Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fine by her

I may have mentioned that my daughter had a very condensed terrible twos. It was really only a few months where she was an absolute shrew which, when you compare it to the two years we suffered with my son, well it's hardly even a stage. More like a blip. I don't doubt it will roar its ugly head again at any unforeseen point in the near or distant future (likely when we're in a crowded supermarket or airport terminal) but for now I'm really loving the break. It's so nice because everything appears to be OK with her. Do you want to have breakfast? OK. Do you want to go pee pee on the potty? OK. Sushi for dinner? OK. Can you let mommy sleep another hour? OK. It's insane. Does she even know what she's saying? I think so. I mean she has literally potty trained herself. Not entirely but she's quite happy to go pull her little potty off the shelf, plunk down and take a whiz. Then she gets herself some toilet paper, does a quick wipe and goes to wash her hands. It's alarming. And she's perfectly happy to go in her diaper too which is good because I was caught unprepared for this latest shift and I'm just not ready yet myself for her to be potty trained. Diapers are so easy...but I digress. The girl is really a champ. Even when I ask her to give a toy to her brother who is meanwhile in a sobbing heap on the floor because she has the princess make-up bag (which is hers).

Now I don't know if it's because she's the second child or she's a girl or it's just in her nature. Frankly I don't care. I never look a gift horse in the mouth. I will chalk it up to excellent parenting and reward myself with a Nutella pita sandwich.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Happy anniversary to me

I just happened to look at my blog archive today thinking I've been writing in this thing for nearly two years. I thought I'd started in July. Turns out I started exactly on June 29 of 2007. So there you go. That's today. Happy Anniversary to Me! I'm surprised I made it this long. I usually get bored of activities after a few weeks. Maybe months. But two years is EPIC. And more than ever it is true that the more things change, the more things stay the same. Which is why I will celebrate with my usual: Nutella in a pita.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Two productions

On Friday was my son's graduation from preschool and I was promised by all of the teachers that I'd better bring at least one box of tissues because it was sure to be a sob-fest. And in fact it was very sweet and quite a production. I was very proud of my son, even when he told me mid-song to stop looking at him. It was fun to see him sing all of the songs he'd been practicing at home for the last four months and even a few in Mandarin and Spanish (yes, we live in California) that's I'd never heard. And I felt very assured by the end of the production that we were making the right decision to send him to the Young Fives program at the JCC. Something about him hardly smiling, eyes darting around the room and his general seriousness made me think another year of play and self assurance would be great for him. But I can't say I cried. I welled up a little when I saw his teacher start crying as she was handing out the diplomas (did I mention they were all wearing pint size caps and gowns?). But the sob-fest unexpectedly happened the day after when I went with my husband, brother and sister-in-law to see another production.

I am a writer without words on this one. We went to see Wicked in San Francisco and from the moment they all started singing I just started sobbing. The set, the costumes, the lighting and those VOICES. George Jesus, those were some amazing voices. And the lyrics and the story. So clever. So much talent. So many artists shining up there. And I imagined them at various ages telling there parents they wanted to be performers, dancers, actors, singers. And I imagined those parents wishing their kids would just lead happy lives and not the ones that come with a TON of rejection and struggle. But these kids did it. They made it. They're starring in this unbelievably magical show together, waving their "I'm going to be who I am no matter what" flag. By the end of the performance I was on my feet clapping hysterically and sobbing with joy. Am I pregnant or what? The answer to that one is a definitive no. Nonetheless, I could hardly contain myself at this performance. Girl, you need to get out more. And then I imagined bringing my kids to see it when they're a little bit older and waiting outside the backstage door to meet the actors and hoping they would leave the theater, like me, inspired to fly.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Owls and frogs and fish, OH MY!

Well, this is my second day solo and I have plenty of thoughts on the matter, namely that days go by quickly when there is so much to do and no one is paying you to surf the Internet from your cubicle. But days also include working out which is good. And days don't include binging on whatever food is left over from the noon meeting. Also good. In sum, I would say things are KICKASS. That's a shout out to my oldest brother whose birthday is today.

A few new animal friends to share. Owl, Fish and Frog. You're shocked by the names, I know. I was shocked too.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Bye Bye Shutterfly

Today is my last day of work at Shutterfly. It's bittersweet. Well maybe semi-sweet. I've really enjoyed being in the creative services group and as I told them all at the waffle breakfast they prepared in honor of my departure (!) working here was an important step toward venturing out on my own in the creative world. They even gave me a paper cutter as a going away present. Talk about knowing how to make a girl feel loved. And it's a big industrial one too. I'm getting tingly just thinking about it.

But the timing is amazing. Just yesterday my iron-transfers were feature on Design Mom and orders started coming in. And the Stanford Children's Hospital has accepted my donation of Inner Toddler prints (the little guys in my header) and then they ordered my entire collection of animals for the hospital. I just have to keep building on this momentum. Feels good.

The good news for you all is that I will be spending twice as much time with my kids going forward which means way more time for them to make me crazy and ultimately way more content for this blog. You see, win win.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Off button

A friend of mine recently posted about how her four year old is driving her nuts with all of his questions, especially since most of the time he knows the answer. My son does that too. But I have to say what's more annoying is his endless making sense of everything. The other day I was trying to figure out how to use the new calling card I just bought so I could finally call my friend Miriam in Israel and my son was just piping away about the inner workings of my scanner. It went something like this:

Mommy, scanners are really good for sending pictures to grandma because you can open the lid, put the picture in it, press the button and listen for the scanning noises, whooszh, whooszh, and then the picture comes on the computer so you can put it in an email and send it Grandma! And then if I want to send another picture I just open the lid again and take out the first picture and put in another one, maybe of a frog or something like that, and then I do the whole thing again. Or maybe a rainbow or a triangle. But sometimes it's better if we print pictures, right mommy? Because then I just have to press the button so it turns orange and then you can press print when you click the mouse and then you put the paper in that I can't touch even though I really like paper but you say my hands are dirty but I just washed them and then I press the button again so the paper goes in and then the inks go! And they make the colors! Like the rainbow! Is it better to scan or to print mommy? I like printing better because then we can see the rainbow colors unless the printer needs more ink and then I have to open it for you and see the blinking light on the inks and take one out and you have to unwrap the new one and I put it in and then we close the lid again! And then I push the off button. We're really good at printing and scanning, right mommy? I love you mommy.

I wish it was as simple as pushing the off button. I had to finally walk away from the computer because I felt a brain hemorrhage coming on.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The letter

So he's all signed up for the Young Fives program at the JCC. We even got funding which to be honest I find completely ridiculous. Yes, my son has a scholarship to go to preschool. And the preschool families all get a year of JCC membership which is fabu because it's brand new and will have a rad kiddie pool and all kinds of classes and spaces and places and things and we can't wait. So much so that now we're kicking ourselves for not signing up our daughter so that they could be together for one more year. And that is why I spent another $100 to send in her application (it was less expensive for me to apply to business school but never mind) and I will apply for financial aid again even though they've already given out all the money and there isn't even space in the two year old class for her anyway. Whatever. Details. It will all work out. And if she ends up going to the family day care around the corner, probably all the better since it's cheap and amazing and we love it.

So all is settled (sort of) and then we get the letter on Saturday that they opened up a third kindergarten class at the magnet (public school) program that we were wait-listed for and we're in. WE'RE IN! And I'm back at the beginning where I don't know what to do and everyone has an opinion but no one really knows this kid like we do except he's really two kids; he's the kid at school and he's the kid at home. And the kid at home still falls apart completely when he doesn't have an apple every single night for snack. (this sounds crazy but some nights I just really don't want to add cutting an apple to the six hundred step good-night ritual even though I usually cave and do it anyway because it's an apple after all. Nature's tooth brush. Don't worry - I still brush his teeth).

And now I've come to understand that parents who live in other states, most of which have a September 1 cut-off, often hold their kids back too except these kids are being held back with May, June and July birthdays...so that means my kid would be going to college at 17 with kids who are already 19 and change.

But it's a lottery, this program. So if we don't grab it, we may not get in next year. Friends have told me if it really doesn't work out he can just repeat kindergarten. But don't kids remember that their whole lives and feel bad about themselves? That's probably just me projecting. Someone just make this decision for me.

Remind me to have my next baby in March.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sad Women

I find myself without a TV show addiction now that Lost is off the air until next January. What is with these producers? Don't they know that EVERYONE would watch the repeats? And anyway now that my analog TV doesn't work it doesn't much matter. We have the converter but our antenna just broke. Thank god for broadband Internet.

So I sent my husband to the video store last weekend to get Mad Men, which I'd heard was really good. And it is. I'm liking it a lot. If you don't watch it, it's about Madison Avenue advertising agencies set in 1960 NYC and the misogynistic men who run them. It's a little slow, too slow for my husband, but I'm enjoying the history lesson. My friend Alice, who is 75, watches and says it's all true to a tee. We had lunch the other day and she was telling me that it's a wonder any of them survived the 50s and into the 60s. The smoking and the drinking and the categorical disregard for women and their needs. Or any minority for that matter. She said she looks back now and is ashamed that she didn't even realize the fog they were all in (and she was one of the less foggy ones). You think about the women of the 20s , 30s and 40s with all of their spunk and gumption. They had businesses and ran families and fought for their rights and questioned authority and survived incredible hardships. Then men came back from war and the country started to prosper again and suddenly you were meant to believe that your one true ambition in life was to have babies asleep and dinner waiting for your husband every night. I would have been a miserable failure.

Then of course my mind starts jumping around and I'm thinking about women in the Islamic world today made to cover themselves entirely and sometimes denied education and generally kept way down by the moral code of the land. And I thought, is it so much different from the 50s? Maybe just more overt. In both societies, women are sexualized. In Islamic societies they are covered up presumably to protect their honor. In the 50s they were made to wear pointy bras and high heals and cinched waists to exploit them for the amusement of men. Which scenario is more or less respectful? Sure, I'd rather be wearing a Chanel suit than a burka, but you can kind of see my point.

Anyway, it just got me thinking that even though we have so much more to do to achieve equal rights in America, we have made wondrous strides. So maybe there's hope for women around the world suffering through their own version of the 50s. Time will tell.

Friday, June 12, 2009

New Art

In the midst of declaring that I'm an artist and starting this business and generally flapping my arms and running around like a crazy goose, I sort of stopped painting. In my defense, it did come to pass that my "studio" (read: my pregnant friend's house) has been less available for the last few weeks because my pregnant friend and her husband (my other friend) are now parents and have enough going on without me spreading my paints out all over their kitchen table. So this week I painted in my husband's office after hours which was fine but a little spooky (empty and isolated business park, giant vacant office space, enter Janitor...cue: horror music in my head).

But I was able to finish painting something I'd sketched a month ago and here it is. This one is called "Narrow Bridge".

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Belly fat stalkers

Are the belly fat people following you too? You know who I'm talking about? These banner ads on Hotmail and wherever else (rather EVERYWHERE else) talking about how I lost 4 lbs. of belly fat by obeying one old rule. And the ad shows some chubby woman's midsection atop another, likely altogether different, woman's svelte midsection. And it's endorsed by ABC, Oprah, CNN and the Today Show. Sometimes Ellen too. And the ad is so cheap! I mean they are clearly spending a boat load of money to fly this bunch of ads all over the place and couldn't spend a hundred bucks for a designer to pump up the pixels a little? What gives? Who are these people? Who do they think they're kidding? And for the love of ginger, STOP FOLLOWING ME!

Because it's working. I'm starting to feel bad about myself. Never mind that from the moment I turned 35 my metabolism all but came to a complete standstill. Never mind that my clothes are all tight including my designer jeans that I got for $15 which now make me look like a stuffed sausage. Forget all that. I'm just wondering what piece of information these people have that's making them bombard me with "lose belly fat" messaging. Is it because they know I had babies? Because they know I'm between the age of 29 and 39? Because they know I love Nutella?

Curiosity got the best of me so I googled "lose belly fat obey one rule" and I found this blog posting on Cranky Fitness which made me laugh my ass off. Then I no longer had to wonder, maybe it is that easy. Maybe I can just melt away five years of radical weight gain and loss? Alas, it is a giant scam. Obviously. I knew this. But still needed to verify. So that's it belly people. The jig is up! I'm on to you. I googled and I won. So now it's time for some other ads to follow this mommy. Like ones for vacations or spas or a free yoga class in my neighborhood.

Back off belly fat.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Nothing sticks

We used to put star stickers on a calendar for my son when he had a whine-free day or some such other amorphous distinction. And we'd give him a monster sticker if he was bad. Or we'd threaten the monster sticker. He used to completely come apart at the very thought of a monster sticker on his calendar to the point where I just didn't have the heart to ever give him one. Anyway, it never really worked, the whole sticker thing. Mostly because the reward was not for something concrete (really, is there ever a whine-free day? Let's be honest with ourselves…). I could see how stickers might work for making your bed or brushing your teeth—these are measurable behaviors. Not for the absence of whining. But we also weren't especially consistent, plus I could never follow through with the monster. Too damaging. I had wanted simple green dots and red dots but couldn't find any. The monsters were actually super cute. Mrs. Grossmans. Love that woman. What's my point here…

Anyway, a few weeks ago I turned around and told my son that he could give me stickers every time I did my workout video on a given day. It lasted for about three days. It appears that nothing really motivates me to exercise. Not even stickers. Plus, my two kids always felt compelled to do the exercises with me and I was often scared of dropping a weight on someone's tiny toes. But the site of the two of them, often naked, flinging their arms around and doing kicks and poses, looking from the TV to me and back to the TV—I could hardly contain my laughter. But even that's not enough to make me exercise every day.

Monday, June 8, 2009

New Inner Toddler iron transfers

I couldn't resist. For sale on ETSY.