Thursday, January 31, 2008

second kids

Another observation on how second kids get the short end of the stick. First children, at least Elisabeth, got baths every other day. Second children get a hasty wipe down with a wet wipe every other day. What, I wonder, happens to third and subsequent children? I mean if basic hygiene gives, what other basic necessities get compromised?

more later. screaming Charlotte.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Elisabeth read the word "cake" today and made me get all teary eyed. It could have been luck, but she's been working really hard on sounding out words. C's always screw her up - c is for cookie but c is also for "certain." We were doing the activities in her National Geographic for little kids magazine, and she said "C-A-K-E, ccccc. cccaaaa. cccaaaakkk. CAKE!" It was pretty amazing.

But these days you can tell when she's unsure of whether she's doing something right or not. She doesn't want to do it in front of you. After she did the "cake" bit, I asked her to read "cow." She said "I don't want to do that right now." so I asked why, and she responded with her favorite saying these days, "I don't want to talk about it." My 2 year old, going on 14.

Yesterday, two of the kids in her preschool class got put into time-out. I always ask if anyone got put into timeout on the car ride home because, well, that's where all of the interesting stories are. Who cares if you painted with brushes or your fingers - I want to know if anyone got hit, bit, slapped, or pinched. Yesterday, though, she said "I don't want to talk about it." Hmmm. I wonder what she means by that... So I asked when she'd tell me about it, and she said she'd tell me "after bedtime." You better believe that at 7am this morning I asked her about it! She did not get put into timeout, you'll be happy to know, but another little boy and a little girl did. The little girl has had quite a few timeouts. She's a notorious hitter. Elisabeth says they weren't sharing crayons very nicely and had to have a timeout. Oh to be 3.

Oh, and Elisabeth demanded her own "picking-up" ceremony last night. We saw one at the Korean birthday party that we went to. She decided she'd put money, books, and a ball on the mat and then she would crawl over and pick up all of them. So - I'm not sure what that means. I think it means she has a great career ahead of her as a dictator or corporate CEO. Any other ideas? Oh and she got quite agitated this morning when she realized we had cleaned up her "picking-up" ceremony mat.

The writer's strike really needs to end. I'm sitting here seriously contemplating whether or not I should watch "Paradise Hotel" on the UPN next week. The answer is obviously no, but the mere fact I'm contemplating it indicates serious issues with the world. I mean, I'm not going to watch it, but you know some suckers are - and more suckers than would if the writers didn't have to strike. And then these poor people who watch the show will have to see all of the wretchedness of society. And they will in turn become wretched. So, really - the writers' strike is affecting society as a whole - sending us all to hell in a handbasket. So bring back my Grey's Anatomy already!!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My day so far...

I slept until 7:30, which is terrible. I need to get up and start studying at 6:30, but I was up with Charlotte 3 times last night, so I was exhausted. At 8:30, Doug and Elisabeth left for preschool and I tried to put Charlotte down from her nap. Whatever demon has left Elisabeth has entered Charlotte. It occured to me this morning that perhaps it is the exersaucer, and maybe its really an exorsaucer. It exorcised Elisabeth's demons, but put them into Charlotte. We got out the saucer around the same time Charlotte's behavioral issues began and Elisabeth's stopped. Hmm.

Anyway, I knew my day was not going to go well at approximately 8:45 when Charlotte was (a) still awake and (b) screaming as though she was getting 52 vaccines. This, by the way, makes me feel a LOT less sympathy for her when she cries when they give her shots. If you can gauge pain and level of being tortured by the type and volume of screams, then shots aren't as bad as some naps. It took me 45 minutes to get her to sleep and then the little turkey slept for 25 minutes. This is the hallmark characteristic of a bad day around here.

So I got Charlotte up and fed her as I struggled to get through my Barbri contracts lecture. Charlotte was far more interested in my pen though, which has left me with some interesting notes - and her with some interesting blue ink on her face. Then off to fetch Elisabeth at preschool. Elisabeth, being the planner that she is, had placed her juice box holder and the ipod next to my purse so that I wouldn't forget to bring her a juice box and bring her music. She has a very good memory, and gets really upset if she can't listen to her tunes in the car.

We get to school and go fetch the elder beast. She's had a wonderful day at school but promptly melts when I tell her we're not meeting anyone for lunch. Luckily (!!) she had reminded me about the juice box and I knew she'd cheer up when she saw that I "remembered." So in the car she went. At which point she started asking me about the foam animals she received for Christmas. When Charlotte was born, Lindsay gave Elisabeth these little capsules that you put in water and they expand into foam animals. Elisabeth loves these little things and we use them as rewards for getting in the tub. As a bonus for the parents, we are now quite skilled with tweezers as we've had to remove more than a few from the jacuzzi tub jets. I got her more for Christmas. Or rather Santa did. Anyway, she starts talking about getting a foam animal tonight. And I said, "see - mommy can do something right, I got you those foam animals!" bad, bad comment.

E: "noooooooo Mommy, SANTA got me those animals. Why you said you got me those? Santa got me those. You been kiddin'?"

Me: "oh yes, I been kiddin'."

E: "why you been kiddin? Santa got me those things, why you said you got them?"

Me: "hey - look its Wendy's! Let's get hamburgers..." (at this point I think I might have even given her crack to change the subject)

So now, I'm supposed to somehow remember what Santa got her versus what I got her? I'm going to have to come up with an algorithm that allows me to retroactively determine whether the item in question is one that Santa gave her or me. I am growing to hate Santa. He gets all of the credit for my good presents. The only good thing about him is the daily call I can threaten to make about naughtiness. Here we are almost to February and that is still working.

Anyway, we got Wendys and then everyone went for quiet time. Heaven forbid anyone sleeps. Charlotte was upstairs, screaming again. I started to smell something funky and went upstairs to find Elisabeth covered in Disney Princess lotion. Too worn down to even yell, I just took what remained of the bottle and left. I mean, the worst that can happen is she lotions up the floor, walls, bed, and all stuffed animals, right? After the poop smearing incident, this I can handle. So I just closed the door, came back downstairs and listened to some contracts. Charlotte is not asleep, but not screaming. Elisabeth is quiet, which more than likely means she is in fact lotioning up the room. But for 10 minutes of quiet - I'll take it.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Polite Elisabeth

Elisabeth has undergone a radical change in the past month. We've gone from 15-20 timeouts per week to zero. I guess she is bottling up the crazy and the angst and stowing it away like a squirrel for the teen years. She used to get really ornery if you asked her if she needed to use the potty and she didn't. The orneriness (new word?) grew with each passing time you asked her until she got so mad that she peed her pants. So the pee pee timer was born. We carried it around with us everywhere we went and when the timer said it was time to pee - it was time to pee. She seems to understand that you can't really argue with an inanimate object.

After the transformation, though, she's just so much more pleasant. This is evidenced by her response when you ask her if she needs to pee: "No, I don't. But thank you very much for asking. It was very nice of you." She said it to Doug last night and to me this morning. It is very hard not to laugh.

I just baked 10 peaches to puree for Miss Charlotte. They smell delicious.

And now for some pictures.:

This is Charlotte doing her best impression of that kid from the Christmas Story.

This is how Elisabeth fell asleep a few nights ago. it was too precious. sometime you forget they're just little creatures.

This is what dinner time looks like at our house. The funniest part about this is that I had no idea Elisabeth was making faces. I was trying to get a picture of Charlotte taking the bowl away from Doug. Ah the chaos.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

really long and probably dull entry.

I'm sitting here listening to a mind-numbingly boring Constitutional Law lecture remembering back to my Con Law class in law school. The professor instilled a deep fear in me. I hated that class with every fiber of my being. Everyone in that class remembers the moment when we found out the Professor was scary and mean. It was within the first 10 minutes of class when he walked in, didn't introduce himself, just started talking and started by calling on .... ME. Now, I sort of enjoy the banter between law students and professors that is called the Socratic Method. Lots of people hate it, but it caused me to be prepared for class (fear of humiliation), and I really do enjoy that sort of thinking on your feet while scared out of your mind.

But it was not fun with this guy. He never once smiled. Not once. And, he asked questions that I'm pretty sure you could not possibly get right. I've never been in a law school class where not one but TWO people who got called on sat there quietly, making no eye contact with the professor, saying nothing at all - as though they were hiding. He has a seating chart! He knows who you are! You can't just sit there quietly. And these two sat there for, I kid you not, at least 30 seconds in total silence. While he stared right at them, and they stared at their laptops. It was terribly uncomfortable. And then, not one to shy away from this sort of slap in the face, he called on each of them at least 3 more times during the term. This was years ago and I still get sick to my stomach thinking of hearing my name come out of his mouth.

But the bar/bri con law lecturer - wow. I hope (??) I have hit the low point of studying for this behemoth of an exam. For such an inherently interesting topic, I have had really bad luck with lecturers.

Yesterday we went to a first birthday party for Doug's college roommate's son. The family is Korean, and apparently first birthdays are a really big deal. We had an excellent meal at Woo Lae Oak (restaurant in Tyson's). At the end, they put the birthday boy on a mat and put different objects around him (money, a pencil, a golf ball, and some other things I can't remember). He went for the golf ball. Twice. I don't know what that means, I assume he has a life path of becoming the next Tiger Woods.

Elisabeth was SO good at the party. She had to sit on my lap for 2+ hours while we had this meal. She is really such a good kid. So well behaved - in tough circumstances. 2+ hours of sitting at a table with almost all adults, eating sushi and other foods that she hadn't ever seen before. I almost get weepy thinking of how good she was. Being proud of your kid is an amazing feeling. I'm particularly happy that she's willing to try new foods. I didn't even know what a lot of those things were. The only food she absolutely wouldn't eat was anything with fish or shrimp in it. I guess maybe there is a genetic component to that since Doug won't eat anything that comes from the sea (or lakes, or rivers) - except curiously, canned Tuna. And there's a rumor that he used to eat fish sticks.

Charlotte has had a rough few days. Apparently she thinks that she only needs one hour total of naps per day. I don't know what changed between Tuesday (when she needed approximately four hours of naps) and Wednesday. But I hope she reconsiders because she's royally grumpy with just one hour of naps, and I'm well past grumpy and on to moods requiring expletives to adequately describe. I'm hoping that this aberration in her normally good sleeping pattern is from teething, emerging new skill, and/or growth spurt (I blame these three things for all negative behavior from the age of 3 months all the way up until 3 years old and counting).

Oh, we DID have a milestone today! Elisabeth learned how to send email. She can find my name on Doug's google chat, then get to the "mail" button, type her name (or Mommy or Daddy), and hit send. She already knows how to launch a web browser and get to google mail, so really she can do the complete loop. Doug has stuff set up on his computer so that she knows how to turn it on, launch a web browser and get to either,, or google mail. She can navigate to her games on the first two sites, and to emails her Gram has sent her on google mail (emails with links to puzzles or e-cards). I think she also knows how to launch the picture viewer. And, well, last week she figured out how to print. one of her Nick Jr. games has a way to make silly looking monsters. Then in the upper right hand corner, there's a picture of a printer. She apparently hit that button, jumped down from the table, went to the library/playroom and grabbed the printout, came back, held it up to the screen and said "look daddy - it matches!" We're thinking of loaning her to our neighbors to teach them how to use their computers.

For those of you keeping track - 30 more days until bar exam!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Costco, my Costco

Words cannot adequately express my love for Costco. They feed Elisabeth and me lunch for free about once a week. They sell everything you could ever need there, for cheap. It is a place that Elisabeth actually gets excited to go (as measured by the speed in which she gets herself dressed - Other kids' houses >>>> Costco > Safeway >> Post office). We wander around and entertain ourselves by looking at stuff, people watching, and of course, eating at the food stations. The kid can spot free food from a warehouse-length away. Today we came home with a huge haul. We might not get to go back for two weeks, and this makes me sad.
Look what I found when I went to check my transcript today (post Costco trip)!

It is just good to have confirmation of this fact, as I sit here and plow through days on end of bar study. It is like one never ending stream of stuff that I will never remember as of February 28. Hopefully I will not be re-learning it in June. Elisabeth is very excited for when I take the bar. She gets to watch movies in the minivan on the way to Norfolk. This is just about the highlight of her life. Then when we get to Norfolk, she want to take the bar exam with me, so she can "do tricks on it, like at gym class." (insert your own obligatory joke on how she's probably more likely to pass it than many of the other candidates, myself included)

Elisabeth is constantly harassing Doug to tell her stories. He makes up elaborate stories about a little girl named Elspeth, who has a baby brother named Charlie. Oh, that Elspeth. She gets into all sorts of trouble. As any of you with children know, they can drive you out of your mind crazy. She must ask him to tell her a story 20 times a day. Yesterday, he said he didn't have any more stories. She replied: "Yes you do, there's one right there in your throat..."

Thursday, January 24, 2008

As I previously mentioned, Elisabeth has been growing more and more interested in Spanish. Problem is, she's stubborn. And thinks she knows everything. Case in point - she's been learning please and thank you in Spanish. She said, "mommy, can I have some juice por favor?" So I told her that she could. She responded with "gracias. granada." I tried to explain that I would be the person to say granada, and in fact it would be de nada. "No, mommy, GRANADA. I want to say granada. Its granada." Why argue?

The poor woman who cleans our house* heard me butchering her native language by trying to read these library books I got for Elisabeth. They are half in English, half in Spanish. I actually heard her snickering in the other room. We struck a deal. She is going to read to Elisabeth in Spanish, and I'm going to help her study for her citizenship test.

This morning, I sat down on the bed in our bedroom and felt that something wasn't right. I got up quickly and realized that I had sat on the cat. I said "oooooh!" (you can't hear me, I know, but it is a sort of high pitched, nasally, oh my gosh, did I kill the cat rhymes with "eeew" type of expression). This, of COURSE, piqued the interest of Elisabeth (who was entranced by Zoe and Abby fighting over a ball on Sesame Street). "What Mommy? Why you said oooooh! What happened? Did you do something? What did you do? What Mommy?" Now, the smart mother would have just let her continue her littany of questions, uninterrupted, until she either forgot what she was saying or had to pee. Not me. I interrupted her and said, "oh, I thought I hurt Willy (cat)." She said, "how did you hurt Willy? why mommy? why did you hurt Willy? huh? Mommy?" Again - I stupidly interjected, "I accidentally sat on him. He's ok." And then she, I kid you not, put her hands on her hips, looked at me very seriously and said, "Mommy. We're not supposed to sit on the cats."

In other far less exciting news, I finally got my grades in from last semester and now I can say with certainty that I graduated law school. And I have one more month of bar study. I think that I can make it, but all bets are off as to whether I'll pass. Ooooh and I get to go to Costco tomorrow. I love Costco.

*: the woman is not literally poor. however, she is "poor" in two senses. First, she has to clean our house. She loves to make things look nice, and well - sometimes that just isn't possible around here. She makes our bed look luxurious if you crop out the piles of crap that exist on each side of it. She probably goes home and wonders how we live. Our master bedroom is quite literally getting overrun with piles of children's clothes and maternity clothes that need relocation. But, she will never know how much I truly appreciate her. Second, she is "poor" because she has no idea what is about to hit her when she tries to teach Elisabeth anything!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The difference between first and second kids

I know everyone talks about this, but yesterday it struck me particularly hard. In some way I feel bad for second kids (because of things like the story below) and in some ways, they're luckier. They have older siblings to feed them cake when they're not old enough, and to jump right near their heads nearly killing them - which inevitably reduces the otherwise cranky baby to fits of laughter while costing her mother years of her life. Second babies also have the benefit of more relaxed parents. It is very rare that I nearly lose it with Charlotte. Elisabeth beat that out of me. Here's what made me think about this.

Elisabeth rolling over:

Me (when Elisabeth was about 3 mos old and every day thereafter until she was 6 mos old): "Get the camera, I think she's about to do it..."
Doug: "Yep, I think she is..."
90 times later: "SHE DID IT! WOO HOO!! Send the video to everyone we know, and perhaps post it on YouTube so that the world in general can see what a star our baby is..."

Charlotte rolling over:
Me (puts her down on the carpet, amongst the dog hair, without a blanket): "Charlotte, I'll be right back, I have to go put your sister in her room for her nap."
C: (with ridiculously cute grin, kicks her legs innocently, not knowing her parents never EVER left her sister alone anywhere)

5 minutes later...seeing her across the room from where I left her...

Me: "huh, I guess you can roll! We'll tell your daddy when he comes home. In the meantime, perhaps we shouldn't play with power cords." (note the complex command - I start them early...)

Elisabeth's every move was video-ed and photographed. We have great fodder embarassing her in front of future boyfriends. Charlotte, on the other hand, well - apparently she can roll over. Time to baby proof again. This is my least favorite part of parenting. I have a fondness for unrestricted movement in my own house that baby gates inhibit. And if I want to stick forks in the sockets, I don't like having to pry a piece of rubber out of it first.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Preschooler coping mechanisms

I recently picked up two books at the library on raising strong willed children. I quickly took them back because I didn't like them. One made it sound like all strong willed children will grow up to be serial killers (not cereal killers, Elisabeth's got that one down pat as evidenced by the fine layer of cereal dust covering everything we own). I don't think that Elisabeth's strong-willedness is bad, I just needed a way to deal with it. Dealing with it is probably the subject of another, less humorous, post - but suffice it to say that whatever snit she was in for the months of October, November and December has passed and she has returned to her wonderful self. No, instead, I think being strong willed is something to embrace (some might say I'm a bit strong willed).

One thing that I did find interesting out of one of the books was a suggestion that you give your child single, simple commands. So instead of saying, "Look, you need to put your shoes on because if you don't put your shoes on then I'm going to have to come over there and put them on you and then you run the risk of me snatching you bald headed...," you should say "put your shoes on now." The reasoning is simple - kids of such a tender age don't understand complex commands. I don't buy it. Some kids do understand them, and mine is one of them. However, as with all parenting books that I've read, I have now developed a sort of complex over giving Elisabeth complex commands. Not that this stops me from doing it, I just live with a collection of complexes.

Elisabeth seems to have developed two main coping mechanisms for dealing with me (I have an entire toolbox of coping mechanisms for dealing with her not the least of which is red wine...). Her first is to say "what did you say?" She doesn't say this because she doesn't understand, she says this because she doesn't like whatever it was I said.
Me: "Elisabeth, I need you to come over here and let me brush your hair..."
E: "what did you say?" (3 feet away from me)
Me: "I said, I need to brush your hair, get over here."
E: "what did you say?"

Maddening I tell you.

Her second one doesn't make me mad, it cracks me up. "Yes or no." Used to clarify an ambiguous answer. Also used to catch you doing something you shouldn't be doing. Here are two recent examples.

Baby Gate:
E: "mommy, what was that sound?
Me: "Daddy bumped into the baby gate..." (that was leftover from when my niece visited)
E: "why?"
Me: "I dont know... it was in the way."
E: "we're not allowed to touch the baby gate."
Me: "no, YOU're not allowed to touch the baby gate."
D: "I just brushed it when I walked by."
E: "Daddy, did you bump the baby gate - YES OR NO" (I wish text conveyed tone of voice, but imagine your mother saying this to you and you'll begin to understand).
D: "uh, yes?"
E: "DADDY, we're NOT supposed to touch the baby gate."

And to bring this full circle, one more example from today:

E: "Mommy, can I have a juice box?"
Me: "Well, you already had one today and you only get to have one a day."
Me: "No."
E: "What did you say?"

Monday, January 21, 2008

I've got a deal for you...

Elisabeth loves to make deals. The types of "deals" that a preschooler comes up with, though, are VERY one-sided. She'd make a great politician.

Yesterday, our neighbors called to see if Elisabeth wanted to go play with their little boy. Now any of you with children probably know that kids take forever and three days to get ready. Getting ready to get out of the house goes like this:

Me: "come on Elisabeth, time to get ready to go to the grocery store."
E: "I don't want to go. Why don't you go and I'll stay home?"
Me: "Because they'll arrest me."
E: "arrest you?"
Me: "yes, we've been over this before. the men will come and take me away and put me in jail."
E: "like Curious George?"
Me: "Yes, exactly like that, now put on your pants."
E: "I don't want to wear pants. I want to be a grownup so that you can go to the store without me."
Me: "too bad. do you want me to count to 3?"
E: "no." (reluctantly puts on pants)
Me: "OK, now find your shoes" (E scampers off)
Me, a few minutes later: "WHERE ARE YOUR PANTS?!?!?!"


So, it turns out that when your kid has the right incentives, they can get dressed at crazy fast speed. That kid had pants, a jacket, socks and shoes on before I had gotten off the phone. And off we went. Our yard is still covered in snow so instead of cutting across, I suggested taking the long route - down our driveway, down the street, and up their driveway. We got halfway up their driveway when I remembered that we had forgotten the two snack bags of Cheeze-its she had picked out for herself and her friend. Any of you with young kids know that forgetting something of this magnitude is just asking for a major meltdown. So I told her that we had forgotten them and asked if we needed to go back and get them. Of course we did. So back down the driveway we go.

Not three steps in, she stops in her tracks and says "Just wait a minute, Mommy. I have a deal for you. How about YOU go get the Cheeze-its and I'll go inside and wait for you. Is that a good deal?" To which I replied, "NO, that is NOT a good deal at all. A deal is when both sides get something in return. Going to get your Cheeze-its in the cold, by myself, doesn't give me anything." So she thought for awhile and said, "so, I have to go with you?" "YES." "Never mind, I don't want Cheeze-its. Maybe Gavin has something I can eat."

In other news, I am either the world's worst mother, or Charlotte slept for 6 straight hours last night. She was coughing at 12:45, so I got up to feed her (after feeding her at 10:45). When I came back, I turned down the monitor. Maybe I was a little annoyed at having to feed her every 2 hours for the past two weeks, maybe I turned it down a little more than I intended? Next thing I knew it was 6:30 and I was waking up from the most blissful 6 hours of sleep I can remember (it has been since at least June 2007). I have no idea what happened in those intervening hours. Doug thinks she slept. I think she screamed and we didn't hear it. Perhaps sometimes the ends do justify the means???

Saturday, January 19, 2008

and a picture...

Last post for today. here's a picture of Elisabeth and Charlotte. Let this be a lesson to all of you - don't let me cut your bangs.

Charlotte's first food

Lest you think I have completely forgotten about my other child: Charlotte got to have her first bit of real people food yesterday. If you can count organic oatmeal ground to bits and mixed with breast milk as real people food. She seemed to like it. However, I think she'd prefer to just suck on the bib. We were actually considering just putting the oatmeal on the bib and feeding her that way instead of with a spoon.

Elisabeth helped feed her which was pretty cute. Gotta watch that kid though - she'll shove a huge spoonful all the way down her throat. And then this morning she said "now Charlotte can have cupcakes!!!"

Also, Charlotte is about 95% of the way towards rolling from back to front. Any day now. And, she was up on her hands and knees yesterday. I'm fairly sure that was by accident but I looked over and about died. She cannnnnnnnot crawl for another, oh, 3 years. How will I chase 2 of them????

Power outages

Kids really don't get power outages. We lost power for two hours on Thursday evening due to weighty snow knocking down trees into power lines. I was in the middle of making macaroni and cheese for Elisabeth and her cousin Annaleis (ok, in the beginning of...). Elisabeth kept asking me if it was ready yet, and was incredibly irritated with me when I told her I couldn't finish making it. She beseeched me, "Mommy PLEASE turn on the lights..." Try explaining power lines to a three year old. She just doesn't get it, especially because the power lines are buried in our neighborhood, so she can't actually see them.

Me: "Do you know what electricity is?"
E: "Yes." (she knows what everything is)
Me: "when we plug things into the wall, we're getting electricity to make things work."
E: "like the puter?"
Me: "Yes, like the computer. But sometimes the electricity breaks, during storms and lots of snow. And then we can't use things that plug in."
E: "Put new batteries in, Mommy"

Once it started to get dark, it got more fun for her. She has a little lantern that her Gram gave her for Christmas, to go with her little sleeping bag. She thought it was great that we could eat by lantern light. It wasn't quite as fun for us adults (my mother, sister also named Elisabeth, and me) when Elisabeth carried her lantern wherever she went. Finally I went to find us some flashlights so that we could have light even when Elisabeth went to the playroom. Elisabeth wasn't super thrilled that she couldn't carry around the flashlight ("but, I'm very strong, Mommy...").

Around 7pm, Doug came home. He had been in Miami since Tuesday morning, so needless to say, Elisabeth was incredibly excited that he got home. She jumped into his arms, squealing with delight. He asked her what happened to the lights.

E: "They're broken."
D: "Did you break them?"
E: "Nooooooo, I been a good girl."
D: "Then who broke them?"
E: (in a very low voice that she thought we couldn't hear) "Aunt Elisabeth..."

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Elisabeth's Red Ribbon

I have officially become a sappy mom. Elisabeth graduated from gym class today. To the tune of John Williams' Olympic themesong, she climbed up onto the stage (made of mats), received her ribbon and proudly yelled "Taaaaawn DAAAAAAAA" I have to admit I got a little teary eyed. Of course, I get teary eyed whenever an Olympic athlete gets their gold - darn that John Williams and his evocative compositions.

It is amazing what something as simple as a little red ribbon does to kids and parents. Elisabeth carried it around like her most prized possession until she got another prized possession (french fries from "Chick-a-lay"). She showed me all of the letters on it. She showed me again. She showed the other kids, who cared more about their own ribbons much to her dismay.

What the little red ribbon does to parents is even more amazing. Parents who previously sent their nannies to gym class came today, cameras in hand. Mothers, fathers, grandparents - they were all there. I calculated a 2.2:1 ratio of grown-ups to kids. And each person had a camera. That's right - there were 2.2 cameras on each kid.

Other parents are interesting to watch. Not that we're perfect by any means, but some parents in that class are the poster children of bad parenting.

I earned my red ribbon too. I graduated from mommy 'n' me classes! Finally! I'm not sure which was more exciting - graduating from law school or graduating from gym class with Elisabeth knowing that from now on I get to sit and watch Elisabeth do gym class while I sip on a latte and knit (at least until Charlotte is 18 months old). They didn't actually give me a ribbon though. Tightwads.

That stuff we don't eat for dinner

E: "Mommy, can I have something?"
Me: "What?" (somewhat gruffly, because nothing good ever comes after this question)
E: "That stuff."
Me: "What stuff?"
E: "That stuff that we don't eat for dinner."
Me: "What in the heck are you talking about?"
E: "That stufffffffffffff" (slightly whiny, mostly irritated tone)
Me: "Well, I just don't know what you're talking about and have no clue what you want."
E: "I'll show you..."

(walks over to chair, drags chair to pantry, opens pantry, stands up and pulls out a Reeces peanut butter cup...)

E: "THAT stuff we don't eat for dinner."

She can't remember the word "dessert" to save her life.

Monday, January 14, 2008

"I found Jesus!!"

Oh the joys of Fisher Price Little People. My mother gave Elisabeth a Fisher Price Nativity Set for Christmas. We let her open it at Thanksgiving so that she could play with it in context of the Christmas season. The set is really nice, it has a stable, a baby Jesus, a manger, Joseph, Mary, a whole slew of animals, three wise men, and two angels. When you combine those people with the Noah's Ark set and the Farm set that she already had, we have about a hundred animals. She is so creative when she plays with the animals. She lines them up and then makes them jump off of the coffee table because they've been bad, or she lines them up and makes them have a parade, she has them talk to each other, they chase the angels - it is all very cute to watch.

When she opened the Nativity Set, she immediately developed a fondness for baby Jesus. This is probably because of Charlotte. Baby Jesus in his manger looks an awful lot like Baby Charlotte in her papasan style swing.
Here's the evidence:

Baby Charlotte (excuse the flower costume)

Baby Jesus:

She immediately took the Baby Jesus and put him under her shirt and pretended to be pregnant. She drug Doug into the play room and said "quick! I'm having a baby!" He dutifully went with her and witnessed as Dr. Mickey Mouse, Obstetrician assisted in the birth of Baby Jesus. And then, remembering back to when I had Charlotte and she stayed home with Grandmommy - she made Doug re-enact the entire scene. He had to pretend to be Elisabeth and Minnie Mouse was Grandmommy bringing her to the hospital to see me. What does she remember most about meeting her new baby sister, you might ask? The jello. The nurses had just brought me my first post-surgery meal - and I was starving. A big bowl of yellow jello. And did I get to eat any of it? nope. That, my friends, is the kind of sacrifice a mother makes for her kid.

So anyway, baby Jesus got lost. This isn't a surprise, it is a sheer miracle we can find our shoes sometimes. Elisabeth has a memory like none other, though, so it is a little surprising when she loses something. Doug and I have decided this is because she has way more available memory than he and I do - we're constantly swapping whereas she's a blank slate. So she lost Baby Jesus somehow. A week or so went by. We were sitting in the family room doing something and we hear, from the kitchen, in the most excited tone you can imagine, "I FOUND JESUS!!! MOMMY!! DADDY!!! I FOUND HIM! I FOUND JESUS!" We went running, and there she was proudly holding little Baby Jesus in his manger. We tried to conceal our laughter, but really - that just isn't possible sometimes.

I'm pretty sure this isn't what my mother had in mind when she sent her a nativity set...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

one of those days

Yesterday was one of those days. I can't even craft humorous anecdotes about it. I darn near lost my head. Poor Charlotte is sick, and teething. This meant she didn't sleep at all. I study during naptimes. So in addition to being frustrated by having a screeeeeeeaming baby, I didn't get anywhere near my requisite study hours done.

on a positive note, she is definitely sitting up now. I know this because it is physically impossible to help Elisabeth go pee on a big potty in a restaurant while holding Charlotte. So I set up the diaper changing pad on the floor (it was a really nice floor, if that makes you think of me in a better light...) and set Charlotte on it praying she wouldn't flop over. Luckily for everyone, Elisabeth did her business and we both washed our hands before Charlotte fell over. So that's how long she can sit up.

ok, that is all. back to real property. the law of mortgages - arg. did we really study this in property class? I have no recollection of it. later today, family Costco outing. Perhaps returning with an elliptical machine for the basement. Also perhaps returning with sanity, although - this is definitely less likely than returning with exercise equipment.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Waiting on the world to change...

The other day I had the radio on as we drove home from lunch. We normally listen to only children's music (by demand of the little dictator). But that day she must have been either tired or otherwise off of her game. I was completely zoned out, not really hearing whatever was on the radio. I keep hearing Elisabeth saying "why he's waiting? why? why he's waiting? why?" (kids repeat things an average 573 times - I don't even hear the first 560 times anymore). So I listen and its John Mayer's "Waiting for the World to Change"- try explaining that concept to a kid.

E: "Why he wants the world to change?"
Me: "Because things aren't going so well for him right now."
E: "What's not going so well for him mean mommy?"
Me: "Well, he's unhappy."
E: "Why he's unhappy?"
Me: "I don't know. War maybe."
E: "What's war?"
Me: "Its when two countries fight."
E: "What's a country?"
Me: "like the United States or Mexico."
E: "Like in the Beer in Mexico song?" (I kid you not)
Me: "Yes."
E: "So why he's waiting?"
Me: "He wants to be happy."
E: "Oh, ok. I'm waiting too."

So now this song has become one of her favorites. I downloaded it on iTunes and we dance around the house to it before lunch every day. Upon further reflection, it is an appropriate song for an almost 3 yr old. She spends a lot of her time waiting for her world to change. Waiting for the numbers on the clock to read 7-0-0 so that she can get up in the morning. Or 3-1-5- to be released from the prison that is her bedroom for quiet time. or for me to stop typing and play with her. Or for Daddy to come home. Oh to be 3.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Parent-Teacher Conferences

Yesterday I added parent-teacher conferences to my parenting resume. Elisabeth started pre-school this year. She goes two mornings a week. Being that this is her first real foray into the world, being with other kids on a regular basis, I was very curious to hear what the teacher had to say. In all honesty, I was expecting:
  • "Elisabeth is quite a leader.... no - not in the presidential sense, think more like benevolent dictator..." - Elisabeth is very sweet, but she also thinks everything should go exactly as she says it should.
  • "she certainly has energy..." - ask anyone who has visited our house - Elisabeth can wear anyone out.
  • "wow, you had a second one"
  • "have you considered a therapist? No no, not for her - for you?"

What I actually heard was quite nice. In addition to the extraordinarily important milestones "can paste appropriately," and "can string beads," Elisabeth received high praises in every category. She is apparently very nice to the other kids, which I was thrilled to hear. She can sometimes harass other kids by being bossy. She was described as "enthusiastic." I pushed the teacher on this (to see if it was a nice way of saying "insanely crazy") and she maintains that this is a great thing. She said that Elisabeth is the only one in the class who likes every activity. I guess she makes the teachers feel good about themselves when an activity flopped. "Well at least Elisabeth liked it."

Elisabeth has been very interested in learning Spanish in the past few months (thank you Dora, and Rosita from Sesame Street). She has completely exhausted my knowledge of Spanish (except for the curse words and other choice phrases my Mexican friends taught me at MicroStrategy). I am heading to the library later in the week to get her some Spanish DVDs. Her teachers were really interested in this love of Spanish. It turns out they got a new little girl in the class. This little girl speaks only Spanish. The other little girls in the class are twins, and their nanny speaks to them in Spanish. So now there are three little girls conversing in Spanish, apparently, and Elisabeth is the odd one out. I'm glad that she seems to be handling this by endeavoring to learn Spanish and not by biting or hair pulling (pre-school defense mechanisms of choice).

All in all, my first parent-teacher conference was good. It is nice to hear that people think highly of my child. I mean, of course I think she walks on water - but it is good to have independent confirmation of this fact.

In other news - Elisabeth's new bed came today. I'm learning about Virginia Wills for the bar exam. Charlotte is on the verge of sitting up by herself, and is drooling like crazy from teething. And yesterday Elisabeth spelled her name correctly, all by herself, for the first time.

See? I told you it was an exciting life. Tomorrow perhaps I'll tell the slightly irreverent tales of Elisabeth and the Fisher Price Nativity Set.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Welcome to my ever thrilling life. I blame Heather for dragging me into the blogosphere. But just think of all of the wonderfully exciting things that you, the reader, have to look forward to. There are tales of a two year old "making muffins" out of such exciting ingredients as shredded paper and poop, tales of how I successfully defended my bird feeders from ground squirrels, tales of bar prep, tales of knitting, and let us not forget, tales of the idiots that I tend to encounter more often than an average person. I'm not sure what this higher than average rate of idiot encounters says about me, but I choose to believe it is that I'm more observant than most. And have worse luck.

So stay tuned.