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Showing posts from 2011

Now That He's Tasted Freedom...

Londo and I have been tossing around the idea of converting the Pookie's crib to a toddler bed. But when the Pookie wakes up in the morning, he sits in his crib for 30 minutes or more playing. He's confined and happy. I have time to get up and get ready before he's calling for me to get him. And it's hard to change something that's been working so well.

Or had been.

Over Thanksgiving at my inlaws, the Pookie slept in a pack 'n play in a guest room, as he always does. We set it up where we always do, next to the guest bed. It has a lovely wrought iron headboard and footboard, with the footboard about a foot away from the pack 'n play.

Can you guess where I'm going with this?

During the visit, the Pookie figured out how to climb out of the crib. He put a leg over the top and used the footboard to pull himself out. He showed us himself how he did it.

The pack 'n play is so low that it wasn't a problem. But we were concerned about what would happen whe…

Signs That They Are Listening, and Learning

We went to the inlaws for a lovely Thanksgiving. My inlaws have a big game room that has lots of toys and exercise equipment. One toy in there is a little ride-on/peddler tractor, which is fun for the kids.

One day, Londo and I were chatting in another room while the kids played in the game room. We heard a scuffle that ended with the Pookie crying. I let out a big sigh, Londo and I shared a look that said "here we go again," and I put down what I was doing. In other words, I didn't run in there to see what was wrong. I went, but I took my time. I figured it was another case of the kids arguing over a toy and whining and crying about it.

When I got to the door and looked in, the Pookie was sitting on the floor next to the tractor toy with the Pumpkin next to him comforting him. She had her arm around him and was telling him it was okay, that he was okay, that she was sorry.

I thought, maybe I was wrong; maybe they weren't arguing and crying over toys. Maybe he hurt him…

Happy Thanksgiving -- Four Years Later

I hope everyone who celebrates it had a happy Thanksgiving. I had a wonderful time, and I'm so thankful for so many things in my life. Including my blog, even though I have not been very active lately.

On Thanksgiving four years ago, I set up this blog and wrote my first post. Over the next four years, I wrote pretty regularly, writing down stories about my kids for posterity, creating poetry to reflect my feelings about motherhood, sharing the wonders and frustrations of parenthood with others going through similar life experiences.

Except for recently.

Lately, I just haven't been writing. I haven't been posting on my blog, on Facebook, on other people's blogs, on Twitter, anywhere.

It's not for lack of material, or even ideas about how to write the stories of my life. I often come up with ideas and write it in my head. I just don't type it up on the blog. It's not as if I'm busier now than I was before, considering how busy and sleep deprived I've …

To Tell the Truth

The Pumpkin has a very active imagination. She loves to make up songs, stories, names and, well, everything. She is taking drama class again this year, and she loves to pretend to be things. Most often lately she's wanted to pretend to be a teacher and I am the mom teacher, which is a cute idea.

She also loves to be silly and does things just to make people laugh. Part of her silliness is making up funny things, combining her love of thinking up things and being silly. She comes up with all sorts of things, and I'm constantly amused, as is Londo and the Pookie.

But it can be hard to figure out exactly what to believe sometimes. I know what she makes up when I'm right there (she is not really marrying her brother), and I can also guess quite a bit of what's made up about school (they do not have a classroom horse so they can learn about taking care of horses). But sometimes there are stories she tells that I don't know if they are true or not.

And just to keep me compl…

First Camping Trip with Kids

Two weekends ago, Londo and I took the kids on an overnight camping trip. That's right, this Family That Travels went to the woods! And stayed in a tent!

I may not seem to be a camping or outdoorsy type of gal, but I actually love the outdoors and really have enjoyed camping. I have very fond memories of camping with my family, and I had a great time going with Londo and friends when we were in grad school. The trips haven't always been perfect, but that's part of the point. It's not just that I like the idea of camping, it's that I'm willing to accept that "roughing it" may be rough at time!

On the flip side, Londo has been camping regularly his whole life. He has all this knowledge about living in the outdoors, and he gets more enjoyment from nature (especially woods and mountains) than anyone else I know. He has all the gear and then some.

We've been wanting to take the kids for a few years, but Londo was concerned that the kids were too young. T…

Question of the Week - The Things They Remember

I was driving the kids to school the other day, and we passed by a car that was pulled over by a couple police officers. My daughter said that the police were helping the person whose car was broken or out of gas. I went ahead and told her that they had actually stopped the car because the person in the car had done something they shouldn't have.

So of course the Pumpkin says, "Hey Mommy! Remember that time when the police man pulled you over because you were going to fast?"

Yes, yes I remember. But why must she remember? And why must she bring it up every few months? Grrreeeaaaat!

She doesn't remember the nanny we had for the first 2 years of her life and then the next year for her brother. She doesn't remember the last trip to the zoo. She doesn't remember having adenoid surgery and the wonderful care we gave her after. The girl can't even remember if she brushed her teeth 10 minutes later!

But she does remember the one time I got pulled over for going a…

Work/Life Unbalance

Well. Work just took over my life for a little while there. I mean took over!

For those of you familiar with software development, we were in the final stage of a major release. For those not familiar, software development tends to be cyclical, and at the end of a release cycle, things get insanely busy. That's when everything has to be tested completely, all bugs fixed and retested, all the help completed, all the code finalized and packaged and ready to be deployed. It's hectic. Some releases more than others. This one was a crazy one.

I almost sent out an SOS for chocolate and more software testers! (I wonder what SOS is in binary...)

Before kids, the craziness of the final phases of the release and release weekends was not as big a deal. Sure, I'd miss Londo when I'd work really long hours. Yes, I had to drop activities and housework. Of course I missed snuggling with my dog and cat. But it doesn't last long, and I can make up my time with everything else after t…

Dinosaur Shorts

The other morning I was getting the Pookie out of his crib and marveling at how much of a boy my 2 year old is. I said to him, "My boy, my boy! You are such a little boy now! What happened to my baby?"

He looked at me with his big, blue-green eyes and said the words I wanted to hear so badly, "I your baby."

"You are?" I just about squealed, as I nuzzled into his neck. "You're my baby?"

"Yeah," he nodded and he cuddled into me. "I your baby T Rex."

And you know what I said to that? "I'll take it!"

As my husband later pointed out, when the Pookie pretends to be Baby T Rex (a regular game of pretend in our house), he is especially cuddly. Also, I will take the cuddles and babying any way I can.

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My kids love dinosaurs, and not just as a rain coat. The kids regularly pretend to be dinosaurs, especially T Rexes and Baby T Rex. They like to stomp around and roar. They also have a couple of little…

Question of the Week - Quick Trips Out with the Kids

I hope you all had a good weekend. Here in the US, Monday was Labor Day, so we had a three-day weekend. It was a long weekend. A very long, LONG weekend.

We had just spent 6 weeks on summer break from school, and the first week back to my kids' preschool was only 3 and a half days. And then a three-day weekend. This is probably good for easing the kids back into the routine of school. But for us parents, we are just ready to be back into the school routine and not be so worried about what to do with kids who are getting bored at home.

We had hopes of going to the zoo one day, but I wasn't sure about my knee. I wanted to test my knee out, and I really NEEDED to get out of the house by Sunday afternoon, so we took a walk around the neighborhood. Londo pushed the double stroller on the downhills and uphills, which I found difficult with my knee. We aimed high on where we wanted to go, but my knee fell short. There was no way I was going to be able to make it to the far pond/lake,…

Monkey See, Monkey Do

My kids are two years and three months apart. This has been really good spacing for my kids (although it can be rough sometimes on us parents). They get along really well. This makes me more happy that I can adequately express. I know that this is not the situation for all families. And I don't know if it will last, but it's absolutely heart-meltingly awesome to see my kids play together, hug each other, care for each other and generally enjoy each other.

Of course, they don't always get along. They fight and bicker and scream at each other and mess with each other. They are still siblings, after all. And I never want to put some rose-colored view of parenthood on this blog. But probably 80-90% of the time, they get along really well. They love each, and they love to do things together.

The Pumpkin is the oldest at almost 4.5, and she is used to taking charge. It's not that she is bossy, because she's really not bossy at all. It's more that she comes up with …

Why Girls Wearing Blue Isn't Enough

My husband and I had an interesting discussion last spring about raincoats. Kids raincoats and the gender implications of what is socially acceptable for girls to wear versus boys.

In this discussion, we talked about how my daughter has a dinosaur rain coat. It was a hand-me-down from a family friend whose two boys had outgrown a bag full of clothes, which they gave us for the Pookie. But the clothing, including the really cute dinosaur raincoat, were in sizes 3T and 4T. The perfect size for the Pumpkin, who loved that raincoat the minute she saw it.

The Pumpkin has always liked dinosaurs, which we've encouraged as much as we've encouraged dolls. So there was no issue in either of our minds that we'd let her wear the raincoat and that it would be socially acceptable. In this day and age, it is most people don't think it's a big deal if girls wear blue and dinosaurs and play with cars and trucks and be into most of the same things that boys are.

But what about th…

Question of the Week - New Passions

I've been thinking about Jac and SarcastiCarrie's comments on my last post. Specifically, I've been thinking about how becoming a parent can bring out things we didn't realize we cared a lot about until we had children. Whether it's realizing we think more about feminist issues after having a girl as opposed to boy or about the institutional sexism of school systems that are geared towards girls over boys or even about high fructose corn syrup in bread, there are topics and areas of, well, life that simply didn't cross our radar until we had kids.

As I said recently, I've always been a feminist. I've even always been a bit of a hippie. But since having kids, I have become passionate about topics that I hadn't even thought about before. I'll bet you have too.

This week's question of the week is:

What have you become passionate about since having kids?

I've become passionate about feminism from a mother's perspective and how sexism w…

Expanding My Thoughts and Topics

I have been feeling a bit stiffled on my blog lately, and I think it's because I'm not writing some major things I've been thinking about. I'm skipping some serious topics that pertain to my parenting because of some arbitrary distinction I made when I started this blog to stay away from things that might cause arguments or controversy.

But you know what? I'm not in that place anymore. I'm not as sensitive from pregnancy and nursing hormones. I'm not as unable to put together complex thoughts on deeper topics due to sleep deprivation. The focus of my thoughts have expanded outside the limitations of getting babies and toddlers to sleep, eat and poop. Although they certainly include those thoughts, too!

I'm a feminist, and I would argue that most people I know are to some degree as well. Do you think that a woman should be paid the same amount as a man doing the same work? Do you know that your daughter can be anything she wants to be when she grows up?…

Question of the Week - Behind Closed Doors

As I said I would, I've been making a lot of trip to my parents' new beach house this summer. In fact, last week I spent the week there with both my kids and my mom (although we had to leave early because the Pumpkin got a fever). While there, I share a room with my two kids. Right next to the room is the bathroom we use.

I've realized that I feel very much at home there when I go in the bathroom to use the potty (yes, I call it that now all the time. Having kids, you know?). In fact as I go into the bathroom, I have to remember that I'm not at home and really think about who else is in the house. This is because I almost never shut the door when I use the bathroom in my own house.

I'm not sure if that's normal. It might just be because I have so little modesty. It's not like I ever shut the door before having kids, so it's not a forgetful-parent thing. It's just easier to leave it open. I feel less disconnected from my family members. And I just …

Sensory Sensitivies

She leans against the tile of the tub,
chin to chest, staring at the white
linoleum floor. Tears are streaming down
her rosy cheeks, her sparkley silver pants
are undone around her waist. She can't explain
exactly what is wrong. She can't find the
right words. She knows only that the pants
don't feel right, the waist hurts, she
doesn't like the buttons. She can't just
get over it, deal with it and move on.
In a hurry to get her to school and get
myself to work, I start to get frustrated.
But she stands there crying real tears,
and my mind brings me back to childhood.
I'm overwhelmed by a memory of a feeling.

(I lean back against the green chair,
eyes cast down, staring at the green-gray
rug. Tears are wet on my cheek, and I'm
kicking the pink shoes with white laces
off my feet. I'm so uncomfortable, frustrated,
upset that I can't explain what's wrong. I can
only cry and yell, insist it's not right. The
shoe isn't tight …

Some (of Many) Parenting Difference and Child Order

There is no question in my mind that child order plays a part in the whole nurture part of the nature/nuture equation. For the record, I'm a true believe in BOTH nature and nuture playing significant roles in childrens' personalities, temperment, behavoir and all that.

Since having the Pookie, I've been noticing some major differences in the ways I have taught things my first born and my second born. I would like to say I'm simply catering to the different ways that my children learn, but that's not it. It is definitely more a matter of child order and the fact that parenting two children is just different than parenting one. I am certain that parenting three or four or more would also be very different from parenting two.

For example, with the Pumpkin I would often ask her to recite things like numbers, the alphabet, words in other languages, animal noises, shapes, colors, etc. I would ask her all the time, and she loved to list the things she knew and answer an…

Question of the Week - Time for Projects

We are in summer break from the Montessori school that both kids attend. When we decided to put the kids in the Montessori school, we knew that there would be a 6 week period that we would have to cover somehow. Although the Pumpkin is old enough to go to some camps and the Pookie's previous daycare allows kids to come for a day or a week or whatever, those things cost money. And money is tight right now for us as it is for everyone else.

Luckily, Londo and I have wonderful, helpful family who live close enough to make kid coverage (mostly) work. My mom watched the kids one week, my MIL came up for another week, and they both will do other days coming up. In addition, Londo took the kids for one week and I will take them for another week. That will cover us for most of the 6 week period.

So that's what's been going on. It's quite a logistical feat, to get all this organized in a way that works for everyone, especially the kids. And things will come up to rock the boa…

Learning to Love the Beach

I love the beach. I mean, I LOVE the beach. It's my happy place, it's where I feel recharged, it's where I go in my head to escape where I am. (For example, when I was lying on a surgery table after 16 hours of labor, body shuddering and constantly dry-heaving, worried as heck about my baby who was not coming out, I turned to my husband and said, "I'm going to the beach." And I did. And then my little girl was born!)

I love everything about the beach. The endless expanse of ocean, the rhythmic crashing of the waves, the hot sun blazing down, the soft sand shifting beneath me. I enjoy lying down reading a book while I bake, sitting up under an umbrella watching the kids and people around me, standing in the surf while the waves come and go, and walking out into the water to dive through the waves just as they crest. I love it all.

I am a Beach Girl.

My kids, however, I'm not so sure about... yet. I'm pretty confident that I can turn them into Beach Kids…

Question of the Week - Pick an Era

I actually went out to the movies with my sister on Saturday night. I KNOW! I didn't think it was possible either, but events worked out in a way that we were both able to make it to a late show. And the stop at Starbucks for coffee made it possible to stay up to watch it.

We saw Midnight in Paris, which was a really good movie. Not only did I enjoy the plot and acting and directing and all that, but the movie focused quite a bit on the main character's (Owen Wilson) love of the 1920s (in Paris, no less).

I fell in love with the 20s back when I was in junior high. It wasn't just that the whole literary and artistic movements caught my fancy, but I became fascinated with the breaking away from traditional Victorian conventions to more progressive ideologies. Women were fighting for the right to vote, to wear short skirts, to be treated more equally with men. Automobiles were becoming a normal part of life, and changing every aspect of day-to-day life, from making traveling …

A Family That Travels

Back in the Spring, before my torn meniscus and knee surgery and before Londo's back started acting up, I declared to Londo that we were going to be a Family That Travels. Sure, we've always been a family that travels (minus the first 18 months of the Pumpkin's life when she screamed bloody murder when in the car and carseat for more than 5 minutes). But we were now going to be a Family That Travels!

My parents bought a beach house about 3 hours from our house, and I planned to go almost every weekend from May to September! I would go with Londo and kids, by myself with both kids, with one kid or even by myself. When the kids went on summer break, we would take some of the vacation time to go to the beach and to my inlaws and camping and visiting friends! We were going to be so good at traveling as a family, that we'd be ready to hit Europe next summer (if only we could afford it)! Our bags would be halfway packed at all times, our cars ready to go, our mindsets open fo…

When You've Had a Runner

Last weekend, my daughter and I had a girls road trip! We went up to visit a friend of mine (MommyEm) about 4 hours away (with no stops, traffic or GPS giving bad directions--in other words way longer than a 4 hour drive). Her oldest is 4, just 3 months older than the Pumpkin, and her youngest is 1. We had a really great visit, and the girls got along pretty well, after a transition and warm-up period.

Most importantly, I had a great time hanging out with one of my best friends.

We spent a lot of time talking about our kids, who have some similar "spirited" traits. But they also have some very key differences. As do our parenting styles. But we support each other and don't judge each other. We know that kids can be difficult, and parenting is hard. Most importantly, there are a million "right" ways to do things, both as a child and a parent.

There were a few things that we had different limits about that got me thinking. Specifically, there are three times I…

Question of the Week - Teaching by Example

This morning was I was on my own with the kids for the first morning since having knee surgery. Londo did get the Pookie out of his crib and watched him until he had to leave for work, letting me (and the Pumpkin who was in bed with me, of course) sleep as long as possible. Which was very helpful, considering I stayed up way to late last night because someone was wrong on the internet! (Love that pic, and thanks to @Cloud for linking to it in one of her posts.)

But I did stay up too late, and I was sore from the previous day, which was my first day back in the office including driving myself around. I was trying not to be grumpy, but I was. I snapped at my daughter and started walking away over her dillydallying instead of getting ready. After about three steps (hobbles with cane!) down the hallway, I realized I wasn't reacting well. So I took a deep breath, and said out loud so my daughter could hear, "I shouldn't have yelled. That wasn't right. I shouldn't lose m…

Just Say Yes, Of Course

The Pumpkin has been in a phase where instead of saying "yes" she answers "of course." Like most phases, it started out cute, but has become a problem.

At first, she just said it ocassionally. "Pumpkin, can I have a kiss?" "Of course!" It was adorable, and we would laugh. The girl loves to make people laugh. She said it in response to sweet questions, and we found it adorable.

But then she started saying it more, and it was a little frustrated. "Pumpkin, do you want milk?" "Of course!" She didn't say it all the time, but just enough to cause Londo and I to sigh. How would we know if she wanted milk? There was no "of course" about it.

I'm sure you can guess what happened next. She started saying it all the time. So much, that it has started driving us crazy. "Pumpin, are you going to do what I've been telling you to do?" "Of course!" Now, she was using it in ways that were in way "of…

Re-Thinking This Year's Vacation

Years ago, my dad (and mom) and I (and Londo) decided to buy a timeshare at a nearby beach from a family friend. It is a duplex with a deck overlooking the 9th green of a golf course, and has 3 bedroom, 2 bath, a kitchen open to dining area and family room. We would have it for one week and the end of May/beginning of June every year. It was a good size for us and our plans to grow the family. It was a set week every year, so that my dad and I could plan on our vacations way in advance.

This worked out perfect for me and my dad. I didn't have to worry about finding a place at the beach and coordinating the week and location and price and everything else, because it was already taken care of. It had access to a parking lot right on the beach with a clubhouse that included a bathroom and cafe. It was right on the golf green, and an easy walk to the golf course's clubhouse. There were lots of amenities that both my dad and I were very happy with.

Though it wasn't a good time …