Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

So, we bought Sadie a bike thinking that she would love to ride it because she's always trying to steal other children's bikes at the park. Guess what? She doesn't really give two turds about riding it; she wants to push it. To her, this bike is like a strangely shaped grocery cart. Sweet. I hate to tell her that she looks pretty silly pushing her bike and wearing her helmet, but shaming her probably won't make her want to ride it any sooner.

Jeff and I were so deliriously excited about this bike as we imagined Sadie cruising around the neighborhood, so we have had to lower our expectations. Someday we will learn that Sadie loved bikes when they belonged to someone else; less exciting when it was parked in her own garage for all eternity.

Then, we learned that kids learn how to pedal at age 4 or 5. Sweet. We jumped the gun by about 2 years. That's ok. I checked all the user reviews and the American Flyer brand won't rust until Sadie is about 6, and by then she'll be all, "Mom, get me a Prius."

And, yes, those are my stunningly bronzed legs in the background of the first picture. Stop being jealous of me.

Parking Lots Part II

Today we went on a family walk at the end of the day, because the weather was perfect. So perfect that I declared that if I lived where the weather was like this everyday I would not need therapy.

That's some serious cool breezes.

Anyway, as we ambled into the park, I saw one of my neighbors, Marie, whom I struck up a conversation with yesterday and decided she would be a candidate for my "park best friend." I was happy to see she enthusiastically came over to greet me and Simon this afternoon. I thought she was really putting her heart on her sleeve to give me such an effusive welcome. Turns out, however, that Simon had taken an enormous poop and it was dribbling down his leg. Did I mention I was wearing him inn the Bjorn at the time? Maybe my new park best friend was excited to see me, but then again, maybe seeing Simon's excrement oozing out of the Bjorn was cause for some fast movements and rapid talking that I mistook for friendship excitement.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Parking Lots

How did it get to be the end of June? I have no idea. I whined to Jeff last night that summer is almost over, which is a pretty good indication of my relationship to "the glass is half full." It takes a special and virulent strain of pessissm to turn a beautiful, late June day into dread about snowboots to be worn at least 5 months in the future. What can I say? I have a gift.

I am getting really good at my day job, which consists of being with one or mre of my children and being what I like to call a "caregiver." Today, for instance, I took Simon and Sadie to the park across the street after nap time. It was around 4:15 p.m. and the park was full of young kids and their nannies/mommies/daddies/caregivers. I was especially inspired by a group of parents who worked together to remove a condom that someone left dangling from the slide. Ours is a strong community so in mere moments someone had grabbed a wipe out of someone else's diaper bag and sanitarily removed the (unused, god, I hope it was unused) prophylactic from the tots' play area. That all happened by 4:16 p.m.

More good times were in store when a little boy about 4 years old started howling in pain as he grabbed his leg. This was not a display of tears to get attention; he seemed to be in true pain. I think he was stung by a bee, which is all dramatic enough. The even more gut wrenching part was that his caregiver/nanny was really busy sending a super important text and was unable to tear herself away from her smartphone to attend to the poor little guy. When she finally roused herself from what was no doubt a riveting conversation with another nanny similarly ignoring a child she was employed to care for, the little boy had been crying for a few minutes. I had both Sadie and Simon and was unable to do much beyond ask who was in charge of him (hey, someone has to take an oversight role), but when his nanny did reach him, she did not offer him coos of comfort and succor. Basically, she reamed him for crying and ruining her Gchat session. I have a pretty strong policy about supporting other mothers and their choices and not tearing them down. Nannies, however, are not part of that policy as it's currently outlined in my head. Sorry, but I think the least she could do is give him a hug and let him cry or have his feelings.

So, to the nanny at the park who is not concerned about bee stings, I send a shout out of gratitude because (1) you made me see how obnoxious it is to text when you could be playing with your kids; (2) you helped me get in touch with gratitude for our nanny who is compassionate and caring and would never berate my children for being so dumb as to get a bee sting in a park; and (3) you helped me feel like an awesome, attentive parent today. So, thank you.

I also happened to witness an interaction where an 7 year old girl was mad at her mother because her mother made her sit in time out after she pushed her brother. The tension was escalating at that end of the park as the little girl was getting madder and madder for being deprived of her chance to slide on the condom rack, I mean, slide. Finally, the little girl (Ava was her name), said, "why don't you shut up?" to her mother. Oh, how the sparks flew then. Mom, ripping her blue tooth out of her ear, said, "You do not talk to me like that. You are not allowed to have any ice cream tonight." The wailing and keening of the little girl bereft for her lost ice cream was sort of heartbreaking and Sadie was starting to get upset. (Sadie, our compassionate little tender heart, hates it when people cry.) Little Ava then said, about 40 times, "But Mom, you said shut up to me all the time and if it's not appropriate, why do you say it to me?" Poor Ava, that didn't go over well at all. Announcing to the park that her mother told her to shut up on several occasions did not bring back any ice cream. I would be surprised if Ava sees any ice cream before July. I don't really have a judgment about this, but I do sort of want to teach Ava that shaming her mom will not bring her any closer to the orange sherbet she so desperately craves. Someone should tell her that.

By the way, the picture above has nothing to do with our park adventures, but I thought it was time to showcase some of Simon's amazingness.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

These are the days

These days are so precious and sweet, which sounds unbelievably corny, but it's true. Today was a great day. Jeff took Simon to breakfast with a friend who was in town for business, so Sadie and I had girl time this morning, wherein we drank milk, ate cereal and got dressed for dance class. It was a rainy summer day here in Chicago, but we had a plan and we dodged the raindrops on our journey towards fun.

Sabrina took Sadie to her dance class and to the park, while Simon and I took our dear friend Trish to lunch for her birthday. I wanted to have a nice lunch and step out of the box so I picked a neighborhood I never go to and googled restaurants. We ended up lunching at Fred's the restaurant in Barney's department store. Hooooo Eeeeee, it was fancy business there at Barney's. Glad I wore my best Gap outlet dress and Tory Burch (outlet) shoes. After a delicious lunch of salad nicoise with salmon substituted for tuna, we perused Barney's, which is not something I have ever done. Here's what's at Barney's: fancy f*cking stuff. Seriously. We saw items I have only seen in US Magazine: Laboutin shoes and Jil Sander purses withh leather so soft I can't believe PETA isn't picking there right now. I whispered to Trish (since it seems like a place one should whisper) that I thought the purse was so soft it must have been made of human penis skin.

And that's when we got thrown out of Barney's.

Just kidding. (About getting thrown out, not about my inquiry to Trish.)

I spent the rest of the rainy afternoon nursing Simon and playing dance party with Sadie, as we cranked up the song "OPP" and rocked the crib. When Jeff was done working, he took Sadie to a nearby park to see some "animal lady" who brings pigs and turtles to the park for children to play with. I was sad to miss the little piggies, but Simon is cutting his two front, lower teeth, and I thought it was borderline abusive to drag him out to the traveling barnyard tonight.

Simon and I spend the evening with a lovely sequence: bath for Simon, nursing, some rice cereal while Mommy cooked blackened tilapia tacos for the adults, and then more nursing and bedtime for Simon.

So lovely.

Need I remind myself that I would have missed all of this if I was working today. Everyday I think about what I would have missed if I was working right now. I feel so grateful that this time is possible for our family.

A perfect day.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Summer Time is ON!

During our trip to Texas, Sadie enjoyed some QT with her cousins in the plastic kiddie pool in my parents' backyard. Simon is still a little young for this type of fun, but he'll be out there next summer tearing it up.

Sadie, Patrick and Thomas splashed and screamed and laughed their way through our visit. It was really fun to see her soak in all of their energy.

Jeff and I also came away from our kiddie pool experience with new found respect for my mom. First of all, the pool was her idea so she gets tremendous props for that. Second, each of the precious munchkins spent time undoing the little stopper that lets all of the air out of the pool. My mom repeatedly took one for the adult team by getting down on her hands and knees in the grass and re-blowing up the pool while the kids sprayed her with the hose and splashed her with the water. This type of deliberate action that would undeniably lead to messed up hair would NEVER have taken place in my childhood. (Which is exactly what my children will say in the future, because you didn't exactly see me jumping up to stick my face 3 feet from the ground only to asphixiate while trying to blow up a pool.) Anyway, there is something really endearing and inspiring about how my mother grandparents-- she's selfless, full of ideas for fun (guitar anyone? bubbles? snacks? ice cream? wagon ride? park?), and seemingly tireless. How is this possible? On Saturday afternoon, my sister was looking to round up her boys to take them home, but couldn't find them in the house. Turns out my mother had taken the boys on a wagon ride down the street. We saw her running (yes, running at full speed) pulling the wagon behind her with the boys in it. When she panted up to the yard, we asked her why she was running, and she said that they were running from shady spot to shady spot in the street, but that there wasn't actually much shade.

Did I mention it was about 109 degrees at that moment in Dallas? High noon, let's go for a wagon run on the asphault, boys!

But that's exactly her approach: sanity is less important than having fun with her grandkids, and she looks like she is having a ball.

Perhaps there's a lesson in there for me. I am thinking something along the lines of realizing that keeping my hair from getting assaulted by the garden hose may look better, but it may feel a hell of a lot better to just let go and get messy, wet, and happy.

Look Who's Eating Like a Big Boy!

Simon got his first solids this week and you can see from the pictures that he's not exactly enamored with eating (which proves he's more Jeff than Christie at this point). We whipped up a batch of rice cereal with breast milk and snapped about 100 photos of Simon's maiden voyage. It was pretty funny to see all of his expressions. He's been sleeping much better and now being on to solid foods means our household *might* get back to a new normal any day now.

Monday, June 6, 2011


Well, I have complained enough about lack of sleep that it seems criminal for me not to celebrate Simon's sleeping stats from last night. We got back from our trip to Texas yesterday afternoon. Simon's naps were interrupted all day by airplane and train rides. When his bedtime came around, Simon was out by 7:00 p.m.

Here's what happened next:

10:30 p.m.: I did a dream feed but he didn't eat much at all.

2:30 a.m.: Simon cries out and Jeff gives him pacifier.

6:47 a.m.: Simon wakes up smiling and cooing like a precious little baby llama (baby llamas are known for their preciousness).

This is the longest Simon has gone without food since he started breathing oxygen. He's 4 months, 1 week and 2 days old. He went a long ass time. Tonight I was going to give him some brown rice cereal for the first time ever, but we are a superstitious lot and didn't want to jinx ourselves in case it kept him from sleeping.

This could be a real game changer for our household. I pray to god that we get more and more of that kind of sleeping. I hope it doesn't require a daily plane trip to achieve.