Ellie loves her babies. She takes them for rides in the stroller, feeds them, and is a nice little mommy to them. (Observed, Ellie watching her baby's eyes opening and closing, to which she then shook the baby, demanding, "WAKE UP!")
Today marked the milestone in the life of one of her girls. Ellie chose to share her favorite clothes with baby! She brought me an outfit (and a princess diaper!) and asked me to dress her little one.
On the bottom, you'll see pants she refers to as "Jumpy House" because she wore them to a birthday party once. The shirt is her very favorite, featuring Yoda.
She also brought me her shoes and socks for baby to wear, but most of baby's leg can fit into one of Ellie's 7 1/2's.
I've spent a little time at the American Baby Boutique, and never noticed this ensemble. Do you think my catalog was missing a page?
After baby was dressed, Ellie decided baby should join in while Mommy exercised.
That baby is going to have some strong abs when she's done.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Ellie loves her babies. She takes them for rides in the stroller, feeds them, and is a nice little mommy to them. (Observed, Ellie watching her baby's eyes opening and closing, to which she then shook the baby, demanding, "WAKE UP!")
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
I have a little girl who is two. Her name is Elizabeth Rose, and while she is delightful, she is also quite a handful.
I had heard that raising girls was much different than raising boys, and aside from the obvious, I thought, "Yeah, right." I'm the same parent, my kids should respond in the same way, don't you think?
(Go ahead and keep those laughs to yourself, please.)
If you know Ellie, or know my blog, you might be familiar with some of her exploits. In recent days, I believe that we have come to an impasse - she has decided that she no longer naps and I attest that SHE NEEDS HER NAP. Perhaps to state it more clearly, I NEED HER TO NAP.
Last Monday's protest came from her crib - she took off her clothes and peed on everything. Tuesday, instead of putting her in the crib for a nap, I let her play quietly in her room. She decided to change her own diaper, and when we found her, she had removed most of the wipes from the box (and told us that she had made a monorail with the unopened packages she found in the closet!). On Wednesday, I was able to convince her that a nap was a good idea. Thursday, my parents watched the kids, and were treated to an Ellie fashion show in which she removed as many items of clothing as she could from her dresser and demanded to be dressed in them. (This was after our morning in which I would dress her, and she would immediately disrobe, down to the tights!) Friday, she conceded to the nap, but hasn't had one since.
She has become exceptionally persuasive and her language is very clear. "I DON'T WANT THAT. I DON'T LIKE THAT." Her common greeting has become, "Had a good nap," even though she just means hello, because had she an actual good nap, I'd have told them first. I've learned not to make the mistake of sharing information with her too far in advance, as she assumes that if I tell her we might be going to the zoo, the park, or G*d forbid, Disneyland, she demands that we go RIGHT NOW; time and weather are irrelevant.
There are positive sides to her new found independence. Sometimes she is found reading by herself, or singing favorite songs. Her version of the Barney classic goes, "I love me. I love me. I love Barney, I love me." Sometimes she changes the object of her affection - to shoes, or Elmo. As her verbal understanding has matured, she also understands cause and effect, actions and consequences.
Me: Ellie, honey, please sit down in the cart.
Me: Ellie, do you want to go on the carousel?
Me: Then Ellie, you need to SIT DOWN. RIGHT NOW.
Ellie: Okay, Mommy.
We can then go about our business. Unfortunately, my business has become moving cereal boxes and dvds out of her reach (recently expanded with her new acquisition, the step stool). She alternately dumps the cereal to eat off the floor, or attempts to feed the box, in its entirety, to the dog; paradoxically, the discs are either jammed into the VCR or are placed back in their correct cases.
She is opinionated.
She wants to change her clothes several times a day, especially to wear more skirts.
She is demanding.
She is sweet.
She is moody.
She is talkative.
She loves shoes.
She is a girl and she is my daughter.
G*d help me. Help me through this time until she becomes a reasonable person. Give me the strength to remain a mature adult when she is consumed with screaming at me all day. Let me have the right answer some of the time. Make salads taste better so that I don't turn to chips and sweets for comfort. Help me not to lose my sh*t the next time she empties the cupboards of toys and her drawers of all their contents after I have just put everything away. Again. I am grateful for my children, for every moment, for their quirks and their brilliance. Today, I am also grateful for their bedtime and a glass of wine.
Monday, February 19, 2007
Apologies to my six readers who are being re-assaulted with old blog posts and a zillion different versions of my screen name. Rafe has been working a lot, from home, at night, and all weekend, so I've been playing with my photos, labels, formatting, etc. Do you like it?
As I've matured as a blogger, I've become more skilled at making sure my pictures stay attached to posts and all that. Maybe one day, I'll have figured it out, but by then, I'm guessing we'll all be communicating with some new and improved technology and I'll still be late to the show, trying to figure out what I missed.
P.S. This one's dedicated to Auntie Banana:
Sunday, February 18, 2007
In the past few months, my children have discovered The Muppet Show. It started slowly. We knew we owned several old shows, but they became suddenly relevant when our kids got into Star Wars; we introduced them to this classic:
Then, they began to love the Muppets as much as their Star Wars friends; they had to see this:
Now they are fully immersed in the silliness of the Muppet Show, and this bit is their current favorite:
Jake is quite a literal little person. He is exacting and precise. But when he watches the Muppet Show, he is just a kid. A kid who likes slapstick comedy and bad puns.
A lot of the guest hosts on the show were probably more relevant to our parents than to us, but watching this slice of the '70s continues to be great family entertainment.
Friday, February 16, 2007
I have this friend, let's call her Netta, with whom I've been spending a lot of time lately.
She is a lot of fun and is often very clever. She gives great advice, and she knows everything about everything. She can tell me about great vacations and where to eat if I'm in a new city. She has all the latest celebrity gossip, and loves television and movies like I do. She can tell me where to get the best deals on anything I could ever need, and she'll even recommend things she thinks I might like. She is a great resource.
The problem I'm having though, is that she is also a huge distraction. If there is something I'm avoiding, she's always there to take my mind off things. And because she knows everything and pretty much everyone, she gives me so much information that I have to keep asking questions to find out more. She's not always objective, either, so I'm constantly second guessing if what she's giving me is opinion or fact because she makes a lot of compelling arguments. Did I mention that she's always around? It's hard to get away from her. She takes up a lot of my time and while I'm thinking that we should spend some time apart, I keep finding out new things about her and I keep coming back.
Do you have a friend like Netta? Netta the Internet?
I discovered blogs this summer by accident one weekend when Rafe was out of town on business. While reading bits and pieces from one of my favorite authors, I noticed her list of links and started to peruse. In seconds, my world changed yet again. (It also happened to be the weekend of the Blogher conference so there was just that much more focus on blogging moms and mommy bloggers, not the only writers represented on Blogher, but the ones with which I identify most.) I wondered if I should start a blog, thought of several reasons why I shouldn't, then about a month later, I did. Eventually I even started telling people that it existed.
Why do we blog? The New York Times sums it up nicely and says it better than I ever could (and really, they have over a million readers and I have, what, like six?).
When my new issue of Oprah magazine arrived the other day, the first thing I noticed on the cover was this teaser: "Weight - Blog it Off." (If the Oprah Effect has taught us anything, it's that her endorsement influences opinions and lives.) It mentioned some great blogs, and ended with the point that weight loss is as deliberate as blogging; blogging about weight loss, retelling our goals in a positive narrative (I will weigh 130! I will! I will!), they say, helps lead us to transformation (and they hadn't even met our growing group of shrinking ladies!).
I can see why Bob Greene recommends taking only a month off of weighing. As I am five days away from my first month of Phase One on Bob's plan, I am anxious to see progress on the scale. I need the report card. I've been lazy with my exercise and I need the extra motivation from the number. I wish I didn't, but I do.
Weighing In: Week 4
Pounds lost: +/- 2 I think
Progress towards goal: hmmmm....
The Internet is my friend. So is the scale.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
The last time I celebrated Valentine's Day was ten years ago. It was all the Valentine's I'd need for the rest of my life.
You see, I'd recently met the man I would marry, though I didn't know it yet. We both happened to be at the birthday party of a mutual friend on one rainy January night and saw each other from a distance, making the kind of connection you only see in movies and you wouldn't believe unless it happened to you. I thought to myself, "He's cute. I wonder if he's The One." He tried to pay for my entrance to the club, but I politely declined (though later, when he offered to buy me a drink, I let him). When we finally had the opportunity to introduce ourselves and began to talk, we became inseparable. It's been that way ever since.
When Valentine's Day came around just a few weeks after we had met, it seemed natural for us to make an occasion of it. He invited me out for a night on the town, but provided no details.
We lived in different parts of the city, and I remember calling him from the depths of Friday afternoon traffic, hoping that I'd not miss our reservations. He was evasive but confident. Since he had given me no details of where we would be spending our evening, I had no idea of how long it would take for us to arrive at our destination. (If you're reading this and you're not from the Los Angeles area, understand that traffic/travel time is a huge factor in our making plans. Our freeways are as bad as you've heard, but you can't beat our weather!) When I did finally arrive, we rushed to the previously undisclosed location for our romantic Valentine's dinner.
He had chosen a restaurant in a fancy Beverly Hills hotel that offered a preset menu for the occasion. For reasons neither of us can remember, we parked down the street from the hotel and walked to the restaurant.
Because it was Valentine's Day, and because we were so very enamored with each other, as we strolled to our dinner, we would periodically stop to kiss. Holding hands, we would walk a bit, then kiss some more. We'd walk and kiss. Kiss and walk. And as we ambled down the sidewalk, a passing motorist yelled something to us.
Shocked and provoked (and protecting my honor I assume), my beloved yelled back, "Yeah, well, f*#$ you!"
I smiled, probably blushed a little, and laughed. He hadn't heard what was said, but I did. Living in the city, you might expect people to shout things that would not otherwise be said in polite company. Sometimes you get surprised.
What was so funny, he wondered, still angered by the nerve of the passersby to ruin our enchanted evening?
"He wished us a Happy Valentine's Day."
As I now reflect back on it, I remember that it wasn't just a Valentine's Day night out, we went away together for the weekend.
The next day, he met my parents.
On the drive back home, I realized I had fallen in love.
Saturday, February 10, 2007
There's a problem with having invented motherhood; I forget that, as with many great inventions, the process is largely trial and error.
This week was filled with errors. I'm not quite sure when it all got away from me.
Was it the third in a row of days when Ellie had a late or missed nap? Because that made us all a little edgy.
Was it the day when Jake locked the dog in our bedroom when I was waking Ellie from her very late nap? (The dog bounced back, but I still need to patch the wall where she tried to scratch her way to freedom.) That was the same morning in which Ellie discovered the usefulness of the step stool, leading to my discovery of several methods from which (formerly out of toddler-reach) Chapstick cannot be removed from carpet. That was not our best day.
Was it thenext day when Ellie threw the tantrum from which all future tantrums will be compared during the tour of our most likely choice for Jake's Kindergarten? Which upon leaving (after an abbreviated visit and a promise to return, soon, alone), she collected herself enough - and had the nerve - to say, "Bye bye. Thank you. It was fun!"
Was it any of those days that I had cereal for dinner after everyone was asleep? Or the one where I collapsed on the couch and fell asleep within minutes of putting them to bed?
Thomas Edison once said, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
Yeah, that's how I feel this week. This inventing motherhood thing is no easy task.
Friday, February 09, 2007
Weighing In: Week 3
Pounds lost: 2/10
Progress towards goal: 2/10
Oh, let's not talk about the best laid plans of which I spoke last week.
Bob Greene did not account for my monthly Weight Watchers weigh-in as a Lifetime member when he told me not to weigh myself for the first month on his program. I wrangled with weighing or not weighing, especially since Monday, the day of my meeting, was also Monday, the day after the Super Bowl. Figuring that I'd rather know my weight before going into the meeting than not know, I took a peek at the scale; though it was down (after the Super Bowl!), it wasn't as low as I'd hoped. Now, I'm committed to waiting until the first of March because I feel like I cheated.
I had a great exercise day on Monday, doing my favorite quick DVD, a little cardio kickboxing from FitTV, and a session of their yoga, I felt like I had a great start on my week. But the yoga really had me sore, then the rest of the week was a bit full. Let's just say I'm sure Bob Greene doesn't have a curious two year old or a kid entering Kindergarten this fall, because if he did, he wouldn't expect me to workout six days a week, especially this week.
My week aside, I'm still refraining from eating at night and am generally eating better. Since I'm not on the scale, I am using the pants fitting test, and am still noting progress there.
More to follow.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
You might remember that a few months back I dislocated my shoulder. I promptly saw my doctor, went to the orthopedist and was ordered to have a contrast MRI to see the extent of the damage to my shoulder. After that, I would go back to the specialist to learn what further recommendations could be made to improve my condition.
Normal people would have gone as quickly as possible to resolve the issue and return to full mobility. It took me a few months, but I finally went last week. (If you knew how long it took me to get to a dentist, you'd be impressed that it only took three months for this!)
Why the wait?
Well, it's simple. When it comes to medical procedures, I am a chicken.
I have issues with needles and feel faint thinking about pain or injury. Hospitals give me the creeps. I seriously considered the Bradley Method of natural childbirth to deliver my first child because I was afraid of an epidural, then my mom convinced me that modern medicine has done wonders with pain management and I'd likely have a better birth experience without feeling it. Generally, seeing a doctor for a problem is not a quick fix and involves multiple visits, and who wants to be at the doctor's all the time?
I was involved with no fewer than six staff members throughout my visit. The first explained the procedure: We'll give you a numbing shot, then inject the dye into the joint of your shoulder. The doctor will do this under the x-ray machine and will have to move things around a bit to make sure it's inserted in the right place; I'll be honest, it's not going to be pleasant. So go change and then we'll start. I swear to you, I am feeling faint just typing this.
The second cleaned my shoulder and administered the first shot. I told him that I had needle issues and he said he was sure I'd be fine. Dude, I just told you that I'm a chicken. If I were to be fine, I wouldn't have made an issue. But you're the expert.
Then the doctor came in to inject the contrast agent with a very big needle. By this time, I was starting to feel a bit woozy and had another tech in with an ice pack to help talk me down from fainting. I explained that after having birthed two children, one surgically and one the old-fashioned way, I used to be better about needles and procedures, but apparently it has been long enough that my courage had worn thin.
I was overwhelmed by the smells and sounds of the x-ray machine, then it was over. Though it didn't hurt nearly as much as the first had warned, it was too late for me to act like a reasonable adult. It took a while for me to sit up, then another tech came in to wheel me down to the MRI machine.
Tech #4, Vince, was kind. He chatted with me explained how the MRI would proceed. I figured I'd feel better if I was laying down, so into the machine I went. He mentioned that while I was in, there would be a shift-change and I'd hear someone else running the show.
The MRI procedure itself was not bad, but to be encapsulated in such a large machine for a solid stretch of time, while remaining very still, takes some doing. Vince eased me into it, explaining the length of each series: Okay, this will be for 2 1/2 minutes. Great. Now hold still for another 8 minutes. And so it went.
I kept my eyes closed and relaxed as much as I could. Amidst the sounds, lights and vibrations, I began to reflect on my experience. I considered myself as a patient - nothing like the people you see on television. On TV, people in hospitals are stoic. Never is it written that they'll be near fainting from an X-Ray! I imagined if my visit were written for entertainment, that perhaps Jack Black would be the tech. He'd be reassuring and funny and I'd feel totally at ease. He'd probably make a few jokes about me being such a chicken, but I'd relax. Then I'd probably throw up or something awful and if I were on TV, the focus of the story would switch to someone else.
I may have been drifting off to sleep in the machine when I started imagining that this was probably the closest I'd get to an alien abduction. If in any other context I found myself in such a machine, I'd assume that another species was trying to extract information from my body.
I heard a new voice to learn that the experiment, I mean procedure, was complete. I was buzzed out of the machine and encouraged to sit up and get out (this new tech was not as kind). When I did, the numbness had worn off and stiffness and pain settled into my shoulder, so much so that it felt just as it had when I had injured it. I shuffled to the changing area to re-clothe myself and struggled with the discomfort. I collected myself enough to get up and take a chair down the hall towards the exit. I began considering whom I would call to rescue me, when my attention shifted.
In the X-Ray room, I heard a young child crying. The door opened, and an older sibling and the tech went to go look at the child's scans while the mother comforted her little one. Through her tiny tears, the little girl demanded to be let go to get herself a glass of water. She couldn't have been more than three, and in many ways, reminded me of Ellie. As the mom tried to comfort her baby, I wanted to tell her she'd be okay (the mom, that is), and realized that no matter what I was going through, if it were one of my children and not me, it would be a lot worse. My head cleared, and I felt well enough to go home to hug my kids.
I'll be back at the orthopedist tomorrow for a follow-up.
UPDATE: The MRI confirmed that I have injuries consistent with a shoulder dislocation! Oh, and the doctor has suggested that I acutally go to Physical Therapy, (instead of looking wistfully at the referral slip I guess) but I probably won't need to go much, nor will I need surgery.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
If you talk to a parent of a four or five year old, certain topics of conversation will inevitably come up. Among the hottest topics: where are you sending your kid to Kindergarten? Do you think he's ready?
If you're a parent like me these questions make your head spin.
What I don't know about this next phase in my child's life fills volumes. Had I known what an issue my children's age might be approaching Kindergarten, I might have considered planning my family differently. Instead, we decided we wanted to have children and considered ourselves very lucky to conceive and carry our children to term. One of these children will be young for his grade, the other will be old for hers because of arbitrary cutoff dates that the schools have issued.
Children entering Kindergarten in our local public schools must be 5 years old by December 1. In the private schools to which we are applying, the date is October 1. Jake will be 5 in August, so he will be a relatively young Kindergartner. Many parents I know are wrangling over "age-appropriate" entry into Kindergarten. Formerly discussed as "holding kids back," some teachers (and parents) advocate giving your child an extra year of preschool. An extra year of preparation and readiness gives the child more maturity. It's not a negative, it's a gift. There are emerging groups of red shirt school children perceived as having a competitive edge as though they were elite college athletes.
What about Jake? He'll be young, but not that young, and I do believe he's ready. I'm also the kind of parent who believes that it's perfectly acceptable that my preschooler isn't yet doing Calculus. This article makes a strong case for entering Kindergarten now, and going by this checklist, I think he'll be just fine.
In addition to the "if" question is "where"? Because we have decided to send our children to Jewish day school, in which their curriculum is split between secular and religious studies, wherein each child will become at least bi-lingual, spending their formative years immersed in our cultural and religious traditions, our options are somewhat limited. We have three outstanding local schools from which to choose, and we've submitted applications to two of them; Jake is in the midst of assessments and interviews and is reasonably confused as to where he will be going to Kindergarten. If you ask him, he'll tell you in no uncertain terms that he will attend the school he most recently visited. This is an improvement, however, over the period in which he was convinced his future school was on the same campus as his preschool because that is where the early morning childcare was located on the day I dropped him off early to visit a new school.
Choosing a school is a bit like dating, and for good reason - we're looking to form a relationship for about ten years, so we want to be sure it's a good match for our family. Because we are still in the process, I'm reluctant to characterize our options, but at the moment we're leaning towards the valedictorian and not the varsity football captain.
At this age, I think most parents have a good idea of who their children are. We also remember what it was like to start school ourselves, and can throw a hundred different new anxieties into the mix of our own experience with the vast amount of information available to us. I don't think there is one right answer, but I do know that the choices we make now are among the biggest we've faced as parents so far.
As stomach churning as it is, I don't want this to be an easy decision. I want to consider every option because we have options to consider. I want him to be ready for school and for the school to be ready for him. It doesn't need to be easy for me, it needs to be good for him.
Friday, February 02, 2007
Weighing in: Week 2
Pounds lost: ??
Progress towards goal: ??/10
I'm still not weighing in for another three weeks as per Bob Greene's phase 1 guidelines. I have absolutely no idea what I weigh today. I have neither a clue nor an inkling, though if I were forced to guess, I'd estimate that I'm probably right about where I usually maintain. I can tell I'm making progress as jeans that I was pretty close to retiring a few weeks ago now fit without a struggle.
Overall, I'm still eating a much higher quality of foods, eating for nourishment rather than entertainment or comfort. Bob talks about incorporating more "wholesome" foods into your diet, using that term rather than "healthy" because just about all foods can be included in a healthy diet. I find that if I start going for the kids' snack foods, it's time to eat something else, FAST! I'm eating more cereal as a quick snack or breakfast, either with skim milk or mixed in nonfat yogurt muesli-style with fruit and a small handful of chopped nuts (and a little ground flax seed for good measure). I'm loving Kashi Go Lean Crunch mixed with Go Lean (which is a little cardboard-y on its own). Both are high fiber/protein cereals and are a good deal at Trader Joe's. (And if you buy something at Trader Joe's and don't like it, for any reason, you can bring it back even without a receipt for a full refund.)
Other factors were pressing on my time this week, so I did not exercise as much as I had intended, (and I was surprisingly sore from a yoga session), but I did make progress on drinking more water.
I fill up my more-than-64-ounce pitcher, leave a glass along side, and have a visual reminder of my progress throughout the day.
Taking my focus away from the scale has lead me to a couple of insights. The first of which is my all-consuming obsession regarding the number on the scale.
Oprah featured a show last week about women in their 30's and the issues we face. One guest spoke of a wish to change the direction of her life. She did this by writing her own obituary! She re-evaluated what was important to her, contrasted that with how she was spending her time, and has made changes to work towards her desired outcome.
Thinking forward, I know I don't want to spend my life thinking about my weight. I believe that that the sum of my accomplishments will be more than a number. My weight will not be my lasting legacy.
I also believe that my best life will be lived as a fit and active person and that eating a diet filled with wholesome foods will aid in my longevity.
My other grand observation this week this came from reading the posts of other participants in my blogging support group. It is clear who are Weight Watchers. We use the same terms, talk about meetings, points, journaling, tracking, and products that fit well into the Program. We have a Plan. We have expectations of success if we follow the Plan, are not surprised with small losses or gains if we have deviated from the Plan, and are reasonably accountable to the Plan. We know that Weight Watchers has a reason for making the Plan as it is, and have become affiliated with Weight Watchers because of its track record, not necessarily our own.
I don't know how anyone can be successful at losing weight without having some kind of Plan. Without a Plan, I'm quick to go right back into the behaviors that had me gaining weight instead of losing it. I am reminded of one of the common sayings you often hear as a Weight Watcher: When you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Planning is a higher priority now. I know I'm not going to fail.