Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Simpler Way of Life

We spent the weekend in bucolic Geneseo, NY celebrating my youngest cousin's graduation from high school. It was really nice to have a few days off and we enjoyed spending time at the bed and breakfast and spa owned by my aunt and uncle.

It was our first road trip of any significant length with both girls. The time away was worth the six hour drive in each direction. The girls actually behaved wonderfully during the drive, although they didn't nap at the same time. Figures, right? LP was so excited to get to Uncle Barry's house that she started crying on the way up when we stopped for lunch, "I don't want lunch, I want to go to Uncle Barry's! I want to eat at Uncle Barry's!"

We stayed in a large room at the "inn" with AK in a pack-n-play and LP supposedly sleeping on a futon on the floor. Unfortunately, the only way we could get LP to go to sleep was to let her lay in the king-sized bed with us until she passed out. At one point as I attempted to get her to sleep in the bed next to me, I turned away so she wouldn't be breathing in my face and she just snuggled closer to me and said, "It's okay sweet pea. LP is here." Okay, that part wasn't so bad.

As we drove home yesterday, the Hoos and I considered what our lives would be like if we lived in a small town instead of a suburban city. My cousin is a great kid, really polite and amazingly sweet to his entire family and baby cousins even in front of his friends. We aren't sure if he is always like that, but I would like to think so. The pace of life in Geneseo is certainly different. If only we could find a small town, with jobs that we loved and only required us to work 9-5, and fabulous homes that we could afford.

Oh well.

When we asked LP what her favorite part of the trip was, we thought for sure she would talk about all of the animals that we saw (a doe and two fawns, a tree frog, chipmunks...). Instead she said, "Grandma and Papa and Uncle Barry." At least she knows what the important things are in life.

Friday, June 26, 2009

No Talking!

I took AK to the pediatrician today. She has been congested for a while and it finally manifested in a cough and gunky eyes. As expected, double ear infection. Sweetness.

However, this was not the high point of our trip to the doctor.

Rather, it was when the person checking me in informed me that I had a $47 balance on our account from our last visit. The last visit were combined well child visits for the girls. Turns out the balance was for an assessment of LP.

I found this odd, since they didn't draw any blood from LP, she didn't receive any shots, and we had established that the hearing and vision tests were included as part of the visit.

Turns out LP had both a lead and TB assessment. When I inquired what this consisted of, I was told it was my conversation with the nurse on if the girls had been exposed to lead or TB since their last visit.

I was incredulous. I talk to Theresa, the head nurse for the girls' pediatrician every time I encounter her. I had no idea I as charged for the privilege. She is lovely (as attested to in this previous post) but not that nice.

I mean what kind of service could she provide that costs $50 for a minute?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hot Fun in the Summertime

Yesterday was supposed to be "Summer Fun Day" for LP's class. We were requested to send in a bathing suit and towel for water play as well as a lunch that did not requiring heating since they would be eating outside.

From what I can ascertain they did have "Summer Fun Day" but I am not sure what it entailed since the weather was less than ideal. I know that they did not end up having water play.

I also know that when I picked LP up yesterday she was only wearing her bathing suit and Minnie Mouse Crocs. Since the "Summer Fun" activities were supposed to occur in the morning, I do not know if LP wore her bathing suit all day, or just put it on special for me.

I also know that as soon as she saw me she started taking it off. She pulled the top on and then told me that, "Not everyone wants to see my boobies," and ran to get her clothes to change back into.

I am in so much trouble.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


The first time it happened, I thought it was a fluke.

The second time it happened, I was really glad I was done nursing.

By the 15th time, it became clear, AK needed to be transitioned off the bottle.

Baby girl sucks so hard, or so much, or whatever, that she creates a vacuum in the bottle and the nipple INVERTS. It actually goes from pointing up to pointing down, into the bottle. And sometimes the vacuum creates so much suction that the nipple actually pops out - inside out - into the bottle.

This never happened with LP. It happens almost every night with AK. And she gets pissed at me when I take the bottle away to fix the problem.

Yesterday we started weaning her from the bottle.

Whip It!

Last night I was on my own with my two lovely ladies. I had prepped dinner while AK napped, so there wasn't too much for me to do except play with my babies and answer random work-related phone calls and emails.

As LP occupied herself doing playdough at the kitchen table, AK was getting into a tizzy. She REALLY wanted to do playdough too. I wanted her to experience the texture and the fun that can be molding clay, but unfortunately, baby girl can't get it out of her head that playdough is not food. You would think that the neon colors would turn her off; if not the salty flavor should be a dead give-away. But, alas, she would not be deterred and would not stop trying to eat it.

So, as an alternative, I grabbed a can of whip cream and we did textural play. I may not be a good mother, but I am an awesome mommy.

AK played with it for five seconds - longer than she would play with the playdough! - before noticing that her big sister was shoveling the stuff into her mouth as fast as her little hands would go. The light bulb went on, and a new favorite activity was born.

Not pictures from yesterday, but LP from this weekend and AK from a day at a friend's pool in April - when the weather was more summer-like than it is now!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Charlie's Angel in Training (Wheels)

When Going Out of Your Way Feels Good

Since the Hoos and I first lived together in Virginia, I have made it my business to know the location of the nearest homeless shelter. Not because I wanted to make sure he had a place to go should it come to that, but because I prefer to pass my lightly used clothing, housewares and other items directly on to those that will use them instead of donating them to an organization that sells them (like Goodwill).

For zoning and NIMBY reasons, homeless shelters are not typically located in the best areas. In fact, here in Norwalk there is currently a zoning fight about allowing our local shelter to expand. However, I have driven to shelters in more than five cities over the past 10 years and I must say that the people that utilize them have always been very kind and appreciative. Whether I go alone or with one of my children, people are always willing to help me carry items out of my car and I always feel safe.

Going to these shelters reminds me that I need to be more appreciative of and thankful for all of the blessings and good fortunes in my life. With this recent financial crisis, a lot of news articles have talked about how people who never thought they would have to accept public assistance have had to reach out their hands for help.

So, the next time you clean out your closets or basement, consider doing some research and locating your local homeless shelter. Going the extra mile is worth the trip.

And, so it isn't too serious of a post, a little story about AK.

While typing this post, AK was eating her lunch. She ate all of her food and had just started sucking on her bottle when she fell asleep. When I went over to release her from the high chair and put her down for a nap, I must have shocked her awake, because she threw the bottle clear across the room. She has quite an arm!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

It is Green Enough, You Can Stop Now

It is pouring rain. Again. The forecast calls for rain everyday for the next week.

The Hoos told me that LP didn't want to get her hands wet this morning, so she wore her gardening gloves to school, along with her sun hat. She didn't want to wear her raincoat though, so I am not sure how this outfit worked out for her.

Fortunately, we have plans on both Saturday and Sunday, so we will not be stuck in the house trying to come up with new and interesting projects to pass the time and distract small hand from hurting each other.

I hope Mother Nature gets it out of her system before our vacation to the Cape.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

You Get What You Get

When you have kids you know that the fate of your day is not in your own hands. Ergo, the name of this blog, "View from the Passenger's Seat". It is not that the Hoos is the one doing the driving (although he does do the majority of it when we are together), it is that my kids are the ones controlling our path. Yes, I have free will, and yes, I determine where we go and don't go, but one small infraction, misstep, or action from AK and LP and the entire outing could be ruined.

And yet, when LP and AK are in a good mood, it is like the sun has come out.

The giggles, the smiles, the happy - you can't beat it with a stick or an ice cream cookie sandwich. I would pay real money to guarantee the sunshine everyday.

But, at this juncture, my kids don't want my cash.

They want my time, my attention, and whatever the other one has. They want to go to Stew Leonard's. They want an ice cream two minutes before dinner. They want the type of drinkable yogurt that Jacob has, which is obviously the type we don't have.

They also want me to be psychic and guess what they want, when they want it, and how they want it.

You know? I just want some sunny weather, nice kisses, some hugs, and a good night's sleep.

Guess who will win?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Don't Let it Bring You Down

You know how some days start off with you climbing out of the wrong side of the bed? And you just sense that it is just a harbinger of the things to come?

I am not going to let the following morning events set the tone for my day!
  1. I slept like crap
  2. Almost drank a bug
  3. Had to remove a dying, still quivering baby mouse from my patio (with a shovel)

I am fighting inertia and focusing on the bright side...just as soon as my headache goes away.

Considering yesterday started off with LP telling me she wanted a new mommy, I guess I should be thankful.

Monday, June 15, 2009

All Knowing

I have reached the point in my personal and professional life where I accept that I don't have all of the answers. Not that this knowledge satisfies any one else's desire for information, but at least I no longer torture myself for not being able to respond to every question or situation immediately.

It has actually taken me a long time to get here. And, I know that some people will never be able to comfortably say, "I'm sorry, I just don't know the answer. I can look into it for you, but there are no promises."

That being said, there are some things that I do know:
  1. OxyClean is the mac-daddy. I had an entire Facebook conversation with four other smart, talented, hard-working moms about the merits of the different types of OxyClean. I am a soaker. almost every load of laundry contains at least three items pre-soaked in a bucket of powdered OxyClean and warm water.
  2. Bribery is an effective tool. We all hate to do it, but we all know that the way to get a toddler to do anything is by offering or taking away. One of the few things that actually works.
  3. Everyone is different. I have two little girls. Born two years and four days apart. Aside from being wonderful and adorable and awesome, I don't think they have much in common. AK's first tooth finally broke through this weekend - the top right; LP got her first at 7.5 months, bottom left. Stupid analogy, but just the tip of the iceberg.
  4. There is no going back. I work part-time. Now that I have kids there is no way in the foreseeable future that I could go back to working full-time (of course, I would if I had to). I need the extra 10 hours not in the office to maintain our household - the groceries, the laundry, the everything.

And some things that I admit I do not know:

  1. Snot. The origins and what, why and how.
  2. Sleep. Why we always want more and never have enough.
  3. Time. How to harness it and how it can fly by and crawl at the same time. LP was asking me about the pedals in the car last week and how I make it go and stop. SHE IS THREE and trying to learn how to DRIVE.
  4. Tantrums/Moods. Where they came from, why the come and how to control them. LP become another person for a brief period of time and is smiling fifteen minutes later. Meanwhile I want to sell her on eBay.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


In our house, a lot of life revolves around food. Who wants what snack, who is going to want what for dinner, you know, typical obsessive-compulsive food disorder. What I didn't realize is that AK has already become accustomed to this lifestyle.

The other day we were in Whole Foods and I grabbed a bag of Veggie Straws to put in the cart as a "special snack."*

As I put the bag in the cart, AK started freaking out. She was no longer content with the Cheerios her sister was doling out from a baggie she had found in my pocketbook.
She is ONE YEAR OLD, has had veggie straws maybe three times in her life and yet SHE RECOGNIZED THE BAG and became insistent, to the point of annoying the entire store, that she needed a veggie straw right now.

LP was no help. She was excited at the prospect of me having to open the bag of veggie straws in the store, knowing that once open there was no going back and both she and her sister would be able to happily munch away. In fact, to speed the process, she started to casually dump Cheerios on to the floor one at a time in a way that she thought was secretive.

Yesterday, AK's daily sheet said, "Please consider sending different snacks for AK. She is no longer content with the [school provided] Cheerios and throws them on the floor."
*"Special snacks" are a mommy's best friend. Basically, they are a form of bribery, "LP if you are a good girl, what special snack do you want me to put in your lunch box?" If she isn't being good, we can threaten to remove the special snack and we usually end up with a much more agreeable child.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Going in Circles

When my alarm went off this morning, I didn't want to get out of bed.

But I did.

I was at my desk by 7:45, checking my email and doing various tasks. At 8:31 my phone rang. It was the Hoos. I was about to tell him how impressed I was, assuming he was placing his daily call to me after dropping off the girls. This would definitely have been an early day for him.

Fortunately, I didn't.

Instead the Hoos told me that he had locked himself and the girls out of the house. In the pouring rain. Somehow he grabbed their bags, set the alarm, and walked out the door, holding two adorably rain-gear clad munchkins, without his house keys. Only realizing his mistake after pulling the door shut behind him.

As soon as he called I jumped into the car and headed home (a 25 mile drive). My benevolent boss told me to take my computer and just work from home. The Hoos and the girls sought refuge in the garage and they had an adventure, riding the tricycle and kiddy car around the garage in circles, taking turns.

Sadly, this is the third mishap in three weeks involving the garage. First, my car died in the garage; last week, one of the springs on the garage door opener snapped, locking my car inside (my big, strong husband was able to rescue it, but we haven't gotten around to replacing the spring yet); and now this. At least the garage was a friend this time, offering my little family shelter from the storm.

Keeping Us Honest

The Hoos and I are not particularly religious. We observe and celebrate the major Jewish holidays and our traditions and values are defined by Judaism. We were both raised in kosher homes (two sets of dishes and silverware, kosher meat, no pork products, no mixing of milk and meat, etc.) and have always said that we would like to keep kosher "at some point," which has yet to be defined.

On Fridays I typically buy a challah and make a little nicer meal than usual and we "do" Shabbat. This involves lighting candles and saying some prayers.

We have never sat down and taught LP any of the prayers, but hearing them almost weekly for a couple of years she has picked them up and she does her best to sing and chant along with us. It is very cute.

This past Friday was a really long day. It was gray and rainy and after taking both LP and AK to the doctor for check-ups and meeting the Hoos at his office for lunch, I didn't have the time or energy to make a big meal (or to pick up a challah). Instead, I made a vegetable soup and used some leftover Italian bread to make "cheesy bread" as an accompaniment.

As the Hoos and I prepared to eat, LP screwed up her little face and asked, "Is it Shabbat?"

What could we do except pull out the candlesticks, use the heel of the bread as a makeshift challah and comply?

For those of you that saw a half post, sorry. I was distracted and posted before finishing. Long story. Maybe for tomorrow.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Scene from bathtime...

"AIM! When did AK learn to stand up without holding on?! And why is she doing it in the BATHTUB?!"

Scene from the beach...

"AK! Stop eating sand! AK! Stop crawling away at a rapid pace aiming for other people's food (or the water or the bike path)!

Scene from the backyard...

"AK! You can't climb in and out of the kiddy pool by yourself! AK! It usually takes two years of swimming lessons for kids to stick their face in the water, you are giving mommy a heart attack!"

This kid might just be the death of me. She is so adventurous, while simultaneously so adorable, that I have no idea how to deal with her. She sedates me with her smile.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Lessons in Grace

In the fall, LP will be taking "Introduction to Pre Ballet" with some of her girlfriends. As beautiful and wonderful and lovely as we think she is, we know that baby girl is not the most dainty of children.

Here she is practicing her moves.

Last of the Mohicans

Today is the Hoos' birthday. If you are counting, this is the third birthday celebration in our home in seven days. You can tell that mama is running out of steam.
  1. LP (May 28) had cupcakes and a party at the zoo for her birthday.
  2. AK (June 1) had her grandparents over for grilled steak and fish tacos and store-bought ice cream cookie sandwiches the day before her birthday and homemade blueberry muffins on her birthday.
  3. The Hoos (June 4) is getting a marble poundcake from Stew's. To be fair, he really likes this, but it is also low effort. Dinner might be ordered in.

Word on the street is that living with three Geminis is supposed to make me crazy. But, I liked having maternity leave during the summer and we got lucky. No, I didn't think the girls' birthdays would only be four days apart, but yes, I am counting on having joint birthday parties if and whenever possible.

As for the Hoos, I think he is hoping his birthday will be overshadowed by LP's and AK's. It won't mean he will stop having them, but at least he won't be reminded that he is growing older.

Happy Birthday, Hoos!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Not Your Mama's Blog

Yesterday I was listening to the news and reading on the Internet about Dr. George Tiller. A Kansas doctor that performed late-term abortions that was murdered in church over the weekend. It made me sad, disgusted, angry, and, ultimately thankful.

I am not going to rehash all of the details of the controversy surrounding Dr. Tiller, but what stuck out for me was, despite being threatened, shot, bombed, arrested, indicted and emotionally wrung over the coals for the better part of his career, this man felt so strongly that he was doing the right thing, that he stuck it out. He felt, in his heart of hearts, he was performing a vital service for the women in Kansas and the surrounding states. What a wonderful man he must have been.

Many women seeking late term abortions are those that really, really don't want to have to have one: parents who found out after a 20-week ultrasound that their child was not developing normally, mothers diagnosed with cancer that need chemotherapy as soon as possible, children pregnant through horrible circumstances. These people are making what must be one of the most difficult decisions of their lives. Some argue that it probably isn't much of a decision (you can read all about some of the horrific fetal defects elsewhere, I don't want to think too hard about them), but without dedicated doctors like Dr. Tiller, there wouldn't be any option at all.

About 99% of my blog posts are included in my annual "blog scrapbook," the books I print to capture the silly stories, timely photos and memories I publish here. Every once in a while, a post comes along that I just don't think is necessary to include in that type of keepsake. When I initially set out to write this post, I was confident it would be excluded. Now I am not so sure.

Question Everything

LP is at the point in her little life where she is constantly asking questions.

One favorite line of questioning revolves around "When you were little" as in, "Mommy, when you were little did you have accidents? When you were teeny did you used to go on the carousel? When you were little did someone read you books?" And on and on.

The other night as we played the baby animal game (what's a baby...pig? what's a baby...goat?), she mixed it up a bit, "Mommy, how do goats wipe when they poop? How do elephants wipe when they poop? How do giraffes..." Again, this went on and on, despite the fact that I told her animals don't have hands and can't and don't really wipe anyway.

She doesn't just reserve questions for me or the Hoos. She is pretty nosy, actually and will ask anyone she encounters random questions. Which scares the beejezus out of me since it makes me think of my now 11 year old niece asking my dad if he had a [boy part] when she was around LP's age. I apologize in advance.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Busting at the Seams

I love birthdays. I am thrilled to bits that my little girls have grown and changed and developed over the last year and I absolutely feel that it is worth celebrating with family and friends.
This year for the first time we had a birthday party for LP that included folks outside of our families. It was time for LP to have a "real" party, since she has been attending her friends' parties and was finally wise enough to ask about her own to-do.

We also changed the venue up from a backyard BBQ. Despite the fact that both of my girls are born in months where pizza in the yard would be suitable, I had to insist on a venue change. This was done for several reasons, including the inability of my home to comfortably accommodate 15 3-year-olds and their families and my inability to fathom how I would entertain the aforementioned crew for an hour and a half.

The Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport ended up working out perfectly. At least we think everyone had a great time. And hopefully everyone took a good nap on the ride home.

Even though we did not hold the party at our home, it is still filled with stuff. Because, inevitably, as you invite more people in to your celebration, they feel obligated to bring gifts. As it was I was shoe-horning in new (but not purchased by the Hoos or me..hmm...) toys and trying to cycle out toys that haven't actually been touched in a while. Now we have approximately two dozen new toys - each with what seems to be at least two dozen parts that require space.

I am not trying to sound ungrateful. In fact, I spent Sunday evening writing thank you notes. We are very thankful and appreciative. LP is over the moon with her good fortune. I am just being a mom. It's my job.

Oddly enough, after opening a handful of gifts the other day, LP just suddenly stopped. When I handed her the next wrapped gift in the pile, she shook her head and said, "I don't want to open it." I tried a different present, "Nope, I'm done."

This is weird, right? Do other kids just decide to stop opening gifts? She did open them eventually, but it took some cajoling.

Monday, June 1, 2009

One Singular Sensation

One year ago today, I was experiencing unfortunate bladder control issues. At the time, it sucked. In retrospect, totally worth it.

Because, one year ago tonight, after two and a half hours of drug-free labor, the most beautiful, happiest, snuggliest little girl, popped her way in to the world.

I know some people stop after having one child because they couldn't imagine loving another child as much as they love their first. We couldn't imagine not having AK. She has brought such fullness to our lives. To see her interact with LP (both in positive and negative ways) makes my life more complete.

When we are out and about, AK smiles at everyone she sees, bringing brightness to the lives of complete strangers. To actually know her and have her in my life is a blessing.