27 June 2005

The Waterslide

In the last year we have become friends with out neighbors two houses down. They have a little girl, Hannah, who is just about Zoë's age and we started getting them together for playdates this past fall. Over the course of the playdates Hannah's mother, Sally, and I got to talk quite a bit and she is a very lovely person. Sally's husband Ted helped us with the snow all winter because he has a snow blower. And they also have a little boy called Jack who just turned 6 and is very sweet.

This summer we have been hanging out with them more. Since I started my new job Sally and I now work close to each other so we have met for lunch a few times. And our two families have had dinner a few times. They are a lot of fun to be with and I feel lucky to have such good neighbors. The kids and the adults all get along very well.

This past Saturday was Jack's birthday party and we were invited over after the party to help try out Jack's birthday present. Ted and Sally bought him the Six Flags Banzai Falls Water Slide as a birthday present. This thing is awesome. I only wish I'd had something like that as a kid. The kids all loved it, but for me, of course, the best part was watching Zoeë.

In typical Zoë fashion she spent about an hour circling the slide. She watched the other kids go up and down, she played in the water at the bottom, and she climbed up to the top a few times and then climbed back down again. There were 3 little boys including Jack and 2 little girls -- Hannah and another. Hannah wanted no part of the slide, but all the other kids were going down repeatedly. Finally, after no special moment, just enough time spent assessing, Zoë sat herself at the top of the slide. She sat for about 5 minutes and then she went for it and at the bottom after she splashed into the freezing cold water, she had the biggest grin on her face. She ran around to the back and slid down about 50 more times until her lips were literally blue from the cold water. Despite shivering, she did not want to stop. That night all she could talk about was the slide. And the next morning she wanted to go right back to their house and slide some more. Luckily, Sally called to say they were going to set the slide up again in the afternoon if we wanted to come over. As if it were a question! It was fantastic to watch Zoë have so much fun. If I let her, I think she would keep sliding until she just dropped -- either from exhaustion or hypothermia.


24 June 2005

Watching the trains

Yesterday I had an on-site training class for most of the day and at the end of the class (around 4 pm)I offered to drive the instructor to the train station. To get to the train station I have to drive right by Zoë's daycare. My orignal plan was to then go back to my office, answer a few emails and then head out for the day. However, on the way back from the train, I just couldn't drive by daycare again and not pick up Zoë so, I stopped and got her. She was so excited to see my "work friends."

When we got there she played with all the little toys I have in my office, she played with the watercooler, she wandered around, but funniest of all, she flirted with my boss. It was so sweet. I think the two of them fell for each other instantly. You know, in a 3-year-old crush on 40-year-old kind of way. Seeing that the two of them were enjoying each other's company, I offered to drive my boss to the train station (even though I had just come from there). He happily accepted and off we went.

Zoë continued to flirt in the car insisting that my boss open her lollipop and that my boss pick up the ball she dropped. He was happy to oblige. We said good-bye at the station and just as I was rounding the corner I noticed that my boss had left a bag on the floor so I headed back to the station to see if I could catch him. I parked and got Zoë out of the car and told her we were going to go up on the platform to look for my boss. She was so excited. We easily found him and returned his bag and then Zoë said she wanted to see a train. So we took at seat on a bench and waited for the train. She was cute sitting on the edge of the bench, back ramrod straight and so excited over seeing a train. We chatted with my boss until the train came and then he got on and we waived good-bye. Zoë was amazed by the size of the train and a little unsure about my boss getting on, but overall she was enthralled and waived enthusiastically as the train departed the station.

I'm not sure I ever would have thought to do that if we weren't actually taking the train, but it was so much fun for her that we'll have to do it again. Plus, I am sure she will not mind seeing my boss off again.

22 June 2005

Dare I even ...

...say how many hours I waste while I am at work.

No. I won't say.

However, in my entire office job career I have yet to regularly fill 40 hours a week with actual work nor have I ever been able to figure out what everyone else is doing all day. Especially the people who seem so darn busy. I have only one friend who will admit to the same lack of work to do at her job, but I suspect there are others. It is definitely some kind of badge of honor to be overworked. I do my best to fake it. My husband once tried to convince me that it was because I was so much smarter than everyone else, but I really find that hard to believe. I have employed many tricks to slow myself down, but I am still often left with so much darn time to fill. Right now I could leave for the day and still not be behind tomorrow and it is only 2:45 PM.

3:35 PM -- Less than an hour later and I in a mild panic that someone might read this who has influence over my career. Not that I have legions of readers or anything, but you never know who could be looking, right? We'll see if I can maintain the courage to keep this post as a part of my blog. It might have to become one of the "lost episodes."

20 June 2005

Good enough for ice cream

It seems that Zoë has done a complete 180 in the behavior department. Just around lunchtime my husband called to say that he thought maybe Zoë was replaced in the night with a pod version or something because she was being uncannily good all day. (I knew I should have played hooky today!) He said that she was so good that she deserved ice cream and asked if I wanted to meet them at Stew Leonard's for a treat. How could I resist an offer like that?

(BTW, Husband has Monday's off from work in case you're wondering.)

Turns out, he was right. She was a delight to be around. She listened. She sat and ate her ice cream. She wasn't fresh once. She didn't whine or cry for no reason. After we finished our ice cream we walked over to the petting zoo and then when it was time to go she didn't argue or complain at all. Amazing! Hooray! The good Zoë has returned!

I really, really hope it lasts until I get home tonight...

Go to your room

Father's Day started out so nicely yesterday. Husband and I had been out Saturday night to a fancy seafood place in SONO that served delicious blue drinks in martini glasses. Dinner was a Kobe beef burger -- I always wanted to try Kobe beef and was not disappointed. Dessert was had at Cold Stone Creamery. Yum! Zoë slept until after 7:30am. We all went out for a nice walk after breakfast and the weather was sunny and cool. It seemed like the whole day would just be calm and relaxing -- exactly what I wanted for Husband on his day. Until...

Zoë refused to nap. She is over 3 so ordinarily that wouldn't necessarily ruin an evening, but my father, my brother and his wife and daughter were all due to come over in the afternoon so I knew it was going to be a problem. Zoë has a hard time when her cousin comes to visit. It arouses the green-eyed monster in her. Especially since she is used to being the focal point for the grandparents. I do understand that part, but the way she expresses her frustration with not getting all the attention is to, of course, act out. I felt like all I did was yell at her yesterday afternoon and evening. At one point I stepped outside to see my husband pulling her aside and saying "Don't you ever spit at me again, you understand?" And that was the last straw for me. I took her inside and I told her to go to her room and not to come out. I told her to wait until I came and got her and I warned her not to make a mess. This is the first time I have ever banished her to her room and it was hard on her and on me too. Banishment was my mother's punishment of choice when I was a kid. I never said I wouldn't do it, but doing it just then reminded me of how I felt when my mother did it to me. It was very lonely and scary to wait to get yelled at some more. I left Zoë up in her room for about 15 minutes and then I went up and sat down on the floor with her and I told her that spitting was absolutely not allowed. I didn't yell, but I did make her apologize to her father, which she did quite contritely for a 3-year-old. For the most part things improved from that point on, but I was on top of her every second so that was completely exhausting for me. I have to say, I was happy when she finally went to bed for the night. I hate when I feel that way. I hate when I feel all I did was reprimand her all day.

Happily this morning was much better. Zoë was back to her sweet self and feeling very cuddly as we sat on the couch watching Little Bear together before I had to leave for work. I was incredibly tempted to take a "sickie" just to spend the day with her.

17 June 2005

Butterfly Kisses

Every year around father's day they start playing that song Butterfly Kisses. I cannot explain the affect that song has on me because I really don't understand it. I'm not a father. I never gave butterfly kisses to my father. My daughter doesn't give butterfly kisses. I don't even like country music! But every darn time I hear that song it makes me cry. Seriously. The tears well up and I cannot control it. It is so silly.

Last night I was giving Zoë a bath and I had the radio on in the bathroom and Butterfly Kisses came on and I just started to cry right there in the bathroom with Zoë watching me. I tried to stop myself and I tried to hide it, but I didn't do a very good job. Then Zoë said, "But Mom, I love you." And I that only made it worse. I had to just let the tears flow and hug and kiss a wet and soapy kid.

You try explaining to a 3-year-old why you're crying over a song.

You can hear a sample of the song here. Or read the lyrics here.

15 June 2005

It all started with Baby Doll...

My daughter thinks of the craziest names for her toys. I wish I knew where she came up with half of them and the other half are more than obvious which gives them their own strangeness.

I think it started with the baby doll I gave her for Christmas 2 years ago. Her name is, of course, Baby Doll.

Next came Pokey and Peekey -- two large stuffed dogs. I believe Pokey is the purple one and Peekey is blue. Pokey came from one of my Montreal trips when we went to La Ronde Amusement Park. I won him at the horse race game where you have to shoot water pistols into a hole to get your horse to move. Not sure how, but I managed to win.
Peekey came from a Toys 'R Us trip that was a reward for some potty training milestone.

Spookette is a stuffed worm/snake (not sure which) that is meant to be an infant's toy.

Spookess is a Dapper Dan type of rabbit that has a zipper, velcro, a button, etc.

Can't leave out:
Katie Doll -- brought home from another Montreal trip and immediatel banished for reasons that were never clear. Luckily Katie Doll found love with my niece.
Patrick (another baby doll -- a girl baby doll)
Mooka (a big piece of plastic tubing -- don't ask)
The complete animal friends bowling set which includes: Squeaky (mouse), Checker Bear, Justin, Justy, Rusty and some others I forgot.

And I believe I have already mentioned our strollers: Strolly and Tray.

I will be sure to add to this list just to keep a record.

6/16/05 update
I can't believe I forgot the two cows: Jacques and Jacques 2.

Thought of another one: Eric the aligator

One more: Farmer the hobby horse

13 June 2005

Behind Everyman

ZoesMom blog's first book review...

Last night I finished reading David Israel's debut novel Behind Everyman. The first thing I have to say is that I am sorry it is over. I wanted to keep reading, but once I read through all the acknowledgements and even the blurb about the type I realized the only thing left was the back cover. I gave that one more read and then put the book down at last.

I really enjoyed the 2nd person point of view because it really made me feel like I was in this guy's head. Being a woman, I'm not sure I have ever had that perspective before and it was extremely interesting. Mr. Everyman is an engaging character that immediately won my interest and sympathies. I rooted for him every step of the way and the story felt very honest. I'd love to be able to get into my husband's head in the same way.

The incredible attention to detail was my favorite part -- especially in describing his morning coffee routine and the elevator and all the office scenes. That level of detail reminded me of Nicholson Baker (without the bizarre sex).

I look forward to reading more of Mr. Israel's work. I hope he has a long career. And now I will do as I do with all books I have read and really enjoyed and give it to someone else to read.

10 June 2005

morning walks

I usually go out for a walk in the mornings now that the nicer weather is here and I don't have my horribly long commute anymore. I try to get out of the house by 6:15am and if Zoƫ is awake by that time I will take her with me in her stroller. (Incidentally, she has two strollers both of which she has named. There is Strolly and there is Tray. Tray is the stroller that has a little cup holder and snack tray on it.) The streets are usually rather quiet in my neighborhood at that time of the morning so the only noise is the occasional passing car. My usually very talkative and noisy daughter is also very quiet on these morning walks. She is completely lulled by the motion and the quiet and she usually just looks around and barely says a word for the entire walk. Like this morning, I often wonder what she is thinking about. Is she just absorbing the scenery and wondering about all the houses and the people that live in those houses as I sometimes do? Or is she thinking about something else like her friends from daycare or our upcoming trip to (something I know is not ever far from her mind)? Does she think about me and my husband? What does go on in her head? I guess I'll never really know for sure. It is funny to me to think of her having these independent thoughts.

06 June 2005

Hugh Jackman has a wife??

At the end of the Tony awards last night, after making a silly joke about Paris Hilton, show host, handsome Hugh Jackman said he just got a look from his wife. Huh?? Because I would have sworn that Mr. Jackman was as gay as any musical theater loving boy I have ever known. Maybe she's just a front so he can keep on being Wolfman as well as dancing and singing to "Gotta Dance"? But in the face of all the wonderful open gayness present in full-force at last night's award show, I would be surprised that would be tolerated in the show's host. The whole thing was just very confusing.

Speaking of the Tony Awards, Liev Schreiber has evolved into one very handsome man. I have always felt that he is an extremely talented actor, but maybe a little nebbishy. Not anymore. I know he's dating a beautiful actress, but her name escapes me now -- in any case I see her point now.

Also at the Tony Awards was Mr. Edward Albee. He's amazing. I will always regret getting rejected from UT Austin and not having the opportunity to be in the same theater department as him. And I loved what he said about being happy to get the lifetime achievement award before he actually died.

Tylenol PM saved my life

There was an article in the Sunday Times titled "Sleep Anxiety Leads Many to the Medicine Cabinet." It was about the increasing number of women using sleep aids -- especially prescriptions. The article proposes that this might not be a good thing and that finding non-drug related therapies was probably more healthy, beneficial and long-lasting. They may be right, but let me share my story with you now...

Sleep has never come easily to me. I can even remember lying in bed at night playing with my dolls in the dark for what seemed like hours. After my daughter was born -- like all new parents -- my sleep was thrown a huge curveball. By around 8 or 12 weeks my daughter was sleeping a good 6 or seven hour stretch at night which qualified as sleeping through the night in my book, but I found I still couldn't sleep.

When my daughter was just a newborn, the Elizabeth Smart story was all over the news and it fed right into my anxieties. I would lie awake in fear that someone would break into our apartment and try to steal my daughter. I would make my husband check the dead bolt on the door 2 or 3 times. I would go around making sure all the windows were locked. Despite being utterly exhausted -- especially after I returned to work from my maternity leave -- I could not sleep through the night. Even after that fear faded I would just lie there not sleeping. Whatever little tricks and patterns I had created for myself over the years to help me get to sleep were rendered impotent in the face of all the new fears and responsibilities of motherhood -- not to mention trying to maintain my career.

I had quite a long commute at my previous job. Lots of sleep or little sleep, I am a morning person so the affects of a bad night's sleep don't usually catch up with me until the afternoon. That catch-up often coincided with my afternoon commute home -- first stopping to collect Zoë from daycare. Many afternoons I would be so sleepy at the wheel that I would have to blast the radio and pinch myself to make sure my eyes didn't close. I tried chewing gum and drinking diet cokes, but nothing helped much. One afternoon I was so tired that I actually did fall asleep at the wheel. It was probably only 5 seconds before I jerked awake, but it scared me to death. I had to pull over and catch my breath for a good 15 minutes. Not only was I afraid I might wreck the car and kill myself -- what if I hit someone else and hurt or killed them?! What if Zoë had been in the car!? I knew I had to start getting some sleep so I stopped at CVS and bought my first bottle of Tylenol PM. I felt a little self-conscious about it -- like my first time buying tampons or something -- as if what I was doing was somehow wrong. Nevertheless that night I took just one pill even though the recommended dose is two. And I slept. All night. All the way through until morning. It was gorgeous. I felt so much better the next afternoon. My afternoon commute stopped being a struggle to keep my eyes open.

I have continued to take them for almost three years now -- not every night, but any night I suspect I will need it which, I admit, is often. Say what you want, maybe I need therapy, but Tylenol PM kept me from killing myself and others at the wheel of my car.

01 June 2005

diet wild cherry pepsi

Today I am thankful for Diet Wild Cherry Pepsi. Diet Wild Cherry Pepsi? I didn't know there was such a thing, you say. And I say, yes, yes, yes and I am so happy about it that I even had to write about it in my blog. Especially because I haven't seen any kind of advertising for it. It just appeared on the super market shelf one day. Like a miracle. It's sweet, it's caffeinated, and it's calorie free. (Perhaps that should be their new ad campaign? ha)

According to the Pepsi site this product may not be available in all areas, but it should be. I am a great consumer of diet soda and I must admit that for many years I shunned Pepsi products. I was a very loyal Diet Coke drinker and would sooner drink water rather than drink Diet Pepsi I so loathed the taste of Diet Pepsi. Seems like someone over a Pepsi is finally doing something right, however. I can't believe I am saying this, but Diet Wild Cherry Pepsi is better than Diet Cherry Coke. Additionally, Pepsi distributes Diet Wild Cherry Pepsi in cans and not just the 2 liter bottle like Diet Cherry Coke therefore making it much easier to bring for work-time consumption.