Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thursday Tidbits

The MIL chronicles are about to begin anew.  Long-time readers of this blog may remember when MIL and Pa came to visit us in Hawaii four years ago. 

MIL is arriving on Friday for another month-long visit.  Zeke hasn't seen her in four years, and Josie has never met her, so it will be nice for them to get to know their other grandmother.  And for J to spend time with his mother.

A month is a long time.  We do not have a big house (though we did create a guest room/office by moving Josie and Zeke into the same room, which they enjoy).  But at least I won't have a 92-year-old man sleeping on an air-mattress in my hallway this time, because Pa isn't coming for this trip (and I am not knocking Pa - he is a lovely man and I would welcome him). 

I have vowed not to be an asshole about this.  Everything will be fine.


Josie's pink frilly dress phase appears to have been short-lived.  My mother and I spent a frenzied week loading up her closet with cute little dresses and skirts, which she happily wore until last week.  This week she has insisted upon wearing pants to school. 

I can't win.


Yesterday after school J took the kids to Monkey Bizness.  While jumping around and playing, apparently some kid pushed and/or kicked Zeke in an effort to get him off of some piece of equipment.  Zeke went over to J, who told him that he hadn't seen what happened, but that Zeke would have to work it out with the kid.

Zeke went over to the kid, who was a lot bigger than Zeke, and shoved him hard on the shoulder, knocking him down onto his butt.  The kid left him alone for the rest of the night.

I'm not sure how I feel about this.


Another good month for my Beachbody business.  This month I gave myself a 60% raise over what I made in February, and am now covering one of the kids' daycare payments.  If you want in on this deal, let me know - it's incredibly fun and rewarding, not to mention lucrative.

Speaking of, I've got another challenge group starting April 16.  Celebrate getting your taxes filed by getting in shape for summer with a 60 day challenge.  In recent challenges, I've had people do so well that they not only lost tons of weight and felt great, but got off of thyroid and diabetes medication.  Pretty powerful stuff.


Tomorrow is a flex day.  I was going to go skiing (even though we've had such a shitty winter, snow-wise, that conditions are not good at all), but told J that I would stay home with him and get the house immaculate for his mother's arrival if I could go on Saturday morning instead.  Deal.

Happy Thursday, all!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Snips and snails and puppy dogs' tails

My experience as the parent of young children is that much of it is an exercise in perseverance - trying to endure the difficulties of a particular time, waiting for things to get better.  And I don't mean this in a bad way - I love my children to pieces and I enjoy my time with them.  But the early years, especially with two of them, are stressful and exhausting (not to mention expensive). 

I don't find the experience of caring for newborns to be particularly rewarding, so when they're tiny little blobs, and their existence is made up of naps and feedings and diaper changes, you're waiting for them to get a little bit older and start smiling and cooing and sitting up. 

Then you're waiting for them to crawl. 

Then you're alarmed by the fact that they can crawl, because this means that they can get into your shit and you can't just stick them on a blanket on the floor, leave the room, and expect them to be in the same place when you come back 3 minutes later. 

But, life is about progress, so then it's the walking.  Which is exciting, but with walking comes constant vigilance and covering of electrical outlets and worrying about stairs and open doors and skinned knees. 

Or you're waiting for them to learn how to talk.  Or to use the potty.  Or to stop whining all the time.

And then they turn 4.  Or more accurately, 4 1/2, which, as far as I can tell based upon my own experience, as well as the input of my friends who have children, is the Greatest Age Ever.

Seriously, if I could bottle the essence of what Zeke is like right now, it would be a powerful inducement for people without kids to abandon efforts at birth control and hop on the procreation train.  Because he is so unbelievably awesome right now I can hardly believe it.

It came on kind of suddenly.  In October, he was going through this emotion stage during which his behavior at school was occasionally so severe that it prompted his teacher (who I really like and who I do not think is an alarmist quack) to suggest that he might require an evaluation to determine if he might be eligible for special education.  As a special education lawyer, I know enough about disabilities that I didn't think there was any basis for that level of concern, but still.  Not a fun thing to hear about your kid.

Then, all of a sudden, maybe around December or early January, everything changed.  His daily reports from school were not, "oh, he had an OK day," or "the day was mostly fine," but rather, "he had an amazingly awesomely perfect day."  "Great day."  "Wonderful day - played nicely, got a lollipop from the teacher for being a great helper, was sweet to the new kid in class." 

Since that change, whenever it was a few months ago, Zeke has not had a single day at school where the report wasn't glowing.

It's been the same at home.  Not that he hasn't had his moments here and there -- he's still a little kid after all -- but overwhelmingly, he has been sweet and affectionate and funny and hilarious.  Bedtimes have been less stressful.  He is incredibly kind and helpful with Josie, who is 2 1/2 and going through her own drama.

Like this morning, Josie was fussing about what to wear.*  She kept going back and forth between this dress and that dress and that t-shirt.  Then she was fussing because she wanted her baby.  Then she couldn't find her cup of milk.  Then she wanted to wear her dinosaur shoes, then she didn't want to wear them.  Basically, she was being a massive pain in the ass and making us all late for school and work.

Zeke could see that I was getting annoyed and that Josie was starting to cry.  So he stepped in to save the day.  "Hey, Josie, want to brick it?"  He held out his fist so they could share a terrorist fist jab.  She blinked through her tears at him for a minute, and then held up her little fist and bumped it with his.  He gave her a smile and she started to giggle, and they did it again a few more times and all was right with the world.

Later at school, she was standing in her classroom door, crying because she felt we hadn't given each other sufficient cheek kisses before I left her room to go say goodbye to Zeke (we have a very European ritual, with the cheek kisses on each side).  Zeke's class was in the hallway, lining up to wash their hands before breakfast.  He saw Josie crying, and went over to her, put his arm around her neck, and pulled her head to his shoulder.  She put her arm around him and gave him a hug, and he kissed her cheek before going back with his classroom.  "It's OK, Josie.  I'll come visit you later."

I about plotzed.

I have the kids' school pictures up on my Facebook profile, and I was online chatting with a friend about how resoundingly my NCAA bracket sucks, when I clicked on the picture of Zeke.  He's got the biggest freaking shit-eating grin on his face, like his head is about to explode from happiness.  And it made my heart skip a beat, because that picture?  That picture is exactly what is so wonderful about Zeke.  It totally sums up every part of his 4-1/2-year-old awesomeness.  His enthusiasm for life, his sweetness, his cheeky rascally nature (every other word out of his mouth is still "toot" or "poop" or "fart"), the goodness of his soul.  And that's the part that's so important to me, that gives me so much naches -- that he is genuinely a kind person.

I want to stop the movement of time and keep him at this age.  Like Superman did in the movie, when he made the earth turn backwards to save Lois Lane from dying in the ditch that her car fell into.  (And speaking of, we re-watched that movie recently because it's on streaming Netflix. I had fond memories of it, but it is a seriously cheesy piece of shit -- it was very disappointing.  But I digress.) 

With Zeke, I don't have that feeling that I'm so used to having, of "Jesus, can we just get through the Terrible Twos?" or "is he ever going to be toilet trained?" or "does he have an emotional disability?"  I want him to stay the way he is, for at least a little while, because he's so, so great right now.

But of course, he could get even better, so I guess I should welcome the passage of time.

In any event, he's a keeper.**

* The "pink dresses only" dealio lasted about a week and a half (long enough for her grandmother and me to load up her closet with frilly dresses), and now it's hit or miss. Two days ago, it was a pink dress. Yesterday, it was a pair of leggings and a t-shirt with a dinosaur on it. Today, it was another pink dress, and a pink shrug because she was chilly.

** And so is his sister.  She just has the disadvantage of going through the Terrible Twos when Zeke is at the Greatest Age Ever, so she's suffering by comparison.  But she's still an adorable, funny little monkey and I love her like crazy.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Sugar and spice and everything nice

Josie has probably worn a dress 2 or 3 times in her entire life.  I think dresses on little babies that aren't even sitting up or are still crawling are kind of silly, because the end result is this big wad of fabric up around the baby's armpits and either skinned knees or ripped tights from crawling.  So she never wore them as a baby.

Then at some point last year, I had a pair of cute winter tights that someone had given her, so I was getting her ready for school and put her in a little jumper and some tights.  She was so incensed she practically ripped my face off, and immediately started pulling off the tights and tugging at the dress like I had tried to put her in a straitjacket.

I figured, great, that's one less item of clothing that I have to worry about buying.  Plus she's such a tough little monkey, having her wear jeans and leggings and t-shirts kind of fit the tom-boyish vision I have of her in my head. 

My mother, however, was deeply dismayed.  There are few things she enjoys more than buying cute clothes for her grandchildren, and the "no dresses" dealio severely limited her efforts.

Anyhoo, Josie's standard uniform is a pair of jeans (skinny or straight leg) or leggings, with a short sleeve t-shirt over a long-sleeve t-shirt, and a pair of sneakers.  That's what I put her in this morning.

Then as I was puttering around drinking my morning smoothie and getting Zeke ready for school, I noticed that Jo had taken one of her little toddler-bed-sized fitted sheets and was draping it around herself. 

"I'm a girl, Mama!"

"You are a girl.  And is that your pretty dress?"

"Yes, I wear a dress!"

"Well, you look very nice.  That's a beautiful dress."

She twirled and pranced around.

When it was time to go, I took the sheet from her and started to fold it up to put it back in the laundry basket.

Josie lost her shit.  She cried and cried and cried.

"I want my dress! I want to be a girl!"

A light bulb went on over my head.  I kneeled down and gave her a hug and a kiss.

"Honey, do you want to wear a dress to school?"

"Yeeeesss..."  she sobbed on my shoulder.

"OK, then.  Let's go find you a dress!"

Luckily, I had a couple hanging in her closet that were the right size (I'm assuming they were gifts that people had sent or hand-me-downs from friends, because God knows I didn't buy them).  She was wearing a pair of dusty pink skinny jeans and a light pink long-sleeved t-shirt, so I found a cute little pink dress with butterflies on it and put it on over what she was wearing.

She's still recovering from the trauma at this point and wiping away tears, but the beginnings of a smile are starting to show.  Plus the light in the hallway is bad and she rarely stands still long enough to snap a picture that isn't blurry, so this was the best I could do.
The transformation in her appearance and her demeanor was immediate.  Suddenly she just looked so pretty to me (not that I don't think she's gorgeous, but she looked girly-pretty), and she was so, so happy.  She kept twirling and checking herself out in the mirror and grinning from ear to ear, saying, "I'm wearing a dress!"

"Well, let's get you to school so you can show all your friends your pretty dress!"

When I told Jessica, her teacher, about it, she said that Josie has been playing a lot of dress-up lately, and saying that "she wants to be a girl" and wear a dress.  So I guess that's where we're headed.

Which is fine with me.  Maybe she'll even let me do something with her hair.

And of course, my mother is thrilled.