Tuesday, March 31, 2009
A colleague forwarded me information on BIG WALL GRAPHICS. Eco-friendly, beautiful and able to be moved and re-used multiple times (crucial for someone like me who will likely mess it up the first few times) they seem like the ideal way to spruce up a kid's room.
BIG WALL GRAPHICS are printed with eco-solvent digital inks on state-of-the-art self-adhesive fabric paper, resulting in a gorgeous AND durable final product. They can be stuck on any surface and re-positioned countless times, while still retaining adhesion AND without leaving a residue. Unlike repositionable vinyl (which is difficult to remove after it has been mounted on a surface, and which tends to lose adhesion after even a single re-positioning), BIG WALL GRAPHICS can be moved hundreds of times without losing their effectiveness or tack. - they are actually safe to apply over wallpaper and will even stick to most brick or concrete walls!
They come in blue, orange, pink/chocolate, and purple. Check it out. And, each set also comes with a cool laptop cover graphic - so you can be cool outside of your kid's room too!
Monday, March 30, 2009
But still...below is the "notes" portion of LP's daily report:
LP had a good day. Today LP had circle time with Miss Shauna while they was on the rug they talked about the weather which LP was the weather person which she told us it was a (sunny Today) they also talk about the changes in the weather and things they are going to see in spring!
With the exception of her name this is a verbatim rewrite. So sad.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
- Have two kids
- Spaced our kids 2-3 years apart
- Are two-income families
- Almost all (4 out of 5) attended college with our spouse
- Have similar values in terms of family coming first
The clincher is that we all have kids. It does make a difference in terms of expectations and planning. We all know about eating dinner early and working around nap time, none of us are phased by a meltdown, and none of us expect to actually eat a meal in silence or stay up/out too late.
For perspective, married friends without children came over for dinner on a Sunday night a few weeks ago and stayed past 10. The Hoos and I almost passed out from exhaustion.
Also interesting is that no matter how similar we are, everyone has their nuanced way of parenting. A way that works for them. All of the people we have been hanging out with are great parents and they have wonderful children. I couldn't raise their kids and they couldn't raise mine (nor would they likely want to after experiencing a tantrum courtesy of LP or listening to AK shriek with joy while eating).
What do I mean by all this? I mean don't ever buy another parenting book. There is no one-size-fits all way to parent. Starting with a base of good,strong values and lots of love, chances are things will work themselves out making for a less stressful, more enjoyable life. And happier, healthier kids.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Besides the newspapers and the television news, the place I notice the effects of the "financial crisis" is on the roads. Three days a week I commute 25 miles from our home in Norwalk to Westchester County, NY. It used to take me about 35 minutes to get to work and about 45 minutes to get home. Recently my drive time has been reduced by at least 10 minutes in each direction.
I am not complaining. It was ridiculous to sit in traffic for over an hour on occasion and be nervous about being able to pick the girls up by 6 (when I leave work at 4:30!). But it does make me think. Where have all of those people gone? What are they doing? What would I be doing were the situation reversed?
A lot of my errands and daily activities revolve around spending money. I go to the grocery store, WalMart, Stew's; rainy days might be spent browsing the mall or IKEA. Even if we don't by a lot of stuff, the potential is still there. If money was tight, how would I pass my days?
- Make more elaborate meals, researching ways to use ingredients I already have on hand but don't have any ideas on how to incorporate into a meal
- Renew my efforts to make homemade bread
- Hang out at the library
- Read more
- Spend more time on Facebook
- Clean out the basement
- FreeCycle more items from my home and browse FreeCycle for items we need/want
I wrote the list above and then I realized that if I lost my job and money was a serious consideration, my girls would not longer be going to day care. My list instead would look like this:
- With even less time to prep eat lots of pasta-centric meals
- Hang out at the library
- Read more of the same children's books over and over
- Constantly clean up one mess before moving on to create another
- Arrange lots and lots of playdates
- Drive to LI to visit my parents at least one week day each week
- Discover every playground within driving distance of my home (once the weather improves)
- Clean the house if and when the girls ever nap (no more cleaning lady!)
- Figure out some way to take walks in the neighborhood with both girls
To be honest, I am trying to do a lot of the things on both lists anyway, as it is never a bad time to improve my spending habits and discover new ways to spend quality time with the kids. What are some positive changes you have made in your life to shore up your family's finances?
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
- Who (and why) is 'the Hoos'?
- Who is LP? My first born. The one who talks a lot. And is silly. And is awesome (most of the time)
- Are those really her initials? Nope, not her initials. A nickname she has had since birth. After we stopped calling her Bump, her gestational name.
- Who is AK? Obviously, my second born. Gestationally she was referred to as Bun. For the first few months she was Dee on the blog, which became AK.
- Do you like being a working mom? Yes.
- Any potty training advice? Not, really. We totally sucked at it. LP won.
- Are you going to have another kid? We have to get used to having two first.
I think those are the highlights - am I missing any of the big ones?
(After writing this I realized this is the second time I have done this. I am so lame.)
Monday, March 23, 2009
Today was one of those days.
I spent more than an hour squatting in a restroom in the pediatrician office, a cup poised in my right hand under LP's tush.
An hour, waiting to be peed on.
When she finally did pee I wanted to shout, "Thank you Jebbus!" Actually, at first I thought I had missed my chance (along with the pee), but I managed to catch enough for the doctor to determine that LP was fine.
This entire experience lasted more than an hour and a half actually. Most of that time the nurse felt bad for me and carried AK with her while she completed paperwork. AK was an angel, never making a peep. But everyone has their limits. Especially for other people's kids.
And I learned where my limit is for my kid.
I reached it when we walked in the door from the pediatrician's office (a five minute drive) and LP yelled out, "I HAVE TO PEE!!!" and took off running to the bathroom.
It would only have been worse if she hadn't made it in time and I had to clean pee off of my hands for the second time in an hour.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
For instance, just a few minutes ago the Hoos was upstairs getting her ready for bed. He called down to me, "Hey Aim! Is D-O-G down there?" "Dog" is LP's pink floppy dog that she has taken to sleeping with.
Before I could respond there are footsteps over my head and LP calls out, "Mom, D-O-G isn't up here!"
Now, I don't really know why the Hoos felt the need to spell out "dog". But it was pretty funny to hear LP yell it back. Even if D-O-G was in her room and she just didn't know what it meant.
And for every breakthrough moment like that, there are some moments that make you go, "huh?"
Earlier this evening we were all in the car. LP was chatting away about her cousins, which some how segued into this conversation about her friend, JM:
LP: Mommy, what do JM's cousins look like?
Me: I don't know.
LP: MOM! WHAT. DO. JM'S. COUSINS. LOOK. LIKE.?!
Me: I guess like JM.
LP: No, mom. What color are their faces? Are they green?
Me: Umm...no. I think it is safe to say they aren't green.
LP: Are they yellow?
Me: They are probably the same color as JM.
LP: They are black?
Me: No, the same color as JM.
LP: Okay, black.
Me: Is JM black?
LP: He has blue eyes.
Well, at least some of her facts are straight. Here she is with JM.
Friday, March 20, 2009
You know, the ones that do my dishes while I am sleeping?
Or how about the ones that comfort my 9-month old so I don't have to get out of bed FOUR times between 4:15 and 6:30?
I know that elves exist. How?, you ask.
Because they are frequently working their magic making my laundry multiply.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Would we be:
- Better rested?
- More likely to be night owls?
Or would we be:
- Stressed because we had less time to get stuff done?
- More overweight because we were less active?
- Unable to fall asleep at night?
- More likely to take multiple naps?
- Even able to turn our minds off and take a nap?
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
But apparently I spoke too soon when I set my Facebook status earlier this week to "making bread. A first...I have never heard of homemade bread hurting anyone, yet."
On Monday, I mixed the flour, water, salt and yeast, let it rise, and then put it in the fridge to chill. I also took AK to Bed, Bath and Beyond and bought pizza stone, the one piece of required equipment that I did not yet own.
That evening I arranged the racks in my oven appropriately, carefully placing the stone and required pan for water in it. I also got other items ready on my counter so that I would be ready to go yesterday when I got home from work.
My plan was to get the dough relaxing on the counter and set the oven preheating while I fed the girls. Once they were done I could just pop my dough in the oven and the house would be filled with the wonderful scent of fresh baked bread in no time. The Hoos would be wowed by my homemaking skills and I would be in bread nirvana.
I should have known.
The girls were out of sorts when I picked them up. AK was starving since they had started her on a new schedule giving her snack at 2:15 instead of 3:15; she was also exhausted since I forgot to send in a pacifier and she only took one nap and had been awake since 11:45. LP also did not nap and ran out of her classroom door with a few other kids when another mom was frozen in place holding the door open.
When we got into the house I quickly removed the bread dough from the fridge and placed it on the counter to relax. I then set about calming LP and AK, mostly by giving them a slightly early dinner (it was 5:30 and they usually eat at 6).
Once they were set up, I got the oven preheating to 450 and shaped my dough. At 6:15, I decided it was time to get the dough in the oven. After spilling cornmeal all over the floor (it kept the dough from sticking to my cutting board, but nothing kept the cornmeal on the board), I finally got the dough on the stone. It looked beautiful.
I then got hot water out of the tap and prepared to pour it into the pan in the oven. Apparently this provides steam which makes your bread nice and crusty.
As soon as the water hit the pan, I knew I had a problem. My problem - I forgot about the properties of GLASS. A Pyrex pan, heated to 450 degrees, does not take kindly to having hot water poured in it. It immediately cracked into a million pieces in my oven.
I spent the rest of the night cleaning glass out of the oven. And cleaning corn meal off of the floor without the use of a vacuum (I tried, but it wasn't very helpful in keeping my girls calm). No one was hurt. But no one got any homemade bread either.
We still have a loaf worth of bread dough in my fridge. I think I will wait to try again until the weekend.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Yesterday, LP's teacher was telling me about how LP didn't flush after peeing on the potty. When Miss Keica asked LP why she didn't flush, LP told her that she was waiting for someone else to pee on top of her pee, "like we do at home."
OMG. Miss Keica told me this and I was mortified.
First of all, I only do this when I have to pee at the same time as LP. Usually I say I have to pee, I walk into the bathroom; LP is right on my heels, telling me she has to pee and that she has to go first. I let her go while telling her not to flush so we don't waste water. And THEN SHE FLUSHES. Ignoring me! And yet, there she goes, sharing this with Miss Keica as if it is a common practice. To add insult to injury our quarterly water usage has doubled since LP was potty trained. Not saying it is just because of her toilet use but still...
Another LP conversation from yesterday:
Scene: LP and AK are laughing, playing and whooping it up in the living room, I am in the kitchen. LP comes running in.
LP: Mommy, I don't feel good.
Me (skeptical): What's wrong?
LP: My ears hurt.
Me (still skeptical): Okay, let me see.
LP kneels down next to me and I pretend to look in her ears and pull on the lobe watching to see if she flinches. Nothing.
Me: What does it feel like?
LP: Umm...it feels like...summer.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
And then there is nap time.
When at day care, it is unusual if AK, the amazing crawling wonder, takes more than one nap. And typically her one rest is in the morning (10:30-12:15 or so). This is so strange to me, especially since she wakes up at 8.
On Mondays and Fridays it doesn't seem possible that she will nap that early. If we are out running errands she might fall asleep in the car around that time, but at home she will just freak out if I put her down at 10:30.
What ends up happening is that I attempt to put her down after lunch. She wants none of it. Screaming, crying, etc. Which is really unlike her. So it kills me a little bit every time.
I know that if I nurse her for just a few minutes she will calm down and go to sleep. But if it isn't time for her to nurse, I don't want to get her into the habit of only getting drowsy at the boob. Today I tried to ignore her cries, I really did. But after 15 minutes of listening to her cry and 15 minutes of holding her until her eyebrows stopped being bright red and her tears dried up, she was still exhausted and still not sleeping.
So I whipped out my magic elixir (also known as baby crack). Less than a minute later her eyes clouded over and I transitioned her to the crib.
I should totally sell my stuff on eBay.
For many women, the thought of this brings on tears. In fact, while infants may begin drinking whole milk around the one-year mark, many women continue to nurse before bed or in the evenings until their children are much older. Sometimes this is because the child insists on it, but I would wager to say that a lot of the time it is the mom who doesn't want to give the experience up.
I am not one of those mothers.
There are many different approaches and perspectives on breastfeeding even among those that take on the task. (There are many reasons people choose not to breastfeed, I blogged on this topic before and won't rehash). For example, a woman I share my office lactation room with also exclusively gives her son breastmilk (in addition to solids, etc.). However, she only nurses him once a day. Even when she is with him, she pumps and gives him a bottle. It is more important to her that her production levels stay consistent so she can nurse as long as she wants, than to feed him directly at her breast.
I nurse for the convenience. And for the cost savings. But most of all, I nurse for the bond. There is nothing quite like looking down and watching a well latched on baby eat (at least after the first six weeks and the pain subsides) and knowing that you are providing her with nourishment. It feels amazing. It is empowering. It makes you feel strong and womanly. At times it also makes you feel like a cow. Like a slave. Like your body is not your own.
Don't get me wrong, I relish the time I have spent (and continue to spend) nursing AK. But I am also hopeful that she will take to whole milk as easily as LP did back in the day (please, please, please pray for me) and she will be off of the boob by the time her first birthday rolls around. Sure, I will miss seeing her suckle, but I can still hold her close. I am still the person primarily responsible for satiating her thirst and hunger (if you don't count LP plying her with Cheerios and cheese). I am still her mom.
But I will also be a free woman. A woman who will be able to go an overnight trip without her children.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
No, no, it's early... (anyone out there listen to the Spindoctors back in HS?)
I just got a call from the vice president of my department from a plane in London. He left the U.S. last night at 10:30, flew to the U.K., transferred planes, is flying another 10 hours to Hong Kong and then another 10 to his final destination - Melbourne, Australia.
He is going to Melbourne for a conference that I helped to coordinate. Well, I didn't coordinate the conference, but I did help with a workshop and some association meetings that he is chairing.
He was calling to request that I call in to some of the meetings being held on Saturday (Australia time). According to my handy-dandy time zone chart, he would like me to be on a call Friday evening from 11pm until 1am. And be prepared to speak intelligently.
Dude - I am still catching up from my book club meeting last Saturday. Even with seven uninterrupted hours of sleep last night (10:30-5:30), I am not quite feeling myself. All last week did was alert me to the fact that staying up past midnight is not in my best interest!
And yet...tomorrow night at 11, I will be on the phone. At least I will be in my PJs.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
A little after 7, LP took up residence on the potty. Because, you know, why would you want to hang out in the living room where there are toys when you can hang out in the water closet. AK and I sat precariously perched on the edge of the tub as the hired entertainers for this bathroom visit.
As soon as she saw the tub, the little peanut, a true water baby, started throwing herself toward it. I figured I might as well use my time in the bathroom efficiently and give AK a bath while we waited. Of course as soon as I start filling up the tub, LP announces that she is done and also wants to take a bath.
By 7:30 everyone is squeaky clean. Shortly thereafter LP alerts us that she is ready for bed, and, even though the Hoos and I have yet to eat dinner, we decide to go with the flow . Considering that AK only took one nap - from 11-12:15 and LP took a 30 minute nap, it sounded like it might actually work. Sure enough AK is down for the count around 10 of. It takes LP a bit longer, but by 8:30 she is snuggled in and snoring. Considering up until a few weeks ago LP's bath didn't even start until 8:30, this is something of a minor miracle.
Everyone was still sleeping when I left the house at 7 this morning (I did feed AK when she woke up at 5:30). Hopefully this is the start of something new, different and exciting - actual downtime for the Hoos and me!
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Too bad her big sister woke up at 2 yelling "MOMMMMYYYYYY!" at the top of her lungs. I found her sitting upright saying, "I want to come in your bed." She might have added "...and watch TV," to the end of the sentence, but I was totally foggy, so I could have made that part up. Umm...no. I reminded her that it was the middle of the night and helped her lay back down.
LP also woke up at 5 and this time the Hoos got up. She was once again sitting up and this time she was complaining that her pillow fell off her bed.
The good news is that we have been leaving the baby gate open at the door to her room as a precursor to taking it down. Either she hasn't noticed or she is so well trained that she won't even bother trying to leave her bed when it is pitch black out.
Back to AK's 9 month check up. My little peanut is almost exactly at the 50th percentile in terms of length, weight and head circumference. She still weighs less (17.9) than LP did at her 6 month (18.1) and almost 1 1/2 pounds less than LP at 9 months (19.2).
All of this means that, despite having two little girls born at exactly the same time of year, handing down clothes may still be a problem. LP was wearing size 12-18 month leading up to her first birthday; AK fills out the 6 month size nicely . Between the size differential and the number of clothing items LP has managed to destroy (mostly via her love for smearing staining foods on herself) AK might just find herself with a whole bunch of new clothes. Or, more likely, swimming in LP's summer outfits.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
When I got home around midnight, I immediately went upstairs to let the Hoos know I was home. I explained that after meeting and eating and hanging out in Panera until they closed at 9:30, we moved to the 24 hour Dunkin Donuts strategically located up the street.
He looked at me incredulously, "You have been in DUNKIN DONUTS this whole time?" He then muttered, "I knew you wouldn't have been at a bar." I was out with three other thirtysomething women and yet he was 100% correct, there was really no way we were going to be at a bar.
A few minutes later when I got into bed he rolled over to look at me and said, "You smell like Dunkin Donuts. It is making me hungry." Considering bars are now smoke-free in Connecticut (at least I think I read that somewhere, I wouldn't know from experience), I probably smelled worse than if I had been at a bar.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
This is ridiculous.
My parents and in-laws are wonderful grandparents. They are very active in the lives of all of their grandchildren (to the extent possible given geography, etc.). They babysit when possible and convenient, take care of sick children, tend to them when day care or school is closed, have sleepovers, etc. I am confident that there is no doubt in the minds of any of their collective nine grandchildren that their grandparents love them.
The Hoos and I made a conscious decision shortly before getting married that we wanted to live near our families when we had kids. Not because we expected free day care, but because we wanted them to experience the joy and love of having a close relationship with their extended family. And they do. We see my parents several times a month, video conference with them on the computer at least once a week, and see my in-laws (who live closer) pretty much weekly. We also spend time with my brother-in-law and his family most weekends, giving the kids a warm and wonderful relationship with some of their older cousins.
Just because my parents are retired doesn't mean that they want the next chapter of their lives to revolve around their grandchildren. They raised me and my brother, we turned out okay and blessed them with four beautiful granddaughters, now is their time to have some fun. Sure, some times that fun involves their grandkids (as we speak my parents are on a plane to visit my nieces in California and it was less than a month ago that my parents took LP to see Sesame Street Live), but that doesn't mean it HAS TO.
I joke with my parents that I could rent them an apartment in CT for less than I pay for day care every month. They could live in CT and watch the girls during the week and return home to Long Island for the weekend. This is totally true (and very sad) but absolutely a joke. I recognize that my parents have their own lives and things to do.
I don't know why this article made me so angry. I feel better now for having vented.
She has been getting around no problem, mostly by stretching, sitting up, stretching sitting up (repeat) until she has what she wants or scooting backwards. This is very different from LP, a world class roller. LP would roll all over he house - from room to room even. AK started rolling a few weeks earlier than LP, but never really used it as a mode of transportation.
Last night AK really got moving and grooving forward. Shockingly (note sarcasm) it was in an effort to stalk my dinner.
The Hoos was late getting home last night so I was eating my turkey meatloaf and baked sweet potato on the floor of the living room while playing with the girls. LP instantly was upon me, stealing my fork so she could eat my potato "like a grown up"(e.g., WITH A FORK). Never mind that both girls had just eaten.
AK decided she wanted in on the action and so I moved my plate out of her reach. "Out of her reach" is no longer an option, apparently, because she just chased it down and attempted to shovel meatloaf into her mouth with her cute little fingers. Every time I moved my plate, baby girl followed.
I am in for it now.
As an aside, last night I just cut up a Morningstar Chik N Patty and put it on a plate with ketchup and melon and put it in front of LP without saying anything. I am always trying to get her to eat more protein. Amazingly, she just ate it! Didn't refuse it, ask for pasta (her usual dinner of choice), just ate more than half of it. I am going to have to try this strategy more often!
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
I had just gotten used to the whole routine of her sleeping from 8 or so until 4:45, feeding her and having her go back to sleep until 7:30. I figured 5.5 hours of uninterrupted sleep was better than the 2 or 3 hours I had been getting previously.
And I was right.
Last night went a little something like this:
At 1:45 I gave her the paci.
At 2:00 I applied Orajel and reinserted the paci
At 2:30 I kicked the Hoos out of bed to give her Tylenol
At 2:33 the Hoos asked where the Tylenol was
At 2:35 AK started screaming
At 2:37 the Hoos finally gave AK the Tylenol
At 2:50 the Hoos finally got AK to go back to sleep
At 4:45 AK woke up again
At 4:47 I found her SITTING UP in her crib staring at me
At 5:06 after feeding her, I crawled back to bed
At 6:30 my alarm went off
I had just been thinking about how I was going to eliminate the 4:45 feeding when the time comes to stop nursing. I jinxed myself.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
AK LOVES the bath. So much so that she scares me. While undressing her in the bathroom next to the tub she attempts to throw herself out of your arms and into the warm water. Once in the tub she splashes with so much reckless abandon that I cringe at the thought of taking my hands off of her. Even with the little grass no-slip mat on the bottom of the tub, she manages to squirm everywhere and anywhere in the bath, and even attempts to pull herself up on the faucet.
Last night I stuck her back in the baby bathtub, sitting up. I filled it with enough water that she could splash, but because of how smooshed she is into it there is no way she can flop over. Whew! Unfortunately, I don't think she will tolerate this situation too long. Any one have a bath tub insert or related product they can recommend to keep me from having a heart attack?
My second issues has to do with the shower. For the last month or so the Hoos and I have been using the same shampoo, Herbal Essences None of Your Frizzness. He basically started using mine because he ran out and never asked me to buy him more. I noticed we were running low on my shampoo and bought more on a rare family trip to Target. Yesterday I even put it on the counter in the bathroom, planning to put it in the shower when I next used it.
This morning the shampoo was not on the counter and I thought it was safe to assume it had made its way into the shower. WRONG. When I was ready to lather up my head I found a completely empty bottle. The Hoos had moved the shampoo all right - right back in to the linen closet. In the hallway. Outside the bathroom.
Nothing gets your blood pumping like dripping your way across your home in 15 degree weather to get beauty supplies.
Monday, March 2, 2009
I was a little worried, since LP has given up on napping most days, and both girls are worked up thanks to the show showering down outside, but someone must be looking out for moms cooped up with their little ones due to school closings and inclement weather.
AK is napping nicely in her crib. She didn't go down until 1, since she was busy playing with her big sister, but I expect her to sleep for a couple of hours.
It was also amazingly easy to get LP to nap. I just promised her that she could sleep in her tent in the living room. We went upstairs, got her doggy, a nappy, and a small pillow. As she crawled in to the tent I took AK upstairs. She did call out once I reached the top of the stairs, requiring AK and I to do an about face, but all she wanted was for me to cover her with the nappy.
When I checked on LP after putting AK down, she was awake, but quiet. I just walked away and 10 minutes later she was out like a light, with her doggy clutched in her hand.
If every day was like this I might almost consider staying at home with my kids full time.
UPDATE: Guess who woke up first? If you guessed the toddler, who sleeps beautifully through the night and rarely naps, you would be wrong. At 2:45 AK decided she was done napping and called to me from upstairs. I don't know how she survives with so little sleep. She must have been banking it while sleeping away her newborn month.