Sunday, January 31, 2010

The return of the stress ball

DH kept asking me today if something was wrong. I suppose I had that preoccupied look where my brow furrows. My to do list is growing exponentially and I do not have the desire to tackle it or the energy to tackle it or the time to tackle it.
Anyway, we went to the museum today and we're off to another one of those Daddy versus Mommy debates.
DH likes to buy something for TG at the gift shop at every visit. He says it's his way of helping the arts. I think it's instilling an expectation in TG that I'm not keen on.
I relent of course. I'm telling myself that it's not like he's doing this at every outing only museums and we want her to enjoy and like the museums. Whatever gets me through the day...
On the way home, the radio announcer was commenting on how the end of the month is already upon us and I exclaimed how I can't believe the month flew by. DH in his usual snarky self remarked how there are 12 more to look forward to. This miffed me but before I could stew in the miffiness of it, he adds, "Plus we have the coldest months in NYC to look forward to..... Oh and Black History Month."
This turned my anger to sheer laughter. The absurd statement from left field made it hard for me to stay angry let alone contain my laughter.
By the way, aside from the usual holidays, Black History month, Asian History month and Women's History month, are there any more congressional established celebrations?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Another mommy treat

Last night during MNO, I suggested that we have Saturday Morning Daddy playdates. Another Mom loved the idea and so this morning, while our husbands watched the kids, we each took showers, did a chore because we're moms and chores wait for no one and got together for coffee.
I felt like a human being. It was great.
Sure we still conversed about our kids but at least the succubi weren't attached to us in some shape or form. Just kidding, although TG still nurses in public.
I also was able to fit in a 90 minute cook off and prepared meals for TG for the week.
It was a great mommy day. Now if I can only get back into scrapbooking TG's Baby's First Year book before she goes off to college.
Oh, bedtimes have been a battle until sheer exhaustion sets in around 8:30/9pm. :-(

Friday, January 29, 2010

Ladies Night, Mommy Style

TG woke up at 7:30am. I'll take a 12 hour bedtime anyday.
Today DH had a busy day at school so TG and I spent some time catching up with her playmates and having Mommy/Daughter time.
She had a lot of catching up to do with her playmates and her toys and stuffed animals so it was a leisurely day indoors for us.
In the evening, one of TG's playmate's mommy's hosts a monthly Mommy's Night Out at her place. Essentially it's a rotation of mothers in our building who get together, nosh on sweets, drink a glass of wine and try to play a hand or two of cards.
It was very relaxing for me, especially knowing that I was in the building. I've had MNOs in the nabe but there is something about being in the building that relaxes me a bit.
I returned home after a few hours to find that TG woke up an hour after I left looking for me. DH spent 2 hours rubbing her back and trying to soothe her back to bed. he looked wiped. Is that what I look like during those crazy nights?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

There is no place like home or at least your home bed

The flight home was less turbulent and without delays but we did return to snow in NYC and a real feel temp in the single digits.
TG took to home happily. She immediately greeted Z-dog and then proceeded to play with all her toys.
She conked out at 7:30pm. She actually took me to her bed at 7pm, did what looked like a hug to her mattress and then greeted all her stuffed animals. She lay in bed, DH told her a story and within minutes of his departure, she fell asleep.
I'm exhausted and DH has a big day tomorrow so I'm off to bed.
Please let this be a sign 7:30pm bedtime isn't wrecked.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

When do mommies get shopping sprees?

TG wake up time: 9am, thanks to DH's quick thinking of covering the windows with a comforter. I didn't have to hold up the comforter for TG this time and slept in as well.
TG was spoiled rotten today by her grandparents. She left with a loot full of clothes for the spring and summer.
MIL was surprised at how fast and agile TG is. TG bee lined to the pantry and kitchen and spent most of her time unpacking the lower cabinets. Thankfully, TG likes to put things away too so with a little coaxing, she put the spices back where she found them.
Funny story...
Every time we visit, DH and I do a clean up of their computer. We install updates and clear strange files and usually add a tutorial of some sort. (Today's tutorial: How to print photos and check ink levels.)
Anyway, DH and I encrypted and secured her network way back in March but we noticed something funky, the encryption information disappeared. DH put the information back in and when we logged back in again, it kept disappearing. DH accidentally mentioned this to his mother and suddenly she panicked thinking someone was hacking into her system. She became so anxiety ridden that she refused to go to bed until we resolved it.
DH tried updating the firmware but the security kept disappearing. He went into the room with the router, entered the information via his laptop, came out to the desktop and it would disappear.
After 2-3 hours of us googling and testing and attempting fixes, DH looked at the MAC address and we realized what was happening.
When we initially set up her computer, it was located in the kitchen. We moved it to her living room and apparently, her neighbor has a unsecure network. For Lord knows how long, she's been stealing their wireless connection!
When we told her that, she was so embarrassed. "Here I was thinking someone was going through my stuff but I'm going through someone else's connection."
DH fixed the connection and now she should notice an improvement in speed.
TG bedtime: 9pm A little better but not great.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Drive baby drive

I don't know why I research to dos for a short trip like this. It's not like we'll do any of them. I suppose it's a back up thing for me. You have a toddler and you want to make sure you have back up plans. Or it could be the OCD.
Because of the hub bub from yesterday's travel day and the late bedtime, TG slept until 9am. Well, I also assisted by holding my comforter over her face to block out the Florida sunlight. I did this for about an hour and half. Don't worry, I did this one handed and caught up on the news on my phone. A mom will do what a mom needs to do for her brood.
Even though it was cold in Florida, by Florida standards, it was still warm by NYC standards. We left NYC when the temp was 20 degrees but the 'Real Feel' temp was in the low teens. In Florida it was in the 50's, a welcome blast of warmth by our standards.
We drove to visit TG's Aunt who recently moved down to FL and DH's cousins. There was a major breakthrough during the visit to TG's Aunt, her painfully shy Aunt played the piano for TG and even let her sit by her on the piano stool. I secretly filmed it for memory sake.
At DH's cousins, we saw what two schoolage girls are like at 8 at night. Mental note: Do not allow children sweets after 7pm. They were great kids all in all and TG had a blast with them. One in particular, sat with TG and read her stories. She captivated TG for nearly 30 minutes.
Another long day. By the time we arrived back at my MIL's it was late and we hadn't eaten dinner yet. TG's bedtime = 11:30p. I hope this doesn't wreck her routine when we get home.

Monday, January 25, 2010

It could have been worse

Today we fly to Florida to visit family.
Of course, today was the day that a torrential rain storm hit NYC delaying our flight by 5 hours.
I purchased the tickets super cheap. The downfall was we had to fly out of LaGuardia airport, the worst airport to fly out of NYC with a child. Ok, it's tied with JFK and Newark.
The delay caused our 2pm flight to have a scheduled departure of 8:30pm. At noon, DH and I individually called the carrier and pleaded our case and found another flight at our favorite airport, White Plains, scheduled for 3pm.
With TG literally attached to my breast, we packed our car and drove to White Plains. It was an hour delayed but we finally arrived in Florida at 8pm, a half hour before our original flight was rescheduled to take off.
Through it all, DH and I were a great team. We were pretty level headed about everything, including a faux paus where DH got into the gate with his LGA boarding pass. All in all, the flight was turbulent but manageable and TG was a trooper. She slept for an hour in my arms and then proceeded to play peekaboo and observe the other passengers.
It's times like these where I feel DH and I shine as a team. It could be a harrowing and tense situation but we seem to get along the best during these times. I suppose it's the 13 years of living, growing and learning together that help us.
TG finally went to bed at 11pm, super late by our standards but she fell out. Tomorrow, a crazy day of driving to visit other relatives before returning to MIL's.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Things that annoy me about my husband and how I wish I was sometimes more like him:

They keyword is 'sometimes'.
How he always asks me if he's a lector this weekend when 1) it's on our calendar and 2) I create the schedule and I've told him he's always scheduled for the 1st and 5th Sundays.
How he's all about the healthy foods and eating perfect portions but can eat a whole box of Kashi cereal bars and nasty aspartame yogurt until his tongue has a nasty white film.
How it's all or nothing for him.
How he never stops dreaming.
How he's taken to being a dad and become a regular in the stay at home scene.
How he always asks me my schedule when it's on the calendar and we review it the night before. It makes me feel like he's rushing me.
How he listens to me and defends my opinions and decisions as a mother and wife.
How he can be so altrustic. He'd give away all we had without blinking.
How he can be a born and raised New Yorker and not be cynical.
How his past life keeps returning in some shape or form.
How he can look past his father's and mother's idiosyncracies without getting flustered or aggravated.
How he doesn't feel the need to multi-task.
How he runs on his time and gets pissed off if others rush him but finds it totally acceptable to rush others.
How he can make me feel like I'm the meanest woman in the world. The only other time I've felt that way was when my dad said that I had the power to make my mother happy and I choose not to.
How he gets to spend more time with our daughter.
How he doesn't have to worry what's for lunch, dinner or breakfast.
How he made me and our 2 week old daughter drive around looking for a house and expecting me to make a decision in the midst of no sleep, post partum complications and a crying and hungry baby.
How he's not overrun by emotions.
How so many folks love him.
How strangers from his past stop us or purposefully search for him even if they haven't been in contact in over 30 years.
How much his daughter loves him and can never get tired of his kisses, especially when it's time for bed.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Mother, Wife, Woman

DH cut himself with a razor trying to break into our apartment after locking himself out.
I was home at the time in the bedroom napping with our daughter.
He didn't ring the bell for fear he'd wake her up.
He tried texting me but I was asleep.
This isn't the first time he's been locked out of the house while I was home.
The last few times, he was super pissed at me for not receiving his calls or pleas for help.
He didn't say anything today but I bet he's peeved.
Confession time: I don't have any sympathy. Yes, I do feel bad he hurt himself but I've been through him locking himself out of the house one too many times. He also had a tendency to loss my keys but has since stopped taking mine. Plus the last time I locked myself out of the house with two dogs, he was incredibly miffed at me for pulling him out of his job to let me in. After that, I have become obsessive about remembering my keys.
I guess the bigger issue is perhaps DH's feelings. Am I putting him in the backseat in our relationship? He hasn't said anything. I just feel like I should be paying more attention to him.
I confess that I haven't given him the attention he is akin to nor have I tried harder to give him a little 'he' time. There is no excuse but there is. I am damn tired. I'm constantly multi-tasking. I'm trying not to but I feel if I don't we'd be living in a giant pile.
As soon as I get home, TG comes over to me and proceeds to take off my coat and shoes. It's time for mommy mode as I prepare dinner while entertaining my daughter who has missed me. I have a respite during dinner when DH and I chat about the day. Then DH goes to the gym and I begin nighttime parenting.
DH returns home around midnight at which time, I'm either passed out or catching up on chores or personal and work emails.
If we do have time for each other, I'm so exhausted, it's more of a sit next to each other on the couch or bed while we watch some mindless television program.
Folks have recommended at home date nights. Ok, I'm going to be honest here. Date nights mean I need time to primp and look like anything other than a mom. This isn't happening folks. Sorry. Yes, I was the 4" pump girl once. Now, I live in my ballet flats. I'm sure my husband would be happy to just have his wife back for a little while. How the heck do I do that when if I had some time, all I'd want would be for a soak in the bath that wasn't interrupted by crying or other interruptions.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Opening your heart isn't easy.

DH has a circle of mommy friends. I know this is common and would naturally happen. I didn't know how I'd react to the daily text messages and emails and phone calls. I didn't know how I would react to his short responses on what they discuss or what the kids did.
I think the verdict is still out. I'm pretty much fine with it but occasionally get this twinge of introversion.
What do I mean? My husband is a give what you have. I'm a give what you have within reason.
When a mom I only met twice at the playground asked me to babysit her child, I was taken aback but DH without thinking offered to go their apartment and watch their child.
After spending countless hours researching children's music and purchasing songs for TG, DH doesn't think it wrong to take the $100+ worth of music I've obtained and burning cds for all the mothers and playgroups TG attends.
I wish I was a little more altruistic and less apprehensive or cynical.
Part of it comes from when I was younger. My mom used to tell me how many times my father's selfless heart caused us pain, additional debt and emotional anguish as the good deeds were rarely reciprocated.
Nowadays I do things because I want to do them and because they make me happy. I don't look for a reward. Still, I do find myself apprehensive. I think watching my father get burned has led me to be protective and less impulsive.
I wish I was more open-minded like my husband.
I wish I didn't feel like others have more opportunities than we do and be more protective of ours. I know that's a telling remark and I can't believe I'm saying that out loud. I know the grass is always greener. I'm trying to fight the feeling and so far it only pops up every now and then. It's not productive to think this way and I need to snap out of it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A slice of happiness in a 30 second clip.

Today my husband took our daughter to one of her and his favorite places, the Museum of Natural History.
It's a great place to hangout with the kids, especially during cold winter days.
He made me so happy when he surprised me with a cute video of her at the museum. I was working clearing up some disorganization at work and feeling my compulsive side getting the better of me when he sent it to me. I pretty much showed it to anyone I could. It brought a smile to everyone's face and it wasn't that cheesy, 'Oh my, she's showing us pictures of her kid again' smile. It really brightened our day.
It's great to know my husband can always make me smile and my daughter can bring joy to the weary world.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Baby Karaoke

For the last two nights, TG has woken up 20 minutes after she's fallen asleep in a miffed mood. Apparently, she doesn't want to go to bed yet. She goes to bed like she normally does. I attribute this to our routine. She loves to wash her face, brush her teeth (ok, love no but near water yes), put lotion on her hands, change into pjs, read a book, prayers, singing, etc. She falls asleep nursing and then 20 minutes later she wakes up upset and says, "All done. Shirt." Shirt is her way of saying, "Mommy, get dressed and let's go outside."
I try to maintain the peace and in the dark I try to get her to lay down again but she fights it. I tried our usual methods to get her back to sleep, cradled in my arm as I rub her back, swaying to 'Can't Take My Eyes Off of You' and the big guns, Ergo. She protests through all three. I finally figured out if I don't even go this route and allow her to sit on my lap with a short video of her doing something (I have a million on my phone) within 15 minutes, she crawls to her bed and goes back to bed.
It's as if she knows the tricks I use to get her to go back to sleep and she's not buying it. I recall reading how from 18 months to 4 years, the trick for any parent is to make your toddler think he/she is getting her way and doing what he/she wants to do.
In this example, I think she believed I was allowing her to stay up and even giving her a cool distraction (a video) to watch. She naturally calmed down and her body was able to tell her again that it was time to go to bed and she complied with her body's message.
Speaking of video, I'm still trying to limit any television or video time. It's getting harder as she now equates the laptop to video conferences with her grandmom and she loves to watch videos of herself at play.
I suppose videos of herself and video chats with grandmom are ok. DH and I will allow a Jack's Big Music Show if we're in dire straights. Usually that falls into three categories: 1) our bodily functions require a short absence from TG, 2) I am on a conference call or 3) she's completed a massive poop that requires a toddler not to squirm during a diaper change. We added the first one recently as TG has not opted to climbing things. She's usually careful but I've caught her several times ontop of our windowsill, couch, nightstand, ottoman, dining room chairs, her table, her chairs, etc... The idea of being indisposed on the toilet and then hearing a crashing sound led us to believe 10 minutes of Jack's is not going to be as bad.
On the vocal front, TG is now singing. She does the standard, last words of a phrase singing. We all do it, admit it. "Whether you're a mumble mumble Stayin' Alive, Stayin' Alive."
It's really cute to hear her sing the kids songs but strange to hear her sing pop songs. This is how I found out DH has switched from the classic music station to the oldies station to the pop station during playtime.
TG: "Ooh New York" bopping and playing with her ball popper
PG: Did she just say New York?
DH: Yes, she's singing Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z and Alicia Keyes.

TG: "Rah Rah Ah Ah Ah" playing with her shape sorter
PG: What did you say, honey?
DH: She's singing. Lady Gaga's Bad Romance

TG: "Yeah Yeah, Yeah......Hard" playing with her kitchen and bopping
PG: Rihanna?
DH: Yup.

Folks may recall that I've mentioned TG hums Led Zeppelin songs. Now she's singing pop songs. I'm waiting for her to start singing XTC's Generals and Majors and DH has not stopped singing this song since he heard it on the radio a last week. I just hope DH doesn't switch to Hip Hop music. I won't be able to explain that when an expletive accidentally is repeated.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

DH is sexy wrapped up in a heating blanket.

DH hurt his back. I think it was a strain due to his exercise regimen and from stress. He's changed his career path and now he's trying to figure out what to do. I'm proud of him. It's hard to make that decision and to go forth and pursue something different. I just want him to be happy. Life it too short to not be happy with what you do. You just need to find the courage to make that first step.
I'm so proud of him but understand his trepidation. He has a family and a young girl who needs guidance and a role model. He takes his male role model title seriously I believe.
Then he's got the added stress that he knows I'd like another child. I know it's not possible now but in a few years, I'd like very much to have a sibling for TG. God willing, if it is meant to be, it will happen and in God's time. Still, a girl can dream.
I try not to press him about it especially since we're not in a situation that would allow us to have another child at this point but the thoughts do linger.
At the same time, I do feel extremely fortunate I have this time to spend with my TG. My focus is on her and watching her grow and learn. I'm not sure how I could handle giving my undivided attention to two children. Would I feel as if I was cheating another out of that special time together? Would I treat each child fairly?
If you thought being a woman was filled with neuroses, you should try being a mom.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Events appear in real-time...

Today DH, TG and I packed into our car to go to Michaels and Carter's.
This isn't an eventful event except that usually DH and TG don't come with me.
Since TG had started playing with stickers, I wanted to purchase a few more. I also began to notice that her pajama bottoms were looking more and more like high waters. Anyone who has a toddler knows the snug-fit pajama bottoms aren't meant to be knee highs.
So armed with my 40% coupon for Michaels and my gift card for Carter's I went on a mission.
Now, if it was just me, it probably would have taken me 2 hours but since DH and TG were with me, our roundtrip trip took 1 hour. TG had a playdate at 10:30am and DH is not a dawdler when it comes to shopping. I don't think I know any man who is.
DH would drive me to the front of the shop and drop me off. I'd run in with my coupon like a madwoman, set my alarm on my cell phone for 10 minutes to keep me on track and shop. Michael's was the hardest to keep within the 10 minute time frame I gave myself. I went over and came out 15 minutes later. Can you believe they didn't have shiny large stars?
Carter's was a little easier. I was a bit miffed that all the on sale pjs were 100% polyester but with the coupons and the gift card, I didn't feel bad purchasing two 100% cotton three piece pajama sets. I figured the three pieces (2 shirts, 1 pants & another set of 2 pants & 1 shirt) equaled 3 pajama sets.
DH who makes fun of my coupons and sale bloodhound instincts was quite surprised the total expenditure for our trip was $16, $6 at Carter's and $10 at Michael's. I was pretty proud of myself too. I hope DH doesn't think the Jack Bauer approach to shopping had anything to do with it. I don't think I can shop like that all the time. There is too much pressure.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Apron Strings

I had a post, a vent really, written but I accidentally deleted it. Very well anyway as I don't even remember why I was so frustrated. Ok, I do but I'm over it.
Essentially, today was a dip day. I made brushetta. I made artichoke/spinach dip. I made honey mustard sauce. I made guacamole. I was in that kind of mood. Don't ask me why.
DH and TG spent the day napping. DH has been super sleepy as of late. He doesn't know why but I gather the late nights doing his thing are probably what is catching up to him.
I focused myself on food to help me vent and became fixated on whole wheat baguettes and making sandwiches.
In the end, it was a nice change of pace from our usual fare. DH had a grilled chicken with honey mustard glaze on toasted baguette topped with a basil bruschetta. I had a guacamole and grilled chicken on a toasted baguette topped with sauteed shallots and tomatoes. TG had pasta. I usually try to make something similar to what we're having but was not in a good frame of mind yesterday.
I suppose cooking is my outlet. Yes, sometimes I get upset that after a long day of work, I still need to plan and cook dinner and prepare lunches for three people with different taste buds but in the end, God gives us hidden gifts. I'm not a top chef but I can cook and more importantly, I can cook tasty meals for my family. Yes, time is tight but I have the ability to do it with some planning and preparation and at the end of the day, I get to have those family meals I value.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

3 dogs and a little lady

TG and I went to visit her Godmom today. I really enjoy this little trips. For one, it is a pleasant ride up to Putnam county giving us plenty of time to crank up the tunes and sing out loud. TG and I can jam out to 'If You're Happy and You Know It' fairly well. I also enjoy being able to go to her house and not worry about chasing after a young toddler who loves to explore and discover.
Taking a toddler out to a restaurant or any public venue can be a handful and I wind up spending more time chasing after her than socializing with friends. I also hope that hanging out at her house affords her a little downtime too. She's the type of lady who is so gosh darn nice she doesn't say 'no' and winds up running around like a loon because of her kind heart.
Well, at this particular visit, TG got to meet up with her Godmom's two dogs plus the newest member in the Motley crew, Maggie. Maggie is a spritely pup who was rescued from an undersized kennel. She was stuck in this tiny kennel for so long that her growth has been hampered. She has an underdeveloped hind leg and was undernourished. She's a cutie but very rambunctious. The only dogs TG is used to are older, plus 10+ varieties. Zoe is 13+ years at this point. She's part deaf and part blind. She is essentially our 60 lb moving rug.
So when TG arrived at her Godmom's home, the three spry pups went hog wild for this tiny human being. The first two, TG is used to and immediately put up her defense shield, two arms up over the face. The third however sent TG over the acceptable personal space concerns. TG lost her balance several times when she was pounced on and fell backwards hitting her head twice. Thank goodness, TG is resilient. She cried twice but found a hero in her Godmom's husband. Within an hour, she realized that if she stuck close to him, he'd 'defend' her from the coo coo for TG pups. She also realized that if she dropped Jay Raffe, the pups would grab a hold of him so she kept him securely in her arms.
In the end, I think it was a learning experience for her and me. I could have been neurotic and pounced at any chance to protect her but I let her fight her battles with the energetic pups. I'm sure there were times I could have intervened and avoided a few crying sessions and a mouthful of dirt at one point but I think we both needed to test our boundaries.
It also gave me a chance to not be the one who constantly chased after her. Baby steps, I suppose. Baby steps.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Performance Anxiety

A mom commented today that her son doesn't like to perform. It made me wonder if I am one of those moms who treats her kid like a trained monkey.
TG loves to dance and follow directions and show off her knowledge. I'm sure DH and I have encouraged this with our heaps of praise and excitement when she tries to count to ten or sing the ABCs. By the way, I'm fairly certain she doesn't just try to reiterate the sequence of numbers but actually understands that it has to do with quantity as I've noticed she'll play by herself and take objects and move them together as she spouts out the number. It's not always correct but it's still a number.
As I was saying, I suppose since my experience is limited to my child and we love to repeat these little counting games or animal sound games, I occasionally do the same to other tots in TG's playcircle.
I don't think I do it to the extent that it's some type of crazy 'dance monkey dance' thing but I did it to some frequency that led her to say that to me.
"She was being defensive. It's ok." said my husband. "TG is a little more of a chatter box than the other kids in her group. I chalk it up to her being a girl."
I suppose so. As moms I know we try not to compare our kids but we may slip from time to time. Perhaps my playing 'Where is your body part?' led to some weird comparison undertone. I sincerely apologize if that was the case. I was simply trying to distract both kids from standing and running on the couch.
Of course, being a neurotic New Yorker, I brought this back to me. Am I a coaching mom? Do I heap too much enthusiasm in her responses? Do I 'question' her too much?
Tonight as I was shuffling my ever growing stack of articles and books to read around, I found an article I tore up from Scholastic Parent and Child regarding development and growth of a toddler. In it Dr. Alice Sterling Honig discusses the growth of 1 to 2 year old. It essentially confirmed what I was doing and told me to continue playing movement games, silly games and knowledge games. "Toddlers are into games that involve naming body parst and making animal noises--anything that allows them to be loud and silly and to show off what they know."
I also recalled her pediatrician saying that repetition is key at this stage and to continue with routines and games of repetition.
I interpreted these two items as signs that I wasn't a coach mom but simply a mom and that I should continue to do what I have been doing. TG is thriving and she has a smile and giggle that lights up the room. I'm not saying that because I'm her mom either. It really is an infectious smile.
I try not to compare and I hope I don't appear to be one with her playmates. I see each child as an individual all trying to learn and grow at their own pace. We all have different parenting styles and I shouldn't question myself like that. She's only 1 year old. If I kept second guessing my parenting, I'd probably be one gigantic worry ball by the time she stars kindergarten.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Well it's not a classic mommy do

I cut my hair again. I was tired of it and it was getting to the point where I would just wear it in a ponytail. I haven't had it this short in ages.  
There used to be a time when I'd willingly wake up earlier to do my hair.  Nowadays I am happy it has been washed.  I do wish it was a bit more styled.  I'm sure my husband would probably like that.  He doesn't complain though.  He always finds a way to make me feel feminine and sexy even when I'm in my ratty circa 1996 t-shirt on with my mouth guard in.  
Whenever the hairstylist asks what I want these days I don't know how to respond.  Today I said, "not a mess.  I need guidance.". I guess the hairstylist took this as an opportunity to do her thing because I truly believe she had a ball.  She reminded me of a little girl playing with hair.  She really took pride in what she did and had a fun time doing it.  In the end I couldn't help but absorb a piece of that joy.  Joy begets joy but unfortunately so much negativity overpowers us sometimes.
Well it looks like DH loves the new do. He can't stop telling me how great I look.  It is either the hair or the delicious grilled chicken and bruschetta I made for dinner.  
The big test is if I can figure out what to do with it after my shower.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I'm an extended breastfeeder and I'm proud of it except at the doctor's office.

I'm not ashamed but I refrained from disclaiming just how much I still nurse our toddler to her doctor. I think I was afraid to hear her recommend weaning. I don't think she would but she is a western trained doc.
I love our pediatrician and I don't know why I felt the need to withhold. She knows we still breastfeed but I downplayed how much.
Am I ashamed? No. I'm actually quite proud and even proudier I have been able to continue while working.
Do I think it's an easy tool to use? Yes. It has helped from everything hunger to anxiety to bonding.
Do I think I may be imposing a 'lazy' approach? Possibly. I think I may be inferring that others may see breastfeeding as a lazy mom approach to things. I know that sounds absolutely ridiculous and I do not buy it (I'm pumping as I type this). Breastfeeding isn't easy but it does make life easier for me in certain aspects.
I know that I can comfort my child as needed. I know that I don't need to pack a billion acoutrements for our next trip to Grandmom's. Heck, I rarely bring a diaper bag anywhere nowadays. I pack a few wipes and diapers and a toy in my Ergo and we are good to go.
So why do I feel as if folks may look down on me for my extended breastfeeding? Honestly, I think now that we've survived the low supply and the engorgement and the clogged ducts it has gotten easier and for that I am a little embarrassed that I have a great tool at my disposal.
I try not to flaunt it but I've worked hard at it and am darn proud of my accomplishment. Still I understand how hard it can be and how some Moms just can't do this or decide it isn't in their game plan. I have no problems with this. Hubby jokingly calls me a die hard militant lactivist but I know I'm not and I don't even know how you could be one. I think all Moms know how hard it is and respects each other's decisions. Ok, some of you are going to say I live in a bubble.
I just find it funny that someone who really worked hard for this and who should be crazy happy and proud feels a tinge of embarrassment over this. Where is my extended breastfeeding support group when I need them? A new meeting hasn't been established since the holidays.
I wish I could be a bit more like this mommy and not feel a tinge of secrecy about it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Soup everywhere

 Mom lesson #123: Do not turn your back on a toddler near a cup of soup. 
We have hit that point in a child's development where trips to the doctor are less of a picnic than usual. Our pediatrician says the 18 month and 2 year check ups are the worst in terms of their opinions of the doctor and nurse. 
She wasn't kidding.  TG was perfectly fine until they started poking and prodding her.  Even basic head measurements lead to round of silent cries.  You know what a silent cry is.  It's those Charlie Brown wide mouthed water work cries that start silent and turn into a shrieking howl.  If that isn't bad enough your kid looks at you all watery eyed with the proverbial 'Why, Mommy, Why are you allowing them to do this?' look.  Your heart just breaks.  
Most of her exam took place on my lap while TG sounded like a toddler version of Woody Allen spouting a neurotic set of 'Nos'.
At one point I felt like I must look like a complete liar to her pediatrician.  "She knows many body parts.  TG, where is your tummy?  "No No No No No.". 
"Yes she responds to direction and displays comprehension." "No No No No No."
"Yes she is quite verbal and has a large vocabulary." "No No No No No."
Only one vaccine today and she was a trooper. 

Monday, January 11, 2010

What is it and me and pigeons?

I really hope pigeons are good luck because they are taking shelter on our window ledge now.
The high winds are causing them to hide out on our living room windowsill.
One even pooped inside!

I'm so grossed out now!
DH cleaned the poop inside and out and shooed them away. I don't poop in your home, please don't poop in mine.
Long time readers will remember my history with pigeons.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Playdate! Playdate!

DH made me so happy today.  He hosted a playdate for TG and her friends.  Instead of just seeing it in pictures or hearing about it I got to participate and witness it. 
You might laugh but I don't often get to be a part of these things so something as trivial and mundane as a playdate becomes all the more fun for me. 
I don't regret that I don't have the opportunities that my husband has to be apart of these play activities.  I would like to be but there is a reason and I know God knows best.  Heck, my daughter is gaining in so many ways having such a strong bond and relationship with her Dad.  Plus I'm so proud of us as parents to be able to continue and instill the ideas of attachment parenting.  Working moms, it can be done!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Noshing and Socializing

I've been worried about TG's preference for soft foods but not to the point of being neurotic.  I've always considered her appetite healthy and adventurous. Plus she only has 8 teeth.  
I was worried about her intake of protein so I have been making everything this week out of ground meats.  She's been gobbling it up.  Italian wedding soup with pork meatballs is a hit.  She also loves chicken loaf which I bake in cupcake tins so portion control isn't as difficult. You may recall DH is training to be a certified trainer and is monitoring caloric intake.
She's also eating raw apples and bananas.  I think the key is guiding through example.  If she sees DH and I eatin it, she will be more apt to try it and see she likes it in a form other than mashed.  
I know that sounds simple but it's hard when I have a finicky calorie counting spouse.
Another thing that helps in my opinion is family mealtime.  We have at least one meal a day together.  I try to do more even if it is with one parent.  If she sees us eating and interacting she learns how to eat, table manners and socialization.  I saw it in action durin the holidays when we had guests over for meals.  She ate and watched the interaction and even socialized.  She didn't appear to want all the attention and was happy to participate in the gathering.

Friday, January 08, 2010

I suppose everything is magical to a 1.5 year old

I'm cleaning my cast iron skillet now.  Food started sticking so it was time to burn off the seasoning and reseason.  
To clean my skillet I place it in the self clean oven.  It produces a ton of smoke but is efficient.  Normally I wouldn't think anything of it but with a toddler in the house paranoia set in.  I usually set it while I'm asleep.  I open the windows in the kitchen, turn on the fans and exhaust and vent away.  I close the bedroom door and we avoid the smoke.  
Tonight I couldn't stop thinking about the self clean oven and thus was unable to follow the sleep routine for TG. Somehow or another she managed to fall asleep at 9pm.
She woke up at 6am this morning and then napped for 3 hours starting at noon.  I'm sure if I followed our routine she would have been asleep by 8.  Our routine starts around 7:30 and she was still fairly tired from the early wake up. 
So why do I bring up the cast iron skillet? No reason. It was on the brain.  If I had a house I'd through it in my BBQ and let it burn off outdoors.  
Oh TG told me she pooped today.  I think it's a great sign she is showing awareness of pooping and peeing.  I think she's still telling is during the act and not before.  We occasionally get a request for the potty but that is a hit or miss.  
Oh and she discovered that she can spy me through the loving room window.  I was in the kitchen and DH and I were talking through the window at each other.  Very New York, I know. TG heard my voice through the window and went to investigate. She was amazed to see me through the window.  I blew her mind a second later when I popped into the dining room to set the table and she saw me 'back in our home'.  For a moment I felt like David Copperfield (the magician not the Dickens alter ego.)

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Tomorrow sleepovers. Today blanket tents.

TG is 18 months old.  I've been having anxiety dreams of me not being able to cope with her growing up.  Dreams of her going to high school.  Dreams of her taking the subway by herself.  Dreams of her going off to college.  I know with God's help I will be prepared and will be as best of a parent and guide for her as possible.  As for now, the possibility of her losing her baby hair is sending me into a tizzy. 
Sticking with the here and now, TG has played with a flashlight before. She knows it lights up and reflects onto objects but she's still discovering it. Today as we prepared for her pm nap, she found the flashlight and asked me to turn it on. Usually we play with it in the evening during bedtime. I turn it on and we play a rousing game of 'up, down, left, right'. She finds it hysterical that the light goes up, down, left and right. Last night she started making the light go up and down. She was pretty proud of her accomplishment as was I.
This afternoon though, she tried to make the light go up and down and she couldn't understand why the flashlight would not go up. She kept staring at it to check it was on.
I tried to explain to her how the daylight would effect the reflection of the light but we're talking about a toddler here so I finally took our comforter and covered the both of us, three if you count her lovey. Then I hoisted my legs and made a little tent. I then had her point the flashlight up and she giggled in delight. The flashlight works and she discovered something new, blanket tents.
I'm sure it won't be the last time she plays with a blanket tent. I recall hours of fun building caves and tunnels with blankets and furniture when I was younger. I think there was a period where my brother and I built a new fort every day for months.
Along with the giddiness of the flashlight going up and down in our tent, TG joyously popped in and out of the tent. She found it fascinating that the comforter could be more than just a blanket. When I put my legs down, collapsing the tent, she put her head under and attempted to find a way to make the tent pop up again.
I love watching her brain grown and develop.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Devolution of OCD

So just how much arts and crafts can a young toddler participate in? It dawned on me today that at some point the answer lies in the parent. Essentially, how much mess can you handle?
I've made up my mind that I'm going to fight my OCD and try to be the mom that lets a kid play with washable paints and glue and glitter.
We'll start with the washable paints.
TG has already begun playing with washable fingerpaints. I started with the kind that goes onto the special paper only. She seems interested but there is something about dipping your hand in green paint and seeing your hands green.
She's also played with playdough, homemade. She seems to enjoy watching me make little balls or snakes and then she places them back in the container. It's quite humorous to me.
By the end of the month I plan to attempt to do some messier arts and crafts. I figure I'll start with supplies. So far my list includes what I think are the basics for a young toddler. I could be wrong as this is my first foray into toddlerhood but as with everything, I'll learn as I go. My list includes: washable waterpaints (tempera, et al can wait), a sleeveless smock (figure she'll go shirtless for waterpainting. sleeves get dipped into things), construction paper, glue, pom poms, wooden sticks and ribbon.
She already plays with crayons and chalk and her mini easel has those spillproof paint jars and brushes.
I'd also like to get a safety ladder of some sort so TG can stand by me as I am prepping food in our kitchen. Unfortunately the only ladders that has safety sides I've seen cost an arm and a leg. Anyone know of an affordable but safe kitchen helper stepstool?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Cooking for three distinct people

Feeling overwhelmed today.  What I would do for a day off from housework and work work.
DH is dog tired and not sleeping well. He is trying to go without his much needed sleep but it is not working. 
Right now as soon as I get home I need to nurse TG and the start on dinner and lunch for tomorrow. I think I have TG's meal for tomorrow taken care of but I still have lunch for DH and me to figure out and dinner for all three of us.  I'm thinking zucchini fries for TG with thin chicken strips with pasta and pasta with chicken strips for us.  It's harder now since TG is still not eating meat in big chunks.  I try to make t look like pasta and make it smaller so she eats it.  I think she's not used to the roughy consistency of meat.  If it's in pasta sauce or mashed up she's fine with it. 
I didn't get to pump today so I'm quite engorged and I'm a little apprehensive of going home because DH is so sleep deprived.  He gets a tad short but he is trying hard.  I'd probably blow a gasket already. 
I'm glad TG loves her veggies but feel like I need to try to offer more protein but it has been tough.  Anyone have any suggestions aside from eggs, beans and ground meat in squash mash?

Monday, January 04, 2010

Words, words and more words

TG did something amazing today.
As she was night nursing, she de-latched, crawled up to me and kissed me gently on the forehead just like I do to her after we say our prayers. My daughter inspires me in ways she'll never know.
She started kissing DH good night this week. After DH changes her diaper and changes her into her pjs, TG crawls to her bed and says, "Kiss?" to DH. DH will come over and she'll kiss him gently on the cheek. Then she'll grab her lovey and lay in bed and then say, "Bye Bye, Daddy." Tonight she added, "See you" which elicited a few chuckles from both of us.
Our nighttime routine has grown to a rather lengthy one but it works for us so far. After I finish preparing for bed, I call TG to the bathroom where we wash our face and brush our teeth. Then DH changes her diaper and puts her pajamas on as I 'turn down' the bed. TG proceeds to kiss her Daddy goodnight and then DH turns off the light and closes the door.
I begin our prayers and recap of the day and TG begins to nurse. Afterwards, I kiss her gently on the head and tell her I love her. If our dog comes into the room and opens the door, TG will call the dog's name and then get up and close the bedroom door. She'll then return to bed and she gives me some of her 'friend's to say good night to. These include: 'Horse (a seahorse)', 'Gator' (an alligator), 'Dylan' (a duck) and some other 'friends'.
Then we'll sing a few songs where TG joins in at specific points and then we rhyme. This is a new thing that just started. It began with the rhyming words of songs and expanded. She'll repeat a word she has either just picked up or likes. Then she'll giggle. 'Speak' giggle. She'll repeat this until I say a word that rhymes. "Beak." she continues to giggle and I continue to find rhyming words until she calls out another word. By the way, I was at a loss for words that rhymed with 'button'. Anyone have suggestions?
The mind blowing thing about the rhyming game is she has initiated it and I think she actually gets it. Tonight she said, 'soon', a new word she started saying just today. I responded, "tune." She followed with, "moon." I was bowled over! I'm sure she doesn't understand all the words but she clearly gets some words sound similar.
Oh and she added counting tonight as well. I used to do it when she was an infant but we started it up again. She brings her foot up to me and says, "One?" and we count her toes.
It's all just mind-blowing and an absolute miracle and blessing. It is incredible to see God's work so beautifully displayed.
Oh, on the subject of nighttime peeing, TG had another successful leak free night last night. I'm pretty happy and hoping we've found an overnight solution. Sure, we have to change her diaper twice a night but at least she's not leaking. Bonus goes to the fact I may not have to wash pee pads.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Words to live by

See what love the Father has bestowed on us
that we may be called the children of God.
And so we are. - 1 John 3:1

New year anxiety & diaper leaks

I've been anxious these past few days.  The future has been on my mind.  It is normal to be fearful of the unknown.  Usually I take it in stride and find comfort knowing the Lord will guide us.  I still believe this but the new year has brought up some human anxiety.  
The other morning I woke up to the realization that my daughter will have to go to high school at some point.  This filled me with dread and melancholy.  How will we afford high school?   Will I be able to let her go onto mass transit by herself?  Will she hold her own?
I know it is ridiculous to think of this now when she's only 18 months old but the mind does what the mind does.
TG has been leaking. For the past three nights, she's wet the bed. At first DH thought cutting back on night nursing would help. I objected and said that she's just a nighttime pee-er. Then two nights ago, TG slept from 7:30p-midnight without a feeding and sure enough, the bed was wet.
We tried Huggies Overnight diapers and that didn't help. DH also thought they smelled funny.
So I went to Buy Buy Baby in search of what other moms have said help late night pee-ers, Diaper Doublers. Essentially it's the inner lining of a diaper. You put it on top of the existing diaper to help add absorbency without bulk. Well, we didn't find disposable DDs but we found re-usable ones. I'm all for saving the earth but the idea of washing out these cotton maxi pads and reusing them turned me off. Still washing another load of sheets and pads daily was another turn off so I bought a pack and a pack of Pampers overnights. I don't know why they are so hard to find compared to Huggies but BBB had them so I grabbed a pack. TG seems to do well with Pampers during the day so maybe she'll do better at night with the Pampers Overnights.
Last night was our first night battling diaper leakage with our new plan of attack.
TG normally requests a diaper change at 11pm, 3am and 6am. During these times we'll change her into overnights and hope for no leakage. If there is, then we'll try plan B - Diaper Doublers.
Last night I am happy to say was a leak free night. TG had a diaper change at 11pm and 3am but didn't need one at 6am. DH woke up at 6am as we have been trained like Pavlovian dogs and when he checked her diaper, it was dry!
I'm not going to say we beat leaks just yet but I'm happy for a day without laundry.
Oh, and I think I'm in for it when it comes to potty training and overnight training. She pees the Nile. There is no way she's going to be able to hold it all night. She's 18 months old and we're still changing her diaper 3 times a night.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Reflections of my Dad

Sometimes when my daughter looks at me I see my Dad.  I can't describe it really.  It's not a gesture or an inflection.  There is something there in my daughter's eyes that is my Dad. 
It is nothing to be sad about or elated about.  It's just matter-of-fact.  I don't want to take too much stock in it and I will probably refrain from telling my brother or mother about it.  My Mom might take it to another level.  
I wonder what kind of grandfather my Dad would have been. Would he spoil TG?  Would he be at the park chasing after her?  Would he take her to the library and read stories to her?  

Friday, January 01, 2010

Is it just me or do the holidays fly by?

I only have a few minutes.
It's been a hectic December. I think it was easier for me to manage the holiday crazies with an infant than a toddler. Now, if you are a veteran mom, you're probably saying, "No kidding, sister." Well, call it a trial by fire.
The tree was finally put up 5 days before Christmas. We hung shatterproof ornaments with ribbon and TG's infant socks. It looked rather nice and TG had fun assisting. I gave her her own set of silver beads to put on the bottom branches. She had fun hanging it and taking it off. At one point, in a very surprising and sweet move, she took her rosary beads, given to her by her Godmom, and hung them on the tree next to the manger.
She also discovered the manger and immediately took to it like a dollhouse. She also pointed to the ox and said, "Moo" and the sheep and said, "Baa." It was very sweet and made me realize that I'm glad I try not to make my home a museum and allow her to play and explore as much as possible.
New Years Nosh was a blast and made me realize how long and how nice it is to watch a movie and have adult guests. Yes, we've had adult guests in our home since 2008 but most have been either parents with their offspring here for a playdate or adults coming over to smile and dote on our daughter.
DH and I had a real treat on New Years. Adult company, adult conversation and 3 movies and 1 tv episode. After TG went to bed, DH and I stayed up and watched Julie and Julia and Away We Go. It was nice to just veg and share each other's company.
Oh, we made it into the New Year without sleeping. 5 minutes after I changed Dick Clark though, DH was out like a light. It was very sweet and shows we are getting old. :-)