31 May 2005

A date with Sammy

Yesterday Zoë, my husband and I all went for a "playdate" with Zoë's first friend and playmate at daycare, Sammy. The two of them were born about 2 weeks apart and were the same daycare class as babies. They shared everything from the age of 6 months to about 2 years and they just loved eachother. They were so cute together.

Here is a picture of them eating cupcakes at Zoë's first birthday party at the daycare:
Zoe and Sammy

It is getting hard to remember her being that little. They have both grown up so much and it was fun to see them together again. At first they were shy with each other, but they did warm up and play together.

Sammy has a swimming pool at his house and when we arrived yesterday everyone was already swimming. Of course, Zoë wanted to go swimming too and I could hardly deny her but unfortunately, I hadn't thought to bring swimming things along. Luckily Sammy's mom was able to help out by lending me a suit and Zoë a swimmy-diaper. The water temperature was actually about 10 degrees warmer than air temperature so it felt quite good to be in the water.

Zoë cannot yet swim so I had put her on a raft where the middle section sinks down into the water so it was like she was in a floating kiddie pool and I could pull her around the pool. At one point I turned my back on her for a moment as I was pulling the raft toward the stairs and when I turned around I saw she had fallen off the raft and was floating in the water -- head completely covered. At that moment time completely slowed down. It seemed to take so much time for my brain to process what I was seeing and then react. I saw her just seeming to hang in the water with her hands above her head and I had to wait for my brain to catch up and tell me what I was seeing. I felt like I was moving so slowly toward her in the water and she was just hanging there. As soon as I reached her I pulled her up and held her tight. She was fine, a little scared, but not at all panicked. She didn't even want to get out of the pool. My husband saw the whole thing from the pool deck and said it all happened very quickly and that she was barely on her own in the water for 5 seconds, but to me it felt like minutes had passed. There were 4 other adults in the pool at the time and I think only one of them even noticed the whole thing. That must be how quickly it went by. It was such a strange feeling to be almost in slow motion. I didn't have time to panic or anything I just reacted and yet it all seemed to take me so much longer than I thought it should. My husband says there is some scientific research on this kind of thing, but I don't know -- to me it was so surreal and so scary.

27 May 2005

Summer reading list

Looks like this is going to be a really good summer for reading. There are several books coming out that I am really looking forward to (in no particular order):

Until I Find You : A Novel by John Irving
I'm not sure, but I think I have read every word John Irving has ever published. My love affair with him started way back when I picked my father's copy of The Hotel New Hampshire off the shelf. That was quite an eye-opener for an 11 year-old.

A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
I have been waiting for another novel from Nick Hornby. However, I don't think he will ever top High Fidelity.

The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella.
Yes, it's "chicklit", but I like Sophie Kinsella's work. It's good like candy is good -- and anyone who knows me knows how I feel about candy.

The Other Woman by Jane Green.
See above comment about "chicklit." I have read all of Jane Green's books -- no reason to stop now when she has never let me down.

Goodnight Nobody : A Novel by Jennifer Weiner.
Actually this book is not coming out until September 20, but I that is still technically summer. I have read all of Jennifer Weiner's books too so again, there is no reason to stop now. She is a consistently good author with a real feel for presenting a sympathetic point of view towards almost all women. I find that a lot of women authors of her type of books tend to only have one (or two at most) women characters that are palatable -- the rest are just not likeable and often comic book evil.

Currently I am reading Object Lessons by Anna Quindlen.
This book is kind of a disappointment compared to her other novels. It is so depressing that I am not even sure I will finish it.

24 May 2005

How much stuff will fit on this bed?

Last night Zoë had a new game. It is called "How much stuff will fit on my bed." After I put her to bed and kissed her goodnight at least 10 times and stayed in the room for several "half a minute more, please," she apparently got out of bed and cleared out all the blankets and sheets that were in her dresser and piled them on top of her bed. She also gathered an entire shelf's worth of books, the throw blanket from the chair, and several stuffed animals. I didn't hear any of this activity and she did it all in the dark. Needless to say, I was quite surprised when I went in to do my usual last check of the night. There she was sleeping like an angel surrounded by all that stuff! It was so funny -- Rob and I were hysterical and he even got the video camera to document the occurrence. It's a good thing she has a double bed -- it would have been awfully crowded with all of that stuff in a twin bed.

My question is what does this behavior mean? Is it just normal, quirky 3 year-old behavior? Could it be some kind of insecurity? I really don't know. Maybe it is a forecasting of her genius? :-)

My other question: is there anything more angelic and peaceful looking than a sleeping child? We have so many pictures of Zoë taken while she is sleeping that I could probably put together an album of just those photos.

Zoe napping

23 May 2005

Sorting it out

Almost every night for awhile now after we put Zoë to bed and we've left the room, she gets up and pulls books from her bookshelf to take into bed with her. She wraps the books up in one of her “blankies”, puts them under her pillow or just stacks them on the bed. What the heck is that about? When I ask her about it, she doesn't explain and I’m not even sure that if that is can't or won't. I really don’t mind her doing this it is just really puzzling behavior.

The other quirky thing she is doing a lot now is taking all of her Legos – piece-by-piece out of the Lego box and into a bag or another box or several cups – whatever containers are available. Same thing with the wooden blocks from her Pattern Blocks and Boards toy. Generally with those pieces she will separate them by shape first and then assign them different containers. I know sorting is not unusual for kids, but still... The best thing about the sorting is her intensity with it. If left undisturbed, she will literally not look up from this kind of sorting for 45 minutes. Anyone who knows a 3 year-old will tell you that is a lifetime.

Neither of these habits bother me, but the clean-up can be kind of a pain. Especially when all the little Lego pieces get thrown into the same grocery bag with the play food and the blocks. Its my own 45 minute sorting session. I know, I know, I should have her help clean up, but the problem is mine here. She doesn't leave these things all over in a mess -- generally they are put away in whatever containers they ended up in. Its just my own compulsive behavior that prefers the Legos return to the Lego box, etc.

17 May 2005

Wearing white pants

I think I have hit a milestone in my quest toward becoming a grown-up. Today I managed to wear white pants to work and I did not sit in anything or spill anything. Additionally, I even wore both the correct color and style of underwear so that it is not visible through my pants in any fashion. Silly as it sounds, I am quite proud of myself. I fell in love with these particular white pants one very cold and snowy March day when actual spring felt very far off. In the past few weeks they have been of some concern to me because they were quite expensive and I was feeling afraid to wear them. Now I know I can do it. Yay me!

Now, if only my white pants wearing ability was matched by my parenting skills. It has been a long stretch of bad behavior from Zoë lately. She is starting to get it in bits and pieces, but for some reason I just can't seem to get her to listen and to stop whining. And man, what is with the hunger strikes?! It's as if the "terrible two's" have returned. I really don't want her to be a brat, but I really hate feeling like I am reprimanding her all of the time. Her new thing is that when she starts to sense that I am less than thrilled with her behavior she tells me that she loves me.

16 May 2005

Dining out

When does it happen that your kid goes from seeing eating in a restaurant as a special kind of torture to seeing it as a special treat?

We made the mistake of taking Zoë out for dinner last night and it was another horrible experience. When will I learn??? Why can't I believe that she actually does not like to eat at a restaurant? She behaved abominably. Every 30 seconds I had to reprimand her for something. And you can forget her actually eating anything. She is back to her liquid diet. Juice and milk only.

I had lunch with my neighbor today and we were discussing awful restaurant experiences with the kids (I brought it up, of course) and from that conversation I think I know why it baffles me that Zoë doesn't like eating out -- and possibly where I have gone wrong. My parent's never took us anywhere. Getting to eat at the local diner once in a blue moon was a really, really big treat. It wasn't that they were cheap, I don't think. I think they just didn't want to deal with the kids out in public. So, any chance we did get was so amazing. It was an experience to revel and you did not dare misbehave for fear of never going out again.

Of course, here is the double-edged sword -- in order for me to instill the same feeling in Zoë I will have to stop taking her out which means I will have to stop going out. I really like to get out for dinner once or twice a week, but I guess I am going to have to give that up for awhile now. Darn. Sometimes it stinks to be the grown-up.

12 May 2005

This is your brain on motherhood

All week I have been meaning to write about the op-ed piece that appeared in the Times on Sunday "This Is Your Brain on Motherhood." Aptly it appeared on Mother's day written by Katherine Ellison. She discusses the common myth that modern-day parenting somehow makes you stupid and points out the dangers of expressions like "pregnancy brain" especially in the workplace. The meat of the piece starts with this:
What if parenting really isn't a zero-sum, children-take-all game? What if raising children is actually mentally enriching for mothers - and fathers?

This is, in fact, what some leading brain scientists, like Michael Merzenich at the University of California, San Francisco, now believe. Becoming a parent, they say, can power up the mind with uniquely motivated learning. Having a baby is "a revolution for the brain," Dr. Merzenich says.
Yes! Parenting does make you smarter, more creative and more in tune to your emotional state of being. It makes me so happy to see that this piece has been in the top 25 most emailed articles on the Times website all week. Lots and lots of people are reading it and sending it on and hopefully agreeing with it. I may just have to go out and get Ms. Ellison's book: "The Mommy Brain: How Motherhood Makes Us Smarter." I love a good motivational and affirming read.

11 May 2005

10 minutes before 4

It's roughly ten minutes before 4 and it seems my brain has signed off for the day. I cannot seem to focus on work at all. The best I can do is write about how unfocused I feel.

It is a sunny spring day here and I had a lovely lunch with one of my stay-at-home mom friends and I just haven't recovered from that diversion in the day. I guess I do still sometimes wish to be a stay-at-home mom. Mostly for the freedom of it. I don't think the work is any easier, but at least you are definitely the boss. I don't know if I would be happy or not having never tried it, but I think working part time would probably be the ideal situation. My hope is that by the time Zoë is in first or second grade I will be able to work a shorter day and be there when she gets home from school. I want to do all that after school stuff with her even if it is just driving her to practices or whatever. Theoretically, it could happen. And now that I am working so much closer to home, the possibility of it really working out is even greater.

I can't get a real feel for how things are going at this new job. I think they are going well, but I can't be sure as I haven't received any real feedback. Not sure when that will ever come. But if I am hoping for anything positive I think I better try and find a way to get my head back into the game today.

10 May 2005

It's a boys world after all

The new job is going well, but for one detail. The "boys club" is alive and well here. It is so intensely frustrating. Not to mention somewhat depressing and slightly disheartening. I am trying to just accept it right now, but without giving up hope. It's not that I feel I will outright be not granted a promotion, etc., because of my chromosomal status, but I just wish it weren't so obvious.

That is why I am so darn pleased that the final two contestants on The Apprentice are women. Hooray! I don't even care who wins, because I think they are both really very talented. Actually, I can't even decide who I want to win and I don't think I'll make up my mind until after Thursday night's show. Tana is totally representin' for the moms -- not to mention being an amazing sales person, but Kendra is amazing with those marketing ideas. You go girls!

09 May 2005

Time for a haircut

My husband called about an hour ago and from the tone of his voice I seriously thought someone had died. I had good reason to think this as he had to go to his parent's house last night to tend to his mother who had a nosebleed that wouldn't stop. But that is an entirely different subject for another time.

"Honey, (long pause during which I wonder who is dead) I am so mad," he says.
"Why?" I asked rather alarmed.
"Zoë used her scissors to cut her own hair," he seethed.
"Oh!" I burst with relief.

Apparently she did quite a job on herself, but honestly you would have thought she set the rug on fire or spit at him like those awful kids on SuperNanny. I think the part that made him angriest is that when he came back into the room, the first thing she said to him was "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have done that." His interpretation is that she knew better, but I kind of think she didn't really. She only knew better after the fact. She is hardly the first kid to cut her own hair. I did it. Everyone does it. Luckily she's only three so its really not a big deal. Not like my friend's little sister who at age 11 cut her own bangs while watching TV one afternoon and then had to face middle school the next day.

The good thing is that it is usually a lesson learned once that never has to be repeated. However, I'm not sure my husband will recover. I instructed him to take her for a haircut and that will make it look a little better. He seemed to be a little comforted by this idea. I know he wouldn't be nearly so upset if this hadn't happened on "his watch." I can't help giggling over the whole thing and I can't wait to see what her hair looks like! I will be sure to take lots of pictures for good reminders. Too bad I was hoping to let her hair grow a little longer this summer...

06 May 2005

Tell me a story...

I am starting to dread the words "tell me a story...". These days Zoë constantly wants me or my husband or someone to tell her a story. She names the characters and usually this situation and then she expects a story. Not just one story, however. As soon as you finish one, she asks for the next. I don't mind most of the time, but sometimes I just can't do it. Out of desperation I have invented a few characters. There is Billy the Bear, Echo, Echo Echo, Big Tall Bear, and all of their respective mothers and fathers. My husband usually tells stories that center around our dog, Spanky, and his pals Russel, Rusty, Hank and Spike the cat. My mother can usually get away with Goldilocks or the The Three Little Pigs. She just can't get enough of these ridiculous stories.

Yesterday I had a brainwave about the situation. I am a big fan of books on tape (books on my iPod now) so I was thinking that might be a good solution for her. I am going to get a few kids stories and see how she likes them. They might be annoying to listen to over and over, but at least I won't be on the spot to make up a story every time. Plus, it is another use for my amazing iPod.

Speaking of iPods, I know 2 people who have recently purchased them and still haven't taken them out of the box! I mean really, that is just criminal. I'm not sure, but I think your iPod should be revoked after a certain point. It's just plain negligence.

03 May 2005

If you're lucky and you know it...

It was one of those nights tonight. Zoë was intent on behaving as badly as possible and my fuse got shorter and shorter until I lost it when she was brushing the newly-shaven dog hard enough to make him yelp and when I asked her to stop she did not. I yelled, she went to her time-out corner crying hysterically. Ugh. These are the times that try parents's souls. A few more dramatic outbursts ensued including the mini-tantrum over not being allowed any dessert (as if!) and having to put pajamas on even though it wasn't dark out yet.

After she was finally asleep and I was feeling sorry for myself for having to endure such trials I sat down to read my email. Suddenly things were snapped back into focus for me and I realized just how lucky I am when I read that my friend just found out that his yet unborn baby' s spine and heart are not developing properly. They founds some abnormalities in the ultrasound. My kid might be a pain in the ass sometimes, but there is no question that she is healthy. Having been through a few relatively minor health issue with Zoë I can barely imagine how awful this must be for my friend and his wife. I will remember to count my lucky stars tonight. Perhaps I can send a few his way?

02 May 2005

Bye-bye Crib

Yesterday a major event in a long list of signs that all say my daughter is growing up occurred...we took apart and removed the crib from Zoë's room. We also took the changing pad off the dresser. All vestiges of babyhood have been eradicated -- to the basement. This is the final relief to the near panic attack I had the evening after my baby shower when my apartment was completely taken over by baby paraphenalia. Bottles, stroller, carseat, bibs, bathtub, onesies, pack 'n play, swing, exersaucer, ad infinitum. I simply could not fathom that a person so little needed so much damn stuff.

It's back to work today after a weekend that was mostly a complete rain-out. I am still tired from last week so it is a little hard to maintain the enthusiasm today. Luckily, I don't have too many meetings so I can catch up a bit.

Best recent purchase is my Logic3 I-Station iPod Dock and Speaker Station. I love having tunes at my desk without CDs and without headphones. It's music liberation!

Speaking of music, have you heard that Gwen Stefani song, "Rich Girl"? It's a great song, but it makes me laugh because I also kind of picture Topol (a la Fiddler on the Roof the movie) singing it. Can you see it too?