Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Guess She's Done

Putting it Together

An awesome thing about being a mom is watching your kids put it all together - bringing things they have learned in the past, at school, from family and friends to bear on current situations. I still can't really get used to it.

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

Hours of Entertainment

Yesterday we were home in observance of Yom Kippur. We went to services in the morning, but then had the entire rest of the day to while away. I was fasting, so my energy levels weren't exactly sky high, but the girls were snacking constantly, so they were quite energized.

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...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Taking Turns

Over the course of time, the Hoos and I have divided nighttime parenting duties by child. I handle AK and he gets LP.

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

Showing Off

Last night on the playground, AK started tugging frantically at her left sleeve. Thinking there was something in it that was bothering her I went over to inspect. As I pulled on the sleeve to look inside, the little bugger pulled her little arm in and promptly pulled the entire shirt up over her head. She then went on her merry way, running back to the steps that would take her to the slide.

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

Free Fun for Everyone

My dad passed this on, so I thought I would share. All Smithsonian-related institutions are free on Saturday, September 26th. There are a few here in CT and many others around the country. Check it out and print your own museum pass:

The Wheels on the Bus

It is hard to believe that my little LP is growing up. The other day we got a notice about a field trip with her pre-school. How did she get to be old enough to have school trips?! The excursion to a local farm for pumpkin and apple picking is reminding the Hoos of his first school trip - to the same place! He has been describing what will happen on the trip to LP, "...and you will see how they make apple cider..." Who knows if they still do these things, but 30-years ago the tour included a cider press.

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

Holiday Weekend

Aren't holiday weekends supposed to be relaxing?

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

Like Mama, Like Baby

Today AK stayed home from school. She has a rash on her butt (and NO that is not what she has in common with me). For the next week I have to rub two different ointments on her privates and give her a twice daily oral antibiotic. Fortunately, I discovered the secret to getting her to take liquid medication this morning. It only took way too many frustrating attempts over the last six months (medicine is sticky. getting it on you sucks. watching it get spit out sucks worse) for me to figure out that mixing it with applesauce somehow disguises the taste. Thank heavens.

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

Sooo Big

AK had her 15 month check up on Monday. I can't even believe how quickly she is growing. Or how impatient! She was literally running around the exam room in circles while we waited for the doctor. After five minutes of that she walked to the door, pointing angrily, insisting that I open it so she could wander the halls.

I am pleased to report that my little peanut is healthy, with "perfect ears" despite her runny nose, and an exception vocabulary. Okay, maybe I am embellishing that part. The doctor did ask how many words she had. I thought for a minute and asked if using the same "word" to refer to two different things count as two words. She assured me that as long as the intonation was different it counted. So, AK says: duck, dog, daddy, mommy, di-dee (for LP), hi, bubbles, and eye. And uh-oh. (Although the Hoos tells me that uh-oh isn't a word. Whatever.) At least I think that is what she is saying. No matter what words or sounds she uses she definitely gets her point across. The average number of words a 15 month old has is 2-3, so I think she is a genius. Or maybe I am really good at putting words in her mouth.

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!

At a whopping 21 pounds she is in the 11th percentile for weight and the 49th for height (I think she is 30 and one quarter inches). And yet, at her tiny size, yesterday she spent part of the day in the younger toddler classroom at day care (they must have had ratio issues or something). Apparently she jumped right in, playing with her new friends and the new toys and dancing and singing along during circle time. She also napped on a cot as opposed to in a crib. I wish I had a picture.

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

Im a big dork&old

At 33 I feel like I am totally behind the technology curve, despite the fact that some members of my family think I am tech savvy, I am basically inept. Sure I own an ipod (a 1st generation - or 1G - Nano) and have a blog, but I only learned how to text message a few weeks ago. And it was out of necessity. And I had to ask my friends how to make a space.

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!

All Through the Night

Last night bit it.

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

Sun, Sun, Sun, Here We Come

We are just back from our first ever Connecticut Sun game. I was really surprised that both LP and AK watched and enjoyed the entire game. It didn't hurt that WNBA games are broken up into four 10-minute quarters as opposed to halves, making the entire game just about two hours, including half time.

While the casino was not particularly family friendly, the game was. LP got her face painted and loved knocking together the "rowdy rods" the ushers gave out to those seated behind the baskets. For a kid who doesn't usually like loud noises, she had no problem clapping, dancing, and cheering along at the game. Unfortunately, as nice as the arena is, you still have to walk around the interior of the casino to get to the entrance. And, the only place you CAN'T smoke in a casino is in designated non-smoking areas, which doesn't exactly make for toddler-friendly air quality. The game and arena WERE smoke free though.

Mohegan Sun is just about an hour and a half from our house in Norwalk, not too bad a ride. We left home around 1:00 for the 3:00 game, enjoyed dinner at the newly opened Margaritaville after the game and were still home around 8:30. We even came home with one less kid! My parents joined us at the game and are spending the night at a Best Western near the casino (even with the generous gift certificate my brother and I got my dad for his 60th, the rooms at Mohegan Sun are unaffordable). LP eagerly accepted their invitation to stay with them and enjoy the hotel's indoor pool and complimentary breakfast.

Would I go to another WNBA game? Absolutely. The players are great role models for my daughters, the atmosphere is energized, and there is great fun to be had. I might consider checking out another venue before going back to a Sun game, although #33 had some great moves and I think she is a player to watch, so I could ignore the challenges of attending a game at Mohegan Sun to root for our home team and watch her develop.
Good news! It was fan appreciation day so every ticketed fan received a size XL Sun t-shirt. Unfortunately, neither of my daughters (or really anyone in my family) wears XL. However, the first two readers to post a comment expressing an interest, can dress as if they were at the game! Post a comment now and I will get your shirt in the mail ASAP.
*Full disclosure, I received free tickets - and got great seats through a marketing program sponsored by the WNBA. I would have had a great time anyway:)

Friday, September 11, 2009


I spent this morning switching out the clothes in LP's and AK's dressers. Apparently fall crept up on me and I didn't even notice! Yesterday, I sent the girls to school in summer clothes! Nothing screams "inattentive mom" like kids in shorts in 65 degree weather.

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

Keeping Up

Thanks to JM for this fabulous picture of my little bunnies

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

Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me a Match...

When you are a little kid and you make friends, it is mostly by proximity - your neighbor, the kids in your class, kids involved in activities your parents sign you up for, kids of your parents' friends...

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

To Someone, It Matters a Lot

I have employer-sponsored health insurance. I am going to guess that most of my readers have this in common with me. Is it the best plan? No. Does sometimes making a $25 co-pay several times a week to diagnose and treat a single ear infection suck? Yes. Does it bite that I have to pay $40 extra for antibiotics for LP because she maybe, could be, who knows, is allergic to amoxicilin? Yah.

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.

Wake Up and Make Up

Recently we have been trying to convince LP that it is time to stop sleeping in pullups. She is completely toilet trained during the day and very rarely has an accident. For hygiene and a host of other reasons it is time.
While she didn't sleep in underwear last night we did tell her to try not to pee in them and to come and wake mommy up if she has to pee in the middle of the night.
Fast forward to 7:40 this morning.
tap, tap, tap. "Mommy, I have to pee."
While I certainly don't want to get up before 8 on a weekend, it is better than be awakened at 3 with "Mommy! I peed myself!"
And later...
Me: What's on your face?

LP: I don't know.

Me: How did it get there?

LP: I put it there.

Me: Probably not a good idea to put something on your face if you don't know what it is.

LP: Yeah.
It didn't come out so well in the picture, but LP's mouth is ringed in grey eye shadow. I don't even wear eye shadow, let alone grey eye shadow...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Struck by the Fear of Dog

LP is scared silly of most animals. She loves the concept of them, she likes to see them, but heaven forbid they get too close, even when they are behind a fence, she FREAKS out and starts insisting on being picked up.

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

Is it Me? Or Them?

I just had a conference call that makes me rethink myself.

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?

Outstanding Questions

In the last few days I have been asked some parenting questions. Not the "Dear Abby" kind, because lord knows I am no advice columnist, but on a more personal level.

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."

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

STOP Moving

Do you see the cuteness in this face? Would you be willing to buy her? Before you call CPS, I am truly least right now. Yesterday you might have had yourself a bargain though!

Even though it was a work from home day, it was such an exhausting day. Originally I intended to send AK to day care so I could catch up from our weekend away, but she has a cold and I wanted to give her some extra time to recuperate. Not that she at all acted like she was under the weather. She spent the ENTIRE DAY moving. She woke up at 7:15 and was running in circles constantly.

Several times I tried to put her down for a nap and each time she cried incessantly and showed no signs of stopping. The last straw was when I took her for a walk (the weather was beautiful after all) to lull her to sleep and she squirmed and screamed most of the time. I then decided to take her to the doctor to see if her cold had proliferated into an ear infection.

It hadn't. But we likely gave everyone in the office a headache as she ran around like a Loony Toon with me calling, "AK! AK! Stop being a nuisance" after her. Seriously, she pulled a little wagon in to the exam area as I attempted to check in, climbed up and down on a little play platform shaped like an airplane about four million times, smiling the whole time and directing attention to all of the adults in the waiting room in an effort to get them to love her. They all did. Even me.

She finally fell asleep on the trip from the pediatrician's office to the day care center where we had to pick up LP. Fortunately, my friend DM showed up right in the nick of time and went and picked LP up for me so I could leave AK sleeping. After about a half hour nap I tried to move AK into the stroller so we could join the gang on the playground (plus it was really really hot in the car), it didn't work. She woke right up and insisted on getting down and dirty with the other kids.

After finally leaving the playground, I had to make good on a promise to LP to get her ice cream at Stew Leonard's. The girls actually shared nicely while watching the animals and we were even able to get some shopping in. From there we went home and my neighbor arrived to install our new hot water heater. His wife and adorable 10-month old daughter came over to visit while he worked and I think we probably made them both dizzy with the level of activity and madness. AK's nuttiness was likely an excellent form of birth control as well.

FINALLY around 8:00 AK was bathed, medicated (Benadryl to dry up the snots - NOT to knock her out, I swear!), and peacefully sleeping. Instead of passing out, I ate my first real meal of the day, folded the laundry that I had hoped to take care of earlier in the day when AK was SUPPOSED to be napping, made the girls' lunches and put them in their new lunch boxes (how cute are these? LP has the tiger and AK has the dog), caught up on some email, and straightened up the house. Around 9:30 I was able to sit on the couch on watch a DVRd episode of Top Chef.

The point of this post was mostly to whine. Sorry if it exhausted all of you. Just writing it made me want to take a nap!