Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Years Resolutions

I've never been much for New Years resolutions, but as we've been stuck in the house since before Christmas with snuffly, snotty, coughing children, I don't have much else to write about right now. It'll be fun to see how quickly I break each one.

I will not eat my children's leftovers.

I will not listen to children's music while alone in the car.

I will not start every conversation with "Did I tell you what (insert C or A here) did today?"

I will at least skim the headlines of the New York Times on a regular basis.

I will read at least one book a month that does not feature pictures and small woodland animals who talk.

I will not serve takeout more than once a week.

I will limit my diet soda intake to no more than two a day.

I will be better about emailing pictures to the relatives.

I will teach A to sleep through the night in her own bed.

I will teach C to sleep through the night in his own bed.

I will not lose my wallet.

I will keep my cell phone charged.

I will hang up my coat before M comes home in an attempt to keep the family peace.

I will not use the dining room table as a storage device for all things without homes.

I will not harbor ill will towards the little old ladies who comment on my parenting abilities in the grocery store.

I will not go to the grocery store with two children in tow except in the most dire of circumstances.

And last, but not least...

I will try to get a shower in at least every other day. Even if it means bringing my kids in with me.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

I feel like a rock star

A's newest bedtime routine consists of a book (or two or seven) a lullaby, and then kisses on both her hands. Once I kiss her hands she stares at them and gets the "I'm not going to wash my hand/cheek/body ever again" look that pre-teen girls tend to get when confronted with their adored boy-band hero. I can't hold a tune to save my life, but I guess I've got myself a fan club of one. Now if kisses on the hands could only get her to fall asleep...

The Great Indoors

Today we had an unexpected visitor in our kitchen, a bird. Yep, a real live bird flying around my kitchen. At first I thought it was a bat and I freaked. Bats are not high on my list of favorite creatures. In fact they might be close to rock bottom. Right down there with rats and cockroaches. Once I figured out that it was one of those little winter birds (A chickadee? A sparrow? I'm not a bird watcher. Sorry Dad.) I calmed down a bit and stopped my hysterical "eeekkk" ing and started worrying that it was going to poop on my newly washed floor.

I grabbed a mop and started opening every window and door in the kitchen hoping that with some gentle prodding the poor lost BIRD IN MY HOUSE would find its way into the great outdoors again. Apparently my bird-herding skills are lacking, however, as instead of shooing the bird out of the kitchen door I sent it flying through the rest of the house. Which alerted the cats and children to the crisis at hand as I ran willy nilly through the house screaming "Here birdy birdy, out the door. NO! NOT the closed window, the open door! THE DOOR!!!"

The two cats were useless, not that I wanted them to kill the bird, just scare it outside. One slept through the whole thing, the other was so excited by this turn of events that she just ran circles around herself meowing at the top of her lungs. A followed suit, except instead of meowing she screeched "Mama! Bird! Bird Mama!" C sat on the couch and cried. "I'm scared Mommy! I'm scared! Oooh ohhh! He went that way!"

After much screeching, meowing, crying and shooing, the bird finally found one of a few dozen openings to the outside. C sat back and proceeded to tell me how brave HE had been. A sobbed hysterically that there was "No more bird mama, no more bird." And the cat went in search of her food dish.

While I am all for nature and wildlife, I'm not so keen on such things in my house. I'm still very unclear on how the bird made it in in the first place, and will be spending many hours searching for large, gaping holes in my kitchen. And perhaps investing in some skill-building lessons for my cats.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Bedtime Musings

C: "Mommy, even when I yell at you I still love you. And even when I yell at A I still love her too. Except when she rips my books."

The music of my life

While burning all of my CDs to the computer so I can then transfer them to my iPod I've had a chance to revisit my life, or at least my life since the CD came on the scene. And a little bit further back than that since I rebought many of my favorite tapes in CD form.

For whatever reason, there are certain songs that can instantly transport me to a different place and time. Enya's Caribbean Blue, for example, puts me back in a beat up Mazda truck at the one traffic light between my high school and home as I was racing to make curfew. The windows were down and it was a bit chilly, and I was amazed at how much traffic there was at 10:58 in the tiny little town center.

Hey Jealousy (Gin Blossoms) reminds me of what I believe is a now defunct bar from college. It wasn't a bar I chose to frequent, but one of my roommates loved it there so I spent portions of many Friday or Saturday nights sitting at a table near the windows watching the snow fall and listening to this song, wondering why I was there instead of at home in bed.

I'm highly embarrassed to admit this, but Rhythm is a Dancer (Snap!) was my top pick the year I lived in London. I think I probably liked it because I was broke, homesick, and the peppy dance beat gave me a brief jolt of something resembling energy. As I would run through the neighborhoods surrounding my apartment, I would just play that song over and over again. There was one particular street that had meticulous gardens which always found its way into my path. I could still tell you to this day what each garden on that pristine little road looked like. That was one of the few years that I was a hard core runner, I think because of the endorphin factor.

The entirety of Sophie B. Hawkins album Whaler, but Did We Not Choose Each Other in particular, reminds me of the long drive to graduate school the summer I lived at home to save money. It was an awful highway drive until the last 15 minutes or so when I started winding through the hills. It was at that point in the drive that Did We Not Choose Each Other always came on, and as I made the final turns into school, I would marvel at her voice.

I would be remiss if I didn't include our wedding song in the list, although the song doesn't actually transport me back to our wedding day. Instead it takes me back to the dingy house I lived in during my final year in grad school. M and I were watching Conspiracy Theory on the tiny TV during one of his few visits north. We had just spent the last week arguing over "our song." I wanted Marc Cohn's True Companion, he refused to play a song that talked about making love at a wedding (see my eyes roll???). I can't even remember what his song of choice was (sorry honey). As the credits rolled Frankie Valli's Can't Take My Eyes Off of You played and we looked at each other and shrugged. It worked. It got our mothers and the DJ off of our backs. And that folks, is how our song came to be.

There are many other songs that didn't make the list, but those are the ones that stick out as I flip through my collection. Note that there is no mention of Laurie Berkner or Music Together. While I love my children, their music tastes leave something to be desired these days. Although A did start bopping to Jonathan Richman this afternoon, so there is hope yet.

Six hours

Six hours of sleep last night. That's all. There is no way this child is possibly functioning. I am not functioning. At 9 pm I thought it was an ear infection. At 12 pm, when I turned on Blues Clues, I was convinced. At 6:30 am, when she woke me up after sleeping happily in my bed for 6 hours, I realized she had won the battle of wills last night and I'm going to be undoing this for weeks to come.


Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Save me from the chaos

I cannot bring order back to my home. The new influx of toys have many little parts, and defy organizational logic. I have tossed, moved, tupperwared, stacked, and squished. There are still toys without homes.

Have I mentioned yet that I hate a disruption to my organizational scheme? I go through this after every Christmas and birthday. I think I am instituting a "you bring it into my home you find a home for it" policy. Buyer beware....

The aftermath

Some quick holiday updates while I work on a longer entry.

Santa came, saw, and conquered. Both kids had a blast. And were very well behaved given the chaos. The toy hits were the plethora of Thomas add ons for C (yes, I caved) and the Wags the Dog slippers for A (No noise! Keep her feet warm!). She also liked singing Wags, but hasn't complained about his location next to Elmo just out of reach...

Yet again, we managed to screw up the turkey making process, forcing us to put the turkey BACK into the oven for another HOUR while the restless house guests foraged through our bare fridge. I pointed them to the stash of emergency rations in the basement, but no one seemed to find them as appealing as the string cheese sticks. Next year we're doing a Honey Baked Ham.

Nana and Grandpa S were very good doobies and entertained the kids for hours on end as I tried to sleep and decompress. Unfortunately, they did not take over the middle of the night hallway sitting. I tried to rope Santa into the task too, and he swore he would return right after the holidays. Really, he would.

My hit of the holiday season was an iPod. And I just have to say that my iPod ROCKS. I didn't realize what I had been missing or I would have asked for one the instant they came out. It makes picking up the mess at the end of the day so much more enjoyable. I just need to figure out how to separate the kid music from my music in the shuffle. I don't need to listen to the Wiggles once everyone is tucked in bed, as tempting as it might sound...

Anyway, it's back to normal today as Nana and Grandpa S have headed back home to recover from reading Blueberries for Sal over and over again. A is still drippy and coughy (although fever free, thank God) so we have no immediate playdates scheduled during the most boring week of the year. Happy, happy, joy, joy. At least there are new toys to entertain us all.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Happy Merry Holidays

Everyone over here at Chez J-E wish you and yours a happy merry holiday, however you chose to celebrate (or not celebrate). I'll probably be offline for a few days, although it sounds like I'm the only blogger around still blogging at this point anyway. But as M returns to work Tuesday, I'll be here next week. So if you see me trolling your archives, take it as a compliment that I miss you all. Enjoy your vacations, family togetherness and all that fun stuff. Can't wait to read all about it...

Do you think they make middle of the night house calls?

Scene: 5am Chez J-E. Mommy and Daddy are tucked snug in their bed. The pitter patter of little feet are heard. C arrives (on mommy's side of course) for a snuggle. Mommy is too tired to escort him back to bed, so in he crawls.

A few minutes later, another noise is heard. This time emanating from A's room.

"Wee wee? Wee wee?"

M: "Did she just call out for the Wiggles?"

Mommy: "Yep."

C: "I think A is up and she wants the Wiggles."

Mommy: "Yes, it sounds like she does."

C: "Can we get up and watch the Wiggles?"

Mommy and M: "No."

I find it highly unfair that she is calling out for the Wiggles at 5am, yet we are the folks who have to get out of bed. If their appeal is that strong, they should really take responsibility for their actions.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Lost, Reward Offered

Lost: One Farm Journal's Cookie Cookbook

Location: No where obvious

Reward: A healthy portion of gingerbread man cookies

I have lost my cookie bible two days before Christmas. C is insisting that he must have gingerbread men, only Nana's gingerbread men. Nana has left her house and is somewhere on the Mass Pike en-route to our home and therefore cannot provide her copy of said cookbook.

If anyone happens to have said cookbook and can offer up the gingerbread men recipe, please let me know. I will send you copious quantities of gingerbread men in return.

Explain this to me

M's side of the bed in MUCH closer to the door than mine. Why is it that all of the little visitors at 2,4, and 5 am walk ALL THE WAY AROUND to my side? I figured that when A started making the pilgrimage she would head directly to her beloved Dada, but no, last night I woke up with a start to find her peering into my face commenting on the fact that I had no glasses on.

I just want an uninterrupted night's sleep. Is that too much to ask for from Santa? I'll give him my share of chocolate...

Thursday, December 22, 2005

C's random thoughts of the day

C: "Nicholas didn't know where heaven is." (pause) "Where is it?"

Mommy: "I think maybe it is in the sky? I'm not really sure."

C: "I think it's on a boat."


Mommy: "C, what are you doing?"

C: "I don't think I want to tell you."

Mommy quickly races to the scene of the crime. C is wrapping scotch tape around the coffee table (see, I TOLD you that they like scotch tape...). C looks up guiltily.

Mommy: "I'm going to pretend I didn't see this until later."

C: "Really??? You're being so nice today Mommy."

C: "Under the swaddling, does Baby Jesus wear a diaper?"


C: "Why does Santa come down the chimney?"

Mommy: "I don't know, let's Google it."

Mommy: "It says that Santa started coming down chimneys for the Dutch children. That doesn't help me at all. Why did the Dutch children need him to go down chimneys?"

C: "I thought Google knew everything. I'm so disappointed."

Weird Things About My Kids

Landismom over at Bumblebee Sweet Potato tagged me for this meme. I'm rather excited as I've never been tagged for anything before, not even in games of tag. I was always the kid who ran and ran and no one wanted to catch. Sigh.

Anyway, without further ado, here you go.

1) Both my children eat virtually only fruits and vegetables. On his second birthday, C turned aside pizza in favor of broccoli. True story.

2) C falls asleep every night to a CD of Gregorian chants. At least that's what we think they are, I'm not very up on monastic chants.

3) The first word out of both C and A's mouths was "cat." Not mama, not dada, not hi. Cat. Mama and dada didn't enter the picture until about word 100 for C and 50 for A.

The next two are toss ups. Should I mention the fact that my children eat their waffles and pancakes frozen? Or that they both prefer playing with scotch tape to all toys in this household. Decisions decisions. I think I'll go with:

4) A is allergic to every brand of diaper except the really expensive Pampers Cruisers. Have you ever heard of a child allergic to DIAPERS? Even my pediatrician scratched her head. If I were a different type of mommy I would have started cloth diapering. But although I did consider it, I hate laundry too much. Plus, M would have never ever changed another diaper.

5) C can remember in which space we parked our car and for what purpose months. For example, when at the mall a few weeks ago he pointed to a space and said "That's the space we parked in when we came to get Baby C a birthday gift." Her birthday is in July. And it was in fact the space. Or at church, where we have obviously parked in many different spaces, he can point out the space we parked in with the baby green car when Mommy had to drop off some papers, and the space we parked the big black car in when we came for the BBQ, and the space where we parked when we saw his babysitter in the green dress, etc. I find it a bit disturbing, although it is a handy trick when I can't find my car...

I'm not sure how the meme tagging thing works, so feel free to play along if you so desire. Kristy, cough cough. And Steph, poke poke.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

There's No Crying in Jammies!

So I'm getting C ready for bed tonight and I tell him to pick out his pajamas while I get out of my suit. When I come back, he has picked the new pj's just sent from Auntie M. He loves them, but they are light-weight and we're going through a cold snap right now (not to mention that our house is almost 250 years old and just a wee bit drafty), so I wanted him in the warm footie jammies. And of course, when I say as much, he starts crying because this is the biggest crisis to hit his life since, well, the last one.

I choose to ignore the crying and press on: "Oh, hush, C. Get in your diaper."

C: "It's a pull-up daddy." (He's potty trained but the pull-up is our insurance policy at night).

Me: "Well, when you're crying like a baby, you wear a diaper like a baby."

He stops for a second, turns to me, and says very seriously and without a tear, "Daddy, sometimes people just get sad and right now I'm sad."

Are three-year olds normally so in touch with their feelings? Are we raising Dr. Phil here?

Ah well, I let him wear Auntie M's jammies, he now looks like a 3-foot-tall candy cane, and life goes on...

Just call him motor mouth

Yesterday I got to take C to swimming lessons without A in tow as M was home because of the transit strike in NYC. So instead of chasing A around the parent "lounge" (really, it's a hallway) and trying to keep her somewhat entertained, I was able to actually sit and watch C swim. After about five minutes it became abundantly clear why we are repeating the introductory "learn how to get into the pool without crying class" for the THIRD time. You see, instead of focusing on swimming like the other children, C is using the time to make friends. He chatted up the lifeguard when he arrived, made the rounds to all of the different teachers, and then checked out the older kids' cool goggles before heading to the lane in which his class was occurring.

He obligingly put on his white bubble but then saw a friend in the next lane and started conversing with him about the temperature of the pool today. As he began his doggie paddle down the pool, he stopped to visit with the lifeguard again, checked in with the teacher, and encouraged the little girl trailing behind him to "keep it up!" He was perfectly happy and charming and polite to everyone, but focused on swimming he was not.

At the end of the lesson I had to go in and collect him as he was still chatting with the lifeguard. As I walked by one of the instructors, he stopped me and said, "C is the sweetest kid. But man, can he talk." To which I had to agree. It had just never occurred to me that his penchant for conversation would spill over to athletic endeavors. It is clear that I need to rethink C's extracurricular activities. Do you think three is too young to start the debate team?

Desperate or brilliant, you decide

I thought I had sunk to a new low over the weekend, but if that was low, this is rock bottom. A refused to nap in her bed this afternoon (surprise, surprise). Since she is sick, she or she will never kick this thing. So in a moment of sheer desperation (or brilliance, I'm not sure which yet) I scooped up both kids, carried them to the car in slippers, and drove like the wind to a friend's where I borrowed a Video Now player. I then took a detour to Dunkin Donuts drive thru, picked up a decaf latte and returned home. C is now happily watching Sesame Street in the back seat, A is snoring away, and I am blogging from the comfort of my car parked as close as possible to the wall with the wireless hub.

You can all laugh now. But we are all happier than we have been in days.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Not to continue my whiney theme from the last few weeks, but A seems to have developed a horrific cough in virtually no time what so ever. We did mommy and me gymnastics yesterday, and about halfway through the class she broke out in this horrific, verging on croupy sounding, cough. The other mommies gave me that "Why did you bring a sick child to class" look, and I frantically tried to explain that really, I swear, I hadn't heard that cough until right that very second.

By 2am she had a roaring fever on top of the horrific cough. I think I will just cry now. I will not be leaving A with the babysitter I hired so I could get the trimmings for the several holidays meals I will be cooking over the weekend. I will not be leaving her with the babysitter to finish purchasing stocking stuffers. I cannot even take her to the store. I am going to be stuck running around on Christmas Eve with the 40 billion other last minute shoppers, even though I had thought I had finished my holiday shopping well before Thanksgiving.

This is my own fault. She got the cough less than three hours after I mailed a holiday card to my pediatrician saying I hoped we wouldn't see her until C's four year appointment.

When will I ever learn about jinxing myself??????

Self Esteem

A is currently stomping around the playroom in a pair of yellow rainboats singing the Wiggles theme song at the top of her lungs and stopping periodically to flail her arms wildly and clap for herself. C announced at lunch that he was the best gymnast in class today, even if he couldn't do a handstand yet.

I am always amazed at my children's self esteem. I hope they can hold onto it through adolescence, it will serve them well.

C-a-n Y-o-u S-p-e-l-l?

No one ever told me that spelling would actually be a much more useful tool in my life than higher math as I failed spelling quiz after spelling quiz and lost spelling bee after spelling bee. But now that C and A understand every word we say, I find that at least some portion of my conversations with adults involve spelling.

Dinner decisions, for example: "Do we want to go out for p-i-z-z-a?" "Oh no. How about the d-i-n-e-r?

Or holiday gift discussions: "Did your parents get him the j-e-t e-n-g-i-n-e or the b-r-i-d-g-e?"

Or looking for the light at the end of the tunnel: "Is it time for b-a-t-h?"

I even find myself spelling out loud when childless. This weekend at the grocery store, I was apparently muttering "Shall I get the pre-made p-i-z-z-a or the d-o-u-g-h? And where is the c-a-n-d-y?" as I wandered the aisles. When a friend stopped me near the c-o-o-k-i-e-s, she just about fell over laughing.

Recently we've run into a little problem, however, as C is starting to spell certain words, such as p-i-z-z-a and b-a-t-h. In order to keep my children from discovering that p-i-z-z-a is even a dinner possibility, we either need to increase our spelling speed or change the spelling to an understandable by adults but temporarily confusing to children alternative. Neither scenario is particularly appealing to the spelling challenged. I have hard enough time getting the spelling right a half speed, at double time I am sure to fail miserably. And while changing the spelling might seem like it would be a no brainer for me as I generally spell wrong anyway, it's not a skill I'm particularly good at on demand.

I was never skilled at gibberish or pig Latin either, it took too much thinking on my feet and I tend to get flustered under pressure. I could speak in French, but M is a Spanish guy, and I'm not about to take up a new language just to keep my children from hearing the word c-a-n-d-y. And plus, they're smart enough that it would be no time at all before they figured out that caramelo is really c-a-n-d-y.

I haven't yet figured out a solution to this issue beyond wildly making gestures that bear no resemblance to p-i-z-z-a or b-a-t-h (did I mention I am also lousy at charades?) and M spends a fair amount of time looking at me quizzically and saying "Huh? Repeat please..." Perhaps if we both learned ASL? Or perhaps I should just stop speaking of things I don't want my children to hear...

Monday, December 19, 2005

Contemplating My Navel

Over the last 24 hours I have spent a total of five hours sitting on the floor outside A's door trying to cajole her to sleep. Most of the time has been spent staring at a blank spot on the wall wishing I had had the foresight to prepare a small snack, and perhaps procure a book or magazine to read, while periodically reassuring A that I have not left my post outside her door.

After cleaning out under my fingernails, showering love on the parade of cats who realized I was a captive petter, and doing a few yoga poses, I sat contemplating the larger issues in life. In no particular order, here are some random thoughts from tonight's sit-in.

We need to get a nice comfy rug for the hallway if I'm going to be spending the next 16 years sitting out here several hours a day.

I should really find a hobby. If only I knit or sewed or did anything requiring very little apparati, I would probably be much less annoyed by the hallway sitting experience.

Is apparati the plural of apparatus? I should look that up if I ever get out of the hallway.

Perhaps I could stash some snacks in the linen closet. I seem to be rather hungry when sitting here with nothing else to do.

The heat in the hallway leaves a lot to be desired. I really need to call the furnace guy and have him take a look at our heating system.

There is a large black spot on the wall which needs a visit from the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

All male members of our household snore. Even the cat.

Do we think sipping a glass of wine while sitting in the hallway at 8pm is inappropriate? Cause really, a nice glass of wine might make the experience a bit more enjoyable.

I actually really like my bed. It is comfortable and warm. Very unlike the hallway. I'm not so fond of the hallway these days.

I still don't know what I am cooking for the holidays. I really need to figure that one out. Perhaps I should stash a cookbook with the snacks in the linen closet.

Speaking of snacks, I wonder which class party I am supposed to be doing for C's preschool class. I should look into that if I ever leave the hallway.

Did I mention that the hallway is cold and uncomfortable? Just checking.

I wonder what I am going to do with my life when my children are in school more than 6 hours a week. I guess I'll need to find a job again.

I wonder what I want to be when I grow up.

I'm fairly certain that I don't want to be anything that requires me to spend a lot of time sitting in hallways. I guess that means that hallway monitor is out.

I still have half my holiday card list to complete. I wonder if there is enough light from the nightlight to address them.

I wonder why we all bother with holiday cards anyway. I mean not that I would ever be on top of things enough to write the holiday letter, but I do enjoy getting the few I receive. More people should write holiday letters.

The clock in C's room ticks quite loudly.

I wonder how he ever falls asleep with that ticking away over his head.

On second thought, it's actually quite mesmerizing. I wonder if A would freak if I just lay down on the floor.

Ah. That's better. Nope, nope. She figured it out. Up I go.

Shhh. I think she's finally asleep...

Sunday, December 18, 2005


I was hoping for the Christmas sweater, but got socks. Blech.

You Are Socks!

Cozy and warm... but easily lost.
You make a good puppet.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

A New Low

I reached a new low in my parenting experience today. I walked out on my screaming daughter and ran away to (drumroll please) the grocery store. At nap time I just completely and utterly lost it. The child would not sleep, would not be quiet, would not be rational. I know that expecting rationality from a 19 month old is a bit much, but she has the vocabulary and sentence structure of a rational human being so I find it hard to remember that she is in fact still a very small, just minutes from infanthood, human being.

M was a star today, while I ran away to the grocery store he managed to get her down for a real nap. When I returned he announced that she was 100% my daughter as she is stubborn as they come and likes her back scratched. Go figure. Even C is somewhat amazed by her ability to allude sleep. At bedtime tonight he told me that A was a very sleepy baby, and he didn't understand why she didn't like her bed. His suggestion was bumper beds (bunk beds for the uninitiated), but somehow I don't see those working out quite as he imagined.

Tomorrow is another day. Hopefully one filled with an awful lot less yelling and crying. And hopefully for your sakes I can find a topic other than my daughter's sleep issues to write about.

Not to beat a dead hourse but...

there is still no sleep over here. A was up every hour on the hour and C was up every hour on the half hour.

To top it off, A has decided that she is too big for diapers and strips hers off the instant I put it on and then runs to the potty. Not that she has once peed in the potty, she doesn't have the control. But she seems to think it is time to potty train. And I must beg to differ. I can't handle the stress of potty training while sleep deprived. I just can't.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Overheard at Bedtime

C: "Do I have two daddies?"

Mommy: "Uh, no. You just have one."

C: "Oh. I guess I'm not lucky then."

Mommy: "Why?"

C: "Well, Jesus had two daddies, and you have two daddies, but I only have one. And two is better than one. But then again I have the best daddy in the whole world, right?"

Mommy: "You do indeed."

C: "So I guess I am the luckiest boy in the world after all. But if I had two daddies I would be even luckier..."

Things I learned last night

  1. Rain drops on the roof are not a sound A likes.
  2. A 19 month old is not a rational individual.
  3. C has become a light sleeper.
  4. Two children and a grownup do not fit in a crib turned toddler bed.
  5. Two children and a grownup and a cat do not fit in a twin bed.
  6. A cat is not a rational individual.
  7. 4am is not an hour at which I function well.
  8. 4am is too early to be up.
  9. The Wiggles do indeed make a night night CD.
  10. The Wiggles night night CD may be my last shot at sanity in this century.
  11. I was willing to pay an astronomical shipping fee to ensure that the Wiggles night night CD arrives in my home as quickly as possible.
  12. A is going to be a very difficult teenager if she continues down the path she is following.

Happy Birthday Nana

Today Nana is, well, we won't tell the whole internet now will we? C and A will call at an appropriate hour, but since we are all up now, and I'm fairly certain you'll log on before work, here's an early morning birthday shout out.

Oh, by the way, this is my blog. The archives have (more or less) a year+ of stories you've already heard about C and A typed up for posterity. They're on the left side of this page (click the underlined words). Some of them are OK, some of them not so much. Browse at your leisure.

And you can confer with Cindy if you wish, she got a similar birthday gift this year (click the underlined words again). Becca explained it all a bit better. I'm a little sleep deprived right now so I'll explain more in person.

Happy Birthday, we love you.

P.S. Auntie M doesn't know about this yet either, so don't tell her. I'll send a link to her in a bit too.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The kind of parent I am

Before I had C I had visions of the kind of parent I would be. I would sit on the floor and play games endless with my children. We would do lots of arts and crafts, and make big messes all the time. The kids would love to read and read and read, and I would snuggle with them on the couch narrating all my favorite books. My children would take long naps, and I would have an opportunity to read my own books, work on my own projects, and get dinner ready. We would eat as a family and then everyone would happily drift off to sleep in their own beds.

In reality, I am a very different type of parent. I'm not much for floor games. I do set up train track after train track, but I tend to let my kids figure the stacking cups, puzzles, and stacking rings out on their own (or not) as they choose. I make toy suggestions ("Why don't we get out the cars") but don't get down and zoom the cars around myself unless begged.

Arts and crafts drive me bonkers. I never liked them as a child, and I truly hate them as an adult. Crayons are fine, markers are OK, I avoid paint and glue like the plague. I've been relenting more and more on the paint front with C, but it takes some real negotiation on his part. I don't know what possessed me to think I would be an arts and crafts parent, but I am clearly not. I hate big messes. Which I am sure amuses my mother to no end.

We do read. A lot. And I will read the same book over and over and over again until I can recite it word for word on demand. Unfortunately, my favorite childhood books are not my children's. But 99% of the time I let them choose the story of the hour. I hope our tastes merge when we hit the chapter book stage, but if they don't, I will still be a mom who reads.

As for the long naps, yeah. Those never happened. With either child. I've always been lucky if I could squeeze in a shower, and maybe a trip to the garage to take the trash out. There is no mommy time for reading, projects, or cooking. The family dinners are also few and far between. Between M's commute factor and the lack of daytime sleep leading to an early bedtime factor, there is just no possible way that a family dinner could possibly work. And quite honestly, while I have some guilt over it, I relish the 30 minutes of time with M to talk about grownup things and eat grownup meals.

I frequently wonder how my children will remember me when they look back on their childhood. Will their therapy sessions be all about how mommy wouldn't do art with me? Or how mommy emptied the dishwasher while I ate dinner? Or will they remember the snuggles on the couch reading books or the long, long chats we have about whatever strikes their fancy. I hope they will look back on their childhood fondly, and be glad I was home. But some days I question whether I'm really the type of parent who should be staying home, or whether I've made a colossal mistake.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A 2, Mommy 1

We're 0 for 2 in the nap department. I'm going to count last night as a win for mommy in overtime. C is so exhausted that he is happily sleeping his way through the afternoon, while A sit and stares at me with a vacant, much in need of sleep look.

If she never naps again I'll, I'll, I don't know what I'll do. But it will be big and awful and impressive.

Let the games begin

Well, it could have been a worse night I suppose. At least C promptly climbed into his bed for once and stayed there in the interest of showing A how it is done. If both children has been up wandering the halls M might have come home to a note explaining that I had driven to Boston to deposit my children with Nana for the duration.

I think the fact that A refused to nap in her new digs helped as it only took about 2 hours for her to finally fall asleep. She spent the first half hour convincing me she wanted to sleep in the pack and play, but when I finally set it up for her she promptly climbed out in about 5 seconds flat. At least she could do that one safely. But if it didn't contain her, it didn't help me any so bye bye pack and play.

The next 45 minutes or so were spent with her sitting on a stool kicking her legs commenting "I sit. I SIT." while I sat in her doorway responding "Get into your bed A, it's night night time." She finally got tired of that game, and came over to pull me to back to her bed. Not to put her into it though, oh no. She wanted MOMMY to sleep in the bed. In the interest of convincing her that beds were for sleeping, I obligingly shoe horned myself into the former crib turned toddler bed, and she happily climbed in. And then out. And then in. And then out.

It was crystal clear that this was yet another game, so I returned to my not so comfortable perch in the doorway and began my mantra again. "Get into your bed A, it's night night time." She finally came over and put her head in my lap and began fake snoring. Which eventually turned to the sleepily little sighs she makes as she is falling asleep. I carefully snuggled her, sang her night night song, and laid her down in bed. "Mama sing again, Mama sing A again." After several rounds of that, she was too tired to more than whimper for a second as I left to room.

A actually DID stay asleep in her bed until 5:45 this morning, so at least there wasn't a middle of the night repeat of the bedtime fiasco. But for those of you counting, she has gotten a total of 16 hours if sleep in the past two days. C is down a significant amount of sleep too as he has been woken by the early morning scream fests. It's going to be a fun day.

I'm still reserving the right to head to Nana's for reinforcements. At least both children would be tired enough to sleep the whole way. If I stopped off at the library and got a book on tape the drive might actually be decadent.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Freedom of Speech

When I picked C up from school today he climbed into the car and burst into tears. At first he refused to tell me what was wrong, but by the time we had made it out of the parking lot it all came pouring out. Apparently, another little boy in C's class had told him he couldn't talk about the Baby Jesus. After getting over my initial shock that my son was bringing up Jesus in playground conversation with friends, I quickly tried to explain to C that no one could tell him what he could or couldn't say.

Mommy: "Just because someone tells you that you can't say something doesn't mean you can't say it C."

C: "But he said I can't say it. It made me sad. I like to talk about the Baby Jesus. It's almost his birthday."

Mommy: "Well, if that's what you want to talk about then you should talk about it. Other people can choose whether they want to listen to you or not, and someone may decide that they don't want to hear about the Baby Jesus, but they can't stop you from talking about him."

C: "Why?"

Mommy: "Remember the pilgrims from Thanksgiving?"

C: "Yeah, the ones who hadn't built the grocery stores yet."

Mommy: " Right. Well, do you remember why they left their homes?"

C: "No."

Mommy: "Because they didn't like how the government where they lived did things. One of the things they wanted was something called freedom of speech. Which means that they wanted to be able to say what they wanted to say without getting in trouble. And they also wanted to be able to pray to God how they wanted to pray to him instead of how their government told them to."

C: "Uh huh...."

Mommy: "So when they wrote the rules for their new home, one of the rules was that everyone could say what they wanted to without getting in trouble."

C: "So I can talk about the Baby Jesus even if he told me I couldn't?"

Mommy: "Right. No one can tell you what you can and can't say."

C: "But what if he doesn't want to be my friend anymore?"

Mommy: "Well, that's a decision that you'll have to make. You can say whatever you want, but you also can't force him to listen to you."

C: "Oh. But I like being friends with him."

Mommy: "Do you want to be friends with someone who tells you what you can and can't say?"

C: "I don't know. I guess not. But maybe I could just decide not to talk about the Baby Jesus around him."

Mommy: "You could do that."

C: "I'll have to think about it."

I think that's the best one can ask of an almost four year old. Peer pressure is a bitch.

It's Over

We spent the weekend trying to convince A that cribs were for sleeping, not climbing. On Saturday morning I though we had done it. Then at 5am this morning, there was a crash. And it is over. Over, over, over. At 19 months I am moving A out of the crib.

I keep telling myself that I was equally terrified about moving C to a bed, and he eventually learned to nap and sleep there, but, quite honestly, he was a little bit more malleable than A. She makes up her mind and that's IT. C could usually be persuaded to come around. I have a feeling that the crib conversion is going to be one of those events we talk about for the rest of our lives. "Do you remember when we had to move A to her toddler bed??? We never slept again until she was a teenager..."

Nevertheless, I'm too much of an anxious fraidy cat to allow her to stay in a crib from which she can (sort of) escape. If she is getting out of bed she might as well do it safely. Thankfully her room is childproofed to the hilt from the days that it used to be C's room, so if (when) she climbs out of the bed she won't be able to do much damage beyond taking all the clothes and books out.

Do you think her early monkey abilities will translate into an early potty trainer? That might make up for the lack of sleep....

Saturday, December 10, 2005

I am a good mommy

I broke down and purchased A what she would really want for Christmas if she a) knew it existed and b) understood the concept of Christmas, a singing Wags the Dog. Yes, you read that correctly. I voluntarily brought a loud, obnoxious, plush singing TV character into my home. At least the Hokey Pokey Elmo was purchased by grandparents. But I knew no one but me was buying A the singing Wags the Dog, and I knew that when she sees it come out of the wrapping on Christmas she will be hysterically happy.

I know I will kick myself several times over when I hear that song over and over and over again. And I sincerely hope that Wags will quickly find a home on the top shelf of the bookcase with Elmo. But I just had to see the look of pure joy on her face when she figures out what it is. I should get the mommy of the year award for this one, really I should.

A's Swimming Lessons

Saturday morning is my time with A, which is spent at swimming lessons. She's missed many of the sessions this round due to her cold the past couple of weeks and our schedules, but with nose (reasonably) dry, and no fever for a change, we ventured out to the Y. We got another 7 inches of snow yesterday, which makes putting your bathing suit on a rather surreal experience, but the Y keeps the pool at about 100 degrees it seems, so once we're there, it's actually quite nice.

Anyway, for the past few sessions, she was not making much progress and while she had a blast, I was getting discouraged and thinking maybe we'd just stop doing swim lessons until Spring. Today, however, something must have clicked with her. She was blowing bubbles on demand, kicking (i.e. running) her legs, and "scooping" when asked. I got so bold as to even let go for a sec and she didn't sink! She even doggie paddled for a few seconds before she started to face plant into the water and I grabbed her. Nothing but smiles from her.

I think we'll sign up for the next session.

And those of us with business degrees...

...get 8 out of 10. Since this test does not show what you got wrong, I had to ask my history/poli-sci wife. Seems we were friends with Russia during world war II and the constitution was ratified AFTER 1776!

Now before you all think I'm an idiot, let me justify my responses. Growing up, my family kept moving and as a result I went to 3 different high schools. Each had their own curriculum and as a result I missed European history entirely (my excuse for the WWII question) and the only period of US history that I can remember was the Civil War through WWI (my excuse for missing the constitution question). Come college, History 101 focused on... the Civil War through WWI. I then switched to the business school.

Those history and poli-sci degrees are still worth something...

You Passed the US Citizenship Test

Congratulations - you got 10 out of 10 correct!

A's New Word

A has a new word, "why." I feel like we didn't get to the why stage with C until much later. Much, much later. I'm still unclear whether A actually knows what she is saying or is just mimicking C, but every time I make a statement such as "You can't strip down A, you'll freeze," she responds with "Why?". I now have two children demanding an explanation for EVERY MOVE WE MAKE.

Mommy: "It's breakfast time!"

C: "Why?"

A: "Huh [A's version of yes], why?"

Mommy: "Because the clock says it is 7:00."

A: "Why?"

C: "Yeah, why?"

I'm going to go insane.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Snow Snow Snow

There is a lot of snow on the ground, and it is still snowing. The upside, M is not (I assume since he is still sleeping) driving up to Boston today. The downside, although I have not yet received the official phone call, the children will not be vacating the house for their respective morning activities.

I remember when snow days were a thing to be celebrated. In grade school no school meant we got to stay in our jammies all day and watch TV, read, play games, or help mom bake bread. Even in college when it snowed all the time and they never ever cancelled school, snow was a happy thing, a reason to haul out the rattiest clothes, bring cocca into class and tromp around hurling snow balls at friends across the quad. I would often sit upstairs in the student center where there were comfortable couches and a fireplace (!) and watch the snow drift down past the Hall of Languages. It was beautiful.

This morning I woke up and watched the snow drift onto the hot pink plastic slide, the peaceful feeling was not quite the same. In a few minutes the kids would be up, and a day of refereeing sibling battles while trying to keep the chaos at bay and simultaneously maintaining a semblance of quiet while M tried to telecommute to work would begin. The snow would need to be shoveled, the cars would need to be scraped, and the cats would need to be rescued after they foolishly insisted on adventuring out into the drifts.

In a few years, I am sure that the joy of a snow day will return. The kids will be older, and I will relish the time spent with them engaged in our own snow day rituals. But for today, I will try to find the peace during nap time. Perhaps by then the hot pink slide will be a lovely white sculpture.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


Last night we had three hours of "I want to be with mommy and daddy but why would I want to sleep in their bed, their bed is for playing" hysteria from A in the middle of the night. At the two and a half hour mark I escorted her back to her crib, and, she climbed right back out. Rather unsuccessfully and unsafely. @&#%. We have to convert the crib to a toddler bed. I'm going to cry. Not only does that mean my little baby girl is growing up, it also means that I will never.sleep.again.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

She is my daughter after all

Despite A's remarkable physical resemblance to M's side of the family, it became clear today that she is indeed my daughter as well. While watching the Sesame Street episode with the tap dancing penguin, she got as excited as I did, and made me replay it several times while she giggled away.

That's my girl. Who can resist tap dancing penguins?


Big. Yawn. Long. Day. Many. Tears. Much snow on way. Waahhhh.

Random Christmas Thoughts Courtesy of C

"Why does Santa come down the chimney? Wouldn't it be easier to come in the door?"

"Why doesn't the Grinch have pants on? I really think he needs pants."

"I don't think Santa likes cookies. Or milk. Perhaps I should eat the cookies for him. The reindeer can keep the carrots though."

"Hanging lights [on the tree outside] is a daddy job I think. Maybe we should wait until Daddy comes home. You aren't doing it very well."

"How does Santa know which stocking in mine if it doesn't have my name on it?"

"We can't read that book, it's a Christmas book and it is not Christmas time yet. We don't have a tree. It's just winter."

"What does Santa have to do with the Baby Jesus?"

I'm sure there will be a second installment here, but figured I would preserve these for posterity while they were still fresh in my mind...

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The etymology of Chichimama

Rebecca pointed out this weekend that I should really explain where Chichimama came from, now that there are "strangers" reading my blog. And I suppose I wouldn't want you to get the wrong idea...

When C's friend Julia was about 15 or 18 months, she had a very hard time pronouncing C's name. (Hey, at almost four C still has a hard time with his name.) She also had a hard time with my name so she began calling me "Chichimama" meaning "C's mommy." I had never had a nickname, and was tickled to have been given one by one of my favorite little ones. When I began blogging, it seemed like as good a pseudonym as any. So there you go. I am not in fact a chichi individual, despite my love of shoes...ah well.

Happy Holidays


We've been trying to get a good holiday card, and our efforts so far have not been rewarded. But in the middle of last night during one of my insomnia attacks, I had a brilliant idea. A picture of my children looking out at the snow on our sun porch, and an enclosure of decent pictures of them on the beach. That way we get the nice holiday feel with the decent pictures of my children, the grandparents can frame the pictures, and I don't have to lose my sanity over this anymore. M wasn't similarly overwhelmed, but then again I did try to sell it to him at 3am.

Now if only it can keep snowing long enough for me to get the shot....

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Welcome M

We're trying something new here folks. M has read my blog (yeah M!) and decided he wants some input. So look out for some posts from chichidaddy (or whatever he decides to call himself). We'll see how this goes. I reserve the right to revert back to sole proprietorship.

Welcome to the blogsphere M....

This is the RNC calling...

M apparently gave the RNC some money, as our first holiday card of the season was from George W. and Laura Bush (religious quote and all), and now my phone rings several times a day.

"Oh, Mrs. Republican-Wife, this is the RNC calling. We would love to talk with you about..."

"I'm sorry, do you realize that it is 9am and you are calling a residence? The man you want to talk to is at work. And trust me, you don't want to speak with me."

At 1pm...

"Hi Mrs. Republican-Wife, this is Peppy Lady from the RNC. I'm calling you about..."

"As I told the caller at 9am, you don't want to talk to me. The man who might give you money is at work. Plus, do you realize it is nap time? And our family values here Chez J-E includes nap time."

At 6pm...

"Mrs. Republican-Wife, we're so glad you are home. This is Peppy Guy from the RNC...."

"As I told the previous callers, the person you are looking for is not me. He is out earning the money that you so desperately want. And it is the dinner hour. Isn't family mealtime important to the Republican party?"

Three times in one day???? How hard up for cash can the Republicans really be?

Friday, December 02, 2005

A new deity

At bedtime tonight...

C: "I love God. He loves me too."

Mommy: "Yes, I'm sure he does."

C: "Did you know he had a son?"

Mommy: "Yes."

C: "The baby Jesus."

Mommy: "Yes."

C: "Baby Jesus had two daddies. God and Joseph."

Mommy: "That's right."

C: "His mommy was Mary."

Mommy: "That's right C. Did you learn this all at school?"

C: "Yes. But they didn't talk about Nana. Why? Baby Jesus had Nana too you know. Not just God."

Not sure how Nana will take this one. Not only is she Christian, she is apparently as old as God...

Hero Worship

C: "I wish I could be a daddy just like my daddy. I love him sooooo much."

I think a higher compliment has never been paid.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


M is away for a few days, and when I was talking to him tonight I started ragging on him for not reading my blog to keep up with the kids. After a few minutes it came out that he had skimmed an entry once, but it made him feel bad as he felt like I was criticizing his parents and/or that they were making me feel inadequate. Which was not at all the point of the post. I was more trying to work out how to foster his parents' relationship with their grandkids so everyone got more pleasure out of their visits. I guess I failed miserably.

M, while I don't think that I have ever put anything into here that I haven't said to you in person, somehow reading it instead of hearing it with the facial expressions and the many, many hand gestures I generally use must have made it seem different. For that I apologize in front of the whole internet as it was not my intention to write anything that would make you feel bad.


I am a born procrastinator. I will let the laundry pile up until it cascades down into the basement of its own volition. I still have a birthday present for a friend of C's sitting in my room from a party we missed two months ago, but I haven't yet made it to the post office to mail it. Hey, I've even been known to procrastinate on blogging. You should see the litter of unfinished blog entries on my computer.

Right now I'm procrastinating on going to see my grandma. She's not doing all that well, according to the aunts at least, and even my dad got on the phone after we missed the family Thanksgiving get-together to ask when I thought I was making it up to visit her. So I know I need to make the trip up, probably with both kids in tow. And if I don't make it soon I'll probably regret it. But I can't quite seem to commit to a date.

I'm not quite sure why I can't bring myself to pick a time to go visit her. Is it my fear of seeing what it is like to be old, frail, and uncertain when one used to be young, vibrant, and determined? Is it because I hate to replace my current memories of Grandma with ones of her wheelchair-bound and confused? Probably and probably.

It is hard for me to reconcile the woman I remember from my childhood with the one who now sits in a wheelchair and can't quite remember which of her children I belong to. I'm never sure what I am supposed to say when I speak with her. I ramble on about my kids, but since she's unclear on who I am, I'm certain it just confuses her even more. When I ask about her activities she is silent. She used to be so opinionated, so clear, so determined. Now it seems like she is just waiting to die. And I'm not good at dealing with that.

My grandmother was one of the first female pediatricians, and practiced right up until she was 86 years old. Her "kids" were her patients, not my dad and his sisters, and certainly not me and my cousins. As a young child she scared me silly. She was stern and rigid. Things were done her way, or they would be redone her way if you dared to stray. She actually washed our mouths out with soap when we talked back. So do I have fond, loving memories of my grandmother? Not so much.

But when I was broke and uncertain what I was doing with my life, she let me live with her for a year rent-free in Brooklyn while I commuted to a dead-end job in NYC. When she realized I was in a dead-end job, she coerced me into applying to graduate school and supplied me with the needed funds to tide me over until my scholarships kicked in. While she was never a warm and fuzzy lots of hugs type of grandmother, she has, in her own way, been there for me when I needed her.

And I know that even though she probably doesn't remember my name, or that I lived with her for a year, or that I got married to a man who reminded her of her husband, or that C's middle name was her maiden name, if I show up and bring her some wildflowers I will make her day. It's hard to justify the procrastination when I look at it like that.