Sunshine

04/21/2011 at 9:44 am | Posted in Belly to Butterfly | 1 Comment
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(This post was written by my sister Laura, who authors this lovely blog).

Every night as I rock O to sleep I sing to her, “You Are My Sunshine.”

As I was doing our usual routine last night, song included, I thought about the words…at least the ones I know (i.e. the chorus)…and how they’re so fitting for where O’s at these days.

Last night at dinner, she didn’t feel like eating, or didn’t want what we were serving, or whatever else was going on in her head, so she threw her fork at me.  This was after she turned over Sandwich’s water bowl for the umpteenth time and then sang a chorus of “no’s” before I could.  This morning, when she woke up, I went to give her my customary kiss and got her hand to my mouth and a high-pitched “no.”  Yesterday she sat on my lap, as she loves to do, but this time I wasn’t allowed to touch her with my arms or hands…I was merely her La-Z-Boy.

It’s hard to have patience. It’s hard to not take it personally.  It’s hard not to put her out on the front stoop as I do with Sandwich when he’s clawing the couch.

I don’t really feel like talking much else about it because I know what it is and I know how important it is for her to be here, developing her independence and testing the waters, but it still stinks.

So, to O, as she gets ready for another day, I quietly say,

“You are my sunshine.
My only sunshine.
You make me happy when skies are gray.
You’ll never know dear how much I love you.
So please don’t take my sunshine away.”

Under-eye roller, I love thee

03/30/2011 at 9:20 am | Posted in Belly to Butterfly | 8 Comments
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(Belly to Butterfly is written by my sister, who authors this lovely blog).

I am all for the organic craze…milk, eggs, apples…if we can afford the organic option, it’s in our cart.  I even tried sticking to a chemical-free beauty regimen but when I found myself (and those circles under my eyes) feeling blah & unattractive I reached for science.

Honestly, I knew there’d be some changes after having a baby, but I thought I’d lose the bump and go back to being (and looking like) me.  Not so lucky…and probably not so realistic.  There are still signs of pregnancy mask on my face, my hair is thinner and has all these little bits that like to pop up (and sometimes even curl a little) and now that I can sleep on my belly again my eyes are two puffed dragons…minus the magic.

I recently got my hair cut and when Christie (looking annoyingly cute with her makeup and funky cut) asked what I wanted I simply replied, “I want to look like I care about my appearance without actually having to do anything.”  She came pretty close and my new best friend, Paul Mitchell, and his thickening spray gets me the rest of the way.

You know what it really comes down to for me…wanting to feel good about myself, even pretty or at least interesting looking, while also being comfortable.  This is a tall order and even taller when you have a toddler underfoot & my workday involves sandy parks and climbing up narrow ladders in a pirate ship.  But it’s important to feel good about yourself and to even have fun with what you were given.  I like expressing myself with clothes and although it takes a little more time and energy, I want to start putting more thought into it.  Because when I do, I feel good, and when I feel good, I feel like me.

 

Reaching 18 months…two months ago

03/16/2011 at 8:49 am | Posted in Belly to Butterfly | 2 Comments
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(Belly to Butterfly is written by my sister, who authors this lovely blog).

As is the way of my world these days we were late for O’s 18 month checkup.  Regardless of these immunization milestones (can I get a “Hepatitis A…whoop whoop!”) she is still cranking along and adding new talents to her 36 ¾” frame.  Right now she:

– likes to take your hand and lead you to spots only she can fit (i.e. wedging us into our closet seems to be her favorite).

– pats her bottom to let us know she’s pooped and then takes off running when we attempt to change it.

– loves putting stickers on herself and promptly tearing them off…she can frequently be found with a horse head or cow foot stuck to her shirt.

– taps the ground where she wants you to sit…often so she can read a book or play with a toy near you…heaven forbid you should actually want to read the book or play with her.

– is a slide addict…we go to weekly tumbling only for her to spend the majority of the time on their slide which in turn makes me wonder why I’m paying for tumbling when we could just go to the park.

-says “mum” instead of “mom” (I think she’s just as excited for the royal wedding as me!) and holds lengthy conversations (that sound a lot like “bzzz, bzzz, bzzz”) with you where you feel like a complete idiot for not being able to understand and thus, properly respond.  We do a lot of “no kidding!” and “tell me more” trying to buy time…although I think she’s on to us.

Dear TV

03/08/2011 at 9:42 am | Posted in Belly to Butterfly | 1 Comment
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(Belly to Butterfly is written by my sister, who also authors this lovely blog).

Dear TV,

I’m sorry I was such a snob and pretended I was a better person for not watching a lot of you.  I hope you didn’t take it personally when we downgraded our cable package.  We certainly miss those higher channels…it was us, not you.

I wanted to thank you for the little moments of peace you bring into our daily lives.  You know that little creature that likes to stand right in front of you and smile at her reflection?  Yes, we know sometimes she licks you…we’re not sure what that’s about. Well, anyway, she is awesome but she can cause us to want to pull our hair out sometimes…like when we’re making dinner and can’t figure out a way to hold her and open a can simultaneously.  So being able to plop her down on the couch and turn you on is a lifesaver.  My Dad recently put it best, “As long as it’s a means to an end, and not the end.” Because of you, she can dance, clap, learn numbers, colors and why you shouldn’t bite Foofa, instead of trying to remove sharp knives while we’re emptying the dishwasher.

Now, if we could just find a way to get Sports Center and HGTV without paying $30 more dollars a month we’d be the happiest bunch on the block.

Sincerely,

Laura

Ps. We’re really, really sorry for those times Sandwich peed on you.

The Solution (Part 2)

01/12/2011 at 10:36 am | Posted in Belly to Butterfly | 5 Comments
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(Belly to Butterfly is back! YAY. These columns are written by my sister Laura, who also authors this lovely blog. To read Part 1 of this post about being a stay-at-home-mom, click here.)

There isn’t one.

Ha!

Okay, maybe there isn’t one big sweeping answer to the challenge of being a stay-at-home-mom…if there is, please email me.  There are lots of little answers and I uncover more as I go along.

I’ve signed up O for a Mother’s Morning Out program.  It’s 4 hours of freedom in exchange for O to run around with kids her age and pick up as many of their germs as possible. She’s only cried once so far when I’ve dropped her off, and I’ve only cried twice.

My parents graciously give up a piece of their much deserved retirement to hang with O once a week.  I try to jam in a month’s worth of to-do’s and to-wants in that day.  The evening prior I’m giddy with anticipation of eating my lunch ALONE and in peace.  (Tina Fey’s fantasy ala “Date Night” of being alone in a quiet hotel room having lunch and a cold Sprite hits the nail on the head.)

2011 is going to be more structured…hopefully.

The worst thing you can do as a stay-at-home-mom is have no game plan for the day.  It’s a loooong stretch from 6:45am to 1pm. Long. We’ve got MMO, my folks, Tuesdays with Small Fry, tumbling Thursdays and swimming with San & Small Fry Fridays.

I just have to figure out how to get her to take a 5 hour nap or retain an ounce of my energy at the end of the day to job search, write, sew, cook, clean, and stay sane.

Again…a small solution arises…Carter gave me a gift certificate to my favorite coffee shop with a nearing expiration date and coupons for free childcare.

All I have to say is, “Tall latte, hold the toddler.”

The Situation (Part 1)

01/11/2011 at 2:41 pm | Posted in Belly to Butterfly | 7 Comments

(Belly to Butterfly is back! YAY. These columns are written by my sister Laura, who also authors this lovely blog.)

Having an 18 month old child is all about attention and need. She wants my attention at all times and I need a break.

I’ve been asked by various people lately what my day is like as a stay-at-home-mom. In a nutshell, we: wake up, eat, dress, find some activity/errand/distraction until lunch, play some more, nap, snack, play, dinner, play, bath, comb hair, clean ears, read books and bed.

All throughout the day I attempt to fulfill all of O’s needs, a lot of her wants, and most importantly, try and anticipate them before she gets ticked off. It’s kind of exhausting in this weird way. You don’t really realize how much energy you’re exerting until you’re nodding off during the dancey-dance on Yo Gabba Gabba.

Truthfully, I hate the way I sound and think when I say I need a break…it seems so selfish and silly. But it’s hard being somebody’s everything…or at least their a-lot-of-thing. Sick? I’ll drink some Emergen-C and carry tissues. Bad mood? I’ll wear a smile for you and take deeeep breaths. I’d rather sleep in past 6:30am? No problem, I can make you breakfast instead. I want to check a quick email? Yes, let’s look at that video of you and Small Fry at the beach. I need to pee? Sure, you can stand next to me and pat my leg. I want to take a minute to decide what shirt to wear so I feel a little less Ambush Makeover worthy? Let’s pull all of my shirts out and throw them on the floor …fabulous idea!

I miss weekends where there’s an end to my work week. It all blends together until I realize I’m totally spent, physically and mentally and it doesn’t really matter what day it is because I’m still working.

When Carter comes home it’s a big relief because now there’s another pair of eyes and ears. So when O’s trying to kiss the cat on the mouth or she’s standing on the toilet to reach the tissue box, I’m not fully responsible for the scratch or the tumble. But still, it’s not completely a break because she wants me when she does tumble and she wants to show me what they’re playing with or what silly Daddy is doing now.

Moms get the best and the worst of their children. She wants me all the time and she wants me…all…the…time.

16 weeks: things that make me happy

12/01/2010 at 3:30 pm | Posted in baby sunshine, Belly to Butterfly, pregnancy | 12 Comments
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hot chocolate
Christmas tree smell
Trader Joe’s iced gingerbread cookies
Small Fry’s big-girl bed
Cyber Monday
holiday tunes (especially when Small Fry requests “don’t pout, don’t cry”)
toasted bagels with butter
twinkle lights
New York trip on the horizon
orange juice over ice
advent calendars

What’s on your happiness list this week?

Monkey see, monkey do

10/12/2010 at 9:27 am | Posted in Belly to Butterfly, Small Fry, videos | 1 Comment

 

Small Fry loves her cousin. And Baby O thinks Small Fry is the bees’ knees. Despite the occasional toy-sharing scuffle, these two are thick as thieves. Laura caught an awesome moment at the beach, where a little game of imitating each other brought out big laughs. Do you not just want to bottle up O’s giggles and carry them with you all day? Too much!

Such a girl

09/23/2010 at 8:27 pm | Posted in Belly to Butterfly | 3 Comments

(This is part of the Belly to Butterfly series, written by my sis Laura.)

I hear the phrase “such a boy” a lot and instantly know that I’m supposed to understand that said boy is: energetic, a daredevil, active, athletic and in general a handful.  However, the phrase “such a girl” usually carries a more negative connotation in my mind and in the conversation following. Not to get all militant feminist on you guys, but I kindly disagree.

First, there’s Clara, one of O’s neighborhood pals.

Clara’s favorite game for a while was to run at top speed with something (usually her hands or a blankie) covering her eyes. She kept getting a knot the size of a silver dollar on her head to the point her mom worried about the state of her brain. Then there’s Adah, also a friend of the ‘hood.  In her opinion you can’t push her hard enough or high enough in a swing. She likes to fly! Just this past weekend at an outdoor music show, her dad was tossing her and hanging her upside down while all moms in the vicinity cringed.  Then there’s O whose favorite toys right now include a dump truck, yellow ball and the hand-me-down garage Small Fry is sharing.  (This is by choice…O also has access to dolls, stuffed animals, fake food and I’ve tried getting her to use the real vacuum once or twice to no avail.)

I know that some things are innate for the majority of us and I’m trying to be more proud of my nurturing and domestic tendencies and not see them as fulfilling a stereotype or letting down Gloria Steinem. But I also know that my daughter loves to explore, is a hot mess when she can get her hands on some dirt, doesn’t stop moving to the point of sheer exhaustion for everyone but her and watches with envy and delight when she sees her friends tumbling, running, bouncing and in general, terrifying their moms.

How about we call a truce and say she’s “such a kid!”

Walk this way

09/14/2010 at 8:36 am | Posted in Belly to Butterfly | 4 Comments
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(This is part of Belly to Butterfly, written by my sis Laura. Thank goodness! I’ve missed these posts. Haven’t you?)

I haven’t written in a while and I’m not quite sure why….there’s been plenty going on…maybe that’s the reason.

O is 13 months going on 75 years (in the form of a reincarnated babbling, feisty old man who needs help but doesn’t accept it easily). All she wants to do is walk, and climb, and walk some more.  Only catch is…she can’t walk yet (at least not without two of my fingers for confidence). It’s exhausting! Lord help us if there are stairs in the vicinity…the workout would put Jane Fonda to shame.

To give you an idea of how frazzled I’ve felt lately, I’ve actually been waking up (on purpose!) earlier than her (we’re talking 6:40am) so that I can have a chance to eat my cereal, drink some juice and pee in peace.  Desperate times my friends.

The two ways I get a break during the day (outside of her naptime…which we all know isn’t really a break but more of a mad dash to complete all the things you can’t when she’s conscious (as Carter noted this weekend, “When she’s around everything gets half done.”) is by taking her for a walk in the stroller or by sticking her in the car (who knew getting gas or depositing a check could be so relaxing!).

Otherwise, when we’re at home, my job is to keep her in one piece…at 5pm when Carter gets home, the torch is passed.  (Just recently we had to disassemble Sandwich’s travel crate because O got stuck inside…although good to know that she fits.)

I don’t know about you but that 6 hour stretch between her wake-up time and nap time seems like a looooong few hours when you’ve got a kid who can’t play on her own for more than 5 seconds. The kid wants to walk, and if you don’t go in the direction she’s leaning towards, she’ll plant her body and bend until you have no choice but to follow her lead or end up in a twisted, sweaty heap on the floor.  If this happens, it’s best to just stay down…play dead.

I think I’m becoming a hunchback.

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