Friday, December 30, 2011

Where's Christmas?

LO's first words after coming downstairs on December 26 were, "Where's Christmas?"  That's exactly how I feel.  It came and went super fast, maybe because we hosted relatives and when you're entertaining plus chasing after a toddler, you have no concept of time.  I was completely exhausted for days afterward.  LO's favorite present was from Mommy and Daddy, a pink retro play kitchen filled pots, plates and fake food.  She can't get enough of this thing.  The sad part is she has more utensils than I do.  I borrowed her whisk the other day to finish off my cupcakes.


Here's what LO had to say about it:

video

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

80's Love Songs and KY Jelly

It's that time of year again when employees around the world are forced to do the White Elephant gift exchange game with their peers.  If you're looking for ideas on what to get for yours, here's one:

My boss was 4 feet tall, red-headed, insecure and hated other women.  In a department of her hand-picked men, I was the lone female.  I guess she kept me around because I was good at my job, but really I think it was her sheer joy in letting her inner bitch out on me.  Stuff like not inviting me to group lunches, "forgetting" to include me in important email exchanges and meetings.  She wasn't the first insecure woman I'd worked for and the first one was no picnic either.  

Christmas time came around and it was time for the department White Elephant party.  Boss Bitch took us to a nice restaurant where I had to suffer through the boys kissing up to her shamelessly.  She didn't mind, the male attention for her was intoxicating.  I quietly sipped my cocktail and smiled along.  Then came time for the gift exchange.  Boss Bitch was known for giving humorous gifts to match her twisted unique sense of humor, but then again that's the fun of the whole concept.  I played it straight and brought a wine bottle opener or something like that.  I was geared up and ready to tolerate it all nonetheless.

When it came to my turn, I had options.  I could steal the caramel popcorn the guy next to me had or I could pick a new gift.  I decided to go for it -- pick a new one.  I ran my hand over the pile of packages, feeling their vibes.  I picked the one with the dowdiest paper, thinking it was probably my assistant's.  I opened the package to find an '80's smooth love songs CD and a pack of KY Jelly in various flavors.  I looked up at Boss Bitch, who was laughing so hard and loud she was snorting.  She had been waiting all night for this moment and somehow, randomly, I was the lucky recipient.  The whole table was in stitches, yet I felt strangely violated.  Isn't this harassment, I wondered?  Why me?  Why didn't I just take the popcorn?

Boss Bitch must've felt bad later because she tried to steal her gift back when it was her turn.  But I wouldn't let go of my prize, no no.  I took it home and showed it to DH, who reminded me to start looking for a new job, right after depositing my gift in the trash.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

You Mean, She Can't Stay in a Crib Forever?

Over the past couple of weeks, we made the move from crib to toddler bed.  Sniff, sniff.  

LO loves her new digs, especially tunneling in the little comforter.  But for the most part, she still sleeps curled up in a ball with her face planted into the mattress.  The first night, she fell out.  The second day, I came to get her after her nap and she was sleeping on the floor in front of her closet.  Now she pretty much stays in the bed but wakes up A LOT during the night.  

This transition has been a bit scary because the concept of LO being able to get out of her bed on her own opens up a whole new world.  We had to baby-proof her room and put a gate at the top of the stairs so she doesn't wander the house at night.  At 21 months, I guess I'm not prepared for LO to have this level of independence.  It's really a loss of mommy freedom.  The crib was a place I could put her and know she was safe and that she'd stay put.  Until she figured out how to get her leg over the side.  Now the crib has been disassembled and sent to collect dust in the garage along with the changing table.  (Fifty bucks to anyone who can get her to lie on it).    

Another milestone in the books.  And they keep coming.  Next week: training pants!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

There Is No Manual For This

There is no manual for being a mommy.  It's the world's most important job (daddies too) and you're on your own.  Usually, when you start a new job, they send you through some kind of training or indoctrination course, like when I worked at Disney.  But not this job.  Motherhood is trial by fire.  The stakes are high and there are no re-dos.  You can't just hit the BACK button.

Sure, there's plenty of advice out there if you look for it.  Actually, you may get it without asking, as people you don't know tend to do when they see your baby bump or screaming toddler in a supermarket.  You've got your own parents at the ready, willing to share unwanted advice, and you've got parenting classes and a multitude of books written by "experts" who want to tell you what to do but you're open to it because they're not your parents.

The book I've consulted most is the ever popular "What to Expect When You're Expecting," then "What to Expect: The First Year" and now "What to Expect: The Toddler Years."  I'm sure one day I'll be reading "What to Expect: The 'I Hate You' Years."  These books have been helpful at times, particularly while I was pregnant, but now I just find them annoying.  For every problem, their answer is the same -- it's okay.  It's okay that your child isn't eating much, don't worry, it's normal.  It's okay that you took your baby out shopping all day and she didn't get to nap.  It's o-kay.  It's not just these books; it's everything I read these days from parenting magazines to experts' websites.  Motherhood is hard, they seem to be saying.  You're excused from flying into that rage at your toddler for taking a magic marker to your sofa because mommies have feelings too and it's okay to trip up every now and then.  Really?

Which leads me to a young mommy I saw on my flight back from Austin last weekend.  She's no doubt been reading all of this literature and just letting it fly.  It started when she hit me in the security line with her stroller, but that's beside the point.  She tried to put her two-year-old into an open seat without her having a separate ticket, then caused a scene with the flight attendant for following the rules.  This caused our takeoff to be delayed.  The child screamed throughout the flight and this mother, I believe, was only making it worse.  She jerked the little girl out of her seat, hitting her head on the overhead bin, kept yelling at her to be quiet and generally ignoring the girl's needs.  After landing, she apologized out loud to the entire plane for her daughter, who was simply acting like a normal two-year-old.  All I could do was feel for that child and how bad her mom was making her feel.

A bunch of us waited for our checked-in carry-on luggage to be brought out, including this mom.  She sat the squirming girl on the ground, pointed her finger and said, "Sit!" as if she was a dog.  Of course, she didn't.  The mom continued out loud to everyone, "I'm not having another kid.  My husband wants one but I said no way, I'm not going through this (re: her daughter) again."  "This is reason for birth control right here."  I couldn't take it anymore.  I walked over and struck up a conversation just to shut her up.  I even offered to watch her daughter for a minute while she grabbed her bag and stroller.  Help a fellow mommy out, I thought.  But it was as if she couldn't hear me.  Or maybe didn't want to.  And just went on complaining.  I offered one last time, got my bag and left.  I felt bad for that mom, but what I really felt bad about what that poor child.

I never want to make my child feel that way.  No matter how overstressed I may get, no matter how many articles in parenting magazines say it's okay, I know better.  I came home and hugged LO and promised her quietly to always put her first and she said..."Okay."

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Did My Baby Just Say That?

LO is talking non-stop.  Has been for months and now it's at a whole new level.  Sometimes it's chatter that borders on sounding Chinese, but most of the time it's pretty clear.  Here are a few of her latest comments:

I need chocolate.
Go see call Gram.
Where Daddy go?
Go see puter Cookie Monster.  (sesamestreet.org)
Slow... (walks really slow)  Fast!  (runs really fast)
Fish hiding.  Hi, fish!
Come on, Mommy. (as she drags me to her table to draw with crayons)
Look, firefighter!
The fan goes round!

She's also counting from 1-16.  I'm loving being able to communicate with her so much.  Every day that she seems a little older and more independent, I think of her at just a few months old.  I have no doubt this is how I'll always see her, even as she drives away to college, gets married and has a baby of her own someday.  I get it, Mom.  I get it.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Allergy Central


It's official -- LO is highly allergic to peanuts and tree nuts.  We found this out by giving her a bite of a peanut butter sandwich.  After one lick, she broke out into hives all over within seconds and started grabbing at her throat.  A quick dose of Benadryl and a rush to the doctor's office and she was fine, but it scared the pants off of mommy and daddy.  We subsequently saw an allergist who did a test, which confirmed it.  The test was awful.  A bunch of pricks all over her back and I had to hold her face down against me, still, for about 15 minutes, which for an antsy toddler is an eternity.

So I went to my local Pharmaca to pick up LO's new prescription for an Epipen, which I found out is not covered by our insurance.  These puppies are $175 a pop and I needed two packs because apparently a bad nut reaction can come back shortly after using the first pen.  As if using it once wouldn't be traumatizing enough.  I get the prescription and for some reason my intuition made me ask for a pharmacist consultation.  Sure enough, they had given me the wrong Epipen!  They gave me the adult dose pack, which is "way too much" for a child.  When I pointed this out, the pharmacist's eyes turned to saucers, then she minimized it, saying it could cause her heart to race too much.  I called bullshit.  "It could be very serious," she said.  I did my best not to reach across and grab her by the throat.  I could just see the headlines: "Deranged California Woman Attacks Pharmacist."  They would've left out the part where said pharmacist crossed a new mommy.  What if I had given that to LO one day?

Now we carry Epipens everywhere and I'm wondering if I need to have her wear a medi-bracelet when she goes to preschool one day.  Anyone know if this makes a difference?

After the allergist appointment, I put LO down for a nap and proceeded to clean out every last nut from our kitchen.  DH wasn't too happy about his organic peanut butter going missing, but hey the doc said a "nut free home."  Now I scrutinize every label on everything we buy.  The whole of Trader Joe's is processed in a factory that handles nuts and soy, two things we can't have.  (Dear Trader Joe's, why?  WHY?!).  Now my slacker mommy self can no longer nuke a meal in a pinch.  I give the tenth degree to waiters at restaurants when they promise me there's no nuts in a dish.  "Are you really really sure?" I probe.  "Maybe you should double check with the kitchen."  

They say 20% of toddlers grow out of this, so I'm waiting and hoping.  In the meantime, I've got my eye on you, mistake-making pharmacist and couldn't-care-less waiter.    

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Workcation

When is going to work like a vacation?  When you're a SAHM.  I'm in San Francisco shooting a TV show this weekend and even though I've been up since 4:30am to catch a flight, I'm practically holding my eyelids open to savor every peaceful, quiet moment I can.  No baby monitors, no dishes to clean or laundry to do, no molars breaking through to cause a middle of the night crying jag, no 6am baby wake-up time.  Aaahhhhh.

Lombard Street
Not so fast.  I have this deep seated feeling like something's missing.  It's worse than when you think you've lost your wallet or cell phone.  This is bona fide separation anxiety.  I see young toddlers on the streets and gaze at them lovingly (me!) and I can't stop looking at pics of LO on my iPhone every chance I get.  This is crazy.

DAY 2

My eyes popped open this morning at 6:30am.  That's when LO usually wakes up, so I guess my body is trained for it now.  Unfortunately, that was 1.5 hours earlier than I needed to wake.  

The fog rolled in today and never left, which was a bummer because we were trying to get a shot of San Fran from Sausalito.  Instead, we got this:


I only showed pics of LO to two people and although neither of them asked to see them, I know they appreciated me sharing.  You can tell someone's interested when they start scrolling through the rest of your pics.  Or at least they're humoring you, which is fine for me.

Overall, the workcation has been short and sweet.  I have a 6am call time tomorrow with a possibility of finishing early.  Used to be, when I was on the road and wrapped early, I'd sneak in some sightseeing, but now all I want to do is get an earlier flight home.  There are diapers to change and hugs to be given.  I can't wait.

DAY 3

Show day.  I'm up naturally at 4:30, half an hour before my wake-up call.  I lay in bed having stress dreams until the phone rings.  I get ready, pack my suitcase and make it to reception to check out right on the money, 6am.  I've raced to make this time, so my makeup is suspect.  A quick visit to the restroom reveals one cheek massively over-blushed.  I shrug it off -- it's a crew full of guys, will anyone really notice?  I rush back to reception and my colleague with whom I'm traveling is still not there.  He's a poster child for the "Me Generation" and therefore doesn't arrive until 15 mins late with no apologies.  Apparently it was a late night out.  He didn't have time to check out, so he'll have to come back in the middle of the shoot to do it.  Not cool.  But I'm not gonna get stressed.  Not the new Mommy me.  I remind myself to teach LO manners and work ethic, and we head off to site.

Our shoot is delayed due to rain.  Afterward, I race to the airport yet miss my flight home.  Now I'm on standby in the Virgin America terminal, thank goodness, where I can drown my sorrows in Napa Valley gourmet pizza and Pinkberry.  I manage to make the flight, get home just before midnight, kiss DH and we fall into bed.  Just in time for LO to stir.  Home sweet home.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

She Counts!

LO can count to 12.  I have to give Elmo and the Count some credit, however DH and I make an effort to count and sing the alphabet with her a lot.  With the counting, we start with 1, she says 2, we say 3 and so on.  She likes to skip 4 and go straight to 5 but hey, it's progress.

Other sentences she's come out with recently are
"Is wet the duckie?"
"Dolly dirty diaper."
"Bye, park.  See you later."
"I need to get that."
"Is watch the TV."

Hang in there Gram and Gramps, we're trying to get a video for you but as soon as she sees the camera, all she wants to do is play with it!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Signs You Need to Get Out More

10. You're tossing your Little Britain DVD's to make room for the new Elmo DVD collection.
9.  A great Friday night is staying in and watching "The Marriage Ref."  And then arguing over it.
8.  Your cleaning lady saw you in makeup and heels the other day and didn't recognize you.
7.  You've started to speak in baby talk.
6.  Summer reading is "The No-Cry Sleep Solution" and "The Happiest Toddler on the Block."
5.  Airborne Toxic Event is something you're preparing for, not a rock band.
4.  A renewed love of coloring with crayons.
3.  Your credit card statements are so filled with diapers.com, baby gap and Gymboree expenditures, AmEx freezes your card for suspicious activity the one time you try to buy a tube of lipstick.
2.  You volunteer for the midnight run to get Children's Benadryl.  It's the new "me" time.

And the number one sign you need to get out more is...

1.  You kinda like your pancakes shaped like dinosaurs.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Shake Your Tail Feather

At 17 months, it's official -- we have a talker.  LO talks in a constant stream of babble, which I'm sure means something to her.  But she also has over 200 words, to which she has added full sentences.  "Where's the bug?" and "Where the bug go?" she says with ease.  "Come and sit," which is my call to sit at her little table and color with her.  "Mommy's shoes," she says as she shuffles around in my sneakers.  The little dictator who used to just point and grunt at things she wanted now can fully express herself.  Favorite requests are Elmo, pizza, pasta, pool (to go swimming), milk, tensis (to watch tennis on TV) and books.

We walk outside and she says "Hi, dirt!" to the dirt in the flower beds.  This is followed by saying hello to everything from the bees to the flowers, cars, steps.  Yesterday I took her to a store with me and she took off down the street going into each shop and saying "Hi!" to everyone inside.  This is not a shy child.  Which is pretty wild to see coming from a shy mommy.

Aside from the talking, LO has another favorite activity.  We joined one of those music classes in which moms and babies sit in a circle and sing songs.  As soon as the music started, LO ran into the center of the circle and busted a serious move.  Everyone laughed.  LO was the only toddler who insisted on doing this.  


video


Go baby, go baby, go!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Elmo Mania


How do you know your child is obsessed with Elmo?  When she points to a fish in a book and says, "Dorothy!"  I never knew who Dorothy was until a couple of weeks ago.

Have you ever noticed how Elmo is everywhere?  He and Big Bird are on the newborn diapers at the hospital.  That's where it begins.  Then you buy some organic baby crackers and there he is on the front of the box.  They're smart because he's red and easy to spot at Babies R Us.  The name "Elmo" is also easy for a baby to say.  Now my 16-month-old is completely attached to Elmo and asking for him at every turn.  She watches the show and giggles when he does.  This is crazy!  She also said "noodle," referring to Elmo's clown friend Mr. Noodle.  I thought I had at least another year before this craze began, but alas we now have a stuffed Elmo and Elmo DVD's and books.  For people who didn't want our child to watch TV, this one is hard to avoid.  Although I did love Sesame Street as a kid.  Shhhhhh, whatever you do, don't tell her about Sesame Street Live coming to town...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Next Stop, Wimbledon

It was a big day in our house -- we bought LO her first tennis racket, a Babolat B'fly.  It's so cute, the pink cover has a backpack strap on it.  Just in case you gotta fly, I guess.


Those who know me know how much I love tennis and hope LO will too.  I played in college and a little after, coached and still play any chance I get.  If LO decides she wants to be a tennis player, she's got mama.  Her Uncle Tony to her Rafa.  Her Jimmy to her Chrissie.  See, I'm already projecting onto LO and she's only 15 months old.  But how's she gonna kick butt at mommy & me tennis if we don't start preparing now?  I can honestly say she loves her racket, which she calls "rack!" and swings around the room yelling "pow!"  I love it.  The furniture...not so much.







 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

An Open Letter to Saks Fifth Avenue

Dear Saks Fifth Avenue,

I've tried to get off of your mailing list.  Really, I have.  But no matter how many times I unsubscribe, those daily emails keep a comin'.  Letting me know about all of the designer jeans, handbags and shoes I'm missing out on.  What are my must haves for summer?  You told me and I thank you.  But to be honest, you're barking up the wrong tree.  (See prior blog entry about $2 paycheck).  Where I come from, we put it this way -- it ain't happenin'.  I know it's my fault I got in your list in the first place.  A year ago I did buy an overpriced handbag to go with my overpriced shoes and yes, I could use more.  More.  MORE.  I just want to be up front in this relationship because no matter how many times I try to break it off, we're still together.  So consider yourself informed.

Thanks,

LA Mom

p.s. Love the Miu Miu pre-fall collection!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Oh, Canada!

We just got back from a long trip to Canada to visit my in-laws, better known as Gram and Gramps.

It was our first plane ride with LO.  I packed meticulously, bringing a full carry on suitcase stuffed with every kind of puff/graham cracker/yogurt bite/squeezable fruit imaginable.  My arsenal also included an array of new, travel-friendly toys and books.  We don't let LO watch TV, but being terrified newbies, we brought along a DVD player as a last resort.  If we reached DEFCON 1, maybe Sesame Street would hold her attention.  So naive...  The DVD player was brought out in the airport before we ever boarded the plane.  The ride went surprisingly smooth, however, even the dozen trips up and down the aisle where LO said "Hi!" and waved to everyone.  Her excitement was contagious.  To the woman across from us trying to sleep, I'm truly sorry.




One thing I did not expect was LO's primal need to push anything that would move.  I guess that's just what 14 month olds do.  Here's how we spent the long ass wait at baggage claim:













We had to take turns going round and round as she pushed with all her might.  When she ran into something, she'd try to turn it, get angry and squeal, then lay face down on the ground crying.  Seriously?  The pushing was cute, though, and everyone in the customs line was pointing and laughing at this little baby powering this huge cart.

Jet lag has set in and I must retire.  Part II to follow tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hey Kid, I Want My Beach Pail Back!

I took LO to a playground yesterday in Malibu.  It's very nice and the beauty of it was that, unlike on weekends, it was practically empty.  I was so excited to have an afternoon outing just the two of us, and I was especially grateful for this time now that I'm faced with the possibility of starting a new job.

I packed up all the gear -- new beach toy set, stroller, sunscreen, hat, snacks, toys for the car ride.  To be honest, I was feeling pretty good about myself as a Mommy, which these days constitutes being able to locate my keys and cell phone before going out.  We sang songs in the car and LO was in the zone, that perfect post-nap, blissful mood.

The playground has a large sandy area with a jungle gym and slides and a large adjacent sand box with an umbrella.  We parked the stroller at the sand box, got out the new beach toys and started raking sand.  I sat in the sand with her as she diligently filled the pail.  She was so happy.  She walked a few steps away to check out a rock in the sand when a big boy (probably around 5) ran over from out of nowhere and jerked her pail away.  I said "Hi" to him and invited him to play with us.  He laughed at me.  I asked nicely if he'd give it back since it's brand new and she's just a baby and...  He didn't care.  He took off running into the playground.  I shouted, "Hey!" but he kept going.  I was fuming.  He took my baby's new beach pail!

What I really wanted to do was chase him down and body slam him.  I could feel the anger welling up inside of me.  I couldn't go after him and leave LO alone in the sandbox.  He was too far away for that.  I couldn't carry her around while I chased him either.  He'd be too nimble.  I looked around for any signs of his concerned parents -- nothing.  It was the weirdest feeling, the instinct to be protective and put the hurt on that little kid.  What are the rules on a playground?  At what point can you body slam other people's kids?  Eventually a parent yelled out from somewhere for him to give it back and he did.  My blood pressure dropped back to normal and we had a wonderful time together at the park.  

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Is It Too Late to Mention that I Have a Wooden Leg?

I went on a job interview recently and this week was the second round.  The exercise was to produce a sample of the show and then they'll make their decision after seeing the candidates' creations.  I was reminded of one of my favorite skits from "The Tracey Ullman Show," where Tracey and two other candidates are given a box of random items and given :60 to do something creative with it.  This probably aired in the 80's but it's totally relevant today:

Special Skills - Part 1

Special Skills - Part 2

Anyone had a similar experience?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Walking and Talking

LO started walking this week!  It began with standing without holding onto anything, then progressed to a few steps and now she's unstoppable.  She falls a lot, but she just gets right back up and goes!  Today we went to the park where the grass was kind of high and kept tripping her up.  Every time, she got right back up and went as fast as she could toward the big kids kicking a soccer ball, shouting "Baw!"



Peekaboo!
New vocab this week includes:
Key
Where de key? (I swear)
Where dat?
Yo-ur (yogurt)
Cheese
Doowr (door)
Puh (her beloved cereal puffs)
Nana (banana)
Poon (spoon)

What a week!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mommy Fame

Before I became a Mommy, I could go anywhere and nobody would notice me.  I don't have purple hair, a third eye or any unusual features that would attract attention.  Back when I used to travel for a living, I could blend in easily, no matter what country I happened to be visiting.  But the later I got into my pregnancy, the more unsolicited comments and "friends" I seemed to make out in public.  One day when I was 9 months pregnant -- a spectacle, to say the least -- I was browsing the cheese aisle at the grocery store when I heard, "Look at youuuuuuu..."  I looked up and a lady pushing a cart had stopped to admire my seriously large baby bump.  I looked (and felt) like I could give birth any second and my biggest pregnancy craving was sharp cheddar cheese, so there I was feeding the habit when she said with a knowing smile, "When are you due?"  "Yesterday," I said.  She replied, "Wow, you are SO TINY," and then strolled off.  A complement any other day, but I was hormonal and aching in every joint in my body.  Was I too tiny?  Was LO going to be born too small?  Was that some kind of cruel joke?  This kind of unsolicited commentary was something I had to get used to.

Then I had a baby.  And a baby is a spectacle everywhere you go.  People treat you better when they see a sweet little baby with you.  They want to see the little bundle of goodness and coo and smile at her.  The ones that tried to touch her pissed me off.  Why do people feel they need to touch babies' toes or hands?  People, your hands are dirty, keep 'em off my precious cargo.  I'm not putting my hands all over your produce, now am I?  Why don't I just cough on those apples for good measure?  Anyway, when you're out with your baby, you have what I call Mommy Fame.  Everyone melts in the presence of babies.  They have a million questions for you, too.  How old is she?  What's her name?  Is this your first?

Mommy Fame is great.  The other aspect of it is that you're now a Mommy.  Society sees Mommies as nice, caring people and therefore they treat you as such.  I could be the world's biggest bitch but because I'm a Mommy, the connotation is that I'm a good person.  No longer the selfish married bitch with no kids.  Society doesn't like that woman.  We scowl at her.  Mommies, on the other hand, are selfless and nurturing.  We like them so much we'll help carry their bags to the car and hey why not give the kid a balloon.  So needless to say, I'm enjoying this Mommy thing while it lasts, before LO gets to the age when she starts throwing tantrums in public and our popularity dips.  Thankfully, I have a few more months to go on that one.

    

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Success!


A few weeks ago, I took on a new freelance writing assignment.  It was one of those deals where they ask you to send in a list of one-liners (jokes/dialogue for a character) and if they use any of yours, you get paid per joke.  I fundamentally object to this kind of cattle call because you have to do the work and may or may not be paid.  Not a good business model for the freelancer.  But I did the assignment anyway since it only took a short amount of my time and it was for an app, which is kinda cool to work on.

I got an email the other day saying they've chosen one or more of my lines, congratulations!  Where do they send the check?  I just got the check -- for $2.00.  THEY ACTUALLY SENT ME A CHECK FOR TWO DOLLARS.  At this rate, I'm gonna have to seriously reconsider this freelance thing.  The same day the car dealership called to say we need a new motor in the door mechanism that raises the window and it'll cost...wait for it...$1,000.  

They say the thrill of doing what you love is getting paid for it but now I'm not so sure.  Oh yeah and I should put some aside for taxes.  I'll deduct that and treat LO to a Plum Organics pear and mango tomorrow for $1.15.  Ah, the thrill of success!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Storytime Nazi

A friend told me about storytime at the neighborhood library.  The blurb on their leaflet promises finger puppets, games and other thrills, in addition to exciting book readings.  So I figured LO would get a kick out of this even if she's too young to do much, just seeing the other kids and the colorful materials would be exciting for her.  And I would feel like a good Mommy knowing I exposed her to something other than our living room.

The plan was set -- I'd meet my friend and her 5-month-old there.  LO must've overheard me making plans because whenever I do, she manages to go down for her nap late, thus pushing back everything else in the day.  As soon as she started to stir, I whisked her out of her crib, threw a fresh diaper and clean clothes on her and blew out of the house.  We were missing the beginning of storytime and LO would be lost the rest of the session not having heard the opening to the story.  Parking was impossible, but I muscled my way into a space a block over and wheeled LO into the library, sprinting through the alarm sensors, slowing only to ask which way to go.  I was directed to a special room around the corner.

The special room had industrial carpeting and plain walls.  Not one piece of artwork, posters, nothing.  Just a table with a few books on it.  There were only four kids and two adults aside from my friend and her baby.  At the head of the room, in front of the table, was the STORY NAZI, a husky-voiced, portly librarian of Asian descent in her 40's.  She was reading a book about green monsters (green was the theme) adding as much characterization as she could muster to every syllable.  This was her moment to shine -- no matter that there were only a few listeners -- and she wasn't going to share the spotlight.  We wheeled in and took a seat next to my friend.  This followed by the usual hey how are ya's and my explanation of why we were late, all at a whisper of course.  Story Nazi shot me a look.  Clearly I was distracting.

So I settled in and held LO in my lap.  After a few seconds, she got restless.  She became fascinated with my friend's baby, but instead of shouting ba-by repeatedly, LO seemed to know it was quiet time.  My friend, on the other hand, kept saying stuff to me.  I used to hate this in school -- you're on the verge of getting in trouble in class for talking and your friend keeps talking to you.  Even though you're minding your own business and being quiet, your friend gets you both in trouble by association.  Really unfair.  And so it was with Story Nazi.  She scowled at me again, snapping the book shut when she was finished.  Great, I thought to myself, I'm about to be the one reprimanded at storytime while LO was behaving perfectly.  Where were the finger puppets, anyway?  I was bored.  Instead of being exciting, Story Nazi's over-enthusiastic reading was just plain awkward and, quite frankly, a little scary.  I had to get out of there.  Perhaps sensing my unrest, she let the adults choose the next book.  But I wasn't gonna fall for that one and kept my mouth shut.  Afterward, she suggested my friend and I try the Wednesday hour for babies and toddlers.  I told her I'd think about it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Walking Watch Update

The tsunami was minor, we got a new Canon Powershot and LO took three steps.  They weren't documented because she completely surprised us after dinner last night but she still isn't exactly walking.  She tries to take a step, falls and then resorts to crawling.  Batteries are back in the dinosaur, the push cart is at the ready, camera charged.  Walking Watch on.  Things just have a way of working out, don't they?

I have to admit until recently, I haven't done much to encourage LO's walking.  A part of me knows that a walking baby = a toddler and a toddler is no longer a baby.  She has no teeth yet either, so I'm sure she'll walk and cut an entire set in the same week, which will mean zero sleep is in my future.  Now that LO is 13 months old, I'm starting to get a little paranoid -- will she EVER walk unassisted?  The preschools require your child to be potty trained before starting but what if she isn't walking?!  Tomorrow, I'm on it.  Walking and pushing all day.  She can do it, she just needs confidence.  If she's gonna be a world class athlete, she's gonna have to step up her game.

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Tsunami Can't Keep Me Down

I have a predicament today.  LO is threatening to walk any second now.  She stands on her own, takes one step and falls, but I know that step will connect soon and I don't want to miss it.  We're on "Walking Watch" in our household.  Problem is our video camera just crapped out after our trip to San Diego and now I'm video camera-less.  This is a major problem.  I discovered the camera problem yesterday but I think I was in denial about it.  Maybe if I turn it on and off a dozen times it'll start working again.  Right?  Wrong.

Reality set in this morning when I realized LO could take her first steps today and I'd miss it because my camera, a rather new one I might add, was on the fritz.  This can't happen.  Which leaves me with only one choice -- keep LO from walking until I can get out to buy a new camera.  I feel like a terrible mommy, taking batteries out of the dinosaur walker, encouraging her to crawl instead of cruise.  Whatever it takes -- this baby is NOT taking first steps without them being documented.

The other minor issue here is that a tsunami is going to hit the West Coast in about five minutes.  My plans to wake up, throw on some clothes and burn rubber to Best Buy have been replaced by worried calls from relatives and way too much CNN.  Head for the hills!  Stock up on groceries and canned goods!  All I care about is getting that new camera.  We're in an elevated area but the Pacific Coast Highway is the main way to get places from here and it's awfully close to the beaches, which are being closed down.  I figure I'll take Sunset, staying on high ground and get back in time to hand in that preschool application.  LO will have been in her car seat, so no walking will take place if I just get my butt in gear.  Tsunamis are such a drag.  But whatever happens, I will get my pic!

Why won't the music play?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Hair!

LO was born without much hair.  DH and I both have thick hair and when I was pregnant I imagined my baby would come out with a full on afro.  Over the last few months, she's been slowly growing it in and now there's enough to somewhat brush and style, if you want to call it that.  DH and I had fun messing with LO's locks one night during her bath and this is the result of our juvenile episode:

You talkin' to me?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Best Moments

My father-in-law said recently that he had three best moments in his life.  (One being LO's Christening and the other two are classified).  It got me thinking what mine would be.  Thirteen months ago I probably could've named them, but ever since LO came around there's an endless list of new ones.  Sweetheart, today when I was stretching in the dining room and you surprised me with an upside down "Boo!" and laughed hysterically in my face, that was one of those moments.  One of the happiest moments of my life.  I can't explain why, but I was acutely aware of it at the time.  It was this overwhelming feeling, much like when you were born and like I've continued to experience since.  This must be the love of a parent, which grows like a seed each day.  Each day when you wake I look forward to another happiest moment in my life.  You're sleeping now, and although I don't know what tomorrow holds, I do know that with you in it, every moment will be the best.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My New Push Cart!

We made a family outing to Ikea to get a desk for the house.  Ikea outings are always regrettable and this one was no different.  It was raining and crowded in Burbank and it took us way too long to get there.  Then LO needed a diaper change upon arrival.  Cut to fifteen minutes later all three of us waiting outside the family changing room waiting for it to become available.  We knocked, some frazzled mom yelled back and we gave up, opting for the more crowded bathroom area upstairs.  No mystery meatballs were consumed on this trip, thank God.  It's a last resort kind of thing where you're racing to get there, traffic takes forever and you don't have time to eat lunch and then you pass by the cafeteria and think why not?  If it's good enough for the Swedes...

We're suckers for the baby/kids section, where we found a cute little push cart.  LO is trying to walk, so this would be perfect for her to stretch her legs with.  You're supposed to put things in it and push them around, but LO spends copious amounts of time squeezing herself into it with and without toys.  She thinks it's hilarious when we push her around the house in it.  If only our stroller had been that inexpensive.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Vocabulary at 12 Months

LO has developed a nice little vocabulary over the past few months.  Seems like every day she adds to it.  Here's what she's saying.  (Each of these involves a lot of pointing and air swallowing excitement):

Baby
Bye bye
Hi
Woo woo (woof woof for doggies)
Mow (meow for kitties)
Ba (ball)
Ba (bottle)
Boo (bird)
Poo (when she farts)
Ma ma
Uh oh

Baby is probably her favorite.  She points to babies when we're out, babies on food packaging, wipes, diapers boxes, you name it.  She even points to herself in the mirror and to photos of herself on my phone and says clear as a bell, "Ba-by."  It's thrilling to have this new ability to communicate.  It's also scary to see how quickly she's processing language and understanding things I say.  Now I have to extricate my favorite curse words from my vocabulary for fear she'll end up like the baby in "Meet the Fockers."

What will LO's next word be?  It could be "fish" because they're her favorites and she makes the "f" sound when she sees them.  Whatever it is, I can't wait to find out.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Birthday Girl!


Happy First Birthday to our little sweetheart!  We decided to forego a big party and spent the time and money on LO instead.  I have to say, it was a good choice.  We started the day with lunch in Brentwood, then to the Skirball Center's Noah's Ark, which is an interactive exhibit of animals inside a walk-in ark.  LO loved it even though she can't walk yet.  She pushed the grocery cart like a champ and reviled in taking out the fake vegetables.  (She's really into taking things out of things right now, which means you constantly have to put them back in).

She took to the wooden giraffe next to the dog and proceeded to crawl back and forth between the two, pointing with excitement each time and saying "Woo woo."  That's "woof woof" to her.

We finished the day at home opening presents.  LO's eyes practically popped out of her head at the sight of the red velvet cupcake with a lit candle in it.  We shared the cupcake and everybody went to bed.  It was the perfect first birthday.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Friday Night Fever

LO came down with a fever last week and now, four days later, I'm finally coming up for air.  It's amazing how one fever can completely hijack several days of your life.  Before baby, I never would've thought this possible.  And of course, it started on a Thursday afternoon, which meant calling the pediatrician on a Friday, then waiting to see her on a Saturday.  Hours spent in a room full of little coughing phlegm machines.  With a miserable baby of my own.  I learned a little pediatrician's office tip the hard way which I'll share with you now.

Always take the appointment.

I called Dr. K's office on Friday and spoke to the nurse.  She said to wait one more day and if the fever didn't break to come in to see the Dr.  Did I want to go ahead and make an appointment now and cancel it tomorrow (Sat.) if need be or would I rather call by 9am on Sat. to come in.  We'd have no problem getting in, she said.  I took the reasonable approach and said I'd call in the morning of we needed to.  What I didn't realize is that we wouldn't be getting an appointment at that stage, we'd become walk-in patients on a Saturday.  This entails no less than an 1.5 hour wait.  The waiting area was packed -- standing room only.  We sat there while everyone else with an appointment waltzed right in and the other walk-ins impatiently waited.  It was like showing up to the most popular restaurant in town on a Friday night without a reservation.  You wouldn't do it, right?

The receptionist grew tired of everyone asking where they stood in the queue.  Every time we asked, she upped the time, a tactic clearly designed to get us to leave her alone.  I got the impression if she even saw me come near her desk one more time, she'd do something sinister like misplace my new insurance information or, God forbid, add me to her blacklist, which I'm certain she keeps hidden in her top drawer.  Overall we waited a little over 2 hours.  I think we were the last patients to be seen.  We don't know what caused LO's fever, we're doing some tests, but thankfully she's feeling better today.  It's good to see the spark back in those big blue eyes.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Definition of Sleep Deprivation

If you Google "methods of torture," the first result that comes up is a Wikipedia entry.  Under Psychological Torture, you'll find Sleep Deprivation.  It has been ruled inhumane according to the European Convention on Human Rights and has been used as an interrogation method by government agencies worldwide.  The good news is that DH and I would be excellent recruits for undercover agents since, if caught by an enemy and subjected to sleep deprivation, we would be unbreakable.

Back to Wikipedia.  If you click on Sleep Deprivation, it goes on to list all sorts of maladies that can be attributed to lack of sleep.  There's plenty of mention of sleep disorders, even war, but nowhere does it refer to new parents.  I'm not a Wikipedia contributor, so I'd like to take this opportunity to write my own definition of Sleep Deprivation:

SLEEP DEPRIVATION, n., is the condition of not having enough sleep, mostly found in parents, particularly new parents.  Symptoms include bags under the eyes, irritability, arguing, yawning incessantly, forgetfulness, inability to form complete sentences and trouble understanding basic concepts.  Onset begins with peaceful slumber interrupted by a baby's siren-like cry on the baby monitor.  Sleep is achieved in 3-4 hour blocks maximum over prolonged period of time.  In simpler terms, it's when you finally get baby back to sleep at 4am and then you can't sleep, so you make a cup of tea and figure hey why not wash the cabinets?  It's that foggy-headed feeling like you've just been struck with a 2x4 and haven't gotten your bearings back yet.  It's having no recollection of the middle of the night feeding, just seeing evidence of it the day after.  It's when you're at the grocery store and "Paper or plastic?" is so overwhelming you can only mumble, "I don't know."  It's getting pulled over for drunk driving when you haven't even had a drink.  It's wanting to drop kick the next person who asks "Is she sleeping through the night yet?"  It's getting ready in the morning and forgetting what side you part your hair on.  It's when your eyelids are so heavy they shut without your approval and you can't get them back open.  It's finally getting to take a long nap...only to wake up and feel even more tired than you were before.  

I'm sure Wikipedia would welcome a new parental perspective on their listing.  I'll get right on that.  One of these days when I get enough sleep.







  

Monday, January 10, 2011

Preschool Panic

Ok, I'm not really panicked but I feel like I should be.  Apparently, getting your child into the right preschool is the most important thing you can do in your child's life.  The schools are exclusive, highly selective and expensive as hell.  It's also going to determine whether they end up at the local community college or Yale.  I say bollocks, but I did cave in and start calling around to schools in the area, most of which told me to call back when she's one year old.  Pshew, I thought.  I can delay the panic for a few more months.  But one school near us said I better get in for a tour and get on the waiting list.  So I did.

I was told to be there at 8:30am.  I rushed to get there on time only to find that the tour didn't actually start until 9am and I should just have a coffee and bagel and peruse the brochures on the table.  As someone with very little time to spare, this waste of my precious half hour was torture.  While I waited, pacing, trying not to look pissed, the schoolkids were doing some kind of weird religious (this isn't a religious school) ceremony in the courtyard.  As I observed, I started to get a massive headache.  I started relaxation techniques in my head to release the tension.  Then I noticed two kids waiting at the entrance with goblets of burning incense.  Bingo.  Every time they came back and stood in the doorway, my head throbbed.  Only twenty more minutes to go.

This school, which I won't name, is based on a very unique philosophical approach to learning.  Head throbbing and jaw clenched, I was excited to see such nice facilities and teachers whose gentle positivity made me feel like the world was happy and carefree.  The tour started in the Nursery.  We parents were asked to sit on the floor in a circle, hold hands and go through a typical activity with the teacher.  Teacher sang a song which basically spelled out everything she was doing with her hands, from building an imaginary snowman to buttoning our coats.  She passed around tissues, which we balled up into "snowballs" and were instructed within the song to throw at our neighbors.  I sat there, thoughts flooding my aching head, "I'm bored already.  I don't really want to hold this guy's hand.  What about phonics?  THIS is gonna cost me 13 grand a year?!"

The tour continued and we sat in on grades 2-7.  Envisioning my baby this old freaked me out.  I wanted to run out of there.  They had already lost me at "Everyone hold hands," but they really lost me when the athletics teacher had us play tag.  Yes, the adults.  I let a guy get me and excused myself.  I'm sure this place is perfect for some people, but I knew it wasn't right for us.  What I did learn is that I eventually want LO to be exposed to the real world, not a school that's an incubator where nobody is competitive and woodworking takes the place of mathematics.  For now, she's a baby, and I think I'll enjoy her baby-ness while it lasts, thank you very much.  Save the preschool panic for another day.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Going Up?

I took LO with me to a department store yesterday.  Now that I travel with a stroller, I've learned where the elevators are in every store in town.  We waited patiently for it to come, along with the other mommies, old ladies and general lazy women that usually collect there.  From behind me, I hear, "How old is your baby?"  It's another new mommy with, let's just say, a very rotund baby.  "Ten months," I say.  "Oh, so her first birthday is in March?"  "No, it's February.  She's almost 11 months," I reply, caught once again rounding down LO's age.  The mommy shared that her baby is 5 months and she started solids at 4 months.  She loves to eat.  We started LO on solids at 6 months per our doctor's advice, but it seems like there's no real rule to this feeding thing.

I wish there was a definitive baby feeding manual.  I have a handout from a local expert detailing in not so much detail how to introduce your baby to solids through the first year.  A friend lent me a Beaba Babycooker and to prove my mettle as a mommy, I've tried to make most of LO's meals myself.  I started with basics -- pureed apples (her fave), pears, yams, etc.  The first time we gave her solids, I made her pureed peas and strained them.  A whole freezer bag yielded two tablespoons of peas.  There has to be an easier way, I thought.  So I bought it in jars.

In effort to develop LO's pallete, I consulted my trusty expert's handout for tips.  Avoid high nitrate foods such as homemade carrots, turnips, beets and other root vegetables as this could poison your baby.  I quickly put away the turnips I was chopping and rummaged through the fridge.  Pasta!  I always see cool moms at restaurants giving their kids pasta and veggies, so why couldn't LO try it?  My natural cooking disabilities mean I naturally over-boil pasta, so this would be perfect for LO.  The pediatrician said avoid wheat, nuts and shellfish, so I boiled up some rice pasta, chopped it up and set it before LO.  She stuffed it in her mouth and made the humming sound she does when she likes eating something.  Then she started choking.  She expelled the offending rice elbow and the world was good again.  We tried again a few days later with corn elbow pasta and she ate an entire bowl with no problem.  I feel like she needs more flavor, more variety.  A friend in the UK recommended baby cookbooks by Annabel Karmel, but if anyone has recommendations for other (easy) baby cookbooks, please let me know.