Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween! Part II


Here they are, decked out on our way to the preschool Halloween parade. The miracle here, of course, is that both children allowed me to pull up their hoods without screaming bloody murder.

Oh, and P.S.: it was 95 degrees today at noon, when the pre-school parade took place. They look happy here, but outside in the parade? SWELTERING in those faux fleece costumes.

Happy Halloween

My neighborhood goes kind of whacko for Halloween.* I think this may be a nationwide trend (yes?), but I must admit it is a trend that I haven't fully latched onto.

With apologies to Halloweenlover, I confess that Halloween is probably my least favorite holiday. For a non-crafty, un-creative, too practical for her own good person, Halloween doesn't offer much in the way of holiday cheer. No easy get-togethers full of good will. Instead, intense, pressure filled parties where costumes are not only expected, but judged. OY!

But it is a little difficult to be the Halloween equivalent of Scrooge (what is that, anyway? Casper the Friendly Ghost? Pollyanna? I'm just not sure) when all of your neighbors go so over the top.

Lance insists that part of the reason our neighborhood gets so decked out is that many of our neighbors are "in the industry". Which is to say--not actors, or directors, or producers--but grips, roadies, prop guys. So they have access to a lot of gear, and they get excited about "setting up a stage". Whatever the reason, I give you now a sampling of the results:


DSC01927 There is more to this one, but a big tree's in the way.

DSC01928 That is actually a facade of a haunted house.

DSC01942 The smoke you see is dry ice, that bubbles up from a cauldron on the right every few minutes.

*There is something spooky going on this year, though. For the four years that we have lived here, about 6 houses on the main street into our neighborhood REALLY go all out, every year, for Halloween. Dry ice, loudspeakers shouting boo, dead people falling from trees, the real deal. And this year: nothing. Not one of those houses has so much as a jack o' lantern on the front stoop. I can't figure it out, and now that this weekend is over and there is no chance of a last minute decorating frenzy, I find myself a little pissed off. This is the first year Isaac would be old enough to appreciate such things on Halloween night, and now we get nothing. Hmmphf.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

They're here

My cookies came! See?


I must admit that we all jumped on the cookies so eagerly when they showed up at our door at 6:30 Friday night, that we did untie the bow and eat one before I remembered to take a photo. At which point I had to recreate the pretty packaging they came in. Since I can't tie a bow to save my life, I took this photo so you can't see the catastrophe that is the bow I tied. Trust me, it was much prettier in its original state.

As for taste: here's a shot of Vivian with one of the chocolate chip ones.
I think she liked them.

I'll spare you a shot of me eating one of the white chocolate ones, for fear of scaring the children. Who knew a cookie could be so pornographic? They are good. TOO GOOD. This, after traveling through the US Mail for a day or so? I can only imagine what they might taste like straight out of the oven.

If you haven't done so yet, get theeselves over to Bite My Cookie, and start commenting. And, while you're at it, if you're a typepad person, join her crusade to demand better product from those typepad fools!

Thanks, BMC! I love you AND your cookies!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Poop!, Coq au Vin, and . . . .

Just now I am sitting here, blogging, while the kids play in the background. I hear Vivian crawling* in, and when she gets to me, she pulls up and says, "Poop. Poop." I soon ascertain from a dense aroma that she has, in fact, pooped.

That's right. My 16 month old daughter came to tell me she pooped. Are you amazed? Astounded? Knocked off your feet by the sheer genius of it all? No? Then perhaps you do not also have in your life a 32 month old child who routinely walks around with his pants full of shit for as long as the rest of us can stand. Who continues, to this day, to deny when said pants are full of shit, even when the cloud of stench through which he is walking causes the wallpaper to curl (and we don't have wallpaper). Or instead, blames his sister: "Vivi did it! Vivi pooped!" Who wakes up at least once a week before 5am, having peed through his overnight diaper, and who has never, in his life, woken up from a nap with a dry diaper.

*still her preferred method of mobility, though she can walk.

Last night for dinner I made this. It took FOREVER, but I didn't mind. I enjoyed my time in the kitchen, even though it took up the entire nap time so I didn't get a break. What I did mind: it didn't turn out. I spent 2 hours in the kitchen slaving over something that only tastes okay. And I followed the recipe pretty exactly, too. What is wrong with me??

I also made this, which was impossibly easy and took about 5 minutes, minus the roasting time. Guess what? It was fabulous. But see, I didn't enjoy making that as much--it was so simple! Again, I ask you--what is wrong with me?

Today when I dropped Isaac off at school, there was the following note:
"Attention parents: Yesterday we had to send a student home with head lice. We have not had an incident of head lice at (name of school) for 10 years. Please check your child's head carefully."


Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Joy Unexpected Effect

This is what happens to your hits when you meet up with a popular blogger:

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Here is the walking video!

Unfortunately, it is sideways, and I can't figure out how to change it. But you should be able to see it if you tilt your head (heh). There's some pretty decent audio, too.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

You know what I love?

Blogging. But more than that, I love you, the bloggers. I love the community. I love how everyone is so different, and so the same. I love how I have met so many new friends, friends I would never have had were it not for blogging.

Truth is, I don't have a whole lot of friends anymore. Motherhood can be really isolating, especially if you tend, like me, towards the introverted. There are many young mothers in my neighborhood, but the vast majority of them work. The stay-at-home moms that I know I have not connected with, for a variety of reasons, among them my inability to plan or attend outings unless I feel really comfortable.

When I met with Y yesterday, I was nervous, but also excited. It is so rare for me, to spend any part of my day talking with other adults. I arranged for my mother-in-law to babysit Isaac, and set off, determined to make the most of the opportunity. It was just the two of us, with our two daughters, who happen to be around the same age.

If you have ever read Y's blog, you know what fun she is. I am sometimes intimidated by funny people--all that pressure to be clever!--but Y was friendly and genuine, and put me right at ease. It was wonderful. We met at a Mexican restaurant about 1/2 way between our homes and had a quick lunch and some great conversation. We chatted about blogs and blogging, about our kids and our husbands. What a relief, to talk to someone who cares about the same things that I do. That sounds wrong. I just mean that talking to her was easy, and felt nice.

Gabby is completely adorable, of course, and just as friendly as Y. She immediately tried to pet Vivian's hair and give her a hug. Vivian, for her part, acted a bit like me (sadly): slightly stand-offish, and intimidated. She refused to show off her new walking skills even though (or maybe because) Gabby was walking all over the place.

All in all, a fabulous first-time blogger meet-up for me-- and fish tacos, besides.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

These shoes were made for walkin'

Yesterday I caved and bought Vivian her first pair of shoes. Well, okay, that's not exactly true, we did have a few pairs that friends bought as gifts when she was first born. But these are the first pair of shoes that she may actually use for--yes, that's right--walking.

For the past week or so, Vivian has been standing on her own frequently. When I put her down, she stays in the upright position for awhile before plopping down to crawl. She stands from her position on the floor without pulling up on anything. And she takes one or two steps every now and then, when no one is watching her. Last night, all the planets aligned, and she took 10 or more steps on three different occasions. We even got it on video! (Which, sadly, I cannot figure out how to post here.)

So it seems that actual, true walking (as opposed to the fake walking we've been doing for a few months--i.e., one or two steps only under extreme duress) is much closer than I thought. Maybe only a week. Hooray! (Cheer with me, now you won't have to hear about it anymore either!)

In totally unrelated news, I had the following conversation with Isaac this morning:

Me, sitting at the computer ignoring (unsuccessfully) the two toddlers trying to climb into my lap: Just a minute, you two . . .

Vivian: UP! UP! UP!

Isaac, pushing Vivian aside and crawling into my lap: I want to see, Mommy.

Me: Oh, Isaac. Don't push your sister. Shhh, Viv, it's okay. . .

Isaac, touching my nose, then my eyes: What are you doing, Mommy?

Me: Sweetie, don't do that right now. Can you get down for a minute?

Isaac touches my breast, then starts pushing it, almost stroking it, repeatedly.

Me: Don't do that, Isaac.

Isaac: Why?

Me: Because . . . it's mine.

Isaac: No, they not yours, Mommy. Those are Daddy's.
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Monday, October 24, 2005

Caution: Lameness ahead

Okay, I know this is idiotic, to post one of those email "memes", but I think it's pretty funny, and mostly true. So I'm posting it, and you can't stop me.
While I realize that most of my readers are not from Southern California, I think this list should make you appreciate your own state even more. You can thank me later.


Your monthly house payments exceed your annual income.

You drive next to a Rolls Royce and don't notice.

You don't know anyone's phone number unless you check your cell phone.

You speak Spanish, but you're not Mexican. Or you're Mexican, but you don't speak Spanish at all.

Getting anywhere from point A to point B, no matter what the distance, takes about "twenty minutes."

You begin to "lie" to your friends about how close you are when you know damn well it'll take you at least an hour to get there (see above).

You drive to your neighborhood block party.

In the "winter," you can go to the beach and ski at Big Bear on the same day.

You eat a different ethnic food for every meal.

If your destination is more than 5 minutes away on foot, you're definitely driving.

Calling your neighbors requires knowing their area code.

You classify new people you meet by their Area Code. An "818" would never date a "562," and anyone from "323" or "213" is ghetto/second class. Best area code: "949." Nobody likes anyone from the "909" because it stinks out there.

You know what "In 'N Out" is and feel bad for the other states because they don't have any.

You don't stop at a STOP sign, you do a California Roll.

You really can never be too rich, too thin, or too tan.

You've partied in Tijuana at least 3 times.You don't remember at least 1 of them.

You go to a tanning salon before going to the beach.

You eat pineapple on pizza.

Your cell phone has left a permanent impression on the side of your head.

You think that Venice is a beach.

The waitress asks if you'd like "carbs" in your meal.

You know who the tinsel underwear dude in Venice Beach is.

You call 911 and they put you on hold.

You have a gym membership because it's mandatory.

The gym is packed at 3pm . . . on a workday.

You think you're better than the people who live "Over the Hill". It doesn't matter which side of the hill you're currently residing in, you are just better than them, for whatever reason.

You know that if you drive two miles in any direction you will find a McDonald's or a Starbucks.

You know what "sig-alert", "PCH", and "the five" mean.

You can't remember . . . is pot illegal?

It's barely sprinkling rain and there's a report on every news station: "STORM WATCH".

The Terminator is your governor.

You actually get these jokes and pass them on to other friends from California.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Big Daddy

For BMC, as repayment for the cookies: a photo of Lance.

And bonus!, a quote: "Jesus! If we didn't have to feed them or bathe them it would be so much easier."

Friday, October 21, 2005

I won!

If you all have never met Bite My Cookie, you are not only missing out on a fantastic blog, but also the potential for cookies. The other day I unwittingly became her 400th commenter, and in doing so won a prize--a prize of cookies! Really, could there be a better prize? I'm so excited. Rest assured, as soon as they arrive, I will report back with pictures and a review.

Thanks, BMC!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Good Show

We are back from our 15 month appointment. And, I was right: Vivian is growing. Like a weed, I say. She is now 31 inches, or in the 50th percentile for her age group. This is astounding on many levels: 2 appointments ago we weren't even on the charts for height; I still have to roll over the waistband of her 12 month pants, and some 6-9, or they are too long. In fact, I am pretty sure they measured incorrectly--but my tape measure is in the garage, and thus much too far to fetch. In any event, I should probably just enjoy this completely "normal" position on the growth chart and stop fighting it, no? I doubt their measurements were off by more than an inch. As for weight, she maintains her healthy position in the 10th percentile. Dr. K was very proud of her.

She is right on track with all her milestones except walking. Oh, and eating with a spoon. But, why, pray tell, would I give a spoon to a 16 month old child who routinely gets food between her toes while using her fingers to eat? I mean, I realize children are messy, but, honestly, must I really encourage the little bugger to pour applesauce on her head? Unfortunately, Dr. K did suggest I let her give the spoon a try. I have never been one to just blindly do as I'm told, though, so we will see. (Wait! I am so! I always do what I'm told, if the person who tells me is in a position of authority! And since I am only a lowly old mother, everyone except my husband and children are in a position of authority. But I will break from the shackles of my upbringing and say no to the spoon. You watch me!) As for the walking, Dr. K said not to worry until 18 months, and even then, so long as her muscle strength seemed fine, and it's more of a comfort zone or control thing with her as opposed to physical capability, no sense fretting. She will walk eventually.

All in all, a good appointment. Although of course at the end Dr. K asked about Isaac and suddenly I got some dust in my eyes and felt a furious need to sprint from the office (Flight! Flight! Flight! Never fight, in my world). She means well, and how could she know that I have so denied the existence of a problem that the mere mention of it would cause such a reaction? Poor woman. Fortunately for me, she quickly left the room so I could freak out in private. And--more fortune!--we do not have another appointment for Isaac until his meeting with the specialist in January and his 3 year with Dr. K. in February. So I have months-months!--to continue floating along in my lovely river of deNile.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Forsaking all others

I am a crime drama junkie. TiVo faithfully records for me, each week, at least 9 hours of crime dramas. I also love the crime documentary, so I record those, too: American Justice, City Confidential, Dateline, and my favorite, 48 Hours Mystery. One thing you learn quickly from watching these shows: it is always the husband. Truly. If a married woman is murdered, her husband did it. Every. Single. Time. Even if the husband is acquitted, there is general consensus that he did it anyway, there just wasn't enough evidence. It is amazing to me how many educated, seemingly rational men, decide to murder their wives in lieu of paying alimony. They always have girlfriends. Yet they still think they will get away with it. They are still shocked and pissed off to be considered a suspect. Crazy.

The other afternoon I watched an episode about--surprise!-- a married man who was murdered. Not surprisingly, the woman on trial is his wife. Supposedly she was mentally and physically abused for years, and she killed him in self-defense. Her trial is taking place now in Northern California.

Except--I just read in yesterday's paper that the judge has declared a mistrial. Because--get this--the defense attorney's wife was murdered over the weekend. Creepy, huh? And sad. There doesn't seem to be any suggestion here that the defense attorney killed his wife, but given all the previous episodes of these shows, that was my first thought.

I wonder if they will do a show about this, once it is all figured out, if it is all figured out. If the defense attorney did do it, you can bet on it. But since it doesn't seem he did . . .

Changes afoot

This is a post about good news: Vivian is growing. Yes! She is now too tall for most of her 3-6 month pants. She fits into almost all of her 6-12 month clothes, and even some 12-18 month ones. We have even turned her carseat around, now that she is 21 lbs. She is not walking yet, but she's getting closer. Slowly, slowly. She has, on three or four separate occasions, taken up to 4 steps on her own. Do not bribe her or encourage her, though: she only likes to take steps when no one is watching. The words keep coming, too. Now she says "book", "buck-ah" (buckle), "poo-dah" (poodle), "sock", and has started mimicking us on occasion. I am hopeful that at our 15 month appointment (which will occur when she is 16 months old since Mommy's math and calendar skill are, well, lacking) she will be not only on the charts for height and weight but maybe (maybe?) even caught up on milestones. Yee-ha!!

Not to be out-done, Isaac has been changing too. He has now entered the "Why" stage of toddlerhood. Why, oh why (heh) is this so cute when other people's children do it but so incredibly mind-numbingly boring when it is your own? This is how it goes*:

I: Why did you shut the door, Mommy?
Me: Because we are coming inside, sweetie.
I: Why are we coming inside?
Me: Because we need to have lunch.
I: Why do we need to have lunch?
Me: Because it's lunchtime.
I: Why is it lunchtime?
Me: Because it is.
I: Why because it is?
Me: Sometimes it just is, honey. Let's just leave it at that.
I: Why just leave it at that?
Me: I'm really tired of talking about this, okay? Hey, do you want some grapes?
I: Why are you so tired of talking about it?

And so on. What a sweetie (ahem).

But there is this: The other day we were at my in-laws for dinner. As we all filed out, Isaac stopped, looked up at his grandmother and said, "Thank you so much for coming, Nonie. We had a really nice time." Then as we all giggled and told him how polite he was, he added, "It was so nice to see you."
I have not taught him these phrases--it's all I can do to teach him please and thank you!--he has just picked them up on his own. Pretty cute.

Oh, and:
Isaac is not potty-trained. Isaac is not even close to being potty trained. At 32 months, he has shown zero signs of being ready. We have a potty seat for him, and he will pee in there occasionally, but that's it. The other day, we were, again, at the in-laws, when I looked up and realized Isaac was no longer in my sight. I called for him and eventually found him in my mother-in-law's bathroom, where he had pulled his pants down and taken off his diaper--all unprompted and unaided. "I'm going pee in the potty!" he said triumphantly. I have no idea what inspired him to do this--when I helped him sit on the potty he barely got a trickle out, so I doubt he really had to go--but it was a pretty exciting day for us nonetheless. Especially since he usually has a really difficult time getting his own pants down. What a big boy! (Of course, this happy event occurred a good two weeks ago, and he has shown exactly zero interest in the potty since then. I am focusing on the positive here, okay?)

* I am not relaying this exchange because I think you don't know what I mean. I am relaying it in an attempt to make you suffer with me.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Gratuitous kid photo

Post nap and red licorice snack.

Kitchen Catastrophic

It is a great sadness in my life that I am not a good cook. It's not that I'm terrible (though really, cooking is a bit subjective, yes? So some people may think I'm a terrible cook. No fair talking to my in-laws, though.) I definitely lack any sort of talent for the preparing of food.

Thing is, I love to cook. I truly love it. I love reading the recipe, looking at the photo, going to the store and buying the ingredients (especially if the monsters are not with me), getting out the pots, even the chopping. The whole process of it: the way you start with a clean kitchen, then get it completely filthy, and then get it clean again. The way you start with these simple ingredients--peppers, onion, mushrooms--and end up with a completely different animal--vegetarian chili.

When I was pregnant with Isaac, many things went wrong. The icing on the cake (as it were) was that 10 weeks before my due date, the doctor diagnosed me with low amniotic fluid. This led to almost daily ultrasounds, and also to bed-rest. For 10 weeks, I had to lie on my side and drink lots of water, making sure not to put any stress on my body by doing anything, not even something as simple as laundry. The highlight of my life at that time was the twice-weekly visit to the ultrasound tech. This was in the days before TiVo, not to mention the days before kids, and, not being a soap-opera fan, I quickly became bored. For the first few weeks I read a lot, but eventually I turned to television. One day when I just couldn't bear another Magnum P.I. re-run, I channel surfed and landed on The Food Network.

Up to this time in my life I had not been much of a cook. I didn't hate cooking, I just never did it. As a single person I was blessed to live with roommates who were wonderful cooks (you remember Heidi, right?) and I also lived in San Francisco. You know, the foodie capital of the world. Why cook when fabulous food was within walking distance whenever I wanted it? When Lance and I married, none of this changed. We went out to eat all the time, and if we stayed home we just snacked. Chips and salsa, cheese and crackers, quesedillas, hummus and baba ganoush from the deli down the street. Or we ordered: Thai, pizza, Chinese, Italian--all of it was available at the push of a button. Even when we moved to LA and settled down a bit, we rarely cooked. Occasionally Lance or I would try something out, but it's hard to cook for two people: you always have leftovers for weeks!

Since cooking was never something I cared about, landing--and staying--on The Food Network that day was definitely out of the ordinary. I don't remember what was playing that day, though I'm sure it was a recipe show (does anyone really watch those other shows? Like Unwrapped?). Whatever it was, it held my interest, and soon I was watching The Food Network every afternoon. This is the time period (December 2002) when Rachel Ray was just gaining in popularity, and I watched her show every day, sometimes twice a day.

I know Rachel Ray can be annoying; Lance and Heidi both cringe when they hear her voice. But for a person who has not spent a whole lot of time in the kitchen, her show was a really fantastic learning tool. What better way to start cooking then with a bunch of recipes that only take 30 minutes to prepare? If you screw up, you've only wasted 1/2 hour of your day.

Once I gave birth to Isaac and starting figuring out the whole newborn thing, I found I had some extra time. Since Isaac was such a good baby, he napped for hours at a time during the day, and now that I could move around without worry, watching tv quickly bored me. I started cooking and found that I enjoyed it, even though the results were not often what I'd want.

It's been 2-1/2 years now and I have a few recipes that turn out reliably. Things like spaghetti or chili. I have a marinade for chicken that people always like, and a couple pasta salads that usually work. But that's it. Other recipes I've tried don't turn out at all--or worse, they turn out great the first time but then I find I am unable to replicate that success again, no matter how many times I try. I am always looking for new recipes and trying them out, but my success rate hovers stubbornly around 35%. Not very good.

Part of me knows the reasons for this. I can be . . . shall we say . . . absentminded at times. (Yes, I am blonde. So??) I may forget an ingredient at the store and have to substitute. Or I'll skip a step and have to go back and try to add things when the entree has been cooking for twenty minutes. Also, I don't like to measure. So I'll chop up a bunch of herbs, but then I don't like to force them into tablespoons to make sure I have the right amount. I usually just throw it all in. I hate it when a recipe calls for 1/2 cup of chopped bell pepper, say--if I buy a pepper at the store and chop it up, then there will be too much, and what am I going to do with half a leftover pepper? Again, I often end up throwing it all in. Add to that the fact that I am decidedly un-crafty, not creative or arty in any way, and it's easy to see why I struggle in the kitchen.

Still, knowing these reasons exist does not cause me to change my cooking style. I like the freedom of not measuring, I like rooting around in the fridge and then finding--ah ha!--a substitute that might work. I like the sort of easiness to it all. I like being in the kitchen, in my own little world, creating something that I really hope will please my family.

But it would be a lot nicer if occasionally these creations did please my family.

Sunday, October 16, 2005



with (bonus!) scare-crows.

More Pumpkins

Okay, this one's for Phantom.



For Laura.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Friday, October 14, 2005


I am bored bored bored. With this blog, that is. Not sure why I can't think of anything exciting to report (perhaps because there is nothing exciting to report?). I know you all are devastated. Perhaps over the next few days I will be struck with inspiration.

'Till then, enjoy your weekends!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Is Dakota Fanning the only female child actress alive? Or is there some unwritten Hollywood rule that she must get all the scripts first?

And why, oh why, would you name your daughter Dakota? Really, if you are going with a state theme, Delaware is much prettier. Or Connecticut.

Would you like some more whine?

My kids look remarkably alike. People often comment on it, and I've even had one or two ask if they were twins (though, since Vivian is about half Isaac's size, I'm not sure why anyone would think that). I suppose it's to be expected. It's kind of fun that neither one looks exactly like Lance or I--rather, they are each a combination of the two of us.

The similarities end at the surface, however. As infants, they looked so much alike it gave me a sense of deja vu. But by the second day home, it was apparent that Vivian was not the same baby as Isaac had been. When she was less than a week old, she stayed awake one whole day. As in, never closing her eyes from 7 am to 7pm. There were days in Isaac's infancy when he only opened his eyes for minutes at a time all day. Vivian had horrible baby acne; Isaac had none. Isaac grew so fast I could practically see it; Vivian was in preemie size clothes for weeks. Isaac slept through the night at 10 weeks; Vivian at 11 months. Isaac has always been an average sized kid, consistently hitting at 50 to 75th percentile on the growth chart. Vivian has never hit higher than 20%. Developmentally, they are very different, with Isaac reaching all the major milestones much sooner than Vivian did.

There are other differences, too. To this day, if Isaac falls or hurts himself in some way, I can pick him up and hug him, kiss the scratched body part, and he will feel better. On the other hand, if Vivian is hurt, the last thing she wants is a kiss from me. She screams until the pain goes away on its own, glaring at me with her tear-filled eyes, as if to say: "I am not a fool, woman. There is no way a kiss from you is going to help this pain!" When Isaac is frustrated, he will growl, or scream or fall to the floor and kick his legs. But his are short-lived frustrations. He gets over it fast enough and moves onto the next thing, and the next frustration. Vivian has a much longer attention span. She can happily read books for 30 minutes at a time, or sit in the playroom with the same toys she's played with since she was old enough to sit up on her own. When she is angry or frustrated, she is much more difficult to placate.

The latest difference is whining. Like any kid, Isaac whines. Although most often he whines only when he's just woken from a nap, or when he's sick. In other situations, he's pretty good about changing his tone if I tell him "Well, I can't understand what you're saying when you talk like that, so I don't know how to help you", or some variation thereof.

Vivian, at almost 16 months old, has about 20 words. I don't consider her "talking". She has recently become rather demonstrative, however, about what she wants. She just whines. Incessantly. Whines to be picked up. Whines to be fed. Whines because she's bored, or because she doesn't want a barrette in her hair, or she does want to drink the bath water, or whatever. Yesterday, I think she whined for a good three-quarters of the time that she was awake. It's driving me crazy! I don't always understand what it is she's whining about, and when I do, it's often something she can't have anyway, which just makes her more upset, and the whines escalate to cries. She doesn't understand the words or the concept of "if you stop whining I will help you", so we spend a lot of time at an impasse.

I know this is age-appropriate behavior. When Isaac was 16 months old, Vivian was a newborn, and he and I struggled mightily. But he had more words by then--I guess about 150 or so. Communication was part of the problem but it wasn't the only problem. He was so active, at that age. Running all over the place, getting into things, and not understanding consequences. If I looked away for five minutes, he'd be running down the middle of the nearest freeway, chugging from the bottle of rubbing alcohol I left on too low a shelf. He had major temper tantrums when things didn't go his way--which was often--but he didn't whine. Vivian is not nearly so active--she can't even walk yet, for pete's sake!--but she's got the whining thing down pat.

Writing this post has been really good for me. Now that I'm remembering Isaac at this age, I understand that there actually isn't much I can do about the whining, until she starts understanding more. That I just need to be patient with her, and understand that this is only temporary. In a few months, she'll be talking (and, by the grace of God, walking) and we'll be onto the next challenge.

In the meantime . . . would you suggest duct tape (for her) or earplugs (for me)?

Friday, October 07, 2005

How would you react

if your child was bitten at pre-school?

What if you knew that two other children have also been bitten recently, by the same child?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

I wish

that being a stay-at-home-mom didn't make me feel like such a loser.

Corollary: I wish that enjoying above-referenced "position" as much as I do wouldn't make me feel even more like a loser, because why would I enjoy something I don't value?

Corollary the second: I wish I wouldn't take it so personally when working moms say things like "I don't know how you do it. I needed to work, or I would have lost my mind." Or, "I'm a much better mom because I work. If I stayed at home, I'd be a total basket-case all the time."

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Here they are in more harmonious times

Originally uploaded by starheel.

Officer Isaac

For several months now, Isaac has found much delight whenever I need to reprimand Vivian. It's getting to the point where he will ask me to tell her no. As in, "Mommy, Vivian took her barrette out. Can you say 'don't do that'?" Or if I say, "No hitting, Viv", he'll reply: "Can you say it louder, Mom?"

He's been telling her what to do for awhile now. "No, Viv!", he'll holler, "Don't touch that!" "Don't do that, Viv!" Or my personal favorite: "That make me very frustrated, Vivian!" But lately, it's more than that; now he wants to get her in trouble.

He is always and forever running to me, grabbing my hand, and saying, "Can you come with me, Mommy?" When I follow him, Vivian will be throwing the dirt out of the house plants onto the rug, and he just points and looks up at me in glee, fairly dancing in his anticipation of my reaction. It's kind of disconcerting. I mean, I suppose it makes sense--what a relief, for him, not to always be the bad guy--but should it really make him that happy?

We've been working on this: I've explained that it is not really nice to be a tattle-tale, and I can't tell you how many times a day I say "Okay, sweetie, but let's just have Isaac worry about Isaac. Vivian can worry about Vivian, okay?" But truly, it's a difficult concept to grasp--and to teach. I can't say--"Well, you wouldn't want Vivian to tell on you if you were doing something wrong, would you?"--even though that is basically what I'm trying to teach him. So we talk about treating each other the way you want to be treated, but he SO doesn't get it.

Truth be told, while I don't want him to be a tattle-tale, it does serve a purpose. For example, the other day I was washing dishes while the kids played outside. Isaac started yelling, "Mommy! Mommy! Come look at Vivi! Vivi got so dirty! MOMMY!" At first I just shouted back, "Don't worry about Vivian, Isaac. You just worry about you! It's fine." But eventually I had to go see what all the fuss was about. And, um, she was dirty. Because she had pooped, and leaked out of her diaper, and was wiping the poop all over the place.

There's also the times he says: "Mom! Vivi's climbing again! Come say 'don't do that'! Mommy!" And I know this means she has climbed on top of the hearth and is trying to get onto the sofa from the top of the toy chest. Or: "Vivi's playing in the pee, Mommy!" Or: "She's playing with the fan!"

In that case, I like my little mole, because I can come running before she falls, or drinks a mouthful of day-old pee from Isaac's potty, or gets her fingers chopped off in our $15 Home Depot fan, or whatever other danger she's about to face.

I leave you with the face of our personal family stickler.


the hell do you make the double spacing go away on this bleepin' thing?

Anyone? Anyone?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Happy Anniversary

Yesterday was my 7th wedding anniversary. To celebrate, a few photos:
(Please forgive the blurriness; I have no scanner.)

The happy couple.
The ladies in waiting.The world's ugliest wedding cake. But it tasted good. I swear!

Last evening Lance and I went out to dinner to celebrate. (Heidi--I'm telling you, pure rockstar--babysat the monsters.) On the way to dinner, he pointed out to me the many Starbucks where he spends his days, drinking lattes and partaking of the wireless access. Then he began comparing and contrasting them, discussing, for my pleasure, the various pluses and minuses of each one. And I thought, "Hmm. We've been married for 7 years and he still thinks this kind of thing is interesting to me?" Aloud, I just laughed and said, "Wow. They really always make their milk too hot? Good to know, babe, good to know."

That's love, people.

Lance, thank you for being the same guy, but better, than you were 7 years ago. Thank you for working hard so that I can stay home with the kids; and for hardly working so that you can help out--a lot--at home. Thanks for the thousands of walks you have taken the kids on at 5:30pm, leaving me time to wind down from a long day. Thanks for putting up with my sorry attempts at cooking, and for usually forcing down the food without comment. Thanks for accepting the fact, with good humor, that I must go to sleep before 10pm every night or be useless the next day.

I can't wait to see what the next 7 years will bring.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Meme Time--Edit

The lovely and talented Chantal over at Bread Crumbs in the Butter tagged me for a meme, so here you go:

Ten Years Ago:
I was 25 years old. I had recently ended a very brief interlude with a guy named, I kid you not, Woody. I was working for the furniture company, living in San Francisco with Heidi and Alex, generally happy but feeling slightly bored with my life. I hadn't been in a true relationship in 3 years (unless you count Paul, and let's not), and I was lonely. In 4 months I would go on a blind date with Lance. I spent a lot of time at the bars on Haight Street, or hanging out with my best friend Jen and her boyfriend Fred. (Originally Fred was my boyfriend, but that's a story for another post.) Jen was sober then. When I wasn't doing that, I was sun-bathing on our roof-deck with Heidi and the girls from across the street, or letting Heidi dress me to go out (no fashion sense here), or eating dinner that Heidi made for me (truly, a rockstar of a roommate), or sitting in my room with the door closed wondering when my life was going to start.

5 Years Ago:
I was 30 years old. I was living in Los Angeles with my husband Lance in a tiny, 800 sq foot bungalow we paid $1700/month for. Still working for the furniture company, but now in L.A. It was my second wedding anniversary. I bought Lance a Kid Rock CD, which neither one of us ever listened to. Heidi had moved to New York. Jen was still in San Francisco, but no longer with Fred, and no longer sober. I was trying my best to force Lance into home ownership, and he was resisting on all counts. In 8 months we would purchase the house we live in now. I sun-bathed on the patio and read a lot. I didn't have any friends, except the women I worked with.

One Year Ago:
I was just barely coming out of the hell that was my life the first few months Vivian was born. Isaac was almost 20 months, Vivian was almost 4 months. We had just returned from Hawaii. Vivian was still up several times at night to nurse. Isaac was a maniac, and not in pre-school yet. The light at the end of the tunnel was the knowledge that November 1st I was heading home to Delaware for 4 weeks--4 weeks in which my mother, sister, niece, nephew, and other best friend Susanna could help me with the monsters. I was probably drinking too much. (Yes, I drank when I was nursing. No, not during the nursing sessions. I did have my daily beer, and it was the only thing that kept me sane.) Heidi had moved to L.A. and was dating Steve. It was my 6th wedding anniversary and we: what the hell did we do? I can't remember at all. We must have gone out to dinner. I'm sure it was lovely.

We got a babysitter and went to a housewarming party for a friend of my husband's. Although this friend--let's call him Neil--spends a decent amount of time with my husband, and by default me, I do not consider him a friend of mine because--well, he's kind of an asshole. So we went to the party and I got very very drunk and now I'm hungover. The end*.

Okay, there is much more to this meme but I am beginning to bore myself and god knows if I'm boring myself the rest of you must be about ready to slit your wrists, so I'll stop. If anyone would like to participate, consider yourself tagged. You can see what the whole thing is supposed to look like here.

Okay, okay: here's one more tidbit from my exciting life for you.

I walk into the playroom where both children are playing loudly (read: fighting) in the hopes that my presence will quiet them down. It doesn't. I lay down on the floor hoping this will make the pounding in my head go away (I'm hungover, remember? Didn't you read the whole post?That part, up there, where I said I was hungover? Gah. You people.)
Immediately, Vivian starts crawling over to me. The gleam in her eyes says: "Yay, a Mommy jungle gym! I can jump on her and stick my fingers in her eyes and head-butt her! What fun!"
Seeing this, Isaac runs over to me, blocking her way and landing triumphantly on top of me with all 35 lbs of body mass. Ugh. I gasp for breath and try to push him off me but not onto Vivian.
"No Vivian!" he yells, as she approaches. "That's not your Mommy! That's my Mommy! MINE!"
Commence screaming from the wee one.
The end.

Yes, I am still hungover.

*I was going to go into the long boring story about why Neil is such an asshole but it's just too much fucking trouble to spend on a guy who's an asshole, so there you go. Longtime girlfriend, sex on the side, do I really need to say more than that?

Edited to add: Jesus! My anniversary is not today, it's tomorrow. Who's the asshole now?

She Talk Pretty

We're having a bit of a word explosion out here in L.A. I'm often bemoaning Vivian's slow-to-achieve-milestones-tendency, so I thought I'd toot her horn for once.

Bye bye
Ah Pop--Otter Pop
UP! (a word she can only say in all caps with an exclamation point)
Wawky--walking (yes, she can say it; she just can't DO it)
ah-see--outside (this one kills me, because it is the exact same way Isaac used to say "outside". He was 10 months old, and he'd crawl over to the door, pull himself up and start demanding: "Ah-see! Ah-see! Ah-see!")

No word for yes yet--but if you ask her a question and she agrees, she'll giggle hysterically.

She also knows that dogs say "woosh whoosh"; cows say "mmmm"; and cats say "reaarow"

And, she can point to her nose, mouth, eyes, toes, belly, and hair on command.

She's a genius, I tell you.