Thursday, January 29, 2009

#11 is Evil

Tooth #11 is here, and it had a really mean streak.

Its arrival has meant multiple screaming sessions in the middle of the night for the last week. Its arrival has meant that when Gracie does finally fall asleep in my arms after rocking her for 45 minutes, it is NOT OK to put her back in her crib. Its arrival has meant that there is just general all day crankiness in the house.

I am blaming the tooth, not Grace’s approach to the 1.5 year mark that I’ve heard terrible things about, on her sudden need to be clingy also.

We stayed home from work yesterday because there was an ice storm. Let’s be honest, I stayed home from work because I could. Sure the roads were crappy, but I would have been fine. I am from Chicago after all. I just didn’t want to deal, so we stayed home.

Big mistake.

She spent the majority of her day pulling on my pants, screaming to be picked up or screaming to be put down – then repeat.

Yesterday made me question my dedication to being a good parent. Yesterday, I wanted to stick Grace in the basement and take a long, LOUD bath with a HUGE glass of wine at 10 am.

Instead, I started medicating. Rounds of hippie, homeopathic, chamomile-herb teething drops and Tylenol. I have no idea which one worked, but it was the first time in forever that she’s slept through the night.

Lots of parent’s seem to not believe in such things – well the Tylenol part of it anyway. I on the other hand, figure if I would take it myself, why wouldn’t I give it to Grace? In fact, it is one more thing that I love about Dr. H. His philosophy is that you can’t do your job as a parent if your not sane, so do whatever your comfortable with to stay sane.

So far, this morning is all smiles and sunshine. If the clouds start to roll in, at least I have a few more hours before it becomes my problem again.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Tale of the Boon

A child’s ability to absorb language is amazing. Gracie knows words that I am sure I didn’t teach her. Like No.

The new word that has me amazed, because it comes with object association too, is boon. Balloon to those who pronounce all the letters in a word, but a boon to Gracie.

I know she has heard this word before in Sandra Boynton’s Belly Button Book, but it is a book that we rarely get more than two pages into before Grace reclaims it and tosses it aside to fetch another.

Where did she learn boon from? How does she know what a boon is??

In the fruit and cake crescendo to the delightful three-year-old birthday party we attended Sunday, the snack room with decorated with balloons tied to the back of everyone’s chair.

I moved out of the way with Gracie to let the older kids march in and we observed through the plate glass.

All of a sudden there was pointing and shrieking.

Boon! Boon! Booooooonnnn!

Before we left, she spotted the balloons tied to goodie bags.

Boon! Boon! Booooooonnnn!

The entire way out to the car I was smacked in the face with her new pink boon. The entire ride home her new pink boon inspired laughter, but blocked my view out the rear window. For the rest of the day, the new pink boon was her sidekick.

This morning though, the boon was on it's last leg. It's lack of springy floatation warranted furrowed brows as Gracie tried to fling it into the air as a revitalization technique. No go. It plummeted back down. No more boon.

Now I am just left with the nagging questions of how she even knew what a balloon was and if this will be the start of screeching for balloons every time we walk past the floral department at the grocery store.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Dreaming, On a Friday Afternoon

Even before my Friday is officially over, I am going to announce that I have gotten more work done this week than I have in quite awhile.


Why am I applauding myself? Because it was only a three day week.

How does this happen?

Let me tell you.


I always (OK, sometimes) start off strong on Monday, but after 3 days I start to get tired. I become disenfranchised. I start doubting my mission and my work. Which makes me slow down. I hate it. I hate thinking that I hate what I’m doing for 8 hours a day, but that is how most of my weeks go.

This week though, thank you MLK & President Obama, it was only a three day work week, and my productivity is surpassing what I normally accomplish. Sure, I’m starting to feel the burnout, but I’m motivated by the fact that it is Friday instead of being discouraged by Wednesday.

I haven’t been this happy for no reason at all in a long time.

Maybe someone important will read this and decide that I will only have to work for 24 hours a week and still get paid for 40 from now on.

Maybe not, but a girl can dream.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Table Turning

Over the last week, Grace has developed her new favorite word. Much to my dismay it is 'no'.

No. No. No.

No. No. No.

It's driving me nuts.

I know it must occasionally slip out of our mouths, but I have been really conscious about not using the word 'no'. In fact, I am positive that I curse in front of her much more often than I say 'no'. I blame Gwen, a daycare cohort, for this word.

So in retaliation, for every No. No. No. that Gracie belts out, I counter with Yes. Yes. Yes.

She knows the difference. If you ask her if she wants ... say cookies ... the answer is a resounding Yes.

Today, while trying to put her down for an afternoon nap, Grace started pulling my hair.

I was frustrated. I snapped. I said, "Oww! No. No. No. That hurts Mama!"

Without missing a beat, she smiled, looked me square in the eye and said, "Yes. Yes. Yes."

Monday, January 19, 2009

Winter Wonderland

OK, maybe it's not really a winter wonderland.

I know my family is mocking my excitement over a quarter inch of snow, but give me a break. This is the first stick-to-the-ground snow we've had this season and I'm excited about it.

Oh the weather outside is frightful .... (not really, it's quite beautiful)
But the fire is so delightful .... (Mmmmm ... pasta.)
And since we've no place to go ....
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Painting My World

Yesterday I scraped. Today I painted.

And through it all, as always, I cursed the previous owners of our home.

I am convinced that wallpaper is the devil's creation. It is beyond my comprehension why on earth you would want to glue, and in this case I'm certain SUPER GLUED, paper onto walls.

Especially since I have seen very few wallpapers that I actually think are pretty. And then the ones that are pretty cost more than what we paid for all the furniture in our house, so I go back to the idea that wallpaper is the devil's creation.

Now my house is rid of this evil though.

No more mauve bathroom. No more dirty off-white hall. No more floral wallpaper. Just a simple Blue Mesa bathroom and a sunny Jersey Cream hall.

No frills. Slight mistakes here and there, but at least the mistakes are mine.

Friday, January 16, 2009

All By Myself

Matt has taken Gracie with him to visit his family in Chicago, so aside from a dog, this is the first time I will be alone in a long time.

And I am starting to get excited about it.

I am going out for a beer tonight. Normally, I wouldn’t have been able to do without a lot of pre-planning, followed by the anxiety of a crabby baby that night as my punishment for going out.

I am going to paint our powder room bathroom that has been driving me nuts since we moved into our home three years ago. Normally, this is forbidden due the combination of paint fumes and baby hands on wet pain.

I am going to sit on the couch and watch girly movies. Normally, Matt pouts and leaves the room when I watch anything that isn’t sports, food or news related, so his absence means I can camp out for an all day movie marathon.

I am going to take a really, really hot spa bath. Maybe I'll even add bubbles. Normally, the noise of the tub is guaranteed to piss off Grace, so our beloved tub has only been used 3 or 4 times in the last 15 months.

Ahh, finally a happy weekend of doing nothing.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Gracie's Grace's

Gracie L-O-V-E-S shoes. Which, frankly, makes me very happy. 'Shoes' (pronounced Sue) was one of her first words and is a constant object of playing, piling and taste testing in our house.

Since she has started walking though, the extra room in her first pair of shoes has disappeared.
Pretty much overnight. I checked to make sure that she had plenty of wiggle room everyday, but as of last weekend, the constant pressure on her tootsies have removed every centimeter of toe space.
So, as of next week, these are her new shoes.
Cute, huh? My mom was very pleased at the opportunity to be the one to purchase these sweet little things.

Their style name? Grace.

Loving the Love

Yesterday was Gracie’s 15 month doctor’s appointment.

The official word from Dr. H?

"She’s 30th percentile across the board for weight, height and head, but she has been that way since birth so she is right on track. Her verbal and motor skills are above average, and she is very social and outgoing which is a wonderful trait. She’s a beautiful, healthy, intelligent girl and you should be very proud of yourselves as parents."

Really. That is what he said to me, and that is why I love him.

So the statistics…. Grace is officially 21 pounds, 8 ounces and 29 1/2 inches long. My little weed.

She powered through the two immunizations and was rewarded with two lollipops and an Dora sticker. Not that she know who Dora is (thank God!) but she does appreciate anything that is sticky (which I think is her main attraction to the lollipops too.)

In all, it was a successful trip. See you in 3 more months.

Monday, January 12, 2009


My parent’s were here this past weekend. They stayed with us for 72 hours.

Maybe the problem is me and Matt.

We get so used to doing things our own way. We get so used to the freedom one gets from living 700 miles away from family. We get so used to be able to breathe, and while I love my parents, when they come it feels like I can’t breathe.

There is never a break when they stay at our house.

There is never a plan, unless we create it. If you give them options, they say ‘Oh, I don’t know / I don’t care, you choose.’

The problem with that is WE live here. IF we wanted to do these things we do them without the ordeal. Then everyday mundane things that I need to / want to / would be doing if they weren’t here also become an ordeal.

I start to get snippy. I start to shut down.

My mom, on her own, I can handle. I can go about my daily activities, with her in tow, much more easily.

My dad on the other hand, is a challenge.

We like to think of my dad as a cat. You know, the whole 9 lives thing. He has been given more chances at life that most people could ever dream of.

My dad is a Type 1 diabetic also. I will cut him some slack under the notion that he was 6 years old when diagnosed – 1957 – and the technology looks like something the Flintstones would have used compared to today. To add to it, from the stories I’ve heard (second hand), he and his condition, with blamed for a lot of what was wrong in his mother’s life.

I get that things were hard. I get that he was treated horribly. I do. I have sympathy.

What I don’t get is why he is in his current state. So much of it is preventable with a little bit of responsibility and proactivity. Neither of which he has ever attempted.

That is where my patience wears thin.

Your bored because you had to take early retirement? Get a hobby. Read the newspaper. DO something besides watching TV 12 hours a day and sleeping the other 12.

Physical activity is still hard for you? Go for a short walk. Go to the gym. Ride the recumbent bicycle that is 2 feet away from where you are watching TV. Pick up aroudn the house. The surgery and all it’s complications was over 3 years ago. So something besides sit there and complain.

You feel ill because your sugars fluctuate so much? Check your blood sugar! 10 times a day if you have too. Take responsibility for what your are putting in your body. Learn the effect that CARBS have on you. Learn the names and doses of the medicines that your take everyday, 3 times a day!

My mom made a comment to me that she hasn’t seen my dad so happy in a long time. That Gracie was having a wonderful effect on him. He also got visibly emotional when saying goodbye to her.

My gut response to this? Anger.

They are always welcome to come visit, but I am tired of feeling like I’ve been kicked after every visit. I cannot make their lives better. Grace cannot make them feel more fulfilled. More importantly, we shouldn't have to feel like that is on our shoulders. Shouldn’t that come from taking care themselves? I am tired of feeling like I have to fill some sort of unfulfilled void in their lives, especially in my dad’s case.

He has opportunity. He has gotten and keeps getting so many second, third, fourth … chances. He does nothing with them though. I don’t understand the point of wanting all the things that he wants, and then doing nothing with it when he gets it.

----- Stop ranting. Just breathe. Keep breathing. -----

That was my weekend. We did nothing. We went nowhere. We talked about nothing.

It should have been nice, huh? Normally I am lamenting that I don’t get to do those three things.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


During a hissyfit last night, I made a discovery.

Gracie has sprouted two more teeth, with an additional just days away from popping through the gums. (Normally she tries to bite me when I stick my finger in her mouth to explore for new teeth.)

We have all four front teeth on both top and bottom (eight total), and now the next two top right teeth have joined the party.

This brings the number up to ten. Ten teeth. And one is a molar. Hurray grinding!

OK kid, we are half way there! Only ten more to go!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

But It Dangles

Yesterday was a two-fer for the milestones.

The first, the official declaration of toddlerdom is major. The second, is a milestone that I’ve been thinking about already, but had no idea we would hit so soon.

Body parts. Interest in them. Discovery of them.

When I thought about this though, it was her own. Or mine. And she would be able to talk and ask questions.

Nope not my kid. At just shy of 15 months old, what did she do last night?

Barged in on her father in a non-dressed state (not a big deal), walked right up to him (big deal but only because of the newness of the walking) and grabbed hold of his … ahhh …. umm … manhood (big deal.)

No. No. In all the conversations we’ve been having about what to do when curiosity about body parts arises, we have decided to use actual names.

Grace grabbed Matt’s penis last night.

There. I said it.

Well, I typed it. It was still hard, even through my snickering. It is so hard to stop snickering.

At this point there is nothing to do. She doesn’t understand the concept of ‘private areas’ yet and I doubt there is even any point in trying to explain. She has a whole new perspective (literally) on life. There is so much more in her line of sight.

There was a thing dangling right in front of her. She’d be crazy NOT to grab, right?

While I know not very many people read this, any suggestions Internets? (Aside from Matt putting clothes back on faster.)

How do you handle this? How do we prepare for the questions to come?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Officially Official Now

We are the official proud parents of a Toddler now.

Yep, you read that right. At 14 months, 4 weeks and 3 days old, Grace has upgraded from four legs to two.

While yes, she has been walking for quite awhile, I kept telling myself that cruising isn’t quite the same thing as toddling. When she can cross a room like some crazy looking Japanese robot, then and only then, will she get the title.

That moment came tonight. My baby, I mean toddler, made the long walk from the front door all the way to the kitchen table.

Watch out world. She’s coming for you.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Whee! Wii! Whew.

Matt and I have been so good about limiting our spending lately.

Well, good for us anyway.

Since we started our spending crack-down in November, I don’t think I have spent more than $50 on things that I don’t “need” (yeah, I know, totally in quotes.)

Now we are getting itchy.

On Sunday we went to NES’s house for a Wii play date. We keep hesitating on the purchase of this pricey gaming system, because let’s face it, we loose interest in things quickly. (Ahemm… can you say Elliptical Machine that is collecting cobwebs in our basement.)

We loved the Wii though. How often, as adults, do you get to hula hoop? How often do you get to hula hoop in your living room? How often do you get to hula hoop in your living room with full knowledge that you look like and idiot, but just don’t care??


That’s how often.

But we did. We hula hooped! We skied! We Yoga-ed! We battled with NES’s family. And it was GREAT. We, as adults, actually PLAYED.

It was so much fun and as a couch potato slug, I love the idea of another source of motivation right in front of me to get off that couch after Grace goes to sleep. Sure, it’s not the same as getting on that said Elliptical or doing crunches, but I wasn’t doing that anyway.

So now we are facing some spendy dilemmas. The suckers are $300. Plus $130 for the Fit. We’ve been SO good. Now we are falling into a big time hissyfit of WANT WANT WANT. ME ME ME. NEED NEED NEED.

We will see my little Wii, I’m sure we will figure something out. If nothing else, I know where one lives and there is a fat little character with my name all over it.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Into the New Year


The holidays are officially over.

What do we have to show for it?

A wonderful Christmas with my brother and Gracie finally getting the concept of tearing at wrapping paper.

She did decide to start climbing the many large presents sent to her by Grandparents though, after getting tired just two presents into the pile.

A decadent New Years Eve. OK, Matt and I did go to bed at 10:30 on New Years, but hey, you have to be practical. That did not hinder our dinner of giant fillet mignon, shrimp that tasted just like lobster and two bottles of champagne though.

A holiday party with the best people we know. Due to the rescheduling, a good portion of our friends were still out to town, but the crowd that came was fantastic and delightfully low key.

So low key in fact, that pants were optional.

Well, only if you were age three or younger. Were pretty open, but don’t roll quite like that.

Now, things will slow down, right?

Oh, except for my parents flying out here this Thursday-Sunday, Matt & Grace flying back to Chicago the Friday after through Monday, then Matt's Uncle and cousins coming to visit the weekend after that.

How does February look for slowing down??

Friday, January 2, 2009

Time Marches On

Happy New Year!

I am excited about this New Year, and I think it is because I made a point out of NOT making any resolutions. What is the point?

We all want to loose weight.

We all want to do good things / be better people.

We all want our family and friends to prosper and be happy.

So what is the point of making resolutions that will only feed guilt and disappointment when I inevitably fail? We all falter, so why put quantification on the next 365 days?

I still have goals for 2009, though they are much more flexible and subjective this year.

1) I want to remember to spend more time living in the moment.

Grace is learning so fast and growing so quickly. Her vocabulary is ever expanding and each day she is steadier on her legs.

Yesterday she took 12 consecutive steps a few times. Tomorrow it will be even more. A few months from now she will be running around the house and into my arms. A few years from now she will be running out of the house and away from us.

Yesterday Matt and I were discussing plans for our basement. He thinks we should build another bedroom down there so when Grace is older she can have more space.

I freaked.

More space? More space!! Hell no. She is staying upstairs.

I want to slow down, calm down and appreciate that she is tugging on my pants to be held.

2) I want to drink more water.

OK, that does fall along the lines of a 'resolution', but I really don't expect myself to. I won't feel like a failure if I don't.

I hate water and am a Diet Coke junkie.

However, I am starting to see creases in my face (I refuse to call them wrinkles at 30) to accompany my ever expanding colony of silver hair and figure that if I can just start drinking A LITTLE bit more more during the week they will fill in and go away.