Wednesday, November 7, 2012

My Boy

In some ways, time is moving slowly with a baby, but when I think about him already being around four months, I am reminded of how fleeting this time is. Since time is precious these days and I don't have a lot of it to spare, I am writing a list of things I don't want to ever forget about my four month old baby boy.

The smell of your downy hair.
Your wide toothless smile that is so big it looks as if you are screaming a silent squeal of joy.
Your pretty eyes.
Your cheeks and thighs are both chubby and solid simultaneously.
The perfect twist of your belly button.
The way we can fold you in half like a pretzel.
The way you roll over with one knee bent to the side.
The way you love to grab your feet, and sometimes even fall asleep while doing so.
The funny little tuft of hair you have in the back that is darker than the rest of your head.
When you crawl up my belly when I hold you.
I say "I kiss you" and you anticipate me planting one on your cheek.
Your quiet giggle.
When someone smiles at you, you smile back and then get coy and turn away.
The sparkle in your eyes when you see your sister after she has been at school all day.
When you nuzzle your face into my neck. Heaven!
After you have been fussing in your crib and I open the door you are already smiling before I even walk over to you.
Your little fingers wrapped around my hands.
Nuzzling my face into your neck. Also heaven!
The way you reach for little toys now.
The affection you have for the little soft froggy that is in your car seat.
How much you love the water, and how much you kick whenever you are in it.
When I pick you up to nurse you at night how you start to try to suck before we even sit down.
How you fall back asleep in my arms and look so beautiful that I have to stare at you every night.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


It amazing how absolutely screwed up you can feel when you don't get sleep. With a three month old it is to be expected that I am tired, but after a few months without a solid night, I am a bit testy. I wake up wanting it to be night again so we can try again for a better night. I am jealous of my daughter who goes to bed and sleeps about eleven hours and wakes up ready for fun. Then I come and squash her dreams with a tired and cranky attitude. I am reminded constantly that it gets better and I know eventually it will, but I want to wake up ready for fun too. I am tired of waking up ready for bed.

Monday, October 8, 2012

As It Should Be

Yesterday I took both kids to a friend's house. She has a beautiful home with an amazing pool. We have been close since we had our daughters and the girls love to play together as well. She invited a few of the moms that we have known over these last few years, and everyone had two children now. It was a full house with so many little ones running around. The feeling in the air was part playful summer get together and part hectic drama control. We had short distracted conversations with wandering eyes to our kids running around us.

I feel very comfortable with these friends. We have experienced having our first children together and we all went through both trying and joyful times that first year or so. We have nothing to hide from one another and when other "new mom" friends have come and gone, these are the kind of people I think I will know for life. There are some differences in our styles and though I have no judgement to how any of them raise their kids, I just started to become aware of it recently. Twig has about four close friends that she likes to play with. Recently she asked me why we don't have a pool and all of her friends do. I would like to have a pool as well and hope to some day, and where it doesn't bother me that she asks about it now, I do wonder though what else she will notice she doesn't have that her friends do.

It is an important life lesson to learn that things aren't always equal. We all look around and see things we would like to have. I aspire to have nicer "stuff", take fancy vacations, get a massage, have my house cleaned more often, pay someone to organize my junk. The list goes on and on (at the moment I could really use a haircut). Some things are feasible and some aren't. I live in a city where the rich flaunt their toys and it is hard at times to not get distracted. I focus on gratitude quite a bit, and try to teach that to Twig, but for a child it is a bit more of a challenge. Everyone of these friends has a nanny. Some full time, some part, and these women not only watch their kids but also clean and cook as well. Most of my friends do work at least part time so they need an extra set of hands, but a nanny is more than that.

I have seen some friends treat their help, like just that: help. I have also seen these women treated like part of the family. Whichever way it goes the kids follow suit. That is the part that I think is tricky for me when I bring Twig over to other peoples houses. I make sure she knows everyones names and treats them nicely, but I wonder what she is thinking. The diversity in LA is a bit odd. It is such a segregated city both racially and economically. My husband and I were talking about moving to an area where it isn't so extreme but there aren't many to choose from. Coming from NewYork, I am not used to that.

My friend's nanny is awesome. She is on it. She had what seemed like an extra set of eyes and hands and was there helping out with a smile. She asked to hold Bud and said if I wanted time with Twig feel free to let her hold him. She even helped me change a rather messy diaper (now that is above and beyond). Before I left though she asked me if I am alone with my kids. If I have any help. When I replied that I don't she seemed shocked. She asked me if it was hard, and that don't I need some time here and there with my husband. I got the feeling she felt bad for me and my hard life. I might be way off here but did the nanny have a nanny when she raised her two sons. Perhaps she had a lot of family help, but does anyone just watch their kids anymore? I feel practicly alone in this, but I know I am not. I am just in a circle of people around me that do it differently. Not better not worse, but differently. Regardless, when I went to leave that day, I gathered my bags and kiddos and one of the mom's offered to help me out to the car. In moments like these I do not feel like I am at it alone. Women seem to instinctivly want to help other women. She helped me by strapping Twig into her seat and then asked me if the strap needed to be tightened or if it was as it should be. I answered that it was as it should be, and then thanked her and drove off. I thought about her question and for me right now, things are as they should be.

Monday, July 23, 2012


Today my son is one month old. It feels like he has been here longer than that, and yet it seems to have gone by quickly. The stream of visitors has slowed, and there aren't anymore welcome packages showing up on the doorstep the way they did the first couple of weeks. I have been getting the swing of things, and even take both my children on outings on my own (a task that seemed so daunting the first day or two home from the hospital). I definitely went through a terrified couple of days. I even had the thought that I perhaps had ruined Twig's life forever by introducing a brother to divide our love from her. To the contrary, she seems to be in love, and so are we.

As each day passes I see myself get more and more comfortable with how uncomfortable the first few months really are. The sleep deprivation, the unscheduled feedings, the diaper explosions, all of the "stuff" you need, the witching hour... The list goes on and on, and yet this time I am not shocked. I have done this once before, and so I know there is an end to this part. I know the joy that is to come in the next year. I know the excitement we will all share when the "firsts" begin. So as we wait for a smile now, I know that is will be the first of many.

Last week I went to pick up a couple of things at the drug store. Twig was at school so it was just the baby and me. This woman asked me how old he was and when I responded that he was three weeks she said, "This must be your second child." She said I was too comfortable for him to be my first. I have been thinking of this all week. It's true. I was such a ball of nerves with Twig. I wanted so badly for everything to be right and I was so scared to screw it up. I read so many books, tried so many styles, and was too impressionable to everyones advice. I need only look at her now to have the confidence to know that whatever I did was just fine, because she is indeed just fine. This little baby has an excellent role model. I am proud of who she is becoming and feel strong in the choices I have made with her. If only I could have had this much confidence first time around. It just doesn't work that way though. I often wonder now why I thought it was so hard with just one, and I guess it was because one was still a shocking life change. That was an intense adjustment period and this time around I have had to hit the ground running for Twig's sake. There is not much sitting at home and staring into the baby's eyes. I am just doing it.

With my hands as full as they are, I have very little downtime. Exercising and writing have taken a back seat and so as I type this last paragraph, please be aware that I started this post a month ago and Bud is now two months old. He has indeed smiled at us and it has made all this work so worth it. Summer is in full swing and he gets taken swimming, out for yogurt, to outdoor concerts and wherever else we go with Twig. I am not signed up to take him to any baby classes like I did with his sister, because I assume he will get enough stimulation watching her. Each morning when I wake, I am not exactly sure what we will do, and at this point we don't have a schedule. I was never this relaxed with Twig and I don't think she was a very chill baby because of it. He is though and he seems very content being carried around from one activity to the next or just stay home. He is just going with the flow and I am following his lead.

Monday, June 25, 2012


Three weeks ago I gave birth to a baby boy. A son! On this blog I will refer to him as "Bud",  mostly because I hear myself calling him "Buddy", and also because he is a blooming new beautiful little thing and next to his sister the Twig that seems fitting. One day they will both have sprouted into larger garden metaphors but for now, so you know who is who, they will be "Twig" and "Bud".

Bud came into the world on May 12th making a more timely but slightly more painful entrance than his sister. Only two days late, I went into labor at 3:30am, and at 2:19pm a whole new chapter of life began for all four of us. It was not an easy labor at all. It started beautifully with contractions five minutes apart right away. We left for the hospital quickly calling a friend to stay and wait with Twig until she woke up. We got to the hospital at 5 am and I was checked in quickly only stopping briefly in the hallway to have a contraction. A nurse checked me and said I was eight centimeters dilated, which was exciting, but when someone a bit more experienced checked me I was really only 5. Still I was thrilled to be this far along and actually having the baby. I knew from my experience with Twig that labor for me doesn't always result in the baby that same day, so I found myself asking the staff if the baby would for sure be born today. They assured me he would.

As I anticipated my contractions slowed down considerably a few hours after getting there. I asked if my doctor could come break my water since that is what helped me with my first pregnancy. At 11am, my doctor arrived and broke my water, and a half an hour later we all sat there looking at each other. It didn't quite have the magic it did before. He checked me again and said there was a fore-bag (no idea) but some other bag of water to break and when he did that contractions came back. I was about 7 centimeters at this point and contractions were very close together and very strong. It stayed like this for what seemed like forever. In this time, I began to run out of steam, encouragement and the ability to move. I never considered an epidural with my first labor and with this one I wanted to get punched out and wake up with the baby in my arms.  My doctor said at this point I might have to consider another option since I seemed to be stuck (or as he said, "not progressing"). I was so discouraged by this and felt so immobilized that I had no response. My friend who was my doula for the day was my anti-epidural champion. She reminded me it would slow things down and that I should get up. I thought she was crazy in that moment too. Getting up seemed an impossibility. A midwife who seemed to always pop in with gems of wisdom, came in and pressed my bladder. She said no baby would come until I emptied it and that I had to get up and try to pee. My husband took me to the bathroom where I confessed to him that I  thought I might die. He told me I couldn't listen to the doctor, or my friend, and that I had to decide for myself what I wanted to do. Again I couldn't think much beyond the pain from the rapid contractions. I had started with such relaxed breathing and visualizations to get me through, but I couldn't think as fast as the contractions were coming.

My friend joined me in the bathroom and suggested I get in the shower. Reluctantly I sat on a chair under the water, in hopes it might refresh me a little. The contractions were beyond intense but I managed to stay under the water for two of them. When I got back to the bed I was hooked up to the monitors again, and one of the nurses started to guide me through a contraction. In the brief minute I had before the next one came on, I asked her if she could continue guiding me like she had. It seemed to help me get out of my own head. She agreed and by the third one, I felt the urge to push. I thought for sure they would tell me I wasn't ready yet but as soon as I told them, they checked and the baby was crowning. I saw everyone in that delivery room jump to their feet and suddenly it all moved very fast. I felt like I only pushed three or four times and he was out. I was absolutely exhausted and a bit out of it, but it was still incredible and amazing. That moment, with my husband at my side, looking from our new baby and then up to him, I was overwhelmed with love and awe again. We made another life and he is so very wanted.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Waiting Game

Family has arrived, the phone calls are coming, Braxton Hicks come and go but no real sign of baby coming yet. Forty weeks today, and my baby is still pretty comfy it seems. All my friends with due dates close to me, or some even a bit after, have given birth already. Two of my friends were at the hospital last week together. Pictures of babies were sent with I wish you were here sentiments. I haven't felt impatient really, in fact for the most part I have been feeling ok, but today I wish I could know exactly when he is coming.

My obsessive nature is playing with dates to see which one sounds best. 5/10/12, 5/11,12, or 5/12/12. I am not willing to accept the possibility of it going beyond that. I have already decided I will stoop as low as castor oil and take matters into my own hands if I go more than a few days late. I can already check that life experience off and frankly ten days late was no picnic at all. There is something to savor with a few extra days. I'm going to get a manicure, frozen yogurt and maybe a massage if I'm still pregnant tomorrow. The downside is the physical discomfort right now. I have a shooting pain down my left leg every few steps, and sleep is a wrestling match between me, my body pillow and the wedge to hold my bump up. I cannot get comfortable, but if I think I will sleep when the baby gets here then I have suffered from a great deal of memory loss.

The worst part of the waiting is the build up of over-thinking. I am starting to worry about the birth, the hospital experience, the logistics of getting my daughter taken care of, and stupid things like remembering to bring what I need to the hospital. I am also now getting anxious to just see who has been inside me for the last nine months. Will he have hair? How much will he weigh? Will he look like my daughter or more like one of us? Will he latch on and take to nursing easily? Is he going to hurt me on the way out? All of these answers will come, that is what I have to remember right now. He is coming, no matter what. I just have to have a little faith that it will all go well. I want to hold this baby very soon but when exactly that will be is out of my hands. In the meantime, I will keep them massaged and manicured.
(Addendum: The conclusion of this story is that my nail polish is now chipped and my back is a bit achy because I have a baby boy safe at home... Stay tuned for the next post regarding his arrival!)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Hand Me Downs

The past few weeks my living room was covered with clothes from my friend's niece who sends her stuff on to Twig. After hours of sorting and two trips to Target for storage containers, everything is finally a bit more organized. My next project will be to wash and sort all of the baby boy clothes I have been given, and put them away as well. I have no issue taking hand-me downs. In fact, mostly all of the clothes that both of my kids will wear are passed on. This week though I got two bags from someone and it made me take pause.  My husband's ex-wife.

There is a longer story here but for the purpose of this blog I will keep it simple. She is remarried and has a baby. He will be six months older than ours and so she very generously offered his clothes. She also offered to drive them here to my house, that she once bought with my husband and lived in very briefly. I know, AWKWARD!  I am working backwards here. She and I have become friendly. We actually used to be friends years ago, when she and my husband were still married and even after they divorced. Time passed and she and I grew apart. Then a few years later my husband and I reconnected from a mutual friend. We dated, we told her (thinking maybe she would be happy for us) -- she wasn't though. Time passed and my husband and I got married. I actually ran into her a few times but chose flight over fight and took off unnoticed. Then my husband and I ran into her. He said she was behind me and I thought he was joking. I turned around and there she was. Suddenly it wasn't so awkward anymore. She is married to a great guy, and over the course of some emails we decided the four of us to have dinner. I thought that would be the first and last reunion, but things happened.

After a few miscarriages she got pregnant, and after I miscarried, having lived through that sad time herself sent over a care package to us. It was sweet, thoughtful and touching. I was going to reach out but we ran into her again a week later. Note to anyone out there who might be in the same situation one day, try to avoid running into your husband's pregnant ex-wife right after you have miscarried. It just doesn't feel good.  After that another few months went by and when she had her son, I dropped off some food and a gift. Note again to anyone out there in the same sitch, try to not get there twenty minutes after the ex-wife gets home from the hospital with her in-laws. Also feels kind of funny. A few months after that though and we have gone for walks together, out to breakfast and last week out to see a play. It is nice. It doesn't feel like we are picking up where we left off and yet there are things we know about each other that do feel really comfortable. We have talked about the elephant in the room very carefully and everything that we thought might be really akward hasn't.

So yes I have taken this woman's hand me downs. The clothes, that is. She and my husband made their own decisions and ended up where they are today. The house that I live in now is ours. We decorated it, made it our home, and have our family here, with no pet elephant anymore.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Ready Or Not

In a about three weeks I am due to have a baby boy. This is exciting and terrifying to me. With Twig around I definitely don't feel that I have bonded with my baby the way I did when she was inside. I didn't know if she was a boy or girl until she came out, yet I was creating imaginative fairy tales in my head of how motherhood would be. This time I know the gender, I know not to buy ridiculously expensive baby crap, and I know the happy part of the mommy hood comes with a lot of tears. 

With Twig I was ten freaking days late and I pray that won't be the case this time. I had sciatic pain that felt like I put a piece of tin foil on a filling. Every few steps I got an electric shock down my leg and buckled down. This time it's back and if I go longer than my due date that is five more weeks of agony, and I want to throw up just thinking about that. Speaking of vomit, I did a lot of it all through labor and I am not hopeful that it won't happen again, but it wasn't pleasant. I also don't look forward to the car ride to the hospital with contractions. With Twig it was a beautiful day and I saw people outside at a Starbucks and had the strongest resentment to them. Didn't they know in that moment that someone was driving by them in terrible discomfort?  How rude! 

At the hospital, I felt like I surrendered to the amazing nurses and my midwife. I knew I was in good hands. My doctor came and broke my water, and in less than an hour our baby was out. I remember only being able to reach as far down as the umbilical cord would let me. I so wanted to kiss the head but I settled at staring at an ear. I stroked it in amazement that my body worked and made a person -- a person with an ear. A nurse with a Russian accent asked/told my husband, "What is it daddy, eeees boy?" Neither one of us knew who "daddy" was because this wasn't a term we were familiar with at this early moment in parenthood, but did she just tell us we had a boy? For that moment, we were surprised. We didn't know the gender, but we had secretly both wanted a girl. My husband peeked and said, "It's a girl!" to which we both shrieked with joy. It was an amazing surprise.

This pregnancy we decided to find out for several reasons, first of which were we knew Twig would have preferred a sister. She is thrilled now though. I have less of a birth plan then I did with her. I don't even have a midwife. I am kind of just hoping for the best. I am not new to being a mom, but I certainly have been up nights trying to figure out how I will get out the door with two. I know that the freedom that having Twig in preschool has given me has been very short lived, and I cherish my time alone with Twig before she stops being an only child. My husband and I were out with her the other night and I went home and cried because our time together as a triangle is limited now. My husband and I have enjoyed watching her grow and it has been a privilege to be with her. Things will be different and we know that. We are receiving another gift though. I know it will be an adjustment for my daughter but she is also getting a sibling, a life long friend, and someone who I hope she will share an emotional bond with. We are all very excited and have been waiting to meet this little person for a long time. I don't know if we are ready, but who is really ever ready?

Monday, April 30, 2012


About a year ago my neighbor decided he wanted to build a deck behind his house. We live in the hills, so the deck would have to built up into the hillside behind his house. The hillside also happens to be the view from our bedroom window. Eventually it would just be a beautiful hillside with a flight of steps going up, but for a few months it was a hillside with a couple of workers who could have a great view into our bedroom. There was never anyone up there before so we never had to get window coverings, until one day while I was reading on my bed I looked out the window to see a man looking back at me waving.  That was my first encounter with Mauricio.

For months he worked on the steps. After two more waves, into my room I put curtains up. His intentions were good, but boundaries were crossed by him one too many times for me to be super friendly. I even wrote a blog post here about how he irritated me so much when he commented on Twig wetting her pants once and how inappropriate I thought it was.

One day a few months ago, while on a walk, I happened to feel particularly chipper and friendly. When Mauricio saw me, he commented on how strong my stomach was getting I felt carefree enough to tell him that there was a baby in there. A few weeks later I lost that baby. While mourning the loss I took another walk on my street. While trying to process how much pain I was in, I looked up and saw Mauricio walking towards me. I froze! I found encounters with people who had known about the pregnancy the most difficult thing about miscarrying. It was like a race to tell them I lost the baby before they could ask me how I was doing. This time I stood face to face with this man who I had tried so hard to keep a distance from in order to protect myself, and now I had to tell him my sad news. Now I know most normal people would say I didn't owe this handyman gardner guy anything. I am not normal though, I was too much of an open book when I told him in the first place. Since he knew I was pregnant, I felt like I had to remedy that misinformation now with the truth. As he opened his mouth to say hello I interrupted him with tears rolling down my face and said "I lost the baby."

Even with a language barrier, a cultural difference, and very few strained interactions between us, in that moment he understood and gave me a hug. He said it was all part of a plan. Now whether or not I believe in higher powers, things being meant for a reason, or "plans", I was grateful for his hug. Months went by and I kept pretty much to myself. I got pregnant again and since the hillside deck was done, I stopped seeing Mauricio on the street. Today I pulled out of my driveway and he was pulling up the street. He honked to wave and as I passed him I rolled down the window to say hello. He quickly noticed by very pregnant belly and smiled. He said congratulations and told me how it was all supposed to work out this way. He couldn't believe how much time had passed and as I was about to drive off he said "Bingo! You won the lottery!" Again there was a bit of a language thing but I knew exactly what he meant. Today running into Mauricio was as exciting as running into an old friend. He was so genuinely excited for this baby, and I was so happy to share that with him.  For the second time an interaction with this man has brought me to tears but this time they are happy tears. He said he will be around cleaning up my neighbors hillside and that he will get to see us again for a while.

With all that said, and in spite of our new friendship, I'm still so glad that I have shades on my windows now.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Miss McGinty

When I was a little girl, just about my daughter's age actually, my Grandmother used to say she would
shove me down her throat. She would follow that statement by calling me Miss McGinty. My sister remembers it as my grandmother saying she was going to jump down our throats, but regardless we both remember it scaring the living daylights from us. I spent so much time wondering how she would be able to do this, and how much it would hurt. We loved our Grandma and she was the sweetest woman, but we obviously didn't quite get her sense of humor at our age.

Last week at gymnastics Twig's coach told her she was going to eat her toes if she didn't point them. I feel like we say silly things like this to her sometimes and she laughs, but she definitely wasn't sure her coach was joking. In fact she asked about it the whole way home, and then continued to bring it up to whoever would listen. She would say it smiling and giggling but I could see she was still trying to figure out if anyone thought her coach would actually try to eat her toes. I explained that she was joking and promised her that her toes weren't going to get nibbled off by a hungry gymnastics teacher.

Today she had gymnastics again. It wasn't the best morning leading up to the class. She had already cried over tiny issues that cost her a bunch of tears and us both a bunch of time. I was patient and gentle with her and eventually the tears ended. We left for class with enough time to spare and when we got there she said she didn't want to go. I tried to talk to her about it and she seemed okay as we got her leotard on and got ready. Just as the class began though she clung to me and started to cry. She said she didn't want to go in. I asked her to tell me what was going on but (she is three in a half maybe -- self expression isn't a refined skill at this point) she shrugged her shoulders and said she didn't know. I said I would stay close and watch her but she insisted on leaving. This is where I started fuming up. This is the second time I drove all the way there to have her flat out stubbornly not go in to the class. I told her if we leave I will not be happy and that we are not going home to play. She would have to go straight up to a nap. She said she wanted to leave.

Pissed off and tense I strapped her into her car seat and drove home. Trying not to over react, I stayed quiet to make sure I didn't say the wrong thing, but within five minutes I exploded. I told her she wasted my time, and that I do not like driving all the way somewhere and turning around to go home. I told her I wasn't only around to drive her places, feed her snacks, play with her and then be okay when she gets into a bad mood. As I am saying this, I'm listening to my words come out of my mouth. Of course I am there to do those things. What the heck is the definition of a mother? Those are the job requirements. I was so angry and concerned that perhaps I had been manipulated again, or that Twig doesn't seem to be able to spring back from a meltdown the way other kids do, or why aren't any of the other kids even crying when they go in for class. If any of them get upset they can reel it in fast but not Twig. Then I realize two things. First off, she only does this for me. She hates separating from me and lets me know in the biggest possible way. Secondly, I forgot all about the toes.

Usually my friend drives her to school but last week my husband and I took her because we had a parent teacher conference. She had to be pried off of me while I tried to sit with her teacher in the same space. If I am around and she can't be with me, it is really hard for her. She is fine with anyone except me. Of all people, I should understand that. My parents worked at the sleep away camp I went to. I hated it because even though I wasn't away from them, I could see them on the other side of the dining room but wasn't allowed to be with them. It was a bit torturous. Also, I suppose if my toes were threatened I might be afraid to be alone with someone who I thought might eat them. It's not far off from Miss Mcinty and the throat shoving. I am years away from that threat and even though I don't remember how exactly she said it, the feeling of fear that it it caused is clear in my memory.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Lorax

My husband and I finally took Twig to her first movie yesterday. It was pouring rain and the perfect day for a movie. Our friends who have a daughter (Twig's little friend) had decided to go too. It was a spontanious choice and tuned put to be such a good decision. It wasn't that I was opposed to taking her to a movie earlier ,but there just wasn't the right movie or the right time. "The Lorax" seemed so appropriate since they just read it in school so she was excited to see it.
 She was so happy to see her friend there. The two girls sat next to each other and my husband and I took turns sitting next to her on her other side. It was a 3D movie but since it scared her when things began jumping off the screen, she decided she wanted to watch the movie without them on. She held my hand in her lap and stared straight ahead. She sat through the previews asking every thirty seconds where the Lorax was. When it finally began she got really into it. At one point she put her hand on her heart and said "Mommy, I don't think my heart is beating."

I got up at one point to switch seats with my husband and Twig quickly grabbed her friend's hand and the two of them sat hand and hand for most of the remaining part of the film. When the main character was riding his electric unicycle out of town, Twig told me he really needed to be careful. When one of the fuzzy creatures did something funny she would belt out laughing. The most touching part though was when the Lorax had to send the creatures away because they were having trouble living with out trees and oxygen. Pouting with their heads down they lined up and began to head out of town. I looks over at Twig and she was also pouting but very quickly that pout turned into her bursting out in tears. She climbed into my lap and asked if they will come back. She was so emotionally affected by the story and then of course I began to cry too. I explained that it will be okay and that it is just a story. Obviously there is a much bigger environmental lesson to be learned but she is three and her main concern were the fuzzy guys.She was so happy when at the end the fuzzy things came back.

She truly got a full movie experience yesterday. She even decided she was ready to try the glasses on. By then the credits were rolling but she didn't mind. My husband and I are both pretty sensitive people so when she teared up I whispered to him ow she is definitely our daughter. Later on in the day when we were talking about how sweet it was that she teared up, he reminded me that I cried the night before while watching a documentary. I may be a big mush, and now I have a little mush too. I can't wait to go see more movies with her. I just need to remember to bring double the tissues.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Things Are Changing

There are things I said I would never do as a parent. I've eaten those words more often than I can count.

Bending my own rules is becoming something I need to get more comfortable with because it's happening with ever-increasing frequency. I didn't set the bar so high in the ethers that it should be difficult to attain, but I need to lower it a bit these days. I hear myself saying, "If you don't do this, then we can't...," a lot of bribes, negotiations, and a lot more no's than I feel okay with. I am not big on threats and suddenly I feel like I am using a few too many manipulative tools to get through the day. I want my child to learn direct consequences but lately I might be shoving it down her throat a bit.

My fuse is shorter than usual because I am exhausted. I am eight months pregnant and feel like my pants are too tight, even when I am not wearing any. I can only sleep in one position, I get hungry and it comes on so fast it hurts, I waddle and look like I stuffed a beach ball up my shirt. Lifting my daughter is an activity that has been greatly reduced lately. I feel these changes, so surely she is aware of them as well.  It is hard to decipher between her behavior now as being appropriate for her age, or her having an awareness that her world is changing.

After a recent tantrum that resulted in both Twig and I in tears, I called a friend to share my saga with her. She said she read somewhere that a tantruming toddler is like an abusive relationship. They scream at you, push you away, you walk away, they want you to come back, they swing at you (even hit you sometimes), and when it's all over they say, "I love you." That is exactly what it feels like. For Twig lately, she throws a fit when she wants to surprise me with an outfit, and then freaks out when she can't get it buttoned or zipped on her own. I try to help her, but she goes from zero to ninety rather quickly.

I understand her frustration though. She is trying so hard to show me how independent she can be. When it backfires, she feels so defeated. I also think about what's to come for her, and remember a YouTube video about how bringing home a new baby for your first child is like a husband walking in the door with a new wife. He isn't leaving you or loving you any less -- you just have to learn to share him now. My heart breaks just thinking about it. In addition I have my own reservations about how things will change. My husband and I have just figured out how to navigate with one child and now we are adding another to the mix. No doubt we are excited, but there is also a lot of "how will we do this with two?" floating around in our heads. We will figure it out. Everyone does. I just hope we don't resemble an abusive polygamist household before we get it down.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


This past weekend was quite a heavy load of mixed emotions. Maybe one too many for my hormonal pregnant "bliss" that I am in.

To follow up on the last post. My friend's dog is going to be okay. My other close friend who I went on vacation with a few weeks ago went in to labor on Friday. While she was contracting away, her nine month old dog got out through a hole in their fence and was badly injured by a car. Her contractions stopped and they rushed the dog in to the pet hospital. I had her daughter and Twig when I got her call asking if I could watch her daughter a bit longer. I thought for sure she was heading to the hospital. She was, just not for her. The rest of the day was pretty heavy as they were told it would cost tens of thousands of dollars to fix the dogs legs and even then, it was no guarantee that she would be okay. They had to make a very hard decision, and at the last minute, a nurse at the veterinarian's office said she would adopt the dog, and do her best to nurse her back to health.

At first we were all stunned and a bit pissed that this situation would even be happening. It seemed like a Lifetime movie moment. Relinquish the rights to your dog and you don't have to decide to have her put down. When they got over the debate of whether or not this was even morally sound, they realized this was the best case scenario. The dog would be cared by someone who could afford the time and money to give her the care she needs. Two days later my friend gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. All went well, and when they bring him home they will be able to focus on caring for him without the added stress of wondering if the dog will be okay. She is in good hands, and so is the new baby.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Ruff Ruff

I have names picked out for when the day comes that we can get a dog. Twig is three and a half and I am two months away from having a baby, so getting a dog right now is not exactly the best time. Last night though, my husband and I started talking about it. Twig has a few friends with dogs, and she has a real fondness for them. Especially if they don't jump on her. My husband and I always assumed one day we would get one but not until she was at least five or six.

We even know what kind of dog we would want. In some ways it's easier to picture what adding a pet to this family would be like than what a new baby will be like. I had always wanted one growing up, but my family had their one dog before I was even born. My husband has had many though, and can't imagine life as a child without a pet. He had dogs, cats, turtles, snakes, birds and fish. He can recite all of their names, tell you what type they all were and how old he was when he had them. He says the value in having a pet as a kid is something he wants to pass on to our kids.

Teaching a child about caring for something other than themselves is the first thing that came to mind, and I agree with the importance of that. He also spoke of what it was like to lose a pet, and how experiencing the death of an animal was such a powerful lesson to learn at a young age. At this moment in time, Twig keeps bringing up death. I think mostly because it is a hot topic within her peers at preschool, but also because without much emotion attached to it, she is fascinated by it. Of course, at her age she doesn't totally get it, but I am much older than she is and I don't get it entirely myself. I do understand that it's forever and that's the part that will take her time to wrap her head around.

We had dinner guests the other night, and the little girl of six had unfortunately lost her father to cancer. This happened three years ago and death is something she is very comfortable talking about. So comfortable that she introduced concepts to Twig that have prompted many conversations since. She now knows that everyone dies, and that there are many different ways to die. She asked if she could die with me, and I interrupted just as this girl said, "Well, there is something called suicide...". I'm all for openness, but I am not quite ready for that. Twig now asks if most sick or old people are going to die soon.

Even though I never had a dog myself I have gotten attached to a few of my friend's dogs. Dagmar belongs to one of my closest friends. She has been by her side since I met her over ten years ago. She was a cuddle bug and we had a lot of fun together. Whenever I went to visit my friend I got the warmest welcome from her. These days she is getting older, but she has seen us through a lot. When I brought Twig over to her house when she was a few weeks old, Dagmar was so gentle and protective. Now my friend has two girls of her own. The second is only a month old and yesterday while taking Dagmar for a walk, her legs went out from under her. It is an emotional time to think my friend could lose such a close friend, but rarely do our pets outlive us. I just can't imagine how her almost three year old will handle such news. Whatever happens "Diggy" (as she is often called) has given a lot of people a lot of love. I do look forward to this family expanding our hearts to a furry friend one day too.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


On your marks, get set, go. Count to five, then wait for someone to start crying.  That's what happens a lot lately with Twig and her friends.  Competition has entered the arena. Between that and the increased awareness of all of the Disney princess' and their names, I'm cringing a bit. Sometimes the conversation between the girls is about who got down the stairs faster, or who ran faster, but sometimes it's about hair being longer, skirts twirling more, or my least favorite one... who is the prettiest. When I hear feelings being hurt I step in but otherwise, I carefully try to keep out of it. 

I know its all natural and that this, just like everything else, is a phase. I just hate to see my kid who loves to run fast, make everything about beating someone else.  Competition isn't all bad.  After years in a highly competitive sport, I know that competition has it's positive side. I just didn't expect it so young.  I also see how sometimes, unintentionally, the girls hurt each other's feelings. Side by side with this comparing they are doing also comes telling each other what to do. I hear a bossy tone come from Twig sometimes and wonder if that is how I sound to her. It's adorable when I hear her quote me with something sweet like "I love the way you did that" but when she comes out with "I do NOT like it when you do that" to her friends,  I tense my shoulders and scratch my head at the same time.

I only know what I hear when I am privey to her conversations with her little friend. I drive them both home from school together and listen as they tell each other what to do and comment on which one "wins" what.  I step in as little as my impulse will let me and most of the time when I stay out of it, they work things out themselves. After all, most of the time they play well together as we adults hang in another room. When it gets too much for one, they know how to kindly ask the other for a bit of quiet time. Much to my surprise, they give each other that break whenever it's asked without any offense taken. If only we could all master that as adults.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Much Needed

For the first time in three and a half years, I went away on a mini-vacation - without my daughter. At seven months pregnant, I am about to lose any chance of getting a break for a while so I decided to take advantage of my husband's willingness to spend a few days alone with Twig and take a quick get-away with a friend to Palm Springs. My friend is also pregnant and the two of us have been looking forward to this for quite some time. We both have girls the same age and, as mentioned in previous posts, age three is not exactly a breeze. A break was just what we needed.
With our bags packed and ready to go we decided to leave right after morning preschool drop-off. I told Twig the day before that I would be going and that she would be with Daddy. I also explained that I was going with her friend's mommy and that they could play together while we were away. She took the news so well, I questioned if she even understood. The next morning when I reminded her that Daddy was going to pick her up from school, I changed the subject quickly after I said it just to soften the blow. No reaction. When I said goodbye to her in the car, there was a brief pause and then quickly she and her friend were giggling and forgot I was even there. As the car pulled away, the only tears shed were mine.

She did fantastic and was tear-free the whole time I was gone. My friend and I enjoyed our leisurely ride to the desert, stopping to browse around the outlets and never once glancing at our watch to concern ourselves with school pick-up or nap time. We arrived at our hotel, had a lovely snack at the bar, sat around chatting for a while and then ate a nice dinner. We went to bed late and tried our best to sleep in. But between two pregnant women running often to the loo and our daily ritual of early wake-ups, we managed to sleep till 8:30am - definitely a luxury. Our day was more of the same relaxation. Breakfast in the sun, poolside lounging and a nice long swim. After lunch by the pool we eventually had to think about heading back home.

When we finally got back to our husbands and girls, we were so excited to see them. After getting the biggest hug from my Twig, we sat down to enjoy dinner all together. Of course it wasn't long before the tears came. Twig was pretty exhausted from hanging with her friend and wanted to hang on me a bit to let me know. She hadn't had a nap and her loving and warm welcome wore pretty quickly. I didn't feel quite up to speed on my reaction to her as I was still very much in vacation mode. It wasn't exactly what I expected to come home to, but it was a small price to  pay for a much needed get-away.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Dorothy Toto Glenda

One day a pair of sparkly red shoes were handed down to us from a friend. It wasn't long after my daughter started wearing them that people started to comment. Everyone mentioned "The Wizard Of Oz" and my daughter would just stare at them blankly.  She had no idea what they were talking about. I decided to show her a few "Dorothy" videos on YouTube and her obsession started there. At first she wanted to be Dorothy for Halloween, but then, since seeing most of the movie, she's added a lunchbox, a calendar, a dress up set and a doll to her collection. She is in love!

My husband and I had no idea how big an obsession this would be. I'm honestly a bit impressed since none of her friends have even heard of the movie, but that doesn't seem to sway her interest.  Her enthusiasm has remained high since she watched that first video almost six months ago. She doesn't go too many places without her Dorothy lunchbox in hand.
These days while I'm practically seven months pregnant with her baby brother, she is also interested in him.... almost as much so as the "Wizard of Oz."  She constantly rubs my belly and likes to watch him move and then feel him kick. She sticks her finger in my belly button thinking (logically) that she can get closer to him that way. She sings and talks to him, and when she's done she puts my shirt back over my belly and say she's putting him to sleep. Ask her what her baby brother's name will be and she will say "Dorothy Toto Glenda."

I actually have friends who let their kids name their younger siblings. I think Robin Williams has a daughter named Zelda, having let his son name her after a video game. We haven't made any final decisions in the name department yet but I can assure you he won't be named Dorothy. What she decides to call him though is another story.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

These Days

With a three year old girl, the mood can shift many times within a day. It hasn't been the easiest age for me to deal with, but at the moment we are in a sweet spot. Her sleeping issues have finally resolved (I know, I know, I shouldn't get too comfortable). Her whining has been a lot less frequent, and her separation anxiety with school has shown amazing improvement.

This morning I was so proud of her. I could see she was struggling with the decision to get sad during our goodbye and instead she walked into school like a trooper. I told her she needed to be strong for any of her friends inside that might be sad, and she took on her mission and went right inside bravely. She also has been so affectionate that I quite possibly could melt. She wraps her whole body around me tightly and then plants a strong hard kiss on my lips. Sometimes I tell her I love her so many times in a row that I fear it will lose it's meaning to her. I just can't think of anything else to say -- I just love her so much. She is speaking with such an expressive vocabulary recently as well. She said to me a few days ago while we were watching the rain fall outside, "Mommy, isn't the rain wonderful?"

Last week I threw a baby shower for a dear friend of mine, and many of the women had already had second children. They were sharing stories with my friend and they all said that when they brought home the new baby they very quickly feared they had ruined their older child's entire life. They all shared this feeling that his or her life as they knew it would be different forever. I get, intellectually, that there is very little reality in that statement, but practically speaking, there is some truth there. Twig loves the idea right now that she will be a big sister. She says almost every night how grateful she is that she is going to have a baby "brodder." It is just an idea to her now though. I am pretty hopeful though that the fact that she will be close to four by the time he arrives will help soften the blow of the changes.

The women also shared the importance of keeping the first few months of the baby being home still all about the older child. I've read that if both are crying I should always go to the older one because the little one won't remember it.  I just want to make a promise to myself now before the hectic chaos of two kids arrives to remember to spend time one on one with her. I know it won't always be easy but I never want to miss an opportunity to cuddle with her, look out the window and just stare at the rain.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Not Easy Going?

Last night I sat on the phone with a close friend. It was getting late and precious sleep time was slipping away, but it was worth the chat time. My friend has been in my life for over ten years. We have seen each other through (insert cliche here) -- all of it. She came running to me in the hardest times and made me peanut butter with apple slices. We were there for each other during the dating nightmares, heartbreaks, and droughts. We went to each other's weddings and I was there when her daughter was born.

I had Twig two years before she had her daughter, and she was the first friend to show up at the hospital to see the fresh new bundle. From that moment on and through that first year though, we started to see each other less. I began my search for women with babies the same age so I could be tired, afraid, and thrown into oblivion with people going through the same chaos. It wasn't a conscious decision to neglect a good friend. It just happened. She made efforts to come over, call, and even come help with the baby, but I just couldn't quite get it together to see her that often.

I took my job as a new mother very seriously. Any article I read, I took to heart. If I read something about a product I had been using being questionable for infants, it went in the trash. Not organic? Not for me then. I followed strict self imposed rules, and had to do it my way. Looking back I was a classic tightly wound first time mom. I wasn't eager to let other people hold, help or advise me on my baby. I could have benefited from some alone time, but I never took it. At some point my friend drew the conclusion that I didn't trust her with my baby. She wasn't all wrong. I was trying to get a system down, a system that one can never really get down, and so it was a constant work in progress.

When she finally confronted me about the change in friendship, I tried to explain how hard the year had been, and how much attention the baby needed. It wasn't until a few months after she had hers that she looked up at me with tears in her eyes and said, "I understand now, this is so hard." Last night we talked about our friends now who don't have babies, and how it has changed the friendships. How she is more aware of not wanting to isolate them, but how no matter what, having a child takes a toll on the relationships. We reflected back to our little riff, and came up with some theories. She said she understands my need to control my situation, and likened it to her cooking when she doesn't want anyone else in the kitchen. She also said that I am a lot of things, but I am not easy going. A few seconds later she asked if I was still on the phone. I was, I just got stuck for a second. Not easy going? Of course I wasn't surprised and she was absolutely right. I just didn't think any one had noticed. I suppose it was pretty obvious, but hearing it said was different. I am not even sure if it is a negative or a positive to be too easy going or too strict. Either way, she outed me. I replied that I was still there and we had a good laugh. By nearly 11 pm we wrapped our call with her telling me how happy she was we worked through that time because I am such a dear friend to her. I shared right back how much she meant to me and that I loved her too. Even if she flies by the seat of her pants, never does her laundry and lets her kid eat whatever she wants. After all, friends aren't there to judge one bit. Maybe we just point out each others flaws a little, but only very lovingly.

Monday, February 13, 2012

French Fluff

Another article came out this weekend that compared the French to the Americans and proved that the French can be superior in some ways. A few years back it was the book "Why French Women Aren't Fat" When the author was interviewed she was described as a 95 pound woman when dripping wet. Her book explained that French women eat what they want but know when to stop, they don't eat on the go, and there are more fresh foods in their diet then here in America.

This weekend an article came out called "Why French Parents Are Superier." It was written by an American who lives in France and how after struggling to "control" her kids wild behavior she looked around and saw little French children independently playing and very obediently obeying their parents. After reading it, I do feel like there is a great deal to be learned from this article. It even points out a few American tendencies that I am definitely guilty of. For example it stated that we often excuse our kids behavior because we claim that our kid is just of a certain nature. I have done that from the get go as I ran after my Twig instead of letting her figure a few things out on her own. I just feel after reading it though that perhaps the word "superior" was a little harsh. After all, isn't that the biggest ego boost to the French that the fancy well dressed Parisian folks are better than us?

Ego aside I am working on being a bit more French in the parenting department. We already love a good baguette now and again so it wouldn't hurt to attempt some of the parenting skills mentioned. Just today, I had quite a hard time with my American offspring. She was pretty manipulative and impatient with me. This was before I read the article so I didn't try any of my new tricks, but as soon as she wakes from her nap I will show her who the "patron" is. With any luck she will say "oui oui Mama" pretty soon.

Friday, February 10, 2012


Yesterday I read an article about what I can expect my three-and-a-half year old to be doing right now. It said verbally she would be using all of these adult words, and she will try to do all of these adult-like tasks, but when she gets home expect her to go cuddle with her lovey. Most of this is spot on. Yesterday Twig said she wanted to read the ingredients on a box of applesauce, as well as commenting that the rain sounded "wonderful." She has also taken to wanting to snap herself into her carseat, which makes my heart skip a beat since I can't stand the idea of her pinching her fingers. Which brings me to her fingers. She sucks two of them-constantly.

When she started school back in September I was concerned since one of the rules is no hands in the mouth. At first I thought that was so unfair since that is a huge source of comfort for her. It was a slow adjustment period for her, but now I couldn't be more grateful for that rule because now I know she knows how to stop. At least for a few hours a day. Once I pick her up though, she is ready to make up for lost time though. Sometimes she remembers to ask if she can suck, but mostly the habit takes over her. My concern other than the obvious germs and dental issue is now her skin.

When Twig "found" her fingers at four months old we couldn't have been happier. It meant she could self sooth, which really meant sleep for all of us. It was the best thing ever. Of course, looking back every third picture of her she has those two fingers in her mouth, but it was worth it. We even drew celebrity attention when she was five months old at a Starbucks. Jody Foster came up to us and said her son sucked the same two fingers, and the good news is it didn't ruin his teeth. She told us her dentist said the concern is more with thumb sucking since that will affect speech and shift the front teeth forward. So thanks to Jodi Foster the dental issue is less of a concern now.

Twig has a bit of eczema though which will cause her whole face to get red. The sucking only makes it that much harder to stay on top of since she just keeps saliva around her cheeks and chin constantly. Lately, I have begun to show her how red her face is in the mirror. She also can see how red her finger is, which at the moment she can hardly bend because it is so swollen. She told me yesterday that she it was her last day and that she is big enough to stop now. The first sign of exhaustion or any emotional dip and her fingers went right into her mouth. I tried to give her a little spoon that she will occasionally such on in place of fingers but I fear this might be a long monumental task she has ahead. After all one of my best friends was a closeted sucker until she was eleven. I saw the movie thumbsucker, and even worse is I caught some twenty year old in his car sucking his thumb. I certainly don't want to make it so taboo that she is sneaking sucks when she enters adolescence. Four seems like a reasonable goal, but this is not up to me. Recently she wore a dress, carried her little purse, and had her fingers in her mouth. She may be growing up very fast but I do still see that she is my baby from time to time.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Let me Explain

Last week my friend was walking through the airport with her three year old daughter. When they stopped near an overweight woman, my friend's daughter asked (quite audibly), "Mommy, why is that woman so fat?" Much to my friend's chagrin, she had to lean down and have a chat with her girl right then and there. Another friend told me when her daughter went with her to the grocery store, her little girl pointed to a well dressed woman and her daughter said, "Mommy, I like her. She is pretty."

Recently, my own daughter said she didn't like someone in my photo album from my wedding. When I looked at the picture she pointed to someone who was overweight and had a short haircut. When I asked her why, she said because she didn't like how she looked. I very carefully tried to explain that the way people look on the outside doesn't have anything to do with whether or not they are nice.

This is obviously the age where she begins to notice the clear differences are around her. I am sure by the time these girls are around five or so they will know to not voice these observations so loudly in public, but for now they are keeping us on our toes. Just yesterday when Twig asked about what someone she hadn't seen in a long time looked like, she asked what color skin they had. I don't find anything wrong with that question, but I am curious how her brain works. About a month ago at gymnastics, a new little girl joined the class. She is African American, a bit younger than the other girls, and has a hard time sitting still. The next day Twig said, "I didn't like that brown girl at gymnastics." My shoulders tightened and I feared that perhaps I had a little racist on my hands. When I said why to elaborate, she replied that it was because she wasn't a good listener. Phew! I responded back, trying to overcompensate for something that wasn't the issue at all by saying, "She had trouble listening, but she was very cute, wasn't she?". Just in case.

The candor that comes with this age is not quite polished yet. The flip side though is at times, the kindness goes above any adult I have seen. We were at a birthday party and there was an older woman with a walker. She clearly had very little ability to talk or move on her own. Most people, including myself, just sort of smiled and walked the other way, but Twig walked right up to her and started a conversation. At first I was a bit uncomfortable with what she was saying, but I let her say what she felt. She explained that her Papa sometimes walks with a cane for help too, then she introduced herself. This conversation went on for a few moments and I realized that we often ignore sick or aging people, and I could learn something from my little girl.

As for a fondness for the more attractive folk, I do hope that living in LA doesn't give her leanings towards the pink, pretty and popular crowd. Even if it does, she could still end up calling me one day to say she is moving to a commune on some organic farm, to teach silent meditation. I hope it is somewhere in the middle, but either way I will celebrate differences.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Pregnancy makes women crazy. That's what I hear people say all the time, and that's how any pregnant woman in a film or on television is portrayed. I don't feel crazy though.

Yes, I cry when watching something moving, or yesterday when my daughter said to my husband, "I made these cookies with mommy." I suddenly felt like I was doing a really great job as a mom. And I had to have a nicoise salad with a baguette the other day. Had to! I don't think these things are crazy though.

I have noticed some interesting feelings come up though. I get so irritated by certain people that, if anything, I should have more patience for. OPK, my husband calls them: Other People's Kids. I am usually so easygoing with all kids. Especially having been a teacher, I have a fair amount of tolerance, but lately I find myself often annoyed. Perhaps it's because I have barely enough in my reserve for my own child right now. My patience runs thin a lot lately. Besides OPKs (and just one or two, not everyone's), I also can't stand people in the grocery store who stand in front of you thinking about what to pick up off the shelf, knowing full well someone is waiting behind them. Today, I actually muttered, "Okay...",  slightly hoping that the lingering women in from of me would take it as her cue to DECIDE already. Oh, and people who walk into an elevator filled with people and feel the need to state the obvious and say, "Wow," as if she has never seen a full elevator car before.

There are other things that don't annoy me, but just make me laugh a bit longer than I should. My husband and I watched "Horrible Bosses" the other day, and there is a scene where the guys are sliding under a closing garage door. Two out of three make it, and then the third tried to slide under the nearly closed door. It's just good, old fashioned slapstick -- nothing new, but as I write this I am hysterically laughing and tears are rolling down my face. It was so funny, I swear. Also, after spending Christmas with her two boy cousins, Twig is convinced she wants a penis. She pees then stands up, puts her hand where her "penis" is, and shakes it off. This was more funny the first time, now she does it to sees if I will laugh again (now I am just there to smile and wash her hands). I was talking to my husband a few days ago and everything that we talked about suddenly seemed funny. Now in hindsight nothing in particular was that amusing. Now after reading some of this I can't really tell. I'm not crazy, just maybe a tad on the edge though.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

"BAD" Behavior

So next week, Twig turns three and a half. By now I have established that two was a piece of cake. Three so far has been the most challenging since the newborn phase. Between whining, negotiations, tantrums and now night wakings, I am spent. I have seen reactions from myself that I never expected. Negotiations right back at her. Bribes and threats were things I saw other parents do, and hoped I could reason without having to resort to those. Alas, here I am, pulling out all the stops.

I have noticed when other people are here, a tiny little manipulator invades my kid's body. She knows I don't want to argue with her in front of people, so she gets away with more than I would like. Her beloved Baa (her stuffed sheep) usually only meant for her room makes his way downstairs. She becomes far more territorial about her house with other kids around. She brought her friend to tears the other day because she wouldn't get out of her swing and let her friend use it. I realize that a lot of this can be written off to her age, but for some things I know it's my lack of patience to deal with it.

The other thing I realized: we're self-conscious about disciplining her in front of others. We all do it differently so that by nature allows room for judgement. I have one friend who threatens her kids every few minutes, another who walks her kid right into her room, and another who follows parenting books to the T and comes up short when they don't work for her. I have no set system, but I know I go with reason first, and then after some time of that not working my inner mean comes out.

Yesterday my daughter's little friend had an angry eruption at her when she moved a toy while they were playing with it. It was a surprising burst of anger, frustration, and yelling. It sounded like her hair had been pulled but in reality she was just mad. Immediately, I saw the shock on my daughter's face and then the tears came. She was scared and caught off guard. We both went to our girls and dealt with them individually, but I felt a moment of "WTF do we do here?" I calmed mine down and explained to Twig that her friend was upset, and that she herself didn't do anything wrong, in the future we hope that she can tell us what she wants instead of yelling -- but for now, lets let it go. My friend was busy on the other side of the room trying to explain to her daughter that she can't talk to her friends that way. In the end it was all fine, as it always is, but in the moment I realized we are all a bit screwed. Every single one of us had to put out emotional fires all day long.

Lately, I have been reading Twig some new books. Amelia Bedelia, Curious George and The Peter Rabbit Series. All of them I read when I was young, but somehow I didn't remember what a mess all the characters get themselves into. Amelia Bedilia all but destroys people's homes and belongings, Curious George is basically breaking the law left and right, and in the Peter Rabbit books little animals are always narrowly escaping being murdered. Some of it goes over her head, but most requires a lot of explaining on my part. I have to tell her you really wouldn't do things like George, because he is just pretend, or Amelia Bedeila is just a silly lady who gets thing mixed up all the time, but in the end of these books it's as if an "I'm sorry" is a get out of jail card. Amelia Bedelia bakes desserts and when people eat them they instantly forget everything she has done wrong. George has crowds of people after him but when he accidentally saves the day, everyone forgets the damage he has done. The little nearly dead animals are mostly just good at outrunning the ones they have wronged. So my work is cut out for me. I have to teach her she can't misbehave and say or bake something nice to make up for it -- but oh is she laying on the sweet lately!