While you're under the hood, can you check the oil?

My trusty Honda decided to turn on one of those worrisome lights on the dashboard this week - "Check Engine." After a visit the auto parts store, the problem was narrowed down and tonight Brian offered to fix it.

As he went out the door, Helen began to cry. She had spent the evening following him around and begging to be held, so she wasn't happy about him leaving. So I said, hey, what does every auto mechanic need? A 15-month old assistant!


Move along, folks. Nothing to see here.

My life has distinct categories. Once I was Single, but now I'm Married. I spent much of my adulthood Renting Apartments, and now I'm a Homeowner.

"LBH" (Life Before Helen) seems like a distant memory, but I remember all that free time I used to have. God knows what I ever did.

Same thing with money. I should have opened a daycare. That's a cash cow if I've ever seen it. Or, at least, they seem to get all of my cash every week!

Now there's "LWB" - Life With Blog. Each day is chock full of things to write about, and I'm trying harder to remember the little things that happen, to see if someone else can see the humor. For example, Friday night Brian did something really funny. And by "really funny" I mean hilarious in a way that a wife can enjoy and snicker to herself for years. When it happened, the first thing Brian said was, "You can't put this on the blog." Brian saw the humor, right away. He just wanted to make sure that NO ONE ELSE EVER DID.

I swear, honey, my lips are sealed. But it's so tempting to share here, to make you all smile. I guess that's part of having a blog: deciding what to share, and what stays in the family.

Something I will share: tonight, Helen got a Tigger marshmallow lollipop. She played with it for a bit, and tried to like it, but handed it back after a couple of minutes. That left precious few photo ops for her mother, but I did my best.


A joke.

Me: Knock, knock.

You: Who's there?

Me: Control freak. Now you say, "Control freak who?"


I used to send out Helen Updates via email to a whole bunch of people and get several replies back. Now that I've moved online, I have no way to see who's reading my entries, so it feels like I'm sending posts down a black hole.

For those of you new to weblogs, a quick note: if you click on the word "comments" below this entry, it will take you to a screen where you can type a comment for me to read. You do not have to have a Blogger account to make a comment.

I'm not soliciting compliments, I promise! It's a great way to keep in touch with us, and for us to find out who's enjoying this site. I'll also find out if I need to load up on Helen pictures, quit the not-so-amusing commentary, or press on with more knock-knock jokes.


Now Hear This.

Helen's ear infection got worse over the weekend, so we made an emergency office visit Sunday afternoon to get antibiotics and pain medicine. After giving her the goods, she ate an early dinner and passed out at 6 pm.

These pictures were taken on Friday night, when her fever had spiked back up to 101. Clearly, not a happy camper.



A classic symptom of adenovirus is a skin rash. It looks like an allergic reaction - or what happens when you get the bright idea to try a new laundry detergent - but her little body is trying to fight the viral infection. Clearly it's not occupying much of her free time.

I took her back to daycare this morning and discovered Helen's not the only one with the virus. A full class has 12 kids, and yesterday five children showed up. Then the teacher sent home two kids with fever. Today it was five kids again. And yes, the entire room has been disinfected.

But after two days at home with no schedule, a full day at school wiped Helen out. She started asking for her bedtime bottle at 7:00 (an hour early) and was conked out 15 minutes later. Brian's out helping a friend tonight, so I actually have a free evening for the first time in a week.

Why can't I think of anything else to do but sleep? Hmm.


Brian calls me at work after giving Helen an afternoon snack.

Brian: Oreos are not maintenance-free.

Me: Oh, really?

Brian: They're EVERYWHERE.

Helen: (in the background) ma-ma! ma-ma! ma-ma!

Brian: (to Helen) For the last time, I'm not ma-ma! Stop calling me ma-ma!

Helen: ma-ma!

Brian: Hagar! Hey, Hagar! How do you like that, HAGAR!!


Officially? I'm a mother of TWO kids.


Maternal Guilt

Helen came home from daycare yesterday with a temperature of 101.5. I gave her some Tylenol and a bottle of water, but it didn't seem to help much. She crashed hard at bedtime, then woke me up just before 2 a.m., crying. When I got her out of the crib, I realized she was pretty warm - up to 102.7. More Tylenol, and some cuddling. She was still feverish this morning, so I made a doctor appointment. By the time we got there, she had a rash all over, especially on her feet.

Turns out Helen has a virus that normally runs around daycare, and a right ear full of pus. So that week she woke me up every night, that was her ear infection screaming at me.

Helen, you remember all that cursing I did in the wee hours of the morning last week? I'm so very sorry, baby. *hangs head in shame*

Right now she's sleeping in her stroller in the middle of my office. Brian is on his way to pick her up and spend the afternoon with her.

This is when it would come in really handy to have a bunch of unemployed friends who like babies.


To the 80's, with love.

I spent WAAAY too much time laughing at this.

Did anyone else spend afternoons running around their neighborhood with their shirts tucked up and over?

I should have gotten a Barbie doll, who won't hate me in 15 years for dressing her up and taking pictures - and laughing.

Helen, I'm sorry. For the bunny outfit, for this picture, and for who knows what else will happen this decade in fashion. But if my mom spent the 70's putting me in brown plaid pants with an orange turtleneck and taking pictures, by god, you can deal with a tucked onesie that makes me smile, and reminds me of carefree weekends playing outside with my best friends, wishing we were grownups already.


The square root of D.W.I.

A solution to the word problem, from our friend Xander:

H = X * Y + Z / U where U is an undefined variable
J = (Z-3) + U + (SqRt (X*Y))

HU = X * Y + Z
HU - Z = X * Y
Z = HU - (X * Y)


J = ((HU - XY)-3) + U + (SqRt (XY))
J-SqRt(XY) = (HU-XY)-3 + U
U = J-SqRt(XY) - (HU-XY) + 3

Therefore, we can easily deduce that after a mere 4 days you attempt to purchase a tranquilizer gun, but are arrested on the way home for:
Driving While Impaired (sleep deprivation, I am sure)
Carrying a Concealed Weapon
Possession of a firearm without a license


I think I understood the part about "driving while impaired."


I was told there would be no math.

A word problem:

If Baby H consumes x amount of meals in a day, takes y number of naps and sleeps for z hours at night, where z has no correlation to x or y, and Mother J has slept for z-3 hours when she is awoken by Baby H for the sixth night in a row, how long will it take Mother J to locate, purchase and deploy a tranquilizer gun?

Don't forget to show your work.


Summer Time

Today I took about 20 pictures of her running around the house and out in the yard. This one was my favorite.


A Question

So, how do you stay awake at work after spending all night up with a crying child?

Helen woke up at 11 p.m. screaming like a banshee. I had been asleep for about an hour, so I dragged myself upstairs hoping it would cease quickly. Of course, it didn't, and after a restless night for both of us, she was up for good around 4 a.m. We decided this morning that she must have been teething. Yes, The Replacement Baby is back!

Cranky, definitely. And that's just me. Brian heard it all on the monitor so he's going sleepless today, too.

Being this tired reminds me of my single days, except I'm missing the skull-pounding hangover and the exuberance of a schoolgirl crush on a drummer from the band I saw the night before.

I had a little oatmeal for breakfast, followed by 2 Cokes and a big glass of water, and I'm still about to fall face-first on my keyboard. So if anyone has any good ideas about how to last through the day, feel free to share.


The Restaurant

Last week Brian mentioned that he had a dinner to attend for work - something about selling over his quota for the month, and his boss was taking him out to celebrate. I was invited to join them, so I lined up a babysitter. I have to admit, I got a little excited at the thought of a night out with adults. A nice glass of wine, and food that would not be eaten standing over the kitchen counter while Helen threw her cooked carrots on the floor - well, it was tantalizing, to say the least.

So yesterday was the big day, and mentally I spent most of the morning planning the evening - race to the daycare center, pick up the baby, make her dinner, throw on some earrings and liptstick, take the earrings off the baby and wipe off the lipstick. It'd make her look like one of those pageant contestants, really.

But after lunch, I got a phone call from the babysitter. She had gone to the doctor with a bad cold and learned she had an ear infection. She was still feverish, and probably contagious, and obviously not feeling well. So sorry - she'd have to cancel.


Brian & I spent the next 2 hours calling literally everyone we knew. Backup #1 was in another state. Backup #2 had a work dinner to attend. Backup #3 had plans with spouse at a local pub. Backup #4 had her own kids to pick up at baseball practice. And so on. You get the idea. With such short notice, no one could come over to watch Helen.

So I thought, there went my precious evening with adults, there goes the wine, bring on the carrots. But Brian said he'd rather have me there, so we took her with us. Having spent time in restaurants with Helen, I was worried that she would last about 30 minutes tops. She's been a little difficult lately, signaling it's time to go by throwing everything within reach on the floor, and screaming loudly. It's hard to get a 14-month old to listen to well-reasoned arguments about good behavior in public places. Brian agreed that if I needed to escape, I could snatch her up and head for the car, and he could get a ride home.

But surprisingly, she was fine for much of the evening. Charming, smiling, watching everything around her, and even waving to people at the tables nearby. After sampling the bread and spaghetti I ordered for her, along with the grapes & raisins I had brought for her to snack on (this was after eating a full meal at home, mind you), she got more than a little antsy, and realizing we'd hit the 30 minute mark, the appetizers hadn't even arrived!

The waiter claimed they made everything from scratch when the order came in, but it took so long our calamari fritte must have been out for a nice swim at the time.

So Helen & I took a little walk around the restaurant, and found a long hallway downstairs where she could run back & forth many times. After we got back, the appetizers had arrived, and I snacked quickly because she did not want to be in the high chair again. Back downstairs we went for more running around - and this same routine followed for each course. Quick snack, then back downstairs. Except for dessert - Helen got to eat some ice cream. Score!

I think she deserves a medal. It took over 2 hours to get through dinner, and she did very well. Even though I was so exhausted when I got home I went straight to sleep, even though she got spaghetti sauce all over her new white shirt, even though it wasn't the adult evening I had pictured, I'm quite proud of her.

But next time, I'm ordering dessert first


Possums on the Half Shell

So I'm eating lunch at work and reading the paper when I notice this picture on the front page of our local news:

Now that's a slow news day.


Finding Nemo

Helen has a puzzle that she loves. I found a picture of it online and posted it here so you could see what I'm talking about:

Cute, huh? It has a fishing rod with a magnet for a hook. You try to get the hook to touch the metal spot on a fish. If you pull gently enough, the puzzle piece comes out and you've "caught" your fish. It's supposed to teach toddlers dexterity and manuevering. And possibly patience, although Helen's a little slow to learn that lesson.

So on Friday night, it's a wild party in the Wyatt house as Helen's doing her best to make sure no one's sleeping. So we resorted to a little bit of quiet fishing. I've been playing with this puzzle for some time now, and was quite surprised to hear Brian praise Helen with the actual names of the fish as she reeled them in. Like:

When I mentioned it to Brian, he said, "Yeah, what were you calling them?"

Um ...


Mom of the Year

It’s taken me a while to get brave enough to put this story online.

It was Memorial Day weekend, and Brian & I decided it was finally time to paint the master bedroom. We did a lot of painting prior to moving in last summer (okay, HE did the painting), and we decided that we could live with that color for a little while longer. But the long weekend was a perfect time to finally get this chore done. So we gathered up supplies at Home Depot and set up for what we thought would take a long day.

It took two days, of course. And that’s with me helping where I could, and Brian doing the rest. (Okay, HE did the job and I just taped a little bit of the trim.) But I played with Helen, and occasionally stopped by to watch the progress.

Meantime, Helen was absolutely fascinated with the stuff inside the bathroom cabinets. I have these large crates filled with toiletries stored under the sink, with lots of medicines, and she thought those prescription pill bottles were the best toys ever. Little stuff that rattles? Sign her up for a dozen, please! She carried them all around the room, shaking them and clearly enjoying herself. Since the tops were child-proof, and we were both kind of focused on getting the paint work done, I gave in and let her play with the bottles.

Helen & I spent most of the 2nd day upstairs playing, but as Brian finished up, we came downstairs, and I tried to help by pulling off the tape around the trim. So there were giant balls of that blue tape everywhere, and as usual Helen had gone straight for the cabinets to find her favorite little toys.

Oh! I forgot to mention that it was pretty hot that day, and Helen had made a mess of her shirt at mealtime, so she had spent the afternoon running around in just a diaper. So, let me make sure you’ve got this image in your head – diaper-clad baby, walking around with pill bottles, while I’m crawling around on the floor of our bedroom, pulling up blue tape. Got it?

The doorbell rang. Brian was in the garage, putting away the ladder & paintbrushes, and chatting with a neighbor who had stopped by. I wondered, who rings the doorbell when Brian is standing 10 feet away? Helen was clearly occupied with her toys, so I raced to the door.

It was our next-door neighbor, and he was holding a foil-covered plate of food. Turned out they grilled shish-kabobs and had plenty of leftovers. Instead of throwing them away, he wondered if we might want them? Of course, we had no dinner plans (read: what, me, cook?) so the food was greatly appreciated.

Now, this guy is a doctor. He’s married to a stay-at-home mom who just had their fourth child (yes, FOURTH) in February. She’s THAT mom, too – always has the kids in cute clothes, plays fun games outside every day, and packs the essential snacks & drinks & toys for the trips to the pool. Plus, she’s really skinny. You get the idea – all the moms in the neighborhood secretly loathe this woman.

So her man, who’s married to this paragon of motherhood, was on my doorstep offering me food, and I was thinking to myself, okay, this is going well, now if I can just get him off my porch quickly enough … but you guessed it. I heard a little rattle behind me, and in slow motion, I turned in horror to see Helen walking down the front hall with the biggest grin on her face, wearing just a diaper, shaking a pill bottle in one hand, and dragging along behind her a giant ball of blue tape, which is stuck to one heel.

I turned back to him, and said weakly, “Yeah, um, Mom of the Year right here.” He sort of nodded and said goodbye, and I thanked him again for the food. As I shut the door and carried the plate into the kitchen, I was so very ashamed of myself. Not only was I unable to provide dinner for my family, but my baby looked like she spent the afternoon hopped up on pain pills and paint fumes.

Later, I found out at the neighborhood picnic that he’s a pediatrician.