Saturday, August 30, 2008

Wax on, wax off

I think much can be learned from the communication styles of the Vietnamese woman who waxes my eyebrows. Or at least two things:

1. Tell it like it is. When I was pregnant with my daughter she asked if I knew what I was having and I said no. Everyone had told me I was having another boy because I carry pretty high. I was desperate for a girl so very pleased when the woman told me she knew that I was having a girl. You getting very fat around your butt. You have girl.

2. Repeating the question or concern shows that you are listening and puts to rest any doubt that what I've said was never heard. If I say, "this time, keep the length," she says, "keep length." And so it goes:

Me: I want to keep the thickness too.
Her: You want thick.
Me: So just keep it the same but clean it up.
Her: Same but clean.

Maybe I'll write a book called The Manicurist's Guide to Relationships.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Eat. Play. Dough.

What a great weekend we had. The highlight for today was sitting on our porch reading my new book, Eat Pray Love, which I am enjoying so much, while my daughter played with her play dough. She was in her usual post-nap happy spirits. There was a slight breeze. The play dough was still in a malleable state (which is not always the case after months of non-use). It was divine.

So for an hour I read and she mashed the play dough and mixed up all the colors into a big swirly mess. And then she tried to sort them back into their cylinders. And then she took a taste and grimaced, then laughed. And I laughed. What a great girl. What a treat to spend the whole weekend with her.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Girl's weekend

It's just me and the baby this weekend. The boys went to Lake Powell in Arizona to rent a boat and go camping with my husband's brother and his family. I have to say that it is so easy to take care of one baby. Even solo. I mean, really. Why did I think it was so challenging when my son was born to manage with just the one. It used to take us like an hour just to leave the house and meet friends. How embarrassing...

Anyway, the good news with all of this, in addition to some nice mellow time with her majesty, is that I actually have some time in the evening to do what I want to do. With my son he goes to bed sometimes at 9:30 and after the struggle with the bath and then pajamas and then a snack and then teeth-brushing and then stories and then lullabies and then he needs his water bottle and he forgot to go pee pee and I literally just want to put a pen in my eye from the whole production. So by 9:30 I'm knackered. Just throw me in the hamper.

But not today. 7:45 and baby was out. That wasn't the case though a few nights ago. I just couldn't get the baby to bed. And my son wasn't helping the situation. So I just threw up my hands and said who gives a rat's ass anyway besides Julio. And instead of fighting and dragging on the struggle, we just all went into the living room and watched Olympic platform diving. They loved it. The baby clapped her head off every time a diver hit the water. My son was mesmerized by all the acrobatics. And then at 10pm when my husband came home (he had to work late, which is quite rare thankfully) he put the baby down and I shuttled my son off to bed without incident.

And I gave myself a little pat on the back for going with the flow which, often times, is not in my nature. But baby and I are going with the flow this weekend. I'll let you know where we end up.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


My brother called me today at work and completely caught me off guard. Do you remember Dad's drink? he asked. I hadn't thought about my dad's drink in years. Stoli Gibson straight up, not to dry, with a twist. It rolled off the tongue. What a random question for a random Thursday in August. But then I checked the date. It was (is) his birthday. My brother was in DC for a short business trip and out to dinner with a friend. So he ordered my dad's drink, said a l'chaim and swigged it. He would have been 69 today. But he died when he was 52. And I was 18. And I was thinking about college, not preschool.

I was startled when my brother called because I actually hadn't thought about my dad all day, which is weird because I usually think about him a few times a day. My son looks just like him. Unfortunately I mostly think about everything he's missed and how he would have enjoyed being a grandpa. I'm not sure how much he enjoyed being a father though I have no way of really knowing. I tell myself it was a different time. Fathers were less involved. Less engaged. He provided for his family. But he spent his free time playing golf. At least that's how I remember it. My husband spends his "free time" at the park.

But I think he would have really loved being a grandfather. That would have felt just right for him. He would have been silly and made up words and sang songs. He loved show tunes. And sometimes I can just picture him doing a puzzle with my son or reading a story to my baby girl. Or I'll see her toddling through the park with her crazy brown curls bouncing and I'll think he would have really loved this crazy girl. Thankfully they don't feel the loss. Just me.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I'm not a cosleeper. I have nothing against co-sleeping except that I think it prevents all parties from actually getting rest. I certainly like the idea of parents being close to their babies and snuggling into sleep together and spooning all night in a giant heap of bonded human flesh and pajamas. It just doesn't work for me. Because my kids sleep perpendicular. It doesn't matter how many times I line them up or tell them to sleep straight or rearrange them in their sleep, they always end up with either their feet or their heads in my back.

I don't get it. My son is actually getting better at staying parallel but my daughter is in some kind of relentless pursuit of right angles. She just can't line up. The very instant I put her in the bed and lay down next to her she does a half roll with a twist and ends up with her spongy butt on my head. And since it usually happens in the wee hours of the morning because she's started shrieking at 5am and I don't want her to wake up her brother, she generally has seven liters of urine in her diaper and the stench that goes with it.

Last night was particularly bad. She woke up at 3:30 am and since she just had her 18 month shots I didn't want to let her cry. So I picked her up and as we were walking toward my room she pointed toward the kitchen and raised her eyebrows. So I made her a bottle. What a sucker I am. Then we went back to "sleep". After half an hour of her wiggling around with her feet on my neck I'd had enough and put her in her crib. She immediately woke up and started screaming again. A minute later my son starts crying for me to take the baby away. What could I do? I went in to get her and told him to go back to sleep. I then put her on the floor next to me in my room on the quilt where my son sometimes sleeps if he has a nightmare. She's happy again. Five minutes later he comes in and wants to sleep with me too so he lays down on the other side. Now I'm sandwiched. Eventually they both fall asleep and I sneak into my bed. Half an hour later my son wants to still sleep with me so he climbs into bed and at this point I can't even form words I'm so exhausted so I just pull the covers over my head and try to find my happy place which is a king size bed in a locked room in a luxury hotel on a deserted island.

Tonight my husband is at a concert with friends and I had big plans to get everyone in their own beds and asleep by 8:00 pm. Foiled again. My son's in our bed, my daughter's in his bed (perpendicular to the wall of course). I guess that leaves the crib for me.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Big undies

A few months ago I noticed my son's underwear was starting to get a little snug and dilapidated. I end up having to rip out the tags because they bug him and then the elastic starts to come out and after a number of washes (and believe me these things get washed a lot. If I had a nickel for every time I heard mommy, I made a tiny bit of pee pee in my undies...) they start to fall apart. Anyway, I found some at Carters that were tagless so I bought the 4T-5T with dinosaurs and presented them to my son. He took one look and burst into tears.

Him: These are for Aba!
Me: No sweety pie, these are for you. You're getting bigger so I bought you bigger undies.
Him: I'm just a little boy and these are too big for me. Aba can wear them.
Me: But if you're going into preK honey then you're big enough to wear bigger undies.
Him: But I'm not in preK yet. I'm just a little boy.

I've used the preK card a few times with surprising success. He's very excited about being in preK so sometimes I can say, if you continue to behave like that, Miss Rhonda won't let you into preK. No dice on this occasion. Apparently he doesn't want to wear anything that might suggest he's older than he is and underwear is no exception. I guess. This is all conjecture. I have no idea what the hell he's thinking. But to his credit, it will be a cold day in hell before I start wearing those giant granny panties so maybe he has a point...

Then yesterday he was getting ready for bed and wearing his too tighty whities when he started scratching at his back and complaining that he was getting a rash. So I told him that his underwear is too small and giving him a rash and that he's probably ready to wear his bigger ones.

Him: You mean Aba's with the dinosaurs?
Me: Yes. We could try them?

He relented and agreed to put them on. I sent him to the mirror to look and he was DELIGHTED.

Then tonight we put the baby to bed and the three of us were eating melon for desert. My husband and son had two little bowls and I was lazy and just eating from the big bowl in the middle. And then my husband started to eat from the big bowl too.

Him: Can I eat out of the big bowl too when I finish with my little bowl of melon?
Me: Sure honey
Him: Because I wear big underwear like you and Aba so I can eat out of the big bowl.

Pretty solid argument. Who knew underwear could be so empowering. Wait, duh. Of course I knew that.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sitter situation

Here's the deal. I had bronchitis and then we went to New York for a week for my cousin's wedding and to visit my in-laws who flew in from Israel for my husband's grandmother's ninety-fifth birthday. So that's why I've been MIA. And now I have all kinds of stories stored up in my head. Where to begin...

Let's go back a few weeks to July 26th when I meant to write about going to see the John Mayer concert with my husband and brother and sister-in-law. Great show. We don't often go out because getting a babysitter is such an ordeal. The last time we got one the babysitter called from her train in San Francisco because there was a fatality somewhere on the southbound line and she was stuck so we had thirty minutes to find a back-up before we needed to leave for our friends' wedding in a town an hour away. I scrambled and managed to find the friend of our old babysitter. When we left my son he was basically having a seizure, beside himself with grief that we were leaving him with a perfect stranger. I can hardly blame him. But still, did he have to be so dramatic?

Where was I? Yes, John Mayer. He is a tasty little morsel I must say. So we told my brother to get us tickets and I set up our usual babysitter who is lovely and sweet, but not the sharpest cheddar in the refrigerated section, if you know what I mean. And even though she's babysat for us at least a half dozen times, my son had a major come-apart because of the last ordeal and shrieked for twenty minutes until we finally left.

Anyway the concert was great and when we got home our babysitter said all was fine. But all was not fine. I mean no one was bleeding and she'd even cleaned up the hosue which was nice. But when I went in to check on my daughter she was sleeping in her crib wearing only her diaper lying on a sheet drenched with some kind of liquid. Then I saw her bottle in there with her. What in the hell?

I took her out and put her on my son's bed (he was sleeping in our room) and changed her sheet. The mystery liquid was milk. I got her into pajamas and realizing she hadn't had any milk since it was all in her crib, I made her a new bottle which she drank and went back to sleep. When I opened the bottle I came to understand that the babysitter had not put the valve in correctly so when my daughter tried to drink her milk it basically spilled all over her. I can only imagine the crying that that caused. What an idiot! Granted, this bottle is not the most sensical design but it's not quantum physics. It's just regular physics! I mean my son could have figured this one out. Shit, my DAUGHTER could have figured it out. Uch.

And it's not just this babysitter. The one before, the friend of the old babysitter, seemed like a competent 19-year-old. But when I went in to get my daughter the following morning she was drenched in her own pee. Why, you ask? Because the babysitter had put the diaper on backwards so all the absorbent part was on her tushy. I don't even know how she managed to get it on that way. It would have required her to put the sticky tape part on around her back. Huh?

I feel like if you can't make a bottle or change a diaper you shouldn't be offering your services as a babysitter. Maybe I'm too nonchalant in my hiring. I just take recommendations from friends and then hope for the best. It really shouldn't be this difficult. I can't decide what's worse, sleeping hungry and naked in milk or sleeping with a full belly in your own pee. Or some new babysitter whose shortcomings are undisclosed. I'm throwing my hands up.