I’m sorry

My 3-year-old son will sometimes, out of the blue, say, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry, mommy. I’m sorry, daddy.” This, while he’s playing with Legos or his train set. While he’s not doing anything he needs to apologize for. It usually happens when he’s being super adorable. I always rush to tell him he doesn’t have to say he’s sorry, he’s being so good.

He comes by it honestly. I find myself apologizing for things all the time, even when it doesn’t make any sense. A coworker and I both tried to open the same door, from opposite sides? “Oh, hey, sorry, sorry.” My fork screeches on my plate at dinner with my family: “Oops, sorry!” I was at Carter’s the other day buying a “My First Valentine’s Day” onesie and I stood in the checkout line for several minutes before the cashier said, “Oh, are you ready? Sorry, I didn’t see you there,” and I said, “No sorry, yeah, I didn’t want to interrupt.” What even is that?

So, is he imitating what he sees me do every day? That’s hard, since this is definitely something I see as a personal flaw, and am actively working on. Is this something we need to have serious conversations with him about, about being confident and not putting conditions on everything you say?

…Or is it more likely that he HAS done something he needs to apologize for, and I just haven’t found out about it yet?

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No pictures please

B has started rejecting the camera when I get my phone out at certain places. It’s like he knows where the great photo ops are and chooses those moments to become super private and reclusive.

He’ll go from grinning and waving to being this sullen-faced little boy, saying “Mommy don’t take pictures of me Mommy” and putting his hands in front of his face. Last weekend at the zoo I wanted to take a selfie of us on the little puffer train. He had other plans.

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The thing is, can I blame him? There are probably more pictures of him in his 3 years of existence than there are of me in all my 31 years. He must be getting tired of having joyful moments interrupted by a subtle camera click. Or of being told “smile, say cheese, wave hi, say hi, look at the camera, look at daddy, look at mommy, smiiiiiiiile!”

On the other hand, I can’t blame us either. He’s cute, and these moments are cute and nice ones to capture. Being able to recall visuals of moments where we’re all smiling is crucial for keeping our cool in the moments where we’re not.

But it is telling that at just 3 years old, he’s aware that sometimes he hates being photographed. It’s obviously not a self-conscious thing, so it must just be a dislike of the camera coming out during moments when he’s having fun, and getting in the way. In some ways maybe he’s wiser than we are.

Then again, this morning he poured out all his cheerios onto the floor and then sat there to eat them off the carpet, so he still has a lot of learning to do.

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The Christmas Checklist

At the start of the 2015 Christmas season, Drew and I made a list of all the Christmassy activities we wanted to attempt in the next 5 weeks. It was pretty ambitious, including everything from visiting Santa to completing our Christmas song advent calendar.

And of course, no Christmas activity is complete without being documented for posterity. So without further ado, I give you: The Christmas Checklist.

In order to maximize our holiday, we picked out our tree the day after Thanksgiving. In the past we’ve always just gone to one of those pop-up tree lots in a parking lot, but this year we drove down to Half Moon Bay.

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When we set up our tree, we got to use the tree skirt I made this year, which I am inordinately proud of.

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We even had a little photo op moment when B put the star on top of the tree.

Also on our list was Elf on a Shelf. We got one last year, and we thought this year B would be ready for it. So yes, we named our Elf (Asa Swakeek, Sid for short), moved him around every night, and B actually looked for him every morning, and even occasionally listened to the mild threat, “No more throwing things/hitting/yelling, the Elf is watching you.”

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I think Asa might be his title, and Swakeek is his name.

We tried to get a nice picture for our Christmas cards, but were unsuccessful at our one attempt here, and decided to just wait for our mall photo session…a good choice, as it turned out.

We also wanted to make Christmas treats, like cookies and a gingerbread house. Then I found a recipe online for these cinnamon ornaments, which I remember making as a kid. They’re literally just unsweetened applesauce and a whole thing of cinnamon, with a little bit of craft glue thrown in. Then we decorated them with puffy paint and glitter glue.

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They smell delicious.

The gingerbread house decorating was also a huge success. It took up a large portion of one evening, and B was really cute, and actually helped decorate instead of just eating the candy. It probably helped that we didn’t tell him it was candy until it was almost over, so I think he just thought they were small plastic pieces.

 

Also originally on our list was going to the Dickens Fair, but we very wisely took that off the list when we actually thought about whether a three-year-old would enjoy it, and then what the chances were that we would enjoy it if he hated it. Scratch that idea. Good job, us. (This Christmas was about making wise choices.)

No Christmas season is complete without a visit to Santa. Our tradition is to go super early so we’re first in line on a weekday. First in line…and only one in line this year. We were just hoping for a picture with both kids in it, and assumed that one or both would be crying. But check this out!

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Throughout this whole season, we were also doing our Christmas carol advent calendar. Drew got this advent calendar from Starbucks, which has stale-tasting chocolates inside Christmas ornaments numbered 1-25. We took out all the chocolates and put Christmas songs inside instead. Then every night (theoretically) we would open a new ornament and sing a new song. I wasn’t sure how this would go, but B really loved it, and got excited about doing each new song. He particularly likes “Jingle Bells” and “Rudolph,” and also has a song of his own that just goes “Christmas Christmas Christmas reindeer red nose snow.” Drew did good on that one. (The advent calendar was all his idea.)

Another Christmas tradition is to go walk through the South City neighborhood with all the lights. We kept putting it off and off, and then one night when it was only slightly rainy, we went anyway. It wasn’t crowded at all (well, it was a Tuesday) and the weather held up until we were on our way back to the car, when it started raining that kind of little needly rain. Parenting!

When we got back to the car, we were so pleased with how it had gone that we decided to try to go to Erin’s cookie decorating party that we had previously declined. But upon exiting the car in the parking garage, we realized that H had had a blowout through her adorable Christmas sleep and play. Drew tried to cover it with his hand so we could at least go in and say hi. Once inside, I realized that B had also had a (small) accident. So we ran interference between the two of them and anyone or anything in the apartment. But when a girl I have never met before said H was really cute and asked if she could hold her, Drew had to fess up, and we left soon after that. Parenting!

We crammed a lot of activities into Christmas Eve, including a morning playdate where the kids decorated cookies. To get ready, B and I made the cookies first thing when we got up.

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Just. Look. At this.

Crossing off “cookies” was really the last thing on our Christmas checklist, which I found extremely satisfying. But we still had a Christmas Eve dinner party that night, which doubled as another playdate. Two playdates in one day! Parenting!

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Kids love Toy Story parallel play!

Finally it was time for Christmas morning! We all slept in after our late Christmas Eve party. B played happily with one set of toys all morning, while we periodically coaxed him away to open presents. It was cozy and relaxed, and except for me underbaking the monkey bread I made for breakfast, just like a Christmas movie. One that takes place in a location without snow.

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We did it! Merry Christmas! Christmas checklist completed!

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I hope you all had a happy and blessed Christmas season! And next year, we are for sure doing the Dickens Fair. Four-year-olds love Dickens.

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Happy New Year 2016!

Happy New Year! We’ve all been sick with colds, like everyone else in the Bay Area, but last night Drew decided he might have the flu. So now on top of handling mild head colds in all of us, we’re worrying about him passing the flu to either our 3-year-old (who has had a flu shot) or our 4-month-old (who is too young for a flu shot).

This morning after he told me that, I ran to Walgreens to get one, because every time I tried to get it from my doctor, they told me they were “out of it.” So hopefully getting it today provides…some kind of protection?

It’s a good way to kick off 2016. It builds fortitude or something. I guess.

Wish us all luck.

For resolutions this year, Drew made us sticker charts, because it’s like, well, it worked for potty training – maybe it will motivate adults too. We have various tasks to perform that come with different point amounts, and then 150 points gets us a reward. My reward is undetermined, which probably defeats the purpose of the whole sticker chart thing.

I also want to complete the Book Riot: Read Harder challenge, which gives you a bunch of categories to tick off over the year. I like ticking things off (see also: sticker chart) so I feel like this is a good challenge for me.

Another big resolution for me this year is to submit a bunch of stuff for publication and/or production. There are lots of opportunities out there and I think 2016 is the year to start taking advantage of them.

I’m also going to win the lottery this year. Dream big.

Oh PS, in case you were wondering, I actually didn’t do too badly with last year’s resolutions. I think I accomplished about half of them. Considering that they included three big tasks for B (lose pacifier, move out of crib, potty training), I’m pretty psyched.

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Lilo & Stitch fan theory

Okay, I have this fan theory about Lilo & Stitch. It’s one of the tier-one Disney movies available on Netflix, so I feel like it gets some good play in our house.

When Lilo and Nani go to adopt a dog from the shelter, they end up bringing home Stitch, an escaped alien life form who masquerades as a dog to use Lilo as a shield from the aliens who are trying to capture/kill him.

I know, right?

But here’s the weird part. When Lilo first picks Stitch from the other dogs in the shelter, Nani says “What is that thing?” and the woman who runs the shelter says, “A dog, I think…but it was dead this morning.”

So the question has been asked – why would they put a dead dog in the kennel with the live dogs? If Stitch was really a dead dog (run over by a truck the night before), wouldn’t they just do with him whatever they do with dead dogs?

I say no. I say this shelter is super shady, and uses dead animals to feed to the live ones. This is one janky shelter, and Stitch is lucky to be alive.

Here’s the scenario: the guys who drive the trucks who run over Stitch (and I mean, they really run him over – they have no reason to think he’s alive) must have a connection to the woman who runs the shelter. They know she uses animal carcasses as feed for her other dogs. They bring her this “dead dog” and she throws it in the kennel.

The other dogs don’t eat Stitch because they know he’s not a dog and they realize he’s not dead – and they’re terrified of him because they’ve seen dogs eaten in the kennels before, so every dog is fearing for its own life here.

The woman is so shocked by the appearance of living, breathing Stitch, that she blurts out this information without thinking, and clearly Nani is so surprised by Stitch that she doesn’t comprehend it or call her on it.

Here’s the scene!

 

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13 weeks later

Tomorrow is my first day back at work in 13 weeks. I am excited to be getting out of the house again, anxious about leaving my not-quite-3-month-old baby, and nervous I’m going to forget one of the thousand things I have to remember to take tomorrow for me and for two separate kid drop offs. I’ve missed my job and I’m looking forward to feeling accomplished, to setting goals, to wearing real clothes every day, to eating lunch at lunchtime. But the baby is unpredictable and high maintenance and I worry that no one who’s not me or Drew will be able to soothe her when she gets upset. The working parent struggle is real, and I’m simultaneously excited and terrified to begin it again.
  

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Sleep Talking 33

(Drew has zero recollection of this, which I guess is the point of sleep talking, but I couldn’t believe it.)

2:45am

Drew: [sits bolt upright, yelling] AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHYIYIYIYIYIYIYIYI

Me: Wha?

Drew: My arm!

Me: Is it cramped?

Drew: It’s asleep!

[Baby looks extremely alarmed.]

Me: Don’t worry, Baby H, his arm is just asleep.

Drew: Don’t laugh at me, I thought my whole arm was gone.

Poor guy.

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