Tag Archives: parenting

Previously on: This Week

So for two weekends now, Drew has been taking this class for work. Simultaneously, one of his clients came down with strep, then an allergic reaction from the antibiotic, and finally pneumonia. So for two weekends in a row, Drew’s weekends have been completely filled with work, while I tried to keep B’s and my weekends filled with educational and engaging activities.

On Monday morning at 4am, I woke up feeling nauseated. I spent the rest of Monday at home, lying down with my eyes closed as much as possible, while dealing with a raging case of food poisoning. On Monday evening, right as I was starting to come out of it, Drew held up B’s hand and said, “What are these spots?” and so (luckily) we called the doctor and (luckily) it was one of their late nights and (even more luckily) they were able to get us in that night. Turns out B had a mild ear infection as well as a mild case of HFM, which thankfully hasn’t seemed to spread anywhere else besides his hand, and doesn’t seem to bother him too much. But I kept him home on Tuesday.

Since then, he’s been acting mostly just fine, but occasionally just…under the weather. Like, he doesn’t really fight naps or bedtime right now. Which is nice. Sometimes he just wants to cuddle. In the mornings, rather than eating, he just wants to be held. All nice things. And I think all just fall under the category of “I’m not feeling great. Please rub my back while we watch Curious George.”

But now Drew and I have sore throats and stuffy noses, which I think (optimistically) is just the beginnings of a cold, and nothing more. My parents are here now and I wish I hadn’t had to lure them into this den of sickness. It would be nice to hang out when we’re all feeling top-notch. But it’s also really nice to have the support right now. (I guess they’ve seen me sicker than this.)

Last night, Drew and I went to see a short play of mine performed in a college theatre festival. It was a lot of fun, even if we were out late (and far from home!). College theatre is so fun, and silly, and supported. It was cool to remember what it was like when it didn’t matter if you were good, because the house would be full of everyone’s friends, and you’d have lots of cheers at curtain call no matter what.

And that’s what you missed last week on: Me!

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Drew, Family, Theatre, Writing

Parenting is a ball

Tonight we went and had dinner with Drew’s parents, his brother, and his brother’s fiancee. We were having a great time, powering through the fact that our little munchkin apparently skipped his nap today. He was a little whiny during dinner, but when the cake came out (our nearly-sister-in-law’s birthday was this weekend), B perked up and ate a whole (small) piece of cake with an adult fork. How cute!

He chased the dogs around and played with toys and looked at the fish in the pond. Everything was going so great.

Then he picked up a piece of pottery (which I suspected he thought was a ball, and would bounce) and he hurled it onto the floor, where it shattered. I attempted a time out (always tricky at someone else’s house) while Drew cleaned up. Then we got him out of there.

Once he knew he was in trouble, he remembered how tired he was, and was mad we were leaving his grandparents behind, so he was off-and-on upset all the way home and then into pajamas and then into bed. (Where he immediately fell asleep. So…)

I went to take a shower, and I wanted to do something nice for Drew, so I tried to use B’s bath crayons to write a nice, loving note on the shower wall. I used orange because it’s what was in there. I’m glad it wasn’t red.

Because no matter how hard I tried to smoosh the crayon into the wall so it would stay there, it slooooowlyyyy ran down the wall in streaks, making the shower look like a murder scene. Like if the cast of Real Housewives got murdered there.

So now there’s a drippy, orange love message on our shower wall, and I just hope he sees it soon enough before it fades into smeary nothingness.

Some days you win, some days not so much.

Leave a comment

Filed under Children, Drew, Family, Memoir, Nonfiction, Not awesome

Willy Wonka and the Alarming Ultimatum

I was thinking about Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971, with Gene Wilder). It’s scary, right? There’s lots of stuff in there that used to give me nightmares. Like for instance:

A bunch of kids and their parents are invited into a creepy factory, led through a maze from which they presumably couldn’t find their way out if they wanted to, and then the kids are picked off one by one. This is like the epitome of the weird, not-really-for-children movies that our generation grew up on.

I was particularly struck by Augustus Gloop. I think I might have a touch of claustrophobia sometimes. Sometimes I (still) have nightmares about being stuck in a small hole or trying to crawl out of a tight space. And I blame that chocolate tube.

ww-augustus

But the other day it struck me for the first time. That would be the worst experience to go through as a parent. And these parents are relatively casual about their kids’ disappearances. Why wouldn’t Mrs. Gloop have jumped into the chocolate river to save her son? I guess Mr. Salt jumped down the bad egg chute after Veruca, and Mrs. Tee Vee fainted when her son had become a tiny television version of himself. But these are really horrible things happening to these kids, and it seems like that would be almost more of a punishment for the parents than for their offspring.

I guess that could be the point. The kids are growing into unlikable and flawed human beings, but they’re still just children. It’s really their parents’ fault for letting these things happen.

I’m not saying every person’s problem is invariably their parents’ fault. But in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, we are shown four different cases of bad parenting that ultimately result in the family being punished. It’s an allegory to warn parents (and those who may become parents) to keep on their toes and raise good, well-behaved, considerate children.

(Conversely, Charlie Bucket is frequently called a “good kid,” and he’s parented hard-core by a mother and four grandparents. He makes the “right” choice, and is rewarded handsomely for it. Parents, take heed.)

This movie came out 43 years ago. I wonder whether it’s working. It’s definitely given me something to think about.

Leave a comment

Filed under Nonfiction, Not awesome

First day of daycare

This is a huge milestone. The moment we’ve been leading up to for (at least) the last year.

Some background: I went back to work (4 days a week) just before B turned 3 months old. And since then, he’s been watched primarily by Drew’s parents, which has been one of those things that we are afraid we are taking for granted, but we try to remember to be grateful every day. So let me just say on the record, I am so thankful for Drew’s parents for taking on the majority of weekday childcare, and also for my parents for making the trek down here so frequently to babysit.

I couldn’t imagine leaving B with a daycare provider when he was 3 months old. I know people do it, and I admire that, but we are lucky and didn’t have to. I’m so happy we had family who could watch him. As he got older, it was an issue of finding somewhere we could take him that we could trust and afford and where we would feel comfortable leaving our most precious possession. It also became harder, as the months went by, to give up our free family daycare.

But we knew that he would probably really like to be around other kids more often, and he could learn a lot from them. We’re always impressed with what our friends’ kids seem to pick up from daycare, and it seemed like we were kind of missing out on that. Our pediatrician has stressed the importance of playdates, especially since B isn’t in daycare, and we understand how important socialization is at this age.

A couple weeks ago, we met with a woman (we’ll call her Alicia) who does in-home daycare for 3s and under, and we really like her. She comes highly recommended by members of Drew’s family, which makes me feel good. She has 4 other kids right now, who come on various days of the week, although one is about to “graduate” to preschool. Another one is 6 months old. Two of the kids are just right around B’s age, and when we went to meet her, he had a great time playing with them.

We decided to do two days a week, and today is the first of those days. All morning I kept telling him how lucky he is, that he gets to go play with other kids today, and he’s going to have so much fun. I dropped him off at 8am, and he walked right into the house and then started running around the living room, climbing on the couch, and talking to the girl who was already there. He seemed happy and totally not shy. I passed off all of his stuff to Alicia, gave him hugs and kisses goodbye, and then she took both kids to go find some toys in the other room, and I left.

Honestly, I have to say I did better than I expected. I hope he is also doing well. Every parent knows this is a rough day. We just have to get through the first few days of a new thing, and then everything will be great. Still, if you want to send me good vibes today, it’d be much appreciated…haha.

7 Comments

Filed under Baby, Beginnings, Children, Drew, Memoir, Nonfiction

Christmas and the Four Gift Rule

This time last year, Drew and I were brand new parents. B was still technically an infant, and still novel to us, and Christmas was our first chance to really spoil him. He was growing out of all of the neutral-colored infant clothes we had started out with, and he was beginning to be interested in rattles and other toys. It was the perfect opportunity to go a little crazy with presents, buying him cute outfits and colorful stacking cups and yes, even some stuffed animals.

We have a picture of him from Christmas 2012, strapped in his bouncy chair, with all of his gifts piled around and on top of him. It’s an embarrassment of riches, especially for a 3-month-old. (We also have a picture of him lying on the floor, almost totally covered with wrapping paper – but that’s just for fun.)

This year, I’ve been asked the question multiple times: What does B want for Christmas? And the truth that I keep telling people is: He literally doesn’t need a single thing. Thanks to friends who are liberal with their hand-me-downs, he has clothes to get him through the next year and a half. Thanks to an admittedly lavish first birthday party, he has a ton of toys – several that we haven’t even given him yet. He has all the gear, all the furniture, everything a toddler could desire. We didn’t even know what we should get him, and we’re his parents, for crying out loud. (But no more stuffed animals. We’ve learned that lesson already.)

Then a friend on Facebook posted a PSA about the “mistakes” she has made as a parent. She said that she has spoiled her kids by buying them piles of gifts for every occasion, and now that they’re older, they’ve grown used to it, and even started to take it for granted. She was very honest and blunt, and I really appreciate that she was willing to open herself up like that. Most parents I know wouldn’t have come clean in such a way. At the end of her cautionary tale, she referenced the Four Gift Rule – “Something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read.”

I love it. I love the idea of taking some of the emphasis off of gifts, and simultaneously shifting focus to other holiday activities – but not in a chastising way, or a “you ungrateful child you” way. It just feels like a gentle guideline. I also love the foundation it gives me in figuring out what to get this kid (who’s not going to remember any of this anyway). Now that we have categories, it’s easier to come up with ideas.

And the four categories cover all bases well. We’ve already established a tentative “new pajamas for Christmas” tradition, and I’m always up for buying more books (even board books). So we’re halfway there.

Perhaps, in another year or two, when we have more room for large presents, and an older child who actually has a Christmas wish list, the four gift rule will go out the window. But for this year, I’m happy to enforce this for everyone in our family. (For B, we’ll just need to fudge the “something you need,” since he needs nothing. “Something you want” is easy – he’ll want it as soon as he sees it, at least in the moment.)

Merry Christmas! May your gifts be meaningful, your families be joyful, and your smiles be plentiful. And a Happy New Year!

1 Comment

Filed under Baby, Children, Holidays, Nonfiction, Self improvement, Writing

A 1-year-old is an unreliable wedding guest

A couple weeks ago, we took B to a wedding. A francy wedding.

(I meant fancy, but I accidentally typed francy, and I immediately fell in love with that new word I just created.)

This francy wedding took place at St. Dominic’s Catholic Church in San Francisco. Drew and I were a little nervous about the whole day, for the following reasons:

a. wedding of a medium-close family member who might not be forgiving of 1-year-old antics;
b. ceremony at 3pm, reception at 6pm across the city;
c. our particular 1-year-old doesn’t always behave well in francy situations;
d. also we have to dress up

As a bonus thing to worry about, our car situation meant we were taking my parents’ bug, which is stick, so I had to drive.

We left plenty of time to get ready, get everything in the car, and get to SF. We got there about 10 minutes before 3:00, which was perfect. We parked right outside the church, which was perfect. I hopped into the backseat to pull B out of his carseat…and was greeted by an absolutely remarkable smell.

We opened the trunk (do you realize how small a VW bug trunk is??) and laid him down in it, button down shirt and all, to change his diaper. It wasn’t until I had the diaper half off, and Drew was digging through the diaper bag looking for the wipes, that I remembered I had used up the last wipe and forgotten to put a new package in. There were some exclamations of dismay. I mean, we were on the side of the road, outside a francy church, dressed in our best, trying to change our squirmy child in a trunk, and we had no wipes.

Luckily we had pacifier wipes, so we survived.

We got everything put together and went inside. The church was beautiful. We sat down in the back row, on the outside aisle, ignoring the waves from Drew’s family to come up and sit with them. Through a mixture of mouthing and mime, he told them, “Our kid is going to lose it so we need to be able to slip out quickly.”

We were sitting down for about 4 minutes, and the family members were being escorted in, when B opened his mouth and let out a “Aawwwk?” And then his eyes got big and he looked around, as he realized what a great echo there was in here. I jumped up and tried to jiggle him to keep him occupied, but once he started squawking, there was no turning around. We saw the bride come in, and then I ended up taking him out to the narthex, where we walked back and forth for the entirety of the service. Sometimes we went outside.

But B was smack in the middle of wanting to walk everywhere but needing to hold hands, so I spent an hour alternating between being kind of hunched over, and tossing his 25 pounds into the air to make him laugh.

After the service, we had all this time to kill, and we thought if we drove around he might take a nap in the car seat. Well, we were wrong. So we drove all around San Francisco, went up to Twin Peaks and got gas, and got caught in the worst ever traffic on the way downtown to the financial district, where the reception was.

Despite being the most anxious about the reception, it was actually really lovely. As soon as we got to the table, one of the waitstaff came over and said, “Do you want a high chair?” and Drew and I were both like, “YOU HAVE HIGH CHAIRS??” Also, the first toast of the evening was by the bride’s father, and rather than being champagne, it was a tequila shot with cinnamon and orange. So good. B lasted for a really long time before he started melting down (like 9pm – like 2 hours after his usual bedtime) – although right at the moment when we decided it was time to get him out, they started other toasts, and then one of the bridesmaids gave like a 15-minute toast and were trapped on the side of the room opposite the door.

Anyway. B’s first wedding, and it was francy, and it was inside a Catholic church, and it was late at night. And he did great!

francy2

Blurry backwards camera!

Leave a comment

Filed under Awesome, Baby, Beauty, Being a girl, cars, Children, Dreams, Drew, Family, Fashion, Food, Humor, Love, Memoir, Nonfiction, Religion, Sentiment, Travel

Why the 7-Eleven clerk thinks I’m a shoplifter

When I told Drew I was going out and asked him if he wanted anything, and he told me he just wanted a regular Snapple iced tea, I thought it would be easy. But Target didn’t sell Snapple iced tea – Target didn’t sell any single Snapples. They only had 8-packs of Kiwi-Strawberry and Cranberry-Raspberry.

After Target, I went to Dinosaurs to pick up sandwiches for dinner…but all they had in the way of beverages were Mexican Cokes and a fountain soda machine. B and I walked over to the little grocery store nearby, which did have diet Snapple iced tea, so I bought one, just in case, and also a Henry Weinhard root beer because it sounded good. I put these into the same bag with the sandwiches, and B and I headed back home.

I decided at the last minute to stop at the 7-Eleven to see if they had Snapple. They had one left, so I grabbed it from the case. But all I had was a card, no cash, and so to make it seem more worthwhile, I also got a small sugar-free green slurpee.

Inexplicably, there was a long line, and I stood there, balancing a heavy bag of Vietnamese sandwiches and 2 glass-bottled beverages in one hand, a Snapple and a slurpee in the other hand, with a 25-lb baby strapped to my chest. At one point, B got his hands on the straw in the slurpee and flipped green slush onto his face and down the front of my shirt.

Right after that, the guy in front of me left the counter, and as I stepped up to it, the spreading wet spot (from the cold, condensation-covered glass bottles) on the paper bag I was holding gave out, and the diet Snapple slipped out and hit the floor. Normally, I would have just stooped down and grabbed it, or maybe it would never have happened in the first place, but the baby strapped to me makes it hard to quickly squat down, and so I stood there for a minute.

I thought I was mildly exasperated, but the clerk may have read it as guilty.

“What was that?” she asked, as the girl behind me picked up the diet Snapple for me. I thanked her.

“And what’s all this?” the clerk asked, gesturing to the bag.

“That’s stuff I’ve bought elsewhere,” I said. She was already ringing up the diet Snapple. “Oh, that’s not from here…only these things–” (gesturing) “–are from here.”

She looked at me doubtfully. I offered her the receipt from the grocery store. She didn’t take it. I hightailed it out of there.

So maybe she doesn’t still think I’m a shoplifter. But, she didn’t offer me a bag (which would have been helpful, given that my bag clearly had a giant hole in it). So there may still be some hard feelings.

1 Comment

Filed under "Other people", Humor, Memoir, Nonfiction, Not awesome