Monday, July 31, 2006

Another busy weekend

Another busy weekend has flown by with only the memory of a giraffe penis to show for it. Summer is so much fun with outdoor activities, but some weekends I feel like it is nonstop!

Saturday we had a fairly early birthday party, after a checkup for Logan. His ears and lungs are clear- yippee!! He got is 6 month shots, nearly 5 months late. Poor kid. He didn't cry for the first one, and made barely a peep for the 2nd one. What a brave soul. He has been tired the last couple days, but that could be due to our whirlwind schedule. The birthday party in the park was nice, but a little hectic. The kids wanted to run around, but there wasn't a playground, so it was an effort to keep them entertained and contained. Hayden was excited to sing Happy Birthday and get a cupcake, which he of course didn't eat. He and Logan were subsisting on Goldfish crackers with juice for Hayden. In the afternoon they napped and we did housework and errands. The typical Saturday afternoon.

On Sunday, Hayden and I took an impromptu trip to the zoo. Although the heat wave had broken, it was still damn hot there. Before we had even arrived at any animal enclosures we were drenched in sweat. Hayden likes to stand on the stroller to see each animal. This is fine, but it is hard to get him to sit back down to move on. He loves any of the aquatics and seems fascinated by water. Each new habitat brought the request to go swimming. Any animal that did not have water as part of the habitat gave Hayden great concern. He would ask again and again where the water is and why he couldn't see it.

Nature being what it is, the animals were doing all kinds of things not acceptable in polite human society. The alligator actually could have been a prop. It didn't move at all, likely due to the heat. Hayden wanted to know where its Daddy was. The just prompted me to want to ask the alligator "Who's your Daddy?" The lion apparently desperately needed to lick its private parts, much to the delight and disgust of the teenage boys watching at the time. He then rolled over, belly up, to take a nap in the shade. He looked like a very happy kitty. The ibex needed to pee, and pee, and pee. This was literally a continuous stream for at least two minutes. Since this is something Hayden can relate to, I finally had his attention. He called the zebras horsies and wouldn't believe otherwise. We found out that Duiker means "diver" in Afrikaans, and that those little antelope are adorable. The animals that got the most attention however were the giraffes. I had forgotten that there was a baby giraffe, but really gave it little attention. Two of the giraffes were mating...graphically....right next to where the people stand to watch them. There were a lot of people watching the show, so Hayden and I were trying to peer through the crowd. Well, that just brought us eye level to the giraffe's...ahem...junk. Each time the male would try another technique or make another attempt, the crowd would cheer him on. The ladies in front of us kept saying how disgusting it was, but they weren't moving for nothing. Like Fillip says, it's like a bad car wreck. You don't want to see, but you can't help but watch.

Later in the day we had a bbq/pool party to go to. We had a good time, despite two napless boys. They love the pool and there were chips and unlimited juice. That's all Hayden needs. Logan is a friendly little guy who would like to keep up, but a walk in the stroller with Daddy bested him. At 6pm he lost the fight and fell sound asleep. Fillip parked him in the middle of the yard, amid all the chaos, where he slept for nearly an hour. We were concerned that he wouldn't go to bed at a reasonable hour, but both boys went down just fine.

It was a good weekend, but I would sure like to fulfill Hayden's request to go back on vacation!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Crucial Timing of Making Gummy Worms

The other night I got to attend my first parent meeting at the boys' school. I was all excited about this milestone, as I typically get. Fillip was surprised I didn't make cupcakes. Me too. Let's just say, this meeting didn't quite go as I expected. It turns out, we weren't all there to qvell over the perfection of our children, one-upping each other over who wields the green crayon better, but to let the director know just what a terrible job the staff is doing there. I didn't get that memo.

First contention- curriculum
The pre-K parents were up in arms about the curriculum not being taught. The Director, new within the last couple months, was prepared for this. She told us at least four steps she was taking to ensure that this problem was resolved. It was news to me that kindergarten is so difficult to get into! I just thought you needed to be about 5 yrs old in September when school starts. Little did I know. One parent went to the kindergarten orientation only to decide to keep her child back because she isn't qualified. She transitioned her child from another place where she was learning, but crying everyday because her teacher was mean. As this parent said "but, she was learning." As if that is enough. Obviously, she was aware that there were standards the children must meet to move on. Why wasn't she participating in the teaching process at home? Another lady disgruntedly announced that her child had been at this school since he was 2, was now 5, and she has been unhappy the whole time. Um, how apathetic are you to keep your child in a place you don't think is worth it for THREE years?

The parents then moved on to building security, suggesting architectual changes to make it more accomdating for them. They also have a problem with the calendar. Sometimes the calendar will say it is Gummy Worm Day on Tuesday, but they don't actually make them until Thursday. Since they entice their kids out of the house by the calendar, the kids think they are lying, and they have lost credibility with the little ones. When the Director said there have been staffing issues, and that is why activities needed to be rearranged, that started up a whole new firestorm. At that point, every tiny thing brought up, was a source of contention. "You never informed us that a kid had set off the fire alarm, making everyone evacuate. When my kids said they left the playground with lights and noises, I told him to stop telling stories!" First, what is wrong with a creative mind telling stories? Next, why didn't you inquire about that with the staff? My gf finally spoke up saying that when she drops her daughter off she asks each of the teachers what they are going to do that day. When she picks her up, she asks each of the teachers what they did that day. Whoa did those moms get defensive! "Of course I do that!" However, when it was mentioned that teachers had been rearranged among the classrooms, that mom was the first to throw her hand aggressively in the air, demanding to know why she wasn't informed that the teachers had been changed. She didn't know that teacher was teaching her child. Well, if she truly was communicating with the teachers daily, wouldn't she know?

I finally spoke up saying that we had 2 boys there, had to make a quick decision to enroll, and it had been a challenging few months, but that we had received nothing but support and accomodation from the staff there. We have been so happy with this place. Hayden sings new songs and plays new games all the time. He is clearly learning. When we didn't think his teacher was a good match (among other issues), he was switched to another class. Logan lights up when one of his teacher walks by, and I arrive to find them holding him, playing with him, bragging to me about his new accomplishments.

Sure, I now am aware that there were areas needing improvement that I was not aware of, but I was so resentful that these parents felt this forum was appropriate. As the evening wore on, I grew more and more frustrated sitting their listening to them say the same things over and over, knowing that my boys were going to bed soon. I finally got up and left before the meeting was over. I didn't get to see Logan that night as he was already in bed. I had a few mins to read to an overtired Hayden before he went to sleep, and the rest of the evening to try to shake the negativity I felt was clinging to me from that meeting. The next day I called the Director to reiterate what a wonderful job she and the teachers are doing, as well as get the actual policy information she had intended to share at the meeting.

Maybe I'm not quite ready for PTA President of the World, just quite yet.

Friday, July 21, 2006

A Little Fahklempt

Each morning I get up before dawn, feed Logan, then snuggle him in bed for about half an hour until I need to get dressed for work. Then I just put that sleepyhead back in his crib to sleep until Fillip gets up. He has decided, this plan doesn't work for him. Once he is done eating, he wants to play, disrupting anyone around. Snuggling is not an option. So, now I sleep half an hour longer, then get him up to feed him, and he hangs out with me while I get ready for work. He's right. This is a much better plan.

It is dark when we get up, and dawn breaks by the time I head out for the day. Yesterday morning Logan was playing in the family room, exploring every nook and cranny as only a burgeoning toddler can do. He was trying to get something off the end table, the surface of which is about the level of the top of his head. There was something so special about that moment. The sun was barely coming up, still feint enough and soft enough to be mistaken for moonlight if seen out of context. That soft white light was barely brushing the front of Logan as he stretched as tall as he could to reach the top of the table. Those little bare feet, still perfect and pristine, not yet gangly from walking, went up on tiptoe, his back slightly arching, with the hint of that round tummy in silhouette through his jammies. I don't know if it was the softness of the quiet light at dawn, or the sheer innocent perfection of his posture, but there was something so amazingly sweet in seeing him up on his little toes, reaching for what he could only imagine must be up there.

Anyone who knows me, knows I am rather sentimental. Last year I bought a cookbook that focuses on baking for bake sales. As I was telling Fillip that I would likely get rather teary-eyed the first time I had to bring something to Hayden's first bake sale, I choked up, hardly able to complete my sentence. Fillip just shook his head knowingly with an amused little smile, saying of course he knew I would cry. That's just who I am. Each new moment touches my heartstrings for the very sweetness of childhood. Hayden has recently been requesting a lunch box. We have had extensive discussions with him about it. It is such a cute request, and clearly an indication of him now being influenced by his peers. He is noticing what the others are doing, what they are carrying, and that they have lunch boxes.

I clearly remember starting each school year with my brand new lunch box. It was almost ceremonial the way we would go pick it out, the weighty decision in my hands as to whether to get the one with the Flintstones or the Jetsons, only realizing much too late on the first day of school how childish that was, when another girl had the Bee Gees on her lunch box. I didn't know who the Bee Gees were, but sensed that they were way cooler than the Flintstones.

So far, we have not taken Hayden to pick out his Very First Lunch Box. It's simple really, just another trip to Target, my home away from home. It's just that every time I picture him carrying his new lunchbox to school, I get kind of choked up. I mean, how grown up must he be to have picked a lunch box for school! He will compare what is on the outside, Bob the Builder or Thomas the Train, or Elmo. No, Elmo is for babies! Who knows, but he will make that decision for himself. The first of many where he learns to accept what he has chosen and gets excited each morning to show up at school with it. Then, there is the whole process of filling that lunch box. Do we keep him on the hot lunch program and just send crayons? Good crayons, with a sharpener, not the crappy waxy kind that don't really color, just rub off on the paper in clumps. Do I send him a sandwich? Lunchables? Fruit cup? Fruit rollup? Do they even still make that crap? Will the teacher read him little notes I include to let him know how very much I love him and how proud I am of him everyday, despite my best efforts to keep my little boy a baby?

There is a bigger issue here than fulfilling the request of a lunch box. The main thing holding me back is the sure knowledge of my embarassment when I am in tears, in Target, over the simple task of buying this momentous piece of childhood for my first born, knowing he is more independent each and every day.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Rose colored glasses? No, just pink eye

Hayden has pink eye....again.

I suspect the rest of us will get it.....again.

We went through this a few months ago. The kids each brought pink eye home from school- Hayden once, Logan twice, and I got double pink eye twice. I'll miss this new makeup I just bought after the last round.

My poor little guy looks truly awful with those goopy, glassy eyes. He also has a cold, which the doc thinks is caused by the same virus as the pink eye. Hayden doesn't believe in tissues, but instead likes to wipe his nose with the back of his hand, leaving a nice crusty streak across each cheek, complimenting the goo oozing from his red eyes. My handsome boy. When asked if it bothers him he always says no, so I am hoping that is true. The only complaint he has is with the eye drops. The first couple times Fillip gave them, he lay there placidly, unafraid, not objecting at all. I'm not sure whose that child was, as the boy currently residing in our house has decided that we are literally trying to put burning hot acid directly into his eyes. Therefore, he must fight us tooth and nail, screaming hysterically despite knowing it doesn't hurt, despite telling us he knows it makes his eyes feel better, despite repeatedly asking us for his eye medicine.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Happy Monday

Nothing starts my Monday better than stopping at the coffee cart for my iced vanilla latte and bagel. Well, nothing other than the cart blasting Play That Funky Music White Boy. Man, I just love that song!!!

We had a good weekend, chock full of sun and water. On Saturday, Hayden and I battled the traffic on PCH to get to the beach. Seems my idea to head down to the shore was not an original one on a Saturday afternoon in sunny southern california. Once we got there, it was a perfect beach day- hot and clear with big crashing waves. We had to park all the way at the end of Zuma, but the walk from the parking lot to the water is shorter there anyway. Hayden was so cute in his Cool Dude Sunglasses with his new bucket of sand toys. "I cool dude!" Yes. Yes you are. After being plied with french fries and a rejected milkshake on the way, he was content to play in the sand while I played whale on the blanket. Lest I fall asleep, he would check on me periodically with "wake up Mommy!" We had fun making triangles, stars and chevrons in the sand. He wanted no part of going in the water, begrudgingly accompanying me to get my feet wet. He sat crouched on the dry sand and eventually decided nuts to this and went to the blanket. Fortunately I could see him the whole time as I caught up with him at our blanket. He later came back to the water with me on the agreement that I would hold him. Watching Mommy get splashed was great fun. He fell soundly asleep on the way home, after melting down about everything he could think of. It's like when the Sleepies take over, they are these evil little beings. No wonder he fights it! Logan and Fillip seemed to have a good time together, although Logan was napping when I left, and again when I returned, so I felt bad about not having more time with him.

Yesterday was spent at a couple different pools. The kids both enjoyed themselves in the bath warm pool in the morning, but Logan was nonplussed in the cooler pool in the afternoon. For him "swimming" means hanging out in his float as a pool ornament. He just floated around with this funny disgruntled expression on his facing. He may not have been smiling, but the rest of us were at his expense. He did warm up when I played with him, but was highly (and loudly) offended when my gf tickled his feet under the water. Of all the indignities! Hayden is now bravely jumping off the edge of the pool into the water, as long as someone is holding his hands. He wanted to do this again and again and again and again, so we were making him climb out himself, until those little arms were shaking with fatigue. Once he got too tired, he walked away without a word to get his towel from Fillip. Once that kid is done, he is done. No fanfare needed. Both boys did enjoy dinner afterward, go figure. Logan must have a hollow leg for all that he can pack away. I love that both boys are such great eaters- in quantity and assortment. They will try anything, and like most everything. Hayden is funny in that he isn't wild about sweets. We crack up to hear ourselves say things like "eat two more bites of chicken and you may have more lima beans." Really, we can hardly keep a straight face at these times.

Weekends are so much more satisfying when we make it a point to get out and do things. Often we get bogged down in getting things done at home. The kids get restless, we all get cranky and I return to work on Monday feeling like I never got a break. Interesting enough, I got just as much done at home this weekend, despite being out so much. I just concentrate my efforts better while the kids are sleeping, rather than spreading it all out while trying to entertain, contain, referee the boys all at once.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Give me a medal

I finished the laundry!

Thursday, July 06, 2006


Our landlord told us they are selling our house. Although the market is terrible right now, this still means our time here is limited. I am so tired of moving. It seems that we will never buy a house in L.A., but we will never leave the area because we are near family, and they can afford to live here. They are our support system and the boys love them, seeing them several times a week, asking for them when they don't. We get to be here, struggling by default. I want to put down roots, call some place my own, make it a home. I want to paint the walls and put up curtains, and hang pictures. I want to mark the kids' growth on the walls to look back at fondly through the years. I want the kids to meet the neighbor kids and ride bikes together, and fall in love with the girl next door. One day, it would be so nice to look at a picture and have someone say "who's house is that?" and we respond "oh, that's our house. We painted it that color a few years ago. We thought it suited us better." I want the boys to roll their eyes that their mother ever thought taupe or mocha or latte was ever a nice color for a wall. One day when we do move, I want them to get kinda teary eyed because that is the house they grew up in, and it is hard to let go. I don't want someone to ask them "where did you grow up" and have their response be "oh, here and there." I guess there are things about my childhood I would duplicate.

Logan at 10 months

These last 10 months have zipped by. It seems there is never enough time in the day to relax and fully appreciate these little beings we are raising. Having a four day weekend to play was so much fun!

At 10 months old, Logan is now a deliberate being. He knows where he wants to go, what he wants to play with, whether or not he wants to eat or sleep. (Yes, yes, yes to the former, absolutely no to the latter.) He crawls all over the place and rarely wants to sit and snuggle now that he knows he can get places. He does do a traditional crawl, but just as often crawls on hands and feet, especially when outside on rough terrain or cement. Although it looks rather awkward, he really has it down and it is nice to not worry about him scraping those little knees. He also now pulls himself up on everything. He cruises along and we can see him getting more adventurous about letting go. He often stands holding on with only one hand, and people have commented on him letting go with both, but only for a second before he drops. He can easily climb a flight of stairs, as demonstrated at a friend's house when we saw him do that for the first time, as if he had been doing it for years. We didn't find out if he could go down, as we don't want to see how quickly he can tumble. He can go down one or two steps, and is even starting to go feet first, as opposed to doing a nosedive, and getting lucky half the time to catch himself with his hands. He tries the same technique off our hearth, but the results aren't so good. He does get help from his big brother getting off the hearth. Those results are a bit worse. He does like to sit up there though, clapping and giggling as if he knows he is the Greatest Show on Earth. Who am I kidding? He kinda is. Logan now waves coming and going, but not consistently. Sometimes there is a delayed reaction, and he will wave after we have walked away from someone. He still has a bit of separation anxiety, as well as reunion anxiety. It doesn't matter if we walk away or come back in- it bugs him either way. Upon our return to the room, he wants a snuggle or he complains.

Food is definitely his friend. This kid eats an amazing amount. He is in the 10th percentile for weight and 25th for height, so he is a tiny little thing, but has a seemingly limitless appetite. He only nurses for a few minutes, preferring instead to crawl around, but does drink bottles when away from me. He nurses a bit more in the early morning, and sometimes before bed. He isn't picky, although he does prefer things much milder than Hayden ever did. He loves his cereal, likes his yogurt and most anything else. He drinks well from a cup or sippy cup, and anything that resembles a cup to him gets used as one, whether at the table, playing, or in the bath. It is so cute to see him play with a giant sports cup, tipping his head back as if he is chugging a 32 oz soda. He seems to have a short attention span, so when he is feeding himself, it quickly leads to just throwing everything on the floor. We sweep EVERY day. Fillip rarely even lets him feed himself, but feeds him instead. I do both, depending on how hungry I happen to be, or how much attention Hayden needs.

Logan does babble as he plays, which I just love. He also still makes that funny Flipper noise, so unique to him. He has made this noise since birth, and it is definitely a happy noise. He is also a giggler, most often at his brother. He is Hayden's best audience. Those two get each other going, and it is hilarious to see. Logan is such a flirt with everyone, everywhere. He loves when pretty girls are nearby, catching their eye with a twinkle in his, smiling sweetly. Then, once they have noticed him, he turns up the charm with a big grin. People stop us all the time to comment on his bright blue eyes. Just when I started to waver in my belief that his eyes would change to green, Fillip now thinks they might. We'll see. He still has no teeth, although his gums do swell. He has chronic ear infections and Dr. J just recommended seeing and ENT to discuss tubes. The benchmark is 4 infections in 6 months, which we have easily reached. This last one was tough to clear and last Friday night we (me and Logan)were up every 1-2 hours. He bats at his ear and has been so fussy. Poor guy.

He plays independently pretty well. His favorite thing to do is either bang things together or throw them on the floor to see how loud and far they will bounce. He loves turn taking where I pass him something, and he passes it right back. Each time I return the toy he babbles and claps his hands, which I take as praise for being a genius Mommy. Bedtime can be a bit challengins as he like lots of snuggling before going down, which Daddy gladly indulges. He usually sleeps in his crib, but often his swing. He does nap well, going down without much fuss at all. In the mornings, I nurse him before work, then we snuggle up in bed together. I love that sleepy sweet lump next to me. His teachers constantly tell us how good his is, that he is such a happy baby. He certainly brings us tons of joy, and I am so happy we are lucky enough to be his parents.