Thursday, March 31, 2011

Apples, trees, zombies

So Eli tells me this morning that he had a bad dream. A bad dream about the Chupacabra. That the Chupacabra sucked his blood "and then I was dead" and then sucked my blood and then sucked Daddy's blood and we were all dead then. And my first instinct? My first instinct was to reframe it with the ever-so-helpful phrase "But then we could all be zombies!" No wonder my kids are weird.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Today Syd:

* Nearly choked on a string cheese

*Crawled out the front door

* Ate several dead leaves

* Ate a handful of cat food

* Squished her finger in the cabinet door

It's amazing she's made it as long as she has

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Man, I love these kids like crazy.
We're home. We've all picked up a cold and a sh*t ton of laundry, but we're home. (And the house is as clean as I'd hoped. Totally worth it.)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Quick update

The kids and I are at the coast with Coach and Auntie Jody, so this is just a quick update. Much more to come later!

I'm working on weaning Syd. Also, I think she's been grouchy because I've completely underestimated her appetite. The girl can pack it away!

Eli's having a GREAT time! He's also becoming totally obsessed with chameleons. Have you noticed that they're everywhere right now?

I talked to C today, after the housecleaners did their initial clean. He was near speechless, it was that good. Expect before and afters when I get home. I told him he should lick something while it was so clean he could, but then he just laughed awkwardly and changed the subject.

We're having a really wonderful time. I'll post pictures and more details when I get home. I can't wait to see my toilets!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


I don't think it's any secret that I love my job. Seriously, today I said "Magic Cooch" and "Bologna Toilet Baby" in an official clinical meeting. To the Chief of Mental Health. To say my job is awesome would be an understatement. A co-worker of mine calls himself a "care whore" since we are paid to care about other people. I prefer to think that I care for free and charge for the paperwork, but in part he's right. And sometimes that part is really really hard.

I have been working with a woman for several months who has spent most of her life incarcerated. I've worked really hard to earn her trust, and she's worked really hard not to trust me. Despite this I think we do have a pretty good clinical relationship. I like this woman. I care about all of my clients, but I genuinely like her. She's a smart ass. She doesn't put up with a lot of drama or bullshit. She's kind of mean, but has a tenderness to her as well. But she is so, so sad. So sad that my eyes tear up when I sit in a room with her. So hopeless that when I say I care about her well-being she can't hear my words. So desperate that I think she'd do just about anything to end her pain.

It's such a weird dynamic, because my purpose is to care about people but my job, and my sanity, require a certain amount of distance. On top of that, there's the philosophical question. Do people have a right to live, or not live, their life the way they choose? I believe suicide is tragic, and in most cases cowardly. However, I wonder how I would feel if I were faced with a lifetime of incarceration. Especially here. I'm not sure how long I would want to do it, how long before I lost hope.

It's so hard, because in this case I feel like a serious attempt is inevitable and so it's become a waiting/guessing game. Luckily, she feels safe enough with me to tell me how she's feeling so that I can help. I hope she continues to trust me, and that maybe, maybe we can find some hope that she can hold on to. Even just a little.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Things I'm excited about

SPRING! I must have drank the kool-aid, because it's been in the seventies and I cannot WAIT for warm weather.

Sydney's birthday. There will be cupcakes and cookies and balloons and quite possibly a tutu and a tiara. Or two.

Eli's birthday. Desperately trying to talk him into a Lego theme, but also acceptable would be superheroes. It's his 5 year old birthday so he gets a party and the venue of his choice. There WILL be bouncehouses.

Several days on the coast. See "Spring!" Also, seeing Coach and Auntie J again. A fun mini-vacation with the babies.

Hiring a housekeeper. Still a work in progress, but becoming more attainable.

My mom coming to visit! She hasn't seen the kids since last July and I feel like I'm getting ready for Parent Night at school. Setting out all of my craft projects, teaching Eli adorable songs, trying to make sure that Syd keeps growling just a little bit longer.

A tattoo. Details/pictures soon, I hope. Also maybe a remake of the nose ring?

For Japan

I was checking my stats today and noticed that I have a small handful of people who check in from Japan. Please know that you are in our thoughts and I hope that you and your loved ones are safe.

You can donate to the Red Cross by texting REDCROSS to 90999. $10 goes on your phone bill. Super easy, and every little bit counts.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

That's more like it!

In glaring contrast with the last few weekends, the kids and I just finished the most fabulous day! We woke up this morning, at the crack of dawn, and Eli requested french toast for breakfast. I haven't made french toast in forever. It was delicious, and everyone cleaned their plate. That never happens. Then Eli asked if we could go to the gym (which I'd secretly been trying to avoid. Note to gyms: awesome childcare= $$$$$). So I got started back on the C25K program, and it didn't suck. After the gym, we had a couple errands to run (Target for cleaning supplies in reaction to the housekeeper quote, more later, and the fabric store). Eli was thrilled to get new underwear, partly because as it turns out, he wasn't wearing any (WTF?) and Batman jammies, with a cape! We went to Panera for lunch, where my kids behaved beautifully and the weather was perfect for eating on the patio. We hit our favorite park and played for a long time, with Eli running around like crazy and Sydney crawling and pulling up like a madwoman. We finished up with dinner and a movie on the living room floor, baths, and the easiest bedtime yet.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Love this kid!

This morning, as I was trying to get everyone ready and out the door, Eli spilled a bunch of cat food all over the floor (that I'm trying to keep just clean enough for the housekeepers tonight) and I asked him to sweep it up with his broom. Seriously, a five minute job at most. But the kid totally phoned it in, stretched it out for almost 20 minutes, and still didn't do it. Frustrated, I told him that I was disappointed because I knew that he wasn't trying his best and that I knew he was a big enough kid to help us out when we asked. Then I tried to explain to him why it's important to try our hardest and to try to do a good job. I asked him if there was anything that he wanted to be really good at, since he'd have to work hard to do that. Expecting "superhero" or "soccer player" or "cowboy." He thought about it for a few seconds and said "I want to be a really good friend." Asked if there was anything else ('cause I had a point to make here), he thought some more and said "A really good friend and a really good kid." *Swoon* Man, I love that kid so much.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Livin' above my raisin'

"Livin' above my raisin'" is something my family says when one of us gets a little "fancy." I bragged about a great steal on a Petunia Picklebottom diaper bag on FB and got no less than eight messages from relatives. It's all in fun, and it often comes to mind when I do something outside of my usual routine (shop at Whole Foods, drink Starbucks, that kind of thing.) So I'm fixin' to really start livin' above my raisin'.

It's no secret that housekeeping is not one of my strengths. I'm definately a work in progress. But it's getting better. I have successfully maintained a routine of doing (washing/drying/putting away) laundry daily for the last week. My dishes are hardly ever a couple days old. But anything more than that I just don't feel like I have the time for. I don't want to spend my day off mopping and scrubbing the toilet of a four-year-old boy. So on Friday I have a housekeeping team coming to check out my house to give me a quote. Even cooler is that I found a team that uses all natural, eco cleaners. So I feel responsible and fancy! I've been cleaning ever since I made the appointment, which makes perfect sense. Because of course they'll never know...

My thought is that I'll just have them do the bathrooms and the kitchen, but if it's not so much that I have to choose between cleanliness and food, I might have them do the whole thing. That part makes me feel like a bit of a Real Housewives though, so we'll see. I feel bad subjecting strangers to the plethora of crap my family moves around throughout the day. On the other hand, I have no idea how people get the edges of their carpet clean without busting out the special hose. Do normal people use that everytime they vacuum?

So here's where I need help. Does anyone out there hire housekeepers? If you do, do you have them do the whole thing or just parts? AND do you stay in the house while they work or do they come during the week? That part weirds me out too, since they are essentially strangers (albeit hippy, all natural strangers).

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Try again tomorrow

Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow." ~Mary Anne Radmacher

Last week I talked with a friend who confessed, with trepidation, that the night before she had lost her temper with her 1 1/2 year old daughter who would not go to sleep, and the mom had screamed. She felt awful, immediately apologized, and later called a friend to decompress. Essentially she did everything "right." As I laughed with her and commiserated with that feeling of desperation, the "Please, I'll give you anything if you'll please just go to sleep" she thanked me for making her feel normal. She said that with some other parents she felt inferior, like they would never falter to yell at their child or "screw-up." I'm lucky because, for my job and in my life, people tell me stuff. A lot of stuff. That's really normalizing, and I've heard a lot of shit. I'd like to pass on the favor. I remember that feeling, that everyone else is doing this mommy thing so much better than me. That I had been found wanting or that I was doomed to destroy this perfect little person I'd been trusted with.

I remember the first time I truly lost it with Eli. He was about a year and a half, and had been throwing the king of all fits every time we got into the car. One morning, after I was wrestled him into his car seat and sat in the driver's seat listening to him scream bloody-murder, I lost it. I screamed. I yelled "Shut up! Shut up! Just shutupshutupshutup!" In my world we DO NOT say that. Ever. It would have been better if I'd swore like a sailor. And I felt awful. I felt scared. I felt like the world's worst mother. And I promised myself it would never happen again. But it did, of course.

When I was pregnant I asked my mentor how she handled leaving her kids at daycare in the morning. Wasn't it so hard to leave them? And she said that yes, sometimes it was hard, but that sometimes it was very, very easy. I didn't understand for a little while how true that is. Most of the time I dread Monday, when there are alarm clocks and sleepy goodbyes, but then there are times when I cannot wait for the next workday. Today, if someone had offered me $100 and a box of Girl Scout cookies for Eli, I may have taken a few minutes to consider it. Today was a horrible, no good day as far as Mama/Eli days go. I don't know what happened, but imagine a whiny two-year old, possessed by a petulant, angsty 14 year old girl, crossed with an anti-social nine-year old boy, and you have my son today. There was door slamming, kicking, "You don't care about me!"," You never let me do anything!", "You're so mean! I don't love you!", "I'm boooooooooooorrred!" I tried, I really did. We went swimming this morning. Kid wanted to be carried around on his dad's hip the whole time. We did a puzzle ("I need help! You do it!") We took a nap. Nothing. I did all the shrinky stuff, maybe he needs extra attention, maybe he doesn't feel good, maybe we need to reframe! blah blah blah. Then I did the other stuff. "Go play!" "Go to your room!" my recent favorite and a gold-star MOTY winner "KNOCK IT OFF!!" At one point he yelled "I'm going to my room forever and never coming out and never loving anyone ever again" and I, in my most kind and nurturing voice, yelled back "Good!" I took him to the drugstore with me after 15 whole minutes of pleasantness and made the mistake of buying him a new toy car. We get back out to the van and before we're even strapped in he starts with "You never let me get anything! Why didn't you let me get the big car? Why can't I have candy? whine whine whine" So I took the car back, told him he'd lost the privilege of a new toy (thanks Imaya) and sent him to bed at 6:30. That boy.Oh that boy. A few minutes ago he came out and asked if I was mad. It was really hard not to immediately yell for him to get his butt back in bed before he loses all tv for the next year. But I didn't, and I explained that I was mad because he'd been behaving so badly and made it such a hard day for everyone, that I loved him but he really, really needed to work on his attitude and his behavior.

That's the thing. Today sucked, but we keep going. We try again tomorrow. So if there're any moms out there, or really anyone out there, who has felt that pang of loneliness, sure you're the only one who's falling short, truth in writing. We all do it. It took me a long time to figure that out. We're all just barely hanging on. But we try again tomorrow.

The boy, in happier times

Life according to Syd

*Ritz crackers and a cup of water is about the best meal ever
*When people stop to comment on how cute you are, growl like a demon, then laugh like a
banshee, then flash a big toothy smile. It totally freaks them out.
*There's nothing funnier than a good game of "Gitchu gitchu." Raspberry tummy is a close
*My brother. My brother is awesome.
*There is no substitute for a quality gadget. Don't let anyone try to convince you that a plastic phone with silly lights and tinny sounds is better than an ipod, the remote control, or Mama's cell phone. If they try, scream.
*If they put you in a bed alone, it's merely a test of your ability to scream. So scream away until
they come back.
*Unless you're at daycare, then sleep for hours and smile innocently when your mom
acts surprised
*Socks are the greatest invention ever! They taste fabulous and are super fun to play with. Some
people put them on your feet, but that is easily remedied.
*Bob Marley ROCKS!! One Love, people, One Love

Friday, March 4, 2011


Isn't it pretty?

We finally did it! We traded in our tired, ten-year old, crap-tastic, way too small bed for a behemoth of a king size. We essentially went in the store, said "point us to your biggest mattress" and handed over our card. They delivered it yesterday and it is amazing. Even better, since the kid was sick yesterday with what we were sure was going to be pink-eye (turns out not pink-eye!) I got the bed to myself, or rather me and Syd, and the boys spent one last night in the guest bed. I can't believe we waited so long. C just keeps going in the room and staring at it. Plus we had to get a new bed set, so it's like we got a room re-model too. AND I even managed to sell the old one (believe it or not) on craigslist, so I figure the bed was another $75 cheaper.

So now we've got this awesome bed, a totally not awesome dresser, and a whole lot of open wall space. I think my sister said it best when she said that our house looked naked. And ever since she said that I can't stop seeing places where it looks like we just moved in. The bedroom has been sorely neglected, and now there's a huge empty space on a huge empty wall. What would you put here? And what do you use for a dresser/chonie storage. Cuz our dresser is on borrowed time.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Eli bought (read: demanded I buy) this tiara last Halloween and occasionally will ask me to wear it. Tonight Syd would not stop until I put it on her, then laughed and smiled for almost an hour! The girl knows how to rock her bling.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Yeah. Not so much.

So remember when I was all "Yay! Schedule's rock! All we needed was a little structure! Look at me! I'm on the couch having me time!" Twice. It happened twice. And since then, it's even worse. I'm sticking with the new dinner time and that's helped, and I'm trying to put Syd down closer to 6:30 before she gets over-tired, but other than that my kids got one bath last week (as in once, in seven days, MOTY) and I haven't made a true dinner in about the same amount of time. Though last night I picked up a chicken from the grocery store and nuked a couple of sweet potatoes so it totally counts.

I started this out as a rant about being a human binky and then I got side tracked. See how that works? I also started drinking coffee this week so I'm a little "woo hoo!" plus frustrated, which makes for the beginnings of a good old-fashioned manic rant. Back to the nursing thing. Syd has slowly weaned herself to the point where she's only nursing at night and then through the night. I'm not regularly pumping anymore (yay!) and she's not even taking that many bottles. But she nurses ALL. NIGHT. LONG. I love co-sleeping, and in my ideal world she'd go to sleep in her bed, and then if she woke up in the middle of the night I'd bring her in with me. But that doesn't seem to be happening and I think I have to start weaning. I'm not sure what my block is about this. I am all for nursing and save for the first few weeks of toe-curling pain it's been a great experience, but it's not something I'm militant about. I nursed Eli for eight months before he decided to stop. That felt like a great amount of time, and weaning was a total non-issue. I really wished Syd would do the same thing but I don't think she will. The girl loves to nurse, and she's persistant. She's at the point now where she'll paw at my chest like a horny teenager until she gets what she's after, and has on occasion managed to pull 'em out by herself (that places her solidly in my "if they can pull it out themselves and hold a sandwich in the other hand" deadline).

I think a big part of it is that I feel so overscheduled as it is, I can't imagine having the energy for a week + of tough nights. With Eli I was still in school, so if the night was rough we could both make up for it the next day but with Syd, we've both got to be back on schedule the next day. And emotionally I feel like I'm ALWAYS leaving her. I'm not sure I'm ready to take this away too. I know logically that she's not being neglected, that we've got a great situation and she's doing great, and that right now nursing is becoming something I resent rather than both of us enjoying. I read once that the perfect length of time to nurse is however long both of you still enjoy it, and I'm not enjoying it anymore. I just need to get over the idea that this is the "One Thing" that connects us. I'd love to hear from other moms who've weaned who might have any tips or advice, since like I said, with Eli it was super-easy. Syd's doctor recommended that I put band-aids over the girls, but I'm guessing Syd would figure that out pretty quick. She's a crafty one that girl.