Saturday, March 26, 2005
grandma visits red riding boots*
My MIL is in town this weekend. Now, I know that most of you probably read that sentence and thought I was going in a different direction. But I'm not. I love my MIL. She is the bomb.
Not just because her presence here means that landisdad and I get to go out to see a movie, or something. Not just because it means that someone else is here to occupy the Bumblebee, who will otherwise spend the entire weekend calculating the amount of attention she is getting versus the amount that her brother is getting, down to the fraction of a second. Not just because she brings us cool presents from France, like this lovely new purple tulip pin that I'm now sporting. All those things are important.
But the number one reason that I heart my MIL? She is a bright, funny woman who I love to talk to. She's a retired professor, and she is tremendously supportive of the careers of both my SIL and me. She spends half her life in France, living with her partner (who's got Parkinson's and is too sick to travel here), and the other half living in lower Manhattan, in her fabulous loft off of Union Square. In short, she has the life that I want to have when I grow up.
She always has interesting stories to tell. She's a polyglot. When landisdad and I were in a pre-married state (aka, "living in sin," according to my own mother), we visited her in Europe on her dime. She got us into closed exhibits at the Louvre by pretending we were her research assistants.
I grew up in your garden-variety US suburban broken home. Now, I'm a firm adherent to the Anna Karenina school of thinking about unhappy families, and I'm not saying that my dh didn't have his trials in childhood and early life. But he spent his entire third grade year living in Holland. I spent my entire third grade year doing I don't know what exactly. But it wasn't memorable the way that his was.
I've told my dh, and I think it's true, that I ended up with him because of all the men I've dated, his parents had the most successful post-divorce relationship that I have ever seen, and I knew that if we got divorced, it would end up being okay for our kids. It's not that I'm thinking of getting divorced. It's that what I came out of my unhappy childhood realizing was that you always have to have a backup plan. And it's better to have a backup plan that you never use, than to need one and not have one.
But I digress. The point is, my MIL is having a conversation with the Bee right now about what will be the appropriate age for the two of them to go to Paris together sans parents. A conversation they have had repeatedly since my MIL made that promise to her as they watched Madeline four consecutive times on the day that the Sweet Potato was born. BTW, if you are the parent of a pre-school girl and do not own the Madeline video, go out and rent it immediately. Frances McDormand is absolutely brilliant as Miss Clavel. (Why, incidently, is she Miss Clavel, and not Sister Clavel? She's obviously a nun in the Bemelmans books.)
How come I didn't get to go to Paris with my grandmother when I was ten?
*okay, dh totally made this line up. sh, don't tell him I stole it.
Thursday, March 24, 2005
red boots. Disco is not dead.
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
spring is finally here
I'm so excited today, because it feels like spring is finally here. The first official day of spring was rainy and overcast here, and didn't really feel right. But today, I've got the windows open and the heat off, the sun is shining, and it's in the 50s. And good weather is the friend of moms and dads everywhere.
Part of my excitement about spring this year is that I found some really good bargains on outdoor toys for the kids--we bought a used slide for the SP, and a huge used pink playhouse for the BB, for about $300 less than we would have gotten them for new. And outdoor toys means outdoor play. And outdoor play means that no one is whining and complaining about how I'm not paying attention to them, because they have something interesting to do. Of course, it does raise the likelihood of scabbed knees, and the BB took a really bad spill about two weeks ago, with major bleeding, etc. But overall, it makes for a happier family.
As I was walking the BB to school this morning, she was telling me how she's happy about spring too, because it means she can wear more skirts and dresses. For some reason, she hates to wear tights, so she spends almost the entire winter in jeans, but once the spring and summer rolls around, that girl lives in skirts, skorts when I can force them on her, and sundresses (when it's hot). I was sort of wondering if this was going to be the year she grew out of that, but I guess not.
Thursday, March 17, 2005
time to give them up?
I have a confession to make. I'm still wearing nursing bras. My son has been weaned for nearly a year (much too early, but thanks to the nerve medicine I had to take when I had shingles), but they're so comfortable, I just can't give them up. I look at them in my drawer, and they're all ratty and horrible. Then I look at the other bras that I own, and I shudder when I think about the underwire.
It's a little weird to write about this, knowing that my blog has two readers, and one of them is a man (hi daddychip!, thanks leggy!). But it's been on my mind lately, so what the hell.
When I found this style of nursing bra, I remember going into the store to buy more and telling the saleswoman that I loved them so much that I could do ads for them. And normally, I'm not big on conversing with salespeople at all, much less about my breasts. But the thing is, I'm a plus-sized woman, and there just aren't a lot of bras that are comfortable for us.
When I was younger (and skinnier), I used to mostly wear sports bras. But as far as I can tell, only the Marquis de Sade is designing sports bras for the overweight. I own some sports bras that have more hooks than a corset. They hook in the front AND in the back. Now, there is no bouncing around in these bras--they are very effective in the support arena. But in my day-to-day existence, I don't really want to feel like I'm trying to pass myself off as a soldier in the Revolutionary War.
But the reality of the matter is, I'm done having kids, and I'm done needing a nursing bra. Why, oh why, can't Maidenform make something this comfortable?
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
lost like Xanadu
At 2:30 this morning, when I was cleaning the puke up out of my daughter's bed, I had a great idea for a post. Not a post about vomit, a post about something interesting. Then I was fortunate enough to go back to sleep, and didn't write it down first. So you're stuck with this mess.
DH and I had the conversation that I hate this morning about whether she was sick enough to stay home from school, and if so, who was going to stay with her. Usually, this isn't really a problem. We tend to switch on and off on days home from school, and he did it last time there was a sick kid, but hell, I was unemployed for three months, and he never had to stay home with a sick kid then. So today turned into a kind of whining session about who had more important things scheduled, and who couldn't afford to take a day off because of their many important projects. (I should clarify--we never have this conversation in front of the sick child, lest s/he feel like we are both not wanting to stay home with him/her.)
Needless to say, I lost, largely on the precedent of him doing it last.
But I have my revenge, as my boss just emailed to tell me that he wants me to go to California in April. I'd almost be excited, if it weren't for the fact that I will spend the whole time there in meeting hell. But still, if there is call for some 2 a.m. puke cleanup, I won't be doing it.
Friday, March 11, 2005
Working too much, Part 1
My new job has become permanent. Hooray me! I'm excited and a little afraid. Because in the same week, I had to ask another mom to take the Bumblebee to an activity that I couldn't drive her to, due to having to work.
I have such conflicted feelings about the work-parenting split. On the one hand, I like working and I really like what I do for a living. I feel like it makes a difference to people, and I help to improve people's lives. On the other hand, I have a job where I occasionally have to work nights and weekends, and that means missing time with my kids. It means that sometimes, when I call my daughter to tell her good night on a night that I am working late, she sobs into the phone, "Mommy, I need you!" And I have to tell myself, "she's with her dad, she's loved, she just needs sleep," to keep from rushing home and tucking her in to bed.
The Sweet Potato isn't verbal enough yet to tell us how he feels, but he does tend to throw himself on the floor dramatically if he's not getting enough attention.
When I decided to have a child, I knew that I would have to make changes in my worklife. I was the kind of person who would work 10 hour days routinely, and I knew that wasn't sustainable. When the BB was born, I became the kind of worker who is out the door at 5:00 on the dot, most days. I would work late maybe once a month. Then I changed jobs, and I had to work a few more late nights a month, and since then, I've basically been in a position where I work one or two late nights a week (but if I work two in a week, I don't work late at all the next week). DH is basically on the same kind of schedule, and while it requires frequent calendar check-ins, it's been sustainable.
The thing that has changed this year is school, and with it, after-school activities. When both kids were in daycare, one of us would pick them up at the end of the day, and then we'd all eat dinner together, have our family time, and put the kids to bed. If one parent had to work late, the other could handle the routine pretty easily. This year is so much more complicated. There are two pickups now, instead of one (since the BB can't go to the afterschool program at the SP's daycare, due to location.). And there are after-school activities that the BB wants to participate in. Things that happen at night, or in the late afternoon. So far, we've mostly been able to work it out, but I can see that I'm only a couple of steps away from becoming the mom who's always relying on someone else to carpool. It helps that I am working at home, because some of the other moms know they can call me during the day if they need something. But it still sucks for my kids.
Monday, March 07, 2005
is the shoe store a special circle of hell?
Perhaps because I was suffering from sleep deprivation, I decided yesterday to take both of my children to the shoe store. Alone. As in, without another parent or responsible adult. On the way to the store, I told the Bumblebee (recipient of my shoe largesse) that she was getting a new pair of sneakers. And that after that, she had a choice (call it the Bumblebee's Choice, a la William Styron). The choice? Either buy another pair of shoes (and with her Carrie Bradshaw-like shoe fetish, this would invariably be a pair that I would never buy, and would damage her feet for life), or go to the Build-a-Bear Workshop. Which led to the following:
Head into kid shoe aisle. "Mom, all these sneakers have ties. I don't want to tie my shoes!" Tough it out, kid, there's no velcro here. "Mom, these shoes are all UGGLLYY!" Rejection of approximately 1,000 pairs of sneakers. Where's your brother? Find the Sweet Potato happily unboxing several dozen baby shoes. Throw all baby shoes back into boxes. No, not the boxes they came in. Yes, that is the kind of mother/consumer that I have become. Catch withering stare from underpaid AngryStoreClerk.
Back to the BB, who has finally found an acceptable pair of sneakers. Try the 13.5. Too big. Try the 13. Too big. Try the 12.5. Too big. Try the 12. There is no 12. Search for a size 12. Ask the AngryStoreClerk to see if there's a 12. Ma'am, for you there will never be a 12. Where's your brother? Holy shit, is the front door of this store open? Frantically run around store, searching for small boy whose head does not stick up over racks of shoes. Find SP as he is just about to eat candy off the floor. Or just did, and I got there too late. Hard to tell.
Back to the BB, who has found another pair of acceptable sneakers (albeit a pair she rejected 10 minutes ago), which actually comes in a 12. Great! "Mom, I have to pee!" Well, there's no public restroom and the AngryStoreClerk is definitely not letting us into the employee bathroom, so hold it.
Now time for the BB Choice. Wander around in 'cute' shoe section, tricked out with lots of adorable pastel MaryJanes and the like. BB finds a pair of shoes she likes. Red, patent leather knee boots. What every five-year-old needs! Where's your brother? Chase down SP again, vow to carry him for the rest of the trip. Regret having worn heavy sweatshirt under winter coat.
The BB decides to go to Build-a-Bear. Back in the car, across the street to the mall. Bathroom stop. BBW is not too awful today, except for the fact that a four-year-old girl is having her birthday party there, which makes the BB realize that it is possible to have a birthday party in BBW, a fact that I have previously managed to keep from her. Build bear. Manage SP interaction with various BBW accessories.
Go home, feed kids lunch, play with bear. And on the way up to her quiet time*, the BB experiences buyer's remorse. "I should have gotten the boots." Sigh.
*quiet time is better known as, you're too big for a nap, but I need an hour alone in the middle of the day on a weekend.
Thursday, March 03, 2005
just a good day with my kids
Yesterday, I took the Bumblebee to her art class after school. We were the first ones there, and the teacher (who is a crunchy hippie chick that I like a lot) made a point of telling me a story about something that had happened in their class last week. One of the boys had made a comment about how only a mommy and a daddy could make a family, and the BB had jumped up to defend gay marriage. The art teacher said she was really proud of BB for knowing that families come in different shapes and sizes, and I'm proud of her too. It's really gratifying to know that our efforts to create a tolerant, open-minded kid are paying off.
Then I went to pick up the Sweet Potato at daycare. Now, the SP, despite being nearly 19 months old, is not much of a talker. Sometimes, I think that he just doesn't have space to talk in our family, since everyone else is pretty much talking non-stop, especially his big sister. He tends to say mostly words that start with 'd', and I doubt they are really distinct, to anyone who doesn't spend a lot of time with him. Dog, doll, door, down, daddy (but, oh, not the mom word)--these are the major points of his vocabulary. So when I went to pick him up, he started pointing at a picture of a dog, and saying "dog, dog." I asked him idly, "what does a dog say, SP?" And he barked. Okay, it was more like "oof, oof!" but I got the point.
The best part about it was that he just looked so proud of himself. He learned how to do something that the daycare teacher and I didn't know he knew how to do, and he surprised us. More and more, he is developing his own personality, and while I'll miss him as a baby (since he is my last), I just can't wait to see what kind of person he will become.