July 2010

Posted by Duff

Excuse the lull in posting. I’ve been trying to wrangle some clothes on The Dervish. And picking up the many outfits she leaves in her wake on any given day.

I should have seen this coming. Everyone told me that kids (especially girls) reach a naked stage. I know how particular The Dervish is about certain fabrics and elastic or closures of any kind against her skin. But I thought since it didn’t happen in her threes, we’d be safe.


It started with the barefootness. Which I can relate to. I only wear shoes when I have to, only for as long as I have to. I spend the summer with calloused heels and dirt ingrained in my soles within days of a pedicure because, let’s be honest, it’s comfortable. Grass feels good. And if I’m going to pay for polish or undertake the job of applying it painstakingly myself, people should see it. But I know where to draw the line.

The Dervish doesn’t.

So when I tuned the TV to Nick Jr. and went to do some laundry, I didn’t expect I’d come back to a naked child eating raspberries.  Or when she played in the sink while I cooked, I didn’t think I’d turn around and find her in her birthday suit.

Choose your battles, they say, and these days, we’ve got enough. So the new rules are: underwear at meals, or when sitting on couches or chairs; when outside, a bathing suit is minimum (though I often have to stop her from ripping it off);  and clothing is not negotiable when we’ve got company. 

Because, well, that’s just good manners.


Posted by Duff.

Happy 4th Birthday to my Dervish.

rainbow clipart

Thank you, sweet girl, for giving me a hard time, and forcing me to start writing again. You have no idea what you started, and one day, I’ll tell you. 

But for now, thank you for teaching me that I could love someone even before I could understand her, that both of us are capable of more than we ever imagined, that the biggest and most vibrant souls start out in the smallest of bodies.

You may say you don’t love me when I tell you no, or that I’m not your best friend when I won’t let you hurt yourself, but I know you love me, and I know I’m your best friend when you climb me like a coconut tree or beg me to snuggle during a thunderstorm even though you’re not afraid. And I love that you’re not afraid. But I would love you just as much if you were.

Cyndi Lauper’s words were never so beautiful as when sung by a little girl lulling herself to sleep after a long day of lambasting her mother:

I see your true colors shining through
I see your true colors and that’s why I love you
So don’t be afraid to let them show
Your true colors are beautiful like a rainbow

THAT is a double complete rainbow. FULL ON.

Posted by Fitz

“We are young…tantrum to tantrum we stand…no promises, all demands…two is a battlefield!”

Pat Benatar has been on some talk shows lately, and every time I see her and her husband do an acoustic version of Love is a Battlefield, I find myself reworking the lyrics to fit the Bean’s new attitude towards life.  You moms of twos and ups know – they are asserting their independence, making their voices heard, and testing their parents (sometimes to the brink of sanity).  

While the Bean has always been independent, it has only been a few months since she has begun to really push it at home.  I make green beans, she wants broccoli.  I pull out the pink shorts, she wants the blue.  I say chicken, she says cake.  And so on, and so on, and so on.  All opinions are shared with a raise of her generous eyebrows and an ever-so-slight narrowing of her giant green eyes, and said in a tone that I’m sure we’ll hear time and time again starting at age 12.

I admit that, on a few occasions, I’ve almost lost my cool.  With a newborn and sleep deprivation, I sometimes just cannot take the constant negotiation, or all of the “NO!s”, or the firm parenting that I know is best in this type of situation.  It’s exhausting and frustrating and it doesn’t feel better to know that all of my friends with same-age kids are going through it, too.  But, this is a stage like everything else, and like all of the other stages we’ve been through, it will pass and we’ll hardly remember it.

My hope for this stage is that the Bean doesn’t remember all of the times I’ve left the room out of frustration, or every single “no” and “don’t” she’s heard.  I hope that she forgets every battle right after it happens, and remembers that I love her and her sister more than life itself.  Because at the end of the day, we’re both figuring this relationship out as we go – one battle at a time.

Posted by AVM

Over the Fourth of July weekend, we had a great time at our family’s vacation home with my parents, my sister and her husband, and our little brood.  After fun and exhausting days of swimming, chasing our girls around, and wonderful meals, the “adults” would hang out together with a bottle (or two!) of wine after the girls went to bed.  One night, while our husbands looked on puzzled, my sister and I were in hysterics, laughing until we couldn’t catch our breath and tears streamed down our faces about some silly thing we used to do when we were young (and tormented each other).  The details are inconsequential – it was just part of the great and textured history she and I share as sisters.  Growing up, we drove each other crazy sometimes as siblings do, but we were always close because we were sisters, and frankly, my parents wouldn’t have it any other way.  You’re going somewhere? Take your sister.  You have something? Share it with your sister.  You and your sister are fighting?  Work it out girls, you’re family, and family sticks together.  While I found these tactics incredibly annoying sometimes (especially as the older sister), I am so grateful that my parents raised us that way.  It was only until I was older that I realized that not everyone had this innate feeling that family is absolute, and I felt incredibly sad at the revelation.  In our family, you can always go home.  You stick up for your sister, no matter what.  Again, it wasn’t always smooth sailing, but at the end of the day, my sister is my best friend.  I have every intention of raising my daughters the same way.

When I went to bed that night, I  giggled to myself thinking about how my sister and I can still make each other laugh like that.  And I smiled a huge smile thinking about how I hope my girls will do the same someday.  A lifetime of inside jokes and belly laughs together, I can’t wait to watch them grow.

I love you, C.

Posted by Duff

I’m tired.  Like the kind of tired where I don’t remember going to bed at night, because I’m asleep before I’m finished brushing my teeth. Part of the exhaustion (shared by The Dervish) is because The Dervish no longer naps. The majority of the issue is Atticus The Toddler.

It’s a special kind of tired that germinates within a state of constant alert–a state required to keep a sneaky so-and-so out of harm’s way. Especially when there is no other place he’d rather be than in harm’s way.

My heart pounds a lot.

I spent a lot of time moving large dangerous objects to higher ground before Atticus started crawling. Now that he’s walking and crouching, I spend a good portion of my days plucking from our floors items that would find their way into the dear boy’s mouth: Lint. Tissues. Cat hair. Neverending rogue Cheerios.

I vaccuum and sweep a lot. Multiple times each day.  I nag The Dervish a lot. To the point where she tunes me out, mostly.

It doesn’t matter. Atticus wants to get hurt. Here is synopsis of today:

-Shoved off the couch when trying to hug The Dervish good morning (She’s not a morning person).

-Several face plants amid attempted sprints.

-An injury one would expect from pulling a sleeping cat’s tail. The cat puts up with a lot, if we’re being honest.

-Fingers trapped in the storage part of The Dervish’s bed stool (moved so he can’t climb up onto the bed and fall off, still a hazard)

-Face plants into the crib rail when protesting naptime

-Thigh scrapes from attempting to pull his own legs out of his highchair

-Four head thwacks under the kitchen table in under five minutes

-A two step patio fall onto his eye while I helped a panicking Dervish with something else that was likely less crucial

These are the ones I remember. I’m sure there were more. Sidewalk chalk in the mouth, soapy tub water purposely swallowed, it’s limitless.

I don’t remember The Dervish being so hell-bent on self-destruction, but then again, she never had to share my attention at this stage of the game.

So if I go a few days without posting, you’ll forgive me, right?

Posted by AVM

There have been a few products out there that have made my life a lot easier during my second go-round as a mom.  I had to share them with you in case you’re in the market for life-made-easier products.

1. If you’re like me with an early feeder, you clean the floor a lot.  Everything from bananas to rice to the omnipresent Cheerios are all over the floor after every meal thanks to CeeCee practicing her fine motor skills getting food from the tray into her mouth.  I bought this bib and the shrapnel on the floor decreased by 80%.  Check it out.  The Pelican Bib. It’s a catch-all (plus you can toss it in the dishwasher!)!

2. Having a potty trained 3-year-old is great. . .except when you go on long driving trips.  Tiny bladder + too much to drink + a three-hour drive = frequent stops to bathrooms you should wear a HazMat suit to enter.  Come on, people.  Take some pride in your establishments!  There is no need for the bathrooms to be in such horrendous shape.  Are you with me moms in singing the chorus of, “DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING!” to your sons and daughters when you take them to a public bathroom?  I came across these Potty Toppers that have calmed my anxieties and OCDs a little every time we pull off the highway for Lovey to use a rest stop bathroom.  They have sticky strips to keep the potty topper in place (and they are thick!), they come in all different designs (we have Dora ones), you won’t have to worry about your little one catching some strange disease from the toilet seat, and you just toss them when the deed is done.  They may not be green, but they’re clean, and in this case, that will have to do.

3. While I have been packing bentos for Lovey for about 3 months now, CeeCee has started to need a some food of her own sent to daycare (as opposed to bottles only).  I came across this Nibble Tray and absolutely LOVE it.  It’s great for your diaper bag, to send to daycare, for a picnic or day out, or just to prep food for tomorrow, so all your pre-cutting and planning is done.  The spaces are small enough for early eater portions and the top of the “pineapple” detaches and has gel inside so you can freeze it and keep yogurt and other stuff cold.  This is a must-have. . .and you’ll love the price!

So share with me, moms.  I’m always up for something new to make my life with kids easier.  Share your favorite product with me.  I want it!

Posted by Duff

Lots of people tell me that The Dervish and Atticus look alike, especially if you compare certain points in their infancy: the five month round face, the eight month expression of concentration, just a year and pointing at the camera.

I can see it. They have a lot of similar features – the same blue eyes, the same ears (mine); the same mouth, the same long toes (their father’s). We’re asked ourselves more than once if we were to be blessed to fill a basketball court, would each player have the same fair skin, the same red hair fading to blonde? We won’t be finding out.


I’m starting to think that coupled with these common genetic markers come the same personality traits, and filling a court with those players terrifies me enough to forfeit that game.  When a parent has their first child prone to climbing, that parent is in for some altitude sickness. And since my first child was a climber, I figured the second one would be low-key.


Cut to me, yesterday, underestimating the boy.  I won’t tell you where I found him in the time it took me to do something brief and domestic, but for our purposes here, it was as dangerous as the top of the refrigerator.  Apparently, it takes more than one child to teach these parents how to baby proof against a spelunker.

We didn’t think after having a master tantrum thrower that we’d have a second who could compare.  Cut to this week, when at 13.5 months, Atticus took on The Dervish’s 15 month scream, complete with the wet noodle body limpness of giving up. I know they all do this to some degree, I just didn’t expect my sweet, optimistic bear to turn an out-of-reach roll of toilet paper into the catastrophe of the ages. The scary part?  In the same key, maybe an octave lower.

In the bartering language of toddlerhood, a pot-drum and a wooden spoon are not equal in value to a roll of TP. If anyone is keeping track of these things.

“I don’t think she did that,” my husband says to me once every couple of days.

“Your memory is short,” I tell him. “She was the same way. He just has to grow up faster.”

You’d have to, with The Dervish turning the screws.