Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Summer 2010

I never thought it would happen.  I never thought we'd make it.  But tomorrow is September 1st and the babe, the little guy, and I, have offically made it through the summer together in one piece.  I have to be honest, I wasn't sure we were going to be able to pull it off.  It has been hot, hot, hot.  There have been a million mosquitoes ready to attack us whenever we leave the safety of the indoors, and there were many, many, many hours to fill.  But we somehow managed to fill them, buy a house, deal with a zillion contractors, and sort of keep our sanity.

Tomorrow morning the babe will head back for a second year of preschool.  And while she initially complained that she didn't like being home and liked school better, I think she's going to miss the little guy and I.  And frankly, while I know my life is about to get WAY easier (even though I'm moving in less than 4 weeks), I am going to miss having her around as well.  My daughter keeps me on my toes and is quite the conversationalist (unlike my son).  I can't get much past her and she really challenges me to be a better parent.  And I try and challenge her to be a better kid. 

Hopefully we will all come out of the summer of 2010 better and stronger people.  I'll admit it has been really hard to keep it together at times, and that I'm not always the most patient, stable and loving parent (or wife).  Buying your first house and trying to coordinate renovations while watching 2 little ones in the middle of a ridiculous summer is not a recipe for "good times," but I recently heard a great saying, "these are all wonderful problems to have."  Once again, I will be attempting to focus on my many, many blessings.   

With that I will say good night. 

And thanks for checking in.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Talking About Desserts...

The babe polished off her dinner (which included a lot of olives) tonight with gusto and then wanted dessert.  As she'd been fairly good throughout the day (except when I was trying to have a conversation with the chimney inspector at the new house), I told her she could have some chocolate soy pudding.

While we were chatting, she pulled off her bib.  I know some kids this age don't wear bibs, but my kid does.  She is sloppy and I don't feel like doing any more laundry than I already do.  Anyway, I asked her why she took off her bib before her dessert.  She told me not to worry and that she'd "be careful."

I then asked her what I could do if she did spill any chocolate pudding on her dress.  She looked at me and replied, "you can clean me up!"

I sometimes wonder if she really is just 3 years old or if I somehow bumped my head and missed a few years.  The girl has a mouth on her, but I was impressed by her comment so I let her eat her chocolate pudding without a bib.  And ya know what?  She didn't spill any pudding, just the soy milk I asked her to finish up after the pudding was done.

The Nannies at the Park

I'm on the neighborhood list serve so I can "keep on top of things."

A couple of this week's posts made me stop and think.  And I'd like to start off by saying that I'm not anti-Nanny, but as a Mother who spends a lot of time at the park, I do agree with these comments. 

I'm not saying all Nannies are bad.  They are not.  I am also not trying to generalize (in fact I met a great Nanny just this morning).  But there are a lot of negligent care takers out there and I'm sure the parents who employ them would be horrified at the lack of care and attention being directed to their children.  Just something to think about.

From the list serve:


Are you confident that your Nanny is properly caring for you child?

I have been taking my grandchildren to Turtle Park this spring and summer. I have been overwhelmed at the poor quality of child care being provided to the young children who come to the park with their nannies. I have been hesitant to post something, but today after observing a nanny hitting a child, a nanny talking on her cell phone unaware that her charge had fallen & was crying and a child open the gate and leave the area without being noticed by the nanny, I am posting this asking families to make unannounced visits to Turtle Park at a time your child and nanny plan to be there.

I am a retired Early Childhood Educator with over 35 years experience. I would fire many of the care providers I have observed this summer. They are regularly completely distracted by their cell phone conversations or their adult group conversations.

I hope that you can find a time to observe and ensure that your little ones are receiving the quality of care you are expecting.


I've seen the exact same thing and would be horrified for most of the the local Nannies I've witnessed to care after our child.

While at Turtle Park some weeks ago, I saw a toddler vomiting in to the side of the sandbox while his Nanny continued talking on the phone; almost like she couldn't be bothered to attend to him.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Colors of Us

I wanted to recommend another book.

A friend gave us a copy of The Colors of Us (by Karen Katz) a while back.  We hadn't read it to the babe much when we originally got it because it was a bit beyond her.  But we are now at the perfect place for this special book.

Such a perfect place that the babe has me read it to her every day (a few times).

I quickly looked at reviews on Amazon, and while the majority are positive, there are some which attack the book, claiming it reinforces negative stereotypes of different racial groups.

This criticism doesn't really mean much to me because the babe likes the book and so do I.  I'm not sure how much I've mentioned in the past, but my husband is of Indian descent and I am a mix of Irish/English and French.  That makes our kids a mix of many things, and with Indian names and slightly darker skin, they are going to confront issues I never confronted growing up.

This book talks about all the different shades of brown and I like that it brings so many groups of people together in its simple story line.  Tonight the babe asked what color she was and I told her she was a creamy cappuccino (the book has many flavour references).  That made us both giggle.

While we have been slowly broaching the subject that Mama and Papa have different skin colours, it seems as though we are still at a point where that is perfectly normal, and I'd like to keep it that way.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cute Things

My son turned 20 months old today, so I was planning on going on about that. There's a lot I could say about the fact that 20 months have quickly passed us by, but I think I want to share a few very cute stories about the babe, instead.

As we were driving to the park this morning, the babe asked if I could open her window (we finally had a fresh day today).  I opened it less than half way.  She was trying to stick her hands toward the outside and asked if I could open it just a bit more.  I complied with her request and put it down a bit more.  She then told me it was good to get fresh air into her bones.  After being stuck indoors because of the RIDICULOUS WEATHER that we have experienced in DC this summer, all I can say is, how true my love, how very true.

We had a lovely play date at the park, but sadly the babe didn't listen when it was time to leave.  Despite the fact she had promised she would leave when I said it was time to go (yes, I had believed her when she made the promise), the babe was completely rude and uncooperative.  I was fuming mad when we finally got to the car after her little episode and proceeded to ban all treats, desserts, hanging out in the bath tub at bed time playing, and bed time stories (no, not forever.  Just for today). 

I was reiterating these punishments as we got back from the hardware store just before dinner.  It was pretty late and I had a bunch of stuff to do in the kitchen, so I mentioned she was allowed to watch TV while I prepared dinner.  She looked at me very serious like, and said, "but TV is dessert for the eyes, Mama."  

All I can say is, how true my love, how very true.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hi Everyone

I haven't forgotten you.  I swear. I think of you all many times every day and I wish I could be sharing all my thoughts with you.  But I honestly haven't been sitting down for quality time with the computer of late.

My awesome and uber helpful Mom just left last night.  She was with us for 11 days and we accomplished a lot.  She is an amazing organizer and packer and kept things moving along.  From packing our stuff, to doing our laundry, to feeding my kids and wiping their dirty bums, my Mom was there for me.  It was not always pretty, but we made it through a very crazy time together as a family.  I hope I will be able to do the same for my kids one day.

Buying your first home and then embarking on a ton of repairs is nuts.  All those nights of watching Home Garden TV couldn't have prepared me for what has happened in the past month.  But I remain so very, very excited to move into our new place.  It's not ready and nor are we, but in the next month it will all come together, I'm sure.

With both kids at home, I am now rather limited in terms of what I can achieve in a day (like meeting numerous contractors and hauling 3 car loads of stuff over before dinner).  But I figure we did so much work that I'm going to try and have some fun with the babe before she returns to school on September 1st.  The kids have been holed up here far too much and while I got a lot of work done, they have not had all the summer adventures they were supposed to have (2 weeks in Canada and a week at the beach).  Watching Mickey and Dora while Mom and Nana pack is not going to make up for that.

So hopefully we can make the most of the last few days of summer vacation and just have some fun.  Because we are all due for some.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New Words

Today the little guy learnt a very important word: ME.

We were standing in the front entrance ready to go on a mini car adventure when I asked who wanted to be brought to the car first (it was in the middle of a serious down pour).  The babe yelled "ME, me me."  The little guy then started yelling "Me" as well (he does love to copy her, after all). 

My daughter, my Mother and I all applauded him and had him say it over and over again until we realized we should probably actually leave the entrance way and go on our mini adventure.

It was a special moment of our day.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Shoe Story

Yesterday my Mom and I took the kids to the mall.  We had a few things to check off our list, including getting the kids feet measured and buying some appropriately sized foot wear.  It had been a few months since we'd had any measurements done and I wanted to go to the back to school sale.

I apparently was way off on the little guy's foot size.  I'd been noticing it was getting a little harder to fit his feet in his sneakers and sandals of late.  And last week I noticed both his big toes were a tad bloody and the top of the nails were broken.  He had been running around up and down our front path with bare feet and had experienced a wipe out. 

Looking back, I'm now wondering if his big toes were so messed up because I had been shoving his feet into shoes that didn't fit or if he had hurt his toes when he fell.

I don't know, but I feel guilty, either way.  Now he's in a size 7.5 (he was in a 6), even though he's a 7.  I figured I'd play it safe at the rate his feet appear to be growing.

The babe was about a 9, and was in a 8.5 sandal, so I'm not feeling so bad about neglecting her (her feet are growing much slower than her brother's).  We got her some new sneakers and some snazzy rain boots for school (which starts 2 weeks from tomorrow!!!).

After the shoe shopping, we headed for the food court which has a play area and a train that you can ride around on.  Good times had by all, including the babe and her Nana who stood in a line for half an hour to get a flower shaped balloon from a clown (which was broken within 2 hours of getting back home).

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Little Things

I figure if I stop writing, you're going to stop reading, and I certainly don't want that.

Home ownership is hard when you are trying to schedule a ton of work and don't know what you're doing.  It is all consuming, like a newborn baby.  When I do get to sleep, I dream about it.

But what I wanted to share was my favorite moment of the day. 

We were all really tired, especially the little guy.  After bath time I was holding him in his little brown bear towel when the babe came in.  The little guy was crying so she decided to cheer him up with a little goofy dance.  She started bouncing around in the buff with her fingers in the sides of her mouth and her tongue hanging out.  Before I knew it we were all laughing and both my naked children were bopping their heads around with their tongues hanging out.

After the babe left us for her bath I got to play peek a boo with the little guy and it was awesome to just relax and laugh together.  The last 4 days have been incredibly overwhelming for all of us and I'm so grateful we had such a blissful moment right before bed time.  I'm going to have to remember it whenever I get overwhelmed and wonder how I'm supposed to move to a new house with a 3.5 year old and a 1.5 year old.  In the end, we'll finally be in our own home, and I know it's going to be worth it. 

I'm going to ask you to bear with me over the next month and a half until we can get ourselves into the new place.  My writing may be a little less frequent, and possibly more centered on how to pack and move with kids, but I know things will settle into a "new normal" before ya know it.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Big News

Hi everyone!  I have a secret.....today we bought our very first house!  We've got a lot going on so I may not be able to write every day, but I didn't want anyone out there to worry because I haven't written.  I'm super excited for my family to finally have a home to call their own.  And right now I'm super excited to have a hot shower and go to bed, so good night!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Birds and the Bees

I was going to write about our music class today and how the little guy pulled a stack of chairs over on himself and we had to make an early departure.  It was our last class of the session and I'm not sure when we will be singing up again, so it was upsetting we had to leave under such circumstances (especially as I've been going to the same class with the same teacher since the babe was 1).

But then I also wanted to write about how the babe really loves olives, dill pickles and capers.  I thought I'd ponder what that meant in a 3.5 year old.  While cleaning up after dinner, I had come to the conclusion that these food likes say a lot about my daughter.

And while I was saying good night to the babe, it became clear what I should be writing about.  My own Mother, otherwise known as "Nana," will be arriving from Canada tomorrow morning for a visit.  I mentioned that Nana was my Mama and I was so looking forward to seeing her.  Then I mentioned that Nana took care of me when I was a little girl because she is my Mama (I thought I was just harmlessly going over the basic facts).  The babe looked at me, all serious like, and asked where she was when I was a little girl and Nana was taking care of me?  I replied that she had not been born yet.  The babe then asked if she had been dead then?  I said that she wasn't dead because I hadn't made her yet.  And guess what she asked next? 

"But how does the baby get in the Mama's tummy?"  WHOA.  I didn't think kids asked that question so young.  So I stalled and kinda dodged the question.  I am all about being honest with kids but I frankly hadn't done any research on how to discuss the birds and bees with a preschooler.  So I told the babe that it was scientific and I had to look on the Internet to see how doctors and scientists suggest parents explain these things to kids (I tell her I have to look things up on the Internet all the time).  I told her I wanted to make sure I explained it correctly to her so that she would understand.  "OK, Mama," she replied. 

That was a close call. I guess I better look into how to discuss these things in the most age-appropriate manner.  But ultimately I guess I'll have to trust my Mama gut.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Owie Obsession

Not to be overly dramatic, but the babe appears to be obsessed with "owies."  In tonight's bed time story, Curious George had an owie.  The babe immediately tried to grab the book to investigate the nature of his owie.  It wasn't evident, but I knew it was somewhere on his foot.  The babe was quite determined to figure out what was wrong with George but I ended up turning the page so we could move on.

I have been told this kind of obsessive behavior around minor or believed injuries is normal at this age, but frankly, I am pretty tired of hearing about it.  Sadly we all get owies during our lives. And it's important to learn how to deal with them in the best and most positive way possible.  It's not easy, but it's a very real part of being human.

When the babe comes to me with an owie and "needs" a band aid (daily), we have a little chat about the owie, check it out, and I usually give her a band aid if that will make her feel better.  I have learnt that I have to pick my battles and am not willing to fight over band aids. 

The thing that really gets me is that the babe appears to be a picker.  I think it may be genetic, the tendency to pick, because I can remember my maternal Grandmother being a big picker.  The babe will sit around and pick at her finger nails and toe nails constantly.  My husband and I are always telling her to quit it, but the pause will only last a few seconds before she's at it again.  I do not normally give band aids for any picking related injury unless there is real blood oozing out (which would not be a good thing). 

I am REALLY looking forward to this obsession with owies to pass but am afraid that the picking phase may not...some people are just pickers.  I hope it's not an indication of nervous energy. 

If any of you have had similar experiences with the owie obsession, feel free to share!  All tips on how to handle this predicament are more than welcome.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Love

This morning the babe told me she doesn't love me.  Her exact words were, "I don't love you."  She was pretty clear, but I was luckily able to just let it roll off me.  I was surprised, as it was the first time, but I had expected it would happen eventually.  It was a bit of a rough morning.  I tried my best but know that I was at fault as much as she was.

I've mentioned that I find weekends difficult as a Stay-at-Home Mother, and this weekend reminded me why.  Having all 4 of us home for 2 days just seems like a long time.  Kids don't given parents much of a break, even if the parents need a break.  These early childhood years can be both brilliant and challenging.  I always hope for more brilliance and less challenge, but it doesn't always work out that way.  Especially on the weekend!

I commented to my husband this evening that it felt like we were living in an insane asylum (the kids were running around chasing each other and screaming at the tops of their lungs).  But I followed up with the fact that I was glad we had had the little guy so close to the babe so they could be buddies. As much as they drive each other nuts, and drive us, their parents, nuts, I suppose it's all good in the end.  I have been told we will look back at these years with fondness.  And while that may be hard to understand right now, I have no doubt that it will prove true (even if my daughter declares she does not love me while I am trying to enjoy my morning coffee).

Saturday, August 7, 2010

It's All in the Name

It's hard to chose a name for your child.  But what you don't realize when you chose the name of your first born, is how many times a day you will be saying it.  At one point I think I said the babe's name back to back four times when I was trying to get my message through to her.  I caught my husband doing the same thing.

A name is a critical thing.  It will be a part of your child's identity through life.  It will be used in both positive and negative ways.  And it is a lot of pressure to chose the right one.  In fact, our son was nameless for 3 days as we weighed different options.  In the end we stood over his little hospital basin and repeated a few names to see what he would react to.  We had a clear winner and we went with it.  And I still think it was the right choice.  I'm actually quite happy with the names we chose for both kids.

My only recommendation to new parents is to chose a name you don't mind saying over and over and over again.  Because if there's any chance you'll tire of it, you need to keep on thinking.

Friday, August 6, 2010

All Kinds of Pills

I'm not a fan of taking a lot of pills, but I use them when I consider medication/herbal remedy necessary.  I deemed it necessary today when I was hit by a splitting head ache and was stuck indoors with my kids. And while I still have stiffness in my hands (which I'm hoping is hormonal and not arthritis), I have decided to hold off on taking regular drugs for the problem.  I am not ready to make a daily commitment to address the issue.

I am, however, a fan of taking my multivitamin.  I feel it fills in the gaps that have been left by my diet. 

I was also very dedicated to my prenatal vitamins.  But I never took my last one.  After 4 years of taking them all through pregnancy and breastfeeding, I was too emotional about taking the last pill.  It is still sitting in its container on our vitamin collection tray (a bar tray).  I don't think I'll ever be able to take it because it was such an important part of my life for so long.  And I don't think I can get rid of it because that will mean saying good bye to that period of my life.

All that said, I am going to look into a herbal pill which apparently helps you chill out a bit.  A friend has highly recommended them and I think I'll give it a try.  She is the mother of a 2.5 year old and says it has totally calmed her.  It's called Calming Complex with Gaba made by Source Naturals and I am going to pick some up next time I'm at Whole Foods.  I'll let you know how it goes.  It's all about taking the right pills!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Wake Up Call

As parents, we have sort of had to get used to waking up early EVERY DAY.  It has been a difficult transition for my husband and I as neither of us are morning people.  While the babe is getting better at waking up at a decent 7 to 7:15 am time frame, the little guy seems to be going in the opposite direction.  This morning he was up at 5:50 am.  Who needs an alarm clock! 

There is nothing like being jolted out of a deep sleep by a crying child.  And the quick realization that the crying child will wake your other child if you don't bolt out of bed immediately and try to calm the crying child.  That's what happened this morning. Sadly, I wasn't able to calm him back to sleep and he just kept on crying every time I tried to leave the room.  I broke down and brought him into our bed. 

Unlike the babe, who loved to sleep with us when she was little, our son has never been a fan of sharing a bed with his Mama and Papa.  He is, however, a fan of watching cartoons in Mama and Papa's bed when it is too early for Mama and Papa to leave the bed.  We resisted his demands for a good chunk of time and tried to doze, but eventually we had to give in.  The TV was turned on at quite an early hour.  No wonder he was so annoyed by the time his sister woke up at 7 am.

I am wondering how I can promote him hanging out by himself in his crib on the days he wakes up at a silly hour (like anything between 5 and 7am).  My friend has the Fisher Price rain forest crib music/light/moving figure thing set up and says it works.  The kids pass a lot of time being amused by it and aren't as needy when they first get up.  Perhaps it is something we will need to consider, because Mama and Papa need their precious sleep!


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Holding a Grudge

I have been known to hold a grudge. It's not a good thing, and I don't intentionally do it, I'm just saying it can happen.

That's why it's so difficult having young kids. They can do things that hurt you physically as well as emotionally. The babe has told me many times over the past week and a half that she likes school more than being at home. And she likes hanging out with her friends better than being stuck at home with me. I get it. I like school better as well. But August is a month we must all spend together and I'm trying to make the best of it, despite the weather.

I did a rare thing today and lay down on the couch in front of both my kids. The little guy brought me a blanket and tried to tuck me in and give me kisses. The babe abandoned her play doh and ran over to get in on the action. Before I knew it they were both crawling all over and suffocating me. I was handling it all pretty well until the babe started pulling my hair. I asked her to stop, telling her it was hurting me, but she didn't stop. With about 60 pounds of weight on my upper body I wasn't able to pull her off effectively. In the end I got them off but not before I had lost some hair as well as my temper. I suppose kids like to push things past the limit because they don't understand where the limit is.

The babe acted as if nothing big had happened and continued on. I tried to talk to her and explain I didn't appreciate having my hair pulled out. As she walked back to her play doh in the dining room I realized that sometimes I need to let things go. My kids are little. And while I am trying to teach them how to be good people, it doesn't all click in overnight. I cannot hold a grudge against them because they said or did the wrong thing. It is my job to teach them to be good, honest, respectful, loving people who do not hold grudges.

So next time they are being ridiculous, I am going to try and check in with myself and remember, THEY ARE JUST LITTLE KIDS. I need to keep my very high expectations in check. Before I know it, they will be grown and I will miss their precious innocence and imperfections. Hopefully I'll still have the hair on my head.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

New Tricks

The little guy copies everything his big sister does.  Although he can't say her name, he is rapidly increasing his verbal and physical abilities due, in part, to her assistance. 

The babe will stand next to the little guy's high chair and practically yell words she wants him to repeat: "SAY HOT," "SAY ROLL," for example.  He gets a kick out of it and so does she (and yes, those 2 words have officially been added onto his ever-expanding list).  That said, I know he is not speaking as much as he could BECAUSE he has an older sister who does all the talking for him. 

Another new trick is blowing kisses.  The only trouble is, he doesn't understand that he needs to actually move his hand away from his mouth after kissing it.  The intent is obvious, and that's what matters.  He also likes to do the "shhhh" gesture with his finger up at his mouth when it's time to be quiet.  It rarely works out that anyone is quiet around here when they're supposed to be, but it's very cute to see him try.

Monday, August 2, 2010

More Potty Talk

I suppose I should be happy the babe goes pee and poop in the potty on her own.  A while back, I would have never believed we'd arrive at a place where she can walk upstairs by herself, go to the potty, wash her hands, and come back down to re-join the little guy and I.  But here we are.  The only problem with our arrangement is that the babe never flushes the toilet.  Good for for the environment, bad for me.

Pretty much every time I run upstairs to use the bathroom I am confronted with a yucky looking toilet bowl.  The babe tends to do quite a few smaller number twos throughout the day and will just leave them floating there. 

Again, I know I shouldn't complain, but given the fact that I rarely get to use the toilet alone, it would be nice to actually enter a bathroom with a toilet that "appears" to be clean.

In the grand scheme of things...this is not a big deal.  I know things are going to get a lost more disgusting (again) when it comes time to train the little guy.  But for now, I'd love to be able to just sit down on a clean toilet and do my business.  Ah, to dream.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Cuddles

I have a good friend due to have her first baby at the end of the month.  Today she came by with her husband to pick up some baby stuff we're lending them.  I am glad to see it put to good use.  But it also made me realize I don't really need to keep all this stuff.  My baby is 19 months old now and will never need a little swing or bouncy seat again.

Thinking about it made me a bit sad.  It also made me long for the cuddles I used to get from both of my kids when they were babies.  There is a closeness you lose as your children grow, and I miss it.

So it's funny that on a day I was missing my snuggles, my son gave me such a special gift.  The kids went to bed a little later than usual tonight and my son was exhausted by the time I was getting him in his onesie and sleep sack.  I don't know how it happened but I ended up holding him and rocking back and forth while humming.  And he let me just hold him.  He didn't squirm.  He didn't try to wiggle out of the hug.  And he didn't push away from me with all his strength.  This lasted a few minutes, and it was bliss.

There's nothing like holding a little one in your arms.  A few years ago I wouldn't have believed that I could miss it.