Monday, December 17, 2007

Quote of the Week


"Yes, JJ?"

"Girls talk too much."

This, from my 3 1/2 year old son. I don't know if I should be offended, or commend him on having such insight at such a young age.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Snow Day

As Jonathan nears the end of his training, we're starting to give thought to the kind of jobs he might look for, and where we might consider living - or even if we would consider relocating. During several of these conversations Jonathan has mentioned the kind of opportunities that may exist more south of us, not to mention, the warmer climate. And though there are many reasons to consider this, one of my primary reasons for not wanting to the leave the northeast is SNOW DAY!

How can kids grow up without snow days? To me they epitomize what childhood is all about. I remember waking up as a kid, running to the window to see what the chances might be that school is cancelled. And then putting on the radio, and waiting to hear if they announce our town. I don't think they even had the cancellations on TV then - which is another item to add to my, "You know when your getting old" list. Then, when you've hear them announce your town, that rush! A whole day with NOTHING to do but watch TV in you PJ's. What could be better than that? In my opinion, at that age, nothing.

Today my kids and I are home early. Work and schools closed. We've bunkered down with our mugs of hot chocolate. Now, I love sun and sand, and come mid-February I may be changing my tune, but today, nothing beats this.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A 5 1/2 year old's list of thankful things.....

1. My family. Good
2. High School Musical. Ah, okay.
3. My friends. Good.
4. The Disney Channel. Ummmmmm
5. My school. I guess three out five isn't bad.

I found this "list" of thankful things among Sweet Pea's papers from school yesterday. Each item was written on the feather of a paper-made turkey. I can only imagine what the teacher must be thinking.

You know you are getting old when....

  • Your child's friend's mother, is TEN years younger than you.
  • You get heartburn and you are not even pregnant.
  • You eat dinner at 5:30.
  • You find yourself complaining to anyone who will listen about all your aches and pains...and there are many.
  • Your almost 6 year old says to you, "It's off the hook!" And you think she is talking about the phone.
  • I know there are others....but I can't seem to remember them right now.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

More on the work-life balance

I just read this article on-line in the Boston Globe. And in connection to it, the Globe is taking a poll - do you think its a good idea to bring kids to work, in place of other childcare arrangements? It is exactly these kinds of polls that fuel the fire on such topic as the "Mommy wars" and how to parent in general. You know what I think? Who cares what anyone thinks, or if anyone agrees. Child care and parenting is not, and should not, be one size fits all. Could I bring my kids to work with me - well they are too old now, but could I have? Probably not. I don't happen to think what I do, or my work environment is conducive to that. But that doesn't mean it isn't for others. I could certainly imagine other work environments where it could work.

What I do support is having options out there for people to learn about and know about. And employers who are willing to look at various options that may help their employees achieve a better work life balance. It still blows my mind when I meet people or employers who do not support family friendly options or policies. Do they not understand how making someones life more manageable could lead to better employee morale and productivity? And don't get me wrong....I'm not suggesting employees should have the ability to make the rules and set their own schedules, but why not support options that would work for them in the environment they work in and in doing the job they do? Couldn't it be a win-win for all?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

No more fun happen'in here...

That's it. I'm done. You try to plan a nice fun-filled family evening out but, NO, the little ingrates won't have it.

Exhibit A: I got tickets last Friday for Circus Smirkus Saturday night. Our friends mentioned they were going and since it was right down the street from us, and it was forecast to be a beautiful night, I though it would be fun. Picnic dinner, out with friends, and the circus for heaven's sake. What's not to like?

Well, Sweet Pea didn't want to go. I have no idea why. I think she actually get a little nervous about going places where doesn't know what to expect. I knew she'd have fun once we got there so I wasn't too worried about it, but I'll tell you, the whining and complaining ALL THE WAY was just about enough to make the throw in the towel and forgo our tickets. Luckily, I'm as stubborn as she is and so I persisted.


And yes, once we were there, it was fun for all. Though of course they kids ate nothing that I brought them to eat and so we spent a small fortune on hot dogs, pop corn and cotten candy, but heck, it is the Circus.

The show ended at about 9, WAY past the kids normal bed time. But they did great. Well, that is up until we were on our way one and JJ asked for raisins. We did have some with is but I couldn't reach them. So I told him he could have them when we got home. In response to this Abby asked for dessert. Dessert?

"We just had dessert." I told her. "Remember that bag of Cotton Candy you just had? Do you know what cotton candy is? Pure sugar."

"Well I didn't eat all of it. There is still some left." She said. Yeah about a fraction of what she started off with...maybe.

I told her that if she was still hungry I would be happy to get her some real food at home. Now, I'm pretty easy going about sweets and all, more than most, I think. But its was 9 PM, and well, they were not staying up any longer to eat MORE crap. But because I was slightly concerned that they didn't have any REAL food, and knowing that when they go to bed hungry they do not sleep well and wake up early, I was somewhat motivated to get something in their stomachs if they were in fact still hungry.

But when Sweet Pea heard she could not have more dessert, the shit hit the fan. Now it is entirely clear to me she is not hungry but is beyond tired and has lost all sense of reality.

Getting them upstairs, into PJ's was a nightmare. Crying and screaming at the injustice of actually having to wear pajama's and then, can you believe, we asked them to brush their teeth. I know, you're shocked. By their reaction one would have thought we asked them to pull their teeth out one by one. FINALLY, we tossed them into their beds and said our good nights. And then I vowed to my husband, there would be no more fun outings for this family. At least not until tomorrow.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Maybe this is the perfect balance?

I finally started my part-time schedule. After 5 years of working full-time, post childbirth, I have finally managed to negotiated the part-time schedule I think I wanted. I say, "I think," because while it is what I wanted, I'm pretty sure the less I work, the less I will want to work. I've always said, "I could NEVER not work at all." But the more the think about it, and the less I work, the more I think, why they hell not. And frankly, as the kids get older, the more appealing the idea of having more time with them is. It's not that I didn't want that time before, though it was not an option financially, it just's easier now. And I really do believe this is the beginning of the time they really will need more of me.

Every time I say this I wonder if it's really true. Do they really need me more? Or maybe I need the time with them? I'm one of those moms who finds it hard to be away from her kids - to a flaw. Jonathan and I have not really have one vacation alone in five years. Oh wait, we did drive to Montreal for my 30th birthday when Sweat Pea was 18 months. (I refused to fly without her so we were left to find a place to drive to that would still feel "foreign.") We left her with my parents for three nights. Four years ago. Since then, we've gone away for a night here and there, but that's it.

I am now finding it easier to go away without them, now that they have each other, and I know they are old enough to understand we are coming back. But it's the day to day I find difficult to miss. When I go out for a rare and random night with a friend I find myself racing to get home. What are they doing? Did I miss anything? I find it difficult to miss any of their every moment. Not that I want to be there for EVERY whiney moment or tantrum over who knows what. But their cool, those kids...and fun, most the time. But it is this very realization that will FORCE me to keep this part-time schedule and not turn it into a total hiatus. I fear I would become so immersed in their lives I would loose my own. (Not that I really feel like I have one now.) But one day, I think having that something for myself, even if it is work, will be the key to allowing my children the space they will need. And what I will need to remind me, I did once have a life apart from them, even if I can't remember it.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Pierced Ears

Sweet Pea got her ears pierced on Saturday. No, we had not been talking about it for a while. No, she had not really expressed an interested in getting them pierced before this very morning. She simple walked in the house Saturday morning after returning from a brief trip to the bakery with her Dad and said, "I want to get my ears pierced today." Completely out of the blue.

I figured there was no point in making her wait. I was five when I got my ears pierced. And if she got there and changed her mind, so be it. Why really wait a few days, just to have the extra time to THINK about how much it might hurt. She seemed determined. And when she is determined, there's no getting out if it.

So off we went that afternoon with my mom, aunt and cousin, because after all this is kind of a big deal for a little girl, despite the fact we had absolutely no build up to it. We got to the mall and found our way to the store. She hopped up on to the chair, picked her earrings (first the gaudy, huge diamond looking earrings, and then the more appropriate little flower earrings), I had to sign away her life and, wham bam, she had pierced ears. She barely flinched. I was so proud. Not necessarily because she got her ears pierced. Frankly, this was never something I gave much thought to, but because she set her mind to something and she followed through.

She then proceeded to drag me through the mall from one teeny bopper store to the next, as I whined, "Can we LEAVE yet???" (Now she knows how it feels!) I have quite the shopper on my hand! And I can honestly say, this, she did not get from me. The whining....well that's a different story.

Friday, July 6, 2007

A kiss is just a kiss...right?

As parents we always worry about making mistakes. And with the media attention given to parenting these days with stories about how we can damage our kids by the food we feed them or how much TV we let them watch, how can we help but wonder if we are doing the right things for our children. We live in a constant state of always questioning what we're doing and how we do it. I think that is, in part, why I totally lost perspective during an unexpected conversations with Sweet Pea, which, I just wish I handled differently.

Here's what happened:

As I arrived at school to pick of the kids, I quickly noticed "something" had Sweet Pea all excited and gitty. She was running around with her friends and wanted me to pick up her brother first, which she NEVER wants. And there was whispering going on. When I went over to give her a big hug and kiss hello she told me to go away. Something was going on. When I ask her what was happening she replied, "It's a secret. I can't tell you." Okay, well, she's entitled to her secrets and so I didn't press her.

When we finally got in the car, she obviously wanted to tell me her secret. As I buckled them in she said, " 'A' kissed me." (A is a five year old boy in her class.) Now, this alone may not have sent bells off in my head, but that coupled with the fact that as I was buckling them in, this very boy was waving to her saying, "Bye sweetie."

"Bye Sweetie?"

"Are you talking to my girl?" I thought. Who do you think you are Mr. 5 year old boy, who incidentally has two significantly older siblings whom clearly he has learned a thing or two from.

As I got myself in the car and we headed on our way, I responded to Sweet Pea, "Don't you think you're a little young to be kissing?" This is where I wish I said something differently but for now, I continue on with the story as it happened.

"No," she said, "I'm 5 and half." Oh yes, that's right, well glad we cleared that up.

At some point I think I asked how this came about. She replied, "He wanted to." Now I was getting agitated.

"You know Sweet Pea, Your body is your body and you should never let anyone touch you in any way you are not comfortable with."

"Well, I wanted him to."

"Oh, I see." I feel so much better now.

"Where did he kiss you?" I asked. "On the cheek?"

Now at this point I may be saying all the wrong things, but I am trying very hard to at least SOUND casual about the whole thing.

"Well," she asks, "Where would be the hardest place for him to kiss me." To this, I do not know how to respond. The hardest place? What exactly is she asking me?

"What do you mean?" I ask.

"I mean, what would be the baddest place for him to kiss me." Now, I don't know if now she thinks in her mind she did something wrong or she's simple afraid I will think she did something wrong. And because I didn't want to put any ideas in her head, I was afraid to ask too many questions.

Finally she came out with, "He kissed me on the cheek." Sigh...."Oh the cheek. Well, that's sweet." But it came too late. Now she's mad at me for "being mean to her friend."

"What do you mean?" I ask. "I didn't say anything mean about your friend."

"Yes you did. You said we were too young to be kissing."

"Well, it is my opinion you are a little young. But a kiss on the cheek can be sweet. I'm not mad. I'm glad you told me." To which she replied, "I wish I had never told you." She might as well have stabbed me in the heart.

Now, before I explain what I wish I had said, let me explain why I think had the reaction I did. We have friends who live right next door and their oldest son started kindergarten last year. I remember there had been an "incident" where he and some girls were kissing, or were thought to be kissing, or he was being chased by girls who were kissing him, I don't remember the details. But I do remember it turned into this whole big deal with the principal, parent conferences, etc. So this was at the forefront of my mind.

While I do believe a kiss at this age from a sweet boy (which this boy is, though perhaps a tad ya think?) is harmless, I didn't want her to think it was always appropriate to run around kissing other people, or for them to kiss her.

But I see now that this was just a simple sweet harmless kiss that she wanted to tell me about and share with me. And I totally ruined it for her with my own anxieties. (Pause for a moment while I run to take my Celexa I forgot to take this morning......)

Okay, so what I wish I had said was, "Oh, that's sweet. He must like you?" End of story. While I did later on in the conversation say this. That is, once I learned it was a simple kiss on the cheek. It was too late. I had already made her feel bad about it. WHY DID I NOT SAT THAT IN THE FIRST PLACE? Why did I not even think to say that. Why was I feeling so threatened and alarmed by what she shared. I didn't really think they had done anything wrong. I was just so worried about sending out a message that to go around kissing is okay. I mean in some situations it might be....but not in all. And, she's my baby, and hearing this boy say, "Bye sweetie," to my five and half year old, just rubbed me the wrong way.

But now I am afraid she won't confide in more anymore or share these important moments with me. That my response felt too judgemental for her and she'll think twice next time before sharing. Sweet Pea is very sensitive, and very intuitive. She sensed my anxiety, despite what I said in the end.

I've thought about bring it up with her again but I don't want to make a big deal about it. And despite this long post, the whole conversation didn't last that long. Maybe 5 minutes.
Deep down I don't she'll think twice about what I said, but it's one of those moments I wish I could do over. Next time I will take a long pause before responding, and try not to think about what would be the "right" or "wrong" thing to say, but think about, what does she need me to say.

And to all those experts out there writing about the do's and don'ts of parenting, "bug off!" "Do you know where YOUR kids are today?"

Sunday, July 1, 2007


As I held his little two year old body in my arms, I couldn't help but think this could be the last time I am holding a two-year old of my own. In just nine short hours, he will be three.

He has mastered potty training in just five short days. He can dress himself. He can talk back in defiance and get away with it as only a three year old can because he is so damn cute.

There are so many things to celebrate about him turning three. Life in many ways is getting easier as he becomes more independent. (Harder in other ways as he has entered the stage of the terrible tantrums - though they still pale in comparison to those of his sister when she was three. Thank god!)

But I can't help but feel sad about what I might never have again. The decision to have another child is hard a one. I can't imagine having another child. But at the same time, I can't imagine never having another child. That this soon to be three year old, would be the last two year old I will ever have. That, is hard for me to accept. Despite the exhaustion that comes with caring for young children, is there really anything better than this? What else would I rather being doing? Sure, more sleep would be nice. More time alone with my husband would be good. But I'll tell ya, nothing beats this feeling of holding that little body, hearing them breathe, feeling their little finger tips grasp your arms as they flinch while falling off to sleep. Or the little face that looks up at you and says, "Kiss and Hug?", even if it is 4 AM.

Time will tell if another child is in our future. But for now, I don't care how old he gets, he'll always be my baby.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Potty Training Hell

JJ is in to his 3rd day of potty training. We yanked the diaps cold turkey, except for nap and bedtime of course. Our daycare basically took the lead and said they would be dedicating a week to each child in the class who is not yet potty trained, in preparation for preschool. This is JJ's week. Since we had not been pushing the issue at home, and okay, perhaps secretly dreading and avoiding it, because you know, he is still my baby....this was the push we needed. And hey, if they want to potty train him, I'm all for that.

Now that we are in the throws of it, I have to keep reminding myself that this is a process and not something that will happen overnight. But I'm starting to think this could take awhile. We have made some progress. On day one he did not even want to sit on the potty. Now he sits, (is not into standing at all), but not so thrilled about the idea of actually peeing on the potty. And in fact, will wait until he is off the potty to actually pee. He did poop last night on the potty, but I'm pretty sure that was purely an accident on his part. Though it did buy him a second dessert as a reward for all his hard work.

Sweet Pea trained much more easily. She pretty much trained herself at 2 and 1/2, despite the fact JJ had just been born. Other than a few snags with the pooping, I don't remember it being such a stressful experience as this. Though it is entirely possible I just blocked it out and I can only hope this too will one day be a distant and vague memory. There aren't many things I feel like Sweet Pea did early than JJ, and if fact, somethings he did much earlier, like talk. But potty training seems to be different. Maybe that's because as a mom, I can't totally identify with his peeing process, if you can call it that. (Or perhaps, referring to the first paragraph of this post, he has sensed my avoidance. Yes, I know, I am so smart like that.) Jonathan has tried to encourage him, man to man, (okay, man to 3 year old), and he likes the camaraderie, but still not so into the actual pee part.

We've tried the reward system, and it does work for him, as least at getting him to sit on the potty. Incidentally this did not work for Sweet Pea who is far too stubborn to be "bought." JJ just cannot relax enough while on the potty to just let it out. I find this a little ironic because he's my laid back, easy going child. Or so I thought.

And just to confuse him further, he'll be in a swim diaper most of the day today at daycare while they play in the kiddie pools. Because you know those diapers do SO much. But at least I won't be sent home with another days worth of pishy clothing to wash!

When I picked JJ up at daycare I was told he pooped and peed several time in the potty. Since yesterday morning he has only had one accident. Yeah.....success!!!! I feel bad now having complained...after only three days with no diaps, he's doing pretty darn good!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

5 going on 15

Scene: Two hour car ride up to NH to visit with friends. Two cranky kids. Hours and hours of traffic.

5 year old: When are we going to be there?

Me: Not for awhile.

5 year old: You are SO ruining my life.

Wonder what she'll think when she's 15 and we take her up to NH for a weekend. much to look forward to!

Friday, January 19, 2007

It started off as any other day....

Well, maybe not EVERY other morning since I don’t always get up at 5:30 AM to go workout. But on this particular morning I did. And I came home and felt energized. My kids were up, dressed, and ready for school. My husband was on his way out the door to work. At about 7:20 AM I poured a cup a coffee and headed upstairs to shower. It was at this same moment a 15 year old boy was stabbed to death by a 16 year old fellow student, in the halls of a local high school. The same high school I used to attend basketball games at. The same high school that was the rival team to the high school I attended many years ago. If it could happen there, it could happen anywhere.

I thought about the parents of the victim. I thought about the parents of the alleged attacker. I thought about all those panicked parents waiting for word from their children that they were okay. And then I thought about my own children. This could have been them. Granted, they are not even in elementary school yet, but they will one day attend a school just like that one. There were no weapon detectors- and why would there be? This was a “normal” high school. How did this happen? What will they do to make sure this never happens again? I want to know. I want to know exactly what happened. What could possible have led to such a violent act. Surely there was some sign of what was to come. There has to be. Because if not, there’s no way to feel reassure about the future.

While I am sure it will be awhile before we know any details of this horrific incident, I do know that for those involved and near to the incident, this was far from being just any other day. It’s the first day to a journey one never could have imagined in their worst nightmare.