Friday, September 12, 2014

Suckin' List

Suckin List

Before I forget all the words by children mispronounce or before they start saying things correctly I wanted to start a list.

Twig always said S’s instead of F’s so when we had a song playing once that was inappropriate for her then age 2 ears she would sing the lyrics “I saw it on the suckin' concrete!" She says f’s most of the time now so we stopped playing the song.

She does still call her fingers “singers”

Balloom instead of Balloon.


My little one who is just beginning to talk has a few words in his own language that we have all picked up

Dudnuh -- lollypop

Dahdun -- balloon

Ohnay-working -- when he sees anyone doing construction work

Mommy la -- me

Daddy la -- my husband

Aya -- his sister

Horphy -- horsie

Coursh -- of course

Yesh -- yes

Oh ma goodnesh -- oh my goodness

Was dis? -- Whats this?

I need to write these down because as one can see I don't have many words for my daughter as the cute mispronounced words are being replaced with "embarrassed" and "mommy don't sing" and the days of dancing in public just because are almost done for her. She has an awareness of the world around her in a way that he doesn't yet. When I take them scootering, she wants to fly down the street as fast as she can, while he stops and marvels at the twigs, leaves and roots of the trees. At the age of six, she day-by-day is becoming a little bit more independent, strong, and brave. As first grade begins I am trying to fathom how this day crept upon us so quickly. I felt like I just had her a few years ago.

There is a nagging voice in my head at times to "get my life back" and spend more time getting a job, a step up from the one I have now of wiping bums and counter tops, even attempt to change the world a little. I have to tell the voice to whisper every now and again though. I don't want it to go away completely but if it screams it will wake up my screaming toddler in the other room. I still have a two year old and soon enough he will be ready for first grade and then that voice and I can have a conversation. In the meantime I am trying to concentrate on the sound of my baby mispronouncing more and more words.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

This is A Test

I remember being six years old and getting sick a lot. At a certain point my mom had to take me to get blood taken and the phlebotomist was a woman with really long, red-painted fingernails. She would pull my arm and use her long nails to trace my skin in search of a vein. I had a few of these done because I got a bad case of Scarlet Fever. I distinctly remember the day that I decided "enough was enough" and that maybe I had some say in the matter. The woman was holding my arm with those red nails and I decided to pull away. She grabbed tighter and the experience just went from bad to worse. I was already fighting though and I couldn't back down and just comply. Instead I turned it up, screaming, "No!", flailing my body and trying to pull my arm away. Tuns out when you are upset and you already have little, hard-to-find veins, putting up a fight didn't make it any easier.

I never seem to get over my fear of having blood taken. I don't mind needles if they have to inject medicine, but feel it is incredibly invasive to have a sharp object poked into my vein and take my blood out. Not to mention how squeamish I am and that the whole idea turns my stomach. As a kid when I heard that in order to have a baby you would have to have blood drawn throughout the pregnancy I decided I would adopt to avoid unnecessary needles. When I did get pregnant it was even harder to find a vein just confirming that there was actually truth to my fear. Being poked five times just to get a bit of blood doesn't ease ones' nerves. During my actual births I was able to convince the nurses to not take my blood before during or after labor. They seemed surprised I was okay with the pain of a drug-free birth, but not the prick of a needle. It was true for me though. I would rather push out a baby than give you my arm for blood. Call me crazy.

This past week when my six year old was given a blood test, the hair on the back of my neck stood up. Five minutes before she had made the same fighter decision I had at six to fight with all her might during a routine TB test. It took two nurses and my whole body to hold her still for a tiny prick. How could they ask her to sit still for a few viles of blood. How would I help comfort her when this is such a huge fear for me? Right then and there though I had one of those selfless parenting moments where you realize the crap you could pass on to your kid, and that a better decision could be made. A decision that requires Oscar-worthy acting skills. A decision that could be mistaken for a lie if one really knew how I felt inside. A decision that could release her of any of my attachments I have to this, and help her feel brave and then proud.

She was afraid and wanted to wait until the next day but I bribed her with ice cream and a toy. I explained the sooner she gets it done the sooner she can stop thinking about it. I also explained to her how the whole thing was really no big deal, and gave her every detail of what she should expect, from the band around her arm to the cotton ball at the end. She seemed to take comfort in knowing what to expect. She believed me that it was quick and hardly painful. I said that it was okay to cry but not okay to move around like she did for the TB test. I promised to hold her and told her that when I have it done I like to be told a story while it was happening to be distracted.

When the time came for her she climbed up on my lap, put her arm out and watched them put the band on her arm. She began to cry a little and the phlebotomist asked if I thought she would sit still or should the other nurse come into help. I whispered in her ear asking if she could be still and she said she could. The tears were rolling off her cheek but she stayed still. I whispered a story in her ear about the bravest sweetest girl I knew and how very loved she was, she asked it it was over and the man said it would be just a few seconds more. I couldn't look but I could hear as he finished up and then it was over. She got her cotton ball and the hugest hug from me ever. I may have been a little lightheaded but she was a strong as ever.

While we sat and ate our hard earned ice creams, I was grateful that she handled the whole thing so well. I was proud of myself for not showing any of my panic, proud of her that she handled it so well and didn't put up a fight, and relieved that there was no red nail polish involved whatsoever.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Two Steps Back

This summer has been an interesting one, to say the least. Back in April 2013 we left the house we owned to move into a smaller apartment that offered some outdoor space and conveniences that our house didn't. We got a tenant for the house and she signed a year lease just like we did. The apartment was right next to the elementary school where my daughter would begin Kindergarten just a few short months later, giving all of us time to settle in.

It became clear pretty quickly that apartment living is not at all like living in a house and it felt a bit like my husband and I were back in our twenties. You could hear the neighbors on the side and above, there were apartment rules and a troll-like manager making sure we followed them. It didn't feel like ours and we didn't feel at home. Not to mention how we over-paid each month. So when our tenant gave her months notice at the end of her lease we took the opportunity to begin selling our house. Although filled with memories, as well as the starting ground for our family, we knew the house wasn't the long term home for our family.

While we were selling the house though, we couldn't afford to pay the mortgage and the rent on our apartment so we gave our months' notice. We had some interest on the house and even an offer from the first couple that saw it, but it wasn't close enough to what we were asking so we passed. We waited for Twig to finish school and then packed up our entire apartment in two days. That Monday my husband went to work and the movers came. As I packed up the last few boxes they began to fill their truck. It was a long day and a lot of work and by 9 pm that night we were back in our old house trying to get the kids rooms's unpacked enough that they could go to bed. My husband was getting cash for the movers and when he came in to my son's room he told me to stop unpacking. I thought he was telling me to stop for the day but what he was really saying was that he was just on the phone with an agent and our house, the one I had just moved into, was going to be sold! Typically this would be great news but in that moment all I could do was dig my fingers into the rug and bite my lip to keep from screaming.

Once I processed this news, I was happy we were selling but concerned for where we would go next. Even if we found another house or made an offer we would have to wait until that escrow closed. In between, we would need to find something and in between is exactly when the school year starts. So many questions about where will we live and what school will she go to.

We should have stayed in the apartment in hind sight but we had no idea that this offer would come in when it did. So here we are a month away from being out of our house and it is both daunting and nerve racking to not know what is next, yet we are back in our old house which is validating that it isn't the right place for us anymore. So at least we made the big initial move and the exciting adventure is still ahead. For now though, it feels like one step forward and two steps back and then a few steps into that unknown territory.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Summertime-East Coast Style

We just got back from quite a wonderful two weeks. We went home to New York City, rode the subway, visited friends, Twig and her Grandma saw "Cinderella" on Broadway, and the train-obsessed boy rode the subway for the first time. I didn't know his eyes could open as wide as they did that day. After the city we drove to the Berkshires where my parents spend summers and began the real summer adventures.

It is so important to me that my children experience the summers the way I did, even if it is only for a few weeks. The beauty of the mountains, trees and welcoming lakes makes memories forever. It just feels more like summer vacation with mosquitos and toasted marshmallows. We walked to the end of our driveway one night to see the big dipper, listen to frogs and watch fireflies. My kids couldn't stop giggling at the sound of the croaking frogs. We had all the time in the world there and it still flew by.

We spent Father's day together with my husband who flew in for the weekend, and with my dad. I don't remember getting to be with both of them before on a day to celebrate them. It was an extra treat. The kids and I made crafts for their gifts that included decorated office clips, bird paintings made from their footprints, and chocolate for each of them along with quite a few handmade cards. We went into town for pizza and it was so nice being all together.

Our days were filled by lake swimming, playground hopping, walks into town for ice cream, barbecues, and making sand castles. We saw friends from summers past and one day Twig put on a cartwheel show with a few other girls that was pretty impressive. It was also a trip for milestones. My mom got my little one to use the potty for the first time. It hasn't happened since but it was still exciting. He also said his own name there for the first time. The biggest change though is that Twig lost her first tooth after months since that first wiggle. She suddenly stopped questioning the authenticity of the tooth fairy. She put it under her pillow with a note and seemed to go to sleep that night a convert and when she woke to find five crisp ones, chocolate coins and a note back to her, she woke up a believer.

On our last day there my son woke up cranky from his nap. The three of us decided to walk to the farm across the road. We did this walk often as they have lots of cows to look at and they sell their own maple syrup. As we were walking up there was a farmer feeding one of the calfs with a baby bottle so we started to talk to him and he showed us a few calfs born a few days before. We had never seen such young calfs before. He showed us a few pregnant cows and when I looked I saw one that looked like it had must have given birth. When I asked him he said that they weren't due yet. When he looked again though he saw a brand new calf between her legs. She had just had her calf before we walked up but he hadn't noticed until I pointed it out. He went in and lifted up the wet baby and brought her out to us. She was shakey as she tried to stand for the first time. It was the first girl born that week. We were very grateful to get to witness that moment. It was a pretty special way to end our pretty special trip.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Where to?!

This is quite possibly the most unsettled I have been in a long time. Our house is on the market and we have an offer but we aren't exactly sure it is the right one. We have to give notice on our apartment, but if our house sells we want somewhere to live while we figure it out. The longer all of this takes the longer we risk having to pay both our mortgage from our house and our rent. If we don't sell we need to move back in the house until we get the right buyer. I'm exhausted from just typing all that and I haven't even packed a single box.

The flip side of all of this is that we have so much possibility right now. We could sell this house and go anywhere. Costa Rica would be a great place to spend a year, or we could home school our daughter and do volunteer work. We could invest in an income property, manage a building, move back to New York for a year. The world is our oyster. My husband and I spend hours on real estate sights searching for the right house, in the right school district, in the right neighborhood that we can afford. All those very normal requests but in a city like LA it is so difficult to hone in on the right place when it is both so expensive and so vast.

There are so many amazing areas in this city that I would live in in a heartbeat, but now that I have kids the priorities are different. So as this first school year for my daughter comes to a close I have been trying very hard not to get overly sentimental. She is in an amazing school and she loves it so it pulls at my heartstrings to think of moving her. At all of the end-of-the-year events at school parents and teachers are asking us if we will be returning next year. My answer is always, "I don't know." My girl might just be one of the worst candidates for switching schools, homes, neighborhoods since it is May and she still has a hard time saying goodbye to me in the morning. On the flip side, she never wants to leave when I pick her up. Kids are resilient though and I know she will be okay wherever we go, but I hope we can find a school as good as this one.

In the meantime we wait for news on our house, I am planning summertime trips and activities and playing make believe in my head about our next move. It could be just across to the East side of this city, or right near here, either way moving will be a challenge no matter where we go so we may as well just do Costa Rica.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Hawaii 5 (and almost) 2

Our family vacation was talked about months ago when we booked it. Many sentences started "In April when we go to Hawaii, we are going to...." This was the first big planned trip away to a real vacation spot and we were all so excited. Days leading up to the trip you could spot more than a few of us in our straw hats and sun wear gearing up for warm weather fun.

As with any toddler, flying isn't the most fun. Right now he can scream louder than any other child I have ever heard so my enthusiasm wasn't glowing when I stepped on our plane. The whining started almost immediately from both kids. She wanted to use the iPad the second she sat down and he wanted to sit as close, if not on her lap. We survived the flight and then the long wait for a rental car, knowing that on holiday there is a lot of waiting involved but there will be a reward when we get there.

When we arrived at the house we rented, we met our friends with whom we planned the trip. We chose the rooms to stay in, unpacked the cribs we rented and hit the beach. Or I should say the beach hit us. It was so windy that the sand was flying up and it made it feel quite cold. We maybe stayed fifteen minutes and told ourselves tomorrow will be better.

Tired from the traveling, I was ok calling it a night early, and I reflected on how I am not quite traveling with easy ages quite yet. I remember thinking when Twig was 3 how she began throwing tantrums, and that when I planned on having a baby, I didn't think about having a kid. I was so focused on the baby part. That being said when she was a newborn and I was bouncing a colicky little baby body to help her stop crying, I thought I wanted kids, not this crying blob that isn't getting that I am doing everything I can to help her. The grass is always greener, but there is some truth to the sweet spot of childhood. I do fantasize about 6 and 9 or anything after that. Even five now is good but the almost two part is the wild card. I daydream about road trips where we can all play games like counting cars, or reading the population of a new town we enter. I fondly remember road trips when I would sit upside down in the back seat of our station wagon. The punishment for that now is probably as harsh as getting a DUI, but it was fun.

At any age though you can go away and your well planned trip could go badly. This wasn't exactly a great vacation. It had some great moments, but it had a lot of sick ones too. The first night there the little one who was asleep in the rented pack and play in the bathroom (two things you don't need to do with older kids: put them to bed in the bathroom and rent them "stuff" to sleep in) woke up coughing. It wasn't just a little cough so we were up all night and the next morning, our first day, I walked him to the local urgent care. He had bronchitis and so I walked him home with a prescription thinking looking onward. When I walked in the door my daughter was lethargic in my husbands arms. She went on to have a 24 hour bug followed by her own trip to urgent care two days later for strep and Scarlett fever. Two kids on antibiotics and the wind hadn't exactly let up but here and there there were sunny moments and we took advantage of them. By Wednesday we were all better and went out for an amazing day. We saw beautiful mountains, water, a farm, swam in the ocean and went boogie boarding.  We were happy. Thursday, our last full day we planned to take a big outing as a group to Hamunalo Bay to snorkel. When I woke up my throat was sore but I was in a denial that anything else could go wrong. By the time we got to the bay I felt kind of tired but I ignored it. When I sat down on the sand I felt like I might not be able to ever get up. I put on a good face for everyone and even put on a snorkel since I didn't want to regret not seeing the fish. It took a lot of strength to get myself in the water but I actually felt better swimming around. By the time the day was ending there was no more ignoring for me. I asked my husband to drive me to urgent care where I found out I had 102 fever and strep throat. Just in time to fly home.

I think we will wait for our kids to get a little older before we take such a big trip again. It wasn't the best vacation. It wasn't horrible and we are already having a laugh about it but we came home ready for a rest. Fortunately we live near some amazing beautiful beaches where I plan on going boogie boarding this summer. I shouldn't have to get on a plane for another crazy ride like the one in Hawaii. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

I'm Late

No, not in that way. I am not pregnant -- not having another baby. I'm just late a lot. Not to everything. My daughter has never been late to school or gymnastics. My son never late to a music class. I am just late to birthday parties, social gatherings with certain people, or late to get my son back home for a nap. I have a lot on my plate and most days by the time I get my daughter off to school and try to put shoes on my son, there is an hour gone already. Both kids are not the easiest to get out of the house, and then whenever we go somewhere they never want to leave. I just can't seem to remember that everything takes longer than I think it will.

I myself am the worst dilly dallier. I love to lose track of time. That time has gotten so much more precious, but I still somedays, even with a toddler in tow, walk into a Whole Foods and look at new products and daydream around the store. Somewhere in the third aisle I've wandered into, I will remember I only needed one thing here. It's Whole Foods though, and you will spend fifty dollars for five items, for every five minutes you are in the store. It's a dangerous place to shop if you like healthy food that tastes exactly like the unhealthy versions. Especially the MintThin wanna-be.

I also try to plan ahead. I give myself a time I have to leave somewhere by, and then start making deals with myself taking on an additional five or ten minutes. I will put a parking lot ticket in my pocket for safe keeping and then spend twenty minutes panicked because I can't find it. I did this once and had to pay for the lot only to come home and find it in my pocket. I get so frustrated with these little parking tickets. I am still pissed you have to pay more for staying in a store longer and spending more money. How come no one has established how un-green it is to have to move your car from one corporate store to another because they don't want to share? I feel like such a sneak running to Trader Joe's after I shopped at Target next store, and leaving my car in the Target lot. Doesn't anyone who plans this know how hard it is to get a baby in and out of the car for a two minute drive?

Right now, my days are always sectioned into two, due to a little kid I have that takes a midday nap. I love my quiet time in the middle but it feels hectic making an attempt to get much done before and after nap. Now that my daughter is not napping I can see the beauty in the no nap day. Do what you got to do and come back before bedtime. That being said, I think I might go mad if I had to be "on duty" the whole day with an almost two year old so I take it back. Nap nap and more nap until you are more pleasant to be around when you are tired.

In the evening when both kids are asleep and the coveted me time of the waking hours begin, I watch TV, try a new recipe, chat on the phone, sit with my iPad. All of these are much needed hobbies, habits, or addictions if you want to call it like you see it. I need to look at Facebook and lose a half hour of my life that I will never get back. These things all come at a price though, because I am often late to sleep because I can't get myself to bed on time. Then it all begins again the next day when my husband and I ask each other for "just five more minutes." Tick tock!

This is the first of many blogs that I have written and haven't gotten around to posting.