Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I'm going to miss this...

Perhaps it's the late-pregnancy hormones... the stress of officially being an attending... the challenges of parenting a (particularly dynamic and strong-willed) 3-year-old, or more likely the fatigue inherently associated with all of the above. But regardless of my excuse, I have admittedly been a touch more irritable/easily annoyed/frustrated lately. Generally I am a fairly patient and understanding Mom, and goodness knows E gets away with "expressing herself" a lot more than her peers. You want to do a toddler version of breakdancing in the middle of the floor at the ice cream store? Break it down, my little MC Hammer.

But recently I've been a bit short-tempered, impatient, and sometimes downright snarky. I caught myself losing my temper after several nights in a row of Broadway-worthy bedtime protests which typically run the spectrum from "Mommy, stay with me puh-leeeease", "Mommy, I neeeeeeed yooooouuu!", "Don't leave me- I'll be all alone!" and ending in blood-curdling screams/kicks/wails that simultaneously break my heart and raise my cortisol levels to pathologic values. I've also been frustrated with her frequent need to be held/carried by me, and the incessant stream of consciousness that invariably begins with "Mommy, will you/can you/I want..."

Last night, however, I had a revelation. We'd done the prerequisite stall tactics related to going uptstairs, taking a bath, getting on pjs, brushing teeth, reading (3) books, saying prayers, and tucking in. Exhausted from saying "No, not in a minute. NOW" 752 times, I braced myself for the me-leaving-the-room debacle. It began as expected. When I got to the door, Elle called "Mommy!"

"Yes, sweetheart?", I sighed.

"Come back! I need to tell you something!"
Bigger, melodramatic sigh (where do you think she gets it from?!). "What is it, Elle?"

"Mommy, I love you."

Granted, I am completely aware this was part of the stalling routine. I know she was probably just playing me. But it hit me. All too soon, she won't want me by her side 24 hours a day. I may not (gasp) be her first choice of playmates. She won't want to be held, hugged, rocked, carried, tickled and snuggled. She won't beg for one more book, one more song, one more re-enactment of the Cinderella story. Before I know it, she'll be embarrassed by my goodbye kisses. She'll want to go to friends' houses instead of having dinner with us. She'll come home a couple times a year to check in, get laundry done, and mumble a few words about how college is going. She won't be giddy over a turkey shaped Thanksgiving breakfast.

As my mind fast-forwarded through the years, I realized just how much I'm going to miss this. This very moment-- no matter how presently frustrating it may be-- will be what I long for when she's all grown up. Nearly sobbing, I scooped her up and snuggled in beside her... just for a minute.

Whether it was the late-pregnancy hormones... the stress of officially being an attending... the challenges of parenting a (particularly dynamic and strong-willed) 3-year-old, or more likely the fatigue inherently associated with all of the above, emotional upheaval had taken place. I vowed to live more in the moment, savor the little things in life, and never take for granted the incredible gift of being Mommy to my little one(s).

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Aren't phased when you don't keep your hands on 2 and 10...

Pontificate with you about profound matters of great importance...

Like who will be Cinderella and who will be Sleeping Beauty.

Friends challenge you to reach greater heights...

Talk your candy-averse Mommy into skittles with breakfast...

Help you clean up your messes...

Let you bounce off ideas...

Don't draw attention to the cholesterol content of your shopping cart...

And work beside you to make things more beautiful...

Friends are the glue that holds our lives together.

But you still need to get your own glue... even the best of friends can't be expected to share tha

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

If pictures could talk, Halloween edition

"I will not wear my Hallween themed garb to any of the festivities you suggest. I will however, insist on wearing the dry-clean only dress to play in the dirt and pine needles."

"Along the lines of outfit belligerence, I will vehemently waver on my costume decision between Strawberry Shortcake and Rapunzel until the very last moment. At which time (i.e. Halloween morning), I will proclaim that I absolutely must be Cinderella." Thank goodness we are fully stocked with Cindy paraphenila...

"A Sharpie, a small pumpkin, an oriental rug, and the gross motor skills of a marker-happy 3 year old... what could possibly go wrong?"

"Next on TMZ: Petite blonde spotted roaming the streets raiding neighborhood houses for candy. The tiny celebrity declines comment."

After 2 Halloween parties AND an ice cream party at school, I'm not sure any Mommy points were gained by offering a few animal crackers in lieu of candy for post-trick-or-treating snack. It was the best I could do under the circumstances...

You're never too young to make the most out of a hairdo. There's no shame in second-day braids.

"When am I going to upgrade to the iPad?!"

When Mommy gets to upgrade to a phone that doesn't take such blurry pictures of her cute kid.

But if you gave that look to the Apple folks, they just might send you one anyway...

Saturday, October 22, 2011


E on weather patterns:

Me: Look how foggy it is this morning!
Elle: We better go find Rudolph so he can save the kids!
Me: You mean help Santa?
Elle: No, not Santa. The kids.

Driving to school in the rain on Tumblebus day:
Elle: I'm going to ask the TumbleGuys if the bus has windshield wipers!
Me upon picking her up: Did you ask if the bus has wipers?
E: Yes! He said they have TWO!

Chilly fall morning, after refusing to wear her jacket:
Elle: We forgot my coat!
Me: No, we didn't forget. You refused to put it on.
Elle: I know, but it sounds better that I forgot.

Jay whistles. Elle asks him to stop. He does it again. And again.
E: Don't make me call your mommy!

Early one morning at the beach, in the parking lot at the grocery store:
Me: Elle, what should we get for breakfast?
Elle (with all the unbridled enthusiasm you can muster at age 3): FIBER ONE!!
 A group of middle-aged ladies nearby couldn't stop laughing. That's my girl.

Playing putt-putt at the beach inside a big Volcano, which starts making rumbling noises:
Elle throws down her putter and runs into my arms whimpering
Me: What's wrong?
Elle: It's going to get me!
Me: What is going to get you?

Perusing books at the library:
E (loudly): Mommy, we can't get this one. It's not on sale.
Clearly she's heard that before :)

I asked her some question amidst baby carrot eating:
E (exasperated tone): Mo-om! It's hard to talk with carrots in your mouth.

Jay and I ever so mildly teasing her one morning:
Elle: THIS (insert overdramatic hand gestures here) is what I deal with.

And my personal favorite:
E chose as her souvenir from Disneyworld a set with Ariel figurine and innumerable tiny accessories. As an aside, whoever invented these infinitesimally small articles of clothing and accoutrements clearly doesn't have a child making incessant demands for them to dress and undress the character using what can only be described as microsurgery technique. They also do not understand the distress that results when a minuscule mermaid tail, fork, or heaven forbid Ariel's extra head (?!) gets lost. And they obviously did not witness my child, upon misplacing the 0.5mm in diameter Purple Sparkly Mermaid Bikini Top, running up and down the halls of the hotel announcing to housekeepers, other guests, and inanimate objects:
"I lost my BOOBS! Have you seen my BOOBS? My purple sparkly BOOBS?!"

Don't worry, Guadalupe the Disney housekeeper, we found them.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Baby Dos

The 2nd Child Neglect Syndrome is already in full force. I am officially 26 weeks and 5 days pregnant, which I actually had to take a few moments to calculate. The first time around, I could tell you how many weeks, days, hours, and dog years that my uterus had been occupied. I'd tell complete strangers what fruit/vegetable was the most accurate representation of the length of Fetal Golding in any given week. This often was preceded by a quick google search for "rutabega" or "fig" so I'd be optimally informed. I scoured pregnancy books, websites, magazines, and yes, my old Ob-Gyn textbooks from medical school. Elle's name was chosen before she graduated from embryo status. I had my own personal parking space at Babies-R-Us, and my days off were spent lovingly planning nurseries, assembling Pack-N-Plays, and drooling over high-end strollers. There were weekly blog posts with expanding belly photos, meticulous attention to caloric and nutrient intake, and incessant anxiety over minutia (I haven't felt the baby move in 90 seconds! What IS wrong?!... WHY can't I hear the heartbeat with my stethoscope?! Why can I hear my heartbeat so loudly in my right ear? Is that a sign of fetal distress!?).

The second time around, things have been a bit different. As mentioned above, sometimes I am off by weeks when someone asks me how far along I am. I haven't made the first trip to Babies-R-Us, not even the website. Life with a 3-year old hasn't slowed down enough for me to even THINK about resurrecting the nursery, reorganizing baby clothes, or dusting off the breast pump. There hasn't been the first burgeoning belly photo, although it is definitely documentable. I sleep on my back. I might occasionally consume tiny amounts of caffeine (EGAD!) and have at least once or twice snarfed deli meat which may or may not have been properly heated to steaming (DOUBLE Egad!). So the 2nd child syndrome begins, even in utero. Please don't hold it against me forever, Elise. You do, finally, have a name. A name, which thanks to your loving Mommy and no thanks at all to your crazy yet insufferably peristent Daddy, does not contain the word "Danger". I think that makes up for a host of the previously described offenses, wouldn't you agree?

So to even the score, if ever so slightly, here are some photos of our sweet baby girl. If her in utero activity is any predictor, she will make a fine RiverDance member or kickboxer. I will try to maintain some degree of sibling equity, although I don't know if my iPhoto memory is large enough for another 2000 baby pictures.

We love you, E^2, and can't wait for your arrival.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Game of Thrones

*Warning: This post contains multiple references to Poop. While the narrative may be a bit fecal-centered, there are no graphic or blackmail potential photos. You can thank me later, E. 

 Elle has been potty trained for over a year. But that doesn't stop her from using all resources at her disposal to manipulate me. She is perfectly capable of going on her own, albeit with somewhat questionable wiping thoroughness and gross excursions on the appropriate-number-of-flushes bell curve. Never one. Either zero or 5, which seems to be the point at which our plumbing infrastructure sighs at her and refuses to cooperate with yet another pull of the shiny handle.

Despite her potential for potty independence, she typically insists on my presence if I am in a 40 mile radius. This is especially true for Number Two. Sometimes just for moral support. Or companionship ("Can you go get a book in case it waits a long time, Mommy?"). Or Affirmation ("Is it a doozy, mommy?"). For some reason for the "big ones" in which some effort is required, she insists on wrapping her arms around my neck while I kneel in front of her in perhaps the most uncomfortable position one can be asked to hold for the duration of the colon emptying.

The manipulation factor is most annoying evident precisely 15 minutes after I leave E's room at bedtime. Like clockwork after I finally coerce her to stay in bed I hear the infamous words over the monitor, "Mommy! I need to go potty!" I am simultaneously frustrated and amazed by this kid's sphincter control.

She knows this is the only phrase that will have me twisting ankles, leaping out of the shower mid-shampoo, or dropping my end of the heavy piece of furniture I may be helping Jay move (hypothetically speaking of course) to arrive at her bedside in nanoseconds. And believe me, you don't want to hear about the time I called her bluff. She can always produce just enough to convince me she really has to go. But the problem arises when she insists she isn't done no matter how much time has elapsed, and will sit there until I lose sensation and proprioception in my lower extremities (see above required positioning for Potty Assistant).

Poop is now a power struggle. I am fully aware that she is using this as yet another bedtime delay tactic, but something just seems wrong about enforcing a time limit on defecation. Obviously I can't let her us sit there until morning, but what is an appropriate time limit? 10 seconds? 5 minutes? This has potential to be one of those things that comes out in therapy sessions 20 years from now. Or the court of law. "Mommy said I had 3 minutes to poop, OR ELSE!"

I must win back The Throne.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Growing up, my family never was never big on travelling; we had the occasional trip to the beach but certainly no crazy adventerous vacations much beyond our state. Jay still doesn't believe that we spent a weekend in the Howard Johnson in Greensboro (20 minutes from our house) as "vacation" one year. Hey, they had a pool.

But one year, one glorious moment of out-of-the-box exploration, we made the trip to Disneyworld. Hence, even into adulthood my entire concept of the world has been based on my cultural exposure to Disney. I have been fortunate enough to travel somewhat extensively as a (quasi-) grownup, and have gotten more than a few odd looks at such historical icons as Big Ben, the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, etc when I proclaim in awe, "It's JUST like Disneyworld!" The "countries" of Epcot are my reality. The originals are mere replications in my Mickey-stained view of the world.

Needless to say, DW has always held a special place in my heart. And for my offspring, who ranks Any Disney Princess just under God, Mommy, and Daddy (and the latter two are negotiable), who insisted on naming her baby brother Cinderella (thank goodness for a girl), and who will occasionally sing "M-I-C-K-E-Y... M-O-U-S-E" in place of the alphabet, there really couldn't be a more ideal vacation. 

So although I had sworn for years that I wouldn't be so brave (read: insane) as to take a young child to the magical destination, I recanted and we decided to take Elle as her swan song of only child-i-tude. When we pointed this out to her, however, she immediately pointed out that her baby sister was coming along with us in Mommy's tummy. She will argue with a fence post, that one.

In retrospect, barely-3 is probably a bit too young for optimal Disney enjoyment. There were tantrums. There were meltdowns. There were times when I totally expected SuperNanny to swoop in and take over out of pity for this poor mom who clearly had no idea how to parent her child. The irrationality of a 3 year old was amplified to utterly incomprehensible levels. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT ask my daughter to sit on the inside of the Triceratops Spin ride, Disney Cast Members. There will be trouble. Loud, angry, flailing trouble.

The combination of extended bedtimes, disrupted routines, heat, and nothing short of absolute sensory overload created a monster. And not a "nice, funny"  monster like the "nice, funny" ghosts on the Haunted Mansion ride that we took Elle on in a moment of complete and simultaneous brain death. Bring it on, SuperNanny.

But those were the exceptions. Rather memorable exceptions I must say, but definitely overshadowed by the sheer joy of watching Elle's eyes light up thousands of times each day. I still have great memories of my trips as a child, but I must say it is nothing like seeing it through your kid. Especially when that kid is an overdramatic, super-passionate-about-everything, mini-romantic/idealist.

 I'm not sure at what age it becomes less "real", but 3 definitely makes it under the cut. Meeting Cinderella and the other princesses may have been life-changing for Elle. She talked about it nonstop, recounting over and over to me what each of them said to her. "Cinderella said we were twins!", "Ariel likes my dress! Blue is her favorite color... just like the sea!". Magical, indeed.

She wore her Cinderella dress for the breakfast in the Castle, and was absolutely convinced that she was royalty. In fact, when Cinderella welcomed her to the Castle, E quickly (but tactfully) informed her, "It's MY castle". Every character or cast member we encountered the rest of the day was immediately greeted with E pointing toward the castle and saying "Look, there's my castle!"
Our last vacation as a family of 3 (ex utero, that is), and I wouldn't change a thing. Except maybe bribe SuperNanny with a parkhopper pass...