Friday, September 23, 2011

Poop Goes in the Potty

This is just a quick post to brag about the fact that my son did not poop in his diaper yesterday. That's right. He did not poop in his diaper.

After lunch he informed me that he had poop coming and we rushed to the potty. It was a grand success. And before bath time he informed me he had more poop coming and we rushed to the potty. Another awesome experience.

It was a big poop day, and the fact that it all went into the toilet was quite monumental. I think I like our no pressure potty training approach. It certainly is much less stressful than the alternative.

And in case you were wondering, today ended up being a non-poop day. So we will just have to wait and see what happens tomorrow.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

All in a Day's Work

A few weeks back the babe and I were attending her classmate's birthday party.

As with all birthday parties we attend, I had brought her a special treat to make up for the fact she couldn't have the birthday cake the other kids were bound to be eating in her front of her.  Usually this plan has worked.  Sadly, it didn't work at this party.  When it came time for snacks and cake, the babe came to me crying.  She couldn't eat the sandwiches the other kids were eating and didn't get to indulge in the brownie cake that followed.

I felt so terribly bad for her.  I have always been impressed with her ability to deal with eating different food than the people around her.  I thought that since we've been aware of her allergies since she was 5 months old, that she was used to eating different food.  What I am now realizing is that almost 5 year old girls don't like to be different.  What they want is to eat the same cake as everybody else. 

As you may recall, the babe has outgrown some of her allergies and can now have eggs, sesame and baked milk.  While this opens up many doors, parents are never able to tell me the ingredients of what they are providing at birthday parties.  They don't know if the party food may contain trace amounts of peanuts.  They don't know if there is butter in the icing.  They don't know if the food was manufactured on equipment which is used to produce tree nut products.  And I don't want to take any chances.

Anyway, yesterday I spent an hour going through the list of snacks that are provided at the babe's school.  For over 2 years, I have sent her snacks in with her and she has eaten different food than the other kids at snack time.  I decided it was time to reevaluate this system and go through all the items that are served and read all the labels I could get my hands on.  I came up with a solid list of the foods she can have at snack time, and a list of those which she is not to be served.

I have put some faith in her teachers and in her by doing this.  I have lost some control.  But for the first time the babe was able to share in snack time with her class yesterday.  She was thrilled she got to eat what everyone else ate.  And I got to feel like I had done my job as her Mama.  It certainly feels good to make some progress.  It also feels good to know that my daughter is one step closer to culinary independence.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

That First Cafe Au Lait

My friends, I am happy to announce that the day I have been eagerly anticipating finally arrived.  Yesterday I dropped the babe off at her school, drove over the little guy's school, dropped him off, and drove to the coffee shop.  I sat down, by myself, and ordered a cafe au lait in a bowl (because I was going to be sitting down for a while) and a croissant with gooey melted cheese and ham.  It was simply marvelous, marvelous, marvelous.  I got to sit for 45 minutes uninterrupted and read the "express" newspaper and my very engaging book, Bel Canto.  I had waited almost 5 years for that moment and it was pure bliss.

Now, lets rewind to last week.  On Tuesday the 13th, the little guy started school.  He was so excited as we pulled up to the building.  He kept yelling, "my school, my school!"  The class was a buzz with activity, and all of us parents were staying for the session which went from 9:30 to 11:00 am.  I was proud of the little guy's independence and general interest in getting his hands on everything he could, as fast as he could.  He also rocked the sand box and was the first one in with the trucks.  I had a good feeling when I left at 11 am. You know the kind of feeling you get when you realize you made a good decision (doesn't happen much, right?).  Well that's how I felt.  I was thrilled the little guy is going to be spending 2 mornings a week in this very fun and loving environment.

Then came Thursday....this was the day when parents didn't have to stay.  I knew I was going to be taking off as soon as I felt the little guy was OK.  What I didn't realize was that he was going to feel OK the second he walked into the classroom.  I literally had to beg my boy for a hug good bye.  Again, I left the building feeling secure and happy.  I have volunteered to be the school's newsletter editor this year, which meant I had a meeting to attend that morning.  So while I was without children for a short window, I was not doing anything special (i.e. selfish) to mark this new phase of my life. 

Special came to me yesterday. 

While I don't envision spending 2 mornings a week drinking cafe au lait, I am looking forward to all the little things I will be able to take care of in my 5 hours of freedom a week (which includes drive time, sadly).

Here's to all the possibilities!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I Remember

This week I had to explain to my daughter what happened on September 11th, 2001.

It's not something I planned, but when the opportunity arose, I decided to share a few details with her. She took in the information I provided and said she wanted to see pictures. I knew there would be a lot of media coverage of the 10 year anniversary and thought it was best if she had a base understanding of what had occurred on 9/11. In her 4 year old brain she processed that planes had crashed into numerous buildings on the same day.

I honestly had never thought about when I would have to explain the events of 9/11 to my kids. I never planned what I would say and what I would not. But when a DJ on the car radio started discussing the upcoming anniversary as we drove to school, I knew the time had come. The babe was sitting so innocently in her car seat and started to ask questions. Despite the fact that I closely monitor my children's exposure to mass media, my daughter wanted to know the story.

Today, after sneaking up on me in the living room while I was watching the news during "nap time," she followed up and asked me why it had happened. I told her that I honestly didn't know and that many people have asked the same question. I did not explain to her that planes crashed into numerous buildings and a field because of a few evil men. When is it ever OK to explain that to an innocent child? I did tell her that today is a day to remember the people who died (not that that is easy to digest, either).

Tonight as I watch the television coverage of the anniversary, I have been consumed with memories of what it was like to live in New York City in September of 2001. In some ways it seems like so long ago and yet right now, as I watch the horrible images flashing across my screen, it feels like only yesterday. Nothing has ever touched me as deeply as the days following 9/11. I continue to count my blessings on a daily basis, but wish I was better at remembering how precious each and every day is. As we learnt 10 years ago, one day can change everything.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Back to School

I never thought we'd make it to September 7th, but we did.

On our last full day together, I decided to take the kids to the Museum of Natural History to see how the dinosaurs are doing (they're fine, by the way).  We had a great time and I felt like a good Mama for getting off my posterior and driving downtown in the rain.

Wednesday morning rolled around and we were all ready to go.  Everyone but the little guy.  He knew we were bringing his sister to school and wasn't ready to say good bye to his summer play mate. 

The school was complete mayhem with parents and little people crowding every available space.  There were a lot of new faces floating around, including 2 new teachers in the babe's classroom.  We got my little girl situated and said our farewells.  She appeared to be thrilled to be back in her class and immediately started touring around with one of her best gal pals.  Very cute.

What wasn't cute was the little guys sad face.  As soon as we said good bye to the babe, the little guy started pouting, "I miss Coco, I miss Coco."  I suppose after spending 7 weeks straight with his big sister he was not prepared to go back to the old boring routine with Mama.

As we left the building I had a big smile on my face.  Despite the fact that the little guy was sad, I was happy.  I noticed a pregnant woman and her husband standing outside the school.  He was rubbing her back and she was staring in the school window crying.  I stopped for a second and wondered what was wrong with me.  Is that the kind of reaction I'm supposed to be having?  After a moment's reflection, I remembered that I'm just not that kind of Mama...I am the kind of Mama that smiles after dropping off her child at preschool.  Granted, it is her third year, but I am pretty sure I did not shed a tear after dropping her off for her very first day. 

Anyway, the little guy survived the separation and the next day he got to visit his new classroom and meet his teacher.  It went smashingly well and he seemed right at home.  He starts school 2 mornings a week this Tuesday and I think we're both ready.  We'll see if I'm shedding tears on Thursday when I leave him there on his own for the first time.  Somehow I don't think I will be.  After 5 years of full time Motherhood, this temporary freedom will no doubt be a delicious treat to be savored.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Summer

I have just survived what possibly could have been the longest summer of my life.

Don't get me wrong, there was a LOT of awesomeness.  But frankly, it was a LOT of work.

I can't tell you how many times I've heard "How was your summer?" over the past week.  I have been smiling and saying, " Great, thanks, how was yours?" 

I suppose in passing people don't really have time to get into it, but really, let's be honest, a summer with 2 kids and no camp is intense.  Really, really intense.  As you may have guessed, there wasn't a whole lot of time for blogging.  And I truly missed my blogging.

Some of the highlights of the past 7 weeks include:

Lewes, Delaware, otherwise known as "The Beach":  I am now able to confirm that the ocean is indeed only 3 hours from DC.  It is beautiful and blue and I love being by the water.  My kids were beach bunnies and loved the scene.  To call it a vacation, however, would be a tad inaccurate.  I think what I have realized is that you can't really have a "vacation" when caring for 2 kids under the age of 5.  They need to be fed 3 meals a day plus snacks, they expect to be entertained most of the time, and they tend to go a bit batty with their sleep schedules when pulled out of their familiar home routines (like getting up at 5:30am).  I was more tired after the beach than before the beach, but frankly, it was totally worth it. I love the ocean and I think it loves me too.  I also love my amazing friend A who came down from NYC for the crazy beach trip and made everything more happy on a daily basis.  I could not have done it without her.

This was our regular "spot"

I sat in this chair for an hour staring at the water and it was the best hour of my entire summer.

Montreal, Canada: The kids and I spent 5 days in lovely Montreal visiting my Mother in Law (MIL).  We saw good friends, ate delicious food (home cooked Indian food or bagels, anyone?), and got to regroup after our ocean adventure.  My MIL has saved all of my husband's toys from when he and his sister were kids.  You remember the Fisher Price airport, garage, school bus, etc?  Well she's still got them, and my kids get a serious kick out of them, as do I.  Hours of fun.  

Ottawa, Canada: This was a 2 week visit with my folks which featured hanging out with family, friends and more family and friends.  We went to some awesome parks (my favorites are Andrew Hayden Park and Britannia Beach Park), visited the Experimental Farm, Valley View Little Animal Farm, and got to swim in my parents pool on an almost daily basis.  The babe was even lucky enough to score a trip to the Canadian Museum of Nature with her sweet Uncle A (my brother).  Many good times were had by all, including my stomach which seems to have expanded after being on the road for a month.

The lovely view at Andrew Hayden Park

Britannia Beach

We saw a lot of very cool animals at the farms we visited.

By the time we took off back home, I had managed to see friends from my childhood, high school, university, and my NYC life.  I saw almost every Aunt and Uncle I have.  I saw my brother and his lovely fiancee.  And I felt like we had had a darn successful trip to Canada.  Luckily we managed to fly back to DC the day before Hurricane Irene hit the area.  And luckily our travels went smoothly, which is a lot to say when road tripping across the border for a cheaper flight and flying alone with 2 kids.

So, how was your summer?