Wednesday, April 29, 2009

You May Think It's Funny But It's Snot

I do love preschool. But if I had to, had to, lodge one teensy, tiny complaint about it, it would be that ever since Berit started school both she and Marta have a perpetually goopy nose. You might notice it on the left there, nevermind the dinner around the mouth. (The goofy look is the result of playing for a very long time in front of the computer camera before actually snapping any photos.)

Anyway, it's not even as though my kids have a runny nose -- it's this completely alien substance, green but not in an infected way, just... just green and sticky, like a plug that their immune systems have ordered up to combat all the new germs Berit is meeting in preschool. It's gross, and worse, it's impossible to get rid of. After blowing the nose, wiping the nose, peeling it out and trying my damndest to scrape it away, all while holding the head of the child with the goopy nose still with my fifth and sixth hands, I turn to throw away the kleenex and like magic, it's back. 

For the most part it just sits there, plugging them up and grossing me out. But every now and then, say, when we meet a new family or when we run into my OB's wife or our priest, or God forbid that mom who's really, really, really nervous about other kids' germs, the slime starts to ooze down the bridge between their noses and lips (sidenote: Berit calls this her "Bem."), all neon green and scary like, threatening to infect any and all children within a sneezing radius with the swine flu. 

Have I mentioned that Berit throws tantrums about blowing her nose? So, awesome.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Anyone Up For A Nursing Bra Burning?

Last night, there was no nursing. Marta has officially not nursed for 38 hours, leaving my shirt a wee bit tighter in all the right places and my future child free for at least an overnight. It was hard last night, though. Trevor went to her once, twice, then the third time she was not having it. Cried and sobbed for Mama, so I filled a sippy with warm milk and let her cry while I held her, telling her stories and singing lullabies. She wasn't happy, but after a while I left and she slept (not without screaming for 20 minutes, but sleep she finally did). This morning she woke up and still loved me, so I think we'll do the same thing tonight. 

However. I believe this weaning process will fall more on my shoulders this evening, since when I went up to her 10 minutes after Trevor had left, I found her freezing and WET. Not her diaper, her pajamas. It took me an hour just to warm her up, and I'm fairly certain my rage at my soundly asleep husband turned me into a right toasty furnace. When I left her room I was tempted to pull his covers off and stick his hand in a bowl of warm water, but I was too tired. This morning he was shocked; said the room felt perfectly fine to him. This from a man who sleeps in practically a loin cloth while I'm wearing my "snowsuit" (his words, not mine), piled with a quilt and a down comforter. 

But don't worry, fellow moms. I just ate the last of his ice cream. And let's not forget how a recently-weaned mom's chest goes through Pamela Anderson-esque changes, yet how it may not be touched, looked at or thought about. So we're even.

Peace and Quiet

"It's The Biggest Pool I Ever Did See!"


(What you don't see is the pool of water on the chair and floor beneath her.)

I love one-on-one time, even if it is cleaning the kitchen. :)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Blast Off

In the car yesterday, I was singing that jumprope rhyme "Cinderella, dressed in yellow, went upstairs to kiss a fellow; the fellow was late, she kissed a snake, how many doctors did it take? One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight!"

And Marta said: "Nine. Ten."

Sure I was hearing her wrong (as in, "My 16-month-old did not just actually really completely count."), I said, "One."

Marta: "Two."

Me: "Three."

Marta: "Four."

Me: "FIVE."

Marta: "Six."

Me: "SEVEN?"

Marta: "Eight."

Me: "NINE!"

Marta: "Ten."

Me: "E-L-E-V-E-N?!?"

Marta: "Gobble-Gobble?"

So close. But hello! She helped me count to ten. And... that's... not... all...

She now walks around the house saying, "Five, four, three, two, one, yay!"

However, I'll admit that we have a favorite song that counts down like that, and whenever we use the microwave we count down starting at 10 or 15, so I'm fairly certain the countdown is memorized. But come on! What about the counting in the car? She should totally be on the Today Show.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Shirt, And Motormouth Jones

A few months ago I was unloading some clothes at a consignment shop and spotted this shirt. I like wearing pale purple shades because, truly, without makeup on the circles under my eyes are this color (OK, a lot darker) and with makeup on in a strategic way I kind of look like I have this color of liner or shadow on. So I was drawn to it. (Not that I have since actually put makeup on in any sort of strategic way.)

I liked it because it's sort of clean-cut but still very comfortable for my 9-5 job of child wrangling. However, from the first time I wore it, Trevor has made jokes about it and flat-out told me not to wear it anymore. I agree that it might make me look bigger than normal, since it's not fitted, but whatever, right? RIGHT?

Well Trevor isn't home this evening, so when I dressed earlier I reached for my comfy, baggy shirt. And this afternoon, Berit and I were playing airplane and when I brought her down so she was at eye level with me, she ran her hands over my shoulders and said, "Mama, why are you wearing this shirt?" I said, "Because I like it." And she said, "But Mama, are you going to the dentist today?" I said, "No, why?" And she said, "Because this is the kind of shirt the dentist wears over his clothes."

Nice. At least Marta likes to bite the buttons.

Speaking of things Berit has said today, here's a brief clip of what today, and every day since about early last week, has sounded like:

Berit: Mama are you hungry? I'm not hungry. If you were hungry would you eat oatmeal? Marta likes oatmeal. I can jump. Can you jump? I can jump high. Mama watch me jump. Can you help me jump? I want to color. Can I use this pen? Can I make a house? Mama help me make a house. Can you do it for me? I love Mosey. Mosey-Rosey-Posey. Hey Rose. Rose! Rose! ROSE! Come HERE Rose. Mama he's not coming. Mama can you help me make Mosey come here? Mama do you like purple? Do you really like purple? Do you like purple so so much? Mama I'm cold. Get my slippers! Ma-ma, can-you-get-my-slippers-pl-eea-se? Do you want to see me run in my slippers? Watch me. Watch me! Watch out Marta. Marta! MARTA! (Shove) Sorry Sarta. Mama I call Marta Sarta. Sarta-Sarta-Sarta-Sarta! Mama I'm hot. Mama can you help me take off my slippers?

Seriously, this goes on nonstop, all day long. It drive me crazy but I keep telling myself it's because she's had an explosion of brain development and she's just too darn smart to contain herself. It helps. So does wine. 

Breathe In, Breathe Out

A little rundown of our day today:

12 A.M.: Berit wakes due to tummy ache. Trevor and I position ourselves for throwing up, while he convinces her to put her head on the floor and butt in the air and toot, toot, toot. She claims she needs to poop, but does not want to poop on the potty (no surprise here) and finds herself far too taxed to stand upright to finish the job, hence she whines and cries and complains that the couch is too slippery. Since Trevor seems to be laughing on the inside about this, I declare that the two can enjoy themselves with their heads buried in the living room floor and their rears in high salute, and I go to bed.

12:30 a.m.: Berit falls asleep on the floor, no poop having materialized. 

7 a.m.: Berit wakes, crying out, "Daddy! I have to poop NOW and I WANT TO POOP ON THE POTTY!" Riiiight. Not only does she not poop on the potty, she doesn't poop anywhere. She declines food all day and, since she has school tomorrow and I don't want her to spend the entire 2 1/2 hours there convincing a kind room mother she's going to poop on the potty ANY MINUTE, I CAN FEEL IT COMING OUT!, I spent my entire day today bribing, threatening and coercing her to poop. Which did not work.

12 p.m.: Dance class. 45 minutes of bliss for Berit, 45 minutes of torture and restraint for Marta, who wants desperately to join the Big Girls' dance class. I let her play in the drinking fountain in the hall to distract her.

1-5 p.m.: General play during which Marta climbs, then jumps off, everything and neither girl eats anything close to an entire meal. Marta has a runny nose, caused by: a) Berit's foray into preschool, b) the shopping cart "car" she insisted on riding in at Glen's yesterday that I couldn't get spotless with my baby wipes, or c) the trip to the doctor's office Monday, when I took her to be sure her two-week-long hoarseness wasn't anything serious (it wasn't), and where she may have glanced at a toy for a prolonged enough period so the germs on it leapt off and crawled through her adorable nose into her immune system. 

5:30 p.m.: I load two tired girls into the car so I can pick up a double order of guacamole from Jose's to eat for dinner, since I'm dining solo tonight. Berit falls asleep in the car, hallelujah Mother George. 

Present: Marta screams in her bed. I eat the universe's best guacamole and write blog.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Not A Bad Balance

  • I just found several bars of white baking chocolate in my cupboard. 
  • Marta no longer nurses during the daytime, nor at bedtime.
  • To her extreme delight, Marta and I listened to the song "Hot Potato" and only "Hot Potato" during our entire ride to K-Mart and the entire ride home from K-Mart. She cracked up.
  • Though embedded in the warmth of the wood on our deck and therefore not entirely accurate, our thermometer reads 70 degrees. I'm going with it.
  • Yesterday, we spent the afternoon at the park and Berit could not stop thanking me for it.
  • We enrolled Berit in 3-day preschool for the fall. 
  • I stand to make a million zillion dollars at the upcoming Moms To Moms Sale, based on the status of our basement clean-out project.
  • I had Subway for lunch. I miss Subway.
  • We're taking the girls to Traverse City this Saturday, to play in the huge park, ride the carousel, and buy Marta a new crib. Also, to stock up on magically delicious Target wines.

  • Never in my life have I been stuck behind a funeral procession, and I've been behind two in the past two days. If a third happens tomorrow, should I take it as a sign? Of what?
  • Berit's class pet, Rosebud the guinea pig, needs a home. I'm tempted, yet something tells me it'd be ridiculous. (As in, "It's a guinea pig. That's ridiculous.")

  • Marta is still waking up through the night, and Trevor leaves next week for turkey camp.
  • I just found several bars of white baking chocolate in my cupboard.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

This Is Why All Our Easter Candy Is Up For Grabs At Brunch Tomorrow

Last night Berit stayed with Trevor's parents, "Mimi" and Grandpa. They live here in town so they see the girls often, and are adored. I decided to let Berit stay, even though I had planned to color eggs with the girls in the evening, because she is a great kid and just wanted to go have some one-on-one time with her grandparents. Fair.

Trevor's grandparents happen to be up visiting, staying with his parents as well, so we planned to spend the whole day today at their house to be with them, and celebrate Trevor's dad's birthday. 

I know that grandparents are supposed to give sweets under the table and spoil the kids incessantly, and my children reap these benefits from both sets of grandparents in their entirety. Which on one hand is fantastic, because they are so, so lucky to have lots of family that loves them so much. I didn't have this, and it's one of the most important things I stress in my kids' lives. 

On the other hand, it makes for a bitch of a day when they come home.

In this case, we went to Berit today instead of her coming home, and during the course of the day she had a full-blown, screaming, thrashing tantrum about BLOWING HER NOSE (after which Grandpa immediately scooped her up and gave her a chocolate-covered peanut and Mimi served up pint-sized cinnamon rolls); she called Mimi "Mommy" on purpose; ignored me when I told her I loved her until Mimi asked her to tell me she loved me back, after which she said, "I love you, Mimi;" and refused to speak to me on the telephone when I was driving around trying to let Marta get a decent nap. Later, when we were driving home, she said, "Mommy, I just want to go back to Mimi and Grandpa's house." 

I'm not one for crying, but I cried twice today, first because I missed her last night, as she dyed eggs at their house and found her basket there today instead of finding her basket at our house first (where we could see her raw excitement for this "new" kind of fun, and when she finds it here at our house tomorrow it won't be quite as important) and then she was rude and purposely unloving to me to boot, and a second time because even as we were driving to our house, talking about the fun brunch we'd have tomorrow and how the Easter Bunny would come to our house tonight, I still couldn't win. 

This may sound differently than I mean it to; I know it's not that she loves her grandparents more than she loves me, I know that grandparents are meant to spoil kids and I'm glad she has a good time there. I also know that she didn't mean to do anything hurtful, and that it was mostly the sugar talking (or not talking). I think it's just one of those times when you, the mom, tallies up all the stuff you've been bending over backwards to help your child do or achieve or feel lately and you realize that your child is THREE and will never, ever come up to you and thank you for staying up late fixing the Littlest Pet Shop Playhouse, for corralling the baby in the church area of her school for an hour just in case she gets weepy and needs a hug while she's in class, for triple-washing the bathtub, for letting her wear every single piece of jewelry you own, or for thinking about her happiness, health and immune system during 97% of your day. 

I know this is silly. I don't know how to end this post. I think, instead of sitting here thinking of something heartwarming and optimistic to close with, I'm just going to call it a vent between moms and go chop vegetables for the brunch. 

Thursday, April 9, 2009

From The Mouth of B

Running outside:
"Look! My golden hair is flowing!"

This afternoon, very sad, needing hugs:
"Mommy, I don't feel very well. I feel sad, because I want to go back to school."

On a walk after dinner:
"Daddy! Look at all the grass that came out to play!"

During bedtime snack:
"I love pickled peppers! Like my mommy always says, do your best and eat the chaws!"

Let's Just Hope She Uses It For Good Someday And Makes A Hit Record

My friends Emily and Kelly have clear, loud voices. Whenever I'm with them and I tune into this fact, I think about what a neat trait that must be to have. My muddled voice gets lost in a crowd, even when I'm being forceful so that my children will hear me. But to have a voice like a bell -- soft and feminine yet commanding and clear -- would be so unique, so handy.

Marta has that voice, but not quite in a good way. Take, for example, last night -- all of it. I'm not sure if she's figured out that she doesn't necessarily have to stay in her crib but is supposed to, or if she's ailing in some mysterious way, but for the past few nights she's been a train wreck. She doesn't cry in a sad or helpless way, which makes me think she's not hurt or sick. She yells, screams and thrashes angrily -- furiously -- and her voice hits loud, clear heights that remind me of when you watch a performance by Mariah Carey or Christina Aguilara and the camera is right up on their face, and their mouths are open hitting a high note, and then they go higher, and higher, and higher, and you're all, "I really hate this music but damn if that girl doesn't have pipes."

Only, with Marta it's more of an example of how she'll sound as a teenager, I suspect. Yelling in her baby talk and screaming at the monitor, vocal chords rolling with rage and, of course, waking Berit constantly. 

We go to Marta, but find after a half-hour of our soothing her and helping her back to sleep, the moment we leave she starts all over. So what do we do? Keep going in? That doesn't seem to be helping. Last night I just sat with the monitor in my hands, watching her tirade and thinking about how loud she was, and then I realized that I didn't even have the sound on on her monitor -- I could hear her clear as day through Berit's, sitting on the nightstand.

Oh Marta. Shrinking violet you're not.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Today was Berit's first day of preschool. Should I be emotional?

I remember when she turned one, and my sister-in-law asked me how I was doing, and said how she had been a little teary-eyed when her oldest had crossed that milestone into toddlerhood. I was surprised; I didn't feel that way at all, and wondered if I should have.

It's not saddening to me that my babies are growing up. I don't mind marking milestones and passing them by. As I write this, I'm realizing that I should play the part of the loving mother in the movies, a sad but happy smile on her face when her baby walks for the first time. Instead, when my kids took their first steps away from me, I snapped a pic, wrote a blog and turned the other way to do the dishes. Is this horrible?

I'm proud of them. I'm impressed with each new ability. I love seeing them discover and explore. I brag, brag, braggity brag-brag all day to my sister (who was a little sad that Berit had her first day of school today; couldn't believe she was such a big girl; called repeatedly and took real notes about each part of her day). And now I wonder what it is that would make me happily sad. 

I also wonder if it's my own parents' attitude, reflected in my personality. They looked forward to the day I would graduate, go to college, get married, move hours away. There was never any sadness -- only progress (away from their house? Bank accounts? :)). I'm not looking forward to the day that my children leave my nest, though. I just don't mind so much that Berit's in preschool.

All of that said, preschool was. fan. tastic. Berit bounded out the door this morning with a kiss tossed to me, nary a worry in her head. Trevor was going to stay for her first day -- our preschool is a co-op and parents work in the classroom every day, and are welcome to stay nearby even if it's not their day to work -- but she fell into sync so easily that he set up the computer in the lounge area of the church the school's in and worked. She needed help for the potty and she came to find him, and he poked his head in a few times to snap pics (coming soon), but otherwise he didn't see much of her for 2 1/2 hours. Marta and I arrived to pick her up and she bounded out of the classroom, gave Marta a huge hug (!?!) and announced, "Mommy, I want to stay here all day!"

(This is what Berit did in preschool today: Free play, calendar, circle time [where Berit wrote the number 1 on the board], two projects [bunny ears and a paper plate bunny], snack, more free play, jumping in the "jumper" and something to do with learning. In 2 1/2 hours! At our house we'd fill that time with free play, free play, snack, free play. Looks like I'm going to have to step up my game.)

I also had a great morning, with a napping baby and a toddler in school. I did the elliptical machine while listening to my book for a nice long workout, then did something I believe I've only done one other time in the past three years: Took a full shower in the daytime, without Trevor being home. Washed my hair, did my makeup, put on a true-blue outfit and not stretchy pants. Marta woke, and we left to pick up Berit, arriving a whole hour early because I wanted to drop Berit's medical form off to the pediatrician on the way -- but it only took me a minute to do this, and not the half-hour I had planned because I was not running on "Do it myself" toddler time. 

It seems preschool is going to suit our family just fine. 

Monday, April 6, 2009

Does The Status Of My Stuff Represent The Future Of My Womb?

In a few weeks my community is putting on a Moms To Moms Sale. People can buy space in which to sell anything parenting-related. The seller keeps the profit, the organization holding the sale keeps the small entrance fee paid by other moms eager to shop in a room full of kid stuff from dozens of different parents. 

I bought two spaces.

Yes, we have an excess of kid stuff because we have very generous grandparents and now we own THREE booster seats, TWO tunnels, A THOUSAND baby dolls, THREE babydoll strollers, etc. etc.

I've been going through my house in square-feet: The front closet, the entryway table, the coffee table, the end table, the built-ins, the armoire, the kitchen, the back closet -- literally every available spot in our house has something child-related that needs to be considered for sale.

Some things are easy -- the aforementioned stroller trifecta, for example. Other things, not so much. My Pack 'n' Play, the one with the vibration, mobile, sound, changing table and extra (padded) sheets. We've only used it three, maybe four times. Do I sell it? What if I need it someday? Will I not need it because we use the co-sleeper for our next baby, like we did with Marta, or will I not need it because there won't be another baby?

The used-constantly Baby Bjorn. I'd love to buy a new one with back support and breathable mesh. But will our next baby be the last baby, and a new one would be a waste of money when we've got a perfectly capable one right here? Will I regret not selling it, because no third baby comes along to use it?

I'm deferring to a glass of wine tonight. With the sounds of "Daddy-come-and-check-me-Daddy-come-and-check-me-Daddy-come-and-check-me" and gurgly screaming/coughing coming from Berit and Marta's monitors, respectively, I think that my major-decision making skills are not quite as objective as they could be.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

First Sentence

I was reminded by Facebook of all things to note my baby's first full sentence: Two weeks ago, while I was smelling her diaper, my 15-month-old said: "No poop, Mama."


Small Victories

I'm watching Marta happily tear apart a Dora the Explorer book in her crib, because I will let her do anything today to help her forget that she has a hacking, rumbling cough that occasionally makes her throw up with its intensity. (Should I be consulting a doctor about this? I truly have no idea.)

Yesterday, when she was only showing signs of a slight runny nose, I took Berit to Target and the carousel at the mall in Traverse City, and we spent the entire day (driving) shopping, leaving Trevor to deal with naps and baby-rearing in general. He's only put Marta down for a nap once before, when she was exhausted and would have done just about anything for a crib to sleep in. Yesterday was an experiment to see if I could leave, and it worked, and even better, Trevor is now compulsively saying magical things like, "She's literally the smartest baby in the world," and "She talks like a person. A real person!" Of course I know these things. It's quite another thing when someone else recognizes them, and says them out loud, repeatedly. 

Now that Marta has calmed down for her nap, I'm off to sort the Easter toys and candy that I hid under my bed last night before the kids could see them. While at Target I picked up a little Swiper action figure for Marta's Easter basket (Swiper is the sneaky fox from Dora the Explorer whose catchphrase is "Oh, Man!", for those of you not in the know), and I'm so pleased I did because while we were on a walk last night she was singing, "D-D-D-Dora, o-o-o-o-o-o-man." 

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Boo Boo Boobies?

What do you think?

Will my 15-month-old fall for it if I put Band-Aids on my nips and tell her I have boo-boos, therefore she can't nurse?

Because 15 months is still pretty baby-ish; not quite understanding other lies like "The milk is all gone; we need to go to the store," or "Nurse go night-night," or "Mama needs to be done with the nursing immediately so she can go to Target in Traverse City and not worry about whether you'll fall asleep for your Dad." 

OK, maybe that last one wasn't a lie.

But because Berit is into Dora the Explorer Band-Aids as playthings, Marta is, too. 

But will she buy it on the boobs? What do you think?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Busy Day Ahead

We've gotten off to such a great day, and it's not even lunchtime. When I opened my eyes this morning, Trevor and the girls were standing there, already dressed, fed and shined, asking if I'd like cream in my coffee and by the way, the bookstore had called and offered to pay me top dollar for my opinions on every purchase their customers made today.

Barack Obama walked in and told me that he'd decided stay-at-home moms should be granted free health, dental and vision benefits (extended to their children, of course) and get two weeks of fully-nannied vacation time. 

Suddenly my black stretchy pants didn't feel so good and that short summer dress shoved in the back of my closet looked perfect for the sunny day ahead. I was stunned to see that it enhanced the leanness of my legs while still drawing an appropriate amount of attention to my killer rack. 

Marta toddled over and said "Pinecone. Oatmeal. Elbow. Grumpy troll." And because I know my child so well that the president himself is impressed, I knew to mean, "Mom, I think I'm pretty much over nursing. Why don't you go out and get yourself a few cute bras?"

The orthodontist walked in and told me that neither of the girls would ever need braces and because they had such perfect teeth, they'd each earned a full-ride scholarship to the college of their choice.

Berit announced that she had finally decided to stop going Number 2 in a Pull-Up and no, she wasn't very interested in watching TV anymore.

Our Realtor came in and handed me a stack of over-the-asking-price offers to peruse with my coffee, and wondered if I wouldn't mind if she declined the selling fee?

Edward Cullen stood up from the chair he had been sitting in all night, watching me sleep, and said, "Hey, your husband said I can be your freebie. Want to go check out this island with me?"

And, finally, God came in and said, "Lisa, you're right about the lottery. It's totally fair to let you win, because you do have the best intentions for the money. And by the way, no children or animals will ever suffer again."

Looks like it's going to be a busy day! Happy April Fools!