Wednesday, June 28

In Case You Were Wondering...

Sweetie Pie is now ten months old and not only has she not yet slept through the night, but her sleeping is... getting... WORSE!!!! Last night I nursed her three times, rocked her, walked her, patted her to no avail--she still cried for two and a half hours. I ended up calling poor Adam while he was at a Red Sox game--his only night out with friends in I-don't-know-how-long--to cry that Sweetie was asleep on my lap and I didn't know what to do with her. We're at the point where I'm either going to call for a sleep consultant to come over or even, gasp! try to get an appointment with Dr. Ferber, who works in the city.

Doodles, charming, gorgeous, lovable Doodles, has entered the terrible threes. Hey, he's precocious! Two months ahead of schedule! Refuses to go to bed. Gets up five times (at least) before be willing to sleep at night. Throws temper tantrums at naptime when he is clearly tired. Doesn't want to go to school. Doesn't want to listen. Wanders off. Says, "It's okay. I can go by myself," or "It's okay. I can do it myself," when he's clearly not allowed to. Refuses--refuses--to have diapers changed, to the point of running off, yelling, "Don't change my diaper! I don't need my diaper changed!" Refuses to let us put sun block on (don't worry--we get it on!): "I don't like lotion! Stop putting lotion on me! You can't put lotion on me!"*

Calgon, take me away!

*Note, it's not all bad. There are those incredibly sweet moments when Doodles curls up to me to listen to Winnie the Pooh, even though I'm pretty sure he doesn't understand most of it. And Sweetie Pie is starting to cruise and she laughs at everything Doodles does. And Doodles spontaneously kisses Sweetie and has requested several times that we "should go to the hospital and get another baby sister," because he likes the one he has so much [hey buddy, with your and your sister's attitudes? Fat chance! You've safely cured all of us of baby fever!] And the smile and hugs I get from both of them when I pick them up from day care, Doodles's run across the room and Sweetie's flapping of the arms. Doodles on the guitar asking, "Mommy, what song should I play?" The awesome hugs he now gives... and so much more! But on days like we've been having lately, sometimes it's hard to remember these moments.

Happy Times

One of the joys of parenthood is how you can have six amazing hours with your children that can be erased in a matter of minutes.

Last Friday we were supposed to head north to go swimming with Alisa, Jeff, and Keegan. Unfortunately, the weather didn't comply, so we agreed to meet at the Discovery Museum. Happily, it was a big hit and it didn't require any waxing on my part. The kids (and by kids, I mean Doodles, Keegan, Pie, and Jeff) had a blast, particularly in the train room where Jeff built the tallest bridges he could, and Doodles and Keegan ignored him in favor of running trains as far away from him as possible, and Sweetie tried to figure out just how many licks it takes to get to the center of, well, a train track.

Things were going so swimmingly that instead of seeing the "Danger Will Robinson" signs that were clearly flashing before me, I suggested we all head to O'Naturals for lunch. Lunch was terrific. Sweetie was a champ with a turkey sandwich and Doodles had a bit of sustenance with two bags of Cheddar Bunnies and a yogurt. O'Naturals is one of the few places we can actually go where we can order for Doodles and I don't have to bring an entire bag of food. Anyway, the point is Doodles is eating and Sweetie is eating, so I get to actually eat--and enjoy!--my own meal, while having a conversation with--gasp!--adults! Novel concept, I know. At the end, Doodles and Keegan wander off to play with the train table while I continue chatting with Alisa and Jeff.

Sweetie starts to fuss. And rub her eyes. And moan. And I look at my watch and see that it's close to 2:30. Waaay past Sweetie's (and Doodle's for that matter!) nap time. So it's time to go. Only Doodles doesn't want to leave. Not even close. He wants to staaaaaay! He doesn't want to gooooooo! Noooooo! Mommy let go! I don't want to leave!! I want to staaaaaaaaay! He's about to lose his TV privileges.

Sweetie is in one arm, Doodles in the other as I literally drag him from the premises, all the while eyeing the nice folks walking in who must surely think I abuse my poor child, the way I yank him about. He's still yelling. And yelling. I get him to the car and he won't get in. Sweetie is rubbing her face into my shoulder over and over and over and over... I get her in her seat, turn around for one second, turn back and she's out cold. Okay, one child down. Now on to the demon spawn--I mean Doodles.

"Doodles, get into the car."

"Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! I don't want to go!" The little hand starts flapping. "I [smack] don't [smack] want [smack] to [smack] go [smack]!"

Thankfully, Alisa and Jeff were parked just across from us and got to witness every stellar moment. "We don't hit! That's it! No TV today!" What do I do? How do you put a child into time out when you're standing in the middle of a parking lot, your other child is asleep, and going anywhere to have a time out would give him exactly what he wants, which is more time there.

"I [smack] don't [smack] want [smack] to [smack] go [smack]!"

I'm about to haul him into the car, when I notice a stain on his shirt. And his pants. And... Ewwwwww! "Doodles, did you you poop?"

"I [smack] don't [smack] want [smack] to [smack] go [smack]!"

Trying to keep him as far away from me as possible while avoiding that hand that is blindly, wildly trying to hit everything in its path, I carry him to the median where I proceed to strip him down, put on a clean diaper, and then... Hmmm. Now what? Doodles generally doesn't have these kinds of poops (blame it on the apple juice I let him drink with lunch. Hey, it was organic!), so it's not like I keep a change of clothes for him. Fine, he can hang out in his diaper.

Into the car he goes, hand still flying, and I manage to buckle him in. He spends 25 minutes of the 30 minute ride home, sitting there sullenly and for the last five minutes? You know exactly what happened a mere five minutes from home: he fell asleep.

And my really terrific, wonderful day? Poof! Like it never even happened. It took a lot of wine to make some of the good will return. Sigh.

Don't Tell...

I used to think that surprises were a key part of a birthday. Now I know that it's even more fun to have the beans spilled ahead of time. A few weeks ago, I was running into the library with Doodles. I didn't want to bring the whole diaper bag, so I just grabbed my wallet.

Doodles: I got Mommy a new wallet.
Me: You got Mommy new water?
Doodles: Wallet. I got Mommy a new wallet.
Me [thoroughly confused]: What kind of new wallet?
Doodles: It has a leaf on it.
And then I flashed back to the prior month when I had sent Adam a link to a bunch of wallets I like because the one I have is kind of falling apart. I called Adam very excited:
Me: I'm so excited! I loved the leaf wallet!
Adam: Huh?
Me: My birthday present. I can't wait to get the leaf wallet!
Adam: Um, how do you know about that?
I had thought that would be the last time that Adam let Doodles in one any secrets. Except...

On my birthday* this past Sunday, I came in from my morning run at about 7:15 a.m. Doodles was having breakfast at the table, Sweetie Pie was in her high chair, smashing banana into her face.
Me: Hi, guys!
Doodles: I got you a present!
Me: You did!
Doodles: Yeah! And a cake! I picked out a cake! It's an ice cream cake!
Adam: So much for surprises.
Doodles: I got you an ice cream cake. Can we have cake now?

Moral of the story: 2 3/4 year olds may not be the best at keeping quiet. But it was still an awesome birthday!

*One of the best parts of having a 2 3/4 year old? This conversation:
Me: How old will you be on your next birthday?
Doodles: Two!
Me: No, you're two now. How old will you be?
Doodles: Three!
Me: Right! And how old is Mommy today?
Doodles [very gravely]: Five.
Me: Can you say, "Thirty-eight?"
Doodles: Thirty-eight?
Me: How old is Mommy?
Doodles: Five!

If you say it enough, does it simply come true?

Wednesday, June 21


I had fully intended on blogging more tonight, commenting a bit on the article that Eugene linked to in his blog that says that children not only don't bring happiness to parents, but parents are happiest when the kids grow up and leave them, and I probably was going to blog about how happy I am that the "Karate" commercial for Dunkin Donuts that I LOVE and that Adam DETESTS is finally online, and Adam's taught Doodles to say, "Ka-rate!" but then I realized I had a new episode of Commander-in-Chief on Replay so I watched it, and it was about the E.R.A. and I remember the E.R.A. and how personally devastated I was when it didn't pass and how I couldn't understand why it wouldn't pass, even though my best friend was against it because it meant that men and women would have to use the same bathroom (untrue) and that women would be drafted into the army (true, but that's an argument against the draft, not E.R.A.) and I knew it was all Phyllis Schlafly and Anita Bryant's fault, but I'm not writing about the E.R.A., I was writing about this blog and the point was that I watched Commander-in-Chief and now I'm feeling zombie like, and since Adam has to get up at 4:30 a.m. to catch a 6 a.m. flight to New York, I'm feeling even more zombie-like knowing that I'm on full morning duty, which includes convincing Doodles to wear his "lotion" (a.k.a. sunscreen) and that no, he can't go to school barefoot, and yes, pants are required and he's already had a special treat milk (a.k.a. Carnation Instant Breakfast), so no he can't have another, and I don't know, where did you put your airplane, and I'm sorry but you can't take it school with you, and we'll have to see about the playground later, and Sweetie, what are you doing? take that out of your mouth, don't you know that shoes are dirty and Sweetie, Sweetie! Sweetie! Please don't eat your brother's books, because it really upsets him and I'm not crazy about the fact that you ripped the cover off that other one, and how did you get to the stereo? i put you down on the other side of the room and I have to say, I'm not at all sure I like this crawling thing that you're doing now Sweetie! spit that out! do I need to dig that thing out of your mouth? and... sigh!... so what this all boils down to is that you people all suffer by not getting more of a blog entry this week because I'm going to bed.

Now That's Good Parenting

Doodles's new favorite song is "Puff the Magic Dragon." We were listening to it the other morning, and when it was done, Doodles asked me, "Can we listen to 'Kumbayah?'"

Be still my bleeding-liberal heart.

And Adam? In your face!


At Sweetie Pie's nine month doctor's appointment, the doc told me I could put Pie on whole milk at 11 1/2 months. I'm not sure when I'll wean here from br*eastfeeding, but you can sure as hell bet that I'm not going to pump one single day more than I absolutely have to. I figure that Pie will be in day care 15 times between now and when she turns 11 1/2 months. Given that she drinks 12 ounces during the day care day, that's 180 more ounces that I need, plus about another 12 ounces to have on hand in the freezer for those days when Adam needs to put Sweetie to bed and I'm not home. I currently have 30 1/4 ounces stored in my freezer, which means I need another 161 3/4 ounces. Estimating that I pump about 6 ounces at a time, that comes out to 27 more times pumping, 27 more times before I am free, free, free! of that evil chomping udder-inducing machine!

Not that I'm counting, or anything. (I guess all those word problems in elementary school math did pay off!)

Wednesday, June 14

The Gender Divide

For all you folks out there planning on having more than one child, let me give you a piece of advice: Have two children of the same gender. Really, it'll save you so much stress and eye strain, because children of two different genders means your reading list is twice as long. Here is a small sampling of all the books I feel compelled to read, never mind the general parenting books, sibling rivalry books, feeding books, etc. that have nothing to do with gender (one recent fascinating read that I reviewed for work that is genderless: The Overachievers : The Secret Lives of Driven Kids by Alexandra Robbins--you can read my review of it on that page--it's the Publishers Weekly review):

Raising Cain : Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys by Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson
Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood by William Pollack and Mary Pipher
The Minds of Boys : Saving Our Sons From Falling Behind in School and Life by Michael Gurian and Kathy Stevens

Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls by Mary Pipher
Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence by Rosalind Wiseman
Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls by Rachel Simmons

Last night I went to a screening at our library of the documentary of Raising Cain, which was interesting but confusing in its message of how we should be treating our boys to help them grow into self-actualized men.

And then there are the girls. I feel strongly that I don't write about my work, but right now I'm reading a book for review that I think is a must-read for all parents of little girls: Packaging Girlhood: Rescuing Our Daughters from Marketers' Schemes by Sharon Lamb and Lyn Mikel Brown. I'd like to comment on it here, but I feel compelled to wait until the book is released and my review is out.

I think when I was a baby, my mom had on book at her disposal: Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care. Later one, she added Parent Effectiveness Training: The Proven Program for Raising Responsible Children to her repertoire of parenting books, which now, if you've been paying attention, included two books. I have two shelves already devoted to the cause. And we haven't even hit the preschool years.

I know plenty of children not only survived but thrived with parents who didn't crack a book. But as an older, attachment parenting, over-educated, part-time stay-at-home mother, I feel compelled to devour anything that could even remotely improve my children's well being, even though everything I read is not only conflicting but often downright wrong.

That said, I must stop blogging for the moment. A book in the living room is calling my name.

Home Again, Home Again, Lickety-Split

Ah, back from vacation. I so didn't want to return. We had such a lovely time and I dreaded coming back to cell phones, e-mail, Internet, work, and all the other joys of home. But come back we did and it's really not so bad. This is one of those cases where the trip is so great you don't want to tell other folks about it, because you don't want anyone else encroaching on your spot. But you also want just enough folks to know about it that they come to the programs because you don't want the place to shut down. So I reluctantly tell you that the Wildflower Inn's Butterfly, Tots, Forget-Me-Nots program is superb! I wrote a review and posted pictures at TripAdvisor, so go see what I had to say there.

The high of the trip was... well, actually there were a lot of great moments, but I think my favorite was just chilling in the hot tub. But I also liked hiking up Burke Mountain with him, the look on Doodles's face when Adam and I rode by on horses, watching Sweetie light up at the other kids, the way Doodles was so into the tennis and air hockey and animals and cookies....

The low of the trip: As part of the program, we had a silly songs concert. The singer, Steve Lindholm, did a cute bit where he had all the kids throw imaginary balls around the room and he caught them and tied them up in a paper bag. He gave everyone a paper bag filled with his or her imaginary ball in it. We brought Doodles's imaginary ball back to the room. Doodles wanted to play with it, so I handed it to him. "I want a bigger imaginary ball," he said. So I cupped my hands wide and handed him a bigger imaginary ball. That's when the melt-down began. "No! No! I want the other imaginary ball! I want the other imaginary ball!"

I Will Make It There...

I ran the Covered Bridges Half Marathon on our vacation. First let me say, the name is somewhat of a misnomer. We ran over exactly one covered bridge. However we did pass another and regardless the scenery was absolutely stunning. What an amazing half. It's quite difficult to get into the race--they open registration in December and it generally fills the same day. I had Adam get online first thing in the morning to secure my spot.

I ended up running about 90 percent of the race with friends, which made it just fly by. At about mile 10 1/2, though, it started being not so fun. That always happens. I'm digging the race, in a zone, psyched just to be running. And then at some point, I realize, "Hey, I'm tired. I'm ready to be done." And then I just want the race to be over, which kind of works in my favor because it force me to kick it to get the race over with faster.

Which leads me to my time. A personal half marathon record for me! My net time was 2:04:17 for a pace of 9:29 minutes a mile! Whoo hoo! Now it has me thinking, "Could I break the two hour half marathon?"

Anyway, we returned from a week's vacation with me kicking and screaming and not wanting to come home to, well, real life. I said to Adam, "Now what? Now what do I have to look forward to? We have no more trips planned."

Ah, but sometimes the gods work in your favor. And when I came home and downloaded my zillion e-mails, there it was: "Countdown to the start of the race of your life, November 5, 2006: 150 Days. Congratulations! You're in for the experience of a lifetime, the ING New York City Marathon 2006!" It's my do-over! I got a lottery spot in the NYC marathon!

It's completely rejuvenated me. And I'm really far ahead in my training this time around--already up to 15 mile long runs. I see a great race in my future. Anyone else out there doing it?

"Marathoning is like cutting yourself unexpectedly. You dip into the pain so gradually that the damage is done before you are aware of it. Unfortunately, when the awareness comes, it is excruciating." -- John Farrington, Australian marathoner

I guess I dig the pain.

You Can't Get Thar from Here

I've been f*cking with Louise. I just can't help myself. I don't know if it's the snooty British accent or just her absolute certainty but I dig messing with Louise's mind.

Which would be logical if Louise had a mind. But really, if I say I'm f*cking with a computer chip, then I'm the one who sounds like a moron.

Adam bought a GPS. And we used it on our trip. Only for some reason, Adam's GPS has the voice of a British woman named Louise. Sometimes Louise knows what she's talking about, like when we were supposed to meet friends for dinner in New Hampshire, only a car accident prevented us from going the way our Google Map told us. Then she navigated us quickly and clearly via another route. But on our way home, she seemed to think our house is on a different block and had we not known better, we would have been unpacking in some stranger's living room.

I like to purposely go in a different direction from what Louise orders. I know this speaks buckets about me and my personality, but I'm not going to even touch that. When Louise says, "Go right," I can't help but turn left. The entire drive home, I had Louise on for the sole purpose of not doing what she told me. I'd drive off her little map, and at first she would say, "In 200 yards, make a u-turn," but when I consistently ignored her, she'd have to recalculate her little map to accommodate my whims. Is that power or what?

What would have been really cool, though, is if when you went the wrong way, Louise called you on it in that clipped English voice. "Did you not hear me? I said take that last exit? You nincompoop! You've missed your turn again! Hey, idiot, are you listening to me?"

But she doesn't. She just eagerly complies. What a nincompoop.