Wednesday, June 27

Busy Bees

Tuesday morning was crisis mode. Adam had to go to California for the day, and he woke up at 4:30 to catch his 6:30 a.m. flight. Which would have been okay if he hadn't also woken up me and Doodles, who chose not to return to sleep. I tried to fake sleep until close till 6 when Pie woke up, but to little avail, since Doodles really wanted to have a conversation about his need for milk.

I got my children dressed, sunscreened, and downstairs. I made their milk (it's Carnation Instant Breakfast--a desperate attempt to get vitamins into Doodles). Then I needed my own fortification. So I turned to make my coffee. Only I had gotten Adam a new coffeemaker for Father's Day. And I didn't know how to use it. Arg! My plan was to get Doodles to DanceCamp, get a few errands done with Pie, and then relax at Starbucks till it was time to get Doodles. Yeah, right.

I took Pie to L.L. Bean and the simple task--getting some shorts for me, searching for sandals for her, and picking up a few things Adam needed--took over two hours. She charmed the pants off of everyone in the store--well, except me--as she leaped up and down the bench by the aquarium, shouting, "Fish! Fish! More fish? One, two, three, four, five! Five fish!" And then the ramps. She ran up and down and up and down and up and down...well, you get the idea. And then the sunglasses display. One after the other made its way to her face and then were discarded to the floor. By the time I had cleaned up all the sunglasses, she had pulled four shirts off the hanger and, when she couldn't hand them to me, tossed them on the floor. They have strollers at the store, so I stuck her in one, and she stood, tried to buckle the belt, sat down, tried the buckle again, screeched, tried to get out, stood some more, sat some more, screeched some more. I'm trying to pull things off the shelf and people are oohing, "Oh, what great hair! Oh, isn't she adorable?" And it's true. She is adorable. When she's not satan.

Now, to backtrack to DanceCamp. Doodles asked at the end of April/beginning of May to take a dance class. Only by then, the spring classes were in full swing and most places don't have summer classes. But then I found a local place that had a three-day dance camp for three year olds. I signed him up, and one of his male friends signed up as well. We showed up the first morning and his friend was waiting for him, too afraid to walk in by himself. I couldn't blame him. In the room were about 12 little girls in pink leotards, pink tutus, and hair in buns and ponytails. But Doodles? Doodles didn't care one whit. He walked straight into the room where the kids were doing a craft activity and took a seat. I got him some crayons, set him up, and said, "Okay, we're going now." He didn't even look up from his drawing when he said, "Bye!" and I had to remind him of my good-bye smooch. I picked him up and the kid was in heaven. He was bouncing on a trampoline, then did a somersault and was jumping around the room. When he came out happily, clearly excited to go back tomorrow. When pressed, he told me that they danced ("They told me what to dance. I didn't just do my own dances") but all I could find out about what they danced was "We did a butterfuly dance. To butterfly music. You can't do it without the music."

And then tonight I was moving like a mad woman. "Doodles, where are your mittens? Where did I leave Pie's snow pants? I need a jacket! Where's a jacket?" Of course it all seemed ludicrous when I got in the car and the thermometer read "99." But Pie and Doodles started their summer ice skating class, which is a bit of a disconnect, but they'd loved class so much and I didn't want to lose the momentum over the summer.

I have to say, a 6 p.m. ice skating class after a day of activity seemed like a homicide waiting to happen. Happily, I couldn't have been more wrong. Pie made HUGE strides in her class, and now she can get herself onto her feet herself and skate (before she could skate, but when she fell, someone else had to pick her up). Doodles is practicing jumping on his skates. It's unbelievable to me. Hello? What happened to my babies??

I love summer, but these late days are killing me. The kids are going to bed later, but not getting up much later. Which would be fine if I didn't want to take full advantage of summer. I took them to the town reservoir on Monday (aka the Res). Doodles wanted to plunge into the water (without getting his head wet); Pie wanted to sit by the edge, tasting rocks before dumping them in a bucket. I love going to the Res, but the kids are at such different speeds right now, I just don't see how doable it's going to be. All I know is I just want to sleep. For a week. And I don't want to have a conversation about milk. That vacation high? Already gone...

Vacation Stats

How much sleep the man who only needs five hours of sleep a night actually gets:
7 p.m., in children's playroom, with kids screaming and movie blaring: 1 hour
8:30 p.m., in bedroom, fully clothed, laying on bed: 2.25 hours
10:50 p.m., after brushing teeth and, still fully clothed, getting under the covers: 8 hours
2 p.m.: 1.45 hour nap

Reason I have twenty photos of Pie to every one photo of Doodles: Doodles is a whirling dervish. Getting him to stand still for a photo is near impossible and requires serious bribes of sweets and/or playtime.

Signs that weaning is not in my future: Pie's new trick is she pops off the br*east, smacks her lips, and cheers, with a smirk, "Yum, yum!"

Sign I'm doing something right: After an accident, Doodles asks Adams, "Do only daddies always clean up poopie messes?"

How many times Doodles can ask between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. if the afternoon cookies are out: 27

Conversations you really don't want your child having with other children:
Doodles: Do you know who Doodles Brown is?
New friend: No.
Doodles: He's dead.

A sign that you really need to be carrying tissues around with you: Doodles looks at Pie and then asks me, "If you eat green food, does it make your snot green?"

Conversations you really don't want to be having with your child:
Me: Well, you see, a long, long, long time ago, there were monkeys. And those monkeys had children and they were a little less monkey like and a little more human like. And they had kids and their kids were even more human like. Until eventually, over a long, long period of time, those monkeys became humans. And that's called evolution.
Doodles: So monkeys can turn into people?
Me: Well, not exactly. You see...

Proof that Doodles is not really my child: "Marshmallows are yucky."

Proof that Pie really is my child: "More marshmallows! More marshmallows!"

Further proof that Pie is really my child: "Horse! Horse! Horse!" [Gets within a foot of the horse] "Ahhh! No like it! No like it! No like it!" [Cow moos, Pie jumps and screams] "No like cow! No like cow!"

What Doodles did at "Vermont Camp": nature walks, obstacle courses, painting, jumping in puddles, climbing on the climber, digging in the sandbox, chasing butterflies with nets, hunting for bugs, visiting the barn, getting read to.

What Doodles said was his favorite part of Vermont Camp: having snack.

Birthday Blues Times 39

I turned 39 on Monday. I'm not good with 9 birthdays. I don't have a problem with 0 birthdays, but 9 birthdays bum me out. On 9 birthdays (at least the last three of them--I don't think I minded one whit when I turned 10) I look back at all the things I said I was going to do that decade and didn't accomplish. I have one year to check off all the things on my "By the Time I'm 40" list. The 0 birthdays are great, because that's a clean slate. A whole new decade for new goals. I already know a whole bunch going on the 40s list (1. Run Comrades--on an up year--before I turn 50). But the 9s? They suck. Totally.

Wednesday, June 20

Relax Already!

As you read this, I'm lying by the pool or perhaps I'm kayaking or maybe I'm enjoying a quiet dinner alone with my husband. Or, more likely, I'm begging the Pie to please go to sleep or I'm trying to convince Doodles that a week without TV is a good thing or I'm pleading with both my children to use their restaurant manners or I'm trying to slather sunscreen as Pie is running away screaming or Doodles is having a full scale meltdown because I won't let him have a third afternoon cookie or Pie is having a meltdown just because she's Pie... In other words, I'm on vacation (this entry coming from the wonder of preposting as I write it on Saturday night).

Of course, the week before vacation is always chaotic. Doodles had his end-of-year celebration and his teacher had asked me to put together a slide show for the parents--just a simple compilation on a c.d. that they could show in class and the parents could then take home. No problem, I said. I can do that I said. His teacher showed me the one from the year before and it was a straight-forward affair: lots of pictures and the parent had put on music like "Hey Hey We're the Monkees" (Doodles room was the Kofefim Room, which is Hebrew for "monkies.") Not bad, I thought. But... I can do better. Wouldn't it be nice if... To make a tedious process short, three weeks, $167 in new memory, 12 hours of Adam's time trying to keep my computer from crashing, I have a lovely 14 minute slide show that includes interviews with the kids, recordings of them singing, and a very short video. And the kicker? They loved it so much they want me to do it again next year for Pie's class. Sigh. It's official. I've turned into my mother.

Apropos of nothing, I just sucked Adam into watching Confessions of a Matchmaker. His exact words: "This is too good to not watch."

I feel like we've turned a corner lately. Things with Pie are just getting better and easier. Her words are multiplying. She's a lazy eater but she's so darn cute abou it. "Feed you!" she demands as she hands me her fork; even finger foods she'd like to be served. If I'm not moving fast enough--trying to get dinner on the table, say--she demands, "Sit! I feed you!" She loves to play games now. She'll walk out of a room, calling, "Bye bye! Bye bye!" And then she knocks on the door, comes back in laughing hysterically, kisses me, and says, "I missed you! Hi! Bye bye! Bye bye!"

I blantantly lied to my son. We went shopping for Adam's Father's Day gift. He's not the greatest at keeping a secret, if you recall. We went to Bed, Bath and Beyond so I could pick out the real gift, but I told Doodles we were buying Daddy a blender. But then I felt bad because Doodles got really excited. "A blender? One that won't make clumps? Because our blender makes clumps in my smoothies. How about this blender?" I felt terrible. But as far as I know he hasn't figured out what we really got Adam and I hope he won't be crushed when Adam opens up his non-blender gift in the morning.

All right. That's enough. Let me get back to the hot tub. Or am I having my massage right now? Or am I trying to keep Pie from biting Doodles as he steals her toy? Something like that.


Wednesday, June 13

Life, Death, and the 3 3/4 Year Old

I had one of those "you know you're a mom" moment when I found myself sitting in Logan airport waiting for my flight, discussing with a total stranger the fact that I was leaving my daughter overnight for the first time and I feared by the next day my br*easts would be totally engorged. Huh?! I swear sometimes the brain to mouth filter just disappears on my completely! On that note, it was my first time leaving the Pie and it was stressful. I was gone for just over twenty-four hours. Adam said she woke up the next morning and looked for me, but seemed to do okay that day--edgy, but okay. My mom predicted that breastfeeding would be like smoking--the first day is the hardest--and that maybe when I got back that Pie would wean herself. There's merit to this thought. No basis in reality, but merit nonetheless. I got home at 1 a.m., Pie woke up at 6 a.m. By 7:15 she had Ming Minged three times and was pleading for the fourth. So, in summary, Pie? Not weaned.

The trip home was sad--my grandmother is having a hard time accepting my grandfather's death, even though he was 93 years old, and as he told me the last time I visited him, he was ready to go. But as the rabbi said at the funeral, my grandparents' marriage had lasted long enough to qualify for social security (married for 67 years), so no matter how ready he may have been, she probably never would have been.

Of course, my family can't do anything without a touch of drama to it. That would be too easy. My family does nothing easy. Instead, my 13-year-old cousin and his mother, who took almost a full day to get into Miami from the middle of nowhere (they live in a ski resort area that doesn't have year-round full service at the airport, so they had to drive two hours to another airport that doesn't fly direct to Miami), didn't even attend the funeral. They decided they had better things to do. Like, you know, an emergency appendectomy. Happily my cousin is recovering well.

But let's not dwell on the sad. My grandfather was a character and he led an extremely full life: lots of travel, a successful businessman, extremely involved in the Jewish community. He was an unusual grandfather and didn't do many "grandfatherly" things. He used to commute to work by helicopter so we'd get the occasional lift. He took me to Israel, New York, D.C., Memphis, New Orleans, Disneyworld, and probably a few other places I'm forgetting. He taught me how to cover a point spread and always took my bets no matter who I was betting for and he gave me amazing odds. He taught me to like Jack Daniels. He was harshly critical of what I did and who I dated so when he finally gave his approval--which ultimately he did--it actually meant something.

And now, to lighten up completely, let's turn to the wonders of explaining to a three and a half year old about death:

Doodles: So Abba is dead?
Adam: Yes.
Doodles: When will Ema die?
Adam: I don't know.
Doodles: Do they both still will underwear?

Doodles: Why did Abba die?
Me: Because he was old and tired and sick.
Doodles: Oh. When you get old and tired and sick, you die?
Me: Sometimes.
Doodles: What will happen to Abba?
Me: There will be a funeral. And then he'll be buried.
Doodles: Oh. Will he be buried in a pyramid?

When life gets you down, talk to a preschooler. If it doesn't make you smile, then nothing will.

Wednesday, June 6

Blog Again Later

Apologies to all, but there won't be a blog post today. Perhaps I'll do the rare off-Wednesday blog post this week, but for the moment, it's been a heck of a week and I'm out the door to catch a flight for my grandfather's funeral.