Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Yesterday as I drove the girls home from school we passed a home that had been razed several months ago. We call it "the knock down house." I pointed out to LP that there was a truck (a bulldozer maybe?) on the lawn, meaning that the home was going to be rebuilt soon.
"Mommy, I wish our house was knocked down so that we could have a truck." When I replied that we wouldn't have a place to sleep if our home was knocked down her quick response was, "Well, mommy, then we could sleep in a sukkah."
For those of you out there wondering what a sukkah is, it is a temporary shelter, built for Sukkot, a Jewish holiday that starts this Friday and celebrates (among other things) a successful harvest. You are supposed to eat in the sukkah and sleep out underneath the stars (the roof is open on purpose so you can see the stars).
When I mentioned it to the Hoos, letting him know that his conversation with her at services on Monday made an impression, he responded, "I didn't show her the Sukkah at the synagogue. I showed it to AK." We have no idea how LP made this connection. We haven't read any books about the holiday recently and when we asked her where she came up with this she replied mysteriously, "From somewhere."
And, on Sunday night as I was getting the diaper bag ready for attending synagogue the next day, LP asked if we would eat at synagogue. When I told her that Yom Kippur is not an eating holiday, rather, it is a day when many Jewish people don't eat (okay, I said "fast" but the Hoos told me I was being confusing, so I switched words), she started rearranging the diaper bag, removing the juice boxes and snacks stowed in it.
How did I create such a smart, thoughtful, wonderful child? Awesome.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
When AK finally went down for a nap around 2, the Hoos took LP down to the river to throw in rocks and bread so I could rest. Actually, throwing bread in the river to "cast away your sins" is part of the Rosh Hashana observance. Even though it was supposed to happen a week earlier, we figured it couldn't hurt and LP had a great time, telling me, "There weren't any ducks, but we threw the bread in anyway."
After breaking the fast around 6:30, it already seemed like the longest day ever. Luckily, my body continues to be a source of amusement for my children so we made it to bath time at 7:30. As I laid on the ground my daughters would take turns (sometimes forcibly) jumping on me. At some point, LP determined that my legs, bent at the knee, looked like a water slide, and spent at least 15 minutes trying to slide down them. And then slide her baby doll down them.
This worked out because AK was not at all interested in my legs and this left her alone to abuse my gut. Typically any area of exposed skin calls to AK requesting a slurb. Seriously, if I bend at the knee to pick something up, she follows behind me and slurbs the one inch of skin showing between my shirt and jeans. Last night in addition to spitting all over me, she decided that my squishy belly felt really awesome on her bare feet. She would pull my t-shirt up and hold it up (as I was attempting to tug it back down) so she could place her little foot square in the middle of my stomach. No matter how many times I would pull it down, she would wrestle it from my hands. I am convinced that she doesn't want any more siblings, and is trying to ensure that the Hoos sees my blubber as much as possible.
I thought dads were supposed to be the rough and tumble parent. The ones taking abuse and throwing kids about. We need to work on that...
Thursday, September 24, 2009
The division was originally made because I was nursing and it didn't make sense for him to get up in the middle of the night if AK was hungry. Since I stopped nursing in April we have just stayed the course - it doesn't help that AK is a mama's girl; although, occasionally, it does. Because if the Hoos goes in to her room to comfort her, he can get away with rubbing her back. If I go in,she stands up and insists on some full-on cuddle-comforting.
It has worked out pretty well, actually. AK is really good about going to sleep. You give her a bottle and lay her down and she sticks her tush in the air and hunkers down for the night. LP requires quite a bit more effort. She draws out the nighttime routine - insisting on watching some Tinkerbell, peeing, pretending to poop, brushing her teeth, flossing, requiring a song (or ten), complaining that one thing or another hurts, until finally falling asleep way closer to OUR bedtime than we would prefer.
Recently however, we have both been getting the short end of the stick. Every other night it seems someone else is waking up. LP is having bad dreams involving farm animals or seagulls. AK is teething and booger nosed.
The other night LP sneaked into our room and I didn't even notice until she was in my face complaining about a pig chasing her. Fortunately she went back down easily once the Hoos walked her back to bed. Well, at least by the second time.
AK was up at 5:30 this morning, crying. I tried to just give her the pacifier, but that only worked for about as long as it took me to walk back to bed. I then held her for five minutes before returning her to the crib, and rubbing her back.
Looking back we had about three months of nights with uninterrupted sleep. I just hope that isn't it until the girls move out.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
LP, who was playing on the nearby tennis courts with her friends, caught wind of this fairly quickly. She approached, insisting that she also needed to remove her shirt. I recommended against this, but with a few stealthy moves I was overruled and soon had two partially nude daughters on the playground. Fortunately within two minutes LP declared she was ready to go home.
On the way home LP started talking about how she and AK both "had their topless shirts on." Not sure where she came up with this phrase, but I was even more pleased when she announced, "Mommy, you do not have your topless shirt on...because you have big boobies."
Never mind that even if mommy had smaller boobies the chances of her removing her shirt in public would be slim to none (trust me, you would all thank me for this). I am figuring that at some point I will have to tell the girls it is inappropriate to be topless in public. The Hoos is pushing for sooner rather than later.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
The unusual thing about day care school trips is that they don't involve buses. Parent chaperones also wear the hat of chauffeur. Parents have to drop off car seats along with their child and the drivers - hopefully with help - put the seats and the kids in the car and drive them to the venue. Originally we received a note that said only people that can fit 3-5 kids in their car can attend - sort of making a mini-van a prerequisite for being a parent. I think there has been a change and as long as you can fit two car seats you can chaperone. Either way, I am not going on this trip.
It is sort of unsettling to think of your child going somewhere in a car with someone else. I know this will be the first of many times, but it takes getting used to. And, at least I know the drivers will be experienced and over 18. Fortunately, I know most of the parents of LP's friends. I trust them and feel comfortable with LP driving in their cars. As long as she doesn't say something embarrassing. Which is definitely possible since her favorite place to talk is in the car. It could potentially be hysterical (and distracting) to be a fly on the wall (e.g., the driver) in a car listening to the chatter of five three-year olds.
The good news is, LP is very observant and a wonderful reporter. This is good because I will get a vivid description of the trip to help me pretend I was there. It also means that I know all sorts of things about her friends so that I can blackmail my friends back when LP shares information that need not be shared:)
Monday, September 21, 2009
The Jewish holidays are not recognized as holidays in the secular sense, meaning we don't get them off of work. So, actually, when the holidays fall on the weekend it is nice that the Hoos and I don't have to take off of work. On the downside, when the holidays fall on the weekend you kind of lose your weekend. It isn't appropriate to run errands and a few hours of each day are spent in synagogue and evenings are typically spent (at least on Rosh Hashana) at a large family meal.
This was the first Rosh Hashana that the Hoos and I seriously considered skipping services. Friday night/Saturday morning was a nightmare, AK was up from 12:30-4. I finally got her to sleep after giving her two bottles of milk (I was trying to get her to replace her bedtime bottle with a cup, so I am thinking maybe she was thirsty?) and some tylenol. Fortunately, everyone slept in until after 9. Unfortunately, we didn't get to synagogue until after 11. And there was no way AK was sitting still. Basically the Hoos and I spent an hour and a half in the hallway at the synagogue chasing our daughters.
Saturday before bed I was confident that we were not going to go to services on Sunday. I figured I could be reflective at home and likely get more out of it. However, AK slept slightly better Saturday night, so the Hoos and I decided to give it a shot and take turns sitting in the service. Besides we left AK's antibiotic at my in-laws, which is near the synagogue, so we had to go to Fairfield anyway to pick it up. It did work out better and at least we both got to feel like we attended services.
Last night was the worst. AK now has the serious snots and a cough. I was up with her from 3 until 6:30. Holding her in the glider. Both of us fell asleep in the chair eventually. Not exactly the most restful sleep.
Today is a catch-up day. Both in terms of errands and work. For the next week I will be reflecting and atoning and preparing spiritually (and hopefully physically and mentally) for Yom Kippur next Monday. Part of my prep is reminding myself that I am really, really lucky to get to sit up at night with a snotty kid.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Since baby girl isn't really sick, I took her to run some errands. Our first stop was Old Navy to buy LP some jeans (out of nowhere she decided that she wants jeans - she has hated wearing jeans for the last year, go figure!). Usually I am able to distract AK and get her to stay with me if I get a ball for her to play with. Today she wanted none of it. She prefered the shoe display. As soon as we walked in, AK scoped out the kids section, found the shoes, sat down, removed her shoes and socks and tried on a few pairs. Of course, the pairs are tied together so they don't lose their mates. So, AK would walk around with one foot in a newly aquired shoe, dragging the other shoe behind, and a second barefoot.
Needless to say, I finished up as quickly as possible.
We then made our way to Children's Place in the same strip mall. On the way I was able to get her shoes and socks back on. As soon as she sat down and started taking her shoes and socks off, I saw the writing on the wall. We didn't end up buying anything there. In fact, we only lasted about one minute.
And, no, we did not end up buying her a new pair of shoes in Old Navy. Her $40 Stride Rites better last her a season!
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
She also had to get two shots (one of which was a flu shot; one family member down, three to go!). And, she is definitely more of a grown up that her Daddy, because she did not even cry or flinch when receiving her shots. She was more pissed when I tried to take her bag of Cheerios away!
Instead I have these pictures. I can't even believe they are the same kid!
AK at birth
AK looking like a devilish cow last month
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
I called one of the aides at LP's and AK's school to see about arranging to have her babysit. She promptly asked, "Can you text me the info?" I stammered a bit, but confirmed I could fake it. It took my at least 5 minutes to text:
9.17 Bbsit [LP&AK]? 6 To 9. [Our street address]. thx amy btw how much $/hr
I was so proud of myself! Even if I did stress over what I could abbreviate in order to make myself still understood. Of course, she did text me back about 2 seconds later.
Then, today I had to text her to cancel. It only took 2 minutes:
Im sorry need 2 cancel will resked soon btw im gettng good @ txtng
Seriously! I feel like a kid with sore thumbs, not a 33-year-old dork!
The Hoos isn't feeling well, AK is teething, and LP is having bad dreams. Most of these seemed to manifest themselves in the 4-5am hour. Some highlights:
"Mommmmmmmmmyyyyyyyyyyyyy! I was having a bad dream. Sheep were chasing me." I told her the next time it happens to turn around and say 'Boo' as it will likely scare the sheep.
Shortly afterward I was in AK's room applying Orajel while she moaned and clung to me (poor baby only has four front teeth and all four of her molars coming in at once). To be fair, since she started sleeping through the night (at 11 months), this is the first time AK has woken up in need. Little munchkin must have really been in pain.
While seated in the glider in AK's room comforting her, LP called again. This time she had to pee. Yay for potty training; Boo! Hiss! for having to pee in the middle of the night. She did ask, "Is this is going to wake up Daddy?" before flushing. Isn't she thoughtful?
Half an hour later AK started crying loudly and moaning again. I applied the second round of Orajel and returned to bed...only to be called out by LP because "It looks like there is a cake near the window." I am not sure what this means, or why it would be a cause for concern, but cake does not have to interrupt a good night's sleep, unless it is chocolate and you are pregnant...
Of course, today is a busy work day. Punctuated from calls from the Hoos about how he is feeling. And considerable amounts of caffeine.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
The only way I could accomplish the drawer updating was to send AK to school. On my train ride home from a loooong day in NYC for work, I decided that I would treat myself to a day alone. My original intention was to get a mani-pedi, but the weather is so miserable, and the dressers were in such disarray that I had no choice.
It took more than three hours to empty AK's dressers, replace it with items from the 12-18 month bin of hand-me-downs from LP, refill the bin with 6-12 month clothes, empty LP's dresser, refill it with newly purchased 4T clothes and 3T clothes leftover from the spring, and fill another bin with 2T and 3T summer clothes.
It was actually a very useful exercise. Especially since I went to look around at the Gap after lunch and I was able to resist buying on sale, very adorable 12-18 month clothes for AK. She has way more clothes than LP. Poor thing will never get new clothes. Which is good - because I don't have room for them!
I did treat myself to lunch at our local Indian takeout joint, so that was good. And I do have a sense of accomplishment. Even if it wasn't how I intended to spend my 33rd birthday, I will survive. And my children will be weather appropriate.
Not to worry, dearest readers! The birthday celebration is not over! I did get birthday songs, kisses, cards and wishes from my two favorite ladies, the Hoos and a whole host of friends. All is not lost yet! Tomorrow we head to the Norwalk Oyster Festival and Sunday is a Connecticut Sun game up at Mohegan Sun. I am looking forward to both and hope to have a full report next week.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
See those little kids up there? They rock my world.
LP just cracks me up from head to toe. The other day she spent half an hour singing a made-up song "Rosh Hashana is the New Year." She also is just the best big sister when she isn't harassing her sister. One of her new things is this sort of football block move, where she runs in front of AK and sticks her arms out and tries to fence her poor little sister in to prevent her from escaping. AK is not amused. Except when she is and she laughs and laughs at her sister as if she is the funniest thing on the planet.
AK has really started to come in to her own. Over the last two months or so she has really become a person. She is incredibly silly. She has taken to putting things on her head - the other day it was mini mozzarella cheese balls. She just sticks them in her hair, runs up to you and smiles, waiting for you to notice. She also really really likes attention. If I am holding her but talking to LP, AK will grab my face and pull to focus right on her and then smile the world's biggest, goofiest, most fantastic grin.
It is so hard for me to remember precisely when LP started doing things to be able to see how AK matches up. Not that they need to be on the same timeline, but LP is my best developmental reference. This blog helps me keep track, which is good, because my mind is useless. I can't really remember a time when LP wasn't talking. And I am pretty sure she didn't run nearly as much as AK.
For example, when LP was 13 months old we went to the same house in Cape Cod that we went to this year. While there, LP started walking in earnest. Exactly two years later, guess who duplicated this accomplishment?
On the other hand, my September 10, 2007 blog post complained about people commenting on LP's size. No one really comments on AK's size. Occasionally I get someone who says something about how she is tall - which is just bizarre, because she isn't - but it is generally acknowledged that AK is smaller than LP. I also know this because in Summer 07 LP was wearing size 18 month clothing. Some 12 month size clothes fall down on AK! All of those hand-me-downs, useless...
There are also people that point out the similarities between LP and AK. Strangers, friends, family, lots of people tell us that they think the girls look alike. There are also some people that say they look nothing alike, but these seem to be in the minority. I am not sure if as I parent I am more keyed in to the differences, letting my girls establish their own identities, or if the people who say they are similar are just crazy. What do you think?
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Yet as you grow and evolve, friendship becomes infinitely more complicated.
You get in a relationship. While existing friends get grandfathered in, forming news requires a complex new dance. You want to find people that like your spouse, and that your spouse can at least tolerate but preferably genuinely enjoy. Adding to the crazy is that you are likely finding friends in a couple. So, instead of just two people getting along, you have four different personalities coming together.
I think the Hoos and I complement each other very well. We have strengths that bring out the best in one another (most of the time). I am the more outgoing, and the one more likely to stick her foot in her mouth. Until you get to know him, he is the more reserved, and the one more likely to think before speaking. I have a stellar memory, which makes me ideal for attending his work events, tutoring him before we arrive on the names of his colleagues' spouses and children.
However, there are times when we need to sell each other to and on prospective friends. Some of this is likely a gender thing. Other than poker night, sporting events and my friend MLH's husband, it isn't often that guys just get together to go out for dinner. In college, the Hoos and his buddies would invite me out for ice cream so that they wouldn't look less than manly (I know, I don't get it either).
Kids are the cherries on the friendship sundae quagmire. Now instead of four people needing to get along, eight people have to make nice. And as much as can try to manage my children, sometimes they aren't on their most stellar behavior. LP just might be the one teaching bad words to her friends (although I hope not!). And AK DOES NOT STOP MOVING, inspiring for some, exhausting for others.
Being hermits and keeping to ourselves just isn't an option. Fortunately we have found some really nice friends, with whom we have lots in common. Now we just have to coordinate our schedules, and those of our kids, to actually spend time together. Oh, and restaurants or other venues big enough to accommodate us...
Saturday, September 5, 2009
But you know what sucks worse?
Having to pay full price for taking a child - or yourself to the doctor. Have you ever looked at the bill from the insurance company where it tells how much they covered (and got discounted because they are a huge conglomerate that wields lots of power)? For AK's one year well child it cost $520. I paid $25.
There are lots of people that don't have health insurance at all. Many people have to lose money and take off from a minimum wage job to pay hundreds of dollars they don't have or have slated toward the bare necessities to take care of a sick child.
I don't know a lot about the Obama health care plan. What I can imagine is that it likely won't impact me too much. Sure, I might have to pay more, or my employer may have to make tough choices regarding benefits and coverage...but to some people, it might make a world of a difference.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
AK, on the other hand, loves animals. She will touch a goat on the nose, poke a dog in the face, and giggle hysterically at the sight of a friendly dog.
The other day at the playground a woman walked by with two small fluffy dogs on leashes. After another friend confirmed that it was okay to touch them, AK wriggled out of my arms, grasped my hand and walked forward, fingers outstretched.
LP was giggling a bit maniacally and stood away with her hands over her ears. Mind you, neither dog had barked at that point, or even jumped (amazing considering they were surrounded by a half dozen kids). In fact, they didn't bark the entire time. But LP still let out an amazing sigh of relief when the woman continued on with her pets. AK ran after them, shouting and waving her arms. She might have escaped the playground if parents and other kids hadn't gotten in her way.
The Hoos and I have no idea why LP is so scared of animals. Neither of us expresses fear of them in her presence, and, despite my disdain for pet stores (especially the smell) I willingly bring the girls to them so they can look at the reptiles, hamsters, and fish. I think most of the issue is that she feels a lack of control. You have no way of knowing or controlling what an animal is going to do next (kind of like children).
Other than having a dog, what have you done to help your kids overcome their fear of animals?
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
My supervisor let it be known that I had caught something that we felt really needed to change on a draft of an all-staff message. I thought it was indelicate myself and we tried to tell them that we would alert them to the offending remark via email. But they wouldn't let it go. So I had to say it out loud:
An [XYZ] Member is Coming
As I said it I turned bright crimson.
The people on the other end of the phone laughed, "Yes, it is awkward, like 'The British are coming! The British are coming!'"
My colleagues and I looked at each other in disbelief. Were they naive? Were we pervs? Or were they just giving me an out for being obviously keyed in to the double entendre?
What do you think?
The other day a colleague with two daughters similar in age to LP and AK asked me, "Honestly, isn't it so much harder than you thought it would be?"
Not really. But mostly because I didn't put any expectations on the job. I just wanted to be an awesome wife and mother. When my kids are trying or difficult or thriving and fabulous I remind myself, "This is what I signed up for." Being a mom means taking the good with the bad. It means glowing in a brilliant move made by your progeny and shielding them from the flames of others (and focusing your own on them) when they do something unacceptable.
When I am not complaining about my daughters, and even when I am, I love them. I always wanted to have children and be a mom and I often feel like the luckiest person on the planet (okay, maybe not on Monday). Which leads me to the second question:
Are you going to go for three?
I have been blessed with two happy, healthy little girls. Munchkins that are now getting really good at playing together and entertaining one another. I can see the end in sight for diapers. With each classroom promotion at day care, I see my bills decrease. Our family fits perfectly into my CRV and there is even room for me in between the car seats if need be (the same can't be said for the Hoos' Accord unfortunately). Sure we are outgrowing our house, but everyone has their own bedroom.
I am also worried about pushing our luck. AK was born with a knot in her umbilical cord. In the delivery room, when we asked the doctors what that could mean, they said, "Nothing. Now. It is good luck." Only recently did I learn just how lucky we were.
I am not closing the door on having another child. But it is a complicated decision that we are not yet ready to answer.
And, to respond to a final question, NO! we do not feel like we "need to try for a boy."