March 2010


Posted by Fitz

It’s rare when I get the opportunity to post twice in one week, but I’m taking full advantage of the fact that AVM is sunning herself on vacation while we are battling rains the likes of which Noah never even experienced.  So today, dear readers, I’m going to let you in on a little secret:

We are woefully unprepared for this new baby.

Now, my post the other day was true: I am very lucky to have my family, and who cares what the nursery looks like.  99.9% of the time, anyway.  The other .1% of the time, well, I still complain.  Especially now that we’ve squeezed the toddler bed into the room (of course Beanie won’t sleep in it, but that’s for next week).  The room is jam packed with white furniture and now seems to have lost its sense of self.  Moving things around has made the room feel crowded and has unearthed filth that we didn’t know existed.  We’re going to have to start from close to scratch to make this room the cute little sunny haven that it once was, and it brings to mind this one, very important question: Why did we wait until I was 31 weeks to start? 

We have gone through some clothes, and I did take out the breast pump that I’m going to try to use again.  Does it matter that I don’t remember which part goes where, or why I bought this freakazoid looking thing when the Bean was an infant?  Does it matter that I have a million bottle bottoms but no tops?  Why did I save every stained bib?  Why?

I feel like the next few weeks are going to be a mad scramble to get ready for the poor little Sweet Pea who didn’t ask to be born to a family of complete room-arranging, preparation-avoiding, in-constant-denial slackers.  We’re going to push ourselves to the limit to get everything to a good place and keep our Bean in a routine while we do it.  It’s not going to be easy, and I fear that most of it will not be fun.  It’s what needs to be done, though, so we’ll grin and bear it.  If you know of any decorators, contractors, painters, etc. who are looking to give away their services to a frantic, though well-meaning family, please send ’em my way.

Posted by Fitz

Sometimes, enough seems like it’s just not good enough.  Take, for instance, my house.  It’s an adorable little Cape in a great neighborhood in a town we love, but my husband and I are disappointed that the market is such that we have to delay our plans to upgrade.  This means having our two kids share a room for the time being, and making other sacrifices that we just hadn’t planned on. 

We’ve spent a lot of time on Realtor.com, looking at what could be our home if only.  If only our house hadn’t depreciated so much, if only we hadn’t bought at the peak of the market five years ago, if only we had demanded three bedrooms upstairs rather than having two up and one down, then maybe our kids wouldn’t have to share and how is the toddler going to sleep with the newborn after all?   It is the focus of many a conversation, and it always leaves us frustrated with the home we have.

What we neglect to remember in those  moments is that, this time four years ago, we didn’t think we could have kids at all.  We didn’t think anyone would live in the charming little room that we painted a sunny yellow, hoping that we could someday put a crib into it.  We didn’t know if we would ever be parents – our lifelong dream – and actually had back up plans to live a new life in New York City if the family thing didn’t work for us.  We didn’t know much about the miracle of in vitro fertilization, and we didn’t know if we could survive being childfree. It was a scary time.

Looking back, I would have given anything for an angel to have tapped us on the shoulder to tell us that all would be well.  I wish I knew that I would be in the very bratty and ungrateful position of COMPLAINING that there wouldn’t be enough room in our home for BOTH of our CHILDREN.   I wish I knew, in that last house discussion that we had, that we were being fools of the utmost proportions.  Because after a little thinking and a self-induced reality check, I realized once again that we are lucky and blessed beyond anything we ever hoped for.  And that it doesn’t matter what size your house is, or if your kids can have special nurseries all to themselves, or if they’ll wake each other up once in awhile.  Because we are a family.  The luckiest family in the world, according to me.

Posted by Duff

The first time we went to The Dervish’s preschool, she was two, and we were scouting it out for full-time daycare. I was a little worried about how she’d react to changing daycares twice within a few months, but I needn’t have been.

As the director gave us a tour of her would-be room, the teacher called “Line up for outside time!” and The Dervish, not yet a member of the class, was the first one in line. “Everyone outside!” she called, and led the troop out the double doors onto the playground. I moved into the doorway to watch, since this was brand new for me, too.

“She likes outside,” observed the director.

“She does, ” I answered, still watching, “but she likes leading lines even more.”

So what happened yesterday shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me.  I walked into The Dervish’s preschool class after lunch – when the other kids stay for afternoon daycare and she comes home – and found her in the center of the room, surrounded by a rapt audience of three and four year olds, many of them still eating.

The Dervish was spinning, arms wide, singing the “Ahh-Ahh-Ahh” bars of Ariel’s (The Little Mermaid) voice being released from the magic seashell. You know, the melodic female version of Tarzan swinging through the trees. Then she launched into:

Out where they walk (sung to one side of the room)
Out where they run (sung to the other side)
Out where they stay all day in theeeee suuuuuuun (sung to the sky, full throttle)

(pause for effect – I’m not kidding)
Wandering free (quieter, arms outstretched)
Wish I could be (arms clasped to her chest, wistful)
Part of youuuur woooooorlddddd! (I swear there was an orchestra backing her here)

I have to be honest. The first thought I had was My child has the worst table manners of these fifteen preschoolers. I have failed her.  I removed myself, stood in the hallway, and hid my face behind my hand. Then I noticed –there were tears in my eyes. Because I was so damn proud of her. Not for her absence of table manners or her vocal stylings (she’s not pageant bound), but for her confidence, and even more for her conviction.

Three year olds are masters of memory and imitation. But beyond her mother, who is unable to be objective, she had those  kids believing in her. She finished to full, unprompted applause, and more than one standing ovation. As the other kids settled into their cots, they asked Ariel to tuck them in.

I’ve been living in the post-preschool world far too long, because I was surprised that none of them seemed annoyed by her behavior, none of them rolled their eyes or dubbed her Attention Whore like we of the middle school and upward set tend to do (Who does she think she is?). There was good will toward her performance all around.

While still measuring her behavior against her peers’ for inappropriateness, I hoped with all my might that she won’t lose this zeal to the seemingly inevitable self-consciousness that’s the by-product of others’ creeping opinions. And I remembered how much my opinion will mean, even if she claims not to need my backing.

Because this Dervish-variety apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.  And she is an inspirational reminder to her old lady that life is meant to be lived out loud.

You go, girl.

Posted by Fitz

CNN posted this scary story about baby slings today…with over 1 million slings being recalled nationwide. Be sure to check this out, and be extra careful if you use a sling regularly.

Onesie Wonderland

Occasionally, life comes full circle. You might remember, almost two years ago, that I posted about my quest to find the perfect sleeveless white onesie for The Bean – and these are fantastic. Love ’em. I never thought I’d stray, but imagine my surprise when I walked into my local Carter’s last weekend to find scads of sleeveless white onesies, all easy to buy with no wait time (and with all of the coupons I had, at a cheaper price point!). I am loving these onesies in advance – I won’t use them till my new baby comes, but the adjustable necks seem like they’ll make the getting dressed process a bit easier. They aren’t as thick and luxurious as the Essential Whites, but I’m perfectly fine with that.

FYI – The link for the Carter’s onesies is for Kohl’s – if you shop there by next Wednesday and use your Kohl’s charge, you can save 15% with the code GRAND15. Only use this if you didn’t get a coupon in the mail for a greater percentage (like my 30%! Woot!).

New Blog Obsession

<I also have to point you in the direction of an awesome new blog created by our very own AVM – she is a master in the kitchen, and has decided to document the beautiful bento box lunches she makes for Lovey. Take a peek at Bento Madness to get some really creative, fun ideas for your own kids’ lunches (we won’t tell if you make yourself one, either). Good luck in this new endeavor, AVM!

Posted by Fitz

 

You have all been kind enough to follow me as I transitioned from a stay at home mom to a part-time worker to a full-time employee.  I have to tell you, these past few months of being a full-time employee have been difficult.  It’s not just about the job itself, but more about the travel and about the expectations I put on myself.  Like many women, I can’t just do the job and go home.  I have to be the best – or close to it – at the job, and be fully engaged.  I have to check my Blackberry before bed, log in a couple of hours on Saturdays to catch up for the following week, and say yes to things that I have no business agreeing to.  After all, in a shaky economy where The Economist just reported that motherhood is a key factor in inequal pay, what choice do I have?  Right?

I have to tell you, the stress and pressure that I’ve heaped onto my own shoulders has paid off in spades.  I’ve done a great job at work, and it has been recognized.  Part of me loves it – there is no denying it, especially when things seem to be going very well at home, too.   The other part of me wonders if I’m missing out on the best parts of motherhood (at worst) or not spending enough time taking care of myself (at best).  It’s a conundrum, and I’m one of a gazillion people who face the same dilemma.  What is a woman to do?

After a lot of soul searching, I made the decision to approach my boss about going back to my part-time schedule after my upcoming maternity leave.  I was nervous about it; after all, I’ve only been full time since September, and wanted to make sure that I still had a little job security.  Luckily, my boss agreed to the arrangement I proposed, and my entire team has rallied around me to make sure I can be successful in that role when I do come back.  I’m very grateful for their understanding and accommodation, and feel that all of the hard work I’ve done has paid off in this very particular way.

So, last week, when I got an email announcing that they were starting the interview process for my full-time replacement (which I knew would happen), I wasn’t prepared to feel so…defensive.  “Hey, that’s my job!” and “How vulnerable does this make me?” swam through my head as I experienced another vortex of conflicting emotions about my choice to scale back on work to scale up on life.  I was honestly shocked to feel this way…and while there were no tears, I felt…weird.  Like I should be able to do it all without any feelings of guilt or remorse or whatever.  Like it is my duty to do it all.

Luckily, those feelings were short lived.  Once I stepped back from my emotions and thought about what part-time would be like – still challenging, still engaging, yet give me the time I want with my kids – I felt fantastic.  I experienced a sigh of relief that I haven’t had for a long time, and feel so happy with my decision.  It’s funny that this whole episode coincided with Thebump.com’s survey results that we posted last week, too.  Because, you see, motherhood is only impacting my career because I want it to.  I’ve made deliberate choices to take a step back from my career (a bit) to focus on my family, and it’s empowering to know that I can.  I’m lucky that I’m able to work part-time, and plan to cherish every minute of my days off with my kids.  Knowing me, I’ll also cherish those days where I can immerse myself in adult-speak and work-related problems, because my job is in my blood for better or for worse.  And what a relief it is that I get to have both in my life, in the best kind balance that I can create for myself.

Posted by AVM

If you live in certain parts of the North East, you experienced a terrible rain and wind storm last weekend.  The storm downed hundreds of trees in this corner of the world where I live.  Huge majestic pines, great oaks, and the like – trees that were standing for a hundred years or more enduring season after season for decades – came down during this storm and did a lot of damage around here.  Luckily, our home was not affected by falling trees or by the massive rains, however we lost power for a good clip.  The electricity to our entire area was knocked out, and actually, my office was closed for most of the week because of it.

Since the storm ended, the weather has been glorious.  And it leads me to believe that March is living up to its “in like a lion, out like a lamb” reputation.  Spring has sprung here, and all I can do is look forward to the abundance of barbecuing and warm weather activities that wait for us in the coming months.  There is nothing like 70+ degree weather and sunshine to lift your mood and make you really appreciate what a gift it is to be alive.  This weekend made my heart full – it was a family weekend – and we had a blast.

The girls spent the bulk of the weekend outdoors.  Lovey especially loved it.  Bubbles and the bounce house, tricycle riding and swings – she would sleep out there if I let her.  Both of my girls are at great ages.  At three-and-a-half, Lovey is independent and smart, her thinking is getting more complex and it’s amazing to watch.  And our little CeeCee is at my favorite baby age.  She’s six-and-a-half months old and just full of personality and smiles.  CeeCee’s sturdier now, and she’s totally engaged.  Sitting up, playing with toys, whatever you’re holding, she wants.  It’s a great age, a delicious age – when all you want to do is kiss her cheeks forever while she laughs hysterically.  I cannot get enough of her! I hold her hands and she stands on my lap with a big open-mouthed smile – so proud of herself.  My girls are just the joy of my life. I am so lucky.

The best part of the weekend was the surprise night my husband planned for my birthday.  We went to dinner and then to an amazing off-broadway show in the West Village in NYC.  The weather being what it was, the Village looked like it was painted technicolor.  We sat side by side through dinner, drinking wine, and talking close – if people were looking on, they might have thought we were on our first date – ok, maybe our seventh date – instead of an old married couple with children and a mortgage and responsibilities.  The show we saw was Our Town, ironically about appreciating life as you’re living it, and afterward we discussed at length how much we loved the production.  We walked hand-in-hand, energized by the breeze and fueled by memories of many, many similar, lovely evenings shared long before children and marriage came along.  It made me remember that we’ve got a lot of this – these warm, strolling nights in New York – left in us.  And it made me look forward to the coming months even more.  This spring feels like a rebirth in so many ways.  I can hardly wait to see what the near future holds.

What are you most looking forward to this spring and summer?

Painting by Linda Press

Posted by Duff

You’d think when your child is past the age of putting anything and everything in her mouth, you’re safe. And then you watch her pick a who-knows how old cheddar goldfish (that you somehow missed) from between the couch cushions. And eat it.

You think once your child has dropped her fascination with the inner workings of the toilet, you can relax a little. Until she presses her cheek to it while she watches you apply makeup.

You’d think having said “Not safe. NOT SAFE. NOT SAFE. NOT.SAFE,” enough times to deter your child from ripping her nightlight out of the wall would bring you some ease. But the one time you forget to replace the outlet cover after vaccuuming, you find her about to ‘plug in’ a barrette.

You’d think a child who considers syrup on her hands an utter, panic-inducing catastrophe would be more discriminating about what she picks up without inspecting. Until she picks up a dog turd.

You’d think after explaining many hundreds of times that we don’t bring soapy water all over the house to pour in anything that will (or won’t) hold it, that it would finally sink in. And then after spending two  minutes alone in the bathroom, you find a Dervish sponging soapy water as far as she can reach across  the sliding glass door. In this case, you hand her a towel and let her ‘clean’ anything she can reach. And thank your lucky stars it wasn’t toothpaste. Or applesauce. Or syrup.

It’s a wonder any of us make it to adulthood. Dave Barry was right: we really do spend our first few years trying to find ways to off ourselves.

Next Page »