Monday, April 30, 2007

Wanting the Whole Enchilada

LP is pretty much sleeping through the night again. While she stirs around 6:30, she entertains herself until the Hoos or I go in and rescue her (typically around 7:30 or so). However, I am learning that there are certain trade-offs associated with having LP sleep for 9 or 10 hours at night. Namely, that nap time is hell.

Today I am home with baby girl. Three times I tried and failed to get her to nap. I have no problem putting her in her crib and leaving her to cry for a bit, especially if it appears that she will eventually fall asleep. But after 10 minutes of screaming, while standing, it is pretty obvious that no nap is on the horizon. Now that I am not nursing her during the day, a surefire way of getting her to fall asleep, my options are even more limited.

Instead of fighting for a fourth time, I decided to take LP out for a drive. Less than a block from the house she fell asleep. I quickly returned home and levitated her up to her crib. Now let's just hope this is a nice long nap so I don't have to try to get her to rest again in a few hours.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Baby Steps

With no problems LP drained her bottle of whole milk with her lunch yesterday - all by herself! I didn't even know she could feed herself an entire bottle and I am thrilled to pieces that she picked up this valuable skill in day care.

To further enhance the "drink by yourself" skill, [hold on, before I go further, I need to clarify - in no way do I mean to imply that LP or anyone should drink alone, I believe that is a key sign of an alcoholic, rather I mean "drinking without assistance."] LP and I bought a fancy new sippy cup while visiting Target today. This is no ordinary sippy, it comes with a built in straw. While baby girl does indeed pick up her cup and take a few sips by herself, she prefers the bottle to the cup. I am hopeful that by introducing a new type of cup she might take more initiative to use this as her primary drinking device.

Speaking of Target, is it just me, or is it impossible to walk into the store and just get one thing or spend less than $40? As I walk around I suddenly remember a million things I need. And not by any stretch of imagination are all (or often any) of these items necessary. It is as if the muzak at Target is playing subliminal messages encouraging me to buy lots of stuff. Add that to the baby coupons Target sends me monthly and I am like an addict. So much so that I am willing to drive out of may way - and past two Walmarts - to visit a Target. More than once I have given up my lunch break to pop over to the Target in White Plains to pick up "one or two" things.

To make matters worse, I always inadvertently forget at least one item that I actually need, requiring me to visit the red and white retailer yet again. Please advise if there is a self-help group for Target shoppers...

Friday, April 27, 2007

Two Steps Forward, Two Steps Back

Yesterday I finally starting writing about the weening process we had just initiated, and wouldn't you know it - day care called to tell me LP had hives! Of course, they immediately thought the whole milk was the culprit and told me that they wouldn't give it to her again without a doctor's note. Never mind that she had the milk at 12:45 and they discovered the "hives", only on her face, at 2:15 after coming in from a walk. This also meant that she had just had sunscreen applied to her little face.

By the time I picked her up at 3:30 (of course I left work right away to attend to my precious girl) there wasn't a hive or rash left. There was a small purple dot on her forehead, but that turned out to be a bruise. Regardless, I took her to the doctor at 6 to get her checked out and to get a note if needed for day care.

While I am not trying to push something on my baby which may be harmful to her (the whole milk), weening is a process for both of us when moving away from nursing. I would hate to delay the process for naught. The PA I met with at the pediatrician's office agreed. It seems that hives get worse before they get better, cover the entire body, and last more than an hour. LP might have rubbed her face after getting the aforementioned bruise, she might have had heat rash, she might have had a zillion other factors contribute to this rash, but it wasn't from the milk.

This weekend we are going to continue to give LP one bottle of milk instead of breast milk and monitor the situation. I am hopeful that things will return to normal and baby girl will be totally transitioned to whole milk by her first birthday.

One good thing did come from the doctor's visit - LP hit the 20 pound mark, meaning we can turn her car seat around to face forward once she turns one. Hurrah! This is a big deal, from what I understand.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Let the Weening Begin

It is a very exciting time in our house. LP is 11 months old and her doctor advised me to begin transitioning her to whole milk. This is quite a momentous occasion as it not only means that LP is nearing her first birthday (where did the time go? really?) but also that my days of expressing are coming to an end.

I have found that there is no standard way to ween a baby, just like there is no perfect way to raise a baby. There are about a million challenges:
  1. Switching the baby from breast to bottle. Check! Thanks to day care, LP is already used to drinking from a bottle.
  2. Getting the baby to take a bottle instead of the breast from Mommy. This might be harder. This weekend will be the real test.
  3. Ensuring the baby's digestive system is ready for whole milk. So far, so good. On this point, I have basically followed the pediatrician's advice that now is the right time. Some concerns about constipation, but all systems seem to be getting back on track.
  4. Preparing the baby's palette for the taste of milk. Check. LP hasn't met much in the way of food or drink that she doesn't like.
  5. Figuring out how to integrate milk into the baby's diet. I kicked off my plan earlier this week and have begun switching out one of the three bottles I send to school with LP with the whole milk. Next week I will try two bottles.
  6. Next step - moving LP from the bottle to the cup.
You will note that all of the challenges identified above are focused on LP. As always, her health and welfare are my primary concern. However, in this case, the issues related to my well-being are also relatively substantial. I have been nursing (and/or pumping) exclusively since LP was born.

I have been fortunate to have only had engorgement problems twice during this time span - first, when LP was 6 weeks old and I went from feeding her every 2-3 hours to feeding her every 3-4 hours; second, my horrific trip to Phoenix. At this point I am hopeful that simply gradually reducing the number of times I pump while at work will result in a successful and painless weening experience. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Visual Ode to Sunshine

Need I say more?

Somebody's Watching Me

This morning as I headed to our guest bedroom to get dressed for work, I noticed that the door to LP's room was open. In an effort to minimize the chance of me disturbing her, I reached in and started to close the door. Imagine my surprise when I looked over to my left at the crib and there was a really cute little girl, sitting up, staring at me.

I quickly walked out of the room and went to tell the Hoos what happened. Of course, LP let him know first by crying out. She eventually calmed herself down, but now it became necessary for me to avoid being spotted. Picture me in my work clothes, crawling around my house in an effort to stay out of the line of sight of an 11-month-old. Never mind that I am the parent and home owner, I bend to the will of my little munchkin like a dandelion in the wind.

Monday, April 23, 2007


The more mobile LP gets, the more difficult it is to change her diaper. I would think that she would want to put as much distance between herself and the stink emanating from her unders as possible, but alas, this is not the case. Just about every time LP needs a diaper change, it requires muscle, speed and enough intellect to outsmart an 11-month old. Laugh if you must, but this does require more smarts than you think.

It is no longer enough to distract LP with her favorite "cheek chapstick" and a pacifier. She will twist, turn and essentially run off of the changing pad instead of waiting the 30 seconds for me to stick on a fresh, clean diaper. There is no reasoning with her, even though the Hoos tries, "LP, if you just sit still for a few seconds you can run off and play, it takes longer when you move like this."

Earlier today I was trying to swap out a soaked diaper. Next to the changing pad we have wipes, a jar of Triple Paste, and assorted baby creams. As I focused on unfolding the new diaper, LP found her way into the paste and painted both of us with a healthy swab of it. Forget that this stuff costs $30 a pound, it is impossible to remove. It is a good thing she looks cute in her summer jams...

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sunny Days

Today was a gorgeous day in Connecticut. The sun was high, the sky was blue, the temps were in the seventies, what else could a family ask for? Of course, as much as I have been longing for the nice weather, it caught me off guard and I had to run out this morning to buy LP a sun hat. Last summer the hats she had were too big, so I figured we could plop one of those on her head. Big on a newborn does not equate to big on an almost-one-year-old. You live and you learn!

In order to take full advantage of the day, we met my brother-in-law and his family at a park nearby. The Hoos is an avid fisherman and this spot was chosen for its pond which promised to be full of sunfish. LP loves the outdoors. If she is cranky and we take her out to our front stoop she immediately stops crying and starts pointing at all of the excitement going on around her. Putnam Park was no exception. It started shortly after we got there and the Hoos found a baby snapping turtle. LP was right in there with her cousins trying to touch the little bugger.

Around 2pm, the lack of a nap was starting to catch up with baby girl and we decided to call it a day. As we headed to the car I noticed that there were certain odoriferous signs alerting us to the fact that a diaper change was in order. Struggling to change the twisting baby in the Hoos' new car, we determined that putting her pants back on would be a team effort. I held LP while the Hoos pulled her pants on . After it appeared that the waist band of her pants was nearing her armpits, I let him know it was good enough. As I attempted to put LP into her carseat, I noticed a slight problem - both of her legs were crammed into one leg of her jeans.... I guess maybe Mommy and Daddy need a nap too.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


Well, we think we figured out the reason for LP's late night wakefulness - separation anxiety. I know, it sounds kind of weird that a little munchkin would decide that the middle of the night was the appropriate time to be lonely, so much so that it would force her little brain out of a deep sleep, but that seems to be the case.

After another mom in LP's class complained about her daughter waking at 2:30am because of separation anxiety, the Hoos did some investigating and apparently this is pretty common. A response strategy is to go into the baby's room when they wake up crying, and without making eye contact sit in the room to let them know you are there. After a few days of this, the baby will start being more confident that Mommy or Daddy are close by and a full night's sleep will resume.

The Hoos tried this tactic the other night and it seemed to calm LP enough to fall back to sleep.

Last night, after putting LP to bed when I thought she was asleep, she jumped up as soon as I left the room and started crying. This happened several times. I decided to sit in the glider in her room to comfort her. She stood up in her crib and stared at me for a while, without crying, and eventually she just fell over into the meatloaf position to sleep. Instead of risking waking her, I wanted to take some time for her to fall into a deep sleep. You guessed it, twenty minutes later the Hoos woke me up from my deep sleep.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Today I feel refreshed, rejuvenated, well rested. Why, you ask?

Last night the Hoos and I tried to put LP to bed early. We bathed her at 8:20 and put her in her crib around 9. While she didn't fall right asleep, she did fall asleep with little resistance. Even better she slept until 6:50 this morning! I know, 6:50 doesn't sound like much, but compared to interrupted sleep it was heaven.

Besides, I was getting out of the shower when I peeked in and saw her standing in her crib - it was the Hoos that was still sleeping. But not for long!

When you sleep well, good stuff generally follows. For instance, my production is up today. Yippee! Even though I am in the process of introducing whole milk to LP's diet, I am not yet at the point where we are going cold turkey. Also,I had a minor success at work completing a video that we put together to launch our new brand positioning, an initiative that I managed. And finally, on a minor note, I donated to WFUV, a public radio station based in NYC that I listen to frequently and I caught them thanking me for my donation: "Thanks to Andy, er, I mean Amy, from Norwalk, CT who listens to FUV because she says it is helping her teach her 10-month old to appreciate good music."

While everything isn't peachy-keen across the board (e.g., a call from LP's school telling me that her breathing sounds a little "rattly" which we attribute to general congestion), I am following Sara's lead of accentuating the positive. Bring on the sunshine!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Another Endless Night

Since she was four or five months old, LP has been sleeping through the night. Of course, there was an occasional late night or mid-night wake-up call due to teething or some other somewhat easily identifiable reason, but for the most part her sleeping has been consistently good. This leaves the Hoos and me at a loss for what to do when our little muffin wakes up for no apparent reason.

For probably seven out of the last 10 nights, LP has woken up around 2:30 and refused to go back to sleep. We have tried various tactics to get her to slumber, from ignoring her to holding her to bringing her into bed with us. Each has its limits in terms of both effectiveness and our tolerance.

This morning LP entertained herself in her crib from 2:30-3:30; I heard it, the Hoos did not. At 3:30 she was bored of playing alone and began crying out. The Hoos went in to check on her after we heard her pacifier hit the floor. I went to check on them a few minutes later and LP was in her daddy's arms, resting her head on his shoulder.

Oddly enough, as soon as we pick her up, she immediately stops crying. To us this seems to eliminate the majority of the "causes" of her wakefulness and many of the solutions we have at hand (e.g., orajel, tylenol).

Anyway, after placing a bottle full of water in her crib (in the event thirst was waking her up), we put LP back down, closed her bedroom door and closed our bedroom door in an effort to minimize the noise intrusion. Fortunately, LP fell back asleep relatively quickly (well, if you consider half an hour quick).

This morning my evil alarm clock went off at 6:30 and I dragged my sorry butt out of bed at 6:40. LP must have heard me because she started fussing and sat up in her crib. What's a mommy to do?! Being the sucker that I am, I took her into the bathroom with me and placed her in the exersaucer while I showered in hopes of keeping her quiet so the Hoos could enjoy at least a few more minutes of rest. Even this desperate ploy didn't work and LP was cranky the entire time I was in the shower. Suffice it to say, I was late for work because my next tactic was to nurse LP back into sleep. Again, an ineffective strategy.

When I left this morning, LP was wide awake laying on the Hoos' back in bed while he tried to pretend he was sleeping.

Moms of the world - thoughts? Ideas? Successful strategies?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Stone Soup

In order for me to look past the fact that LP was up at 2:00 again last night (apparently she thinks we hold dance parties while she is sleeping, so she wants to participate), I will focus on some of the recent positives in my life.
  1. LP loves my cooking! Sunday we had some nasty weather up here in the Northeast. In response to the cold and dreary day I decided to make a pot of vegetable soup. Yesterday, LP had some leftover soup as her lunch. The vegetables were the perfect consistency for her to eat by hand without choking and she drank the liquid by the spoonful. I feel like a good mommy, providing homemade nourishment for my little bundle.

  2. LP loves her daddy. Last night the Hoos tried to put LP to bed. As he set her down in her crib, she immediately rolled onto her belly, bounced up to her knees and pulled herself up on the crib bar. She then rested her little noggin on her Daddy's shoulder and threw her arm around him. It may sound like a cheap ploy to prolong bedtime, but let me tell you, it worked.

  3. Mommy-hood gets better everyday. LP is no longer just my little mush. She is know my little girl, my friend, my confidant. She is honestly a lot of fun and she really know how to make me laugh. Somehow being awake at 5 in the morning is tolerable when a little munchkin is trying to suck on my face.

  4. LP is growing up! As you can see, she has outgrown her cradle. This was our "downstairs" bed for her. It is no longer an option for sleeping for obvious reasons. Of course, now I have to climb the stairs when I want to put her down for a nap. On the plus side, my butt will be in great shape!

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Tipping Point

The last few days have been so hectic.

It all started Thursday, when I was at work until 6:30pm. Fortunately the Hoos had an early ending to his day so he was able to pick up LP. When he got to day care he noticed that baby girl was drenched in sweat (the temperature of her classroom is really a problem). The teachers attributed this to the heat of the room and no one really seemed to notice. The Hoos got home and her fever was over 103! When I called the next day to see if any other kids had called in sick (it was a Friday and therefore a home day for me), they told me that two other kids went home with fevers and that LP was happy all day, so they didn't think anything was wrong. Maybe being so well-behaved isn't always a good thing (I can't believe I just wrote that!), the whole squeaky wheel thing and all.

Friday, LP seemed content, but at one point I checked her temp and it was almost 105! I immediately called the doctor who told me to up her dose of Tylenol, get her into a cool bath and call back in 40 minutes with an update. They also had me tell the Hoos to pick up some Motrin on the way home, which apparently brings fevers down more quickly and for a longer period. After the bath and meds, LP's temperature was down to a more manageable 102 and I nursed her and she took a nap. She awoke without a fever, rejuvenated and ready to greet and/or destroy the world.

To further add to the frenzy, we were expecting overnight guests (the G-Family) Friday night, so in the midst of all of this I was trying to clean the house, prep dinner, warn the guests, and keep myself calm. The good news is that we had a great time with the G-Family, especially their little boy, who is only 7 weeks younger than LP. Of course, no one did much sleeping as both LP and Baby G spent much of the night awake.

The point of the two day play-by-play is that I am starting to think that I should be content with my current job. If, heaven forbid, LP should be sick on a work day, I have earned some flexibility and would have no problem working from home. If I started somewhere new, things would be much more complicated. Yes, I had to work late on Thursday, but at least five people stopped by my cube and told me to go home at one point or another. I doubt I could expect the same thing somewhere else.

So, during the next few weeks, instead of trying to peek over the fence and see where the grass is greener, I am going to focus new energy on challenging myself and my current organization to improve the profile of my department and create new opportunities for growth. And try to get some sleep.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

My Little Alligator

LP has started biting the hand that feeds her, so to speak. She only has two teeth fully through on the bottom and two little nubs just breaking through on top, but I swear those buggers rival the shiatsu knives they sell on television in terms of sharpness.

Yesterday was the first day this horrible new habit reared its ugly head. It never used to be a problem because she didn't have two opposing teeth to bite down with. Also, in order to nurse, her tongue has to cover her bottom teeth. So not only does it have to be somewhat deliberate (although I know she is experimenting with her new choppers), but she is smart about how and when she employs the technique. She waits until she is done eating and then chomps down, as if making a point, "Waiter, please clear the plates (snap, snap)!"

Today she wasn't so smart about it and she bit down just as she started eating. I cried out "No! LP, no!" and she burst into tears. If it didn't hurt so much I might have felt bad for making her cry. The Hoos witnessed this and said, "Well, maybe now she will learn." I sure hope so.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

No More Tears

My vision is piss poor. To contend with this, I have worn extended wear contact lenses for at least the last 15 years. I wear them 24 hours a day. I love them. In fact, earlier this year my optometrist introduced me to lenses that you can wear (day and night) for an entire month!

As a working mom I really can't imagine life without them. When I do give my eyes a break and wear my glasses, it is a challenge to keep little fingers off of them (for some reason LP loves to pull them off). And on nights like last night when LP is up and raring to go at 3am, I hate that I can't just wake up and see. Not that putting on my glasses is strenuous, but it definitely makes me appear and feel as if I am more awake then I really am. Unrelated to being a working mom, I love to read in bed and even though I am near-sighted, it is better for me to read with my glasses on but extremely uncomfortable when you are laying on your side.

For the past few days I have have an uncontrollable tearing in my left eye. It looks like I have just come in from the cold and my eyes are watering . It is annoying. I went to the ophthalmologist this morning who told me that it is the result of me sleeping in my contact lenses. She recommends that I wear my glasses exclusively for the next few weeks. I haven't worn my glasses for more than a 24 hour period in a long time. This is excruciating to me. I am thankful that I updated my glasses frames a couple of years ago, otherwise I might have holed up in the house until the eye leakage stopped.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Production Reduction, What's Your Function?

WARNING: For those of you that read this blog to keep up to date on the exciting adventures of LP, this post may be a little too much information. I recommend you enjoy this new photo of my girl instead and stop reading. Caption: Silly Grandpa, don't you have enough pictures?

Hopefully my fellow new moms stuck around despite the ominous warning.

I am one of those lucky nursing moms whose body has returned to normal way before I am ready. Right around the time LP reached the 6 month milestone, my typical female processes returned to order. This is not ideal for many reasons. Not the least of which is that I didn't miss it so much.

More importantly it causes my milk production to decrease for a week or so every month. This bites. It makes me feel bad for not giving my baby girl enough milk and it stresses me out. It also makes all of those people who believe 10 months is too long to be nursing think they are right. They aren't but it makes them smug.

Yesterday I spoke with a lactation consultant who implied that my body was signaling that all systems are go - as in ready to have baby number 2!! While my mother is probably thrilled at this idea, it makes me think too much. We definitely want at least one more child, but the decision is just as complicated as the first time around. How long should we wait in between children? Do we want to have a break from diaper duty or should we just get it all out of the way over a 5 year (or so) span? Would I want to be a stay-at-home mom once I have two kids in day care? What does this mean for my career prospects?

I know there is no perfect solution, so I am going to stop thinking about it and instead focus on cajoling my girls into working harder to produce. I know I can't be the only one out there that practices telepathy on my boobs while pumping...

Monday, April 9, 2007

No! No! No!

Last night, LP woke up at 2 am. This is only about three hours after I went to bed. Fortunately for me, the Hoos got up to "put the pacifier into her mouth without making eye contact." Not only is this an optimistic strategy, but it is one that I am physically incapable of implementing. Maybe it is just me, but I need to see what I am doing, especially when my target is moving.

Anyway, as expected, LP was not lulled into returning to sleep. Ever the loving Daddy, the Hoos picked LP up and she immediately stopped screaming, rested her head on his chest and relaxed. She did not, however, fall back asleep. The Hoos left her around a quarter to three, laying in her crib, wide awake. At 3:15 it was my turn to console the unhappy baby.

Of course, I have a tactic that never fails at my disposal that is unavailable to the Hoos. While I don't like to play the nursing card in the middle of the night (especially if I have to work the next day and therefore will not be able to pump the requisite amount), LP was thrilled to have the option. In fact, as soon as I nestled her into bed with us, she pulled the pacifier out of her mouth, dropped it over her shoulder and went searching with jaws gaping.

By 4 she was done nursing and asleep.

At 5 I guess we were both asleep, because I had to wipe some of my drool off of her little fuzzy head when she attempted to roll into "the meatloaf position." This is when LP flips onto her belly and draws her elbows and knees underneath her to sleep. Recognizing that this would be an ideal time to return her to her crib, I quietly levitated her back to her room, quickly plopped her down and ran back under my covers.

One would think that babies are like mommies and daddies in respect to wanting to sleep late after a poor night's sleep. Let me assure you, this is not the case. LP was up and raring to go at 7:45. Of course she is now an hour and a half into a nap and I am walking around trying to remember my name. As I told the Hoos this morning, let's just be thankful that nights like last are the exception and not the rule.

Saturday, April 7, 2007


Just today LP started attempting to stand on her own. She pulls herself up holding on to someone or some piece of furniture and slowly lets go, holding out her hands, fingers splayed, for balance. She only stays up for a few seconds before falling down on her little tush.

She also has turned over one of her cardboard toy boxes and started climbing up on to it and crawling off. The first few tries had her rolling off after misplacing a hand over the edge. But she quickly picked up how to scale the 5 inch high box with ease.

It is truly amazing how quickly LP is developing into a little person. When I see younger infants they look "mushy" to me and I try to remember LP at that stage. She is only a little over 10 months old and yet I can't recall what she looked like or what milestones she was accomplishing even a few months ago. I can't figure out if the fatigue is causing memory loss, or if it is due to age, or stress, or if things really are happening at such a whirlwind pace that a mere mortal like me has no choice but to fall behind.

Friday, April 6, 2007

We Have a Big Girl

Earlier this week, LP created her first piece of artwork at school (if you don't count the pudding painting fiasco). There are a few blue and yellow scribbles on the top edge of a sheet of paper and the entire piece highlighted in a black paper frame. It is gorgeous. We can't wait to get it home and post it on the fridge.

Speaking of LP and school, apparently my baby girl is turning into a bit of a thief. Her classroom has a semi-circular table with built in seats so that all of the kids can sit securely and eat at the same time. While sitting and awaiting her meal, or even while eating the food we sent in for her, she will casually reach over and pilfer some of her neighbor's snack. Yesterday poor little Lauren decided to share her sandwich after LP starting taking it anyway; eventually Lauren determined that LP would eat the entire thing if she let her and cut my little klepto off. You would think we didn't feed her.

The teachers aren't too concerned about LP's requisitioning ways. She is a huge flirt and by simply laying her head on each of them and giving them some loving, she has wrapped them all around her cute little finger. In fact, she did the same thing to Dianna, Lauren's mom, yesterday. Maybe she was asking for forgiveness for eating Lauren's sandwich. Or maybe she was just trying to tell her she liked her cooking and she should send in some extra.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

My Body is a Wonderland

I can say with absolute certainty that John Mayer did not have me in mind when he wrote "Her Body is a Wonderland". I am 99% sure that he was thinking of someone's body in a sexual way, as opposed to as a playground, which seems to be how LP treats my body.

Ears, apparently, are handles with which to hold my face still while she sucks on my chin. One of the most simultaneously disgusting and wonderful feelings ever.

Hair is used to get my attention, sort of like a leash. If I am not fully focused to her when she wants me to be or if I am holding her and she wants to go in a different direction, she uses my hair to direct me.

Cheeks are the way to mommy's heart. Especially when my full-cheeked LP crawls over to me and rests her cheeks against mine. The soft sweetness makes me not care that she is drooling in my ear while she rests.

The belly provides hours of entertainment. From slurbing to attempting to pick off my birth marks, it seems as though LP could waste a lot of time playing with my blubber.

My mouth is an enemy. As soon as any piece of food gets in the proximity of my mouth, LP hones in on it and attacks. It doesn't matter what I am attempting to eat, she wants it and will fight my teeth in order to win the prize.

I guess the point is that even though I sometimes feel like a stranger in a strange land in my own skin, there was some method to the madness.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Something Is Missing

LP had a great time at her first Seder last night. She was very well-behaved and awake the entire time. She didn't mind being passed from person to person, having her cheeks pinched or kissed, or crawling between 20 pairs of feet. Her first tastes of brisket and matzoh balls and grandma's chicken soup were very well received. She even managed to win the hearts of all of my cousins, including those very far removed from having kids (at this point anyway). In fact, one of them was hoping to use her to pick up chicks.

Now that I have a family of my own, I feel even more strongly about the importance of family. Unfortunately, as people grow up, they also tend to relocate for work, or love, or a variety of other reasons. For instance, my brother and his family live on the west coast. Having them so far away really stinks. When we were growing up all of my cousins lived a car ride away and we would get together on major holidays or special occasions (like Passover) at my grandparents' houses. It makes me sad that LP will only have sporadic interaction with my brother's family. The good news is that they send us pictures often and we email. They have also traveled here to visit us several times and up until LP arrived we made our way to California once a year. I also use this blog as a way to keep them up to speed on our lives. So far it seems to be working.

On holidays though, it becomes even more apparent that there are empty seats at the table. In addition to my brother in Northern California, I have cousins in Oregon, Los Angeles and Boston that couldn't make the trip this year. And, while LP does have cousins that live locally in Connecticut that we see several times a month, this doesn't make up for her limited time with our nieces in California and Hungary. True, there were more potatoes for me this year, but I wouldn't mind less room and more love.

Monday, April 2, 2007

The Whole Fam Damily

Tonight is the first night of Passover. We will be going to my parents' house for the first Seder and I am sure we will leave stuffed full of food. More importantly, we will be full of all of the good stuff that family-centric holidays are about.

When I was an infant we used to go to the first Seder at my paternal grandparents' house with my dad's extended family. We would spend the second Seder at my maternal grandparents' house with mom's brothers and their families. Over time these Seders combined and essentially all of my relatives gather for a huge feast one night a year. As a kid it was great to see all of my cousins (8 of us!) in one fell swoop - you could play a great game of hide and seek.

I enjoy the Seder even more as I have gotten older. For the past few years, my in-laws and nieces and nephews have ferried across the Long Island Sound to join us for the celebration. My brother-in-law and nieces from Hungary would even make the trek to attend.

This will be LP's first Passover. I can't imagine she will enjoy the matzoh much (who does?) but I am excited for her to be surrounded by the love and warmth and wonder that the holiday brings. There is a part of the Seder called The Four Questions. It is a song traditionally chanted by the youngest family member - LP isn't quite ready (much to my youngest cousin's chagrin) but I can't wait for her to sing along a few years down the road.