Saturday, October 21, 2006
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
100 Things I Love (in no particular order):
- monogrammed stuff
- lemon bars, the lemon tart from Michel Richard
- sourdough bread, warm, with butter
- goat cheese
- great meals
- Lost Coast Great White Ale
- tasting menus
- going to the movies
- Grey’s Anatomy, House, Scrubs
- aseptic packaging
- buying clothes for my kids
- feeling strong and lean
- the good kind of soreness after a workout
- my hair color
- the sweet, fresh, damp smells of a clothes dryer mid-cycle, rain, lavender, and my children's hair after a bath
- Paris, France
- Provencal tablecloths, Provence Sante Sweet Almond soap
- having met and married the man who considers it his primary objective to make me happy
- Las Vegas
- new snow clinging to the branches of every tree, blanketing the landscape in shades of white and gray
- playing tennis
- crossing items off my to do list
- winning at poker
- a perfect glass of chardonnay
- a well timed glass of champagne
- long walks and talks with girlfriends
- feeling known and understood
- key lime pie
- looking at pictures
- the story of how Rafe and I met
- our wedding album
- Buffalo wings with bleu cheese dressing
- surprise packages and letters
- irises, tulips, and freesia
- watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean
- listening to Hawaiian slack key guitar music, sipping a mai tai, watching the sun set over a different part of the Pacific Ocean
- caramel apples
- onion dip with Ruffles chips
- cuddling with my boy, watching movies and reading together
- Santa Barbara, especially its zoo and La Super Rica
- afternoon tea
- taking cooking classes with my mom
- Impressionist art
- Coca Cola Light
- room service
- everything my baby girl utters, from her silly songs to her unique toddler-ese phrases
- holding hands
- a little black dress
- pale green, periwinkle, indigo, rose
- Tchaikovsky, Mozart
- Debussy's Clair de Lune
- worn in jeans
- MAC lipstick
- when my children are laughing and playing together
- Trader Joe's
- that my children are developing loving, trusting, and independent relationships with their grandparents
- Sesame Street (always, but even more before they jumped the shark and gave Cookie Monster nutritious alternatives)
- the library
- my Volvo
- chips & salsa, occasionally when accompanied by a blended margarita with salt
- Frank, the genius who cuts my hair
- the Pasadena Tournament of Roses parade
- Kidspace Museum
- bags & purses with lots of compartments
- the view from our office window
- my mom's Thanksgiving dinner
- my blue chair (featured in #78's photo)
- colored pens
- the beach, and making sandcastles
- my kitchen, clean
- enjoying the few minutes between when my carpet is freshly cleaned and the children and dog resume their normal activities
- The Soup
- San Francisco
Friday, October 13, 2006
Like many children born in the 1970's, I remember my dad waiting in line for our family to see Star Wars its opening weekend. I was 6 and fell asleep in the theatre, missing the stunning climax and conclusion of what would become one of the most beloved films of my generation.
My big brother and I saved our allowances to see the film again as a double feature (once so I could see the ending, the second time to fully appreciate it.) We each paid for two tickets because we wanted to see the movie twice, (and why wouldn't you buy two tickets, silly?). That holiday season, when he opened his gift of two Star Wars t-shirts, I insisted he share one with me, until my mother handed me my own set of two. We wore those shirts constantly, badges of our adoration for the heroes of a galaxy far far away.
In college, I paid $2.50 (likely the cost of one of those matinee tickets from 15 years prior) to watch the trilogy in its entirety among hundreds in our campus student union. Early in my courtship with my now husband, we went on a double date with my future sister- and brother-in law for the re-release of The Empire Strikes Back. I've left work early as well as engaged a babysitter so that I could wait in line with my husband's childhood friends the opening day of each of the Star Wars prequels. I'm not a fanatic, just a fan, and it's fun to be excited about something the way I was as a kid.
It's now come full circle, as my children, and the children of my friends, are now old enough to appreciate the wonders of the movie, too.
Aiden (my friend Jenny's son. He's 5.): This is a light saber. It's from the movie Star Wars. Have you seen it?
Ellie (my daughter. She's almost 2.): Wooookkkiieee? Where are you, Wookiee?
Go go Monkey! (She thinks Darth Vader is some kind of primate and tends to cheer for the villains in movies.)
Bye, Storm Troopers. Bye bye.
Jake (my son. He's 4.): I like C-3PO best. He's kind of a worrier.
Me: Jakey, are you kind of a worrier, too?
Jake: Yeah. (Smiling.)
Me: Who else is kind of a worrier?
Jake: (Laughs.) Mommy.
You're here again? Already? Wow. Time flies.
When you last stayed with our family, we were "under construction," so everything is kind of a blur. I remember Jake's tantrums on the ground in all sorts of inappropriate places, but I don't remember much else because I was busy having a baby and becoming a mother of two.
Honestly, I'm very impressed with your work, Two. You take diaper wearing babbling toddlers and transform them into articulate and potty trained preschoolers in a very short time.
I remember thinking the boy was big enough to do things on his own and pushing him towards independence (and preschool!). I felt guilty for not being able to engage him as much since his fussy baby sister took up so much time. He did start preschool (though not until he was a little closer to your colleague, Three), and in fact, became very independent and confident, which I appreciate. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure the girl is ready for preschool NOW (her words), since she screams and cries on the days we leave her brother at his classroom and she doesn't get to go to her baby school (aka Mommy & Me class). She'll have a long time in school, so why start so soon, right?
Perhaps it was because you were essentially dismissed with our boy who took you in stride and remained extraordinarily reasonable and agreeable that you feel the need to make your presence known with our girl. I get that she's curious and wants to explore, but do you think you could steer her towards toys and books and away from my contact lenses, nail polish, markers and credit cards? I value her interest in making decisions about clothing and shoes and even more that she is attempting to dress herself, but I'd rather pick my own shoes and accessories without having to negotiate with her. Costume jewelry and sparkly shoes aren't always appropriate for my daily activities, though they might be if I was two as well.
With your impending arrival, I'm noticing that she seems to want and need less and less of me. I really liked cuddling on the couch with her in the mornings for her milk and Elmo, but now she cries if I try. She climbs on her big couch and sits alone. Seriously, Two, she's got the rest of her life to sit by herself. Can't she be my baby just a little bit longer?
You mark the end of an era for our family, Two. We're not expanding anymore. We're done. We're giving away our baby items, stroller by stroller, to people who will find them useful, not just expensive clutter. My baby wears the clothes big girls wear, has ample opinions to assert and doesn't miss me so much when I'm away. She's ready to grow up, but I'm not sure I'm ready to leave her innocence and dependence behind.
So, tell me, Two, is there any way we can reconcile your directives with my resistance?
As her birthday is just about a week away, I'd appreciate your kind consideration and prompt attention to resolve this matter.
Karen, Jake & Ellie's mom (aka jakelliesmom)
In response to your recent inquiry, let me be clear and say NO!
ELLIE DO IT!
P.S. I just peed on the floor again. Did you find it?
(This post was inspired by the brilliant and creative writing of Finslippy. The sentiments, events and writing are mine, but the genius is hers.)
Thursday, October 12, 2006
I have a great idea I've been tossing around that could impact the educational future of our youngest generation. Rather than focusing magnet schools on the arts or sciences, they would center on the obsessions of the preschoolers they were intended to attract.
My son would choose the train school. Imagine the curriculum: geography would follow routes all over the world, history and science would combine to review and explore the development of the rail system from early wooden tracks to the future of magnetic levitation! Then there are all those pesky math problems involving Train A and Train B leaving their respective stations, picking up passengers along the way, etc.
I believe many children would learn better if encouraged to develop their niche at an early age. Think of the quality of our world's paleontologists, authors, scientists, athletes, orators, doctors, race car drivers, equestriennes, singers, dancers, chefs, artists, veteranarians, mechanics, and teachers who could hone their skills while still under the watchful eyes of their parents. We'd have world peace and a cure for AIDS before bedtime!
You'd have to place the children sometime after the age of 4, because the pursuits my baby girl seems to gravitate towards right now, though I'm sure lucrative, just don't capture her true potential.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
I was out for a walk today with my little girl and her Auntie Banana*. From the stroller, the girl performed her best Houdini act - first casting toys under the wheels to distract us, ("Uh oh. Elmo down."), then taking off her shoes, socks, and the "restraint" of her stroller, all while screaming, "No thank you!" We stopped before she was able to execute the final part of her escape, and I chose to carry her home.
As we resumed our walk, I misstepped and in seconds was off the curb, falling into the street with my little girl in one arm out of harm's way, the other arm down to brace my fall. Our combined weight came crashing down on my right arm and I dislocated my shoulder.
Ironically, as part of her ongoing baby magic training (which also includes attempting the very difficult removal of a tablecloth when we're still having dinner), Elizabeth has learned how to twist herself into dislocating her elbow when it is suggested that perhaps we might want to go in a different direction or that it might be time to leave a favorite place. Two emergency trips to her pediatrician (with whimpers of "Arm. Hurts.") have helped me to understand that this is not an uncommon toddler experience and that she will grow out of it. In turn, I've adapted to picking her up from under her arms as well as letting her have tantrums instead of allowing her to pull her arm away so that we can avoid future injuries. Never would I have expected to be the one crying in the street, "Arm. Hurts."
Except I didn't cry. I came close to fainting on the sidewalk when I realized the extent of my injury, but as instinctive as it was to protect my baby from the fall itself, I also was driven to under react so that she would stay calm. In the moments when Banana* took over to get the girl home and pick up a car to rescue me (before the kindly neighborhood security patrol arrived on the scene and drove us home), I witnessed the strength of our mother/daughter bond. My independent, feisty little girl, the child who kept me pregnant past her due date, whose colic tested every bit of my patience for four months, who won't sleep anywhere but her bed and hates the stroller, who screams when I won't allow her to put on my makeup, wakes up every day before dawn and fights with me constantly to do everything herself, understood that I was hurt and didn't want to leave my side. She cried until we were home and I was able to hold her again.
If it happened again tomorrow I'd do the same thing. Protecting my children, whether from physical injury or emotional trauma, is my duty. Tomorrow, she won't remember that Mommy fell down, she'll just know that everything is okay because I'm here.
*Auntie Banana is not her real name, but it's the closest the little girl can manage and we think it's very cute.
(P.S. Thanks Auntie Banana* for saving the day!)