Monday, December 31, 2007

The Stove Pipe

One of my son's favorite books is a story, based on the three little pigs, called The Three Little Javelinas. It's a terrific book. I would know since I've read it about 900 times. My husband's brother and his family live on a Navajo reservation in northeastern Arizona and bought this for my son since it kind of has a southwestern/multicultural twist. Plus the illustrations are awesome. Anyway he loves this book.

Toward the end, the coyote (not the big bad wolf in this telling) can't blow down the adobe house that the sister javelina built (as a third child and only girl I closely identify with her ingenuity and forward thinking) so he climbs up on the roof, makes himself really skinny and tries to slide down the stove pipe. And so beings my cognitive journey into the mind of a three year old...

On this particular page of the book, the coyote is standing on one foot in a prowl posture with a big sinister and toothy grin. I noticed that every time we would read this book my son would roll onto his stomach and look away. Then one day my son ask to wear his "skinny" red shirt.

Me: What?
Him: With the skinny!
Me: With the what?
Him (pulling down the shirt): With the skinny alligator.

He shows me his red shirt with an alligator on it and the alligator is showing all of his teeth so my son says Mommy, he's doing the skinny! with kind of a nervous, yet enthusiastic giggle. And now I get it. Sort of.

For weeks he continued to ask for this book but then roll away when the skinny coyote page appeared. Then he started asking me to turn the page back so he didn't have to see the "skinny". Okay. Then we went on a hike near our house and he saw a water drainage pipe and he pointed and shouted It's the stove pipe! And then he showed all his teeth and said he was the skinny which sent him into hysterics.

And since then every time we pass by something that's tall and cylindrical or even just cylindrical, he points out the stove pipe. In the airport on the way to Israel we saw about 57 stove pipes - lots of exposed architecture in airports. Yes, sweety, there's another stove pipe. Imagine that.

Then it gets even more interesting. We get to my in laws and there's a picture of his aunt Jenny (my mother-in-law's sister) in the office and she's got this big toothy grin and my son asked if we could turn the picture around because aunt Jenny was acting like a skinny coyote. What I wouldn't give to spend some time in his little brain...

But our journey came to a climax later that week when something blew up at the potash factory where my father-in-law used to be a project manager. They asked him to come down and figure out what to do so he went with my husband and my son for some generational male bonding time. This place is literally a gazillion stove pipes all welded together. I only heard the story second hand but apparently my son was in total shock when he went in there and saw these giant furnaces and pipes and lord knows what else is in that factory.

Me: Where did you go?
Him: To Saba's work.
Me: Where does Saba work?
Him: In a stove pipe!
Me: You went to Saba's factory?
Him: No, his stove pipe where he burns the skinny coyote.

So I give a big smile and he says, you're being skinny mommy. And I say, thank you. Who doesn't like to be called skinny? Even if, in his world, it means sly and toothy.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Meaning to Wean

We're still in Israel and thankfully everyone has adjusted to the ten hour time zone difference. We're having a terrific time. Grandparents are doing plenty of babysitting and my husband and I have been taking full advantage.

But this isn't a travel log so I won't bore you. With the travel details anyway. I'll bore you with other details. My daughter's been slowly weaning herself over the last few months, basically since I went back to work when she was six months old. I pumped twice a day at work for nearly three months after going back but it was getting to be too annoying to spend twenty minutes on the pump only to get one ounce of milk. Plus there wasn't exactly a designated place to pump so I'd end up hiding in the corner of an empty office with no window blinds hoping that no one would barge in. It wasn't super conducive to milk flow. So of course my supply dropped. And my daughter was eating a lot more food by then so that was fine. But I wasn't ready for her to give up the boob altogether. I actually really like nursing. So I continued to nurse her in the evenings and the mornings and once at night.

But then she sort of wanted a bottle more than a boob before bed and then sometimes I'd leave for work in the morning right after she woke up so I didn't have the chance to feed her...and little by little those feedings went the way of the pump. But I continued to indulge her night feeding(s) because I didn't want her to give up on nursing altogether. And that's where we are right now. She cries at 4 or 5am and we nurse together. I think once we're home after the trip she'll have to give up her early morning beverage just because I need my 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. So I'm trying to savor these last few pre-dawn sessions and all of my daughter's funny nursing idiosyncrasies. For example...

Sometimes she spends the whole time twirling her hair. So adorable. Or she'll have one arm wrapped around my back and be whapping me on the chest with her free arm. Less adorable. But by far my favorite move is when she takes out her pincer and tries to pull the freckles off my chest. Or the flowers off my pajamas. One by one she goes in with her little claw trying to remove whatever markings, blemishes, or loose threads are in her field of vision. All the while making her snarfle noises. Sometimes she catches my eye and gives me a smile which I always appreciate. But then it's right back to work de-pilling my sweater.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Out of the Office

So we're in Israel right now and I'm not really finding the time to write. Not for lack of good material. Let's see...the 17 hour flight...jet lag with a three year old and a baby...the duck that chased my son at the petting daughter sucking down three falafel balls, a whole banana and a bowl of cauliflower...I'm sure that will look lovely on the other end...

Anyway, I'll recount the stories at another time, when I'm a little more lucid.

laila tov...and to all a good night...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Joy ride

Some days you have a near miss and for that reason only you can laugh about it.

I took the kids to Michael's the other day to buy some glue. It's a new Michael's and the parking lot behind the store is newly paved and on a very very slight slope. I parked on the side and grabbed a cart. Put the baby in the seat, buckled her in, and then angled the cart in toward the car while I reached in the front seat to grab a piece of Hanukkah gelt for my son since his teacher wouldn't pass it out to the class. I forgot about the no candy rule. But gelt's not's traditional food for the festival of lights symbolizing the richness of life and Jewish fondness for chocolate...We get into a discussion about which piece he wants. The gold one. No, the silver one with the gold in the middle. No, the other one! when I hear a distant rattling. I look up and my daughter is about ten meters away rolling through the parking lot, clapping and saying weeeeee...

Him: Baby's flying away!

So I'm running after her and I'm laughing because she looks so cute waving her arms and smiling. It was only much later that I felt that tightness in my chest and that little wave of dread playing the "what if she'd tipped" scenarios in my head.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Mind your keys and shoes

I've found that every now and then we manage to channel my son's non-clinical obsessiveness into worthwhile habits. For instance, I finally decided that we should take our shoes off at the door before entering the house. With the baby slithering around all the time and the two of them sick for weeks on end, I decided I'd had enough of dirt and bacteria. Plus several month ago, when I made this decision, the carpeting in my kids' room had reached near saturation with urine. It was time for a deep clean.

So I had the carpets professionally washed and from that day told my son that we had to take our shoes off before we went inside. And he obeyed, which was completely unexpected since he's also obsessed with shoes. But not just any shoes. My shoes. Platforms. Peep toes. Strappy. Cowgirl shit-kickers. Knee high zip-ups. Loafers. Maryjanes. Crocs. You name it. So he would come home from school and parade around in shoes for the rest of the evening. And he's surprisingly well-balanced in heels. But I was getting tired of him wearing my shoes all the time. So the new rule not only prevented tracking in dirt from outside, it also meant he could no longer wear my shoes in the house. Brilliant!

So now, shoes off is his thing. The minute we get in the house he shouts SHOES OFF! If I walk into the kitchen to hang up my keys or put down the mail I get a lecture about wearing shoes in the house. Sometimes I can't get my shoes off one-handed and the baby needs to be changed so we go straight to their room and then he lets me have it for wearing shoes on the carpet. And fine, he's right. But does he have to be so obnoxious about it?

And keys too. If I don't hang up my keys on the chicken hook in the kitchen, I get berated in a sort of "what did I just tell you?" sing-songy kind of tone. Probably the same tone I give him fifty times a day. But the truth is, if I forget to put the keys on the chicken then I end up leaving them somewhere and searching for them the next morning while I'm rushing to work. So it's good that he reminds me.

But he has so many rituals these days that I can't keep them straight and if I mess one up it could launch an hour long tantrum. I'll never forget the time I accidentally flushed the toilet for him. He used to go in a little potty on the floor and then I'd dump it and clean the potty and he would pull up his pants, flush the toilet and wash his hands. That was the routine. One time I dumped the poop and then just flushed out of habit. I don't know, you see poop in a toilet and you automatically feel compelled to flush. Well now we know where the term "losing your shit" comes from. He cried for an hour that he wanted his poo poo back.

I know that toddlers need routine and it helps them organize all of the new things they experience on a constant basis, but there are some very murky waters between creating a reasonable framework in which your child feels safe and indulgence in behavior that, should it continue into later life, would most certainly be considered neurotic.

In the long term, who knows. But at least in the short term I no longer have to share my shoes with my three year old. If only I could figure out how to curb his obsession with cell phones.

Monday, December 3, 2007


We spent the night on Saturday at my husband's aunt's house in Santa Cruz. It was great actually because my son LOVES Aunt Jenny so we dropped him off with his sister and then went to my sister-in-law's 40th birthday party. They also live in Santa Cruz. Can't beat free babysitting from a favorite auntie.

And if Aunt Jenny were a blogger she would write her own account of the evening but from this end of the wine bottle, it was a really fun evening.

The next morning was less fun namely because while I was in the other room putting on my clothes (I swear, the minute I turn my back...) my son tripped over himself and whacked his face on the brick fireplace. OUCH! So I heard the ominous thud, then the eerie silence, then the wailing. And there was lots of blood but I couldn't really tell where it was coming from because for the ten minutes before the accident he was putting Aunt Jenny's rouge all over his nose and forehead.

Did he break his nose? Crack open his forehead? In fact I think he bit through his lip. Hard to say. But it was bloody and scrapey. So I held him and pressed a washcloth against his mouth and rocked him and sang songs until he caught his breath. And once the bleeding stopped I washed off all the make-up to get a sense for the real damage which thankfully was limited to the right side of his mouth. He looked like he'd been in a playground brawl.

This morning he commented that his boo boo is brown now and not red.

Me: That means it's getting better honey and it's going away.
Him: Ya, it's going away by himself. To Aunt Jenny's.
Me: Your boo boo's going back to Aunt Jenny's?
Him: Ya, to the fire where I got it. It's going back there.

So THAT'S where the boo boo's go when they're all gone. I learn new things from this kid every day.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Swim Lessions Part III

We had a break from swim lessons last Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday but we were back at it today. I just figured we'd go and if all he wanted to do was sit in his swim trunks and watch the other kids, that would be fine. What do I care right? Sunk cost. He's only three after all and he doesn't have to be Ian Thorpe. His dad's only 5'9" so the likelihood of his being an Olympic swimmer is slim. And he's THREE. I have to just remind myself - not that he acts any other age; he's very much a three-year-old. But this race to expose our kids early to every which pastime and skill just sort of makes me want to round up the troops and move off the grid for a while.

So I told him we'll just go and see Miss Beth and do some kicking or not. Totally up to him. And he explained to me that he would do kicking but no floats and he planned to tell Miss Beth just that. And I said, you are the master of your own fate, buddy. Thumbs up.

Well we get there and he's looking around for Miss Beth. Finally he sees who he thinks is Miss Beth but is actually another teacher in a speedo. He runs to her, realizes it's someone else and then notices that the real Miss Beth is in the water right in front of him. She puts her arms out to him and he (I swear to God) jumps into her arms into the pool. I thought, well that was highly unexpected. What else could be coming down the pike...? I could never have imagined.

She's twirling him around and he's laughing and I'm thinking who is this kid? Then they line up on their bellies for kicking and then they're blowing bubbles and he's got his face submerged doing, get this, WHAT HE'S BEEN ASKED TO DO. Weird, I know.

Then it was time for floats and I'm bracing myself for a major come-apart and it never materialized. He just let Beth hold him out flat, first on his back and then on his belly and then he was on a kick board and THEN, with the lord and the other boys' grandfather as my witnesses, he did a total head submerge with Beth and came up laughing.

Unfortunately while another kid was on a float my son slipped in the very shallow water of the steps and gulped a bit of water which freaked him out with five minutes left of class. I scooped him up while he was coughing and snorting and suddenly he wanted to go home. But the last five minutes are play time so I encouraged him to grab a toy and go play with Miss Beth. I didn't want him to leave scared of going back in the water. He wasn't interested. So I said, in my infinite wisdom, just go back in and give Miss Beth a high-five and tell her thank you. So he did and she whisked him up in a big twirly hug and he was happy.

And we came home and had graham crackers. Hallelujah.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Snarfle

Finally a post dedicated to my delicious nine-month old baby girl. She's taken to eating in a big way and pretty much spends most of her free-time inhaling food. Even when I just leave her on the kitchen floor while I'm making dinner, she finds her way to the dining room and then swims around the floor looking for fallen cheerios, dinner chunks, orange peel bits, what have you. And then she eats them. It's kind of like having a dog. Clearly she is a second child. I did recently switch to Method brand floor cleaner (all-natural) so she wouldn't be ingesting toxic cleaning fluid residue while eating off the floor. And all of the sockets are covered. Beyond that I pretty much throw caution to the wind.

And we also know she's a second child because she has a permanent cold/runny nose. The thing is a faucet. I can remember maybe three days in the last six months when she didn't have a slimy pool in the cleft above her lip. Nasty.

Which brings me to one of my favorite things. Where is she going with this? Well, she makes this amazing noise when she eats - the combination of newly acquired chewing skills and post nasal drip. She kind of hums while she gums up her food and you can hear the gunk in her nose rattling around as she tries to breathe all the while. It's music. Equal parts of phlegm, saliva (did I mention she's teething), food (beets are her favorite these days) and joy. I call it the SNARFLE and hearing it makes me seriously happy.

And don't even get me started on her pincer grab. Such precision! Such focus! Such resolve! There's not a cheerio within a ten foot radius that's safe from the girl I affectionately refer to as "the claw".

Friday, November 23, 2007

It's like toast

We had a lovely Thanksgiving at my brother's house yesterday and my sister-in-law made the most kickass sweet potato and carrot pudding (equal parts vegetable, butter and creme fraiche. Yikes). The whole meal was outstanding and for the first time ever all of the kids actually sat at the table without having a total come-apart. In fact it's usually my kid having the meltdown. But this year he and his older cousin (one year older) sat at the kid's table. The two year old cousin sat in her high chair and baby sister was in the portable high chair and the six "adults" were seated around the table passing dishes, feeding babies, cutting meat into small pieces and explaining the food to picky preschoolers. So now you have the setting. Here is the cast:

My nephew
My brother

Here is the dialog:

N - What's that daddy?
B - It's stuffing.
N - I don't like stuffing.
B - Yes, you do. It's like toast.
N - It doesn't look like toast.
B - It's little baby toasts.
N - What's that?
B - Cranberry sauce.
N - What's a cranberry.
B - It's like a strawberry.
N - It looks funny.
B - It's sweet like jelly. It's like strawberry jelly. But sour. And sweet (?)
N - What's that?
B - It's bean casserole.
N - I don't like it.
B - Try it. It's like salty soup with beans.
N - I don't like soup.
B - But it's kind of like a cake. Like bean cake. With salty sauce.
N - perplexed
B - Have some turkey.
N - I don't like turkey.
B - It's like chicken.

And by this time the rest of us are hysterical. Every thing my nephew asked about had a parallel food on the menu he usually eats from. And I was laughing because clearly my brother and I are cut from the same cloth. The other day I made fish sticks but he wanted chicken nuggets so I called them long fish nuggets and he ate them. And then I realized that, actually, everything can be categorized into three groups:

Known fruit or vegetable.

So basically, all meat is like chicken. All starchy food is like bread. And then cherry tomatoes are like grapes, cauliflower is like white broccoli, persimmons are like apples, leek is like celery, cucumber is also like celery, sweet potatoes are like carrots which are called crunchy sticks, beans are like corn which is like popcorn.

So while last night's dinner seemed like a traditional Thanksgiving feast to the untrained eye, it was actually just chicken with baby bread, mashed potatoes and brown sauce, mashed crunchy sticks, salty popcorn cake and jelly. Y-U-M.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Me and Julio down by the schoolyard

My son sleeps with a cat he calls kitty. He got it as a present when he was born and when I decided to sleep train him at four months we did the whole nighttime ritual thing and then put him in his crib with this cat. Nursing Nina in fact. That's the name on her tag. She has three little kittens that came with her and have magnets in their little noses that correspond to the little magnets on Nina's belly. So you can stick the mini-kitties on the mama and have a nice little lesson about nursing. We figured we could also use it if we had another kid. See sweety. Kitty is nursing her baby too. When our daughter was born I tried that for about a minute but our son was more interested in lifting his own shirt to nurse the cat himself.

Anyway, it turns out Kitty is made by the Manhattan Toy Company and while it is (was) a lovely stuffed animal, it's not something you can just pick up in case you, say, misplace the original. It happened once that my husband took the kid for a stroll and returned sans cat. He did the same neighborhood loop twelve times looking for that damn cat and couldn't find it. Whatever...he'll sleep with something else. He's only had that thing for a month. He's not even attached to it. Right...

So that night we offered our son the fuzzy bee. Don't insult me. The piggy. No dice. The rabbit. Here's where you can stick your rabbit. He finally sobbed himself to sleep.

The next day I finally located a place 50 MILES AWAY that carried Nursing Nina so without hesitation we drove there, threw down $28, and that was that. We've since managed to keep Kitty in the family but when my daughter was born I vowed not to make the same mistake. So when she was about five months old we gave her Julio.

Julio is a very soft and plump rat that I got at IKEA for $4. He is named Julio because rat, in Hebrew, is julda (the "j" in this case pronounced like the Spanish jota). In fact there was a whole bin of Julios at IKEA so I bought four. Now we have Car Julio, Crib Julio, Daycare Julio and Spare Julio. It's an infestation. There are stuffed rats all over the place. And my daughter doesn't make a move without a Julio. Well, in fact, she does a lot of moving without her rat, but the minute she's grumpy or cranky or disorganized and she needs to go to her happy place, she takes Julio in her left hand, sucks on its whiskers for a moment and then puts her right thumb in her mouth. Same motion every time. And the bonus is that I can tie it's tail to her stroller and mitigate the risk of another "misplacement". We've gotten a few stares. Not everyone thinks a rat is a good friend for a baby girl. But if my son can prance around naked in my high heels and Mardi Gras beads then my daughter can chew on the snout of a stuffed rat.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Swim Lessions Part II

I really thought that we'd go back to the pool and he'd be more comfortable having bonded last week with Miss Beth. Alas, I was fooled. He was a little more willing to lay on his belly and kick, but only if I called out the commands. But then when the other kids started taking turns doing assisted "floats" when Miss Beth basically just holds each kid under his back and legs to float on the water, my son was having none of it. He started to retreat again up the stairs.

In the end, once again, he did a float with Miss Beth after everyone else had left because he wanted graham crackers and I'm thinking, not only will he now have an irrational fear of water, but he'll also seek out food for comfort and reward. And it's my fault. I single-handedly created a hydrophobic over-eater. Super. I knew I should have just taken him home but I thought maybe if he just watched the other kids having what seemed like TONS OF FUN in the pool, he might want to join. I was mistaken.

At least he was marginally satisfied with his success in the pool having completed the assisted float. So do we go back next week? Do I just forget about the remaining lessons and hope he wants to learn to swim when he'd older? Don't kids get more afraid the older they are? I think my mom told me that my brother cried at his swim lessons and he ended up on the varsity swim team in high school.

This is a downer of an entry. Sorry, more peppy tomorrow.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Sense of humor

I have to just write down a few little goodies that don't really unfold into any sort of important lessons but I want to have some record of the funny light-hearted stuff to balance the pain and suffering.

We were in his room the other day getting ready for bed and he said, "Mommy, look what I'm doing!" And he was basically sitting so I just smiled and said,"Yes, sweetie, you're sitting really well," feeling a little ridiculous and thinking must I compliment every stupid thing he does? BFD, he's sitting on the carpet. In the world outside of preschool no one gives a rats ass if you can sit nicely on the carpet. Okay, I wasn't really thinking about all that, although sometimes I do hear myself complimenting inane things like his ability to take a dump (good job making the poo poo!) and I wonder if I'm doing him a disservice. Maybe he'll be crushed if his teachers in middle school aren't as enthusiastic about his prowess on the toilet. I read an article about that somewhere I think. Probably in someone else's silly blog. Anyway, back to my story...

So he says, "no Mommy, I'm sitting on the couch," at which point he pulls the couch from the doll house I bought him for his third birthday out from under his bottom! And I thought that's actually pretty funny bud. Good one.

And then this evening we got into another vagina discussion only he prefaced it by singing his new vagina song which sort of follows the "Farmer in the Dell" tune:

Mommy has a vagina.
Grandma has a vagina.
Hi ho the derio,
Mommy has a vagina.

Then he started asking again who has what and proclaimed that he has a vagina too. In fact, in his words, "I have a vagina AND a pee pee." And then he laughed, pleased with his funny statement. And I laughed too, grateful he didn't ONLY inherit my obsessive compulsive tendencies or my stubborn streak. He may have also gotten my sense of humor. Although he laughs at his own farts too, so he might actually have his father's sense of humor.

Friday, November 16, 2007


I had breakfast this morning with my two favorite moms from my son's preschool. We used to have coffee while I was still on maternity leave and Rebeca was finishing her dissertation. And Veronica teaches high school Spanish on a part-time schedule so she was usually available for coffee and chatter after morning drop-off. But now, I'm back at work and Rebeca filed her dissertation and commutes to her post-doc post and Veronica is swamped with parent conferences and grading so she gets her coffee to go. And I basically only see them for the two minutes when we either drop off or pick-up.

But today we met for breakfast and I have to say I love these girls. We laugh our heads off about our crazy little boys. Rebecca asked if I had seen the "I am thankful" list that the kids made for Thanksgiving, which I had not because my son has been out with Pink Eye and we missed the Thanksgiving potluck on Wednesday. I didn't even know what she was talking about. And then she started to giggle. Oh Jesus, what the hell did my son say he's most grateful for? Mommy's cell phone? No.

My black car.

That's what he said. He's actually talking about my black station wagon. And I thought, okay, that sort of makes sense since I come pick him up everyday in the black car and he's happy to see me so he's associating me with the black car. Fair enough. I was fine with that response until Rebecca told me what Antonio was thankful for. His mama, papa and abuelita.

Great. My kid is thankful for a car and Rebeca's son is thankful for the people who love and care for him on an ongoing basis. The little shit. Rebeca, being the good friend that she is and sensing my despair at having been dismissed as merely the chauffer of the black car, noted that one of the other kids declared he was most thankful for quesadillas.

The sad part is that, in fact, it DID make me feel better.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tickled Pink

My boy has pink eye.

I picked him up from preschool yesterday and his teacher said he wasn't as chatty as usual. We got home and I noticed he had some gunk in his eye. A lot of gunk actually at which point I knew instinctively that he had pink eye. His temperature was 101.2 but he was otherwise in pretty good spirits. In fact, great spirits. The whole afternoon he had been completely delightful. He played with his sister (unknowingly spreading his eye gunk all over her and her toys) while I made dinner. My husband had to work late and while I ordinarily would have been bummed to have to do the whole dinner and bedtime ritual solo, it was totally fine. And I'm thinking, I LOVE PINK EYE!

Is that sick? I'm less enthusiastic about having to figure out his childcare for the next seven days since I can't bring him back to school. But from the eye goop has emerged a charming, cooperative, under-reactive cutie pie. Maybe the infection has actually triggered a chemical change in his brain officially marking his departure from the terrible twos. Or maybe it's a blip and he'll be back on the dark side before the end of the week. Either way, his take on the whole thing has me laughing.

Me: Stop touching your eyes honey.
Him: I'm getting my eye boogers.
Me: Now we have to wash your hands so you don't spread the yucky from your eyes.
Him: So the baby doesn't get the eye boogers?
Me: Bingo.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Mommy, where's your pee pee?

Scene: Mom gets in the shower for ten minutes of much needed "alone time". Toddler is watching closeby focused mainly at what is at eye level...

Him: Mommy, where's your pee pee?
Me: Honey, mommy doesn't have a pee pee. Mommy has a vagina.
Him: And I have a vagina too?
Me: No, you have a pee pee like Aba.
HIm: And baby too?
Me: No, baby girl has a vagina like mommy.
Him: And grandma?
Me: Yes, Gandma has a vagina because she's a girl like mommy and baby sister.
Him: And Savta?
Me: Yes, Savta has a vagina. Good. He's getting it
Him: And Saba? Maybe not.
Me; No, Saba has a pee pee like Aba. He's a boy like you.
Him: Ya, and I have a pee pee.
Me: That's right.
Him: And mommy has a vagina. And baby sister and Grandma and Savta and Aba and Ami and Aunt Marcia and ME!
Me: No, mommy and savta and grandma and baby sister and Ami and Aunt Marcia all have vaginas.
Him: And I have a pee pee?
Me: Yes.
Him: And Ami has a pee pee?
Me: No, Ami is a girl like mommy. She has a vagina.
Him: Oh.

Him: And do you make poo poo from your vagina?
Me: No, just pee pee.
Him: But not a pee pee.
Me: Yes, mommy makes pee pee from her vagina but she doesn't have a pee pee. Which is actually a penis.
Him: Do I have a penis?
Me: Can you hand me the duckie towel?

Friday, November 9, 2007

Swim Lessons

I signed my son up for swim lessons because at some point in the last year he became afraid of the water. He used to love to go swimming but this past summer he wasn't that excited about it and preferred to watch my husband wave encouraging gestures from the pool and throw rubber toys at him from the side of the pool rather than actually go into the pool. I don't blame him - I mean they keep that pool at like 98 degrees so it's like swimming in minestone - chunky minestrone, if you're not careful of all the toys. So instead of letting him grow into the idea of swimming in a pool and maybe try again next summer, we decided to force him into it because we're mean sadistic parents.

And it went pretty much as we'd predicted. My son agreed to take his clothes off and be in his swim trunks. But then when the two other kids went in the water with Miss Beth, he refused to go in. He refused to look at Miss Beth. He wouldn't put his feet in the water. And here I am thinking, what the hell am I doing here. Why did I just waste $100 on five sessions for my son to stand next to a pool. So I told him I would put my feet in if he put his feet in. So he did. And we slowly walked down a few shallow steps. But then he retreated. Meanwhile little Bobby and Cindy Perfect are practicing their kicking and blowing bubbles and generally enjoying their time in the water. My son has now found a rubber fish, a small alligator bean bag and a giant duckie that he is playing with next to the pool. So I tell him he can't play with the toys unless he is sitting in the water. So he sat in the water. All the while Miss Beth has made several attempts to befriend my son, and has felt the sting of toddler rejection repeatedly. She even asked if she could just pick him up and bring him in the water, so I said knock yourself out, knowing well that this too would end badly. He obliged for about thirty seconds and then scrambled back up the stairs and out of harm's way.

Then he started acting squirrly in the pool and entering on the side underneath the hand rail which, of course, is a no no. So I told him as much and he wasn't happy about that and so I had to make him stand in the corner next to the locker room. Brilliant. (Don't you hate when you're "parenting" and you've gone down a really bad route but then there's no way to go back and suddenly you have your son in a time out at the public pool?) He told me to go away and when I did he hollered. It was ugly. Then I pulled out the only ammo I had left.

Me: If you get in the pool and listen to Miss Beth you can have as many graham crackers as you want when we get home.
Him: No.

By now class is over and the other kids are leaving. My son is moping at his missed graham cracker opportunity. And I'm wishing I could take Bobby Perfect home with me instead of my kid.

Him: Mommy, I want to listen to Miss Beth and get graham crackers.
Me: And do kicking in the water?
Him: And graham crackers

So I called to Miss Beth and asked if she wouldn't mind doing a few kicks with the boy. She got on her belly on the steps and my son moved closer to her. Then she started kicking and splashing him which he LOVED. And the heavens parted and God's maginificent glory shined a ray of light down on the pool. My son laughed. And looked directly at Miss Beth. And then the two of them were on their bellies kicking and I was calling out red light green light and then Miss Beth gave him a high five and for a brief moment the world was a happier place.

Tune in next week for part two of Swim Lessons.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Baby Couture

So my baby is nearly nine months which is ridiculous. I mean she was just born and now she's lurching around the house on her belly like a Gila monster and shoveling food in her mouth and chatting her head off (funny how you never get sick of ba-ba-ba-ba-ba, but why-why-why-why from my preschooler makes me want to put a pen in my eye). But I digress...

So she's going through sets of clothes super fast because she's having growth spurts quicker than i can rotate to the next size up. Some stuff she barely even wears once or twice before it's cutting off circulation in her ham hock legs. A few things she received as gifts and we basically missed the boat because I waited til she was the approximate age that the label suggested and by then it was too late! And I'm not talking about the carter's stuff that I get her from Costco. Those are cut generously for a rolly poly. And my daughter's not even that chub by some standards. She's just a regular Buddha - not like a giant jolly Buddha. It's, in fact, the baby couture.

I have a few cousins and a few friends of the family who bought my daughter adorable and overpriced fancy baby clothes - my favorite was a tiered dress in baby blue, pink, yellow and chocolate - yum. It was so cute. It said six months so I put her in there at four months and it was already skimpy! It's one thing for designer crap to be teeny tiny for adults. I'm over the humiliation. I'll buy the size up, what do I care? But sizing for babies should be standard! What kind of message are we sending our daughters when size 6-9 months is too tight by 4 months! Maybe they should diet! Maybe we should take them off the boob before they get to the fatty hind milk. Maybe replace one feeding with a slimfast so they can better shimmy into their onesies! Sure,organics are all the rage now but what about that unexplored "dietetic baby food" market! Diet Gerber. Baby Lean Cuisine. South Beach Baby Diet. When once they gloated about their kids being in the 85th percentile, now moms will brag about how baby Madison is, at 9 months, still slim enough for size 3-6 months.

wink wink

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I want your printing press!!!

A few hundred years ago did kids follow their parents around begging to use their gadgets?

I want your revolver!
I want your phonograph!
Gimme your cotton gin!
I want to wear your corsett!
I want to wear your powdered wig!
Can I touch your loom?

I don't even know what a cotton gin is but you get my point. Were kids always this obsessed even when the gadgets they're obsessed with didn't exist? My kid just cannot seem to get over his obsession with cell phones. He points out when people have them. His face lights up when mine rings. He wants to bring it to me. He wants to put it on the table. In my purse. On the counter. He wants to charge it. He wants to call Aba. He wants to call grandma. He wants to call grandma's haistylist Carlos. Any excuse he can think of to get his hands on that phone. He knows he's not supposed to touch it so he will just stand next to my bag and spy on it. And then tell me, I see your phone. I have almost reached my breaking point on this one. I get that we have been completely inconsistent about phone usage but what am I supposed to do when he wants to talk to grandma. I want him to talk to grandma and he's actually becoming quite the conversationalist. But then I tell him he's not allowed to touch it otherwise, and that is frustrating for him. Nevermind the exposure to harmful cancer causing radio signals, it's just annoying for him to be this fixated on a personal object. He's also fixated, though slightly less so, on car keys, wallets, purses and shoes.

Why? I want to know why? My brother uses his phone as much as I do and his kids don't care about phones. They are obsessed with other things, like dolls and Thomas the Tank Engine, but that seems perfectly acceptable to me considering they are CHILDREN. How did we fail our son? What did we do to encourage his total fixation on our personal items? Why can't he just be obsessed with trucks like a normal kid.

Which leads me to other musings, like, were kids this annoying back in the day? I mean, I'm pretty sure that, say, Mozart, was a pretty annoying three year old, all obsessed with writing his concertos and what not, but what about the average toddler? Is there no record of just how annoying 18th or 19th century toddlers were? I'm just curious. Everyone was so hung up on being proper back then, I just can't imagine a woman in a corsett dragging her three year old through the marketplace by his armpit because he peed in his tights.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Soup Fascist

That is me. I am now the self-titled soup fascist. It's a nutritional ideology rather than a political ideology, but all the same, it's how the current regime operates in our home and I am ruler.

My boss at my day job has two kids, ages seven and five, so she has a wealth of knowledge about child rearing and thankfully we agree on most policies. Although her kids slept in her bed until just last year. And while I understand the family bed works for some and is a culturally acceptable paradigm for many around the globe, I'm the girl who, if I could afford a giant house, would have a "bedroom" and then my own private "sleeping" room. But I digress...

My boss, noticing that her girls were only eating meat and starch, began a vegetarian only policy for during the week to which, after only a few days of protest her kids resigned. We're not there yet, mostly because I just don't know enough good vegetable recipes. Maybe one day. But the part that I have implemented is a first course SOUP. Every evening we have some pureed vegetable soup. And it takes me all of about 15 minutes to make and I can do it one-handed while holding my baby. Get ready to copy and paste:

2-3 cups of water and appropriate amount of chicken or vegetable powder/bouillon cube
Large bag of one vegetable (spinach, broccoli, squash, zucchini, mushrooms, cauliflower, sweet potato, leek etc.)
1 cup milk (whole or less)
2 triangles of Laughing Cow Light cheese (green packaging)

Boil vegetable in stock
Add milk
Puree again
Add cheese
Final puree

I have one of those blender wands which I really feel is the best invention of the twentieth century, followed closely by maxi pads with wings. If you have to transfer everything back and forth between a blender and a pot then it's almost not worth it because you need both hands and invariably you splash everything everywhere making a bigger mess for yourself. Who needs it. Spend $50 and get the blender wand.

Now the first night I instituted my policy it was met with mild grievances in the form of whining. But I persisted and prevailed. The key was the "doobie" bowl. Doobie means teddy bear in Hebrew and we have a little bowl with Eric Carle animals all around it and a big bear at the bottom of the bowl. So I set up the challenge. Let's see if you can eat enough soup to see the doobie at the bottom. And it worked. He was so excited about the prospect of uncovering the bear that he wolfed down a whole bowl of broccoli soup. It was fantastic. The next night we had spinach. Then mushroom. Then zucchini. And so on. No fail. The kid ingests vegetables. Before if you put something green in front of him he would proclaim, I don't eat leaves. Now he eats leaves, vegetables, tree bark, you name it. If I can puree it and add some laughing cow cheese, he'll eat it.

I know I am not the first mom to think of pureeing vegetables for "selective" toddlers. Obviously, since I got the idea from my boss. And apparently Jessica Seinfeld, wife to Jerry and mother to his three kids, has come out with a best-selling book about pureeing to fool your kids into eating veggies. Good for her. Like they don't have enough money from syndication royalties. But I still feel like this was a major conquest so I'll bask for a minute in a little nutrient-packed, fortified, leafy green glory.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Keeping up with Dr. Jones

Today I brought my son for the first time to see the dentist. He turned 3 on Saturday and I figured it was time. We brush his teeth twice a day but who knows if we're actually making a difference with those little toddler toothbrushes that completely splay at even the slightest bit of pressure. That, combined with the fact that our son basically chews on the thing and sucks off all of the toothpaste when it's his turn to brush, makes me question if we're making a lick of difference in his overall dental hygiene.

But it turns out that the brushing (and the related tantrums) were not for naught. No cavaties and kudos from Dr. Jones for a fine set of choppers. Thank god. The last thing I needed was the guilt of having not adequately brushed. Just getting him to brush in the first place was a struggle. I consulted the Berkeley Parents Network (they usually show up when I do a search, though the advice tends to be a little too earth mother for me) and everyone talked about making it a good experience and using dolls and singing songs yadda yadda yadda. An excerpt:

"Try the Raffi song, Brush Your Teeth, and have her brush as you sing along with Raffi. My 14-month old daughter loves it. We start singing, ''When you wake up in the morning, it's quarter to 1, you want to have a little fun, you brush your teeth,ch-ch-ch- chchchcchc...'' and my little daughter grins and looks for her toothbrush. She'll even ask to brush her teeth at random times of the day by putting her finger to her mouth and going ''ch-ch- ch-ch...''. Not sure if this will work with your baby if they already hate toothbrushing but it's worth a try. G'luck. Mom of 14-month old who loves to brush"

Spare me, "Mom of 14-month old who loves to brush". My kid sees right through your little schtick. They were all like that. Use puppets. Sing a song about teeth. Let him do it himself until he's comfortable. Read books about brushing teeth. We tried everything and it always ended in a lot of screaming and very little brushing. Then I saw this one. This guy had a kid like mine. His post was anonymous, fearing the wrath of social services and the crazed Berkeley parents still nursing their four year olds.

"This is how you can brush the teeth of a non-cooperating toddler: Wet the brush and stick it and the tube of paste into your shirt pocket. (You're going to need both hands for a few seconds.) Lay the toddler on the floor (preferably carpeted). Sit on the floor above their head, placing your knees over the toddlers shoulders/ upper arms. Your feet should be along side the child's body. This effectively pins their arms and prevents them from undesired interference. Now imobilize their head between your thighs by gently squeezing. Now you have both hands free to load the paste onto the brush, and one hand available to open lips (which will be sqeezed tightly closed by the child). I found it effective to slide my finger into the corner of the mouth and follow that with the brush. Brush as gently as possible considering the lip resistance. Let them up to rinse.

During all of this maintain a calm manner and in a gentle voice let them know over and over that brushing is not optional- tomorrow we can do it the easy way, or the hard way - the choice is theirs.
-from a dad wishing to remain relatively annonymous"

Now THAT'S the way to do it. It's the pin and pry method. It worked for us. None of this good ship lollipop crap. Now my son's a great brusher. And we really only had to pin once or twice.

But back to the dentist. I was feeling all proud of my son for opening his mouth and saying ah and ee and having his teeth polished and proud of me for brushing at least enough to keep his teeth healthy. Then Dr. Jones asks if we floss. Are you KIDDING me? I barely remember to floss my own teeth and now you want me to floss my three-year-olds teeth? I mean there is a limit to the extra layers of complexity that I'm willing to build into my morning and evening rituals. Soon my daughter will have teeth. Will I have to floss hers too? Sure, when she only has two teeth it will just be the one swipe between, but before long she'll have all twenty teeth and then we'll all have to wake up at 6am in order to floss everybody in time to leave the house by 8:30. Just once I wish someone would give me some advice that might save me some time. Oh you shouldn't read to your kid at night. It's bad for them. Think of all the extra time you could put toward flossing if you didn't have to read "Goodnight Moon" 400 times every night.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Mommy dearest moment

There's nothing worse than when you're having what you thought was an anonymous "mommy dearest" moment in a public place and it turns out that someone you know, or will know, is watching.

On the way home from our family reunion last week we had to catch an 8:30 am flight out of JFK which meant leaving my grandmother-in-law's house at 6 am to return the car and check in with enough time. We woke the kids up and they were fine. Put them in the car in their pajamas. No problem. My husband drops us off at Departures, piles all of our luggage inside, and then takes the car to the rental place while we wait for him.

At about 6:45 my son tells me he has to pee. I tell him he can either hold it or go pee pee in his pull-up. I know that was probably confusing but what else could I do? I couldn't leave our stuff. I couldn't leave my seven month old to watch the bags. I couldn't schlep everyone into the ladies room. And my husband was still at-large.

He finally returns and we put the kids in their clothes and I ask my son if he wants to go pee pee and he says no. Meanwhile he never went in his pull-up and now he's in underwear. Nevermind. We check in, get through security. Now it's nearly 8:00 and my son still has not peed but now he's agitated since he has had to take his shoes off for security AND put his kitty cat in through the x-ray machine. Now everything is no. NO! NO! NO!

Me: Honey, do you want to go pee pee now?
Him: NO!
Me: Sweetie, I know you have to go. It's better to go now than have to go in the little potty on the plane.
Him: NO! I don't have pee pee.
Me: Just come with me to the toilet and try to go.
Him: (screaming and kicking) NO!!!!!

I tried to get him to go and he made a scene. On our way back to where my husband was standing he went limp and refused to walk and of course I refused to carry him. You think YOUR angry muchacho?! I'm about to whip out the wire hangers... So he's screaming and I have him by the armpit, dragging him back to our gate. And he's shouting, YOU'RE HURTING ME! and I'm saying, in Hebrew, thinking that it's okay since no one can understand me, I don't give a rat's ass if this is hurting you. I know. Very mature. So then my husband takes over and brings him to the men's room where he refuses to take off his pants and instead pees on himself.

My son returns and he's wet and now I have to change his clothes in the middle of the terminal because our flight is leaving and I'm telling him, again in Hebrew (the secret code language) that he will not open his mouth for the entire flight. And he will listen to and obey my every command. He's sobbing and I'm this close to having a major come-apart.

We get on the flight and I say I'm sorry for yelling at him and dragging him and he says he's sorry and now we're friends again. End of story. Until six hours later when we're at baggage claim and we run into a friend of a friend - Israeli - who's picking up his Israeli friend, who was just on our flight. Did your son manage on the flight without any more accidents?

I used to see parents, in airports or department stores or parking lots or wherever, dragging their kids around, screaming at them, and think what an awful mother. She's just teaching her kid that yelling is acceptable. She should just listen to her child. People who don't like kids or can't control their tempers, shouldn't have kids... What an idiot I was.

All of that is true but in the moment you become a toddler yourself and then you both spiral into a dark and chaotic place where dragging is acceptable and so is name-calling and threatening. It's an ugly place. And if you're me, you make your threats in a foregin language hoping that none of the other adults within earshot will realize just how pathetic you are.

Until a hebrew-speaking friend of a friend's friend shows up at baggage claim to hold you accountable. And you're left only with the shame of your actions, a migraine, six feet of luggage and the hope that next time you'll remember that you're the adult and that your three-foot companion is just trying to figure it all out.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Dumplings, carrots and the power of peer pressure

My daughter has started eating and it is the best. At first I just gave her a little rice cereal which she sort of moved around on her tongue and spit out and played with. I wasn't sure if she liked it but our caregiver said she wolfed down a whole bowl so I thought maybe it was me and the way I was feeding her. I tried mushed pears and she kind of smirked - too sour maybe. Or just too new. I was hesitant to give her table food since she has no teeth and wasn't great at swallowing. Or so I thought. And I worry about allergies and introducing too many new foods.

But then we spent a week in New York for my husband's family reunion. And the two other baby girl cousins who are four months and six months older than mine were eating mostly table food. I continued to feed her mushy stuff which seemed to be going better but then her great uncle gave her a pancake. In tiny little pancake pieces. And she ate them all. Two pancakes in fact. And then she ate a banana straight out of the peel. And she had a lick of my ice-cream and then dove her whole head into my cone. And then she had rice and vegetable soup and mashed potatoes and yogurt. She was an eating machine. And she loved everything. Savory, sweet, tart, fruity, green and leafy. Everything. What a treat! My son only eats from the brown category - cous cous, quesodilla, cheese, yogurt, apple sauce, chicken - so this was a welcomed change.

So yesterday I made myself some steamed chicken dumplings with soy sauce and the baby was grabbing for them so I gave her one in little bitty pieces and she loved it. And I made such a big hoo-ha about it my son decided he wanted dumplings too. So I made him four and he ate them! Something new to add to the brown category! And then today I gave the baby strained carrots which she inhaled. And I went on and on about what a good girl she is. So guess who wanted to eat carrots!?!? This is awesome. New category for orange! If all goes as planned my son will be eating spinach by Sunday.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Duckie Towel

I haven't been blogging lately and I can only blame it on my having gone back to work, albeit part time but work nonetheless, and literally having no time. Zero time. Which is best illustrated by the fact that for the last three days everyone in my family, including my husband, has been using the duckie hooded towel meant for my daughter with the little googly eyes and the orange feet hanging down. Why don't we have other towels? Fair question. And the truth is that we have plenty of towels but they are either in the washer, the dryer or folded in the guest room and I have not found the thirty seconds it takes to bring them into the bathroom so that we can dry off with normal sized towels. I mean that is RIDICULOUS. I walked into the bathroom and saw my husband patting dry his privates with the duckie beak and I thought, this can't be good.

And speaking of privates and privacy, the topic came up when my son asked to be by himself in his room the other day.

Him: I want to be by myself mommy.
Me: You want me to give you some privacy?
Him: Yes, I want some privacy. Gimme some privacy.
Me: You say, Mommy I'd like some privacy please.
Him: Mommy, I want some privacy please.
Me: Okay, I'll leave and give you some privacy.
Him: No, I want your privacy!
Me: Okay, I'm going.
Him: No, give me the privacy!
Me: Sweetie, privacy is when you are by yourself.
Him: No, give it to me. I want it.
Me: I can give it to you only if I leave.
Me: Bubba (term of endearment), privacy isn't something you can hold or eat. It's not a toy. It's just what you get when you're alone. Why am I explaining this? I should just get him a toy and call it privacy and be done

This conversation continued along the same vein for about a half hour until I finally said, do you want some chocolate milk instead? And he said yes.

We'll have to revisit privacy. Maybe when there are enough towels to go around.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Tan bark

The wood chips on playgrounds. I guess they're called tan bark (see previous post). I only know this because two days ago at a classmate's third birthday party I heard a fellow parent mention tan bark to her daughter since she was whining for the mom to remove it from her shoe. If I had a nickel for everytime I heard that request....

Tan bark. So I guess we don't have to call social services about Mis Chen Jin doing tanbor with my son. In fact, Miss Chen Jin is my son's favorite person and he once asked to sleep with her picture near his bed. So it would make sense that she would help him get tan bark out of his shoe. And that he would love her forever for it.

Tambor Tambol Tambog

On the way home from preschool the other day I asked my son what he did all day and after prodding for some time I came to understand that he rode the tricycle, he ate his peanut butter sandwich, he played with Miss Cassia and Miss Lorena outside, he went down the slide with Gracie, he played "get me" with Pablo, and he drew something with a red marker. A full day indeed.

Then he said he got in the Tambor.
Me: The sandbox?
Him: No, the tambor.
Me: The Tambor?
Him: No, the tambor.
Me: pause
Me: The tambol?
Him: No, the Tambor. And Miss Chen Jin do it to me.
Me: (completely perplexed)
Me: What did you do with Miss Chen Jin?
Him: She put the tambor off me.
Me: She played with you in the sandbox?
Him: (Angrily) No! The tambor!

This went on for a while. I had no idea what he was talking about. Usually if I say the word enough times it morphs into the word he's trying to say. Or if I add an R where he says an O. That sometimes helps. But I am telling you I was totally stumped. And then I remembered a year ago when my nephew, who's a year older than my son, came home from school saying POPOSSI. No one had any idea what he was talking about. We spent probably an hour pointing at different things in his room. Is that a popossi? Nothing. But he kept saying it. Whispering it in fact which made it funnier and likewise more intriguing. Two weeks later we were visiting them again and I asked him about the popossi and he drew a total blank. And that is how the elusive popossi disappeared from our vernacular forever. I was sad to see it leave because whispering it still makes me giggle.

But back to Tambor. What the hell is tambor and why is Miss Chen Jin doing it to my son? And why whenever I pronounce it exatly like my son is pronouncing does he get all huffy and correct my pronunciation? Pardonez moi, Moiliere...How dare I bastardize your langue. I can only imagine that's how he feels when he pronounces a word and I correct him and he says it again the exact same way and so on for weeks.

For instance, the city is doing construction on our street and we have a book about big trucks so we look at all of the trucks outside and find them in the book. Apparently not everything is called a tractor. Who knew.

Me: You see the excavator outside?
Him: Ya, the accelrator.
Me: Right, the excavator. It's so big.
Him: That's a big accelrator.

Whatever. He gets the idea. Me, I'm still in the dark about this tambor tambol tamborg tampon tanbork. I'll report back if I figure it out. Your guesses are welcome.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Daddy's girl

Fiorella is on vacation this week so instead of scrambling to find a fill-in for my daughter for the three days I work, my husband decided to take time off to spend with her at home. So for the last three days I've come home from work and he's had her strapped to him in some capacity while he's making dinner and our son is "helping". It's so great to see him so in love. When our daughter was born and up until basically a few weeks ago (she's nearly seven months old) she wouldn't stand to be held by anyone but me. She shreiked everytime my husband picked her up. I can only imagine that was frustrating for him though he never mentioned it, only that he wished he could help me more by holding her. Alas, baby girl wanted to be as close as possible to the milk source.

But to see her with him these last few days and to here the stories of blissful, shriek-free days together, it's as though the last six months never transpired. Baby and aba are in love. She still whimpers for me when I come in the room and reaches for me when I'm close enough, but when it's just the two of them, each is what the other needs and nothing more. What a gift.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Potty chronicles continued

Just when we thought we were in the clear, our son has begun to have accidents again. A friend of mine told me to expect this but we were hopeful. And foolish. I made the mistake of putting my son in his underwear at night. He'd been dry at night for nearly a month so I thought, what the hell, right? Better if he's in underwear. He'd started waking me up at night to take him to go pee because he couldn't get his diaper off and on again. In his underwear he's a free agent. Fully independent. Pees standing up like the big boys.

We did it one night. Success. Second night aba put him to bed and unaware of my latest decision, put him in a diaper. Third night, back to undies.

Right around 5am he comes padding into the guest room (I'm sleeping there while we sleep train our daughter) holding a pair of socks and wearing only his pajama top. He gets really close to my head and whispers, I made a pee pee on the carpet (he sleeps on the floor - that's a whole other post).

Apparently it woke him up, he stripped down, went to the closet and grabbed for the only clothing he can reach which are his socks and came to me for help with rest. I was so impressed by his efforts I totally forgot about the reason for them.

Then the next day he peed in his pants twice. Just plain forgot to go on the toilet. What is that? That never happens to ME. I realize he's new at this but I mean once you learn a concept how do you forget just like that? When I learned how to drive a manual shift, it took a few days but then I got it. A month later I didn't suddenly forget how to put in the clutch?! I did back the car into a gas pump three days after getting my license however. I guess we all have accidents.

Careful what you kvetch for

I finally got my son to wear short pajamas. It took an entire summer of sweaty nights but he finally relented and agreed to wear his winnie the pooh pajamas with the red shorts and the big pooh face on the yellow tee. Super cute.

The next morning he woke up with nine mosquito bites in and around his neck and arms, including one the size of a quarter in his armpit. Poor kid. Damn those short sleeves!

The next night he was trying to go to sleep and tossing around, scratching himself scabby. I dabbed him so much he looked like he'd been dipped in a vat of calamine lotion. No relief. So after much whining and contorting to get that itch in the middle of his back, I whispered in his ear do you want your sleeves?

Big grin.

Toddler: 40
Mommy: Love

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Sleeves and Socks

I picked up my son the other day and it was 94 degrees at 4:30 in the afternoon and he's wearing long pants, a t-shirt, a longsleeve shirt, socks and tennies. And his face is bright red and he's sweating. So I asked him, sweetie, you want to take off your longsleeve?


I get that it's my fault. I dress him usually. But he insists on the second shirt. I always figure he'll take it off at school when it gets hot. To his credit, it's a little chilly and overcast where we live at 7:30 in the morning. But he almost NEVER takes the thing off. And he always insists on socks. It started about two months ago when he got blisters on his two big toes from walking around in wet sandals. They must have scared him because he insisted on socks to cover them up. He even wanted to take his bath wearing socks. Well the blisters healed of course but he's still insisting on the socks. Especially at night. I just don't get it. IT'S HOT! And he sometimes has trouble falling asleep because, oh...I don't know, he's COOKING IN HIS OWN BED. One night I conviced him to wear short pajams and he slept great. I thought we were in the clear. but the next day he wanted feety pajamas.

And for whatever reason it makes me INSANE. Just be a normal kid and walk around barefoot in the summer!

I guess I should be grateful to not have to worry about stepping on bees or rusty nails. Even yesterday, he and his aba were riding his bike in the park when suddenly I see him walking toward the house completely naked but wearing his socks and shoes. Happy as a clam. Apparently his pants had been falling down and he had to pee anyway so he just took everything off. It's just as well anyway because his father dressed him yesterday and he was wearing plaid madras shorts and an aqua, red and yellow stripe shirt.

I'm losing my train of thought. And my mind. Where was I...yes, the longsleeve shirt issue.

But I'm reminded that in elementary school I started wearing turtlenecks to school year round. We live in California so this is absurd. I didn't like the hair on my arms so I just covered them. Up to my neck in fact. My teachers probably wondered if I was being beaten at home. I'm sure my mom was thrilled about that. And, come to think of it, I always wore socks too. I actually remember that in 8th grade I thought well I'd really like to NOT wear socks but by now I had a sock tan going on thirteen years. My feet had probably never seen the light of day.

This kid is ME. And it's driving me freaking crazy.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Riverdancer number 11

I tell you, no matter how clever I think I am, someone else came up with it before me.

I remember about ten years ago I was chatting with a colleague of mine about how if only we could invent something and get rich and never have to work again. I said, wouldn't it be great if there was a kind of technology that would make it so the computer would remember you no matter what site you went onto and then you wouldn't have to continually fill in your personal information or payment details. Apparently that's called a cookie. Who knew?

The other day my daughter was bouncing around in her new jumpy thingy that hangs from the door jam. A friend of mine gave me her old one so we tried it out and baby girl was pretty into it. In fact she was so cute we decided to videotape her and put it to River Dance music because she was stiffening her legs in that "doing an Irish jig" fashion.

The video was so cute and he we were feeling all clever until we posted it on google videos and noticed another 10+ videos called Riverdancer featuring babies in door jam jumpies. None as cute as my daughter (naturally), but still...

There's just nothing new under the sun.

Although this morning, I was in such a fog, I put my acne serum in my hair. It actually made my hair quite manageable. So there you go - a brand new application for Benzoyl Peroxide. Stay tuned to see what I come up with tomorrow. Perhaps I'll rub shampoo on my zits.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Miss Lorena and Miss Cassia

Everyday I ask my son how his day went at school and it's gotten to the point where we can actually have a pretty decent conversation about it. I ask about circle time and playing outside and what did he have for snack and did he do an art project and did he cut paper or draw with markers and who was there and who was missing and did he sing songs etc. He always has fun or at least says he has fun which is a relief for a guilt ridden working mom like myself. And I get a fair amount of detail about his day. I always ask who he played with today and he ALWAYS lists the teachers. He almost never mentions any of the other kids. Which makes me wonder if he ever plays with other kids or if he's that kid that the teachers all love but who has no friends. Here's how the conversation goes:

Me: Who did you play with at school?
Him: Miss Lorena
Me: And..
Him: Miss Cassia
Me: And..
Him: Miss Lorena called me a silly goose.
Me: Did you play with Antonio?
Him: No. Miss Lorena went home in her car.
Me: Is MIss Lorean your friend?
Him: Ya. And Miss Cassia.
Me: Did you play with any boys or girls in your class?
Him: Yes, Miss Tina.

When our baby was born and our son was peaking in his terrible two-ness we went to see a counselor to try to figure out what to do with him or what was wrong with him or what we were doing wrong. We described all of his crazy behavior and the counselor said she thought he was a classic example of a "spirited child" which is a nice way to say "pain in the ass". In truth, many of the behaviors she described as "spririted" were spot on - one of which was a preference to be with adults. Spririted children crave predictability and order. And there's nothing less predictable than a toddler. I don't blame him. Toddlers can be scary. I also prefer to hang with adults.

Although I was pleased today when I picked him up to see him sitting next to his pal Ayden, a beautiful and spunky little girl he's known since he started this school a year ago, and they were holding hands. But when I asked him if Ayden was his friend, he said, "ya, and Miss Lorena".

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Half-caff chai latte with a nipple

I have to say that one of the funnier aspects of blogging is that my site meter can tell me who's visiting my site (not by name, but by IP address), where s/he resides, what referred that person to me and a whole host of uninteresting data points like which browser was used. So of course I like to see where people are who read my little accounts of life with children. And how they found me. Many times it's via google search and I can actually see what people searched for and where my blog ranked. The searches don't necessily have anything to do with what I write about, but many of the keywords are the same. This is where it gets funny.

Some folks have searched for the usual parenting stuff:
Six year old poops his pants
Four year old peeing in his bed
Toddler is killing me
Toddler obssessed with ear thermometer

At least I know I'm not alone.

Then I saw one searching for advice regarding "poop stains on my husband's underwear". Oh jesus I say to that one. This poor woman. Was she looking for advice on how to tell him? Or if he had a medical condition?

But the best came from a woman in India who needed advice about her "husband wanting to nurse on lactating boob." Are you KIDDING me? Now, I'm not a prude. I realize it happens and it's not all that gross but clearly this woman is distressed by it. And she probably has enough to worry about with her new baby without accomodating her thirsty husband. I mean, Raj, if you want a chai masala, get your ass out of bed and go down to the corner tea house. Leave your poor wife alone. It's bad enough she has to endure the pity sex. Now this?

Oh I kill me.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

My two scents

My daughter smells like Fiorella.

When I took my son for his first day of daycare more than two years ago, I picked him up and he smelled like Nena. Which was not a bad thing. Nena, his new caregiver, smelled just fine. But for the first time he didn't smell like me. Or poop.

Now my daughter is starting daycare because I'm going back to work next week. And I was feeling really good about everything. Very impressed with Fiorella. My baby napped and drank her bottle on the first day. Can't ask for better than that. And she wasn't super splotchy on her face so I knew she hadn't been crying much. I thought, great. This will be fine. She's fine. I'm fine.

Until I realized that my little girl smelled like Fiorella. A perfectly acceptable smell. But Fiorella nonetheless. Now I'm sad.

Thankfully Fiorella doesn't stink. But going back to work does.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Like mother like daughter

I think it's safe to say that my mother is my biggest fan, which as it turns out is both fabulous and irritating. Because we all would rather Oprah or Bill Clinton or Sting was our biggest fan right? That would mean we'd really arrived. Alas, none of those people have heard of me yet (unless Sting has been googling about potty training lately). So it's mom. Which is fine. I totally appreciate that she thinks I'm great. I have always felt her love and support and for that I'm grateful - at least now anyway. It wasn't always the case. There were many years that her unconditional devotion and blind admiration was no match for my self-doubt and insecurity. For every compliment I had a snarky response.

Her: I wish I had your hair.
Me: My hair is disgusting.
Her: I wish I was tall like you.
Me: I'm not tall.
Her: I wish I had your creativity.
Me: I haven't had an original thought in years.
Her: I wish I was as organized.
Me: You mean neurotic?

Every time I came home to visit, she'd want to know where I bought whatever I was wearing. When she came to visit me, she'd look through my goodwill pile and want to take things home. It felt like she was trying to be me. Which of course I hated. Why would anyone want to be me after all?

And then I had my own daughter. Baby girl is only six months old but I can already see the beginnings of total devotion and admiration. I actually found myself asking my hair stylist to make my hair color match my daughter's. Her hair is so dark and shiny. Make it like that. I just think everything about her is so perfect. And of course I would - I made her.

So now I get it. Thanks ma.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Mother of Invention

Sorry to all (both) of you dedicated readers. My family went camping last week so I was incommunicado. It was a superb trip replete with volcanic fields, cascading waterfalls, canned food from Trader Joe's, s'mores, hide and seek in the forest, emerald (freaking cold) lakes, and a lot of dirt. Our baby girl had a touch of the croup when we left (she'd caught it from big brother) which made her a snotty, barking, and wretched mound of fevery baby flesh for the first half of the trip. But then it subsided and she was a happy camper too. Or at least she humored us. But it was our capricious son who took camper of the year award. He was a joy. Played hard all day, did his share of trail walking, ate like a champ and slept 11 hour nights inside his big boy sleeping bag in a tent for four days without a peep. Well, one yelp when he fell into the crevasse between the blow up mattress and the tent at 5am and couldn't get out, but that's happened to me and it's indeed frightful. Especially when you're dreaming about being sucked through the drain at the bottom of a pool by a great white shark...but I digress.

And thanks to a moment of maternal genius, he even found the courage to poop in the woods.

I was worried that we would have another lavatory incident that would set us back months when he saw those outhouses. Truthfully they were pretty nice outhouses with real toilet seats, just no flush. But he walked in there and was appalled. He doesn't understand how to only breathe through his mouth. So he refused. He even told me he didn't have to go anymore. But I knew he had to go because when he has to go he gets nervous and starts to pace and dart his eyes around. But there was nothing I could do to get him in the outhouse short of brute force, which I knew would end with me covered in pee pee and a son with an anal complex. So I relented, we packed into the car, and left for our hike.

Quarter mile into it my son starts to get twitchy and kvetchy again. I knew it was time. I told him we would go poo poo in the woods like bears. He just had to squat down and I would hold him. We could growl like bears too if he wanted. He wouldn't do it. By now he was starting to cry and pace. I said he could sit on my lap (what the hell was I thinking?). He said no. But then a few seconds later he asked to sit on my lap. Now there was no turning back. So I found a big fallen log (so metaphoric), sat down with my legs wide apart and scooped him up with my hands clasped under his knees so he was sitting like a swing between my legs. Lo and behold, the kid actually pooped. And none of it on me. It was my greatest hour. And his.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Lessons from a Temporary Diabetic

I'm going back to work in a few weeks and I still need to shed a few baby pounds. In fact, I'm actually down to my pre-pregnancy weight but it's all accumulated in new places. Like my gut. And my boobs. I'm okay with the boob part since the "Breastaurant" is still open 24/7. But what the hell am I supposed to do about my gut. My old clothes basically fit I guess, if I were into the "shoved myself into these pants" look. Not super professional.

I'm just not a good dieter. I mean, if there are chocolate raisins in the house, and there are, then I will eat them. And if there are not, I will buy them. And I get super hungry toward the end of the day. Like right now. It's 10pm and all I want is a bowl of cereal. And that's after eating yummy salmon, fresh corn, cous cous and some salad.

But during pregnancy I was an expert dieter. At least for the latter part. I had gestational diabetes so I had to adhere to a super strict diet so that the baby wouldn't get too big inside that lovely sugary environment that my whacked out endocrine system had created for her, unbeknownst to me. I found out at around 30 weeks after my glucola test. My numbers were crazy high. I had been seeing a midwife so if I wanted to keep my midwife I needed to get my sugar levels low without the aid of insulin (once you're on insulin you're deemed a high risk pregnancy and then I would have had to go with an ob/gyn). At that point I had already gained 25 pounds. And with ten weeks left till term, I was on my way toward gaining upward of 40 pounds which could have resulted in a ten pound hypoglycemic baby and a C-section. No thanks. I'll stop eating chocolate.

If only it were that simple. I had to be so strict. Limited carbs, no sweets, no milk or fruit during meals, no fruit after dinner. And no cereal. But I was motivated by this baby inside. I was able to stick to this diet for her, deprive myself the joy of eating whatever I wanted during pregnancy so that she would be healthy. And in fact she was healthy. Only 8.5 pounds. No hypoglycemia. No C-section. A wonderful birthing experience with the guidance of my fabulous midwife and the encouragement of my supportive (and foxy) husband. Because of the diet I didn't gain another ounce from my 30-week checkup. I was essentially losing weight - just instead of dropping it, I was converting it into chubby baby. And I actualy felt much better during the end of this pregnancy than during the end of my first pregnancy. And I was really happy to be more mindful of the food I was putting in my body. Since I had to write everything down and check my blood glucose levels four times a day, I became a super conscientious omnivore.

But now that she's out and my system is back to normal I can't seem to stay on that diet or any diet. The diet wasn't even too bad and some things I even looked forward to (like my low carb fudge ice-cream bar for after-dinner snack every night). But I'm back to drinking juice (big no-no for diabetics). I'm back to eating bigger meals instead of my six small meals. I'm back to gorging on cherries and grapes. (I mean it's fruit for god's sake). But that stuff is pure sugar. And now that I've had gestational diabetes, I'm more prone to get Type 2 (adult onset) diabetes later on. So I should be watching what I eat for my own health. But I don't.

I think it's a mom behavior. I'll do anything for my kids. Even give up cereal. But my own health and well-being doesn't seem to be a strong enough motivator to keep me away from the chocolate raisins. Maybe the threat of looking like a stuffed sausage at work will get me back on track. The imagery alone is probably enough...

Thursday, August 2, 2007

King of the Potty

Well our son is potty trained. And it only took two weeks really. Two weeks and nine months. I made the mistake of listening to a colleague of mine at work who potty trained her three boys using an intensive behavioral modification method. She said it would take a day. Read the book, she said. Buy the pee pee dolly. You'll be diaper free in no time. Not the case.

I made my first attempt last November when my son had just turned two. I was about six months pregnant and thinking it would be really super to only have to diaper one child. So I designated a weekend for potty intervention. I bought "Potty Training in less than a Day" or something like that, and I bought an anatomically correct doll named Paul who came with underwear, a diaper and a mini-potty. I bought all kinds of treats to reinforce positive behavior - brownie bites, popcorn, chocolate raisins. I bought a ton of chocolate milk. I made notes from the book to keep us on track. And my son was a pretty good sport for a while. But the constant asking, "do you have to go to the potty?" "Are your pants dry?" - I started getting a headache. And it was a beautiful day and he was desperate to go to the park. So we did and he peed on the slide. I gave up after he soaked the bed during his nap. I figured I'd try again after the baby was born. Which I did.

By then he was about two and a half and could follow directions better. Plus some of his friends from school had started using the potty. I bought him a new potty, which we called Baby Paul's potty. Whatever. He started peeing in it which was very exciting, but he was terririfed to poop in that thing. I didn't push the issue but I must admit I was getting pretty tired of pulling big poops out of his underwear. His teachers weren't thrilled about it either so I started sending him in pull-ups, those evil diaper substitutes that are twice as expensive and half as absorbent. Then, since he was basically wearing a diaper, he started wetting his pants again.

Anyway, we decided two weeks ago that we would just forget about the diapers and forge ahead with underwear. And it worked. We had a handful of accidents but for the most part the kid is now doing his business in a designated receptacle. Even in public places. I bought a little fold-able plastic potty top that sits on a regular toilet to make the hole smaller (so tiny tushies don't fall in) with elmo and friends on there. He's willing to poop on elmo. Now he's even going by himself and taking down and pulling up his pants. So overall we're thrilled. Except for a few things...

I can't say I'm super happy about having to dump his poop in the toilet after he goes in the potty. First of all, it splashes and then I have to wipe down the toilet. It also stinks like all get out. It's amazing how much the water in a toilet really masks a lot of the smell. And the wiping isn't going that well. I can't get him clean enough. I ask him to bend over so I can be thorough but that feels like a little invasive. And then I have to clean the poop streaks off the potty. Nasty. And not to mention the pee which he insists dumping by himself. This morning he completely missed and poured a quart of piss on the far side of the toilet and all over the seat which I then had to mop up. And that's if it even goes in the potty. If I don't hold his penis down with my finger, he literally sprays straight ahead.

But he's trained. Gone are the days of diapers and Desitin - the last remaining vestiges of his short time as a baby. Another milestone achieved. Another notch on the belt of parenthood. Another reason to adopt a five year old next time around.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Serial Cereal

Our kitchen cabinet looks like the set of Seinfeld. We have like six different boxes of cereal at any given time. And my son has a name for each one. And all I can say is kudos to General Mills for coming up with the brand name Cheerios because it's actually the way my son pronounces the word "Cereal". So now everything is some version of Cheerios. Way to create brand loyalty early. Here's the roster:

Yellow cheerios - Joe's O's from Trader joes
Mommy's cheerios - Fiber O's (yes, I need fiber)
Bue cheerios - frosted shredded wheat in a blue package from Trader Joes
Monkey - Gorrilla Crunch
Mighty Bites - Mighty Bites
This one - Kashi Crunch

And I'm not sure how I allowed this to happen, but every single morning my son wants every single cereal. And like a schmuck I pour a little of everything into a bowl for him. And he notices if I skimp out on any one of the six different cereals. I don't feel too bad because these aren't like fruity pebbles or cocoa crispies. I mean the kid likes fiber cereal. But I'm getting tired of this another in a series of ridiculous routines that we have indulged. Like when he insisted on turning off all of the lights in the house before he went to bed. That lasted about a year. Or how he insists to click the safety belt buckle on his car seat. Pity the grandparent who doesn't remember this little rule. FBT*. Well not anymore. He's slowly growing out of tantrums. Instead you'll get a lecture.

They tell you that kids need routines and it's true. My kid for sure does not like surprises and he thrives in a predictable environment. But try telling him that it's summer and he really doesn't need to wear socks to sleep or long pajamas or be tucked-in with a heavy fleece blanket. He'll be sweating his head off and still insist on the "tuck-in".

I pick my battles. This week it's cereal.
Next visit to the grocery store we're skipping the "cheerio" aisle.

* Full-blown tantrum

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

It's 103

I have a feeling that all toddlers suffer from a mild case of obsessive compulsive disorder. I think it's how they learn. My son asks me at least a hundred times a day if I have my cell phone. And my keys. And my wallet. And is my wallet in my bag. And did I call grandma. And is my phone charging. Over and over and over in a relentless pursuit of affirmation. On the one hand I know he's learning about the art of conversation. He hears us say this kind of stuff all the time. He's mimicking. But on the other hand sometimes I feel like I'm raising Rainman.

And it's not just the repetitive questions. He becomes inexplicably attached to the strangest objects. It's usually the stuff that I use all the time - like my phone, my wallet etc. The other night though he woke up nearly in tears because he wanted to sleep with my Crocs. (?!) This was at 4am. He was calling "I want to wear your Crocs" and wandering around his room half asleep. I brought him back to his bed and he promptly returned to sleep. An hour later he wanted the crocs again so I brought them and he slept with my shoes. I mean, that's weird right?

The crocs was just a one night thing thankfully. The item that seems to have captured his imagination for the longest duration is his ear thermometer. I started using it on him when he was about a year and a half because, frankly, no one is a fan of the rectal thermometer. The ear one is so easy. And he loved it. He liked to check his own temperature, check mine, check his stuffed cat, check Micky Mouse. Then he wanted to carry it around the house and put it in and take it out of its case a trillion times. He wanted to sleep with it. And bring it in the car and to the supermarket. I indulged this behavior for the short while that he was sick but then when he went back to daycare I told him that I had to bring the thermometer back to his doctor since we didn't need it any more. He was not happy about that but little boys should be playing with cars and dolls and play dough, not ear thermometers. He asked about it for the next week and cried a little at the thought of his beloved thermometer. More recently I had to pull it out again to check his temp. It was 103. He spent the next two hours checking his own temperature and reminding me that it was 103. Which it no longer was, but try telling him that. "It's 103" again and again and again.

Now when he sees the thermometer he reminds me that we have to give it back to the doctor. I don't have to hide it anymore which is nice. He's growing up. His magic number remains 103. He got a little soo close to the oven the other day and then quickly backed away.

Him: It's hot.
Me: Yes, you have to be careful sweety.
Him: Is it hot mommy?
Me: Yes, it's very hot in the oven.
Him: Is it 103?

Yes it is.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Lessons from the Menlo Park Train Station

I have both kids at home with me on Mondays so I try to do fun activities to assuage my guilt for sending my son to preschool even though I've been home on maternity leave for the past five months and could have obviously had him home with me as well as the baby. This week's activity was riding the train four stops north to Menlo Park, eating lunch at a cafe, strolling up and down Santa Cruz Avenue and then taking the train home.

On the way home the train was delayed. Another mother was there with her six year old daughter and three year old son. The two kids wer annoying each other and annoying their mother and the train was delayed and mom was becoming undone. She, like me, kept leaning toward the tracks and looking north to see if the train was coming. She did this every few seconds until her daughter piped up:

Girl: If you keep doing that the train will never come.
Mom: Not true because the train is moving very fast.

And I had to laugh to myself. The girl was getting annoyed at her mother's impatience and the mom was basically employing the reasoning skills of a five year old. A momentary role reversal. It happens to me all the time now. Not necessarily role reversal but I let my frustrations get the better of me and I come up with remarks like "I don't want to change your pull-up. You do it!" Very mature. Classic inner toddler.

MAC happy

Is it wrong that I'd rather be playing with my new 20 inch iMac than hanging out with my kids? I haven't used a Mac since I was a sophomore in college15 years ago. The first computer I ever used was a Mac. Actually it was an Apple 2e and I remember that I wrote a paper for 12th grade english on it. Before that I basically wrote everything by hand. I have nice handwriting. But I digress...

The computer belonged to my friend Andrea's mom. Then she upgraded to the little grayish beige box called a Mac and it had a little floppy disc drive which I always thought was so odd since the disc that went in their was not at all floppy. But it wasn't until I went to college that I had to start writing a lot of papers. Totally clueless I asked my Rhetoric professor (who was SOOO cute and named Noah) where the computer lab was and he gave me directions and gave me a diskette and sent me on my way. At that time there were only ten Mac stations and about 30 PC stations in all of the labs. There was always a line for the Macs. So one day I just bit the bullet and hopped on a PC, where I stayed for the next 15 years.

The Mac has changed a lot since the days of black and white screens in a little beige box. This thing is BEAUTIFUL. I'm basically in love. There are a few things I miss - my right click for one. And the photo program, iPhoto, is a little idiosyncratic. But I'm adjusting.

And while I do obviously enjoy spending time with my kids, these last few days what I wouldn't have given for a babysitter. Instead I do everything in my power to make them nap at the same time so I'll have a few precious hours playing with my new toy. My son is on to me I thnk.

Him: Why is baby crying?
Me: She's taking her nap.
Him: But she's crying.
Me: She'll stop soon and take her nap.
Him: Is she ti-yud?
Me: Yes.
Him: Then why is she screaming?
Me: She doesn't know that she needs to sleep but she does and so do you.
Him: So you can use your big, white computer?


Friday, July 20, 2007

Confessions from a crappy daughter-in-law

I called my husband today at around 3:00pm and when he answered I started singing happy birthday to me because I just bought myself a new iMac for my birthday (which isn't until September, but never mind) and in the middle he says, "Oh shit!" And it's then that we realize that it's his mom's birthday. And since she lives ten time zones away, we are totally screwed.

In my defense, my watch actually says it's the 19th. That's a fact. It's an analog watch and it goes to the 31st every month no matter how many days. So it's been a day behind since June. What's worse is that I'm actually creating a family calendar for my husband's family reunion in September so everyone, including my mother-in-law, has, as recently as two days ago, sent me their birthdays and anniversaries. But the worst of the worse is that she actually emailed both of us this morning having heard that there was an earthquake an hour north of us and were we okay. WE BOTH REPLIED WITH NO MENTION OF THE BIRTHDAY. Oh the shame of it.

Had we not BOTH replied that we were fine we could have surely used the earthquake as our excuse. We were trapped under the rubble of our house so we couldn't call or email! Alas, foiled by our own honesty and oblivion.

And now that I am a mom too I would be pissed if any of my kids forgot my birthday. I cut them some slack now because they're only five months and 2+ years old, but that free pass expires pretty soon and if I don't get lavish birthday greetings and presents on the actual day of my birth in the time zone that I currently reside (but mom, it's still your birthday in Western Samoa...), well they will both be grounded. I mean the years of sacrifice my mother-in-law endured to raise her three kids (okay it wasn't THAT painful, I'm sure. Especially in retrospect. It was actually probably pretty worthwhile, by her account) to then have your middle son and his poor excuse for a wife FORGET and then try to back pedal by sending a video of their son singing happy birthday on the porch (cheap shot, I know). Well it's a disgrace.

We'll find a way to make it up to her. If it means making her one more grandchild, well I'm willing to make that happen to rectify this terrible transgression. But first I need to change the date on my watch.

I love the smell of urine in the morning

I knew it was a bad idea. My husband was putting my son's pajamas on and asked if he could wear his elmo undies tonight. He'd been dry for the last five mornings so I figured, what the hell right? But then when I asked Mr. Underwear if he would sit on the potty for me before going to bed he started to whine.

Noooooo....I'm ti-yud. I want to go to sleep.

He had that pouty puss look and I was certain he'd wet his bed but I just could not be hassled to:
A). Wrestle with him onto the potty
B). Wrestle him out of his elmos and into a pull-up

Plus, he's always wiggly at bedtime so the idea that he might actually just go to sleep without a big production because he was, as he claimed, "ti-yud", well I just couldn't pass it up.

Indeed he was tired and went to sleep without a peep. Until 5am.

The horror. The horror.

I hear him bellowing, "I don't want it. I don't want it." The IT in this case referring to the liter of urine that he is now lying in. So I get annoyed and start lecturing him about how he needs to listen to mommy and go pee pee before he goes to sleep as I'm peeling off his wet pajamas and stripping his bed. Of course it was obviously my fault for not putting him back in his pull-up, but in the fuzziness that is 5am everything is his fault, or my husband's fault or god's fault.

One thing I know for sure, tonight is a pull-up night.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Milk brain

My maternity leave is quickly coming to an end. I'm actually very grateful for the extended leave (six months!) and I'm only going back three days a week which is delightful. But I'm sad to leave my baby girl. That, in addition to the fact that I detest pumping, my daughter won't take a bottle from anyone but me, or tolerate being held by anyone but me, and there are seven other runny-nosed germy kids at the family daycare where she's enrolled. How I hate snot...

But I'm especially nervous about being a professional again with responsibilities outside of the domestic domain. Because I tell you my brain is mush. And it's not so obvious at first glance. I don't say things like, "I'll be in the meeting in a second; I have to make poopy." I just can't remember anything and the wiring in my brain is a little wacko.

An example:
I took the baby to my mom's house in southern California for a long weekend a few weeks ago. I knew that my flight home was at 8:00 pm so we got to the airport at 6:45 but San Jose (my destination) is not on the monitor so I ask the curbside guy to go inside and see when the San Jose flight is leaving. He comes out and says it’s been delayed until 7:20. This makes PERFECT sense to me for some reason. I figure I have a little extra time. Baby is screaming and now I've leaked through my bra and shirt so I need to change in my mom’s car. By now it’s 7:00 and I bring her inside to nurse her before we check in, knowing the plane is leaving at 7:20 (!) but also knowing that my flight is at 8:00 (?!). At 7:18 I jump up panicked with the baby hanging off my boob and run up to the counter blabbering about having probably missed my flight to San Jose. They look up my name and I’m not even on the flight, which is currently taxiing down the runway. This makes no sense. Then they take my credit card number and look me up and apparently I am scheduled to leave at 8:00, as I thought, but to Phoenix! I booked my return flight to Phoenix! So they put me on the flight to San Jose for the 8:00 am the next morning and my mom comes back to get me at the airport. We get in the car and drive to a Chinese restaurant for dinner (15 minutes from the airport) and I realize my suitcase is not in the trunk. I left it outside the airport on the sidewalk. Praying that they haven't called in the bomb squad to blow up this "suspicious item" we drive back and it’s waiting for me at the Southwest desk. The woman there was about to send it off to Phoenix.

I asked my mom, did it make sense to YOU that my 8:00 pm flight had been DELAYED to 7:20? She said of course not, but apparently so much of what I say makes no sense to her that she just decided to go with it.

There was a study once which showed a statistically significant correlation between lactation and loss of brain functioning. I'd quote from it right now if I could remember where I put it...