Sunday, July 31, 2011

Weighty Issues

In graduate school, I did a thesis on feminist literature that narrated the topic of anorexia nervosa. Some of the books I read had titles like "An Unbearable Weight," all trading on puns associated with eating disorders. Happily, in my real life the subject of weight brings great joy (when it comes to my children). Sadie embraced her weigh in at her 2 year appointment and we had fun playing with the scale and the tongue depressors before the doctor came in. I was definitely nervous before the doctor came, because Sadie was sort of "challenging" at her last doctor's appointment. (She kept turning off the light and wouldn't sit still making the physical examination a bit lengthy.) Plus, who wants to look like the drip who cannot control her kid during the doctor's appointment?

Anyway, Sadie was the picture of polite and curious during the whole visit. She just stared at the doctor and complied with every request: She showed her tongue, she focused her eyes on the little light, she had her heart checked. Most shocking of all, when the nurse came in to take Sadie's blood to test for anemia, Sadie simply stared in wide-eyed and hushed fascination during the finger pricking and the blood drawing. She didn't even change her expression when she got a fancy band-aid for her trouble. As we were leaving, we managed to score her some Dora stickers making me mom of the moment since I had promised her Dora stickers not knowing if the office would have them.

Mommy : 1; deprivation: 0.

As July comes to a close, we are excited about a visit from Grandma Carol, who will be staying with us for a week enjoying our balmy 95 degree weather. We are having a little soire to celebrate Sadie's second year of life next weekend so we are going to be making some cupcakes and thinking up fun games to play.

We are getting ready to abandon the idea that simply hoping Simon learns how to sleep will somehow produce the sleep we want. We may have to be more interactive in teaching him how to sleep. I do NOT endorse a cry it out method because it's just not for me, but if we don't get some progress on this front, I will be the one crying it out every night. So, that's my way of thinking about the sleep training we may be doing.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ask Not for Whom the Wedding Bells Toll....

Don't ask about the freaking bells, because they might be wedding bells for your nanny.

I like to think of myself as a generous and kind-hearted person. Don't be fooled. I am really selfish and self-centered (as if you couldn't tell by this blog). Our dear nanny, Sabrina, is working out amazingly well. She's gregarious and has set up lots of neighborhood playdates for both kids and she's very loving and affectionate to the children. This is great, right?

Yes, it is great. What's not as fabulous for me is that she just told me she is getting engaged this weekend and married this fall. She's "waiting until October." "Of 2011?," I asked sheepishly. I love Sabrina and she's a wonderful person and I want her to be happy. I also want her to be my nanny. I promise I was happy for her, especially when she first told me. I actually thought it was great professionalism on both our parts that I didn't even know she had a boyfriend. The day after she told me about her engagement she told me she was going to need a favor. Feeling all flush from a smooth morning routine, I replied happily, "Sure, what is it?"

Basically, she needs to go to Algeria for 12 days in August to talk to her parents about her engagement.

Hmmm. Ok, not sure what my face was doing when she told me that, but I can assure you that the voice in my head was screaming, "do not panic. Do not panic." I didn't. She mentioned she had a friend who is a nanny looking for work who could take over all of her hours while she is gone. I am sure my kids will love that but I am still getting over Zenia and Teresa, so I am wary.

And, guess what? She's entitled to get married and be happy and have appointments and go tell her Lebanese father she is getting married. What kind of person do I really want to be? Someone who begrudges her a very happy time in her life? No way. I have had plenty of bosses like that and I am not available. And, let's face it, we are not running a nuclear lab here; we are taking care of children so there is no reason to go all "law firm" on her.

I had pretty much talked myself off the ledge after spending several hours worrying about upcoming inevitable absences for wedding dress fittings and cake tastings and honeymoons. I was ready to just take it as it comes and trust it will work out.

Then Jeff mentioned that she would probably get pregnant pretty soon.

Then, I joked that maybe she already was pregnant. (No judgment, just a little joking around.)

I went right back to the ledge.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Two Years Old!

Our spirited angel, Sadie, is two years old today! What a fun two years. I have never laughed so much as I do now that I get to spend my days with her. There are so many things I love about Sadie, including her compassion, the way she pronounces as "s" as if it's an "l" (hence, Simon is sleeping becomes Limon is leaping), how she bosses Jeff around and tells him to go into the kitchen to do the dishes, how she wants a bite of everything in the world no matter what it is (or without concern as to whether it's actually edible), her shrieks of glee, her belief that when the TV is off it is "sleeping," and her hilarious way of screaming into the pillow (just as I taught her to do).

I love this little muffin so much and yes, she can be a royal pain in the booty, and I am sure that when she can formulate the language skills sufficient to tell me that I am a pain in the ass too, she will at the top of her lungs. She will probably be right.

Sadie has lots of friends in the neighborhood, adoring parents, a brother who watches her every move, a smitten nanny, and a host of admires from Strack and Van Til to Midtown Tennis Club. I hope she always knows she is worthy of love, respect, and joy! And I hope she occasionally likes to call her mother to say hello.

How you doin'?

Look at this little mug? Could you just eat him up with a slice of lemon? I have to say that I love those jowls more than anything else in the entire universe. I can't stop kissing them. It's going to get awkward soon enough, but for now, I just love to kiss his little face.

I don't know why, but Simon is the happiest, smily-est baby I have ever made. (Ok, the sample size is a little small and unscientific.) He laughs so hard at Sadie whenever she jumps. Jeff thinks that the vibrations make him laugh, but whatever it is, it's hilarious to him. We now have him sleep on his stomach since he can roll all over creation unassisted. We are getting some better sleep results, but I have to say that even when my children are sleeping pretty well, the armaggeddon thunderstorms in the middle of the night are making it a further challenge to get some freaking sleep. I don't know what happened to Mother Nature, but she's pissed. Someone needs to get her some new shoes, some good chocolate, and a massage. If not her, then me.

In other news, I heard from reliable sources (read Facebook) that Amy Winehouse passed away this afternoon at age 27 from likely drug overdose. I find it very sad that her public struggle with addiction did not lead to sobriety or serenity. I am actually surprised she made it to 27 years old. I can't imagine what her parents are feeling right now. I hope I never have to find out. I have spent some time lately thinking about how to protect Sadie and Simon from the ravages of addiction. Will it be enough to warn them that alcoholism runs in our family? (So does recovery, so that's the "happy ending" of the alcoholism story.) The genes are there. Temptations will be there. Peer pressure and very refreshing wine coolers or beers may beckon in the name of relaxation or fun or fitting in or escape. I am told by my wise elders that there is nothing I can do to prevent my children from having their journeys, which will inevitably include pain and heartache and, possibly addiction. What I am told to do these days is to take care of myself, concentrate on my own sobriety and serenity and love my children exactly as they are. I do that the best I can, but I sometimes torture myself by wondering what they will say about their MOTHER in future therapy sessions or in AA or alanon meetings. One thing is for sure, this blog will provide ample evidence that their mother was a wee bit self-obsessed, a huge worrier and a shitty speller. That's good for about 3 years of intensive treatment right there.

I know all parents want to spare their children heartache and as Anne Lamott said of her son Sam, please, please, PLEASE, let me die before they do.

This cheery post is brought to you by a mix of hot summer weather and too much time reading about Amy Winehouse's demise.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

End of an Era

By the end of this weekend I will no longer be the mother of "two under two." With Sadie's birthday fast approaching, I will become a mother of an infant and a two-year-old.

Exciting times.

Simon is rolling around and learning to sleep and eat like a full-grown man. Sadie is talking like an expert and we are slowly coming around to our new normal. We spend a lot of time dancing, playing in Sadie's kitchen, and figuring out how to pass the summer days in the 90-degree heat.

It's hard to believe that Sadie is already two years old. When did that happen? I am pledging to not give in to the cultural temptation to call her age the "terrible" twos. The reframe of the period: Sadie's gaining immense autonomy and it's a time of energy, passion and emotion. What's so terrible about that? I am ready to parent my spirited and loving little girl through whatever comes our way in the next day, week and year. Having a little brother has changed Sadie a lot. I see her compassion for and connection to Simon and hope to stay out of their way as they build their relationship. She gets so upset when he's crying and she's so engaged with him when they are hanging out together. It looks like a good foundation to me.

I have no idea how these perfect little creatures ended up in my house or how I got so blessed, but I am sure glad they are here.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Lost and Found

I had an amazing experience today. Turns out I left Simon's frog hat at the park yesterday and two different neighbors let me know it was hanging on the fence by the sandbox at the park. First, the woman who alerted me a few weeks ago that Simon's poop was dribbling down my leg saw me at Millenium Park and told me that she thought Simon's hat was at the park. I thanked her and told her I would swing by the park on the way home. Unfortunately, the excursion to Millenium Park sapped virtually all of my remaining strength (Jeff has been out of town this week), so I didn't get the hat. After some soul restoring napping, I checked my email and another neighbor from my playgroup sent me an email saying she thought Simon's hat was at the park.

What's so amazing about this?

Community. Being seen. Mothers helping me out because I think when I have my two little peapods at the park, it's pretty obvious I have my hands full. I am thrilled that people know me and my children and have our back. It sounds simple. It's just a hat and it's actually from Carter's so it could not have cost more than $4.88, but it's a symbol of joining the community in my neighborhood and having connected enough that people recognize it when I leave my shit laying around.

I love it!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summer Loving

When not outside trying to keep my offspring from melting in the hot humidity, we spend time trying to capture the moments on film. Here's one of my favorites from this weekend. I am pretty sure it's my fault they are both looking up because I was rattling a toy above Jeff's head while he was trying to take pictures. You know me, always trying to be helpful.

Sadie and Simon honest to god just love each other. He smiles unceasingly at her and she loves to hug him and have him in her crib after naptime. It makes me wonder why there is such a commotion about sibling rivalry. Maybe that comes later, but I can say that these two little ones are crazy about each other. Soon enough they will unite against their common enemies: me and Jeff. I am ok with that too. On some level I think kids should be allowed to indulge in some parent hating and they shouldn't have to do it alone.

You can also tell from this picture that my obsession with Hannah Anderssen pajamas as sold by Costo is alive and well. Oh so alive and well. I am totally addicted. I love them and I love that they are only 11.99 at Coscto.

Hannah, I just can't quit you! (when you are at Costco prices).

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Parking in Style

Sadie favors using my purses instead of the little kiddie purses she has. In fact, her favorite designer is Kate Spade. Naturally, she wants to bring the Katie Spade to the park when we go in the late afternoon. Where is she going to put her glasses, her half-eaten apple, and her bag of goldfish? She was in for a rude awakening yesterday when she realized how hard it was to slide down the big girl slide while trying to keep her handbag over her shoulder. Sadie scores high in style points, but slighter lower for multi-tasking with all that style.

The three-day weekend was quite fun for all of us. We hosted a Bar-B-Que for a small group of close friends and Jeff got some golf time in, while I got to go to the movies and see Bridesmaids. We are getting better at switching off time to get away and do something really pleasurable. Jeff and I even made it out to the movies by ourselves on Friday.

We have really turned a corner here at our house. We are not solely operating in survival mode anymore. Simon is waking up about 2 times a night to eat and on one glorious night he only woke up once. This means we are not as bone-crushingly exhausted as we were for the past 4 months. I have noticed that the extra sleep has cleared my head enough for me to consider what is next for me. With the extra energy, I can imagine taking more of an interest in my career in the near future. But, before I wax too eloquently about all my extra energy, I will note that today I still took at 1.5 hour nap this afternoon. That's going to be hard to keep up if I get a career up and going. I guess for today I can appreciate that Simon is becoming a champion sleeper without Jeff and I having to resort to any draconian sleep training and without us having to reach the gates of insanity from exhaustion. I consider this a very good thing.

Another project in the works over here is a deep decluttering. A friend of mine mentioned that she sold her long-on-the-market condo and I asked her how she was able to finally get it sold. She said, "one weekend we cleaned out the basement in our new house and then the old condo sold." I felt electrified at the prospect of the basement cleaning being connected to the condo sale. I have been feeling weighted down by our stuff: too many cheap, unwanted plastic toys; too many books; too many clothes. All of it. I want a clean, uncluttered house and mind. So, Saturday night when Jeff was going to a party without me, I tuned in to TLC's Horders: Buried Alive and started to declutter our toy bins and book shelves. Honestly, that show scared the shit out of me. I was surprised it was as smart as it was-- psychologists were explaining to the viewers that having that much stuff was a way to isolate and essentially commit suicide. Of course, we don't have that many toys, but I want my family to be surrounded by items that we love and use and not hold on to stuff mindlessly. If you are stalling on a cleaning project, I highly suggest a little Horders episode to unblock the channels.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Music of the Night

When we were in Dallas my mom introduced Sadie to the piano with great results. Sadie loved it and it was a blast to see her playing. My mom is an excellent pianist-- she played through college-- and she can play tunes just by listening. (Apparently this talent skips a generation because the only tunes I can play are itunes.)

One of my greatest memories of my life was watching Sadie playing the piano with my mom and dad. We have better pictures to post, but as I was preparing this entry, Simon bonked his head on the keyboard and started to cry. So, I will post more pictures but suffice it to say that Sadie is probably a musical genuis so our next stop may be Carnegie Hall by way of the Chicago Park District.