Friday, September 30, 2011


I made my sophomore appearance at art class today and enjoyed my time there very much. We read a story about great works of art and then an art project based on Picasso's Starry Night. I had a brilliant flash of genius during the class. As I watched the mommies and nannies cheat by doing their little ones' projects for them, I felt the stirrings of anxiety that I felt last time I was there. Should I help her or should I let her just put the water colors in her pants.

Here's what I did: I asked Sadie what she wanted.

So simple. So brilliant. When we were gluing paper, I asked her if she wanted mommy's help with the gluing or if she wanted to do it herself? She said I could glue with her. It felt good to ask her and be explicit with her that it was her project and she got to say how I participated. We had some fun flicking glitter all over the place too. I had a great time. The real magic of being with Sadie and taking in her being and her spirit doesn't leave much time for thinking about me and my mad mothering skills. I can't pay attention to her and support her AND look at what ever other parent is doing and whether I am doing it right. It's enough to be present with Sadie and to sprinkle the glitter.

When was the last time you sprinkled some glitter? I am telling you it's a two-handed job and requires exquisite concentrate.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sharing PJ's

Not until Sadie was at least 6 months old did I ever purchase anything that could be used for a baby boy. Then, I went on a shopping spree for pj's that I thought would be gender neutral. Today is the first day that Simon has worn something of Sadie's (in a non-ironic sense, because who could forget the day we dressed him up in pink Cubs gear?). I love these pajamas; I call them the Bert & Ernie collection because they remind me of the bold, fun colors of Sesame Street. (Old Sesame Street, pre-Elmo, back when Sesame Street was full of grouches and mysterious snuffulupagus not little fairies named Abby and Zoe).

Anyway, it seemed like a nice milestone, on this, Simon's 8-month birthday. He spend a lot of the day spewing snot out of his nose and looking for something to chew on, as he's in high teething mode. While I am happy that he's going to have some chompers really soon, the teething process has been a bit of a trauma over here with the pain, the sleep disruptions and the screaming. I was so tired and annoyed at my utter inability to comfort Simon last night that I thought about getting a tattoo on my forearm that says, "Teething, you are dead to me."

In the light of day, I will admit that seems a little drastic and not likely to move us forward as a family.

So, we have done our part to usher in cold & flu season here. Simon was sick all last week and is still a bit puny, as my Grandfather would say. Jeff is flat-out ill-- so sick he even admits he doesn't feel good. He sounds like Barry White with TB right now. Not pretty. Sadie's got her own snot issues. I am so everlastingly grateful to not be sick this round. It's awful to have sick children and a sick spouse, but it's a special awful to also feel sick with them. I am content to keep running the laundry (ok, talking about running the laundry. That counts at my house.) and making dinner.

Speaking of dinner, it's under a nice tin foil blanket right now waiting for me and Jeff to dig in. When I had my wedding shower in September 2008, I asked all my friends to give me good recipes. I haven't touched that book since then. Until today. I am going to work my way through everyone's recipes. Tonight: Chicken Delicious from Trish. It definitely smells delicious and already has upped my top game (fajitas with heated tortillas) in the dinner department. I love that I feel closer to my friends and happy to be branching past pasta and pizza over here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

All in a day's work

I can't decide if I am more proud of trying for about 3 hours to get big bugger out of Simon's nose (and not succeeding) or of changing Sadie's diaper right in the middle of the Shedd Acquarium's atrium. It's really a toss up. If pressed to say which was more satisfying, I would have to say Simon's nose, because buggers smell better than diapers.

And, I work really hard trying to be sure that Simon gets enough to eat during the day so that he will sleep through the night. Some people collect stamps or build iPhone apps; I shovel food in my son's mouth. I am sure that won't have any negative consequences down the road. Anyway, he's cagey, that Simon. He likes to turn his head away when the spoon is coming at him (just like he turns his head away when I try to get that blasted bugger). He looks like he is too solid to move quickly, but don't be fooled; he's practically a jaguar when it comes to swerving his head to avoid my well-meaning hands. I decided that the job that would have best prepared me for mealtime with Simon would be a trainer for a Tour de France rider. You know those guys that drive up in their ridiculous, tiny European cars and give the riders meals through a straw or drugs or power bars? Well, they simultaneously have to steer a car and give a world-class rider his calories while navigating a hairpin turn. That kind of training would have been beneficial for me as Simon's mom. The funny thing is that when I do manage to get a little avocado or banana on his lips, he laps it right up and seems to enjoy it. But, milliseconds later when I try to give him more, we start all over again with the head swerve. Maybe he's grumpy because he's giving himself whiplash.

And, you can see from pictures, this is not a kid who misses many meals. We eventually get it in there, but it takes about 55 minutes to get a good-sized infant meal into his belly.


Sadie: Word, Mommy.

(This is what Sadie says when she wants to learn a new word.)

Me: Ok. How about this one? When someone is really, really, REALLY cute, you can say she is adorable. Can you say "adorable"?

Sadie: 'Dorable.

Me: So, let's try it out.

Sadie: 'Kay.

Me: Sadie, what's the word for when someone is really, really, REALLY cute?

Sadie: Precious.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Taking a break

Here's Sadie laying down on the sidewalk in Millenium Park. Good thing I am not a germaphobe or I might have a problem with her laying her precious head on a very public pedestrian thoroughfare. Then again, even if I wanted to stop her from doing roughly 1/2 of the things she does, I might as well get down next to Sadie and bash my head on the concrete. So I pick my battles and Sadie eats her snack laying down in the loop. (Please note the nutritious and organic raisins Sadie snacks on.)

Wait, those aren't organic.

Sadie's been cracking me up these days. She starting to pick up funny phrases and every now and then she'll say them in a correct context. For example, she's been going to story time, and loves it. It's made a huge impact on her because now we play "Story time" everyday. She sits in her little chair and pulls out a book and says "Ok. Here we go." Then, she pretends to read a story that always ends with the following: "Mommy called the doctor and the doctor said, no more monkeys jumping on the bed."

Speaking of reading, when we go to bed at night I let her choose a book to read. Inexplicably, one of the books she loves to read is a Gymboree manual. Can I tell you how fun it is to snuggle up with my baby girl and read to her about games that are good for a 3-month-old's motor skills. To really jazz it up, we read about the separation anxiety of the 8-month old. She's actually loved that book since she was about 3 months old. It's actually falling apart and missing lots of pages. I don't even know how to read it to her because it's not a story book. I am going to save whatever survives her toddler-hood and show it to her when she asks me what she was like as a child. When I show it to her we will look at each other quizzically, reflecting on all of our shared memories about who Sadie is and how this book fits in with what we know (and LOVE) about her.

Also, I will tell her that when she was 2, I used to joke with people that there are two man-made things you can see on Earth from outerspace: The Great Wall of China and Sadie's hair.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Spider Project Revue

It's Friday, so you know what that means? Sadie had art class today and after completing this week's project, she was allowed to take home last week's project. For those of you who missed the captivating post about how stressful Sadie's art class was for me, allow me to recap:

As Sadie's mother and caregiver for the morning, I wasn't sure if I should just let her do what she wanted with her spider project or if I should take a role that would result in a spider that looked more like .... a spider. I fought an inner battle with myself over whether to intervene, shepharding Sadie to artistic greatness or whether to let her inner artist have free, unfettered reign.

I opted for the latter approach since she's only 2 and if you saw the way I draw, I am probably the very last person in Cook County who should be telling anyone how to execute a rendering of the Very Busy Spider. The result is that Sadie seemed to enjoy the project and the masterpiece will find its way to our playroom wall (for the record, we don't have a playroom in this house, but that's just details. Don't get hung up on them).

Does it look like a spider? No.
Did I behave in a way that allows me to feel happy about the morning I spent with Sadie? Yes.
Is she a budding Picasso? Hell yes.

See for yourself.

On the mend

Sweet Simon is on the mend. I actually saw him smile a few times today and he laughed when I tickled his toes during dinner. It's been stressful to see him so listless and so unlike I have known him these past 8 months. I am so grateful he's feeling better and that my kids are generally very healthy. If you thought I was a bad sport when I got sick, come visit me when I have sick kids. It ain't pretty.

I also just heard that one of my friends just had her baby after 3 hours of pushing, which resulted in a C-section. I saw a picture of the beautiful, full-head-of-hair baby girl, and heard that everyone is over the moon. When I heard about the labor, I thought it sounded a little brutal and Jeff suggested I call my friend to give her moral support around her labor.

I realized tonight that I never think about my labors anymore. After Sadie I was so upset for SO LONG (until Simon was born 18 months later) about the circumstances of her birth (the C-section) that I could hardly talk about it without welling up and feeling really intense emotions (shame, sadness, grief). I am happy that's not how I think of my children's births anymore. I don't think about the panic attack I had in the operating room or the long road of healing after a C-section. Now when I think about Sadie's birth, I think about how she showed us her personality within hours of her birth. I think about her tiny body curling up beside me while we figured out nursing. And I think about Jeff and I and all of our beloved and fawning visitors that July.

With Simon, I think about my mom coming to Chicago in a gigantic blizzard and how cute Simon was all swaddled up. I think about his tiny cries and his personality, which, like Sadie's unfurled in those earliest days of his life.

And, since I am reminiscing, I remember the brownies that we had in our hospital room when Simon was born-- given to us by Mary N., when we were unable to stay for dinner the night Simon was born. I remember videotaping Sadie meeting Simon and the mini-tantrum she had when we wouldn't give her the video camera. I remember Jeff showing off Simon's tarry stool to his bachelor friend Martin 4 days after Simon was born. Poor Martin. Scarred for life.

With Sadie's birth, I still remember my first shower after the operation and the daffy feeling in my head when I was taking the Norco. I remember that all the food came from the hospital cafeteria with a tally of the calories on a helpful little slip of paper they tucked under the fork. I still laugh when I think about those calories. I just gave birth to my child after being cut open for the first time in my life, do you think I give a fuck about how many calories are in my lasagna dinner?

I didn't.

The sweetness lasts. I think I will call my friend and tell her. Because there is nothing a brand new mom wants more than a phone call with advice.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Long Lost Smile

Here's something I haven't seen in about 48 hours: a big, fat juicy smile from Simon. I feel like our little happy guy went on a trip and sent over a very unhappy, miserable, non-smiley baby in his place.

It all started about 4:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning, when Simon woke up screaming. We knew this wasn't normal wake up cooing, so we checked it out. He was supremely unhappy and boiling hot. This was his first fever. We got the medicine in him and I nursed him back to some semblance of comfort. But, as soon as the medicine wore off, so did his comfort. He's been fussy and unhappy since then and the sleep is near impossible. His fever is hovering around 101, which the doctor says is "low grade." Try telling that to your very despondent 8-month old. The doctor also said we can bring him in only after he's had the fever for 72 hours, so til then we've been managing poor Simon with baby ibuprophen and cuddles. He's not amused.

It's so frustrating not to be able to help him at all. Last night I tried everything: nursing, rocking, sleeping with him, putting him down, singing, telling jokes, snoring, crying, offering him free texting when he gets his first iPhone.

We did finally see two teeth on the top of his mouth yesterday. Little white buds are sticking out and it's a relief to get some confirmation that Simon won't let me touch his face or come near his mouth without a blood curdling shriek.


This is what teething does? This level of havoc is from teething? I was half convinced he had hoof & mouth disease (just because I heard a neighbor had it) or angina (because I like to say that word). When I look at his little face-- pale, with sad eyes and droopy frown-- I can't believe it's my Simon. I feel robbed of him from these past 2 days. I will admit that I have enjoyed him sleeping in my arms, which is just the greatest feeling ever, even though I hate that I get that gift because he's suffering.

I am hoping we turn the corner tomorrow, because as loving and Clara Barton-like as I am, I really don't have the level of patience and tenderness that someone as miserable as Simon deserves. By about 4:30 a.m. yesterday morning, I was fearing for my sanity. I was dizzy and desperate and Simon was crying and crying and crying. It was one of the most hellish nights of my life. It was so uncomfortable that by noon today I was already worrying about tonight and how it would go. I wish I didn't have to dramatize every unfortunate development, but I do and that will likely never change. Jeff seems to know that we'll get through this and get smiley Simon back on his schedule and back to being his happy, joyous and free little self. I know I should trust that. I do. But knowing that I SHOULD and actually trusting it are about 2,400 miles apart for me right now.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

7 Words

I have been the recipient of all kinds of compliments in my life. Before I had my babies and they sucked the memory out of my head through my breast milk, I could remember about 67% of all the compliments I have ever gotten. Here are some ones that remain today:

"Christie, you are so much less angry this summer than you were last summer." -- T. Swain, summer 1995, referring to my "angry summer" of 1994. At the time, he meant it as a compliment and I took it as such.

"You don't seem like a lawyer." -- always meant as a compliment and often taken as such.

"You're not a bitch at all." -- anonymous friend giving me a pep talk after someone said I was bitchy during a fight wherein I told someone to stop being such a "pussy."

"You are a great cook!" -- B. Aranyi, December 31, 2005, after making him and his family fajitas (that is, I grilled the chicken and heated up some tortillas. Genius.)

"I thought you were a plain jane, but you've got so much angst you seem positively edgy." -- College boyfriend after seeing me try to control my eating disorder while on a trip to France.

"Christie's short haircut is hip. She looks like Janet Reno." -- Someone who is lucky to still be alive after making that comment on Easter weekend, San Antonio, Texas, 1999.

But, today, today I got a compliment, an affirmation so unexpected and so delicious that I am recording here so I can remember it forever, even after I get Alzheimer's disease and no longer know that I come from the great state of Texas.

It's an affirmation that I want to hold close to my heart forever, because as I sit here now, 6.5 hours after hearing the words, I already think I made it up. I already doubt that I heard those words in reference to me.

Did HE say THAT about ME?

Holy toast points, I think he did. By God, I think he did. It made me cry. Well, first I blushed and then I felt like I needed a barf bag and then I started to cry. (Yes, that sequence is as hot as it sounds.) It was the good kind of crying. The crying that comes from feeling utterly defenseless against someone's esteemable opinion about me. The crying of sheer vulnerability and trembling joy. It was not a cry of desperation or resignation. Is was the jubilee cry. It was the cry of Sally Fields getting her Oscar and saying, "you like me! You really like me." (Or did she say "love"? I have no idea; I was born in 1973.) Anyway, it was good. It was great.

But was it real?

If I write it here, will it feel more real? Will it last? Will that make it truer if I write it down and click "publish post"?

I don't know. But, let's find out.

Today, my therapist said to me:

"You were born to be a writer."

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Hot Saturday NIght

It's just after 10:00 p.m. and everyone is asleep in my house except me. For months and months, the only thing I have truly craved is sleep-- long stretches of uninterrupted, dreamy sleep. But, we've turned a bit of a corner and now peace and quiet and some solitude is sounding as good as sleep to me right about now.

I am up grading my students' papers while my family sleeps. Every time I look at a paper, I find something else to comment on. Most of the papers have comments in red, purple and blue ink because I am always holding a different pen when I spot issues for editing. Being a writing teacher is fun, but the grading is on the laborious side.

Sadie and Simon are enjoying the fall weather. Sadie and I took an autumnal stroll to her art class yesterday. The class is held at a cute studio in our neighborhood; it's owned by a vivacious former art student/nanny who put her two careers together and came up with a cozy little art studio for kids. During class, the teacher reads the kids a story and then there is an art project to illustrate the story ideas. We read the Very Busy Spider and then made a spider web yesterday. I won't lie: it was a very stressful hour for me. I sat next to Sadie and watched her do her project. I thought it would be best to take a "hands off" approach, instead of telling her how to paint the spider or where to put the web. After all, Sadie is all of 2 years old and doesn't need to be concerned about doing it perfectly.

No. That's MY job. It's not that I think Sadie should know how to paint a spider and add pipe cleaner legs. She's perfectly fine. It's me I can't stop critiquing. The voices in my head are so distracting: "Should I intervene and help her glue the glitter? Should I tell her that a spider has 8 legs, not 3? Should I tell her not to eat the glue with her paintbrush?" It got really tripped up when I saw the other caregivers being very "proactive." During the story, one of the nannies was cajoling little Colton to speak up every time the teacher asked a question: "Colton, that's a pig! You know what a pig is. Say 'pig'"." I just don't feel right trying to get Sadie to say something in a public-ish venue if she isn't in the mood. I know she knew it was a pig too, but she probably has her reasons for not saying it out loud and I don't want to force her to be different. When she's only 2 and it's just a neighborhood art class. For fun.

Remember fun?

So, at the end of the project, Sadie had a spider with an undetermined number of legs, sitting on a glittery spider web that she painted purple and orange. I won't say "who cares?" because the answer is obvious: I care. I want to do what's right. I want my kids to feel loved and cared for and I want them to know I am paying attention. I want them to have fun, but I there's so much more gray area than I thought there would be. I think the right thing for me is to err on the side of freedom and letting go, even if it kills me. If Sadie wants to have a different kind of spider in the future, she can ask me for help or we can talk about how to make that happen. For now, it was really all about snack time, for which Sadie was perfectly attentive and enthusiastic. I laughed watching her gleefully eat the 7 goldfish the teacher gave her for snack time. Sadie was so excited about those goldfish, even though I gave her a baggie full of them 10 minutes before art class. Why are snacks so much better when they come from someplace other than home?

Next week when we pick up the spider project, I will post it with pride because it's the memento of a time I got to spend with Sadie that I (thank god) didn't ruin with my control and perfectionism.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


It was one of those days today. It was mostly good and I did some surprisingly domestic things, like make pumpkin soup from scratch and puree a bunch of squash for Simon. We had company and snacks and naps and for the most part, it was a good day.

But, tonight I have a foreboding feeling that just getting my kids to sleep through the night is not the only challenge and maybe not even the most important one. I feel afraid that I am not up for parenting as well as I want to. I am not up for it, because I don't know how to do it. How do I teach Sadie that it's ok to be angry, but it's not ok to hit Simon on the head? That's a pretty delicate line for a 2 year old. Actually, it's a delicate line for me and I am 38. How can I sift through all the cultural poison and old messages and give my children a foundation of love and kindness without also teaching them to stuff their feelings and be "nice"?

We are exploring some parenting books, but they really exacerbate my anxiety, especially if they conflict with one another. I am laughing at myself because WAY WAY back in the day when I was pregnant and reading several books on that hefty subject, I thought pregnancy would be the most bewildering time of my life. Now, I know it's nothing compared to raising these former fetuses. I don't want to hover over Sadie and Simon, but I also don't want Sadie testing her strength on Simon, because he's pretty defenseless. Someone he will have ways to fight back or test his own strength in response, but not now.

I am overwhelmed. I want Sadie to keep her legs still while I try to put her into her pajamas, but she thinks its hilarious to move around while I try to get her ready for bed. The more frustrated I get, the more she laughs. I also want Sadie to hold my hand in a parking lot, but she thinks it's funny to break away and laugh at me. Guess how funny I find that?


As Sadie says, "Mommy no laugh."

Simon, I want him to let me put on his diaper without him doing a 180 degree turn on his changing table. He's not interested in laying there while I clean his little booty. He wants to get up and walk around. I also want Simon to stay latched on when he nurses, but he likes to look around, even if we are the only people in the room and there is nothing new to see. "Simon, you've seen that chair 100 times, please just focus on my breast and do your business."

So many things I want require my children to do certain things or refrain from doing certain other things. In the big picture, I know they are wonderful little people and I know I love them very well. But, I wasn't prepared for how terrifying this business of loving and raising kids is. Shit. They let me have two kids before I ever knew how to make homemade soup. (First time making homemade soup: Today. Pumpkin. Slightly over salted, but delicious.)

Tonight I feel little and scared. I told Jeff I wasn't up for this. He said, "What?" I said, "Raising children." He said, "you are and you are doing it." I said, "Maybe I just don't want to because it's too hard." He said, "Well, that's another story."

Sure is. It sure is.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Indian Summer

So far this is the most gorgeous September I have ever experienced. The days are breezy, clear and mild. I try to get outside with the kids for some breezes and inhaling everyday because winter is looming on the distance horizon.

Is it just me or am I going to be in trouble in the future for not having a clue about what to do with Sadie's hair? Moreover, is it that obvious I don't know jack crap about curly hair? What can I do? I have the straightest hair imaginable and Jeff is bald. We're going to have to take this to YouTube to learn about these mysterious and glorious tresses.

And, this is Simon in a bad mood. Here, believe it or not, his mouth is only at half mast. As one of my friends on Facebook says, "he melts my butter." Seriously. Is someone slipping him Zoloft when I am not looking?

George Clooney 45 years ago

Can't you see this little guy gracing the cover of People Magazine's hottest guy of the year? He's got many different "characters" already. Above is Simon's gentle professorial look that he gives me when I do something silly or stupid. For example, Simon will look at me like this when I try to give him a plate of lasagna instead of home-cooked, pureed, organic sweet potatoes. "Silly woman, you know I only have 2 teeth right? Have you lost what was left of your once-sharp mind?"

But, he's got a depth and a gravitas.

This is Simon's attempt at showing the face he would make if the woman he loved just told him she was leaving for summer camp for 8 weeks or if she told him that she might be in love with the guy at Starbucks who gives her extra foam. This is the look of Simon processing information that, at first blush, seems tragic and unbelievable. He's searching for the bright side, the meaning behind the information just delivered. In short, this is Simon's WHY face.

Alas, there is more from our young leading man:

This is Simon's coy, I've got your number, face. Frankly, it scares the shit out of me. Don't you think this is the face of a baby who knows he's won-- whatever the battle, he's on the winning side. He's armed with nuclear weapons (his smile) and all I have is my feeble attempts to remind him how grueling and LONG my labor with him was (and of course that it ended in a C-section). Basically, I have nothing. I will be relying on his kindness and mercy for the rest of my live long days because I gave him my heart and he gave me a block (pictured above) covered in drool.

I am dead meat.

Monday, September 12, 2011


I am about to write some very original, ground-breaking statements here in this blog. Please prepare to have your mind blown.

1. There are not enough hours in the day.

Who has ever heard a parent say this? I am sure I am the only parent with books half read, a stack of New Yorker magazines piling up (I always make time for Oprah's magazine), work outs done, and blogs going unattended for weeks at a time. I don't know the solution to this problem, unless I stop eating, spending time with my children or sleeping, all of which I spend a lot of time doing (though I could always use more).

2. My children are amazing.

Yes, another rare statement posted on the Internet. A parent gushing about her children. Who would ever guess that would be my spin on my children? Sadie is talking and repeating everything I say. (So when you hear her yell "crap" when she stubs her toe, you have me to thank; when you hear her yell "I love Excel spreadsheets," take it up with Jeff.) I try to teach Sadie something new and novel everyday so I can make my mark as a mother. Today I taught her how to take a bow when someone claps for her. I explained she's really going to need that when she gets the Nobel Peace Prize. (She may have to pay off all the little kids she bit this summer before she accepts the prize, but we have an interest-bearing account in her name for expressly that purpose.)

And, Simon, my little champion laugher. He's the happiest person I know. How am I related to this person to laughs and expresses unbridled joy all day long (provided you are not trying to change his clothes or get a booger out of his nose). I love loving Simon. He's starting to crawl and today he watched Sadie run up the stairs, so like any sane 7 month old, he tried to follow her and he made it up 3 steps. And that, my friends, is why Simon is pretty much covered in bruises. If you leave him unattended for more than .04 seconds, he starts scaling something, anything. It's cute and it's also heart-stopping. In the morning, I hear him on the monitor cooing and talking to himself. Then, I can hear him rocking on all fours, followed by a loud THUMP, which is his head that he knocks into his crib. I try to make it to his room before he starts to wail, but that's hard when you are almost legally blind and it's still dark outside and there are about 18 throw pillows on the floor. It will be a consolation to Simon that I may break my ankle trying to rescue him from his crib headbanging.

3. I would like to sleep a little more, please. Pretty please. Pretty fucking please.

Pleas for more sleep is not something I have ever heard a parent discuss. At least not in the last 3 minutes, unless you count the things I say to myself as a "discussion." Yes, we would like more sleep. Simon is doing great going longer stretches on most nights, but he went about 5 days getting up around 4:22 a.m., and you know what, he's cute and I adore him, but can we do this at, say 6? You know you are in trouble when 5:30 a.m. starts to sound like sleeping in. I know we are over the hardest hurdles sleep-wise, but it's hard not to hanker for more of the delicious z's.

4. I am obsessing about schools for my children.

Nope. No city parents spend any time thinking about this heady subject. I am the ONLY person in the world who wants the perfect school for her children: a loving community, excellent academics, great teachers, small classes, wonderful parents, diversity, safety, good after-school programs, less than $100,000 per year, close to home. How hard could this be? I have made a pledge to Jeff that every time I start worrying about the subject of schools, I will take an action step to help get clarity and move forward on this issue. This morning, right after I put Simon down for his nap, I started spinning, "what about Montessori? What about the British school? What about the CPS schools that are thriving? What about charter? OH MY GOD, what if we have to move to the suburbs?"

But. I stopped. I decided to call at least 1 school and set up and time to come and visit. I picked one that I have heard good things about. I called and basically told the receptionist that I was looking for schools, feeling anxious (not that she couldn't tell by my hysterical tone of voice), and wanted to know how I could learn about her school.

"Please hold," she said in a very nice and gentle way.

Then, the Admissions Director got on the phone and walked me through the process. Next thing I know, Jeff and I are signed up for a coffee date with this school in about a month. It totally feels like dating. If it is, we are in TROUBLE, because I fall in love pretty easily and don't fare well when I get the "it's not you, it's me" lines. But, I think there are about 200 different schools to choose from, so, as my dad always says, "there's plenty of fish in the sea." (To which, the OLD Christie, the Christie who worries, would say: "But, we need the kind of fish that will nourish our children's little spirits and growing minds and we need that fish to lead to a good college fish and we need to be sure that the fish doesn't bankrupt us along the way, since we are really looking for two fish for our two kids.)

But, new Christie is going to embrace the process and let the courtship begin. Plus, I get to take Jeff with me and it's way more fun to date once you are married.

So, yes, here are my most original thoughts for contribution to the world wide web. In the meantime, I plan to dance with my children and teach them all kinds of valuable lessons, like bowing when someone applauds you.

Tomorrow's lesson: How to golf clap.