Sunday, December 30, 2007

I am meat

The other day Jonah laid down on the coffee table and said: "I am meat. Eat me, mommy."

I asked him who cooked him. He replied: "Uncle Andy."

"How did he cook you?" I wondered. "In a pot on top of the stove, in the microwave, in the oven or in the toaster?"

"In the oven, pancake-style." Jonah said and stuck his hand in front of my face: "Eat the bone; the crunchy part, mommy."

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas on the coast

We just returned from spending three days at the Oregon coast. We were about the only people, other than about two retired couples with miniature lap dogs, that spent our Christmas there in the rain and wind. Actually, one day it hardly rained, but the ocean was so wild we almost got swept away trying to walk on the very edge of the beach.

The hotel was nice. It's been our favorite. We brought a giant load of groceries, so we didn't have to go to the store at all and could cook all our meals. I made Czech-style potato salad and fish for Christmas dinner. We also brought homemade Christmas cookies, bread, and a little potted tree to decorate and put right on the mantel place.

Jonah got the idea of presents for the first time. He kept talking about Santa, whom he discovered in one of his books recently.

We had a really nice time, though I had a pretty bad cold and the weather didn't cooperate half the time. But that was just half the time. So really we were lucky.

Jonah's favorite present was a miniature version of a UPS truck from his grandparents. He didn't want to part with it, so he asked if he could bring it to bed with him and tuck it in. He has also been enjoying the puzzles and legos I got him. Of course, there is the high tech electronic digger from grandpa which we opened after we got back. I am glad we did because it trumps all that ever was before. This piece of heavy equipment more than half the size of Jonah is complete with a country rock anthem to which Jonah loves to jump around, flailing his arms; lights; thunder volume engine sounds; and a macho man voice dolling out commands such as: "Back it up!" and "Scoop those rocks!" That one is definitely guaranteed to delight parents everywhere.

I got great gifts too - a restaurant gift certificate, an Ikea gift certificate and a new camera are up there in the top three. Warm socks and a new lip stick and mascara - yeah!

All in all we had a nice holiday. Now the countdown to new baby has started. That, along with the cold, has been keeping me up at night. How will we handle a feisty two-year-old and a newborn and get enough sleep on top of it all to survive the first few months? I don't know. I just pray we do.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

here is what I look like

Here is me now (nearly 35 weeks along):

Here I am at the same point in my pregnancy with Jonah almost 2.5 years ago:

The last pregnancy we took so many pictures. Nearly one every week. This time I think we have maybe two showcasing my belly. I can just hear the second child: "Why is it you took so many picture with Jonah in your belly, but not with me!" Well, because second time, my child, it's all just old hat... ha, ha!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

spooky is fun... sort of

Ever since Halloween Jonah has been interested in all things spooky. We read an average of at least one scary story a day - toddler scary. Like the Old Dark Frog.

Now after it gets dark if we don't close our curtains Jonah becomes obsessed with the reflections he sees in the windows. He will see something move, most often his own face or mine, and get concerned that Spooky is outside looking in. He seems enthralled yet perturbed by the idea.

Sometimes he hears things and asks me: "Who is knocking?" Today I could actually trace the sound to me setting my coffee cup on the table, but sometimes I don't know what it is he's heard.

The other day he looked in my closet and exclaimed: "I see a hand! What's that arm doing there?" That sent the shivers up my spine. I picked him up and had him show me where he saw that hand and arm. He pointed to a tube, which was actually a folded blanket the color of white person's flesh. Phew! I felt relieved. Just a blanket.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

baby in belly

Tonight Jonah came to hug my belly. He said: "There's a baby in mommy's belly. It will come out later... and live in mommy's house."

He totally gets it. It's really amazing.

Like I mentioned in my previous post, his emotions could be escalating because he knows a big change is about to take place. But of course, like his grandma says, it is mostly "the terrible twos," though I like "tumultuous twos" better since, though difficult, this age is also so much fun.

I am, by the way, just over 34 weeks along in my pregnancy. I feel much more relieved now. The baby is still considered premature if born at this stage, but so close to fully developed that it is pretty safe to give birth now. I just hope I can make it twelve more days so I can have the home birth I envision.

tumultuous two

Our little friend is two for sure. Lately he has been asserting his will power fiercely regarding just about anything. There could be a tantrum lurking under the surface, waiting to unleash itself just about any time. And not just once, but sometimes three or five times a day.

Today, for example, Jonah did not want to get out of his pyjamas. That turned into an angry crying spell that lasted what seemed like a half hour.

Or little Mister may decide he wants to pretend to drive our family car and if he doesn't get his way, he becomes unconsolable. Other favorite things to scream and kick about have included: not wanting to get into his car seat; not wanting to have his diaper changed (though most of the day he now goes diaperless); not wanting to get dressed; and not wanting his play to be interrupted for a meal. He has been so full of strong emotions lately that at the end of the day sometimes, Tim and I are relieved when Jonah is asleep.

If kicking or hitting is involved, we give Jonah a warning and then put him on the "naughty pillow," which works a lot of the time as a good distraction and consequence. But when he decides to get up from it every five seconds and I have to carry him back over and over, his two alloted minutes of "naughty pillow time" seem to last a lifetime. With my big belly, lifting him up and carrying him with both of our emotions running high (I do try hard to stay calm, believe me), it's really not much fun.

When whining is the tone he uses, which happens a lot these days, I ask him to speak in a normal voice and to say please. This doesn't always get him what he wants, but it teaches him a little bit of self-control and politeness. He does usually respond to my request to use a normal voice. At times, though, I have a hard time reminding myself to request him to stop whining because my natural instinct, though not the right thing to do, is to do whatever I can quickly to stop that god-awful sound that makes me want to jump out of my skin. I have been trying to be diligent about getting him out of the whining habit.

If crying, screaming, and non-cooperation are the problem, we either let him cry without reasoning with him after once or twice explaining our position, or sometimes a little bargain will work.

For example, if Jonah doesn't want his dirty diaper changed, I tell him I will count to five and that he has the choice to walk over to his bed and lay down for me or I will carry him there. If he's able to hear me, he usually decides to walk over himself rather than have me carry him. At least, that way he feels a little more autonomous and he feels like he has a choice.

No wonder Freud called this stage the anal stage. Jonah, like most two-year-olds, from what I have read, is so bent on doing things his way and having a say - in short, flexing his autonomy muscles, that it does create quite a tumultuous atmosphere in our household these days.

I know this is part of being two, an age which I have otherwise been thoroughly enjoying, but I have also read that this could be part of the last few weeks before a new baby joins the family. Jonah senses the change. We talk about it and it could be making him anxious.

Well, for now, we will just try our damnedest to ride out the storm in the most compassionate, yet responsible way. Parenting really is an art.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

latest obsessions

Jonah's latest imaginative games... or should I call them obsessions:

• puzzle with pictures of concrete mixer, dump truck, and other construction equipment. He will do the puzzle about three to six times in a row without help. He is now very fast at it and I don't think it's a very easy one.

• sitting on a sofa and driving a mail truck or garbage truck and playing mailman or garbage man

• "driving" all kinds of construction equipment or the ambulance or fire truck while on a chair or sofa

• riding his rocking horse, which is actually a dog, and pretending to drive a motorcycle

• occasional cooking

• occasional grocery shopping

• having books read to him, especially Toad and Frog and Owl at Home, both by Arnold Lobel. Those are actually some of the funnest books from Jonah's collection to read.

• having stories told to him. His latest favorite are ones about our cats and their adventures on their motorcycle. He also likes made up stories about Benjamin Bunny or Peter Rabbit.

• throwing a ball or pretty much anything outside

• riding his tricycle, though he still won't peddle

• "driving" our family car or shopping carts that are also cars for toddlers

• torturing the cats

Monday, December 10, 2007


This last weekend was quite jam-packed with activities for us. It kicked off with the devil encounter and then led right into a sleepover during which Jonah stayed over at uncle and aunt's house all by himself. He had a did well and enjoyed himself. In the meantime, Tim and I went on a date to an all-you-can-eat seafood (and more) buffet. Awesome! We were going to go to the movies too, but when we got to the theater, located in the mall, and saw the posters for the movie we had chosen for a lack of selection and the hordes of teenagers lining up for the movies, we got discouraged and decided to rent a movie instead. We still had a nice night.

The next morning, Sunday, was our baby shower, which, like last time, was held at our house. In the morning instead of sleeping in, we jumped up to do some last minute cleaning. My friend Megan supplied the food, which was heavenly! Lots of friends, both men and women, and family (Tim's cousins) came, some with toddlers and even one brand new baby. We didn't play any shower games. Just ate, chatted, then opened presents. I hope people weren't disappointed with no smell-the-poop-in-the-diaper- and taste-the-oddest-baby-food-type competitions. I put a couple of pictures from our shower here. If I look fat, it is because I am... pregnant, that is.

After our shower and Jonah's nap, we went to spend some of our gift money on important items such as a swing and a dresser for the baby. I am suddenly feeling like the clock is ticking and before we know it, the baby will be here. So we have to get ready.

The weekend was fun, but a bit much for Jonah, who had a few melt-downs by the end of it. We have to remember to take it easy with him.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

encounter with the devil

Yesterday Jonah and I went to the Czech Society's Christmas dinner and St. Nicholas celebration. I prepared Jonah for the fact that he will see the devil, angel, and Mikuláš by talking about it and showing him pictures of the devil in his Czech children's books. Jonah said: "It will be a little bit scary." I told him I would be there to hug him if he needed me. He said he would talk to the devil and hug him.

When we got there, we saw a couple of other Czech families that we knew with kids Jonah's age. We sat with them and ate dumplings, cabbage and pork, a traditional Czech dish, which is definitely not a Christmas dish. Far from it. For some reason the Czech society has made that their dish of choice every Christmas season. Instead, Christmas dinner is supposed to consist of fish soup, fish (usually carp) and potato salad. Then cookies.

In the last couple of years I have really grown disgusted with carp. It tastes much like catfish. It's a bottom feeder that tastes and smells like fishy mud. It is quite a sight to watch the carp sellers in the streets fish fat carp out of their barrels with nets and either butcher them right there on the spot or just plop them in a bag live so customers can put them in their bathtubs to swim around for fun for the kids. That gives the kids enough time to name and bond with the suckers just before the carp get smacked over the head, stripped of fins and scales, and cooked.

Last Christmas when we were in Prague, Tim noticed the fish sellers weren't shy about scooping up escaped carp from the gutter right back into the barrel to resell them. I was so happy my grandmother made trout for dinner instead of carp. So much better!

But back to our dinner last night. Jonah was one of the bravest children in the group. He not only didn't want to be held; he approached the devil himself, following him around the room. When the devil finally got down to Jonah's level and asked him if Jonah has been a good little boy the last year, Jonah got a bit paler and more concerned. He reached for my hand. But he didn't panic or cry. He calmly took the bag of nuts and candy from the devil and looked inside. On the way home, he said he would share it with daddy. I was impressed.

Here is a video of the carp sellers I found on youtube. It's a little long, but it gives you a good idea of the fishy stuff going on in the Old Country. Also, the video is significant because it was filmed just a block from where Tim, Jonah and I stayed last Christmas in Prague. So we know that intersection intimately.

I also included a picture of the threesome Jonah followed around yesterday. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get a good picture of Jonah with the devil. But you get the idea.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

December Holidays

Tonight, December 5th, is a very special night in the Czech Republic - or I should say was, since that special time little Czech children wait for hit about twelve hours ago.

On this day when it gets dark outside, St. Nicholas, or Mikuláš, knocks on doors and asks to speak to the children. He is accompanied by a gorgeous angel who rings a sweet-sounding bell and scary devil who rattles his chain and growls as a warning.

Mikuláš asks the children whether they have been good or bad. Each child then has to recite a poem or sing a song. If a child has been bad, the devil threatens to put the child in his burlap sack and carry it away. But he never does. All children get a bag of goodies before the curious threesome leaves. If a child has been bad, her baggie is filled with coal and potatoes. If the child has been good, she gets fruit and candy.

A couple of times as a little girl I got coal and potatoes, but after every adult around had a great laugh, I was handed a bag filled with fruit and candy.

The night Mikuláš walks around your neighborhood is so magical, exciting and scary all at the same time. Many children hide under their beds and have to be coaxed to crawl out. I always loved the holiday.

The one I remember the most was the year I must have turned five or six. I actually recognized the devil as my parents' colleague. I felt so betrayed, my world utterly shattered. But mainly I was angry about the deceit. I guess that is how lots of kids feel when they find out Santa isn't real.

On Saturday I am taking Jonah to an American substitute of Mikuláš the Czech Society of Oregon is hosting. They host a Christmas dinner and St. Nicholas appearance every year. Last year we went too, but Jonah was only one. He hardly reacted. This year he will have a totally different experience. I hope the devil doesn't give him nightmares!

I googled Mikuláš and his companions, but didn't find very many good images. I have included my favorite ones of the devil, angel and St. Nicholas.

The other holiday that this year coincides with Mikuláš for my family, is of course Chanukkah. I grew up celebrating the major Christian holidays - Christmas and Easter (and St. Nicholas Day). I come from a predominantly Catholic country after all. Half my family is of Catholic stock. The interesting thing was that I didn't really grow up with any religious tradition or understanding. My mom's side of the family is Catholic, though the last practicing and well-versed Catholic is my grandmother. The holidays were more folksy. I never really understood how they tied into the Christian religion because I never studied the Bible or went to church. Religion was frowned upon and nearly banned by the Communists in power. My family was spiritual, but not religious. My father's side is Jewish. The last practicing Jew was his maternal grandmother. My father is completely assimilated to the point that he only observes Christian holidays and doesn't really know much about Judaism.

For no explicable reason, I feel a strong affinity with my Jewish heritage, though I have no tangible connection to it. For the past several years, and especially since Jonah was born, I have slowly been educating myself on issues related to my Jewish roots. I do this mostly privately and quietly, as if hiding it from the world. But it is very important to me to do this. I am the first "mixed" child in my dad's lineage, or so he claims, and there is a part of me that mourns that loss of connection and lineage. Judaism, after all, is a matrilineal tradition, so unless I convert (and even if I converted, according to a large number of Jews), I am a non-Jew. Still, I feel increasingly that sense of personal and spiritual connection. It is something that just is, independent of laws or people's opinions.

Thus, I loop my way back to Chanukkah. I lit the candles tonight and with the help of an MP3 recording, sang my blessings. Maybe later this week I will make some latkes. I did the year Jonah was born.

Sunday, December 02, 2007


I don't know how many of you have watched the show Supernanny. Tim and I watched it a few times before we packed our TV away in the basement when Jonah was an infant. Now a couple of her techniques are coming in handy.

For example, we have started teaching Jonah to fall asleep on his own. We used to read him a book and then lay down with him until he fell asleep. This was just fine when he would take anywhere between five and fifteen minutes to do so. It actually felt like a natural and gentle way to usher him into the world of sleep, but when it took more time than that it was a killer. We decided we better change the habit before the baby comes.

So, for about two weeks, Tim has been at it, reading a book to Jonah and then sitting further and further away until Jonah falls asleep with the idea that soon he can leave the room, shut the door and Jonah will be just fine on his own. Tim now sits in a different room, but with the door still open. I think we have a few more days left before he transitions to just saying good night and closing the door.

I have done my bedside duty a few times too, but Jonah has become quite uptight about this night time ritual, wanting his dad there always. We are letting him have that luxury for a couple more days. I work nights three times a week anyway.

When we first started this trend, Jonah cried until he almost went hoarse the initial three nights. I followed my instinct rather than what Supernanny would have advised. Instead of not paying attention to Jonah and just quietly sitting near his bed, I talked to him, explained the process again, told him I would brush his teeth one more time and then he would lay down like a big boy and fall asleep.

The next night, Jonah told me, almost beginning to sob, but holding the tears back bravely: "I'm a big boy now. I'm gonna lay down." That almost made me cry. Ever since then he hasn't cried. The gradual easing out of his room has worked.

The other Supernanny trick we have just started implementing is a time-out of sorts. Except we call it not a "naughty chair" or "naughty step" like Supernanny does, but a "naughty pillow" which is what we use. When Jonah hits, kicks or scratches one of us or one of the cats or if he throws a hard object inside, he has to go and sit on his "naughty pillow" in our bedroom for two minutes. We used to put him in his room for two minutes and hold the door shut, but he wreaked havoc there. He would take either his chair or a hard-cover book and start slamming it against the door with enraged and scared of being shut out. He knew that would get us to open the door for fear of him putting a fist-sized hole in it. So the naughty pillow has been working better for us. It gives us a consistent consequence and a way for him to break away from a destructive activity and refocus.

I never thought we would resort to TV show-style parenting techniques, but for a lack of real life models this is what modern parents do, I suppose. Whatever works AND feels right, I guess.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

off into the snow!

Today we made a trip to the mountains so Jonah could really experience playing in the snow. We wanted to go before I get too close to full term. It was the perfect day to head up. The roads were clear and traffic smooth, but the mountains had inches of fresh, dry snow. The weather wasn't too cold, just a couple of degrees below freezing and only snow flurries. Just great!

We found a hill that was really a dead-end street and sledded there for a while. The snow was too dry to make snowballs and snowmen, but the sledding was fun.

Getting down on the ground to sit in the child-sized sled and then getting up at the bottom of the hill was definitely a chore for me, but screaming all the way down as I tried to remain in control of the sliding saucer was a blast. For some reason, Jonah would not ride with me; only with daddy. Hmmm...

It would be so fun to rent a place up in the mountains for a while some day that has a fireplace where we can warm up after eXXXtreme sledding.

Here are some pics from our trip and a couple of videos:

Friday, November 30, 2007

holiday spirit

The holiday spirit is definitely here - in the COLD air! Uncle Andy, Tim, Jonah and I went to the ZOO tonight to see it all lit up with animal shapes and holiday decorations. The highlight of "ZOO Lights" was definitely the train ride around the ZOO on a train decorated with lights. Jonah was wide-eyed. Here are some pics:

On the train:

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

the scooter that kicked my ass

The other day my little family went to the park. We brought Jonah's found scooter with us. Tim adjusted the handles to be tall enough for adults. Jonah likes being paraded around on it. I had to go to our local video store to return some movies and Tim suggested I use Jonah's scooter to get me there and back faster on such a cold, cold day. Sounded like a great idea. How many of you have ridden an old-fashioned scooter lately?

My out-of-shape me felt like a fool. I could hardly go for two blocks without taking a break. That strategic bend in the leg kicked my ass. After a while I thought my right leg would start shaking. They never did. I tried switching legs and riding on my left foot while pushing off with my right. I felt even more of a fool - so completely clumsy on my off-leg. Just you try it.

I alternated. Two blocks on the scooter, half a block walking along, wobbling along the on- and off- bumpy wheel-chair friendly ramps. Can people tell I'm 31-weeks pregnant under my heavy jacket, I kept thinking? What will the teenagers passing by think?

After a while I came to the conclusion that scooter riding was, once one got used to it, a pretty cool way to get around. And though I half walked and half rode, I still saved time.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Little Mister and Daddy went to uncle and aunt's house for a sleepover last night. It was the first practice run. The idea is that if I go into labor at night, Andy and Jenni will take Jonah and have him sleep over at their house.

Jonah went with his dad this time and had a blast. He even asked for uncle to put him to bed. Then he slept on a mattress on the floor with Andy and Jenni in their room while Tim slept across the hall.

All went well and we were very pleased. Next time we hope Jonah will go to Andy's and Jenni's house for a sleepover by himself as the second dry run before baby is on its way.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

taken today:

Sunday, November 18, 2007

mom's and dad's night out

As unbelievable as it may sound, Tim and I actually got to go out on a date last Friday night. It had been.... I don't even know how long. Maybe five months. We had an unspent gift certificate from Tim's parents to one of our favorite restaurants. I don't even remember when we got it - I hope it wasn't as long ago as last year's Valentine's Day. That would be embarrassing.

Tim's uncle and aunt took Jonah and had dinner with him and played at their house while Tim and I had a full, four-course dinner from appetizers to dessert. Yes!

We must do this again before baby arrives and then a little more frequently than twice a year, for god's sake.

another pregnancy dream

Last night I dreamt that my baby was a full-grown man, much taller than I - definitely over six feet tall. He was of mixed race (half black and half white, I'm guessing). I carried him until he fell asleep on my shoulder.

adverbs & dad

Jonah's latest addition to his vocabulary are adverbs. He uses them at times randomly, but for the most time quite appropriately. Here are some of his favorites: too; still (as in: "I want to look at this page still"); and actually (as in "Mommy, I want to read this book, actually").

Dad has, for the most part, become "Tim" lately: "What are you doing there, Tim?" or "Tim, wanna buy something?" Sometimes daddy is even Timmy: "Timmy, want a sandwich?"

On the contrary, I am always "mommy", though Jonah has, when I have failed to pay attention to him, called me Teri, Tim's nickname for me.

Ah, kids...

Friday, November 16, 2007

pregnancy update

I am thirty weeks along in my pregnancy now. That means I have about ten more to go. I am feeling pretty well. Just starting to feel a little tired and creaky, especially in my lower back.

The only issues I have had this time around are the fingers of my right hand going numb at night and some veins on my legs popping out and looking a little scary. The hand I have been able to resolve with proper support, which basically consists of piles of pillows around me that make me feel like I'm sleeping in a fortress. Poor Tim. The veins are not dangerous, but their purple-color bulging tentacles creep me out.

Like many Czechs, I am superstitious about buying anything for the baby before its time. But now that I am far enough along I gave myself the permission to buy a couple of used sleepers - those pyjama-like things with feet - for fear of the baby coming and us not having anything for him or her to wear. You see, we gave all of Jonah's clothes for the first eighteen months away because I decided I did not want another biological child. A couple of months after we did that, I changed my mind. Funny, isn't it?

For the last three days, Jonah has been very interested in gently touching my stomach and hugging me. He now wants to lay on top of me - and my belly and hug me quietly for extensive periods of time. I have never seen him like this. He must be bonding with his sibling. It seems almost metaphysical in a way. Yesterday we cuddled quietly for an hour!

A friend just told me about someone she knows who has two children and is expecting a third one. She did not tell the older siblings for a long time that she was pregnant. They started coming up to her belly spontaneously, hugging it and touching it. They "knew."

Jonah also loves to play "midwife" and "ultrasound man." He examines my belly using a closed marker and his keyboard, which makes all kinds of strange and obnoxious noises. He calls it his computer. When I get tired of being examined, he examines Tim's belly and asks to be examined as well.

The other thing that goes hand in hand with pregnancy that I have been experiencing once in a while are odd dreams. Last night -warning: not for the faint of heart- for example, I dreamt that I had found a decapitated dog head in the grass. Someone had mowed the lawn and beheaded a dog in the process. The dog's body was still sitting there, frozen in attention mode. Those crazy pregnancy hormones!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

to fear or not to fear

Something that comes up once in a while in my universe of parenting is how much or whether to shield my child from fear. Often, like many of us, I suppose, I tend to underestimate my child’s ability to handle complex thoughts and issues. A good example of this is my hesitation with telling him about my pregnancy. When I did around his second birthday, he thoroughly surprised me by grasping the idea that there was a baby in my belly without any apparent confusion.

Recently I got Jonah a second book in the Frog and Toad series. We have both enjoyed the first book, Frog and Toad are Friends, so I knew we would have a good time reading the new book. I quickly skimmed it before purchasing it, not realizing one of the stories the book contained was quite scary for a small child. When we were reading the book the other day and got to that story called Shivers, midway through I decided to skip the story and move on to the next one. Jonah was fine with that but later asked me to return to the story. If you are not familiar with this tale, it’s basically a ghost story in which the character of a giant old frog, who eats little frogs, dominates.

As I read Shivers, I watched Jonah’s face for signs of fear. He looked pale (nothing unusual there) and concerned, but very interested. After we got done, he asked me to read it again. It has since become Jonah’s most requested story.

As much as I tried to shield him from fear that I was afraid he could not yet handle, I realized that he himself became fascinated with wrestling with it. This was similar to the Halloween incident when Spooky came by to trick-or-treat. Jonah has since incorporated Spooky into the larger scheme of things. He calls Spooky on the phone, pretends to be Spooky, and refers to him often. Obviously, Spooky made a strong impression. It is truly amazing to watch a two-year-old brain at work, processing all kinds of emotions and experiences.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

brand new woman

Some big changes have happened in the last two days: I had my immigration interview, civics and English test, which I passed (yay!), and finally my swear-in ceremony. After living in this country for twenty years, I am now a US citizen. The civics test consisted of about eight questions of this nature: "What do the stars on the flag stand for?", "Who is the Vice President?" (I did enjoying enunciating "Dick" with a gusto) and "What is the capitol of the U.S.?"

The English test went something like this:

Please copy the following sentence: "It is very smart of us to learn this." Hmmm... a slightly awkward sentence if you ask me. Then I had to write down the sentence the officer dictated, which went something like this: "My brother said they would visit her." Phew!

The day after my interview and tests was my swearing-in day. We were running a few minutes behind, and when I came in to the building, the guards in charge of the metal detector already knew who I was and told me: "They are waiting for you." How embarassing, I thought. Little did I know then that when I would make my way upstairs, there would be about fifty people gathered waiting for the ceremony, all eyes on me. I had forgotten to fill out the last of the forms and had to do it right there in front of everyone. Of course, in the hurry that I was in, I didn't read the instructions right and checked that since the previous day when my interview happened, I had gotten married and left the country. The judge remarked about it and all the fifty people in the room laughed at my foolishness.

Throughout the ceremony I could hear Jonah's little voice from the back of the room: "What's that lady doing there?" and "Want the lights on!" when they showed us patriotic videos of flags waving and George Bush welcoming us in God's name.

When George appeared on the video screen as I held an envelope entitled: A Message from the President of the United States of America, I couldn't help but think of the satirical President's Weekly Radio Address podcasts that Tim and I sometimes listen to. My mind also kept wandering to the back of the room, where two Iraqi men getting their U.S. citizenship sat as George's army continued bombarding their kin. I kept returning to the images of the Vietnamese refugees in the video montage on U.S. immigration throughout the ages that we watched that day, thinking about the wars this country has waged that forced such migrations and the Chinese Exclusion Act and other U.S. policies that cast a shadow on such a momentous occasion as this ceremony.

Here you can see a picture of me swearing I will be faithful.

Below you can see a video of Jonah and me after the ceremony. He really enjoyed waving the miniature flag.

While in the process, I also decided to change my name to match Tim's and my kids'. I did keep my former name as my middle name. I am very happy about that. This means not only that I don't feel like I'm losing my heritage and erasing my past, but also that my initials don't stand for a disease (i.e., TB). Since there isn't a big tradition of middle names in the old country, I now feel so special having a middle name!

Today I ran around a whole bunch of offices, putting in my name change. Jonah was so patient with me. The first thing I did was register to vote, which I was thrilled about. Signing with my new name takes some getting used to.

Do you think Tim loves me more now that I took his name? Just kidding!

When I finally got home that night, Tim and I celebrated with some bubbly apple cider and a documentary called El Inmigrante about Mexican migrants trying to cross the border and come to the U.S. for work. What a powerful film. It reminded me of how privileged I really am.

P.S. Thank you John & MaryAnn for the flowers! What a sweet gesture. They are beautiful!!!

Monday, November 05, 2007

"Open it!"

Today I talked with Jonah again about the new baby coming. I explained about how when the baby comes, it will stay with us and sleep and eat with us, how we will take it for walks in the stroller and change its diapers, how it will be our baby. Jonah got all excited and demanded that I open my stomach: "Open it!"

I explained that it was too early, that the baby was still growing inside and offered instead to read him a book we have borrowed from our midwife about a home birth. Jonah finds the story of the little boy and his mom giving birth to a new baby intriguing. When we first borrowed it, he wanted it read three to five times in a row several times a day.

I am so excited for Jonah to become a big brother.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

my favorite root vegetable

Maybe I should add a Tim's quote of the week section to this blog. He comes up with the darnedest things. No wonder Jonah does too. Looking at a picture of himself, Tim said today: "I'm starting to look like a root." That's my lovely husband for you. Who wouldn't want be married to a root vegetable like the father of my child.

Japanese garden

This morning we took Jonah to the Portland Japanese Garden for the first time. What a magical place! He loved all the stairs, moss, rocks and water. It was actually a little bit hard to keep him from crawling around in the bushes and running into the tranquil, perfectly manicured Zen rock garden. But he was easy to distract with the next enticing thing to jump or walk on: a teeny bridge here, a mossy rock there, a bamboo fountain nearby...

Whenever there, I imagine being a monk and strolling around the garden each morning and meditating. Secretly I wish I could take a morning walk there alone before they open at least a couple times a week. The place is so calming and inspirational all at the same time. It truly feeds the soul. Pics at the bottom of this page.

Friday, November 02, 2007

landmark day

Today I am twenty-eight weeks along in my pregnancy. That means that I am now entering my third trimester. Only about three more months to go! Here is a picture I just took so you can see how big my belly is getting. Jonah is well aware of the fact that there is a baby inside of it, by the way. He told me completely spontaneously all about the baby in my belly today.

quote of the day

Now that I have quite a talker on my hands who comes up with amusing things every day, I decided to add a new section in the right hand column of my blog, where I will post some of his most memorable quotes. I will also keep adding the old ones to this post as I publish new ones, because I want to be able to remember them years from now. These are all spontaneous, "uncoached" quotes, mind you. Enjoy!

Past quotes:


Mom (tucking Jonah in): "Did you know that Daddy and I really wanted you? That you are our dream come true?"
Jonah: "Did you know you were growing a beard, Tereza?"
Mom: "Oh. Where?"
Jonah: "Because I see some hair on your chin."
Mom: "How many hairs?"
Jonah: "Fourteen."

JANUARY 2012 -

"What if mouses were called dogs and dogs were called mouses?"


This one is in Czechglish: "Mama vylil kafe na her hair." (= Mom spilled coffee on her hair.)

"Mama is my favorite bottle to drink from."

"Mama has testicles in her boobs."

"Mama is my favorite bottle to drink from."

"Mama's face is doughy around the eyeballs."

MARCH 2011 -

"Mom, why don't you want to be a ninja when you grow up?"

JANUARY 2011 -

• J: "I'm a mathematician."
Me: "How are you a mathematician?"
J: "Let me show you." Counts to 68, burps, continues to 91, then skips to a thousand.

• Jonah asked what meeting I was going to. I said it was an interracial dialogue on the topic of racism. He asked what racism was, and when I explained, he said, "I can change that." How? "By fighting with words," he elaborated. "Remember? Like King Arthur." He meant MLK. :)

• "Mom, did you put some love in my food? Because it tastes sooo good."

OCTOBER 2010 -

• "I can change myself into a spear warrior or Met-Mo Met-Mo. If you touch Met-Mo Met-Mo, you die."


• "Mom, will you be my princess? I'll be your soldier. Do you know that when the princess lies in bed, the soldier guards her. He is in the bed too with his gun out."

• "Mom, do you like rock stars? I like rock stars."

• "Mom, I am a robot and I control you."

• "You can rub my feet while I get the missile."

JUNE 2010 -

• me: "It seems that you haven't been drinking much water."
J: "I drank fifteen-forty google drinks of water."

• "I burped my brain out."

• "I'm arguing with my brain."

MARCH 2010 -

• "Mom, I love your teeth. (Pause) They look green."

• "I saw her testicles! Not two times, but three times!" (about the communal male bunny named Daisy, whom we got to bring home for the weekend from Jonah's school)

• "Mom, you're my cannon bullet."

• me, about to serve Jonah a bagel: "Do you want half or the whole darn thing?"
J: "I want half. And it's not going to be darn."

• To dad: "You and mom deliver love to each other, and I deliver love to mom."

• "Rats look like rocks with pokey things."

• "I speak four languages: alien, dragon, Czech and English."


• "Mom sounds like bomb. . . From now on can we call mom 'bomb'?"

• "Buttcracks are nice."

• J: "Mom, how tall are you?"
me: "5'5"
J: "When am I going to be 5'5"?"
me: "Probably when you're a teenager."
J: "Are you a teenager?"

• "Dad, I have a good idea. You can have your dream work and I can have my dream gun. . . Then you can do your work and I can play with my dream gun."

• "Mom, I like your size."

• "Mom, I like your knees."

• To me: "When you walk by, dad and I will shoot you and you'll fall in the (imaginary) water. But you won't be dead in the water. Just pretend skeletons."

• J: "Is there sunshine after we die?"
me: "What do you think happens after people die?"
J: "They get shot by missiles."

• "I'm not going to cry now. I'll just shoot." (uh-oh)

JANUARY 2010 -

• "Hello, pork!"

• To mom: "You're an office."

• "Mom, let me tell you something." Whispering: "McDonald's has french fries and ketchup. Don't tell dad that. It's a secret."

• "Mom, I'm a warrior."


• "Was the cemetery where you got married? . . . Militaries is where you get married."

• To mom: "I'm always right and you're always wrong."

• To mom: "That's illegal; you can't kiss me!"

• "My airplane when I grow up into a big boy is going to have an upstairs and a downstairs. It's going to be huge. It's going to have guns on the bottom. My airplane's going to be a Transformer--a battling one. It'll turn into a robot that will have eleven arms on it. The crew name is going to be Servers. And they go like wacko and they pull the lever and stop."

• "You should get dad potato juice."

• "Gorillas are actually tarantulas because gorillas are big and fluffy."

• To mom: "Now you're dead meat."

• To mom: "I'm gonna do some easy capoeira moves so you can copy them."

• "That's how you make a birthday cake: you should use green mayonnaise and some whipped cream and candles for the top and a plate for the bottom."


• While Tim's out Xmas shopping, Jonah pokes his head into the kitchen: "Mom, are you having a good bachelor time?" I ask: "You mean without daddy?" He says: "No, I mean without me!"

• While nuzzling Mom: "I called you butt. Butt is your name."

• Looking in Mom's eyes: "Part of your eyes is white and part is like an olive."

• J: "Ah!"
Tim: "Are you okay?"
J: "My missile fell."

• From the toilet through a cracked bathroom door: "Would you jump in if there was ever a green hand coming to get me?"

• "Space aliens suck your brains out with a straw."

• "You are a mommy and you're also a hammer."

• "You're a buttosaurus."

• "You're luggage!"

• "What happens if a dumb bug is inside you? They have one eye, two horns and sharp teeth."

• J: "What kind of people make spiders?"
me: "People don't make spiders."
J: "So how did they get made?"
me: "Through evolution."
J: "What is evolution?"

• In one breath: "Grandpa, I like you. Do you like McDonald's Happy Meal?"

• "Tarantulas are not spiders. They're humongous apes. They shoot splinters with guns."

JULY 2009 -

• "Dad and I are electric men."

• "Do you know which one is called a hooker gun? It shoots out big blades or knives or fire."

• "Mom, I'm going to be a knight when I grow up."

JUNE 2009 -

• "Dad, you're a hot item for the stove."

• "Mommy, I like you and I'm gonna spray you with fire when you come home. You can tell your students that."

• "I am a robot; a yellow robot. Do you want to put coins in me?"

• To mom, affectionately: "You mushy contaminant"

• "I wanna do a monkey pay for you. You'll get paid by a monkey."

• "I made jail for mom."

• "Mom, do you want to shoot my gun?... It shoots liquid fire."

• To mom: "You are my slobbery woman."

• J: "Dad, I'm shot. I'm shot with an arrow."
Tim: "Who would've done such a thing? Your mother?"

• "Mom, I have a villa and you don't wanna see it."

• "I shot an arrow into your head."

• "Mom, I made an explosion of balls and fire.... I break down cars."

• "I don't need a heart, 'cause I'm a puppet. I'm your friend Puppet."

• "Mommy, you're my boy. Boy, you have to listen to me and play by yourself. You have to play video games."

• "I act so much angry when mosquitoes eat me."

• "Does America speak magic?"

• Randomly while running around: "Pakistan!"

• "Don't believe my poison body."

• "My poison protects me, so Tim, touch me!"

• Jonah's 'funny insults' for mom:
You're runaway dynamite!
You're runaway dough!
You bowl of jello!
Comrat (almost a comrade, NOT)
You sweaty multiface!

• To dad: "Tim, you're a contaminant robot."

• "I am a robot and I have my bow in my hand and my quiver. I'll set my warrior stuff down here."

• "My gun will shoot a big oxen tank."

• "I'll shoot my fire gun and everyone will burn. But you (mom) will not because you have a very good plan."

• "I have so many cigarette stuff in here (shows a case full of cigarette-shaped items)."

• To mom: "I put dad in jail. You'll stay with me. You're my friend. You're my police girl."

• "I'm a mysterious man. I only live in the magic place."

• "I'm a mysterious man. I come out at night. I'm a haunting guy."

• "I'm electric guy. I have electric in my belly and feel my head."

• "Mom, I am half man and half bull and I live in space and I have magic clothes on me and I do magic by spinning around."

• "I have a marshmallow motorcycle that shoots out fire."

• "My poison makes people hard like salami."

• "My belly is full of poison."

• "I have a poison butt."

• "I have a poison crotch."

• "I always eat something and then I drop the bone outside on the bad guys. (mom laughs)) It's not funny."

• "I'm just a regular knight and I have regular weapons, a regular helmet and shining armor."

• "I'm a knight. Why did you just call me Jonah? I'm Sir Knight."

• To mom: "It's night, my queen."

• To mom & dad: "You guys can sleep on powerful boulders."

• "Everything I made is on fire."

• "I'm not as cool as you are, mommy."

MAY 2009 -

• "We're going to a big war, Tereza. You can win. You can beat daddy and I can too. We can be two winners, but he won't be the winner."

• "Mom, what are humans?"

• "Chewbacca is a sleeping artist. He fixes spaceships."

• "Chewbacca, you should listen to me. "

• "Smell me, 'cause I smell right, like the Boba Fetts that smell right."

• "I'm the type of Boba Fett that smells right."

• "Mommy, I'm a nice bad guy."

• "Mommy, don't worry. I'll always protect you."

• "Mommy, I'm a real big man.

• "My wife, kiss my foot.

• "I'll show you one of my lants (read lance)). It's a lant from 86 war. It's old."

• "I'm making metal armor, my wife."

• "My wife, how do you like me?"

APRIL 2009 -

• "I have a billy club 'cause I'm the police. My name is Police Chief."

• me: "What do you think P.O.O.P spells? It starts with a P."
J: "Uhm..."
me: "Poop."
J: "No, poop starts with a fart."

• "Mom, come sit in my missile truck."

• "Mom, you're construction squirrel. Dad, you're firefighter squirrel, and I am scuba diver squirrel."

• To me (not on my birthday): "I am doing a birthday surgery on you."

• "I'll be a naked-style guy and I'll play football."

• "I'm king Arthur, mom."

• "Grandma, you can be part of the war. I'm part of the war."

• "I'll poke you with my porcupine boots."

• "I'm a pig. No, I'm a knight."

• "I'm the knight that moves. I'm a moving knight."

MARCH 2009 -

• me: "You're my handsome sweetheart."
J: "Yes, I'm very handsome."

• "I'm going to fix  the light bulbs with garlic."

• to me: "I have a helmet on, I'm going to explode you and then you can eat."

• "Dad said I can explode him. Dad has time for that."

• "I have oxygen tank. It sprays out every people that don't listen."

• "I'm not funny. If you laugh, I'll poke you. I'll poke you with my poking things."

• me: "What's the kind of a dance you'll do?"
J: "Police dance."


• "I am a pirate king and I have a pirate patch. A fish poked my eye."

• "My garbage truck takes beer and alcohol to the dump."

• "Tereza, let's fight. That will cheer you up. Fighting will be fun."

• to mom: "Follow me, fart!"

• "This is my beer 'cause I always drink beer 'cause I'm a big man... and I don't knock things over."

• "I always drink and I always drive."

• "Do you know what my parlor is? (Shows a toy saw) This is my parlor."

• "I'll drill through your děda? (Czech for grandpa). I'm doing surgery on him. I have a tessascope."

• "We don't have any daddies at home. I'm the daddy. Wanna come with me and cook?"

• J: "Tady máš kafe. (Here is your coffee.)"
me: For a baby?
J: "No, you're a baby who likes kafe."

• To me: "Baby, do you wanna learn to cook? You can cook baby, 'cause now you're a boy, baby. Cook, boy, cook!"

• "My name is mischief."

• "I am an enemy."

JANUARY 2009 -

• Ordering at a pizza restaurant: "I want pig."

• To me: "I am your daddy pirate."

• After brushing his own hair: "I look more better now."

• "I was a fire truck gorilla."
"I am a boy monkey."

• "I am the light bulb guy. I have a beard."

• "What is it liberty?"

• "We can go in my police building and you'll be so happy there. . . You can exercise and then dance (there)."

• J: "Look up at the sun."
me: "No, it hurts my eyes."
J: "No, it says: 'I love you. I won't hurt your eyes anymore.'"

• J: "Don't pass up this chance to wear a mask."
me: "Where did you learn that expression?"
J: "From a fire truck ad."

• "I'm a pipe worker. I have a pipe loader." and "I'm a pipe loader. This is the pipe yard."

• "There's still poop falling out of me."

• "I was there working in a noodle fog."

• "I'm a robot who eats gravel."


• While looking through a toy catalog he cherishes and calls his magazine: "Mom, can I get this red computer... because I have red shirts?" (As can be seen, Jonah is perfecting his persuasive skills.)

• "I farted and I'm a crane."

• "The police are at my house 'cause they're getting a witch who ran away."

• To Tim: "You have a hair appointment. I have to draw a plan. (Draws). I drawed hair and I'll cut it and give it to you and then you'll have a hair appointment."

• "Doctor, I cut your fingers off."

• "I am a beer can."

• "I'm a ghost who explores."

• J: "I'm a doctor."
me: "What's your specialty area?"
J: "I'm a huge doctor who skateboards."

• "I am a chef. I choose the beer. I choose a good one. It's sweet. It has a little bit of wine in it, so you (mom) can have it special."

• "My name is Your Daddy."

• "My skeleton will save you."

• "Mom, you're a big piece of tuna."

• J (on Christmas Eve): "I'm going to go to your room and not look."
Tim: "Why are you going to do that?"
J: "'Cause Santa comes when you're not looking."

• me: "You're so sweet."
J: "Yeah, I'm sweet."

• to me, in the living room: "Let's have a picnic here. I'll catch a weasel to eat."

• To Tim: "Eyeore, the sink knocked me down."

• "I am a present."

• J: "Mom, do you have champagne here?"
me: "Yes, it's in the fridge."
J: "Mom, did we get married?"

• Matter-of-factly describing a drawing with a green marker in a notebook: "That's a dissapointment."

• To me: "Come with me. Don't worry about any skeletons."

• "I'm a construction dog."

• "Dad is meat."

• "I am a pirate fox and I'm furry all over."

• "I'm not tired. I'm not ever tired."

• Pretending to be (a medieval?) doctor: "I'll take your blood out 'cause you're hurt."

• "I ate a part of myself."

• "I'm a doggie, walking in water."

• "You wanna shiver with me, daddy?"

• "I better hurry, so I can catch up with the bad guys."


• Jonah, talking about what happened at school: "They took my food away."
me: "Why? You didn't eat your lunch?"
Jonah: "I only ate the brown stuff."
me: "What was the brown stuff?"
Jonah: "It was like poop."

• "Let's play golf without pants."

• "Mom, I very much love you."

• "I'm a girl who's a fire police girl."

• "Mom, I made up a joke: shoot, toot."

• "Daddy, help mom's butt."

• "Mommy, what do we go to school for?"

• me: "What do you wanna do when you grow up.... when you're a big man?"
J: "I will not do anything. I will not teach any kids."

• "I am a bumble and I bumbled you."

• "I'm a police woman."

• "I'm a helmet boy."

• "I'm a boy toy."

• "It's Sunday. Sunday means I can dig."

• "I am a digger and I dug up the whole world."

• "It's fun being a kid."

• "I am a pirate. I have a sword in one hand and a camera in the other. One is for helping, and the other for taking pictures."

• J (while riding me like a horse): "I broke you a little bit."
me: "Can somebody come and fix me?"
J: "There's nobody here to fix you."

• "I'm the police who says: 'Stop! Don't use nuts.'"

• J: I threw a beard at you(r face).
me: Would you shave it off for me, please?
J: No, you can't shave it off. It has a special magnet on it.

• "Where is I? Here I am."

• me: Tomorrow is a school day.
J: This is not tomorrow.

• "I'm a fire snake."

• "Mom, you're a garbage can... You're full. You get dumped after I roll you."

OCTOBER 2008 -

• "I'm a casserole in a bowl."

• "Alcohol is for hurt knees."

• "We farted out cheese and it went on top of us and it's dancing."

• "Mom, I licked you. You are like a big chicken."

• "I have to eat my lunch before transporting blood."

• "Mom, dogs go like this (sniffing) because they smell every poops."

• To me: "Your belly is the size of meat. I'm gonna cook you up."

• me: "I think I'm gonna eat you for lunch."
J: "No, I'm not good because I'm a boy."

• To me: "Don't be afraid. I'm Lukie Luke. I'm gonna help you put on your pajamas."

• Jonah (walking around with a pretend fire hose, looking for action): "Mom, is your bed on fire?"
me: "Yes, it is. How did you know?"
Jonah: "I looked it up on the internet."

• J: "This is my truck and I'm a vet and I take tails away 'cause I have to take them some place else."
me: "What tails?"
J: "Some doggie tails."


• Glancing at a photo of my college classmate in drag: "Is this a scary lady?"

• Asking about a children's magazine I bought him at the newspaper stand: "Is mine an adult magazine?"

• me: "How many fingers does daddy have?"
Jonah: "Three."

• "I don't want to go to school ever again."

• "Dad, you're meat. Meat is from pig. Pig has a lot of meat."

• to me: "I named you 'Tereza Daddo.'"

• Out of the blue and sealed with a hug: "Fantastic mom!"

• "I wanna drink milk to get old."

• To me: "Hello Mom Baby."

• In a rumbling, big bear voice: "Mom, I'm gonna shave you. I do have a shaver in my pocket. You can't shave me, because I'm so big. I'm a big bear. I will shave myself."

• Wiping away one of my kisses: "I never want to be kissed ever again!"

• J: Mom, I made twenty money.
me: How did you make it?
J: I made it on top of the fire truck.

• J: Mom, do I have a computer?
me: No, daddy and I have computers, but you don't have a computer. You can pretend, though.
J: Why don't I have a computer?
me: Only big people have computers.
J: I'm bigger, already.

• "I was talking on the walkie-talkie to some other garbage men who wanted me."
A little while later: "I have a walkie-talkie. It's a black one. I have to talk to people on the phone. It's a special kind of phone. It's called a phone pocket."

• "I have three money now... We can buy the big front loader with these three money!"

• "Chinese food is bear pandas and I don't want pandas." (Mind you, we've never been to the Panda fast food chain. He asked about it when passing by on the street months ago. What a memory!)

• "Do you like chicken? Chicken is from pig."

• "Dad, let me tell you something: bears do love to go in fridges."

• J: "Mom, you're a baby and you're going to school."
me: "What will you do if I cry?"
J: "I will say: don't cry, go play. I will pick you up. (Leaves the room and comes back.) "I picked you up from school."
me: "What will you do if I cry, scream, and kick (Like Jonah did today)?"
J: I will put you in a garbage can and crush you." (Hmm... thanks for the tip, son.)

• Talking to Tim on the phone about his Czech lesson: "Did you talk to anyone (there)?" (Pause) "Did you cry, daddy?"

• "Ducks lay chickens."

• Jonah, randomly: "Wart hog!"
me, laughing: "Jonah, I love you!"
Jonah: "Mom, you're a wart hog."

• J: "How was your day, mom?"
me: "It was nice. My favorite part was with you. How was your day? What was your favorite part?"
J: "Mine was when I was alone at school without you."

• "I'm a butter boy."

• "Hello, baby Tereza."

• "I hit you because I didn't want an lessons... I didn't want to hear any talking from you guys."

• J: We are not birds.
Tim: What are we?
J (with a mischievious smile): We are cats.

• Pretending to order food on the phone: "Please give me food and drink"

• "I like watching ads."

• "I'm walking you like a dog, daddy."

• "I don't have a tail because my crotch is in the way."

AUGUST 2008 -

• "I'm vaří (= cooks in Czech) pancakes, soup, french fries and hamburgers. That's good for you?"

• "Mom, I love you. I'm gonna crush up you."

• Jonah: "What's 'damn it' means?"
me: "It's something you say when you're angry."
Jonah: "Maybe it's like a coffee pot name."

• to me: "You'll be put in a box and mailed to China without any food. China has a lot of food for womens and daddos."

• "Take a picture of my butt."

• After I told him he can't drink any of my sake because it has alcohol: "What alcohol is, daddy?"

• J: "Dad, you're a sucker! (Pause) Did you say sucker, daddy? (Pause) What's sucker mean?"
Tim: "Sucker is a foolish guy."
J: "Dad you're not a sucker."

• J: "Do you see this (picture of a) semi? The semi's mad. It's angry."
me: "Do you ever get angry? What do you do when you get angry?"
J: "I scare myself."

• me: "Are you Czech or American?"
J: "I'm just Jonah."

• me to Tim, joking about a ridiculous-looking fellow singing in a video shown on an airplane: "Can I have two husbands?"
Jonah, angrily: "No, I don't want mom have two husbands!!!"

• Randomly: "Surveyors!"

• Randomly: "Systems!"

• "How old are you, daddy? ... Is it eleven?"

• "I love you, daddy. I love you, mommy. I love myself."

• After Jonah asked why a Czech children's story character had a particular name, I said: "because he was named that" for a lack of a better answer. Then I asked Jonah why he was named Jonah. He replied: "Because I do things."

• me: Am I a good mommy?
Jonah (Kissing me): Yes. (Pause) I'm a bad boy.
me: Why are you a bad boy?
Jonah: Because I hit things.

• "I love shopping centers."

JULY 2008 -

• "I'm a big hiccupotamus."

• "I'm a jump boy. I jump very high."

• "I'm a night man and I'm blue. And daddy is a bad guy. He has a scratchy back."

• "Mommy, I'm a scary thing. I'm a bad thing with a bad hammer."

• Tim: "What country are you from?"
Jonah: "My house."

• me: "I like looking at the clouds in the sky. They are beautiful."
Jonah (looking at the clouds): "They look like sunflowers."

• "I'm a frozen pea."

• "I'm your daddy, daddy."

• me: "Do you know what your name means? A beautiful white dove bird."
Jonah: "No, I'm not a dove bird; I'm just a boy."

• "I'm (as) big as a dump truck."
To me (on another occasion): "I think you're short."

• "I have a swimming cool. Wanna go in it? I brought swimming suits and a towel."

• "You're water and you're gorgeous, mom."

• "I'm rain and I'm tickling the water (on the lake)."

• "Mom, you're fantastic."

• To me: "You are cheese. I'm gonna skateboard all over you."

• To me: "I love you ... and peace."

• "I like that (mint toothpaste) flavor. I'm a mint boy; spicy one."

• To me: "I think you are short."

• "I'm not a radio. I'm just a boy, mom."

• "My knee is very special. It has a leg next to it."

• "Mom, I made up a rhyme: feta, FedEx."

• Tim: "Where do you want to ride your scooter?"
Jonah: "To Prague."

• "I don't like twins; they are scary... Pagans are scary."

• "I'm a denture, daddy."

• "I'm not a kitty or a vet. I'm just a boy."

• "You'll help me while I build a house. I will be very hardworking."

• While drinking orange juice from a shot glass: "I'm drinking whiskey."

JUNE 2008 -

• me: "You're so wonderful."
Jonah: "No, I'm bad."

• "Thank you for kissing me."

• "Jesus, you scared me!"

• "We all love each other." (To me:) "You're a friend of mine."

• J: "I threw that poop book away."
me: "What's a poop book?"
J: "You sit on the toilet and read that book while you poop."

• Asking me: "You love me with socks on?"

• about Tim: "He's handsome."

• (Shaking a doll's hand) "How'd you meet me."

• "When I grow up into big man, I'll drive that garbage truck, wear a hat and gloves and hop in."

• "Wanna hug me for a reason?"

• "Mommy, I hate smoking... 'cause I'm strange."

• To Tim: "Good job washing your hair."

• "When I grow up into big man, I'll drive that garbage truck, wear a hat and gloves and hop in..."

• "You forgot me, mommy."

• To our cat Fini while she drinks wanter: "Great job drinking."

• "When I grow up into hot boy, I'll have hot sauce."

• "I'm down in the dumps with you."

• "I don't like carburator."

• "I like you so much. You're a good mom. You're a good woman for me. Thanks for making that to eat."

MAY 2008 -

• After work: "Mom, I like you so much. I missed you."

• to me in one breath: "You're crazy maniac. Hi sweetheart."

• "You'll dream about me making a sidewalk."

• "You can sundat my bundu."
sundat = Czech for "take off"
bundu = jacket

• "I will not speak Czech with you."
"Why not?"
"I don't want to."

• "You did not know me when I was throwing those blocks."

• "Mom, you are my sweetheart."

• "I have kitties. They're not named Hot Dog. They're named Fini and Pancho."

• "Fini's my mom." (Sarafina, or Fini, is one of our cats)

• (to Fini, our cat) "I'm gonna tell you a secret: (whispers) I love tractors."

• Jonah: (Pointing at a picture of a cat)"This kitty makes milk."
me: "For her babies?"
Jonah: "She does. (Pause.) Out of her butt right there."

• "I throw furry noodles at you."

• to mom: "I('ll) put you in ZOO."

• "I'm a huge garbage man."

• "I have lots of work jobs."

• Jonah (handing me a fork): "Here you go."
me: "Are you a waiter?"
Jonah (pouting): "No, I'm your friend."

• to me: "Thanks for making coffee and drinking it."

• "I'm gonna draw, mom, a little bit on this verbs."

• to me (intensely, yet lovingly): "I'm gonna put you (in the) toilet and flush you."

• Jonah: "I like sports."
Tim: "What's your favorite sport?"
Jonah: "It is ball sport."

• "I'm overly tired."

• "Mom, you're a weird man."

• "I'm a huge boy."

• Jonah: "Never mind."
me: "What does never mind mean?"
Jonah: "No way, hot dog."

• "I'm not a big boy; I'm just a little boy."

• Glancing at his second poop ever in a potty (recent development): "It made like a cookie."

• To me: "I thinked of you (while trying to fall asleep)."

• "Mom, you're so pretty."

• "I crowed the verbs. .. I crowed one verb."

• "I threw my nose at you."

• "My tools are exhausted."

• (Dumping lego man from a toy cherry picker) "I dumped uncle."

• Describing his car repair shop: "There is a little sign up there. It says go to shop or not go shop up there on the wall."

• "I got pioneers." (meaning pinecones)

• Opening the door and glancing inside: "Hi there, fridge."

• "No, I can't pee, mother."

"Mom, don't drink my hot chocolate. It says tiger on it. It says: 'Tiger: A, B, C, D.'"

• "Let's go dad. I'm not kidding."

APRIL 2008 -

• "You wanna look at my list? I have grocery items."

• "I am my daddy."

• "I am eating peanut my butter."

• "I'm gonna put these batteries inside the trunk and it'll work trunking."

• "I'm my son."

• "Kiss my truck."

• "Let's read that garbage."

• "Mom, maybe you'll be alligator some day with me. You'll swim with me, go up and under and catch salmon. Wanna do that?"

• While watching me cook: "I like you. You're a good cutter, mommy. You're a good fryer."

• While watching dad make pancakes: "Dad's a good maker."

• To me : "I like you very so much."

• "Mom, I'm germ-free."

• me: "Ten more minutes and we go inside and make lunch."
Jonah: "Protein."

• To me: "Thank you for pee with me."

• "I like you so much. You're a nice guy, daddy."

• "Right on. I said: 'right on.'"

• "Mom, you're wacko."

• "Mom, you're exhausting me."

• "I'm just a little boy, mom... so small."

• Tim: "Jonah, how old are you?"
J: "I'm pretty good."

MARCH 2008 -

• Jonah: "My body's getting sore here."
me: "Where? It hurts? What does it hurt from?"
Jonah, pointing to his side: "From noodle."

• "Mommy and daddy loves it. I don't love my skin."

• "You('re) a nice woman, mom."

• To dad: "My fart said hi to you."

• Jonah: "I'm sad, mommy."
me: "What are you sad about, sweetheart?"
Jonah: "I'm sad about daddy go to work. (Pause.) I'm happy though."

• "I'm annoying, mom."

• About Tim who was eating while driving: "He's driving with food. He's crazy."

• "You are dumpling, mom."

• Jonah: What's that I smell?
me: I don't know. What do you smell?
Jonah: I smell you, mom.
me: Do I smell nice or bad?
Jonah: You smell bad, mom.

• "Worms love me."

• To dad before a trip: "Put me in the car and drive me crazy."

• Jonah after overhearing us talking about Pagans: "Where are the Pagans at?"
Tim: "They are (probably) home watching TV."
Jonah: "They are people. They act like monkeys." (After a while) "Hug me. I'm scared of Pagans."

• Jonah: "You're different, mom."
me: "What am I different from?"
Jonah: "From diggers."

• "I smoked, mom."

• Jonah (Looking at a plastic kids' plate he was eating from): "What's that letters about?"
me: "It says 'Cutie Pie' on that plate."
Jonah: "What does 'cutie' means?"
me: "Cutie pie means that someone is sweet or nice."
Jonah: "I call myself cutie."

• "I smoked them down to the ground."
Later: "I'm gonna blow them down to ground. (Looking at me) Wanna write that one?"

• "I am eating my germs, mom."

• To mom, sweetly: "Do you wanna eat garbage in your garbage mouth?"

• "You are egg, mom. I'm gonna hit you on pot. I'm gonna fork you and eat you."


• Tim: "Good night, Jonah. I love you."
Jonah: "I love uncle Andy. He has his own hammer."

• Jonah musing on a typical two-year-old-vs.-mom power struggle: "I am boss. You are a baby, mommy."

• me: "How did you sleep?"
Jonah: "I sleep fifteen hours."

• Jonah: "What are you doing, mommy? You scratching your head?"
me: "I'm thinking."
Jonah: "I'm not thinking."

• "I'm a big boy. I'm gonna have a shake milk."

• During a check-up with the midwives to himself: "Height, weight, vitamins."

• "I have big mouth and big hair like uncle Andy."

• "I like you. You (are a) good man, daddy."

• "I'm (gonna) Skype you, mommy."

• me, on a walk: "Those flowers smell so nice."
Jonah: "They're not gonna hurt me."
me: "No, they won't. They have no thorns."
Jonah: "They love me. Those bushes love me. Those trees love me."

• "I'm a lazy loafer."

• "I'm (a) maniac."

• Jonah: Do you want cheese?
me: No, thank you.
Jonah: I'm gonna get the cheese and cut it and stick it in Grady Grader* and grade it and put in your mouth and you will like it.
*A character in a John Deere brand construction equipment coloring book

• "I am a book. Wanna read me? Wanna put me in the slot*?"
*Like at the library.

• "I like your ears, mommy."

• Annoyed at mom who was smelling and kissing his head and neck: "I'm not food!"

• "I'm a caffeine man."

• "I love Lincoln beard."

JANUARY 2008 -

• While drinking soy milk from a coffee mug at breakfast: "I'm drinking coffee. I like beer too."

• "There is a digger in my butt."

• While making up a story together about Jonah working on a construction site together with his friends:

me: "After work Jonah, Finn, Ira and Max go to the restaurant. What do you eat there?"
Jonah: "Bones."
me: "What do you drink?"
Jonah: "Water, beer, and coffee."

• To a doll warming up the new swing for the soon-to-be-born baby: "I'm gonna get a beer for you. You can drink it."

• me: "You're wonderful."
Jonah: "No, I'm not wonderful. The baby is wonderful."
me: "Which baby?"
Jonah: (pointing at my belly) "That baby."

• "I'm kind of odd, daddy."

• "I'm a stinky criminal."

• "That's puke. No, that's not puke; that's a lady."

• At dinner:
Tim: "What's the nicest thing you did for mom today?"
Jonah: "I find poop."

• Tim: "Do you want to hear the story of when I proposed to mom?"
Jonah: "How about dump truck (one)?"

• About my stretch marks: "You have lots of lines. I'm gonna take a blue bulldozer and smooth them."

• While "typing" on dad's computer: "My internet is almost ready."

• "Take a picnic on the garbage truck, mommy."

• Enlightening me on his Lego project: "I'm not making poison; it's a control tower."

• While jumping around the house: "Your turn, mommy."
me: "I can't jump with my big belly."
Jonah: "Daddy, you jump with your belly."

• Tim (to Jonah): "Who loves you?"
Jonah: "I love me."


• Me: "I love you, Jonah. Did you know you were my friend? And my son too?" Jonah: "And sweetheart too."

• Randomly, while running around the house: "Statue of Liberty!"

• In the car while picking me up from work with dad: "I love you, mommy." Me with a tear in my eye: "Oh, that's so nice." Jonah, looking out the window: "I love you, store."

• "I'm so happy. It's wonderful. It's family... Wonderful family."

• "I'm pooping with my noodles."

• me: "What would you like for snack? Víno (=grapes)?" Jonah: "Little beer. I want to drink a little beer."

• "I'm looking at splendor there... with that junk."

• "I'm gonna be a co-worker. Wanna be a co-worker? . . . Mommy will sit in the co-worker seat. . . Wanna drive now in the telephone repair truck? I'm gonna be in the driver's seat. I'm gonna get the screw driver and the pliers out and the wrench out and the hammer out. Mommy will hammer and hammer."

• After our most recent trip to the ZOO
me: "What was your favorite animal?"
Jonah: "The tractor."
me: "Did you like any of the animals?"
Jonah: "The tractor ones."

• Tim: "Did you know you have Viking ancestry?" Jonah: "Where Vike went?"

• While playing in the bath: "I sweep all nasty. More nasty. More nasty. There all dirty things in there. Washing all dirty things."

• New trend: when I try to kiss Jonah now, he tries to push me away with the words, "Don't love me, mommy."


• While pretending to talk on the phone: "Hi bro!"

• "I'm a motoring boy. . . Motoring man."

• While playing "grocery store cashier" and "shopper": "Thanks, debit man."

• "It's a broken noodle. Fix it in the garage."

• While eating chicken for dinner: "Mommy eating slobbery bone."

• Riding his tricycle converted into a garbage truck: "Jonah drop mommy off right over there on the garbage can."

• "I'm gonna call Spooky. Hi Spooky! This is speaker phone. Bye Spooky."

• In the "personal care" section of the supermarket, vehemently: "I wanna shaver! I wanna shave my beard!"

• "I'm gonna buy this shirt. I'm gonna buy organic socks too."

• "Freakout! I freaked out!"

• "Hey, Elmo. Wanna play? Want a beer?"

• "I slam-dunked a noodle."

• "I'm gonna gas mommy up . . . Thanks regular man . . . I'm a regular man."

• "That diaper is grody now."

• After playing doctor, checking mom's belly, listening to the baby and saying: "It's a little bit kicking, mommy," Jonah said: "I'm gonna pee on a stick."

• "Oh, my coffee... Perfect!"

• "It's a crappy day."

• "Mommy draw a concrete mixer. Wow! I check this concrete mixer out. I love this concrete mixer, man."

• "I'm a landlord."

• "I'm a composting man."

• "I'm a Monday man."

• "I am a nipple man... I'm a funny nipple man."

OCTOBER 2007 -

• "I pooped in the fridge."

Thursday, November 01, 2007

favorite games

Here is a sampling of the type of imaginative play Jonah has been enjoying (in chronological order from oldest to latest):

- cooking (using real pots, wooden spoons, strainers, and what not)

- driving a bus (that's really our car), taking change from riders (me) and giving them tickets.

- parking and driving his little cars and trucks, especially the latest addition to his collection: the monster truck.

- grocery store (setting groceries and other items on the "cash register," putting them in bags, and running the debit card through.

- skateboarding (running, jumping, and spinning in the air)

- "driving" his uncle's car and pretending it is a digger or tractor.

- "swimming" around on the wooden floor, pretending to be a seal or otter

- collecting garbage and recycling in buckets, then driving it around in his "dump truck," a tricycle on whose handle I hung a round plastic planter.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

crazy month

This has been a busy month for us. So much going on! We just got back Monday from a three-day stay at a beach house in Washington state to celebrate Jonah's uncle's birthday with him, his wife, and another couple who also has a baby on the way, due only a month before ours. On the way up we stopped to visit Jonah's great-grandmother who lives half way between us and our weekend destination. I included a picture of her with Jonah and Tim. More pics here.

We had a nice time on our trip.

Other than work, parenting, and pregnancy I have been juggling academics for two classes I have recently taken and a family emergency of sorts many of you know about. If not, drop me a line and I will explain. I don't want to put this one in the public domain.

As if that wasn't enough, some jerk, either an unsuccessful thief or crazed vandal, completely smashed in the passenger window on our family car while it was parked in front of my work in the evening. So we had to deal with that.

I try to not let things get to me, especially being pregnant, since I don't want the stress to mess up my or the baby's health. But it hasn't been easy. The getaway definitely helped, as do autumn activities like baking, cooking, and fall holiday rituals.

Not to forget, on Monday I have my citizenship interview and civics test, for which I have to study, so keep your fingers crossed. (How many native-born Americans can correctly recite the thirteen original states, state the exact year the Constitution was written, name the person who wrote the Star-Spangled Banner, say how many voting members are in the House of Representatives or give the correct number of constitutional amendments? If you can without looking it up, holler.) By the way, how tricky of them is it to schedule my appointment the day after the time changes, huh? Since the clock moves back, though, coming in late is not as much of a possibility as showing up one hour early. That would be a drag! If all goes well, I will be able to vote in the next presidential election for the first time. Who hoo! I definitely look forward to that.

Mr. or Ms. In-Utero

Today was check-up day. The whole nuclear family was involved, as usual. Tim likes to be at all the prenatal appointments and Jonah always comes along as well. "It's a family affair," just like Sly and the Family Stone used to sing.

Jonah likes visiting our midwife. She has a basket of toys for kids to play with, which he enjoys immensely. Today he tried the child-sized stethoscope. Fun!

Mr. or Ms. In-Utero seems to be doing fine - strong heartbeat, about the right size and weight as far as we can tell ... I feel good. Twelve more weeks to go (or so). On Friday I will be entering the third trimester.

Jonah doesn't seem phased by the idea that there is a baby in my belly at all. He takes it quite matter-of-factly, a fantastic surprise.

When I told him that last weekend we were going to go to a beach house and see friends, among them one who has a baby in her belly, he said without pausing or flinching: "Like mommy." He totally gets it. How amazing.


Everybody at work wanted to know if we were taking Jonah trick-or-treating today. Because most of my students have children trick-or-treating age, I ended up canceling class, so as not to break up families, or at least not to feel guilty about ruining family bonding time. Jonah, on the other hand, is still too young for walking around the dark streets in a costume, looking for candy.

Tim and I were so lackadaisical about Halloween, as we are about most things, that we let the one pumpkin we brought home from the pumpkin patch rot through and through before getting to the carving. Luckily we had another one we bought from the farm store adjacent to the pumpkin patch. Tim tried to get Jonah excited about carving the pumpkin while I was at work today to no avail. He did get Jonah to scoop out some of the innards while quickly snapping a picture.

I don't believe in purchased costumes or ones made only by adults, and especially not in dressing up children that are too young to know what's going on just to parade them in front of the fam or everyone else on the block. Despite that, this was cute. Daddy decided to dress son up in a construction outfit comprised of items which are already part of his wardrobe: overalls, flannel shirt, and a hard hat Jonah recently got in the mail from his grandma. Tim helped Jonah stuff his pockets and loops with tools including hammer, wrench, paint brush, and screw driver. When I got home from work early, Jonah was in the midst of fixing everything he could get his hands on as sort of a combination repair/construction man. He instantly pulled me into his activities by handing me his tools and asking me to paint the mini cement mixer and fix his tiny pick up truck.

Right before dinner, we lit up the small pumpkin Tim had carved on the porch. Lo and behold, we did have one set of trick-or-treaters. They were a boy and a girl about six and eight years of age with their mom hovering in the background. The girl was dressed as some unrecognizable (at least to me) character and the boy had on a cape and a hideous gray plastic mask that covered his face with thick warty skin and head with fake matted hair. Talk about scary. They refused the candy I handed them and reached into the bowl for a different type: "I don't like that one. I want that one." Okay brats, I thought. Their mom, embarrassed, giggled in the shadows.

Jonah was scared and traumatized by this seemingly mundane event. He reached for me in a panic, wanting to be picked up as soon as ugly boy showed up. Afterwards he couldn't stop asking: "Where Spooky went?" We even made a trip out on the porch to check and make sure "Spooky" was gone. I tried explaining that Spooky was just a little boy wearing a mask, but the encounter was just too real and terrifying for Jonah. Bye, bye, Spooky a.k.a. Brat, don't you come around here no more, I say. And no nightmares either, please.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

first pumpkin patch experience

This afternoon we decided to venture out to a pumpkin farm with Jonah. The farm we picked was huge! It was the perfect day to go - no rain! Jonah loved the hay ride and then walking around the patch, looking for pumpkins, most of which were already rotten or blasted from the torrential rains we've had. We did finally find a good one. Jonah seems to love being on farms. I can tell farm life is in his blood. After the trip to the farm, Jonah said for the first time: "That was fun."

I put some pictures here and here is a couple of videos from our pumpkin patch adventure:

hay ride:

a walk around the pumpkin patch:

insomnia's here again

Well, now that I am nearing the third trimester of my pregnancy, my dear friend from the last go-around, insomnia, has visited me again. Almost every night I wake up between one and three in the morning, wide awake and can't get to sleep for about two hours. What do I do then? I get a snack and look up stuff on the computer. Sometimes I blog. I wish this wasn't the case. Now I'm dreading getting bigger, heavier, and achier and having to endure it for another three months. I'm actually still pretty comfortable, but compared to my non-pregnant state, I am definitely beginning to feel the discomforts creeping in - the tight back, the lessened ability to stand and sit for prolonged periods of time, the weight of my belly in bed at night, and the wariness of lifting things, which can get hard when Jonah insists on being picked up and carried.

Hopefully the next three months will go smoothly and quickly and then the next three hectic and sleepless months after that will all seem a blur in retrospect. I know it's all worth it. Just sometimes I get a little grumpy about having to shoulder the physical stress of it.