May 31, 2006

Diaper Duty

V attends Montessori School on the days that I work. It’s been an amazing experience for both of us. Some days I’m absolutely convinced his development is at the level it is because of his school. I, for example, would have no clue to teach an 18-month old to set his own table, serve his own food, and clear his own table when he’s finished eating. I would have simply assumed he was too young to do it by himself. I would have simply assumed wrong.

The school V attends has it’s pluses and minuses – as do most all schools. Thankfully, the pluses far outweigh the minuses. The school has a full-time organic chef that has the kids help in food preparation, they have a beautiful garden which the kids tend to and eat from, they have teachers that speak only in their native tongue to expose the kids to different languages, and they regularly have musicians come in and play for the kids – and allow the kids to play with the instruments.

When V entered the “toddler room” at 18-months old, I was told he would be in there until he was approximately 3 years old, at which time he would transfer to pre-school. But as is true Montessori learning, each child develops at his/her own pace and transfers to the next level whenever he/she is ready. V is now 2-1/2 years old and I was informed this week that he is ready to start transitioning to pre-school. Excellent news! You’d think I’d be boasting how proud I am that my brilliant bundle of joy has progressed so quickly – that he’s so brilliant – etc. But the truth of it is that I’m mostly excited about his transitioning in to pre-school because of the fact that his closest friends are there and he misses being with them all day!

But wait. We have a hold up. He can’t transfer to pre-school until he is toilet trained.

Screeeeech.

The kid is simply not interested in using the toilet. He told me yesterday that he loves his diapers. We talk about it. We read books about it. He comes in to the bathroom with his dad and myself. But he wants no part of it. And that is that. So, hopefully he’ll start showing some interest sometime in the next – oh, five years or so – and then he will be ready for pre-school. In the meantime, I’m still on diaper duty and I’m okay with that.

May 30, 2006

Why?

The best friend of a co-worker died this past weekend just a few months shy of her 50th birthday ... she died unexpectedly. No one is quite sure exactly what happened but all we do know is that she wouldn't wake up Friday morning and was rushed via ambulance to the hospital. She was in a coma due to liver failure and died on Sunday. We also know that she was on Vicodin for back pain. She had taken some Thursday night ... she had also had a glass of wine earlier that evening. That, guesses the doctor, was the lethal combination.

When speaking about the tragedy with loved ones, her doctor mentioned that there are many people who regularly take Tylenol pm, for example. Without even thinking about it, they consume a glass of wine, or maybe a beer earlier in the evening and then take the drug just prior to bedtime. He explained the potentially lethal implications of mixing the two. Let me just say ... WAKE-UP-MOMENT for me.

Since my mom passed away I don't always sleep well and have quite often taken Tylenol pm. I go months without touching it and then will suddenly need it's assitance for a week or so at a time. I just know that I have taken it before - perhaps at 9:00pm - having had a glass of wine with dinner three hours earlier. THAT is something I will never do again.

This woman who passed away leaves behind a 17-year old daughter who was supposed to be planning her future, going away to college. You see, she graduated high school on Friday. Her mom planned a graduation party for her on Sunday. But instead of attending her graduation party, she spent Sunday planning a funeral for her mother. I haven't been able to stop thinking about her daughter. I know how hard it's been for me to lose my mom - and I was twenty years older than her when it happened to me. Why do such senseless things happen to those that don't deserve them? Why? Why? WHY?

May 27, 2006

Pregnant?

I've yet to even speak - er, uh, I mean type - the word on this blog yet. I do, after all, have a history of jinxing myself.

The doctor isn't worried that I'm a few months shy of 40 years old and have been trying for the last 8 months. He tells me these things take time at my age.

Why the hell didn't someone mention that to me when I was in my late 20's? Of course, to be completely honest with myself it wouldn't have mattered had they mentioned it because I wasn't even sure I ever wanted to be someones mother. Not because I was afraid of motherhood itself, but because I was not excited about the idea of bringing a human being in to this fucked-up world we're living in. I was thinking these thoughts in my twenties, and now look at it. Nearly twenty years later and the world is in worse shape yet.

One thing motherhood has taught me is that no matter how awful the world-at-large is, my little bubble of a world is just perfect as long as I have my little man. He motivates me in ways I never knew I could be motivated.

So, we're trying for a sibling. And as I sit here and type this post my breasts are tingling. The tingling I haven't felt since the last time I was pregnant.

I'll know for sure by the end of the week ... I've already got the ept test ready, hoping I need to use it.

Fingers are crossed.

Just One Someone

In the last scene in the movie Sleepless in Seattle, Jimmy Durante's song "Make Someone Happy" is playing...

"Make someone happy, make just one someone happy, and you will be happy too."

My Uncle Norman passed away last week and Friday was his memorial service. During the service, another Uncle spoke. This particular Uncle, an ex-priest, is quite eloquent as you might imagine. That, and he has an amazing way of telling a story that simply draws you in.

He started his story about Uncle Norman by quoting Jimmy Durante as I have done above. He then went on to tie in specific examples of how my Uncle Norman lived his life making people happy - and, as a result, he was happy too. He was a very content man. He never got caught up in trying to make more money than Mr. Jones, or drive fancier cars or live in bigger houses. Family and friends were his pot of gold - and he did everything in his power to make sure those around him knew they were loved by him.

I am truly blessed to have known him and will forever be grateful for the example he set. Make someone happy - just one someone happy - and you will be happy too. Rest in peace, Uncle Norman. Much love.

May 25, 2006

Poprocks and a Pink Slip

Today I took my little man to daycare so that I could have a day to myself. I get SO excited about having a full day all to myself that I immediately start thinking about all of the wonderful things I could do with my day. Inevitably, I'm disappointed at what I actually accomplish. More often than not, I catch up on sleep. Sigh.

I do have to get at least two things accomplished today ... my tax preparations (we have an extension) and I need to spend what will probably end up being six million hours on the phone trying to get my wireless router working again. There goes my great idea for a pedicure ... no time.

In an effort to get all my tax stuff together, I had to first had to tackle our junk drawer. I have no idea how it happens but the Husband and I somehow accumulate enough paper in this house that I'm sure if you placed each piece end-to-end, it would reach New York City. When we first moved in together, we had a cute Pottery Barn basket on top of our hall stand where we would put our mail. It didn't take but a week before the piles of paper overflowed and started appearing all over the house. We've since upgraded twice and are now using a very large drawer in a very large and very old kitchen hutch. He gets half and I get half - and think for a moment that we didn't physically split the drawer in half. And believe me, I hear it if I happen to spill over in to his half and vice versa.

Even with an enormous drawer in which to keep our piles of paper, we still overflow. I filled two paper grocery bags with 'stuff' from my side of the drawer, poured myself a cup of coffee and headed to the living room. I began organizing in piles all over the coffee table and sofa. I found the needed tax documents - and several surprises, including:

- A Starbuck's gift card
- Movie theatre gift certificate
- Panera Bread gift card
- Sunday Brunch for two gift certificate
- $1.00
- A very old unopened bag of Poprocks (can I hear an Amen from those of you ladies who know what these are good for??)
- A birthday party invitation for my nephew. The party was in January and I'm just sure I never RSVP'd. And I never went. Such a loser.
- The pink slip to my car

Wow. I really should clean out that damn drawer more often.

May 24, 2006

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood - Won't You Move Here?

I have a side-gig going … I do in-home wine tastings. Why? Because I needed a tax shelter and I love, love, love wine.

Friday night I was conducting a wine tasting for a girlfriend of mine. She lives in a new neighborhood – the kind where everyone moved in to their homes at the same time. All of the neighbors know each other and regularly socialize and all of the kids play together.

When the Husband and I decided to move here four and a half years ago we looked at both new and old homes. We meticulously created a pros and cons list for purchasing a new home versus an old home – I still have the list:

New Home – Pros
- everything’s new! No need to replace plumbing, update bathrooms, etc.
- neighborhood is full of families with young children
- our kid(s) will grow up with plenty of kids to play with at any given moment
- new schools

New Home – Cons
- cookie cutter houses – lack of character
- very small backyard
- no front porch
- garage (note: I hate the fact that the garage door is a focal point on most new homes – the first thing you see when you drive up. So, so, so ugly!)
- lack of mature shade trees

Old Home – Pros
- lots of large tree-lined streets
- beautiful, unique homes full of character
- large front porch
- large backyard
- highly desirable neighborhood – great resale value

Old Home – Cons
- neighbors are more mature – not many small children
- lots of projects needed to update/upgrade

When we were looking for our home, the Husband and I were newly married and without child. We did think about our future as a family, but in retrospect we certainly didn’t grasp the significance of it all.

After much discussion about our pros and cons list, we ended up in a beautiful old home, built in 1917. It’s in a highly desirable neighborhood – one that we could afford only because we moved to what used to be ‘affordable Sacramento’ from ‘outrageously expensive San Francisco’. We love the home – it’s everything we wanted.

The problem is our wants have changed. Now that we have V, and we want to give him the best childhood we can, we are sad that our beautiful home in our desirable neighborhood lacks families with small children. On our entire block there three families with kids and, because of the way our block it situated, we’ve never even spoken to two of those families. The one family we do know is moving soon … ugh.

A common topic of conversation is whether or not we should move. We don’t want to leave our house, but at the same time we want our son to grow up with a neighborhood feel like we both experienced when we were kids. You know the kind … where kids run back and forth from house to house, play outside together until the sun goes down, practically spend every waking moment with the neighborhood kids. But what if we sell our home, move, and then have difficult neighbors?? Or neighbors with older kids? Then what? And why don’t realtors profile immediate neighbors when they’re trying to get you to buy a house? After all, neighbors are such an important part of the neighborhood.

Neighborhoods do change. We know that. At this point, we are hoping that within the next three or four years some families with younger kids will move in. We’ve decided to give it until V is five years old. If nothing changes, we are prepared to discuss – more seriously – the idea of moving. In the meantime, we are crossing our fingers.

May 23, 2006

Let Me Count the Ways

I admit it. I’m an obsessed mom. Although I do have to say that I make a conscious effort to keep from talking endlessly about my amazing kid when around my friends. Those kinds of moms bore me and I don’t want to be boring.

This blog, however, is for me and for my son. It’s about me and about my son. So I feel no shame, no regret, no shyness when talking about my kid. It is, after all, a blog and specifically, my blog. If you’re not interested in reading what I’m babbling about, on to the next blog you go! Right?

The big plan is to print out these posts and keep them stored safely in a binder - or maybe a beautiful box - so that V can read them when he’s much older. I want him to be able to see how much he’s enriched my life via my written recollections. Exciting, fun, magical, frustrating, tiresome, difficult things happen every single day in our relationship. Capturing a little bit each day will – I hope – one day be what he considers one of his greatest gifts from me.

It’s at this point that I’m going to gush about all things V that I love so dearly – if for no other reason than to document them so he can see himself through my eyes. I'll save the list of frustrating, tiresome, difficults things for another time. Only great things for now.

My dearest, dearest little man. …

I love your little legs – your inner thighs to be exact. I love tickling them while telling you that “I’m going to eat you up”. You laugh hysterically and so do I. There is nothing cuter than when you walk around the house in just your diaper and a t-shirt because those skinny little legs are just precious.

I love the way to get excited about seeing something – like an airplane – and point to it and say “See that”? Your little voice is filled with excitement, your eyes get wide with wonder, and every single time you respond like it’s the very first airplane, dog, car, bus, ambulance, etc. that you’ve ever seen.

I love the way your hair curls up in tight little ringlets when it’s hot outside. Or when you’ve just woken up from a nap – and your hair is damp with sweat and filled with those darling ringlets.

I love the way you won’t wear a coat or a jacket without zipping it up.

I love the way squeal with excitement when your Dad gets home from work.

I love the way you pick your nose (“nose picky”) and give it to me. It’s better than eating it …

I love the way you wake up in the morning, You’re always so happy, and love to cuddle with me until you’re fully awake.

I love the way you stretch your arms out over your head so that I can tickle your armpits. Again and again.

I love the way you dance.

I love the songs you make up. And the way you ask me “Like that song, Mama?”

I love the way you wildly shake your body after you’ve fallen down or hurt yourself in an effort to “shake it off”.

I love the fact that you always want me to kiss your "owies". And I love that once I kiss your owie, you tell me you have more that need kissing all over your body (even though you don't).

I love the way you read to me.

I love the way you sit on the floor with your legs stretched out fully in front of you with a book on your lap – completely absorbed.

I love the fact that you sleep with Bo and Bo’s blanket every night.

I love that you know which dog is Baci and which dog is Bella, even though they look alike. And I love that you have two stuffed black dogs – one named Baci and one named Bella – and you know which is which with them, too.

I love that you give the dogs commands with such authority in your voice.

I love that you will quietly sit and watch TV while I take a shower and get ready.

I love that you call a shirt a “shirp”.

I love that you let me trim your finger and toe nails without a fuss.

I love that you want to trim mine.

And most of all, I love the way that you love me. Madly.

I Tempted Fate .... and Lost

Damn! Damn! Damn! I had been holding off on posting anything about my eight-night-in-a-row of sleeping-in-his-own-bed record because I just KNEW I’d end up jinxing myself. Even as I sat typing my post yesterday, I thought to myself that I probably shouldn’t say anything about it yet. Ugh.

Just after 3:00am, I awoke to V crying “I don’t want a sticker. I don’t want a sticker. I want to be in Mama’s bed”.

I tried negotiation. I tried bribery. But the fact was that I had taken two Tylenol P.M. before bed and was in NO shape to spend any significant amount of time trying to negotiate or fight with a two-year old.

So, in my bed he came (with Dad).
And downstairs on the sofa I went.
At least we both slept soundly.

Sigh.

May 22, 2006

Incentives? Not really. Just Bribes.

If you’ve been reading this blog you know by now that I’m challenged with trying to figure out just how to keep my little guy in his own bed every night. Following is an update …

Right smack dab in the middle of my frustration, I received an automatic email from babycenter.com. It was their monthly email they send giving me tidbits of information about my child as he grows. In the email entitled “Your Child at 29-Months” one subtitle caught my eye … Dealing With Late Night Visits From Your Child. It was in this article they talked about offering incentives, or as I prefer to call a book by it’s cover, BRIBES.

The cookies I had been bribing with him worked, but I decided to take it one step further. I printed out a calendar, colored it, and taped it to his door. I then went out and bought stickers of fire engines, police cars and helicopters … some of V’s favorite things in life.

The first night we sat down together and looked at the blank calendar. I showed him the stickers and explained that if he spent the entire night in his own bedroom that he would get a sticker in the morning. He was very excited. And guess what? Unbelievably to me, it worked!

Here we are eight days later and I am thrilled beyond belief to report that it has worked every single night since then! The kid wakes up in the morning and the first words out of his mouth are “Mama? I want my sticker and my cookies, please”.

Gladly, my son. Gladly!

May 19, 2006

The Truth About My Marriage

TiVo ... what did we do before TiVo? I seriously can't imagine my life without it ... and I don't even watch that much TV. The beauty of it is that when I DO have time to watch it, I can watch whatever I want because I have plenty of my favorite shows TiVo'd!

Earlier this week I was catching up on my Oprah addiction, and came across the show featuring Lance Armstrong's ex-wife, Kristin, and her take on the truth about marriage. In a nutshell she tells us that in her attemp to be 'the perfect wife' she lost herself. Shortly after meeting Lance the couple got engaged and Kristin was more obsessed with the rock on her left hand than she was with how marriage would change her life.

As with many of Oprah's shows, that show got me thinking about my own life as it pertains to the topic. This September will be five years of marriage for the Husband and I and, to be honest, there were days when I never thought we'd make it this long. At one point I was so miserable that I even started looking for an apartment.

Luckily, the Husband and I both share a strong commitment to making our marriage work and sought counseling. We've learned a lot about ourselves and each other - and most importantly, how to communicate with each other. As our counselor put it to us - which was certainly a light bulb moment for us - we have different operating systems, like computers. Essentially I am a Mac and the Husband is a p.c. Knowing this has made ALL the difference in the way we communicate with one another.

After listening to what Kristin had to say, I thought long and hard about the pre-marriage me and the current me to try to determine if I've lost myself. I don't think I have. I've changed, there's no question, but I believe that's because my life and list of responsibilities has changed. And there's certain parts of my personality I keep from the Husband out of respect. I can curse like a truck driver for example, but he doesn't like to hear it, so I keep it in check when around him.

The good news is that I feel happy in my marriage right now. Last night I asked the Husband how he was feeling about our marriage, just to make sure I wasn't the only one happy. Thank goodness, I'm not!

May 17, 2006

Stuck in the Middle

I spent this last weekend with my best friend who recently moved to Reno. We’ve been friends for something like 16 years or so. Our lives are currently nothing alike, which scares both of us because we’re feeling like we no longer have much in common – and we’re struggling with holding on to our friendship at the level it’s been for so long now.

She’s not married and has no children. She’s living with her boyfriend, who has a completely different lifestyle than anyone she’s ever dated. Essentially, he’s a man in his mid-forties who lives his life like a twenty-something year old. Great, great guy – don’t get me wrong. Love him. It’s just that now she’s living her life more like she did when we were in our mid twenties, which is in the complete opposite direction of where my life is going and it is, quite frankly, changing our friendship although neither of us wants it to.

We had a nice weekend, but there was an unspoken unfamiliarity present the entire time. Yesterday she emailed me and brought it up. First time we’ve talked about it and first time I’ve shared some things with her that I’ve been trying to ignore in hopes they’d go away.

Part of the reason our friendship is changing is because of our changing lifestyles, yes. But another part of the reason it’s changing is because of me.

At the risk of sounding like a high schooler, I’m at a place in my life where, frankly, I don’t feel like I fit in anywhere.

Because I work out of the home, my time with my son is limited. I struggle because I have several different groups of girlfriends-without-kids and trying to see them and maintain my friendships is tough because they want to get together and go for drinks or to a movie. Things I can’t do with my son. I owe it to them to spend time with them WITHOUT my son, but again, my time is so limited with V and I’m very protective of that time. I try to see the girls as often as I can, but it’s a struggle and – as a result – my friendships are changing.

I have another group of girlfriends with kids. The problem is that all of my closest girlfriends with kids – the one’s I’d easily call to get together with – are stay-at-home moms. They spend their days getting together with playgroups and by the time I’m ready for a playgroup, it’s in the evening or on the weekend – when they’re spending time with their husband/families. So, I don’t get to see them very often either.

What I need is a group of girlfriends that are married, have small child(ren) and work outside of the home. I know these people exist. Statistics tell me that they’re everywhere. I guess I just need to figure out how to strike up a friendship with a few of them … but how?

I’m feeling like the outcast. It’s somewhat like I felt in high school, actually. I didn’t ever TRULY fit in with any click or group. I tried to fit in, but none of the clicks where an exact match for who I was as a person, so consequently I was always on the periphery.

So here I sit … stuck somewhere in the middle of my two types of friends, no longer fitting in with either group. They ARE my friends, and the ARE supportive, but our friendships have changed and it makes me sad. Very, very sad.

May 15, 2006

Fishey in the Wah-duh

V loves to make up little ditties – most often when we’re in the car. My favorite ditty he’d created was entitled “No More Milk” … until yesterday.

On the 20+ minute car ride home from Lowe’s, he started singing a new ditty entitled “Fishy in the Water” – although he pronounces ‘water’ like ‘wah-duh’. He kept singing this little toon over and over. His dad decided to join in and changed the words to “Duck in the Water”. It became a game between the two of them – back and forth - each time each person had to change the item that was in the wah-duh.

Following are a few of my favorites that V came up with all on his own!

“Elephant in the wah-duh”

“Red light in the wah-duh”

“Skate board in the wah-duh”

“Shoe in the wah-duh”

“Other shoe in the wah-duh”

May 12, 2006

Gesundheit

For those of us that live in the northern California valley, we are intimately familiar with every allergy relief product available to mankind. No matter where you go, you can overhear stories about allergy attacks. They’re everywhere. Hear that? Someone else just sneezed.

Gesundheit.

For the six years I lived in San Francisco I never had allergies. Of course, I never had a parking space, my own apartment, a backyard, or quiet neighbors either – all of which I do have here in Sacramento … along with those damn allergies.

For about a week now I’ve had a pretty spectacular attack. I’ve had to sleep downstairs on the sofa because it’s too hot upstairs so the windows need to be open, and an open window is cause for facial swelling, itchy eyes and non-stop sneezing that leaves you feeling like you’ve just completed one hundred sit-ups.
It’s also been about a week now since I’ve had a decent night sleep.

I had finally fallen asleep last night when V woke up. My internal clock was guessing it was about 3:00am – but after unsuccessfully trying to fall back to sleep for about an our or so, I realized it was much earlier.

V has allergies, too – and after waking up last night and crawling in bed with Daddy, I could hear him coughing quite a bit so I brought him some of his allergy medicine so that he could sleep. Daddy talked me in to closing the windows, turning on the air conditioner and sleeping with the three of them. Okay, deal.

Problem was that V kept tossing and turning, kicking and talking, on and on and on and on. It just wasn’t working. I sat up, told him that it was time for him to sleep in his bedroom. Immediate response? Crying. I calmly tried my cookie bribery, throwing some stickers in to the mix for extra effort.

It worked.

He went to bed in his own bedroom. And I finally fell asleep. At about 4:00am. And didn’t wake up until 8:30am – which was bad considering I typically start work by about that time. Oh, well – it was the first four+ hour stretch of sleep I’d had all week and I was a happy camper.

Gesundheit.

May 11, 2006

Scorecard

V = 5
Parents = 1

Just one word ... yawn.

I don't want to talk about it.

May 10, 2006

I Want My Daddy!

In his short time here on Earth, V has quickly learned that his Daddy is MUCH more of a push over than his Mommy. An example of this played out last night ...

I had a meeting last night and didn't get home until 9:00pm - an hour after V's bedtime. Lights were on all over the house, dirty dishes were in the sink, toys strewn all over the living room floor, two hungry dogs pacing in the kitchen. Where in the heck is Husband? Only because this scenario - in it's near exact version - played out two weeks ago did I know where Husband was. He was still in V's room trying to get him to go to sleep.

"Did you try the c-o-o-k-i-e bribe?", I ask.

"Yes. It's not working"

"Let me try", I say.

I ask V if he wants any cookies tomorrow. He's crying to hard to answer so I calmly explain to him that if he goes to bed he can have cookies tomorrow. I put him back in bed, he calms down, I say Good Night Moon to him and leave the room.

Two point five seconds later - he's hysterical and at the bedroom door pounding.

I give it about three minutes and then I go in and calmly yet firmly tell him "You need to listen to me, V. Unless you go to bed right now and stay in your bed all night, you will not get any cookies tomorrow. Do you understand"?

"Yes, mama"

Internally I'm jumping for joy as I quietly put him back in bed and leave the room.

Silence.

Five minutes pass. Still silent. SUCCESS!

12:48am. V wakes crying "I want my Daddy" - because he knows Daddy will give in to him and give him what he wants. Instead, he gets me. The first thing I tell him is that he needs to get back in to his bed if he wants cookies tomorrow.

Success again. We didn't hear from the little guy until 6:30am this morning - and guess what? He didn't even ask for a cookie!

Scoreboard ... V=4, Parents=1

May 09, 2006

Help Me, Mama

My son’s two favorite words of the moment are “help me”! He says it probably fifty times a day. Most of the time, he doesn’t need any help – so I don’t give it to him. I simply tell him “I know you can do it, just try”, and then he tries, he accomplishes and exclaims with an abundance of pride “Look at me! I did it!!”.

A few weekends back we spent the night at my cousin’s house. V and I slept in a roll out bed which was uncharacteristically comfortable. It was a warm night, so the window was open and the ceiling fan was humming. Several times that night I’d be in a deep sleep and suddenly awakened by a little voice whispering “help me”! At first I thought he might be having a bad dream. I’d wake up, look at him and he’d be laying there with both arms extended straight up in the air. Completely perplexed, it took several renditions of “help me” – each one getting louder and more determined – before I realized that the help he wanted was for me to put his arms under the sheet because they were getting cold.

Watching my little man with his two darling arms stuck straight in the air, eyes closed tightly, still asleep, whispering “help me” was simply another reminder of how terrific this motherhood gig truly is.

The Power of the Cookie

Cookies. V loves them. He loves them SO much that last night when he didn’t want to go to bed, I told him that unless he went to bed he couldn’t have any cookies the next day.

The kid immediately jumped in to bed and I didn’t hear a peep out of him until he crawled in to my bed at 3:00am.

I was too tired at that point to remember I had successfully bribed him earlier – so he just slept the rest of the night with us. Damn! And I was on a roll …

I guess I’ll have to try again tonight.

May 08, 2006

Child Scores Three; Parents Zero

We’re now officially in a pattern, and it’s not a good one. V has been going down to sleep without a problem again (yay!), however just like clockwork he’s waking up sometime between 2:30 and 3:00am and will NOT go back to sleep.

The waking up thing is not new. He’s done this for a long time now, but he’s always fallen back asleep. Rarely have we had to go in and comfort him. He’s typically woken up, barely cried for about 15 seconds and then back to sleep.

No more.

The kid now wakes up and cries like someone is torturing him.

A glimpse into our now nightly conversation:

V: “Mama. I want my mama” (crying hysterically)

Me: “Honey. Honey. Are you awake?”

Husband: “Yeah. What should we do?”

Me: “As I see it, our options are:
(a). do nothing and see if he’ll eventually stop crying. (note: this doesn’t work because he simply gets frustrated, walks out of his bedroom and heads right for our bed)
(b). go in his room, calm him down, put him back to bed. (note: this hasn’t worked either. He stiffens his little two-year old body and refuses to get back in to bed. We put him in bed, he gets right back out)
(c). one of us goes in and sleeps on the floor. The one of us that does that doesn’t sleep because the floor’s uncomfortable and is very grouchy the next day.
(d). V comes in to our room and sleeps. He wins again.”

Husband: “What does the books say we should do?”

Me: “I don’t know. I don’t read them”

Husband: “What do your friends recommend?”

Me: “Nothing that we haven’t already tried and failed at”

Now this is where the nightly conversation can change from time to time, but lately it’s been one of only two scenarios:

Scenario A: Husband goes and sleeps on the floor in V’s room. Once he thinks V is nice and asleep – which is typically about an hour later – he attempts to sneak back to our bedroom. Somehow our child senses him leaving the room, wakes up out of a dead sleep, and cries bloody murder again.

Scenario B: V comes in to our bed and we all sleep the rest of the night.

I actually HAVE been asking my friends what I should do. So far everyone’s told me that their child did the same thing and that eventually he’ll get over it – but it will likely take a long, long time. Great.

One piece of advice I liked was telling V that he could sleep in Mommy & Daddy’s bed on Thursday nights only. I like the sound of that – except for the fact that V doesn’t yet have the concept of time in terms of days of the week, so I don’t see that working.

I guess we can now consider ourselves like most American families … a family where the parents have lost control and the kids rule the world. I swore I’d never allow my kid to be the boss of me. Sure sucks to admit I’ve allowed it. I sure wish I knew how to gain back the control. I’ll keep searching for a way – but in the meantime, I need to get my sleep, so the kid’s still winning. Damn.

May 05, 2006

Cinco de Mayo

Feliz Cinco de Mayo! Because I can eat Mexican food every day of the week, you probably wouldn’t find it hard to belive that Cinco de Mayo has always been near and dear to my heart. What's not to love about authentic food, hot salsa, mariachis, salsa dancing and a frozen margarita? With salt, please.

Yesterday the lunch bunch and I decided to take our lunch break and go shopping for something to wear for Cinco de Mayo. Any excuse for a new outfit, right? The difference was that the three of them were looking for an outfit to wear out tonight, and I was looking for something festive to wear to work today.

All day long the conversation around the office has been about where to meet after work, which bar to start at, where to try to grab some dinner, and when to leave the office to start the celebration. Although I wouldn’t trade motherhood for all the Mexican food in the world, nor would I trade it for the colorful and musical celebrations of a Cinco de Mayo party, I do have to admit that I feel a bit sad that I’m going home after work tonight.

In a glass-half-full attempt at looking at my life, I think I need to come up with my own Cinco de May Con Bambino celebration. Hmmm … I’d better get working on that!

May 04, 2006

One, Two, V

My Dearest V:

Here we are again. The 4th of the month. This time we’re 2 years and 5 months in to your life and – wow- it’s been unbelievable.

Now that our weather has improved, you need to take a bath every single night. As soon as we get home from school we eat dinner and then it’s outside to play. You love playing “badman” or badmitten, as the rest of us know it. You can play with your little racket for hours … but not without getting very, very dirty.

What’s new? Let’s re-cap:

- Your favorite new phrase … “You joking me, mama”. “Silly mama”.

- During our nightly game of “batting practice”, you’ve started swinging the bat right-handed for some reason. It evidently doesn’t feel natural to you because you’re taking a double swing. Your dad is working on that with you.

- You can now draw a football – and it actually looks like a football! I have pages and pages of footballs. I’ll be sure to save one for you in your keepsake box.

- You’ve started wearing sandals now that it’s getting hot outside, but you don’t like them. You liked them fine last summer, but not so far this year.

- You have yet to show any interest in potty training … hopefully soon!

- Gretchen killed a frog (accidentally). It was Gus’ frog and thanks to Gus you walked around saying “Gretchen killed a frog” for about an hour.

- You’re back to calling Uncle Tony “Uncony”. I hope it sticks.

- You eat great when you’re at school, but when you’re home you only want to eat peanuts or yogurt.

One of my favorite memories of this past month took place when we were driving home after a weekend at Papa’s house. Let me first mention that for two days in a row you didn’t take a nap AND you went to bed later than normal. The good news is that for as tired as you were, you were having too much fun playing with your cousins Gus and Maddie, so you never got cranky. By the time we got in the car to drive home on Sunday, I knew it wouldn’t take long before you’d fall asleep. I gave you some milk to drink – which you finished very quickly and immediately asked for more. I told you that I didn’t have any more milk and that you would need to wait until we got home. You proceeded to make up a song with only three words in it … No More Milk. And you sang that song for about three or four minutes. When I was stopped at a stop light, I turned around to look at you and you were singing the song even though you had fallen asleep!! It was the cutest thing ever!!

You love your daycare. You love helping prepare snacks and lunch – especially breaking the ends off the green beans. You love your yoga poses they’ve taught you before quiet time, and playing the drums in the afternoon. The friends you play with all of the time are Carly and Wilson. Every day when you leave school you wave goodbye to your friends and say “Ciao bella”!

That’s my boy. Ti amo, mi amor.

May 03, 2006

If I Were A Hair Stylist

Do you ever think about what your life would be like if you had chosen a different path career-wise?

I do.

I snuck out at lunch today and got my hair cut. When I lived in the city, I spent big bucks on hair cuts – paying mostly for the “experience”, although I always somehow found a stylist that cut the hair of famous people, thereby justifying their ability to charge me at least $100 for a cut. One of the most unique places I’ve had my hair cut was at the Spaghetti & Ravioli Project in San Francisco. Two men cut your hair – one cuts it when wet, the second after it’s been blown dry. And, they have no mirrors so you have no idea what you look like until it’s finished.

It wasn’t until I met Runar, a crazy, ultra-cool, super-thin, proudly-gay, fabulous, amazingly-interesting stylist that I felt like I was home. HE was the experience I was looking for. I wanted my hair cut to be entertainment. And entertainment it was. Luckily for me, he was also good at cutting hair, but this guy was so much fun to be around I would have likely paid him to cut my hair even if he wasn’t any good at cutting it. In retrospect I guess, I was in a way paying for his friendship.

Runar’s lifestyle was enviable. It was after meeting him that I thought that I could easily live the life of a hair stylist. I would want to be known for the fun and funky cuts in town. I often think about different career choices … so, in light of the fact that May is the month during which we celebrate Mother’s Day, I thought I’d document a few of my interests so that, if nothing else, V will know a bit more about his mom when he’s older and reads through all these posts …

Careers I Would Like to Try
Wine Maker. I love wine, I love the wine country and I love food. Owning my own vineyards and producing my own wine would be a dream come true.

Mail Deliverer. Ever since they were allowed to start wearing shorts during the summer months I thought that this job would be perfect for me. Just plug in my iPod and spend the day getting plenty of exercise – all while getting paid!

Shoe and/or Eye Wear Designer. I love shoes and I love glasses and would love to be able to design and sell both.

Architect. I’d like to design and build homes. I’d design homes with basements, beautiful porches and garages in the back of the property. With beautiful molding and features that every woman would appreciate. It’s so obvious that many of today’s homes are designed by men and it’s a shame.

Something on a Cruise Ship. I wish I had thought about this right out of college. I’m too old now, but working on a cruise ship when I was younger would have been too much fun.

Ski Lift Operator. For no other reason than getting a free ski pass for the entire season.

I know there’s more to add to this list, but I seem to be drawing a blank at the moment. I’m sure I’ll think of more and will add them throughout the month … the month celebrating Moms everywhere! It’s all about us, ladies!

May 02, 2006

Where No Project is Ever Complete

Welcome to my home. It was built in 1917, partially updated sometime in the 1980’s and purchased by my husband and I in early 2002.

“The Easter Egg House” was the name that immediately came to mind when our realtor first showed us the home. Every room was painted a different pastel color. I love color. In fact, I absolutely hate white walls. White walls make me think of rental property. But pastel? Everywhere? Not for me. But hey, it’s just paint. Easter egg colors aside, the home came with a beautiful built-in china hutch in the formal dining room, another beautiful built-in bookcase in the living room, coved ceilings, picture railings in every room, a full basement and the crème de la crème … a clawfoot tub. Never mind that it was painted pastel pink. It was a clawfoot. Original to the home.

Because we are drawn to project houses, we were drawn to this one. Plumbing and electrical had been updated, so other than central heat and air, the only immediate need was cosmetic.

Over the last four years we’ve put a lot in to the home (hours, sweat, money, etc). But very few of these projects are actually finished. I’ve spent many hours thinking about this, trying to analyze why this is. The only conclusion I can come to is that my husband is too cheap to pay anyone to do the work, and he gets bored with one project and moves on to the next before finishing the first. The one and only project we paid someone else to do for us is the one and only project that is 100% complete! Here is our current list of not-quite-finished projects:

- Hard wood floor. We still have one room left to lay it down in, however we are still missing two thresholds in another room, and the base molding has yet to be finished in yet another room.

- Painting. Most rooms in the home have been painted, yet at least four of the rooms are not yet finished. The kitchen still needs the doors and the crown molding painted. The hallway is only ¼ painted. The guest bedroom has various “spackle” spots that need to be repainted. The bathroom still has touch up painting needed – and the bathroom door needs to be painted.

- We put new flooring in the kitchen – but we are still missing baseboards on one full wall.

- We attempted to landscape our backyard ourselves and spent a lot of money of plants and trees, but have yet to put down bark to “finish” the job.

- We built a deck the first summer we moved in. The deck still has temporary stairs in one spot, is missing stairs altogether in two spots, and has no railing on the bottom part at all. Definitely looks unfinished and really, really bad.

My job now is to work hard to make sure my husband does not start any new projects before finishing the above projects. Some of this work I am completely capable of doing myself, but he won’t let me because he tells me I don’t do it as well as he does.

Every Saturday morning in our home plays out the exact same way. Over breakfast and a cup of coffee, we list out the things each of us want to complete by the end of the weekend. Every single time, my husband tries to add a new house project to the list.

“Why don’t we start on the basement?”

“Can I start building shelves for your pantry?”

“Let’s look in to extending the fence”

No! No! And NO!

Wait a minute. I have an idea! Let’s finished what we’ve started before we start something else we won’t finish!!

May 01, 2006

Ooops ...

Embarrassing moments. We all have them. I had a doozy today.

After nearly an hour at City Hall in the Planning office trying to determine the easements for our property, I was by myself in the elevator riding down to the lobby. Glancing at the paperwork I had just been given, I was concentrating on the words, trying to translate what appeared to me a foreign language … “I just want to know how tall my fence can be!”.

Completely unaware of the location of the elevator in relation to where I got on (3rd floor) and where I was getting off (ground floor), I was not expecting it when the elevator door opened. Startled, I suddenly let out a very loud fart. I looked up and four faces wearing large grins were staring back at me.

No one else was in the elevator.
I was guilty and it couldn’t have been more obvious.
I had no idea what to say or do –

I quickly put on my sunglasses, put my head down, and walked out the door.

I just hope it wasn’t a smelly one …