Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Forget Me Not

I can't forget who I was before I had this little girl.

I love her more than I can even try to articulate, and she now holds the majority of my heart in her hands. I did have a lot of other passions before she came along, and I don't even remember how much I loved them too. There really doesn't seem to be quite as much time in the day as there used to be and as I type this I can see on my video monitor,that this here bit of me time is about to come to an end. There is still a lot of fun to be had and though by night fall I am typically exhausted, every once and a while I push myself to get out and I almost never regret it.

I am grateful to be someone who found a career I was passionite about. I loved every job I ever had, and couldn't believe I was making money for enjoying myself the way I was. I worked in theater, the film and television industry, I was a fitness instructor, a figure skating instructor, personal trainer and worked with children in all of the above areas. I had the best time. I didn't always get every job I ever wanted but I can say I have had great opportunities in my life. The job I am holding currently as a mother is the one I have pined after the most and is the only one I really care about holding onto forever, I just know that I am not done with the other ones yet either.

This past week has been a fun one. I went with my husband to go indoor skydiving. It was a crazy wild time. It pushed us out of our comfort zone and into a wind tunnel where we had to get into the right position to take flight. We both had the best time, and it was so good to do something so different than what I do on a daily basis now. I love adrenaline rushes and it had been too long since I had one. Last night we went to hear one of my favorite new artists play, and she rocked! We didn't get home until after one and as tired as I am today, it was worth it. She is in her twenties and giving everything she has to making this career happen for her. She is an incredible talent and it shows. She has both a huge voice and presence on stage and it is amazing to watch. Her show was upbeat at times and very moving at others. She emanates emotions in such an intense way. I could feel her drive and it made me miss mine.

I am very happy in the present moment, and I would never give up this time with my girl. I also love hanging out with my friends, being out with my husband, having adult interactions and having career success. Most of these I can do right now. The last one might not happen this second but I now it will again, and I will try not to forget that again.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Putting My Foot Down

In the last day or so I have had my fill of tantrums. Last week my twig was a dream. My husband and I beamed with pride. He reminded me though that like every phase, the good phases pass as well. I was hoping that sweet phase could have lasted just a tad longer though. This parenting thing is a practice and at the moment we are practicing some tough love.

My mother in law heard of our night time struggle recently and said that this generation of parents are lacking in some down home discipline. I agree, and I am guilty. I try reasoning over bossing most of the time. I don't believe in lifting a finger, but I think raising my voice once in a while, just for the impact, wouldn't hurt. It seems over last few months I have forgotten to remind her I am still boss. Today, she shouted "no" at me, so now I know things have gotten a little backward.

When I tell her that she can't have something she doesn't take it well. I understand this, dissapointment is not my strongest suit either, but I have learned acceptance. She hits the wall and is determined to bring me down with her. She will just repeat "Mommy, mommy, mommy", louder and louder. I will say, as calmly as I can at first, "yes?" but she just says "Mommy" until I begin to lose it a little. She cannot break me down though. I may be irritated but I am pretty darn stubborn myself.

My husband and I recently decided that in the next few months, we will go ahead and try for another baby. This was not a small decision and how we got to it, might be deserving of it's own blog post soon, but for now I will say that the Pinball is putting a kink in our plans. What she doesn't know is that if she doesn't shape up, she might not get a sibling. Not sure that is something she feels very strongly about at the moment, but when she is fifteen and I am really mad at her, she is going to want someone on her side.

I have my work cut out for me. From the day she was born she has been a spirited one. She is smart, quick and lovely, but she is fiesty too. I have to put my foot down now, and not so softly either. I could spend a lot of time trying to discuss things with her, but less is more right now. Here are the rules kid, follow them or you will be bummed. I might stick in a little bribery too. It will be so out of character that she will have to feel the shift in the air, and after all I mean business now!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


My husband and I decided that we are not going to raise our children religiously. He is Christian and I am Jewish. We both have a strong connection to the rituals we were raised with and still both feel religious. We just decided that the religion part wasn't for kids. We want to offer all of the traditions we were raised with and for us that is what works. When our daughter grows up she can choose to follow whatever religion interests her, but in the meantime she has all of the fun stuff to enjoy along the way.

We celebrate holidays together. If a holiday has a song we sing it. We have Rosh Hashanah and together go down to the beach for Tachlich. Thanksgiving we alternate between our families for the usual turkey and stuffing. Chanukah, we light candles and have friends over for a latka party. Christmas Eve we spend with my husbands family eating all different fun foods and then doing a secret Santa gift exchange. Christmas day we have dinner with the whole family. New Years eve we bang pots and pans like my grandmother did with me when I was little. No one one either side is Irish, but my dad used to send me to school with a green bagel, so if I could have found one last week she could have tried it. Maybe next year.

This time of year is Purim and friend invited us to a little carnival at her kids preschool. It was pretty lame, and I remembered why there were parts of this holiday that freaked me out. The story of Purim was added to the Jewish religion much later (just like Chanukah) and something about it is a bit off. There is a bad man named Haman, and once he was beheaded the tradition began of making cookies shaped like his ear to remember he was defeated by the Jewish people. I guess along the way people might have thought that was too upsetting for small children and turned the ear into his hat. Either way, yikes! This isn't so much what I remember about it though. I remember going to my best friend's house and making Hamantachen with her and her mother. She had the best recipe and it was so much fun to make the triangles and pinch the corners. I decided to make them with my Twig and it was really sweet to see her enjoying it the way I did.

About once a month we have a traditional Shabbat dinner here too, and together my daughter and I bake Challah. She gets her own piece of dough and gets to put as many raisins in hers as she wants. Easter is coming soon and she will get to play with her cousins, have Easter dinner and find candy out in the yard. Passover, we make a seder with family. Each year new traditions get added on. This year I threw some chocolate and almonds into the Hamantachen, and our seder will now include my sister in law and her boyfriend's family who I'm sure will bring their own Passover twists to the seder. At times the lines between religion and traditions can blur and then we have to respect each other, and find a comfortable medium to make our own while respecting what each of us brings with us from our pasts. When we get to that place together it can feel pretty spiritual after all.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sew Sew!

I'll make this one short since my house is trashed, and my twig fell asleep with her sunglasses on and I want to take a picture.

I have always wanted to make things with fabric. I took Home Ec in junior high but I don't remember how to use the machine. My mother-in-law bought me a used one a few months before I gave birth and I took a lesson, but the machine is really complicated. I don't really love the process of learning new things but I love it once I've figured something out.

I have recently been inspired by a friend who saw a bed spread she liked and when it was out of her price range to buy it, she decided to make it instead. She bought the fabric and bought a sewing machine. She read the manual and she did it. She has this really awesome bedspread which I complemented her on, and that is why I now have sewing on the brain.

I told another friend this and she happened to have an easy sewing machine to learn from, and was kind enough to lend it to me. So this is my online pledge that by the end of this week I am going to use that machine and make something. I am not going to aim too high but I am going to sew. Even if it is a rag to clean my floor with, because before I wrote this I was picking up crumbs with a bunch of Trader Joe's stickers that my daughter left on the floor. I know, I am pretty talented when it comes to recycling.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

No Rest For The Weary

Last week I wrote about reality and how I have to face that bad things will happen. The next day Japan got hit with the massive earthquake and tsunami. That wasn't quite on the scale I was thinking of when preparing myself mentally for s*%t to go down. I am not even going to try and sit here and write an entry on how anything in my life ties in to the magnitude of an earthquake. I can't even begin to imagine the emotional pain people are going through over there right now. I am grateful to be safe right now and beyond that I can only hope it doesn't get worse for them before it gets better (although with the scare of nuclear leaks, I don't know how realistic that is).

It feels like the last few years so many natural disasters have occurred. It was terrifying but since having a child it really goes to a whole other level. A few days after our daughter was born there was an earthquake here. Los Angeles has them all the time but for some reason I have never really felt one before. This one I felt though. She was sleeping in her bassinet and I was in the kitchen. At the time there were workers on the street and I thought a big truck had gone by and rattled the house. I can be a little slow on the uptake sometimes. My husband screams out "Earthquake! Where's the baby? Where's the baby?" She was no joke right next to him but he was so freaked out he didn't notice her big white lacy bassinet right there. At first I thought it was all kind of funny and then my stomach sank. An earthquake?! I brought this innocent little thing here and now it's shaking. Suddenly, what I can and can't control got me very upset. There is nothing we can do about things like this happening. We can be prepared, but only so much.

I hate to be judgmental but I am going to anyway. I read something last week that a woman was trying to calm herself out of a post-baby dressing room meltdown by putting it in perspective with the news from Japan. There are so many things wrong with this -- where do I even begin? You have just had a healthy baby, you are shopping, thinking about how awful you feel about yourself but at least you aren't in Japan. If she wasn't so shallow she would be out buying a gas mask instead of something from the latest spring line. At least don't admit thoughts like this out loud.

Each day that goes on there seems to be more and more risk for the people in Japan. It is now recommended that people cancel any trips to anywhere in Japan. The threat of cancer seems to be going up every day. I ignorantly follow whatever news leans in favor of saying the risk is unlikely to affect us all the way over here. I can't be selfishly stupid anymore though. It's not about just me. A few years ago there was a commercial for protecting the environment. It had a man with a train coming towards him and then somehow it implied that by the time it hit he would be gone anyway so he didn't care. Then he was replaced by a child and the voice over said something about not leaving it a mess for your children. It popped into my head after last weeks news. What is this world even going to look like when she is my age?

Monday, March 14, 2011

What A Difference A Bed Makes

For the past few months bedtime has not been as successful as it used to be. I have tried a lot of different ways to make it go smoothly, mattress on the floor, blanket on the sheepskin rug, door open, door closed, bribery, yelling, but I kept coming up short. I would begin to talk about how naptime was going to go, or how tonight you are going to have to try and enjoy going to sleep. I was over thinking it, and I was over talking about it too.

At two and half, the topic of moving her to a bed has come up between my husband and me. I mentioned the possibility that she might be ready, but he wasn't ready. He feared that if she was having a hard time with the crib, it could get worse with the bed. She could get up and out of the room, or worse come into our room. I agreed that these things could happen but we needed to give her something positive around sleep. After a few weeks, on and off, of sleeping on the rug, she went cold turkey against her crib. It happened last week when my friend asked her if she could put her five month old baby in her crib for a nap. She said yes and that night when asked if she wanted to sleep on the rug or in the crib, she said the crib was for her baby friend.

We went on line to look at twin beds. I enjoyed my newest obsession of trying to find a modern twin that was functional but met our aesthetic requirements as well. It wasn't easy but we came up with a few options. The only problem we faced was our lack of funds at the moment. A twin would have to wait. We didn't buy a bed that converts to a toddler bed but after close examination I saw that there were only four screws that kept the front side of her crib up. My husband took the rail off and Voila: a super cool highly functioning toddler bed.

We decided to leave it unsaid and wait for her to notice. We timed it so it wasn't right before she was supposed to sleep, but instead before we left the house. We brought her into her room and she said "What is this?" We repeated the question back to her and enthusiastically she said " A big bed"! She couldn't contain her joy and hopped right in. She pretended to sleep in it, and she introduced Baa, her stuffed lamb to it right away. We went out that day and when we came home she ran right to her room to get ready for a nap. After I tucked her in, the last thing she said was, "Mommy, I so excited!"

She has gone to sleep so easily the last few days. I am not completely ignorant that this will last forever, but for now this is a complete game change. She loves going to sleep and loves her bed. I always turn back to look at her in her bed right before I leave the room. It's hard to believe how quickly she can shift and be so happy with something as easy as taking of a rail. I know it means so much more to her. It's freedom of choice and the knowledge that we think she is responsible enough to make good decisions now. She is so proud of herself, that most times when I turn back she is giggling, and happy to say goodnight so she can be alone. Big changes happening here and for starters we are all resting easier now.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


It occured to me recently that for all the protection I try to provide my daughter, there are still inevitable incidents throughout her entire life that I cannot help her with. It is unavoidable that there will be accidents, lack of judgement, and mishaps that will come up for her. Of course, this isn't complete news to me, but I hadn't thought about it with much detail, until now.

I was watching a television show a few weeks ago and there was a young female character who falls in love with her teacher. He "falls in love" with her too and it is like watching a slow motion car crash. Anyone who knew me from age sixteen to twenty one, is aware that this storyline was all to familiar to me. I was so upset while watching it. I related to this girl's emotions and winched as she got deeper and deeper into a hole. I remembered when I too confused extra attention from a teacher to mean something more than it was. When I wasn't wrong, I was in over my head in terms of how to react. It was all a mess. I went to bed that night trying to put my past to rest, when it dawned on me that I have a daughter. Holy crap, I want to keep her from following those particular footsteps of mine.

So far, she has had a black eye from falling into a drawer pull. She has tripped and scraped her face. She had to be tested for diabetes because she drinks so much water. She was insulted when a little girl screamed "no" at her when she wanted to join her in playing. She has fought back tears when she has had her feelings hurt. She has fallen off a swing pretty hard, and she fell a few feet through an opening on a walking bridge -- that was my least favorite to date.

I'm not trying to be negative. I am only attempting to prepare myself a tiny bit for all the frightening surprises that might lie ahead. I am making a list of possible occurances so that when the shock hits me, I can soften the blow a little by remembering it was bound to happen at some point.

She will be pushed, hit or bitten by another child
Someone will yell at her
She will hear "I hate you"
She will be blamed for something she didn't do
She will be responsible for something she did do
She might chip a tooth, break a bone, or need stitches at some point
She might need surgery
She might cry on her first day of school
She might be so excited and forget to say goodbye to me on her first day of school
She will be picked on by other kids
She will go through phases of having very low self asteem
She may hate math
She may quit a sport or instrument we thought she loved
She might fake being sick so she doesn't have to go to school
She could be a victim of theft
She could steal
She might suffer horrible nightmares
She will know fear
She will lose something important to her
She will know loss
She will lose someone important to her
She will know great sadness
She will make and lose friends
She will see cruelty
She will see inequality
She will look for answers and come up short
She will feel unsuccesful at times
She will know failing
She will have to learn to find courage
She will trust
She will experience disappointment
She will try her best, and see life can be unfair
She will fall in and out of love
She will break someone's heart
She will have her heart broken
She will feel pain
She will learn to overcome
She might suffer
She will experience dark days, weeks, months
She will fight

In the worst of the worst,and when things are just fine she will have love, from her mother, her father, her other family members and her friends. We will encourage her. When she feels weak we will help her to grow stronger. When she can't see ahead we will offer her light. She will learn from every mistake, and mistakes will happen. They always do.

Monday, March 7, 2011

She's A Dancing Machine!

This weekend we went up to a wedding that took place on a campground just north of Santa Barbara. There were little cabins and tents -- it was referred to as "Glamping". The tents had hard wood floors, and the cabins had kitchenettes. It was pretty cool. We went up with a bunch of friends and their kids too, so it was a fun little adventure.

The wedding ceremony, the setting and the weather were beautiful. Our friend who got married was pretty creative and pulled off a really great day and night on a tight budget. It was a group effort and we all felt part of the final special day. We baked cakes, sewed fabric flowers, rehearsed musical numbers, and I made her bouquet too. I didn't think there would be much to be surprised about, considering our involvement, but I was wrong.

When we walked into the tent for the reception the musicians played. There were two violinists and an accordian player. They were playing Irish music, and Annabelle took her place in the middle of floor and began dancing. She was the first one out on the floor and an occasional cup of lemonade, or a slice of cake were the only things that tore her away. She tapped her right foot to the beat, whenever she was off to the sidelines. My friend showed her how to Charleston, she looked pretty adorable swinging her little foot from front to back.

I wouldn't describe My Little Twig as the most outgoing child. Like most toddlers, she is a bit timid and then, after some time, warms up. That timidness was completely undetectable that night. The best part of the evening was when a square dancing instructor came out to lead the guests in some group dances. Much to my surprise my daughter wanted in on every single one. She was dosey doeing with people she never met before and letting them swing her across the floor. It was really fun, and people were pretty wiped out afterwards. The night began to wind down. Guests started to leave and the music began to slow down. The dance floor was almost empty at the end of the party. Everyone was starting to hang their dancing shoes, everyone except the Pinball. The first one to start, and the last one to leave.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wacky Wednesday

This is a really fun book to read. No matter how many times we read it, it is still entertaining.
Here is my version. It wasn't so entertaining to me while it was happening.

At bedtime last night,
she put up a fight
When she finally slept,
I almost wept
It wasn't going according to plan,
and that's how my Wacky Wednesday began

After biting my nails and feeling "in deep"
I laid on my bed and fell asleep
It was only 8:30 and in my dreams,
parenting this toddler is easier than it seems

11:30 pm and I was up again
and most of my night was gone by then
finally, I got up and onto my feet
looking for something with chocolate to eat

After snacking and watching late night TV
I picked up my book, something adult-like for me
After a page, I was no longer inspired
I turned out the light, How can I be this tired?

This morning I rose after ten hours or more
after all the rest, still hard getting out the door
"Mommy please may I? she says she'll be better tonight
I want to believe her, she has asks so polite

We made it on time to her class, then the store
then back home where I put grocery bags on the floor
I took her upstairs, filled with such dread
nap time, again she might scream off to bed

I read her two books, and kept open her door
Sound machine and light, who could want more?
I barely make it to the landing,
when I see on the monitor, Argh (!!) she's standing

Perfect, of course she won't sleep, just great!
I lie on my bed to think and wait
twenty minutes later she's off to sleep, I love her again and she's the best
now I'm tired again and need some rest.

First I need a snack, I have cookies on my mind
I enter the kitchen and what do I find?
Bags of cold food I brought in hours ago
All gone to waste now? Please Oh no!

So far my lovely Wednesdays been fun,
but wait there is more, it's only half past one
soon nap will be over and then what will we do?
It will all get better, when this day is through