Tuesday, January 31, 2006

An experiment

Long before we changed A's crib into a toddler bed, she had been complaining about her bed. I always took it to mean that she didn't like the crib, but M had an interesting point last night at 2 am or so. Maybe she actually doesn't like her bed. Or mattress. Or something about the place in which she sleeps.

So tonight after an hour plus of hysteria at bedtime, I whipped out the inflatable bed that C sleeps in when visiting grandparents and A got a huge smile on her face.

A: "A's bed?"

Mommy: "Would you like to sleep here?"

A: "Oh yeah. No crib. A sleep bed."

While it still took another 15 minutes for her to fall asleep, she did not try to escape from the bed, and commented several times on how she was not in her crib but in a bed. I'm reserving judgment until we have experienced sustained changes in her sleeping patterns, but I'm starting to wonder if in fact she has been trying to tell us what is wrong all along and we have been too dumb to figure it out.

Out of the mouths of preschoolers

C: "Mommy, you have a very squishy belly."

Daddy: "C, that's not nice!"

C: "But it's true..."

Monday, January 30, 2006

A desperate plea

So I have apparently been put in charge of the craft activity for the Valentine's Day party at C's preschool. Based on my previous performances in the arts and crafts department, I'm a little unclear exactly what the teachers hope to accomplish here beyond humiliating me in front of all of C's friends and the other mommies, but apparently "it's my turn."

Please, oh please, will someone with more talent and creativity than I offer up a suggestion of what art project I can possibly accomplish with 14 three to four year olds in the space of 15 minutes that somehow relates to my least favorite holiday. And preferably one that doesn't involve scissors...

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Please no

C, A, and I spent the afternoon puttering around the local bookstore, which oh so conveniently has a TtFTE train table. Having learned my lesson on earlier visits I insisted on a trip through the cooking and food section before heading to the children's section and picked up a new bread book (or two) to browse while the kids fought over germ laden trains that are identical to the ones we have at home. Much fun was had by all.

After we finally exhausted the fun to be had at the train table, C picked out a TtFTE book, and A picked out a Blue's Clues book and we headed to the registers. On the way I tried to take a detour through the travel section. As I desperately tried to determine whether I wanted this book, or this book, C started tugging on my arm. I tried to read furiously and ignore him, but after a minute or so he became insistent.

C: "Please no Mom."

Mommy: "Excuse me? Please no what?"

C: "Please no is what people say when they no longer want to do what their mommies are doing. So please no."

To which I could do nothing but laugh and abandon the travel section for a later date.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

They are the champions...

For the last week I've been participating in the Blog Olympics over at Barbara's. My hat is off to Running2Ks and Uisce, the Blog Olympic co-champions. They played hard, fair, and are amazing bloggers. Hop on over and check them out, shower them with congratulatory comments, and start practicing for next year! The dynamic duo will be hard acts to beat.

Meme meme, meme meme

From Running 2K's...I thought it was a cool one just to see what books were lying next to everyone's computers!

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog along with these instructions.
5. Don't you dare dig for that cool or intellectual book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest.

"Make note of each new low and find where prices rise (still moving backwards in time!) by 20% or more from the lowest low to the close. When this occurs, the lowest low marks the trend start, For example, imagine that you have a toboggan about to slide down a large hill."
- From Trading Classic Chart Patterns.

The big question that remains (besides what the heck is this guy talking about), is why is M's book on "my desk" (aka the top of the TV stand)? Also found near by: The ABC's of Art (only 26 pages long though), the latest Real Simple magazine, and Prep (which is not nearly as good as Garlic and Sapphires, except from the "can I identify anyone in here" perspective).

Yes, there are miracles

6:56 am. That is the time that A woke up this morning. I'm unclear what caused her to sleep past 5 am, but I am going to wrack my brain trying to figure it out. Maybe it was the purple pajama, pink slipper combo? Maybe it was the extra song she got last night? Or maybe it was just plain dumb luck. Whatever the reason, I am happier than I have been in weeks. It's amazing what joy the little things in life can bring.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Vegging Out

Every morning A watches her favorite episode of the Wiggles while having her cup of milk. In this particular episode, the Wiggles instruct their little charges how to dress up to go out in the rain. Every morning, A races out of the family room to put on her coat, hat, and boots. And every morning, it catches me by surprise. You would think by now I would clue in and have the outfit all laid out, but every morning I have to go digging to find everything.

I think part of the reason it catches me by surprise is that even though it happens every morning, I am still not expecting it as it is so different from how C watches TV. C uses the TV to veg out and destress, much like I do. He tends to want to watch TV when he is tired, and lies down on the couch to watch passively. No matter how you try to get him to answer the characters when they ask him a question, or do the dances being done, he refuses to get out from under the blankets. I understand that, I use TV for the same reasons. And if I am watching TV I certainly do not want to leave my couch to jump up and down.

A, on the other hand, watches TV with passion. She chatters back at the characters, dances around the family room, and acts out all of her favorite scenes. Watching TV with A exhausts me. I guess you could say her way of viewing is "healthier," if watching TV could possibly even be categorized as such, but to me it defeats the purpose of being one with the couch and letting something else do the thinking and amusing for a spell.

Every time I put on the TV for my kids I feel a little guilty, but for some reason I feel less guilty putting it on for C as I understand the reasons why he wants to watch TV. When I put the TV on for A, I'm fairly confident that she would be just as happy bouncing around the playroom as I sang and danced a jig. But since I don't sing and I don't dance jigs, the Wiggles will have to fill in until she's old enough for dance class.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Oh, if only I could be sunshine

You Are Sunshine

Soothing and calm
You are often held up by others as the ideal
But too much of you, and they'll get burned

You are best known for: your warmth

Your dominant state: connecting

If I were sunshine I would shine all day. Unfortunatly, Blogthings doesn't seem to have a direct connection to the weatherman in the sky.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Guilty Pleasures

For the first time in several months I am actually reading a book that has captured my interest, Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl, a former NYT food critic. It is well written, funny, and makes my mouth water. Everytime I read a book like this I wish I had a more discerning palette as I think my dream job just might be a food or wine writer. But I can't pick out the flavors well enough to even consider such a career so I read the works of others and drool.

I was so engrossed this afternoon that when C self-released himself from quiet time early that I not only indulged him, I offered up a full hour of TV so I could keep reading. While I felt rather guilty about this bribe, it was well worth it. C was a bit perplexed as to why I would choose to read rather than follow the exploits of Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends, but when his show was over he came and snuggled next to me in the chair with his book. He then pretended to read for a full thirty seconds before shoving my book aside and replacing it with his. But for those thirty seconds, I had a brief glimpse of what life might be like many years from now when everyone can read all by themselves. I can't wait.

I Hide

A now insists on being diaper-free between the hours of 6 and 8pm. Which has resulted in more pee on the wool rug accidents than I can count, and one poop on the foam alphabet squares. Our discussion tonight went something like this:

Mommy: "A, if you aren't going to wear your diaper then you need to be sitting on the potty."

A: "Yeah, potty!"

A few minutes later A gets off the potty, lured by a favorite dance scene on Sesame Street.

Mommy: "A, potty or diaper."

A: "No!"

Mommy: "Yes!"

A: "I hide." And off she ran to duck behind the foot stool.

I love the fact that they still tell you what they are doing and where they are hiding at this age.


And another A conversation from earlier today.

A: "Mommy, I sleepy."

Mommy: "OK, let's go nap!"

A: "Oh, no, sleepy, not nappy."

I am taking it as a good sign that she at least recognizes that she is tired, even if she still refuses to take action on that feeling...

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Overheard at a playdate

"Quick, C get under the bed so my dad doesn't see us!"

"I'm going to call my mom and tell her to bring my magic wand." A pretend conversation ensues.

"C, I think I'm going to call back just to be sure. She doesn't always listen well."

Monday, January 23, 2006

One step forward, one step back

Today, after months of requesting to sit on the potty and producing nothing, A actually got some pee to land in the bowl. She promptly clamored for attention, received claps and hugs from me, a congratulatory phone call from M and kisses and hugs from C. Overcome by all of the excitement she then peed on the rug and burst into tears.

One step forward, one step back. I'm not running out to buy underpants anytime soon.

About those chickens....

Jennifer asked about the chickens...and there is a (short) story to tell.

The chickens actually came from my dad's side of the family. His older sister and her husband have a varied collection of animals, including horses, cows, dogs, cats and chickens. My mother and my aunt used to do a yearly summer exchange of children, I would head to CT to learn to ride horses and my cousin J would head north to get his summer reading accomplished under the supervision of my mom the English teacher. One summer my uncle decided to offer up some baby chicks to my sister and a kitten to me. We carted our pets back to the farm, and my mother grudgingly took in both the chickens and the cat as she wasn't driving them back to CT.

Turned out the chickens had salmonella, and my sister caught it and became very, very ill. The chickens were disposed of (I couldn't tell you how) and my sister had a long, painful recovery. My mother swore she would never have anything to do with fowl of any sort ever again; I became permanently scarred and live in constant fear of salmonella poisoning. Just ask M about my neuroses around chicken products.

Paper Towel Bowling

A new favorite game has been invented Chez J-E that I feel obligated to share with my fellow parents. Paper Towel Bowling. Set up unopened rolls of paper towels in a bowling pin like fashion, hand the kids some soccer balls (kid sized) and let them go to town. An otherwise horrific afternoon has been transformed into "the coolest day EVER mommy." I've lost the last two frames to A who seems to have a knack for bowling.

Who knew?

It's back to reality

It’s back to reality, middle of the night wake ups and all. I had a wonderful time at my sister’s, even though my internal alarm clock now seems to be permanently set at a ridiculously early hour and I didn’t get as much sleep as I had hoped. But I still got much more sleep than I would have gotten at home, so I really can’t complain.

Spending time with Baby C without having to run around after my own kids was a joy. She is such an easygoing child, and I’m afraid I spent the whole weekend telling my sister “This is just amazing! You mean she plays independently, goes to sleep when you put her in her crib AND sleeps through the night without a peep? I just can’t believe that such things are possible!” I clearly need to take parenting lessons from my sister and her husband. And hopefully when Baby C comes to visit next month she won’t pick up my kids bad habits….

I was also inspired to buy myself new socks. And underwear! In bright colors! It feels rather decedent. C and A also received some new clothes for next winter, as surprise surprise, wool sweaters are not a very hot commodity in Texas so I was able to pick up several for virtually free. Auntie M and her husband also got a babysitter one night and the three of us went out to a delicious dinner.

M seems to have survived the weekend intact, although I don’t think we are going to see him for the next week or two, as he didn’t even get a chance to start the work he was planning on doing. It’s amazing how much time it takes to chase two kids around. And M didn’t get his convertible; A was up at 2 and 4 am last night.

While I got some lovely hugs from C upon my return, A didn’t even seem to notice that I had been gone. And while I am glad to be home and back into my normal life and it was great to see the kids again, I have to admit that I did not miss them nearly as much as I thought I would while I was gone. I could have stayed away a bit longer without a problem.

Anyway, that’s the boring, not so detailed, update as everyone is clamoring for “special” breakfast and requesting mommy participation this morning instead of engaging in independent play.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Phew...I Made it!

Chichimama is back! The kids are still alive. I'd say, on balance, we even had a good time. (Did I mention that Chichimama is back!).

Actually, it wasn't bad and today went well. Church in the AM, kids were well behaved most of the day afterwards and they (thankfully) took long naps. A half hour after they woke up, it was time to head to the airport.

Since I believe that every experience should teach you something, here's what I learned:

  • I hate markers
  • I hate the Wiggles song and dance mat (or whatever it is). Whoever thought the Wiggles could induce so many arguments between kids?
  • If I want to get C to nap, allow him to throw two or three really good tantrums. (This is still a theory, but I'm going to experiment. I mean, have you ever really paid attention to a tantrum? The calorie burn on a good one must be extraordinary.)
  • It is VERY tempting to let the TV raise the kids.
  • Squeaky floors might add character to a really old house, but they're a bitch when trying to sneak out of your daughter's room.

But my biggest takeaway (and I'm going to try to say this without sounding like some squishy, Clinton-esq, easy-to-cry, new-age '90s man) is that I can appreciate how difficult it is to raise the kids and run a household day in and day out. Chichimama, you do a great job and I thank you!

And thanks to everyone's words of encouragement!

Growing Up Farm Girl

For Kristy...

It's hard to pick what to write about growing up on a farm, as it all seems so common and boring to me. Twenty baby lambs being born in a two-week period? What a pain, it meant that I didn’t get much sleep and froze my toes off while standing around waiting for the mothers to get their acts together and start nursing their babies. Shearing time in the spring? An entire weekend devoted to hauling greasy fleeces around the barn and tying them up in old sheets. But I guess I’ll start with a general overview, and now that I’ve started thinking about my childhood there will probably be more in depth pieces to come.

To clarify, while ours was a working farm, and sometimes even a profit-making farm, it never made enough money to support two children who went to private schools. To keep us in clothes, food and tuition money, my mother also wore the hats of an English teacher and tutor for most of my childhood. My parents divorced not long after the purchase of the farm, so the responsibility for its upkeep and survival fell squarely on my mom's shoulders.

We lived on a farm because that is what my mother had known growing up. Although she had technically resided in Big Midwestern City with Two Names, she spent the majority of her time on the rural farms of her aunts and uncles as both her parents had demanding careers. It was on those farms that her childhood memories were made, where she learned to knit and cook and bake. When she grew up she knew she wanted a farm as that was where she was happiest. But she also knew that she didn't want dairy farms like her uncles, she had found them too confining. Cows had to be milked at the same time every day, leaving one with little flexibility to sleep in, work late, or take a vacation.

Aunt H had taught my mother to knit at a young age and she always loved the peace and calm it brought her. As the wool needed to knit came from sheep, and sheep seemed to be a lower maintenance animal than cows, a sheep farm seemed like a good idea. So when I was about seven or eight we bought our first sheep. There was Flower, and Susie, and I think Ribbon, although she might have come a bit later. Their offspring, most of whom were destined for places other than our pastures, were called Freezer, Freezer 2, Freezer 3, and so on until we hit Freezer 22, at which point my sister announced that she got the gist and I named the next one Wilber (apologies to my vegetarian readers).

Our flock quickly grew from three sheep to its high of forty or more during lambing season. While we started out with Corriedales, my mother soon branched out into the sheep equivalent of mutts for the variety of fleece quality and colors. When my sister was old enough to own her own sheep she selected the Horned Dorset, which turned out to be a stubborn and mean breed, although my sister refused to hear anything derogatory said about her beloved Petunia. We also had an assortment of other animals, some chickens, some guinea hens, and a peacock that paraded between our farm and the one down the street.

My first sheep was Tokey, named after Tokyo (I told you I couldn't spell) for reasons that now escape me. I had probably just finished a book about Japan. Tokey was a sheep with personality. She was the first one at the gate when you arrived with food, and would do practically anything for a sip of root beer soda. She had outrageously large floppy ears that looked more like they belonged on a goat than a sheep. She also had a few unfortunate spots on her ears and nose that made her not quite the champion sheep I had dreamed she would be. But she was mine and I spoiled her about as rotten as you could spoil a sheep. And despite her unfortunate spots, her genes served as the basis for many of the lines still in residence at the farm today.

My sister and I were 4-H’ers, and my mother was one of the leaders of our 4-H club. We spent the winters attending 4-H meetings and learning everything there was to know about the care and feeding of sheep. The summers were spent grooming sheep and showing them at the local fairs. The 4-H club and the fair circuit were my social life through elementary school and junior high school. I never quite fit in at school, and while I didn’t quite fit in at 4-H either, as how many 4-H’ers attend private schools, the kids there were a bit more tolerant of differences.

I was a 4-H'er until high school when the homework and other commitments of prep school made it impossible to continue. By that point, being a 4-H'er in the land of "do you summer in the south of France or Italy" was beyond embarrassing to a self-conscious teenager. I spent the next several years downplaying where I lived and what my mother did in her spare time, except on college applications where unique is good. It also served as a useful conversation starter with grownups I didn't know, successfully distracting them from asking personal questions about me.

Once in college, while I still didn’t offer up my background on a regular basis, I found that it didn’t make the social pariah that it had in high school. And as I wasn’t immersed in the day-to-day activities of the farm on a regular basis, I stopped resenting it as much and began realizing all of the ways it had made my childhood and adolescence unique. I lived a life that is becoming extinct, and developed an understanding of and appreciation for the power of nature that few people are privileged enough to experience.

Although I still have no interest in farming in any sense of the word, I now grasp why my mother had been so drawn to it. While the community surrounding us has became more and more suburban, atop the New England hill nothing at the farm has ever really changed. Surrounded by the woods and ponds, sheep still graze peacefully in the fields and wander about the property in search of the freshest clover. The house, despite several additions and renovations, still seems exactly the way that it did almost thirty years ago. The barns still serve as the centerpiece of the property, presiding over the driveway and front pastures with a quiet grace. And every time I make the final turn in the driveway and see the property spread out around me, I know that a part of me has come home.

Baby lambs
Main Barn in the Snow

Saturday, January 21, 2006

C Casts His Vote

Well, after my Starbucks visit yesterday continued to go well. In fact, the day went very well and was really uneventful.

Then...A woke up at 3AM this morning. And 4 AM. And 5:30. Finally, at 6:45 she decided in earnest to start her day (and mine). 6:45 is actually not that bad - it's just that when it comes after getting up 3 times prior it becomes an issue.

The morning went fine, we went to swimming (A had a blast and C enjoyed babysitting). But from then on it's been touch and go. LOTS of bickering (including from me!). But I guess I knew I lost this round when about an hour before quiet time, just after a little spat between him and A, which resulted in my yelling at them, he said, "This is just not going well, is it?" That broke the tension enough to carry us through till quiet time and now A seems to be soundly napping. C, of course, isn't.

Oh well. Chichimama comes back tomorrow and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Let's just hope it's not an oncoming train!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Greetings from Starbucks

I must be lucky. A basically slept through the night (she got up at 9 pm, but I was able to get her back down easily enough). Then she woke up at 6, I brought her into bed and she slept till 7:15. C got up at 7:45. An hour later, we were breakfasted (is that even a word?) and out the door for school. I am now sitting in a Starbucks, drinking a nice cup o' joe and cruising the 'net.

So far so good! Unless they are lulling me into complacency and this is merely the calm before the storm...

Thursday, January 19, 2006

And Round I Goes to...

Daddy! Just a little bit after 8 and everyone's down. A was up and about a couple of times, but we worked through that - all told only about 20 minutes to get her down. Granted, it helped that she got up at an ungodly hour, didn't nap, and I put her down a little later. But we're all still sane.

Now, the real test comes tonight...

A "Quiet" Time Haiku

It is now quiet time.
C and A refuse to sleep.
I am really screwed.

Going going gone

As can be gathered from previous posts, I'm not going to be around this weekend. I am planning on bringing the laptop for the plane ride (old work habits die hard) and hope to finish the litter of posts I have started but haven't been able to finish because they require way too much thought for everyday blogging in a sleep deprived world (Kristy, this means your reader's choice selection!).

I'm not sure what my sister's Internet set up is these days, she and her husband never been quite as obsessed with interested in computer technology as M and I so I'm guessing they aren't set up for wireless. So unless I can convince M to part with his cellular modem card for the weekend, I'’ll get everything up when I get back. Assuming I don't fall asleep before the plane takes off of course.

T-Minus 19 Hours...

Later this afternoon, Chichimama takes off to Texas to visit her sister until Sunday with no kids. Ergo, I am Mr. Mom all weekend! I've watched C during weekends before, but this will be my first time with both kids for such an extended period. Personally, I'm not worried. Not sure how Chichimama really feels (I presume Rebecca is on full alert!). I have a complete schedule and am ready to go - Bring it on!

Since I am taking off Thursday and Friday to do this, I worked late tonight and evidently A did not go down easily. Chichimama called me at the office at around 9 PM and A was still getting up out of bed and looking for mommy. Consequently, I have been presented with a challenge: if I (as ultimate daddy) can cure A of her sleep issues, I am allowed to get myself a convertible with no complaints from Chichimama!

Gulp...maybe this won't be so easy. As I write this, C woke up, came downstairs, looked at me, and broke into his standard refrain, "I want mommy!" and collapsed into a puddle of whining. Ah well. I'm still optimistic!

Stay tuned...this weekend is daddy blog!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Overheard at Bedtime

C: "Mom, why is Leo a lightning bug?"

Mommy: "Um, because God made him one?"

C: "Why do we need lightning bugs?"

Mommy: "Um, I don't know, we'll have to Google it in the morning."

C: "Are you sure Google will know? Because it doesn't always have all the answers."

Mommy Guilt

Tomorrow night I am flying out of town (on an airplane!) without my kids or husband. And no, it's not an elaborate escape fantasy, I am really and truly headed to Texas to see my little sister. As she has a toddler just weeks younger than A it's not like I'm going to be totally child free, but at least it won't be me who has to get out of bed at 2am, 3am, and 5am if Baby C decides to wake up demanding water, a hug, or a new lovey. Not that she would, Baby C is apparently a sleeper and goes 8 to 8 without a peep, but we're not really going to think about that over here.

Although I act as if this is going to be great! fabulous! so wonderful!, in reality I am scared to death. I can count the number of times I have been away from my kids overnight on one hand, including my hospital stays when pregnant with A. And I don't even need to use the whole hand. In fact, I think I can count the number of times I have been away from my kids for longer than two and a half hours on two hands with fingers left over. I don't generally tend to stray far from home without someone (or two) in tow.

So much (OK, almost all) of my life is wrapped up in the minutiae of their day to day activities that it is almost impossible to tell where they end and I begin. The thought of being on a plane for over five hours when I can't even been reached by phone is too awful to even contemplate. What if something happens? It will be five hours before I know. What if C falls out of bed and needs to hear my voice to calm down? What if A has an allergic reaction or another bout with croup? I think it will take all of my power not to pick up that airphone and call to check in (There ARE still airphones on planes, right?) while I am enroute.

Beyond the fear of disaster, however, there is a fair amount of Mommy guilt tied up in my leaving. My job description is "mommy." And mommies aren't supposed to go do things for themselves. Which I know intellectually is a silly, unhealthy attitude, but it is the one I am stuck with for better or worse. My mom was a single parent for most of my childhood,and she taught at my elementary and junior high schools, so my experience with mommy separation is limited. Nana swears up and down that she left me many a time with a babysitter, and even spent days at a time with her ailing parents without me, but I don't remember any of that. I just remember her constant presence and the comfort that it brought when things went wrong.

I know that this separation will be good for all of us, I mean I'll get a chance to catch up on sleep and there is nothing but good things to be said about that. C and A will get to bond with Daddy without Mommy intervention. M will get a chance to discover the joys of waking up multiple times a night AND having to get out of bed. And, just perhaps, he will have better luck than I convincing A that 5am is not an hour at which she should be out of bed for the day.

But the fact remains that while intellectually I am thrilled to be venturing out on my own with no need for a diaper bag, multiple changes of clothes and kid-approved snack foods, emotionally I'm not quite there yet. It's not that I don't trust M because I do implicitly. In fact I am fairly certain that he is a better parent than I. It's just that my children have become such a part of my daily (and nightly) existence that I can't fathom what I will do without them, or how they will survive without me. A part of me is also scared that they will do just fine without me, proving that my role in their lives is not as important as I make it out to be. And if they don't need me as much as I need them, I'm not sure where that leaves me except one step closer to out of the best job I've ever had.

I just failed preschool art

Today was parent visitation day at C's preschool. All the mommies (and one daddy!) filed into the classroom and sat around the colorful carpet in a nice circle, modeling proper behavior for their offspring. Attendance was taken, songs were sung, stories were read. The children all waved cheerily at their parents, excited to have their favorite people there to applaud them.

Then the teachers called us all to the tables. The mommies tried to fit their behinds into the small blue chairs, and the kids twittered that they thought the chairs might break. After some shuffling, the children sat and the mommies kneeled. Black construction paper and scissors were distributed, along with paper Dixie cups filled with glue and white paper bags. Our task was to cut around the white chalked lines on the paper to make penguins. Then to fold said penguin, cut a slit diagonally to make a beak, and hook the penguin over the paper bag so it looked like the penguin was peering over the top of it. Nothing to it, I thought. I like penguins. I can make a penguin.

C started off with the scissors like a pro, and I applauded myself for the purchase of the safety scissors this fall. Then he tried to follow the curve of the penguin's belly and it all fell apart. The poor penguin ended up with a gaping stomach wound. As I quickly tried to steer him back to the white chalked lines, the lead teacher leaned over my shoulder and whispered helpfully "I think you need to practice more with scissors at home. Of course it's harder for lefties, but still...in order to do well next year he'll need to be a good cutter." Great. My son will flunk pre-K because I forgot to practice cutting with him.

Due to our inadvertent major surgery on the poor penguin's intestines, we were the last pair to finish cutting. I quickly glanced around to assess what I was supposed to do next. Right, cutting the slit for the beak. I looked at the folded black blob and tried to figure out which direction I was supposed to be cutting to make the slit look like the beak. Up, or down. Up or down. I finally took the plunge and cut down. We unfolded the penguin and inspected the beak. Nope, wrong choice. I tried to determine if there was anyway to rectify the situation, but everyone else had already moved onto gluing, and the pressure was on. I finally decided to just keep plowing ahead and pretend like it was all going to work out in the end. I'm a mommy, I can fix just about anything. It would be fine.

C began looking suspiciously from his project to those of the other kids. "Here sweetie, glue!" I cried to distract. He happily smeared the thick white glue onto the blue poem and I instructed him to affix it to the back of the bag. I mean, that makes sense, right? You want to be able to see the penguin, not the poem. The teacher making the rounds to hand out praise and gluing expertise paused and looked at our penguin. "I think I cut the beak the wrong way," I mumbled while looking anywhere but the teacher. "We always tell the kids that it is THEIR project, and however it turns out is just fine..." she replied with a look of pity on her face. "But let's see if we can move the poem to the front here like the other penguins so it doesn't ruin the picture..."

By this point I could just see the notes being taken in C's permanent record. "Lovely child, very outgoing. But mom has no aptitude for art. It is clear why he is so starved for attention during arts and crafts. Assign mom to napkins for the class party." I swore we were going to redeem ourselves when it came to gluing the feet on. The feet were pre-cut. Clearly feet went on the bottom of the bag. And no one has ever criticized my gluing technique. This part was a shoe in.

I handed C the brush of glue and he spread it on with large, gloppy strokes. In his defense, he then tried to affix the feet onto the back of the bag, not the front. But I insisted that they went in front so you can see them. Wrong again. Apparently they got glued in back so when you stood the bag up the feet would peek out from underneath. Obviously C has more experience with where feet should be placed than I.

As I was frantically trying to undo the gluey mess that was nowhere close to resembling the other penguins being proudly photographed, his teacher approached once again. "Mrs. J-E, would you like to read the children who have already finished a story? I'll just help C finish up." she said with the cheerful voice reserved for those children who clearly were never going to get it. Head hung low, I gave my best dramatic reading of Paintbox Penguins while the teachers helped C make his penguin to look somewhat presentable.

As the mommies were dismissed and the kids started their normal day, C came up and patted my arm. "It's OK Mommy, not everyone is good at art. You do books really well." While his words perked me up a bit, it was fairly clear to me that I had just flunked preschool art with an amazing lack of style. If they had only provided a set of written instructions, I swear I could have passed with at least a C.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

They caught me at the wrong moment

I generally try to be at least civil to the various right-wing, conservative publications and organizations that call my house looking for my husband. I see no point in getting into political debates with low-level, probably paid by the hour, employees (or for that matter volunteers). But after several hours of horn blowing and tears because the horn was not being equitably shared, the RNC called at JUST the wrong time. And got a mouthful about both their inability to keep accurate notes in their telemarketing database and their inability to run a country.

I think I am telling M that if he gives them a dime it has to be earmarked for upgraded telemarketing software and training. Because this is just embarrassing, and I'm not even a Republican.

Do you see why I have a headache?

this is an audio post - click to play

It's a very loud, obnoxious horn which did not make it into the stockings for a reason. It was unfortunately found this afternoon. It is now free to a good home. Or even a not so good one.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Too wise

Today is swimming day for C, at least for this session. I have tried swimming lessons on a variety of days and at a variety of times but it has never quite worked out for us the way I had hoped. We are constantly running late and my temper is always short. Today was no exception. I was trying to get everyone fed lunch and C dressed while he insisted that Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head needed a change of expression. I finally snapped at him "You know, I'm not signing you up for activities if you aren't going to meet me halfway here. It's just not fun or quite honestly fair." Which of course led to a long conversation about what was and wasn't fair instead of movement towards getting dressed. But finally, I got everyone out the door only a little bit late. On the way to the pool C sat silent in the back seat.

Mommy: "C, are you OK?"

C: "Yeah, I'm sorry I made you mad."

Mommy: "Well, I'm sorry I yelled, but swimming costs money. And when you drag your feet and refuse to get ready, it makes me think you don't want to go. And if you don't want to go that's fine, but then I'm not paying for your lessons."

C: "No, I love swimming. But why does it cost money?"

Mommy: "Because almost everything costs money."

C: "Hugs don't cost money, do they? Cause I would like a hug when we get to the pool."

Mommy: "Hugs don't cost money C. And you may have as many of them as you want when we get to the pool."

C: "Not too many though or I might be late."

All in one week

In the space of a week I have become "Mommy" to A instead of "Mama," "Mom" to C instead of "Mommy," and A had finally lost the adorable full body shake for "yes" and instead lets out a subduded "yeah." I know all these things had to happen, but did they have to happen all at once?

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Jealous No More

I have always been slightly jealous of my friends who have playdate after playdate and birthday party after birthday party. Their lives seemed so much more interesting and engaged than ours. While we have a few regular meet ups and hang outs, in general our life revolves around our house and whatever activities I dream up (or, more and more frequently, those C invents). I have frequently wondered if I am doing C and A a disservice by not exposing them to more children, not reaching out more to the other families we meet.

Today C and I spent the late morning at the adored Julia's birthday party. C had a blast stuffing his new pig Pete, eating pizza and chocolate cake, and participating in all the varied games and activities. I stood in the other room for most of the party watching C and listening in on the conversations of the other mommies who run in very different circles than I. The circles that do playdates and birthday parties.

As I was listening to the schedules these families keep, I realized that I could never have kept up if I had ended up in that world. By nature I am a homebody, my ideal day is one spent at home curled up with a good book or in the kitchen cooking. This weekend most of the children at the party had attended three birthday parties and they had playdates scheduled for most days of the week. It made me neurotic and anxious just thinking about the pressure of it all. Not so much from my children's standpoint, but from my own. I had a hard time finding someone to talk to through one birthday party; if I had been forced to do that three times this weekend M would have had to have me committed on Monday morning.

I know that many people thrive on interacting with others and look forward to social interactions with new people. M is one of those people and I believe that C will probably be one too. But it's just. not. me. C and A may choose to be more social when they grow old enough to dictate their own schedules, and part of me hopes that they will. But for now they are stuck with my choices. Today made me realize that I have chosen the path that is right for me just as my more social friends have chosen the one that is right for them. And my jealously has turned to relief.

Saturday, January 14, 2006


Gul (n): A design in oriental carpets

And that folks, won me a game of Scrabble. The sleep deprived finally triumphed. I may regain my status of the family Scrabble master yet.

Comment Changes

I switched over to Haloscan because I just couldn't take the word verification thing anymore. The funky lettering gave me headaches, and I usually had to try three or four times to post a reply before I figured out what letters it wanted me to type.

In the process, however, the comment counts on my old posts seem to have gone away, although the comments are still there. I told you I wasn't too up on template customization. So bear with me as I try to figure this all out.

Edited to add: Now they are all gone. And stupid me didn't save a backup of my template. I may or may not be able to get them back. But know your voice was, at one point in time, heard, and will hopefully be heard again :-).

Friday, January 13, 2006


Mommy: "Tomorrow you and Daddy are going to go to Cousin N's baptism. A and I have to stay home because she's sick."

C: "Why can't Daddy stay home with A? I want to see you dance."

Mommy: "Umph. Well, Cousin N's mommy is Daddy's little sister, not mine, so really Daddy should go."

C: "But Aunt L is all grown up."

Mommy: "She's still Daddy's little sister just like A will always be your little sister."

C: "But Aunt L doesn't live with us."

Mommy: "No, and when you and A grow up you'll have your own houses too."

C: "I will miss A when we have our own houses. I really love her."

Two shows of sibling affection in less than 24 hours. I'm filled with motherly joy.

Celebrity Look Alikes

As soon as I saw this over at Phantom's I had to try. My celebrity look alike list for your amusement. Rebecca, as you know me IRL, this should make you laugh.

Gwyeneth Paltrow (62%)
Maria Sharapova (61%)
Sandra Bullock (60%)
Gillian Anderson (58%)
Madonna (58%)
Kate Winslet (58%)
Ingrid Bergman (58%)
Andie McDowell (57%)
Scarlett Johansson (53%)
George Clooney (50%)

Hey, if you look like George Cloony, how can you go wrong??? Now if only I could have their figures too.

Editted to add: I've been having fun with this and it actually picked up my two famous relatives on A's pic and A, C and I actually had some overlap. Go figure.

Frequent Flyers

We have become frequent flyers at our local pediatric ER. Last night M woke me out of a lovely sleep with a slightly panicked "Have you HEARD this?" A had the croup. It was actually the first time M had ever really heard the croup in all its glory and was suitably horrified. We quickly whisked A into the steamy shower and I waited for it to work the miracles it always worked with C. Five minutes, still barking cough. Ten minutes, still barking cough. Fifteen minutes, still barking cough and we managed to set off the fire alarms in the house. At 20 minutes with no improvement what.so.ever I called the on call nurse and calmly asked what else I should try. "Steam?" Check. "Humidifier?" Already running. "Elevated crib?" "Check. "Hmm. Cough syrup...wait, is that the cough? She's been doing that for how long? Oh, my. I hate to tell you to go to the ER but where do you live? Ah. You'll go to the lovely pediatric ER on a hill? I'll call ahead for you so they will have a room ready for you."

When your pediatrian's office offers to call ahead to the ER for you, I figured it was probably time to go. A and I raced off, and in what seemed like much too long a time for the middle of the night we arrived. And she stopped coughing. I called M from the parking lot, wondering if we should just turn around and go home. The ER at midnight, not fun. Not ideal. Not our beds. But then she started coughing again and in we went.

Needless to say, that was, of course, her last cough of the evening. And, once we were inside the doors of the ER, we were kept for observation for two hours and administered preventative steroids. While I sat there feeling like dumb overreacting mommy. We were finally released, and A got to spend another night in our bed. "Well, at least she'll sleep in after losing three hours of sleep," I thought. And she did, for a whopping hour and fifteen minutes.

On the upside, I no longer have to figure out what to wear to her cousin's baptism extravaganza this weekend.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

New Years, Smuyears

So cell phone, out of juice this afternoon. And if you eat pizza at the pizza parlor instead of taking it out, does it still count as takeout?

It's not even February yet. I am such a weak-willed individual it is not even funny. Remind me never to make a New Years resolution again. This is just embarrassing.

Twice as Nice

After C was born M and I weren't sure whether we really wanted a second child or not. A second child meant leaving the city. A second child meant that I would have no other choice than to be a stay-at-home-mom as my income could never cover the cost of childcare for two. A second child meant another two plus years of limited sleep. We discussed and rehashed and discussed some more, but finally reached the conclusion that while it had its ups and downs, we were both very glad that we had siblings. And thus, A came to be. Now we can't imagine life without her, but before she was even an appleseed like object in my stomach it was hard to imagine the joy she would bring.

One day last winter C insisted he wanted to play outside but I didn't have appropriate winter attire for A. As a compromise, I bundled him up and then sat on the sun porch watching him trudge sadly around the yard while I nursed A. "This is why we had two," I thought. "In a few years A will be out there playing with him and he won't be alone."

Today we met several friends at the park. All the children C's age were girls and, like girls tend to do, they started playing "girl games" and refused to include C in a rather mean way. He wandered slowly off by himself to find a stick and practice his letters. All of a sudden a small purple object came flying at him and gave him a big hug. C smiled and hugged A back and then they concocted an elaborate game of their own. I never quite got the rules but the two of them giggled and chased and giggled some more and an afternoon on its way to a teary conclusion became fun again.

When we got back into the car at the end of the afternoon C sighed happily. "It's nice to be part of a family Mommy. Families love each other and it is nice to be loved." A reached over and held C's hand "Dove C," she pronounced and the two of them held hands for about thirty seconds. Then they started arguing over what TV show to watch after dinner and the love fest that had made me shed a few tears turned into a sibling battle of gargantuan proportions. And I wondered once again why I had decided to procreate at all...

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Wigged Out*

Today I got my hair cut for the first time in, well, awhile. When I walked back in the door C came running to inspect the new do.

C: "Mommy, your hair is short! I like it." Pause (in a very worried voice) "Did you have to get new hair?"

The way the mind of a child works...

* Title courtesy of Rebecca.

A Playdate Pickle

For the last three, almost four years, C has been desperate for his peers to interact with him. While all the other babies in town were parallel playing and ignoring each other, C was reaching out trying to find a friend to connect with. He would offer up toys, babble incessantly, and dole out hugs and kisses to every playmate he met. He was always shrugged off or pushed away as the child being pursued looked for his own toy and space, but kept on trying anyway.

As I continually tried to keep C from upsetting the children with whom he played, I would tell myself, "At three this will be great! He will be the king of the playdate!" And for a brief period of time, he was. But for the past several weeks every playdate we have had, whether it be as our house or someone else's, has ended the same way. With C desperately trying to retreat into the lap of any available adult while the other child begs C to play a game with him. After our playdate yesterday I tried to elicit from C what the problem was. He kept telling me that he was a good sharer and that he was letting his friend play with the toys. I tried explaining that part of a playdate was actually playing with his friend, and in response he said sadly, "But I just want to play by myself Mommy."

I'm so unclear on what to do here. Do I just let him retreat into his shell, which seems very reminiscent of my childhood spent on the sidelines watching others play but being too scared to interject myself into their games? Do I keep trying to engage him with his friends when he clearly doesn't want to be engaged? Do I stop our participation in playdates for a while and let him chill out at home and then try again later? If past experience is any indicator there is something behind this change in personality, it's just a matter of figuring out what. Unfortunately, I'm clear out of ideas.

At school today I'm going to ask his teachers if they are noticing the same thing at school. I would doubt it as when I drop him off and pick him up he always seems cheerful and participatory, but then again I only see a minute or two during one of the more chaotic times of the day. Perhaps their response will shed some light on the situation. Or perhaps I will be left to figure this one out on my own. The bottom line is that I just want C to be happy, and right now I don't think he is.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Kristy, I will write up some farm stories for you, but not tonight and probably not tomorrow. I have to sort through a bit and try and figure out where to start. And right now I'm just too tired. So I did see your reader's choice selection, and want to do it justice (plus, if I get the details wrong Nana will send me to time out...).

Clean up, Clean up

C: "Mommy, the sun porch and the playroom are both really messy. I can't play anywhere."

Mommy: "Well, clean one of them up."

C: "But that will take a long time. I don't have a lot of time right now."

Mommy: "Why, what are you doing?"

C: "Being crabby. And a little grumpy."

Mommy: "I see. Well, even crabby and grumpy people need to clean up." Pause "Or take naps."

C: "I think I'll clean up the sun porch."

From the Back Seat

C: "Mom, you're going a little fast. What if a policeman sees you?"

Mommy: "Thank you for the reminder. Is there anything else you would like to add?"

C: Yeah, you missed the turn. Are we really late now?"

Sleep sleep, where art thou sleep

I'm at my wits end. No matter when A goes to bed, or how well or poorly she naps or sleeps during the night, she is up at somewhere between 5 and 5:20 am. This is not an hour at which I function. At all. But given the option between trying to force the issue and therefore waking up C who REALLY doesn't function well on less than 12 hours of sleep a night, I am stuck waking up at 5 am. Is it really true that there are 20 month olds who can function on eight hours a night? Cause that's what I'm looking at today. She got eight hours. And that's not counting the time spent during the middle of the night wake ups. I would take 7. Even 6:30. I was happy at 6:30. I used to go to work at 6:30. 6:30 would work.

Someone please tell me this is a phase and how you got through it. Please. I beg of you.

Monday, January 09, 2006

My biggest pet peeve

Oooh, good one Gina! It's so hard to choose. So hard to choose. Should I go with the people who walk soooo slow and in such a wandering way that one cannot easily pass them on the sidewalk? Or with the grumpy man at the Y who refuses to say good morning or respond to my cheery "how are you" as he swipes my ID card? Or, should I cause marital strife and mention the litter of K-Cups on my counter because the trash can is just.too.far.away. from the Keurig?

In actuality, I'm not frequently bothered by much of the pet peeve sort these days. Which is a real switch from the former, highly stressed out me. The old me had a list of pet peeves a mile long and I would get terribly worked up over each and every one of them. The subway riders who didn't give seats to pregnant women. The barista who did not make my tall decaf skim caramel macchiato exactly the way I like it. The people who left food in the communal work fridge for waaayyy to long. At some point a few years back I decided that it wasn't worth the constant teeth clenching and let most of it go. There are still many little things that bother me, but generally I can chalk it up to someone else's problem. I have much bigger fish to fry, like stressing over how to get my kids to sleep later than 5:30am.

But right now at this very moment I believe that my biggest pet peeve is the highly insecure mommies of the world. Don't get me wrong; I am a highly insecure mommy myself. But I choose not to share that insecurity with every random stranger I meet. No, I leave the pleasure of listening to my insecurities to a few close friends, family, and, of course, all of you. Just today I spent a good half an hour reassuring a woman that I had just met less than three minutes earlier that really, the fact that I carry pull ups in my gym bag in no way reflected the fact that my 20 month old was on her way to being potty trained, but instead the fact that she refuses to lie down on changing tables. And while I will happily change her on the floor at home, the floor of a public restroom, not so much. This poor woman thought she was losing some potty training race, however, and kept asking where she had gone wrong because her 23 month old was not yet in pull ups.

Or there are the women in the grocery store who freak out because I buy a lot of fruits and vegetables and tofu instead of french fries and hot dogs. Again, many many minutes reassuring a total stranger that just because her kids eat French fries and mine are begging for soy beans, she is not a complete parenting failure. Quite honestly, I'm not sure what my kids' issues are with potato products, I'm a fan and often wish we could keep a bag of French fries in the freezer instead of shelf upon shelf of veggie burgers and edamame.

It would never ever ever occur to me to subject a person I had never spoken to before to my parental hang-ups. When I notice a child C's age who can swim across the poll or who knows the first 14 presidents, I wonder where I went wrong and how I can fix it, but to open my mouth and let that freak out be known to the rest of the world? I don't think so. But perhaps it's just because I am so insecure that I am afraid to let my insecurity show. If I were comfortable with my insecurities, I might feel free to stop the woman who's daughter colored in each and every coloring page at church with an amazing precision and gorgeous color selection and ask her where I had gone wrong in providing C with artistic outlets. And then spend the next 45 minutes of her life discussing all of my parenting blunders as they relate to art.

Yep, while grumpy Y man and annoying slow walkers irk me for sure, verbal insecure mommies who are not known to me win the day. So now if you see me in line at Trader Joe's nodding and looking for escape routes, you'll know why. And you should run far, far away or you'll be the next target.

Huge Mess

C: (in a singsongy voice) "I made a HUGE mess! But I can't clean it up! Oh no, I can't clean it up!"

Warm Snap

We are in the middle of a January thaw here. I have to say, I hate the January thaw. With a passion. It gets warm enough, and starts smelling like spring enough, that I get excited and think that the end is almost in sight. When in reality we have at least three and probably four or more months to go until spring truly arrives.

A is rebelling at the undershirt because she is "too hoot" and C wants to wear his windbreaker instead of his winter parka. We are actually planning a playground trip for post-nap this afternoon. These things just shouldn't happen in January. It should be colder than cold, snowing, with perhaps a little ice thrown in. I should be huddled under blankets on the couch drinking tea and cocoa, not wondering where the beach ball landed last fall.

I am sure next week we are going to have a cold snap and I will be bemoaning the loss of the warmth that envelops us now. Which is exactly why I hate the thaw. Because if it didn't exist I would happily trudge through the rest of winter believing that there were no other options. Once the thaw hits though, I know that it can in fact be warm in the middle of winter. And once I remember that there is warmth out there I just can't wait any longer for spring.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Buttons, what buttons?

As I was trying to get both kids dressed and out the door this morning...

C: "Roar! ROAR! I'm ROARING in your face!"

Mommy: "Don't push my buttons. I'm tired and grumpy."

C: (Looking puzzled and inspecting my shirt) "You don't have any buttons on today."

Why I Blog

Barbara asked why I blog...why indeed. While I work on A's birth story, which is slightly more complicated that C's, here are my thoughts on blogging.

I started blogging in September 2004 because a friend had started blogging and it seemed like a good idea at the time. Nothing like being a sheep (no offense to sheep, I grew up on a sheep farm and they are lovely animals, just not original thinkers). I was pretty good about writing for a while, then my son was diagnosed with apraxia of speech and I started getting heart palpitations so my few precious minutes of spare time got eaten up by hours of speech therapy, many doctor's visits, and a lot of panic attacks. Blogging fell by the wayside at a time I probably could have used the outlet the most.

I started blogging again this September, almost exactly a year after my first post, go figure. C had been temporarily released from the speech therapy system after having made amazing progress thanks to a goddess of a therapist and an incredible amount of dedication and hard work on his part, which no one had expected or demanded from him. He also rediscovered the joy of napping so my free time grew exponentially in a matter of a few short weeks.

This time around I have used blogging more as an outlet for me rather than a way to record fun factoids about my kids. While the bulk of my writing is still about the kids, as what else do I really have to write about, I'm doing it for me instead of as a baby book substitute. I've always liked to write and my secret dream (besides being president of course) is to write a book of some kind or another. I don't really have the discipline or ability to write a book, but short essays on my kids, I can do that.

What I really like about blogging is the instantaneousness of it all. I write, I try to edit (unsuccessfully most of the time, I'm a lousy self editor), and I hit the publish button. Voila, my words are out there for the few people who are interested to read. I also like that it gives me a way to think about what my kids are doing and how I parent in a more detached way. In the heat of the moment I tend to overreact and think that just because A hasn't slept in days means that she will never sleep again and I am a horrific parent for not somehow teaching her how to sleep many months ago. Once I get things down on "paper" I can step back from it a little bit and laugh.

I also like the fact that I can follow along with others via their blogs. I've always been a huge fan of book series, I like to get to know characters and follow their lives in books. I used to cry when I got to the end of a particularly good series, and may even cry when the final Harry Potter installment arrives, although I've discovered that reading a series in "real time" is an awful lot less satisfying than reading it years after the author has completed it. I find the same kind of satisfaction in reading other blogs regularly. "Will little Bobby ever use the potty?" "How was Jane Smith's job interview today?" Also, I don't have many close friends "in real life" as I tend to be a clam in social situations. Being able to connect in some way with others who have children makes me feel much less isolated than I was before I began blogging in earnest.

What I don't like about blogging is the pressure I sometimes feel to write because I haven't posted anything in a while. I like the fact that a few people read my writing, and worry that if I don't post anything funny or thoughtful they'll move on to greener pastures and I'll be left alone in the blogsphere again pathetically calling "Hello? Hello? Anyone still there?" I also don't like the fact that I no longer have an editor who catches my typos, spelling and comma errors. I'm a bit of a perfectionist. At my last job I wrote grant proposals and had a wondrous woman who spent her time reading my work and fixing my errors. I got used to that and became lazy. I think I'm getting a bit better but still end up going back into my posts several times because the blogger entry screen drives me bonkers and I can't seem to find my errors until they are "live."

What I like and don't like about my blog. That's one I haven't thought about much. There are several posts that I am quite proud of and should really put up a "from the archives" section so people can find them, but I am barely stumbling through the blogger template customization and can't quite figure out how to do that. I'm not wild about my template options, but also not really willing to pay for a new skin. On my list of things to do (near the bottom) is to try and figure out how to do the template changes on my own. Someday. But don't hold your breath.

I also like everyone who has found my blog. There isn't a single commenter who annoys me or who I don't look forward to seeing pop up in my email. I really appreciate the time everyone takes to read my writing and comment on it. I'm not much of an express you feelings type, so take this as your love fest for the year.

Phew! I think I hit on everything. Thanks to everyone for playing along and giving me some things to write about. I'm happy to return the favor if you ever need it.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Reader's Choice

Clearly, I have been able to find very little of importance to write about over the last several days. A blog I saw once had a reader's choice entry, which I thought was fun. Of course I can't remember who it was, so forgive me for not giving credit where credit is due. And if it is you, raise your hand so I can assuage my plagiarism guilt. Or maybe it was from Ellen, who once did a viewers choice monologue (Leave me alone, it's my treadmill addiction.). Either way, still not my original idea.

Pick a topic, any topic. Anything you are dying to know about my not so interesting life? Any current events topic you would like me to weigh in on? I'll write about it to the best of my abilities. Fire away. There, the burden of creative thought is now on all of you...all six of you...

New Years Resolutions Be Damned

Today I broke several of my resolutions, lets see just how many.

I am on Diet Coke number three (caffeine free though...).

I took both children to the grocery store.

I am harboring much ill will towards the woman who commented that really, she had never heard a small child shriek quite so loud, and have I had A evaluated for developmental delays yet.

I am harboring more ill will towards the woman who commented that she had never seen a child scream so much when being forcible buckled into her car seat, was I sure that it fit her.

I have not looked at the New York Times since New Years.

I have not yet emailed out the Christmas pictures (but I DID download them to the computer, that's a start!).

On the upside, I have managed a shower every day.

I Forget

When my kids are sick I always forget how remarkable they are when they aren't sick. The descent into sickness is generally slow, the first day a little crankiness, the second crankiness and clinginess, the third crankiness, clinginess, and lethargy, and so on. As a result, I tend to think that they way they act when sick is the norm, not a result of their not feeling quite themselves.

The past few days have been the first days that both kids have been healthy in a long, long time. No cough, no runny nose, no fever, no nothing. And they were a joy to be around (well, until the disastrous playdate, but that was not entirely C's fault). They both "slept in," A until 6:30 and C until almost 8. No one woke up in the middle of the night. Everyone napped or had quiet time without protest. When I announced we didn't have mac and cheese in the house, the temper tantrum was minimal, and easily ended by the peace offering of tofu stir fry. They played elaborate pretend games together while I sat and knit and occasionally offered up suggestions like "If you are going for a walk with the stroller I think you need a baby and some toys for her..." Everyone snuggled and kissed and told me they loved me.

I took them out to lunch and no one cried, everyone ate, and we had a lovely time grooving to the salsa music playing. I was able to try on some jeans, check out the sales downtown, and we even took a walk around the town pond. I should have pushed my luck and headed to the grocery store, but I think that would have ruined the mood.

I know that if I kept them away from others indefinitely that the feeling good honeymoon would be replaced by trapped inside alone boredom, but the temptation is great to not take them anyplace to try and keep them healthy. Do you think they would look odd walking around in hospital masks and gloves?

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Yarn pics plus a bonus shot

So for those of you who have requested (both online and off) a picture of the newly purchased yarn , here you go. The camera doesn't do it justice, but I am afraid to use M's new toy without lessons so it will have to do for now.

For the bonus picture, M's big fat cat who was too intrigued by the skein of yarn to stay away.

And yes, she is sitting on the dining room table. I gave up on that one years ago and just scrub the heck out of the table the two times a year we use it. From a cat's perspective it's a great location. The kids can't get to her easily, but as we have to walk through the dining room (hallway really) to get from the kitchen to the playroom, she feels like she's in the mix still.

Mission(s) Accomplished

Library books returned - check.

Trader Joe's visited - check.

Shoes-ehh, one has to ease back into errand running you know.

But instead of shoes I am now the owner of a pair of size 7 knitting needles, some gorgeous orangy-red yarn and a pattern for a very cute (and hopefully easy) sweater for A. Sized to fit her next winter as I figure that's about how long it will take me. My mother and Kristy will be so proud.

When C saw me with yarn and knitting needles, he almost did a backflip.

"Mom! You KNIT??? Why didn't you ever TELL me you knit. I want a sweater. Make me a sweater!"

How many years do you think it will be before he thinks it is decidedly uncool that his mother knits?

Giddy with Anticipation

In approximately half an hour we will all be leaving the house for someplace other than the pediatrician's. Yes, that's right, C is all better, A is all better, and it looks like I get at least a day of normalcy before someone comes down with something.

After dropping C off at school, where do I go first? Trader Joe's? The big grocery store? The shoe store to get A shoes that actually fit her? The library to return the dreadfully overdue books? Decisions, decisions.

Just the thought of going out into the world is making me positively beam with excitement. Enough so that C even asked "Mommy, was I really good? Cause you look really happy. What did I do that was so good?"

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

How did I not know this?

Mommy: "C, why aren't you asleep?"

C: "I am, don't you know that I sleep with my eyes open?"

Ahh. That explains a lot.

Blankets and Shoes

A has become an avid reader these days, so we read at every given opportunity. She has developed an interesting quirk, however. We can only read books that feature blankets or shoes. If a page comes up on which a person's feet have been excluded, she bursts into tears and demands where their shoes are. If a character has no blanket to snuggle, hold, or be tucked in with, she similarly bursts into tears because they have no blankie. Then we have to run through the litany of people in her life who do in fact have both shoes and blankets (read: everyone she knows) before she calms down enough so we can continue.

I am thrilled that she is developing empathy, although her choice of things to be concerned with seem a bit odd to me. My concern is with finding a book that we can actually complete without a hysterical meltdown. So as a favor to little old me, as you read your children books, keep an eye out for a combination of characters who both wear shoes and snuggle blankets. A and I will be eternally grateful to anyone who can find a satisfactory combination.

Looking for a bright side

So apparently the upside of having two children under the weather is that it is 1:45 and everyone (including a clean mama hippo) has been tucked in for naps. I'm a little unclear what I am supposed to do with myself here. Laundry has been folded, dinner has been started, and toys have been picked up. I suppose a smart person would be taking a nap themselves, but I feel like that would be such a waste of precious quiet time.

At least someone slept

While C puked and whimpered his way through the night, M snored happily on. Not criticizing here, just commenting. I am somewhat in awe of M's ability to sleep through an almost 4 year old crying hysterically and vomiting 10 feet from his bed.

C has been quiet since about 4am so hopefully we are through the worst of it. At least with him. I am now waiting patiently for the other shoe to drop. A is in the fuggliest, oldest, too small outfit I could find.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Vomit Vomit

As we have not left the house in over a week except to play with another family who had been similarly housebound, I am unclear how we got this one. But there was much vomiting. Even C's mama hippo wasn't spared.

I guess we will not be resuming our normal activities tomorrow after all...

I have apparently underrated art

I am sitting at my kitchen table while my children are happily engrossed in art projects. A is scribbling away with purple markers pronouncing her scribbles to be "e" "d" or "a." C is cutting strips of construction paper and making sculptures with popsicle sticks. I could actually be cooking right now. Except for the fact that it is 9am and nowhere near the dinner hour.

I have clearly been missing out on the benefits art projects could be bringing to my life and need to reevaluate my dislike of all things artsy craftsy.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Just over 12 hours

I have officially broken a resolution, I finished off C's lunch for him. Apparently before he was actually done with it.

It's going to be a good year. I can just tell.

You know you are old when

you watch Dick Clark New Year's Rocking Eve in bed and fall asleep well before midnight. I was tired. I ate too much sushi. I'm getting old, what can I say.

I also exposed my utter lack of knowledge of 80's music. It was, at best, an embarrassment. Although for anyone with a good memory and grasp on pop culture, this is probably the game for you, if you change the rules a bit.

Happy and healthy New Year!