Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Kids 1, Parents 0

It is the official start of the holiday season in our household as we began the quest for a tolerable holiday photo to send out to all of our family and friends. Unfortunately, last year the bar was set way too high as we got one of those unintentional gems that people are still talking about. This year, I am sad to say, has the makings of a real bust.

We started on the couch in the living room and quickly disintegrated into games of peek a boo and all around the mulberry bush through the coffee table legs. 57 pictures later there is not a single usable one. Not even one that could be digitally remastered. The kids ended up in tears, M lost his temper, and the camera went on the fritz.

I'm already bucking for a holiday picture from our month in Maine this summer. So the kids are in bathing suits. At least they are smiling and happy. Meanwhile, my sister's arrived today all nicely framed with Baby C holding a dove and gazing thoughtfully into the distance. Arghhh.

Happy bloody holiday season.

Should I be pleased or offended?

A mommy of one of C's playgroup friends called me up asking if we were interested in going out to dinner with her and her husband. You see, they were looking for a couple to join them in a night of beer- swilling and pizza, and we were the only folks they could think of that they could invite out for such an occasion.

I think I am choosing to be pleased. There is nothing wrong with being a beer-swilling, pizza-eating type of friend. Even if I hate beer with a passion. Do you think I actually have to swill the beer, or can I sip a wine while others swill?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Family Ties

Lately C has been trying to figure out how this whole family thing works. It has become clear to him that Nana and Auntie M (my sister) are VERY important people in the hierarchy, heck, it's even clear to A. When you get a phone call (or two or three) from someone in the course of every day, clearly they are someone to pay attention to. Plus, Nana makes muffins and pancakes. City Grandma and Grandpa are important. Grandpa J (my dad) is the fixer of all broken things.

Yesterday C asked "Will Baby C [my sister's daughter] always be my cousin just like A will always be my sister?" "Yes," I replied. "She will always be your cousin." C sighed happily. "That's good. When I'm grown up I'm going to visit Baby C and bring my kids to play with her kids and it will be a grand playdate." Then he paused. "Will you come to visit me and my kids when I'm all grown up?" "Of course I will. I'll be their Nana. And Nanas love to visit their kids and grandkids." C sighed happily again. "That's good. You'll be the best Nana in the world. Except for the real Nana of course." Good to know where I rank.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Whiney Whine, Wine

I tried oh so hard today to come up with something amusing, thoughtful, or really anything non-whiney to write about. But we ended up stuck in the house for yet another day (count them, there have been ten now) so whines are all I've got. And really, I'm not trying to win anything over at Phantom's.

"Why," you ask "are you still in the house? I thought the fever broke?" Well, A's fever may be gone, but she has now developed a "viral rash." Apparently the nasty little bug isn't quite done with us yet. As a result, here we sat. Again. Alone. By ourselves. Not even a glimpse of the mailman.

To occupy ourselves we spent a lot of time inspecting our navels. Literally. A got sick of me checking her tummy on an hourly basis in hopes that the rash has disappeared, which would give us liberty to go out and about amongst the people again. So to get my desperate checks in, we started a belly button game. I would shout "Belly button! Belly button!" And we would all lift our shirts and inspect our belly buttons. Yup, it was a real exciting day over here.

Thankfully, M left the office early and made it home in time for me to sit here sipping my (real) wine and finishing this entry while he handles baths. I must have sounded really desperate at lunch. In fact I'm sure I did. I sounded desperate to myself. And my mother. And my sister, who I am fairly confident will never have a second child as a result of listening to me. And even my dad. I was desperate enough to call my dad. At work.

I am very hopeful that Panicky Nurse was correct when I called her at 8:35 this morning about the rash and it will be gone in 24 to 48 hours. Because if it is not, well, I might just have to hop a plane to Australia and convince the Wiggles to find another line of work. I pay well, and between all four of them they could probably handle my children. And I think if I offered up the Wiggles at a day care provider, my children wouldn't even miss me.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Hallelujah

A woke up this morning with a temp of 96.8. While I'm not one to count chickens at 7:30 in the morning, I'm all for counting a couple of roosters. Cock-a doodle-doo. The real test will be 5 pm tonight I suppose, but I am hopefully that our call to the wonderful Dr. S tomorrow morning will consist of a "Thank you so much, glad to tell you it is all gone."

In the meantime I am going to get to work sanitizing my house to ensure that no one else gets this horrid little bug.

Thank you everyone for your virtual support. I tend to be a bit of a hysterical mommy when my kids are sick. I will now try yet again to return you to your regularly scheduled blogging experience.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Prayer to the Fever Gods

Well, yeah. Still no real clue as to what is causing A's high fevers. They did a catheter (my poor baby) to rule out a UTI, although once she saw the pee the ped said she would eat her hat if it turned out to be one. If she still has the fever on Monday they're going to start the battery of blood tests and etc. to rule out the really scary things. So we are going to spend the weekend doing little dances to the Fever Gods and trying not to obsessively take her temperature.

She is such a good girl. She didn't even cry when they inserted the catheter. I cried, she just gave me this hurt little look and sniffed. I hate it when my kids are sick.

Will they go to Harvard or Yale?

A still has a fever of 103. I believe this is day 8. Maybe 9, if you count the fact that she felt hot the day before I first took her temp but just figured I had cold hands as she was acting just fine. On Monday the verdict was random viral thing. But her fever hit 104 at about 11 last night, so I feel like I at least have to call and ask if they need to see her again as a week strikes me as a long time to be running a fever of 103+.

Once I place the call I know we will be headed in as I always seem to get Panicky Nurse who insists I bring my children in to get checked even if I am just calling to ask for the Pedicare dosage. But if I ask specifically to talk with Calm Nurse who actually listens to my opinion, I still end up with Panicky Nurse. Sometimes I wonder why they even bother having nurses screen the calls as I have very rarely had one tell me that I didn't have to bring my child in.

I honestly think this is one of those really annoying viral things that just won't go away. The child is sleeping as well (or as poorly) as she always does, drinking up a storm, and eating (when the mood strikes her). Last night she started acting a bit sicker as she actually lay on my lap for an entire Sesame Street (yep, the Dingers are still dinging here Chez J-E). Which may seem like a normal thing to you, but in 18 months A has never once put her head on my lap OR sat still for an entire TV show, so the combo of the two is actually a little disturbing. So hi ho, hi ho, it's off to Dr. S's we go. We have apparently entered the season during which my children single handedly put my pediatrician's future children through college. Do you think she'll invite us to their graduations?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Bilingual at 18 months?

C: "Mommy, Mommy, she said my name!!!!"

Mommy: "She did? Do you think so?"

C: "Yes, she did. It was just in Spanish."

Uh, OK. If it makes him happy. It sounded an awful lot like cookie to me though, and she was holding a chocolate chip one...

Some random thoughts on Sesame Street

I seem to be slowly returning from the land of the cold-ridden, brain-fogged mommy. It's been a good half-hour since I blew my nose, and I can almost put a complete sentence together again. Except that I've been sleep walking through the last few days, so I don't really have much to write about besides the Sesame Street episode we've watched a good ten times already. The same episode, over and over again. I know they learn from repetition, but let's be honest, how much learning actually comes from Sesame Street?

What I've learned over the past 48 hours is that there are in fact a few episodes that Elmo does not play a feature role. And that they are still repeating a bunch of segments that I remember from my childhood. Like the one where the penguin tap dances on the iceberg. I always liked that one. I didn't learn anything from it, but I do like penguins, and the thought of penguins tap dancing always made me happy.

I suppose one could claim that children learn letters and numbers from Sesame, and I'm sure some do. But if you ask C at the end of the episode what the letter or number of the day was he shrugs and tells you what Elmo did. It's all about Elmo in our house. Well, and a little bit about Telly. A seems to really like Telly. He was one of my favorites too, along with Snuffy. Although now that everyone can see Snuffy, he's not nearly as cool. Sorry big guy, but it's true.

Why DID they make Snuffy real, and how did they do it? That event clearly happened in between the time that I used to watch Sesame as a kid and now, which is a pretty big time gap. I would think that an imaginary friend would be a good thing to show; there is no shortage of imaginary friends in our home, and I bet that they too would like a character to identify with on TV. There have to be many more imaginary friends in the world than big yellow talking birds. I'm just saying...

Perhaps I'll suggest to C that his friends might like to stage a sit in on Sesame Street. There's an episode for you. Much better than watching the dingers ding. Sesame could be teaching non-violent demonstration techniques instead of numbers and letters. I bet the religious right wouldn't take issue with that at all. Trust me on that. I live with a Republican you know...

Speaking of Republicans, did you know that in June a Republican-dominated House Appropriations sub-committee tried to cut all federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting over the next two years? I know I'm a little slow on the uptake on this one, but hey, better late than never. Apparently funding was eventually restored to the bill, although not at the original level. I mean who could cut federal funding for ding alongs? I couldn't. But then again I like tap dancing penguins.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I give up

I've been trying hard to put together a post with meaning, wit, and elegant writing. But apparently my head cold has also taken up residence in my brain and everything is coming out, well, awful. So I'll spare you my efforts and instead jump on the Childhood Book Meme bandwagon (as seen at Mimilou and Under the Ponderosa, among other places).

Earliest book I remember having read to me: Katy and the Big Snow (now a hit with C as well).

Picture book I would most like to climb into: Goodnight Moon. I've always found it to be a really peacefully book.

Favorite series of books (then or now): Trixie Belden, Little House on the Prairie, Harry Potter, Wrinkle in Time, The Belgariad, Betsy Tacy

Character I would most like to meet: Mrs. Weasley from Harry Potter. She cracks me up. If only I could send a howler to M when he forgets to take the trash out.

Last childhood book I re-read: (not counting the bazillion I read to C and A each day) The Belgariad series. I got M to read it, and then had to re-read it so I could discuss it with him...

Sniffle sniffle cough

You know that cold I was whining about last week? Yeah, well, it finally decided to descend from my upper sinuses to the rest of my respiratory system. Sniffle sniffle cough cough. Forgive me if I whine and post little for a few days.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Amusing C-isms

C: "Why does A have to go to see Dr. S today?"

Mommy: "For a checkup. When you turn four you'll get a checkup too."

C: (with a crestfallen look): "Oh. But I really wanted cupcakes for my birthday."

--------

C: "I made up a new song, do you want to hear it?"

Mommy: "Sure!"

C: "It's called the burping song."

(To the tune of Old MacDonald) "Burp burp burp burp burp burp burp burp burp burp burp burp. What did you think?"

Mommy: "Uh, gross."

C: "Cool."

-------------

C: "Why is it called Percy Runs Away? Trains roll, like cars. It should really be Percy rolls away..."

The A Report

We had A's 18 month appointment today, and she passed with flying colors. She's a whopping 22lbs, 32 and 1/2 inches long, and threw a lovely developmentally appropriate temper tantrum when told she had to put a diaper back on after being weighed.

She also refused to answer any questions (Where is your nose? Where are your eyes?) and handed the cup with the paper clip in it back to Dr. S instead of dumping it out on the ground as requested. She chose not to jump, climb, or clap. Dr. S was rather pleased with her lack of cooperation, especially after A demonstrated how she could put her socks and shoes on "ALL BE MESEEF." Apparently speaking in three word sentences and dressing oneself trumps pointing and dumping. Good girl.

While I was infinitely less concerned about A's growth this visit than I have been in previous ones (the child wears a size 7 and 1/2 shoe and seems to have skipped over the 12-18 month clothing size, clearly she has grown) it is always gratifying to know that one's observations are correct. More importantly, I now have the accurate dosage information for Infant Tylenol in case the mystery fever returns.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

My mother would be so proud

You Passed 8th Grade Math

Congratulations, you got 9/10 correct!


Found this amusing as I actually had to REPEAT 8th grade math when I entered prep school. I guess I should send my teacher a note telling him all those hours tutoring me after field hockey practice actually did something...

103 and climbing

A's fever is back with a vengeance, 103 and climbing. Yesterday the doctor saw no ear infection, no sore throat, nada. Which leaves us with random viral thing. I hate the random viral thing, especially when you can't track its origin. How long will it last? How high will the fever go? Will it morph into something else? Should I be buying stock in the makers of Infant Tylenol? Inquiring minds want to know.

At least we already have an appointment with our pediatrician bright and early tomorrow morning for A's 18 month checkup. But it looks like we will be falling even further behind on the vaccination schedule...

My house has never been so clean

Surprise!!! That's right, a surprise party was thrown at our house last night for my husband's "husband," friend Paul (and two other wonderful men, but in our minds the party was all about Paul). As we know Paul has been known to surf his wife's blog while bored at work, and hers links to mine, and you never know when curious minds might suddenly go exploring into other blogs, I've had to be silent on the topic up to this point. And the prep for this party has been littered with many very bloggable moments. It's been hard, oh so hard. But all worth it, as out of the three men involved, Paul was the only one who was truly surprised.

Fun was had by all, especially my husband, who based on the snoring sounds emanating from our room, may awaken in time for the next ice age. And it is a sign of our age that a house full of men left a case + of beer sitting in my fridge in favor of many bottles of wine. So many bottles of wine that we had to break into M's private collection. Which at 12am he thought was a fabulous idea, but I saw the bottle he cracked open and I'm not so sure he'll agree by the light of day.

I think the most amusing party of the party (besides the look on Paul's face when he walked in the door) was that even though we have not one, not two, but three living areas with couches and chairs, the party congregated in the smallest room in the house, our dining hallway. The room is so small that there is barely enough room for the cats to negotiate around the table, let alone 30+ adults. But there they all were, crowded around the table having a grand time. And speaking of the cats, they were in heaven. The two of them paraded from person to person, demanding the attention that they fail to receive from their owners on a daily basis.

"OK, well, we know where the adults were, and where the cats were, but WHERE were your children?" you ask. Shhhhh...they slept. I'm not sure how, or why, but after a brief appearance at the beginning of the evening to get the "Oh, aren't you adorable," coo from the childless women and the "Oh my GOD you don't actually think they'll sleep through this"gasp from the mothers in the room, both children happily curled up in bed and SLEPT. Thank you wonderful children. And as your reward, the food I had stashed upstairs for myself under the assumption I would be singing the itsy bitsy spider instead of happy birthday is all yours. Even the chocolate.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blogging experience.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Ahhh....

Thank you Phantom. I am now blogging in my native language again. Life is good.

On the downside, A is running a temp of 101.5. I fear we will be seeing our friend the on-call pediatrician tomorrow. Her symptoms scream "I have an ear infection." Or a random viral thing, but I'm going with ear infection....

Is this is English?

I seem to have a problem. Blogger has decided that I speak German, and is appearing to me IN GERMAN. I speak English, with a smattering of French and a little bit of Latin thanks to useless prep school language requirements. If anyone knows how to convince Blogger that German is not in fact my language of choice, the help would be greatly appreciated....

You Know You Should Become a Real Estate Agent When....

your agent is calling you to ask for help when pricing a house that isn't yours. Yep, we have officially seen and rejected enough houses in this town to now be considered a resource on determining a listing price.

Speaking of houses, I'm off to see two more in a few hours...I'm sure that they too will be rejected. We've turned out to be rather picky. Who knew.

Here's a good one

It's amazing what a search engine can decide your blog is about. In the past 24 hours people have landed on my blog looking for A Day in the Life of an ER Doctor and Emergency Staircases for Preschools. Welcome folks, sorry I can't help you. But if you want to know all about Thomas the Tank Engine, come on in...

Thursday, November 17, 2005

A's Language Explosion

Just for curiosity, I kept a running log of A's words today on her 18th month "birthday."

Words:
Mama, Dada, car, uh oh, ouch, oh, wow, sit, jump, choo choo, nose, baby, poop, moon, teeth, eyes, bubble, balloon, juice, snack, up, open, Nana, again, night night, hop, me, mine, shoes, swim, swimsuit, whee, boo, orange juice, moo, go, no, vroom, wiggle, dance, now, fish, bounce, cat, feet socks, more, done, book, crib

Sentences:
I sit, I hop, one more minute, my mama, all done

Did ya notice that many of her words seem to be action verbs? Yep, this is a gal who likes to move.

Did you also notice that there is still no C on the list? The child is going to be 20 before she acknowledges him....

You know your house is too cold...

when your son's play date asks if he can borrow a hat and mittens. Picture me with big red face headed to the thermostat to turn up the heat a bit....

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Thanksgiving Gifts

Over at Phantom Scribbler's, someone mentioned Thanksgiving gifts for preschool teachers. I laughed out loud. "What a STUPID idea," I thought. "Thank goodness no one I know would think of such a thing, Thanksgiving is NOT a gift giving holiday."

Tonight was back to school night at C's preschool (Don't ask why they do it in November, just don't). One of my favorite mommies arrived with Thanksgiving gifts in hand, complete with Thanksgiving gift wrap and cards. All of my concerns about C's adjustment to school and the interpersonal issues that seem to plague the class went out the window and all I could focus on were the THANKSGIVING GIFTS.

I'm sorry. I'm all for appreciation and gifts on appropriate holidays. Thanksgiving is not one of those holidays. Nuff said.

Shoes, Beautiful Shoes

Once upon a time, I loved shoes. Brown shoes, black shoes, blue shoes, tan shoes, even white shoes (but only between memorial Day and Labor Day of course). I loved shoes with pointy toes and high heels, and I happily traipsed around NYC for hours on end in those high heels, refusing to put on the commuter sneakers. My shoe obsession almost kept my husband from marrying me as he was unclear where we would keep all the shoes after co-mingling closets.

Since I gave up the working world, the opportunities to wear all those beautiful shoes have been somewhat limited. But in the next several months we have several VERY IMPORTANT occasions which will require footwear other than clogs or sneakers, so last night I happily dusted off my shoes boxes and began searching for just the right pair. Unfortunately, my joy at seeing my old friends quickly turned to horror as I realized that my feet, they have a grown. Not a single pair of my dressy shoes fit me.

I quickly picked myself up and dusted myself off with the happy thought that at least I could now justify a trip to the shoe store. Even M the shoe hater would have to agree that I could not be expected to attend all these festive events in shoes that were a size too small. And since I was going to be at the shoe store looking for a black pair of heels, I might as well buy a brown, and maybe a blue, as one never knows when I might have sudden need for such things. My despair quickly turned to manic glee.

As I entered the shoe store this morning, my feet gave a little wiggle of joy. Rows upon rows of gorgeous new shoes, just waiting to be taken home. I quickly grabbed boxes of shoes and tottered over to an empty seat, ready to indulge. I tried on the first pair. "Hmm. Not very comfortable." The second. "My big toe feels constrained." The third. "My ankles hurt when I walk." As I tried pair after pair on, the obvious became clearer and clearer. I could no longer wear a 2 and 1/2 inch heel.

"That's OK," I told myself. "I've been told that the high heel is out and the flat is in. I'll be trendy." But as I began to search the isles more seriously, I became more and more confused. What, exactly, IS in these days? Is it a plain shoe, a pointy toe, a sling back? My decadent shopping trip quickly became filled with self doubt. I couldn't find a single shoe that I was confident enough in to exclaim "THIS is the shoe for me." I tried eyeballing what the women around me were purchasing, but quickly realized that if they were out shoe shopping at 11 o'clock on a Wednesday morning, they were probably as equally out of the style loop as I. Finally, I went with my trick for finding good wine, find the bin that is almost empty. If enough people have bought the item that the store can't keep up with the restocking, it's a good bet that it's worth purchasing.

For your inspection, here are my newest babies:



Manolo Blahnik's they are not. But they fit, and at least they have pointy(ish) toes.

All Thomas All the Time

Over the past few weeks, our house has turned into choo choo central. C has always been taken with trains but recently his passion has escalated to the point of obsession. He wakes up talking about Thomas, eats breakfast (and every other meal) using Thomas silverware, and pretty much spends his whole day setting up tracks, sending trains around them and then reconfiguring. At bedtime, we have to read about, yep, Thomas. On the upside, clean up at the end of the day has never been easier. Throw all the trains and track into the train box and we're done. No other toys have been touched. On the downside, it's driving me insane.

In the last week, A has developed a passion for trains that rivals C's. While she can still be distracted with a baby doll and stroller, it's only a matter of time before she too succumbs to the unexplainable lure of Thomas the Tank Engine and must play trains ALL THE TIME. Just commit me someplace now.

As the holiday season is soon upon us, I now have to decide if I allow the relatives to grant my children's desire for an all Thomas holiday or not. For the past week, C has been pouring over the Thomas catalog, choosing and prioritizing his list. "Do I want Cranky the Crane or the Coal Shop more?" he wonders as we toodle about town. As we wait in line for the car wash you hear "Oh, the train wash. I forget to include the train wash. We don't want Thomas to be dirty."

Do I take the risk that the train obsession will end in the next 12 months, leaving us with every Thomas accessory known to man and no other toys? Or do I play mean mommy and insist that people get them toys that I know full well will be chucked aside as soon as they are opened in favor of the few train items that I know will slip through the cracks? I'm unclear. What I do know is that whoever invented Thomas and his friends must be cackling with evil glee all the way to the bank.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Flip Flop

For the last year I've been plagued with heart palpitations of the "Oh my God it's just going to stop beating" variety. I've had every heart test known to man and given two different diagnoses (three if you count the post-partum anxiety one), both of which are supposedly benign. When my heart flip flops all over the place, however, it's hard to convince myself that the doctors who can't quite agree on a diagnosis are in fact correct in saying that I'm not going to just keel over and die.

I've tried eliminating caffeine and alcohol and getting more exercise. I've tried beta-blockers, talk therapy, and reflux medications. I've tried increasing my potassium and magnesium intake and decreasing my fat and sugar consumption. Absolutely nothing seems to make a difference. On the upside, it means that I can apparently reintroduce caffeine and wine back into my life, which helps a great deal in the self-medication department. On the downside, every few days I get convinced that I'm going to die and leave my children without a mother.

When I'm not in the midst of a panic attack following a palpitation, I tend to give credence to the anxiety theory. On the days C and A are being particularly difficult the frequency of the palpitations kick up. When I have to make a phone call I don't want to make, flip flop. The particularly horrid one last night occurred while I was simultaneously watching a news segment about kids taking care of terminally ill parents and considering breaking my "no blogging whines about my family in case they stumble upon my blog" rule. While I wasn't feeling particularly anxious about either item at the time, I can see how my subconscious would beg to differ.

But then there are the days when the palpitations happen for no reason what so ever. Like when I'm driving home from the gym after a good workout. Or when I'm making myself a bowl of oatmeal in the morning. I once got one while inspecting bath towels in Target. Not exactly anxiety producing stuff.

After each episode I frantically search for triggers and re-research all of the different types of heart arrhythmias, trying to figure out if the cardiologists missed something. My palpitations take many different forms, and while many of them were caught on the various heart monitors I've worn, many of them were not. Those are the palpitations that completely freak me out and lead me to believe that there is actually something direly wrong with my heart, and if they just ran one more test (what test that might be, I don't know) they would find it.

I also spend hours upon hours worrying about my children and trying to imagine what would happen to them if I weren't here. Would M convince our occasional housecleaner/babysitter to be a live in nanny? Would he move back to the city and have his mother take care of them? Would anyone know that A needs to be sung to three times before she goes to sleep, and the C has to be given four big hugs at preschool drop off? Who would teach C to ride a bike, and who would read A Little House on the Prairie?

When I was working, I always disdained the people who thought they were irreplaceable. "No one is irreplaceable," I would grumble. "If you quit or dropped dead tomorrow, someone would quickly be found to take your place."” I've tried to apply that same mentality to this situation, and while logically I know my children would survive and grow up to be wonderful adults regardless of whether I was alive or not, it makes me cry every time I think of it.

I'm not quite sure why I started this entry, or if I'’ll even end up posting it. I think I probably hope that writing about the palpitations will magically make them go away. And who knows, maybe it will. But I think it's more likely that I am going to have to figure out how to deal with the uncertainty of life, and recognize that there are some things I just can't control. Like my heart.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Quote of the Day

Mommy: "I'm going to make rolls in the breadmaker, do you want to help?"

C: "If you make rolls in the breadmaker they'll be bread, not rolls."

Mommy: "Right. I'm going to make DOUGH in the breadmaker. Is that more accurate?"

C: "Yeah, thanks."

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Thanksgiving According to C

Nana sent the kids some books on the meaning of Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, I think the books raised more questions than they answered.

C: "I think the Pilgrims were sad."

Mommy: "Why?"

C: "Because they didn't have any food. Why didn't they have food?"

Mommy: "Because they arrived in the new world too late to plant any food for winter."

C: "But what about the grocery stores?"

Mommy: "There weren't any grocery stores."

C: "Oh, right. They had just arrived so they were still building them."

Apparently we need to spend some more time on Nana's farm learning about where food comes from...

___________________________________________________________________

A few minutes later-

C: "Is that a turkey in the picture?"

Mommy: "Yes. I love turkey, don't you?"

A: "No. No NOOOO."

C: "I don't like talking turkeys. Is that a talking turkey?"

Mommy: "No, it doesn't have a head."

C: " What happened to its head?"

Mommy: "Uh, it got cut off."

C: "How?"

A: "Yeah, yeah?"

Mommy: "Ummm, with a knife?"

C: "Why?"

Mommy: "So the turkey couldn't talk."

C: "Make sure you get a turkey without a head for Thanksgiving, OK?"

Life Lessons

If one chooses to sit and spin for hours on end, one will eventually fall off dizzy and vomit hot chocolate onto the wool rug. If one chooses to repeat the experiment above after being cleaned up, the same results will occur. At which point the sit and spin will be removed from the premises.

Thankfully the rug is brown. Thankfully I did laundry today. Thankfully I finally had a reason to remove the sit and spin from the playroom.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Friday, November 11, 2005

Mommies don't get sick days

M has been home for the last few days with a horrid cough and general yucky illness. While I feel for him and am glad his schedule was such that he could stay home and rest, I've been grumpier than usual, knowing that it is only a matter of time before one of the rest of us comes down with it. In a futile attempt to stop the inevitable, the kids have been waving to him from the bottom of the staircase and we have made many many out of the house playdates to limit interaction with the sick one. I even took to sleeping on the couch to try and avoid the germ laden bed until he is well enough to warrant washing all of the bedding in hot, hot water.

Tonight I feel that niggle of a post-nasal drip scratch in my throat. The timing for full-blown cold should be just about perfect for a Monday onset, meaning that a fully-recovered, well-rested M will head off to the office for many late nights trying to catch up from his sick days, and sniffly, achy mommy will be working 14 hour shifts. Forgive my whine, but while I acknowledge there is nothing to be done, it still makes me rather grumpy.

Several moths ago salary.com came out with an approximation of what a stay-at-home mom is worth a year. Apparently the rest of town went around surprised and thrilled about how much they were worth. I looked at the number and laughed. "I should be paid a lot more than that,” I announced. I mean try to find another human being alive who would provide 14+ hours of childcare while nursing a cold, stomach virus or flu. They don't exist. And if they do, they should get paid more than $131,471. Can you tell I don't like being sick?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

It's clear who the favorites are

I just did a quick inventory of my supplies in case of the arrival of the apocalypse (Thanks to Phantom for the occasional reminders...). Our basement currently holds the following:

24 servings of mac and cheese
40 juice boxes
3 bags of goldfish
12 boxes of soy milk
24 tins of single serve pears and peaches
a 6 pack of apple sauce
2 cases of canned diced tomatoes
5 pounds of whole wheat flour
5 pounds of all purpose flour
2 jars of salsa
2 cans of green peas
4 tins of tuna
2 boxes of cake mix and 2 tubs of frosting
55 pounds of cat food

Apparently in my haphazard stockpiling, I was most concerned about my cats. The rest of us might starve, but they're styling in case of an emergency. See guys, I told you I loved you.

Baby??? What Baby????

A has decided that she is a big girl. Whenever C says something along the lines of "A can't do that yet, she's just a baby" A frantically shakes her head and screams "No! No baby!" At playgroup, she has no interest in playing with the children her own age but instead tags along after the soon to be 5 year old girl, who apparently tried to insist that A be invited to her birthday party as she was one of her best friends.

And, in fact, A can keep up with the big kids most of the time. She will tackle any piece of playground apparatus she sees without hesitation. She has learned to put on her own shoes, and chooses her outfit every morning (and it is almost always color coordinated). She uses a fork and spoon better than C does, and is much more interested in giving up the sippy cup. I often forget that she is just shy of 18 months, and am surprised when she does something age appropriate like chucking her bowl of peas across the room to signal that she is done with dinner.

Yesterday we did our usual round of errands after dropping C at preschool. When we pulled into Trader Joe's parking lot she started frantically waving her arms and jabbering on about something I couldn't quite figure out. So I did the usual placating "Yes yes A, I see." I grabbed a cart and started to put her in, at which point she burst into tears. "A, what's WRONG?" I asked, afraid I had pinched her finger or scraped her leg. As I began quickly checking her out for boo boos, she wailed "Me baby! Me BAAABBY!" and frantically pointed to the carts that have the infant seat attached. I tried to reason with her "But A, you've NEVER ridden in one of those. Why on earth would you want to do so now? You won't fit sweetie!" "Me baby. Me BABY," A continued to sob as we raced by the carts in search of a balloon to distract.

While I am still unclear why she chose the very dirty, slightly scary infant carrier carts as a way to regress, it helped remind me that as big as A likes to think she is, she still needs some babying now and then. As we snuggled in the rocking chair last night before bed, she patted my head saying "My mama. My mama." And I responded with "My baby, my baby." To which she sat up and glared at me. "Me BIG mama. Me big." Whatever you say sweetheart, whatever you say.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Letter to my children

Dear Adorable, Lovable, and Wondrous Children,

Although I love you both very much, I feel the need to have a little chat about a few things.

5 am is not an hour our household stirs from bed in the morning. Sorry. Until you are old enough to pour your own cereal and turn on the TV to watch cartoons, please pick an hour at which the sun has actually risen to call my name at the top of your lungs.

The cats were here before you. Even though they have been sorely neglected since your arrival, I cannot allow you to drive them out of our house. They are excellent mouse killers and I have a deep-seeded fear of rodents. If you pull the cats' tails one more time I will permit them to retaliate.

I love reading you books, I really do. But I cannot possibly read Cat in the Hat or Mr. Brown Can Moo Can You for the seven hundredth time today. I just can't.

Mommy's watch is the official time piece of our household. You can change the hands on the other clocks as much as you wish, but what my watch says goes.

While I may have the final say when it comes to time, I do not control the weather, the other cars on the road or the line at the supermarket. Nor do I control the local supermarket's supply of mini-pancakes.

While I admit that pizza is a gift from above, we cannot eat it every night of the week. I have to a least make an effort to serve balanced meals. I am in fact a decent cook if you even tried a bite of what is placed in front of you.

Everyone must take baths when covered in pizza sauce, yogurt, and finger paint. While I may not win the mommy of the year award in the cleanliness department, I do have standards. That is one of them.

I hope that when you have children of your own, they bring you as much joy as you bring me. I also hope they have as good a grasp on the usage of the words "but why?" as you do.

Love and Kisses,

Mommy

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

And Today Is...

My first two years out of college I had a job I hated, a boyfriend who I didn't particularly like, and no idea what I wanted from life. To get myself through the week I assigned a special "treat" to each day. Monday was "take the ferry to work even if it takes a little longer" day. Tuesday was chocolate croissant day. Wednesday was bookstore day. Thursday was window shop at Bloomingdale's day. Friday was movie after work day. For some reason having a "something" to look forward to each day kept me (sort of) out of the deep depression that I was afraid of sinking into.

I've been in a blah mood for the last couple of weeks, perhaps because the changing weather has halted our spur of the moment forays outside, or because we have entered the season when M works late or travels more days than not. As I made myself an illicit lunch of nachos yesterday after convincing both children to nap, I thought about reinstating my special treat therapy. I can't quite seem to come up with an equally satisfying roster of treats, however. Would "Wednesday is no laundry day" really have the same pick-me-up as knowing I got to spend an hour perusing books and picking out just the right one? I don't think so. And what are the odds of convincing my children that "Tuesday is no whining day?"

My mother assures me that these years of isolation at home with irrational, demanding preschoolers and toddlers will be over before I know it, and that I will, in fact, look back fondly at them. As I listen to C upstairs throwing a temper tantrum of massive proportions because I told him we couldn't use green finger paint to "perk up" his ceiling, I'm not so sure. From the sounds of things upstairs I think I have to work a little bit harder at convincing myself that "Wednesday is no laundry day" is in fact a treat worthy of celebration.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Some may call them tacky

but A thinks they're "bebo" (beautiful for those who do not yet own an A to English dictionary).

Yes, my daughter now owns a pair of hot pink boots with hearts. The picture does not do the color justice...trust me. But she is thrilled and has been prattling on about them for several hours now. I'm glad they make her happy. Really, I am.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

I should have been a librarian

As I'm not one to resist cool things having to do with books, I finally headed over to LibraryThing and became instantly addicted. I have been carrying my laptop around randomly cataloging piles and shelves. I'll probably regret the randomness when I got to fill in the blanks, but it is just so much fun. A and C got into the game too, bringing me their favorites to add. It was a fun filled afternoon for all, except maybe M who is humoring me but really can't quite get why it is so engrossing. He did perk up after I decided to include his right-wing propaganda despite my annoyance that they are taking up prime bookshelf space.

I might even have to take a road trip to my parents with the laptop and unearth the boxes upon boxes of books stored in their attic. Although I have a feeling that if I remind them that I still have books there, the books will be coming home with me...

When Did We Get So Old?

Last night the wondrous L arrived on our doorstep promptly at 7:30, complete with homework and cell phone (I don't know why I bother showing her where our house phone is). We quickly handed off responsibility for the children and raced out the door to enjoy our freedom.

When we arrived at a restaurant we frequent, the hostess apologized that there was a wait for a table. We jumped for joy.

M (rubbing hands with glee): "Oh no, no worries! We'll sit at the bar! Take your time!"

Hostess: "We'll try to accommodate you as soon as possible."

M: "Really, please don't..."

But, in much less time than the promised 45 minute wait, in fact before we could even finish our cocktails, our waiter appeared to escort us to the table, pleased that they could rearrange things for us. We took our time ordering appetizers, sending the poor waiter away twice. We lingered over our salad and soup, finally allowing the busboy to clear. I took small bites (not an easy feat when one is used to wolfing down meals before someone asks for more milk or a different colored plate). M oohhed and ahhhed over each sip of his cabernet.

Even with all of our stalling and lingering, it was 9:30 when we exited the building. As we climbed into our car, M asked "Were you listening to the conversation of the people next to us? They were actually debating where to go next for after dinner drinks. Can you imagine?" As hard as I tried, I couldn't. As we paid L and she hurried off to start her weekend socializing with a look of pity in her eyes, I realized that we had become the boring old folks I always laughed about with my sister after a weekend of babysitting. And quite honestly, I didn't mind a bit.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Bedtime Battles

M swears that all of the preschoolers of the world huddle in corners at playgroups and scheme to come up with inventive bedtime delaying tactics. Over the last several weeks we have gone from "more water" to "have to pee" to "scared of dark." Last night, however, I believe we sunk to a new low.

C (calling from upstairs): "Mommy? Mommy?"

Mommy: "Yes C?"

C: "Can you come here for a minute?"

Mommy: "It's bedtime."

C: "I just really need to tell you something."

Mommy: "Are you bleeding, vomiting or is the room on fire?"

C: "Um, no. But please?"

Mommy troops upstairs.

C: "I really love bedtime you know."

Mommy: "Good. Cause it's bedtime. Night night."

C: "But, but, wait."

Mommy pauses at door.

C: "I need to tell you all the ways I love bedtime. You told me I needed to use my words to tell people how I feel and I really need to tell you how I feel about bedtime."

Mommy: "Why don't you make a mental list and tell me in the morning? That way you can be sure you tell me everything."

C: "No, it's important to get things out in the open. I should tell you now."

What's a gal to do? After a moment of internal debate I sat down on the bed and listened to the list. An abbreviated version for your giggling pleasure....

I love my red sheets. Not the blue ones.

I love footy pajamas, except when they get put on backwards.

I love my books, except the ones where the kids go to sleep at the end.

I love brushing my teeth, but only with the Pooh toothpaste. I don't love the Little Bear toothpaste. Do they make Sesame toothpaste? Cause I think I would love that too. (They do, I bought some this morning...)

I love having two pillows. A hard and a soft.

I love my night night CD (I'm glad someone does because we're pretty sick of it).

I love my clock. It tells me when I can get up.

I finally cut him off when we got down to "I love my pull-up." The child should go into politics. He'll be able to filibuster with the best of them.


Thursday, November 03, 2005

A boy ahead (or behind) the times

This afternoon C was playing with one of the few remnants of my pre-child life, my palm pilot. After exploring the various features such as the on/off switch and cool pen, he started frantically pushing on the screen.

Mommy: "What are you doing?"

C: "Looking for the music."

Mommy: "What do you mean? There's no music on that."

C: "Oh. Wouldn't it be cool if there was? I mean then I could listen to Laurie and Music Together no matter where I went."

Mommy: "Uh, yeah. It would be."

This is only funny if you know that the child has never seen nor heard of an iPod. While it is critically high on my "if you are looking to spend gobs of money on me this holiday season" list, no one in this household owns one or has even mentioned such a thing in his presence.

Now if only he could come up with an invention that doesn't exist yet, we could fully fund his 529...

Insomnia

My children's sleep issues can easily be traced back to my faulty genes. In college and grad school insomnia was my friend. I did my best work in the wee hours of the morning. It also served me well during my work years as I've always had a deadline-driven job. After C and A were born I was so sleep deprived that I forgot insomnia even existed. If a child was quiet I slept. Now that everyone is (sort of) sleeping through the night, I find myself reverting to my old sleep patterns.

"Well," you say "what a fabulous time to catch up on your blogging or book reading!" And it would be, except my children, having the insomnia gene, are very light sleepers. So if I dare to stir from my bed, someone is bound to hear me creeping down the creaky stairs, and the luxury of being up at 2am by myself is lost. So there I lie, staring at the ceiling. Sometimes the cat arrives for some love, or to demand his share of my pillow. Every once in a blue moon I try reading by the bathroom night light, but my eyesight isn't what it used to be when I was nine, and I become depressed about my impending middle age. More often than not, I just worry. "What was that noise?" "Why is C acting out at school?" "Why won't A eat anything but goldfish?" "Did you hear that noise?"

Last night I spent my time with memories. For some reason, yesterday was a day that reminded me of fall weekends spent with my Dad's family. My grandmother has a big old rambling farmhouse set on several acres of lawn and fields in rural New England, and from April to November every year the house was always filled to capacity with generations of immediate and extended family. While each season at the house has its own appeal, my favorite time of year there is fall. The leaves cover the ground like a multi-colored carpet and when we were younger my cousins and I would be charged with raking them into huge piles and carting them to the back field for a bonfire. One of the aunts would arrive with cocoa and my dad and uncle would supervise the lighting of the fire. Once the leaves had been dispensed of, everyone gathered in the kitchen for drinks (scotch on the rocks for the elders, birch beer for the under-agers).

The evenings were spent huddled in sweaters and blankets on the front porch listening to the grownups chatter on about life, work and politics. Everyone would eventually troop off to beds being warmed by electric blankets. Around 2 am, everyone scuffed downstairs one by one in their slippers and ratty bathrobes clutching a book and acting surprised to find others up at that hour. For reasons that always escaped me, a big pot of coffee was made, then the aunts would chatter about their various afflictions ("Have I TOLD you about my big toe?") while my dad tried to ignore them by burying his nose in his book and my grandmother snuck all the sweet treats left over from supper. One by one everyone eventually trickled back to bed, only to arise again at about 7. When I would awaken in the middle of the night other places, my memories of these nocturnal trysts always warmed me.

Over the last decade the house has lain vacant more often than not. My cousins and sister have distanced themselves from the family, scattering across the country and very rarely, if ever, visiting. My Uncle G passed away, and my grandmother lives in an assisted living facility in a different part of the state. My dad still returns frequently, but not with the regularity he once did. My aunts now retreat to their own homes at night, if they come at all.

M and I brought the kids up to visit once last fall, and while C had fun jumping in the leaves and huddling under the blankets, the same magic that used to draw me back weekend after weekend wasn't there. When I made my pilgrimage downstairs in the wee hours of the morning, it was dark and quiet. I quickly poured a cup of water and returned to bed not wanting to disturb my memories of the kitchen, but it was too late.


Last night when I lay in bed staring at the ceiling, I could only remember the loneliness that pervaded the house that night. For once I got out of bed and snuck downstairs to distract myself with the computer. And when I logged onto my email, I found messages from my dad and two aunts, all sent within the last hour. I quickly responded with a smile spreading across my face. If only I could send them a virtual cup of coffee...

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Background Music

My children are attached to two CD's. Only two CD's. Buzz Buzz by Laurie Berkner and a Music Together CD from a couple seasons ago. If you try to branch them out to something else...say a different Laurie CD or a different Music Together CD, you would think I had tried to tell them bedtime was at noon. I've finally given up and made multiple copies of each CD to make sure one is at the ready no matter where we are.

Anytime I am childless in my car (which is virtually never), I frantically flip stations to try and find a good song. Today I got all the way to my dermatologist's for my supposedly annual skin cancer check before realizing that I had spent the better part of 20 minutes SINGING along to Buzz Buzz. Actually SINGING. What has my life become?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Too Cute

So A learned to fake snore today. It is the cutest sound I have ever heard. I wish there was a way to get sound onto a post as it is just so adorable. Just try to imagine a high little girl voice going "Snort, wheeow. Snort, wheeow." If only she could put that fake snoring to use and learn to sleep...

What Makes One Lucky?

According to C, the following things make one lucky:

Having more than one chimney. The more you have, the luckier you are.

Having an American flag AND a Halloween flag.

Being able to close one eye while leaving the other open.

Having two different shades of blue crayons.

Getting to pass out snack at preschool.

Having more than 17 lollipops in your goody bag.

Living walking distance to the library.

Being allowed to watch more than one TV show in a day.

It's amazing what matters to a 3 and 1/2 year old.