February 2010

Posted by Duff

Call me crazy, because while I fear the unknown, I really appreciate gathering life experience. For instance, I was induced to birth The Dervish, and hoped Atticus’ birth would  be a unique tale to usher in a different personality. I wanted my water to break, I wanted to feel spontaneous, non-medicated contractions. And I got my wish. Plus a surprise c-section. Which gives me another story to recant and a way to relate to more people. I wouldn’t take it back.

So, when I wished I could have more time with my kids, that rushed weekday mornings wouldn’t give me abdominal cramps, that my husband and I could have more of the same days off together, I wasn’t too surprised when life came knocking. Given that pesky fear of what’s behind Door #2, I couldn’t make the necessary life changes to bring it upon myself.

Poof. Wish granted. Because today is my last day at my job of  8+ years. Thank you, economy. I am honorably discharged.

Eight years is longer than I’ve done much of anything consistently except be my parents’ child with the same social security number.

Eight years during which my job was a constant while I lost and grieved my father, met and married my husband, flipped 2 houses and bought the supposed ‘forever’, carried and birthed 2 children. I had 4 different bosses, 3 different desks, and survived countless mergers (and their subsequent layoffs). Until today.

So, Monday, I sign on for a new, unplanned job: Stay at Home Mom.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t intimidated. I know plenty of moms do this every day, for years. I’m sure they’re great at it. But having had a sneak peak at this solo-ness of this gig on weekends, I daresay my 9-5 was easier. It was certainly quieter. More sure to provide breaks. No rear ends to wipe. The stakes of doing a good job weren’t nearly as high emotionally or connected to my measure of success as they will be starting March 1.

After years of planning projects, I’ve got vast plans of providing The Dervish with my own version of circle time on her two non-preschool mornings. Play dates and YMCA classes for the afternoons she would have been playing at daycare with 8-1o other kids her age. Preschool mornings spent with Atticus, sharing the same one-on-one play time The Dervish got for 2 1/2 years before his arrival.

Visits to the library. A real commitment to regular reading time. Craft ideas that tie into book themes. Parental participation in preschool activities when I’m invited. Now I have no excuse for forgetting to bring in xyz to help build a solar powered windmill or to sponsor the letter G.

I’m also planning a revised laundry schedule (no more of this 6 loads in 2 days crap), less convenience food and more home-cooked meals, stricter price-comparison shopping, and excercise – wait for it – several times per week. (Does chasing a crawler or a misbehaving Dervish count?)

Oh yeah. I haven’t even started yet and am totally setting myself up for overachieving failure.

I could also enjoy this time I hoped for, rather than scheduling the joy right out of it. It could be over in a month.

Stay tuned. This could get ugly.


Posted by Fitz

Many people have been asking me lately if my second pregnancy is the same as my first, and I think the answer is yes.  It’s going by a lot faster because of family and work demands, and I’m not nearly as planful as I was with The Bean, but I feel good and have been lucky to escape many of the ailments that some of my friends have experienced.  That being said, there are a few things that I forgot about – completely.  Here they are:

  • I smell.  I shower like a crazy lady, I use clinical deodorant, I wear Shower to Shower, and I smell.  Maybe it’s different body chemistry, maybe it’s just because I’m gross.  Nothing seems to be solving the issue for good, and I’m tired of it.  Smelling = unpleasant.
  • People feel obligated to comment on how you look.  Whether it’s the supermodel who goes on and on about how great you look (and you know she’s lying because you looked in the mirror today), or the person who just can’t help himself from saying, “WOW!  You’re BLOOMING!”, comments come at you like snow during a Nor’easter – fast and furious.  Some are more creative than others, but they all have the same meaning: “Jesus, you’re big!”
  • Physical mobility is a challenge.  Walking is fine.  Running, not so much (for me).  Rolling over?  Close to impossible.  My poor husband is woken up every night as I rock back and forth, trying to get enough momentum to switch to the side that isn’t asleep.
  • Getting kicked is pretty awesome.  There is no experience like being punched and kicked from the little baby inside of you, and it’s one that I wish we could record for future review.  The one thing that I’m afraid of – as I prepare for this pregnancy to be my last – is that I won’t remember how the movement feels.  It’s one of the best things on earth.
  • You wonder if you’ll do a good job.  I don’t care how many kids you have, there are always questions that arise that make you question your ability to mother the child you’re carrying.  If it’s your first, you wonder if you’ll be a good mom.  If it’s your second and beyond, you wonder if you’ll have enough love and patience for them.  Mother nature has set it up so we’re insecure, and hopefully that’s because she’s just making sure that we’re pleasantly surprised by how we’ll cope.
  • Maternity clothes are what they are.  I don’t mind them – and have actually gotten some cute ones – but the pants never stay up.  The styles get old after awhile, no matter how you try to find something different.  And if you’re like me and have to wear suits for work, you have three choices – gray, black, and brown.   People better get used to them.

I forgot about all of these things, but they are all part of a pregnancy that I am thrilled to be having.  With only a trimester left to savor the moments, I’m keeping track of these things so I remember what it’s like to have a baby growing inside you, depending on you to keep everything right in their world.  So, sweet pea, you’re worth smelling and all of the rest.  We just can’t wait to meet you.

Posted by AVM

I’ve been in a pretty foul mood lately.  Everyone in the house is sick and whiny.  I am just tired, and I think the hamster wheel routine is getting to me.  One of the things I’ve been thinking about is how my husband and I are getting further and further away from who we used to be.  Some couples hike and bike together.  Some couples love to go to movies.  Some love to play tennis.  My husband and I fell in love over food.  We’ve been to the best restaurants in NY and in various cities around the globe.  We’re “foodies” (as much as I hate that term).  A night out at a spectacular restaurant, drinks at a great bar and some live music, and you’ve just described our entire courtship.  And I’ve got the extra weight to prove it.  Each pound came from the sturgeon at Ouest, the champagne at Carmen de San Miguel, the risotto at Stella, the chimichurri at Los Pibes, the foie gras at Bonaparte.   We love to travel, taste the local fare, and watch the world go by.  It was a hedonistic indulgent lovely life.

Obviously, those days are over.  Or at least on hiatus.  I have dreams of traveling with the girls and getting back to it, but we’re in the weeds right now (as one of my colleagues calls these years with very young children).  This weekend we had a great meal out with our good friends, and it’s times like those that I catch a glimpse of the couple we used to be.  In the windows of the restaurant on Saturday night, I saw reflections of two people who love to hold hands, whose eyes no longer front carefree thoughts of sleeping in and figuring out which new brunch place to try in the morning, but who still have the same idea about what we hope our future will look like.  And I saw a couple who are lucky enough to have two great daughters.  Honestly, they light up our lives, and they’re turning us into two new, better people.  Parents who will hopefully teach our girls to love other cultures and places and foods.  Parents who, when we’re at the top of our game (and not wheezing, coughing, sneezing, and shivering from this plague upon our house), are fun and interesting people.  I hope Lovey and CeeCee can see that in us someday.

Reading this post back, I am filled with guilt.  If given the choice, I wouldn’t trade this life for our old life.  I wouldn’t.  I love this life.  And I love my daughters with all of my heart.  To hear my Lovey sing the entire score to The Little Mermaid (doing all the voices) and to hear CeeCee giggle uncontrollably as she watches Lovey perform it, is to know love.  Our lives are full and I do appreciate that.  I think sometimes I just miss the old us.  And that’s ok.

Posted by Duff

Who doesn’t love Melissa and Doug toys? They’re affordable, classic, and well-made. And, a huge hit with the kiddos.

I have to thank AVM for this idea, though. The Dervish came upon Lovey’s M&D Birthday Party at a playdate when both were around 2, and was floored. I mean, who doesn’t love a birthday party?

This one comes complete with (wooden) candles, toppings (which allows it to double as pizza), and slices that velcro (and stay) together, but also pull apart easily enough as to not encourage your Dervish to hurl the whole kit and caboodle against the wall.

It’s also gender neutral, which makes it a fail-safe gift for kids 2-4. I mean, even though we already have one, I’m sure The Dervish would be thrilled with another. Or, the pizza kit. It’s one of the few toy sets we have where all the pieces remain together and interest never wanes; there is always occasion for a party or a picnic in Preschoolville.

Thanks M&D, you rock!

Posted by Fitz

Caifornia Sea Lion

Boomerang, age 3, Mystic Aquarium

Last Friday, I emailed my husband.  He would have panicked if he could have seen me in that moment, all crazy-eyed and manic, but luckily I spared him the site so he could focus on the words:

“What are we doing this weekend?  If we spend one more day doing errands and playing in the house, I will officially blow my brains out!”

To avoid the above scenario and the mess it would indubitably cause, we did a quick brainstorm of what we could do in the area that would be fun for us all and came up with a day jam-packed with The Mystic Aquarium, Friendly’s, the Tanger outlets at Westbrook, and home in time for dinner.  It was so nice to have a break in routine, and to see The Bean have so much fun looking at the fish and the sea lions (Coco was her favorite).  The day served as a pleasant reminder that we can’t let the daily grind get the best of us because of the temperature, and that the onus is on us to create some fun as we wait for these long, cold days to pass. 

In that spirit, here are some of our favorite things to do.  These are Connecticut hot spots (for kids), but no matter where you live, I’m sure you can find something similar.  Enjoy, and let us know what you do to relieve the cabin fever!

Don’t forget to check out KidsCT.com, too, for all sorts of things to do with your little one in any season.

Posted by AVM

I’m feeling kind of in a glass-half-empty/glass-half-full kind of mood (I really have no business complaining about any of it – life is good – it’s the lack of sleep making me do it).  And while I’m still on vacation, I’ll keep it brief, but let you know what I mean. 

Half Empty:

  • The four of us are sick.  The kind of sick that hurts your throat, makes your inner-ear itchy, and stuffs you up.  Just in time to return to school and work. 
  • Lovey was up all night (and so I was up all night) with a terrible croupy cough.  We’re 150 miles away from our pediatrician and I left the tylenol at home, of course.  Off to CVS.  And I’m sure she’s going to be in a GREAT mood today. 
  • Who has time to be sick? 

Half Full:

  • We had an unexpected snow-induced six days off and decided to get away for the long weekend.  It is so nice to be away sometimes, you know?
  • For Valentine’s Day, my husband and I had a fantastic night out for a delicious dinner and a great movie that I’m still thinking about.  If you have the chance, see A Single Man (an odd choice for Valentine’s Day, I know). It was wonderfully done. 
  • As of this morning, I am down 17.5 pounds, and I feel as motivated today as I did the day I started this change in lifestyle on January 4th. 

Posted by Duff

I guess you could say The Dervish and I are at loggerheads. I want her to clean up her toys, she wants me to stop making (her) dinner so she can crown me a beautiful princess.

You’d think, since very few people in my life are begging to crown me a beautiful princess, that I’d just let the 76 different kinds of multi-colored plastic bits scattered around the house BE, put dinner on simmer, and allow myself to be primped.  But I’ve sustained a lot of want-to-yelp injuries lately, acting like it feels fantastic to wrap my falling arches around Mr. Potato Head’s dentures as I carry a 20 pound boy to his changing station. After possibly just a few more days of rocking, Atticus is going to ascend on her spoils, ravenous, following the infant (and then toddler) tradition of trying to off himself.

I’ll admit, I have been throwing away Barbie’s shoes. I figure she’s undressed so much of the time, and with her hair looking so cavewomanish these days, she won’t mind going barefoot. In retaliation, The Dervish attacks my closet, hides my accessories, and sneaks them into her pockets while I dress her brother.

Leave her alone for a minute, and The Dervish will emerge from her room in costume: pink sweatpants, floral pajama shorts, a tank top, a fleece vest, and a chef’s hat. Which, when I see her, makes me giggle and hug her (as she struggles to free herself and shrieks, ‘I don’t LIKE IT when someone LAUGHS.at.me!”) and when I go  in search of the camera to preserve the memory of her fashion sense and arm swinging at the view finder (she really doesn’t like to be laughed at), she’ll have shed her ensemble (one article in each room) in favor of underwear and snow boots.  My snow boots. Which, for once, were put away in the closet, behind several other pairs of shoes that are now scattered about the entryway.

“Please  help me out and put these shoes away, Dervish, while I finish making your dinner,” I ask. I ask nicely.

“Ok,” she agrees. She is so sincere, I believe her.

Two weeks later, I find the shoes, along with the electric bill, my husband’s long-lost sunglasses, and a clementine well past its prime. In her nightstand.

And it occurs to me: I’m living with a raccoon.

(Psst! Here’s some fantastic information about typical preschooler behavior.)

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