail and time put into my introduction to driving the truck, I just also got a kick out of the level of detail about common things like where the turn signal was. So if you see a truck out and about driving in the middle of an unlined road, just pull to the side and give me some space 😉

Bathroom Readin’

I get it now. When I was a kid, going to the bathroom took less than a minute to get in, use a whole bunch of toilet paper, splash some soap and water on my hands and get back out. I could never figure out why my mom kept magazines in the bathroom – who had time to read in the 20 seconds they were seated?

Sometime after I got pregnant I must have been reading an article, had to visit the lou and taken the magazine with me. I think I did that a couple of times before realizing that the bathroom is a great spot to sit and read. Poor Mike thought that I was having gastric distress and finally asked me about it. Nope, I explained to him, I’ve just been getting engrossed in some good articles and reading a few pages of the magazines that now live in the bathroom. Good thing we cleared that up.

When Mike isn’t home, trips to the bathroom are a sprint to the finish line as Luke is usually upset that he’s been strapped in a bouncer chair and cannot see me for all of a minute. I keep telling him “honey, I’ll be right there” and “Luke, it’s only fair that I get to use the facilities – not all of us can just go in a diaper whenever we feel like it”. I’m still working on his reasoning skills haha. But on days when Mike is home, going to the bathroom is an excellent way to get 5 minutes peace and catch up on a few short articles or make strides on a multi-pager. It’s glorious. And when at my parent’s house, there are a few strategically placed crossword puzzles that I perusing – proof that my mom also gets it.

And so new moms, soon-to-be moms, and women living with other people, who haven’t figured it out yet – find a magazine subscription (personally I find Parent’s Magazine to be ideal bathroom reading) and give yourself the reoccurring gift of 5 minutes peace.

Fantastic Four

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While I’m 11 days past the four month mark in writing this blog entry, the photos are from the day after Luke turned four months old. He had his check-up on his actual four month and was left incredibly sleepy afterwards. I made the call to postpone taking the photos by a day in exchange for a much more alert baby and decided to use his sleepiness that day to my advantage and knocked out my to-do list in record time.

At the doctor’s office we had to fill out a questionnaire about Luke’s development. It was a little vague and you had to answer with Yes, Sometimes, and No. I was a little disheartened when I tallied the results and found that while he was right on point socially and with problem solving, he was on the cusp in three other categories and in the ‘needs help’ range for fine motor skills (being an artist, that one cut deep). The doctor on the other hand seemed pretty unconcerned at this point and asked a few clarifying questions, for example – Does he scratch at his clothing? We answered that question ‘no’, but mentioned to the doctor that Luke’s really good at scratching his cradle cap when nobody’s looking. The doctor said that totally counted.

It was as if Luke was comprehending our conversation with the doctor because as early as the next day his interactions with things around him totally changed. Perhaps he was just waiting for permission to start really grabbing and focusing on individual toys, put things in his mouth, and unclench his little fists. It’s times like that that I do believe that babies understand way more than we give them credit for.

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Currently Luke is sitting and standing with help, and rolls are more of the accidental nature than purposeful yet. Admittedly, in the photo above, Mike’s hand is behind the blanket. Not necessarily holding Luke up, but keeping him from leaning over. I really like when Mike is home for the Month Photo Shoot. After the initial minor panic when he realized that I was using his fancy trumpet instead of one of his old marching trumpets, he became quite helpful and even heads up to my office with me afterwards to narrow down the photos and do any edits. Once Luke starts to really interact with the trumpet, I’ll stop using the nice one and trade it out for one of the older ones that can afford a few bumps and scrapes (we have more trumpets in our house than one might expect).

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If you look closely at Luke’s forehead you’ll notice the front portion of the cradle cap that we’ve been dealing with for about a month now. There are days that Mike and I finally feel like we’ve won a battle with it, but anytime we think we’re closed to done, it comes back with vengeance and we’re reminded that we have not won the war. After a trip to the doctor’s office yesterday to address the cradle cap and some eczema on his cheek I think we finally might be getting somewhere in terms of more effectively treating it.

Right now I’d say the cradle cap is by far our biggest focus with Luke this past month. Originally it seemed to be just a cosmetic nuisance, but once gas was no longer what was distressing Luke in his sleep, instead we noticed that it was an itchy forehead. He won’t wake up per say, but we’ll hear him struggling and go into the nursery to see his little mittened hands subconsciously bothering his sleeping face. The kid is Harry Houdini Jr. While he likes to start out with his upper body swaddled, he always manages to break free of his confines and sometimes even gets his mittens off, much to the dismay of his forehead.

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When we’re not aiding Luke with his itchy forehead, we’re having a great time with him. One of Luke and my favorite ways to pass the time is to manically laugh at each other. Luke finds it hilarious, and the fact that he finds it so funny cracks me up. This cycle usually goes on for quite some time. Ever since the weather finally broke we’ve been taking monster long walks daily. I’m actually looking forward to the rain/storms later today so I have an excuse to bum around the house with Luke. Otherwise it feels like a crime to stay inside with such nice weather. Maybe once Mike builds a deck off the back of the house we’ll go outside and just sit.

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It looks like I’m going to be tasked with finding a new outfit for Luke’s trumpet photos (still thinking something with light grey stripes). He was wearing the onesie from the photos yesterday and it fit him like a glove. Which leads me to the selected four month photo and composite of all of the month photos thus far:

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