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Monthly Archives: June 2011

Do two bad choices make a really bad choice? Or is bad just bad?

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I might have hit another low yesterday evening, as far as the nutrition police are concerned. The kids and I went for dinner at our local  (and very delicious, actually) Chirping Chicken. We all got it our way:  fingers for Jake and nuggets for Jenn, fries across the board, corn on the cob and chicken soup to share. We found a table outside and watched the 5pm exodus from the playground across the street.

Our food came and I was feeling pretty good, in part because the mom sitting at the table next to ours with her 3 year old and 1 year old commented that our ages (5 and 3) seem more fun, especially for a dinner out, even at a Chirping Chicken. (Can we deny that she is right? No way.) The kids were eating; I was mentally calculating how many days until I can have a guilt-free beer, and Jenn asked me to help her spread her butter. Lazily, I first suggested that she just dip in her butter and she insisted that she needed it spread. So I helped her.

I was on the third nugget when I realized I was spreading butter on my daughter’s chicken nuggets. Gross out. Who does that? Of course, the butter came for the corn on the cob, which the kids rejected so I ate.  Jenn sees butter as a way to make everything better (Again, can we deny that she is right?) and I’m a helper so we were wiping thick globs of soft-ish butter on her nuggets. I always figure butter on corn or brocoli is a small price to pay, if the kids actually eat the vegetable, but on fried, fake-ish chicken?

Virtually all of my son’s classmates and their parents passed our table and chatted with us as they walked home from the playground. If anybody took note, I can’t imagine what they thought the yellow stuff was all over Jenn’s food. I’ll note that nobody was jumping to arrange any play dates.

The silver lining? That it was actually butter that we globbed all over her food, and not something from a big tub of margarine, because I’m pretty sure it was not until college that I eschewed margarine for real butter, and Miracle Whip for mayo… She’s so sophisticated, my daughter. And she ate almost all the nuggets, which was good enough for what it was.

 

 

Jun 22, 2011

New babies and my ever-sliding standards

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Everybody seems to agree — parenting evolves with each subsequent child. Which is to say, in my case, my standards have fallen and I am less concerned with lots of the extraneous stuff. Maybe, 6 years after my first pregnancy,  I’m more lazy, (yes), maybe I’m more busy (yes), maybe I just know better which things we really need. (Or maybe I’m justifying. Very possibly.)

My third baby is coming in four weeks, I’m told. My cousin (younger and sweeter than I) is having her first baby in about two weeks, give or take, and our “parallel pregnancies” have been fun to follow. Aside from being younger and sweeter, she is also made for this parenting thing and seems utterly ready. I had a wild panic attack when, upon seeing a picture of her new baby’s room, I realized I didn’t have ANYTHING ready for my baby 3. Nary a diaper purchased. The preparations are complicated by the fact that we’re moving cities a few weeks after his grand arrival, but I hadn’t even come up with sleeping accommodations for my poor bugger. (Though I owe a big thanks to MomTrends, as at their Travel Event last week, I  was the lucky winner of the Britax Baby Carrier so my poor bugger will at least be schlepped in style!)

So while I now can haul around baby 3 easily, he has no where to sleep because I got rid of our drop-side crib (that my two nieces, nephew and my two big kids have all used) because they are now deemed dangerous.  My cousin’s baby’s room has beautifully painted knobs on the dresser and my poor bugger doesn’t even have a bed. Should someone call children’s services? Doesn’t it seem silly to put together a crib for three weeks? Won’t he just torture me in my bed for the first few weeks anyway? Happily, we still have a pack-n-play somewhere in the back of a closet, and that can be a bed for a few weeks, can’t it? I was feeling moderate about the decision, but still longing for a “done” baby’s room. This thought process inevitably set off one of my “I’m-supposed-to-be-nesting-not-packing” tantrums, which hit me most evenings.

Like everything else, it’s always a matter of what roads you have been down. The night I started worrying about painted knobs, I was chatting with my husband’s grandmother and she was remembering how sad she was when she left England as a young bride with her husband and kids. Of course, they were after a better life, but she was still sad to leave her home country. I was lamenting our upcoming move and she laughed when I complained that I didn’t even have a bed for the baby. “Well, dear, ” she said. “When they’re that small, a drawer will be fine. He won’t know and you won’t tell him.”  Begrudgingly, I have to admit that she’s right. Now if I can keep the big kids from telling him.

 

 

 

 

Filed under Babies, Expectations, Family
Jun 21, 2011

How much do we intervene?

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I’m standing outside, watching my son and daughter in the yard. The 5-year old is up in “his” apple tree and his devoted sister is holding court down on the ground. He might be throwing things down at her, or he might be throwing things down to her, the appropriate preposition is all a matter of one’s point of view…

I get mixed up when I am called upon, (or more often, NOT called upon), to intervene in their play. In the above scenario, I couldn’t help myself — I raced forth and tried to change the game a bit so that the little one, Jenn, had a better role, even though she wasn’t complaining, wasn’t really at risk, and was happily engaged in a game with her brother. Of course, we all know that my intervention didn’t work but actually ruined whatever they were happily playing, leaving them both looking at me with the “Entertain us; we’re bored” face.

I know I need to leave them alone and just let them play. I’m pretty sure the “experts” say we should let them argue, let them tussle, let them work it out. And I want to do that, except when Jenn (my baby for another 4 1/2 weeks, when her baby brother is supposed to be born) is involved. I don’t like seeing Jenn always “it” in a tag game she can’t win; always last in the race her older brother orchestrated, always wanting to play with him, regardless of how grim her role might be in the game.

Ultimately, I need to be more hands-off in these instances. But somehow, I always regress to being the little sister:  I’m 5 years old and my older sister and the neighbor girl have invited me to play horses with them again. Every time, I eagerly accept, even though I know my horse whinny noise isn’t good enough. (I still have a weak whinny.)  And every time, I’m initially surprised that they AGAIN have tied me up with jump ropes and left me as a prisoner, as they galloped off down the hill in the back yard.

How involved should we get? Do we hide the jump ropes, or just wait to be summoned to untie someone?

 

 

 

 

Filed under Uncategorized
Jun 14, 2011

My heart is broken. After a month in the fetal position, it’s time to buck up…

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My story isn’t different from many of the folks who landed here from elsewhere. I moved to New York City the week after I graduated from college. The job I found for the summer was at CBS and the hand-written note on my university’s job placement office deemed it “Very clerical in nature.” Perfect, sign me up!  A few faxes later, I was hired and off to the public library in my hometown to check out books about New York City. This was before the internet so I found a cheap place to live by making phone calls — I ended up at the Webster women’s apartments — yes, just like on Bosom Buddies. (Old enough to remember that show? I loved it. Here’s the opening I found on youtube.)

My family and friends were horrified of my decision and I’m certain they all figured “Camp New York” wouldn’t last the summer. In fact, I had a return ticket to Michigan because I knew I couldn’t afford to stay if i didn’t have a “real” job by that time. I got to New York with no friends and no money so when I wasn’t working, I walked the streets. What a way to learn a city. I really believed EB White, when he wrote that “No one should come to New York to live unless he is willing to be lucky.” I was certain good fortune – a free drink or a date or a used book I wanted or a job – was around each corner. And it was. I have been lucky in New York:  jobs, friends, lots of fun and now, a family.

The thing with being part of a family, of a marriage, is that we have to do things we don’t want to do, I am realizing. And for me, 41 years old, with two kids and  6 weeks away from having baby three, my worst possible “thing I don’t want to do” is happening. The husband has accepted a job elsewhere, (he started this week) and we are moving. Not to the suburbs, or even to the country near our cottage. We’re moving to Cleveland. And I once spent a few weeks working in Cleveland and thought it was a fun city, so this isn’t about Cleveland. In fact, everybody I know from there speaks of it with almost reverence — they lovelovelove it. This is about not wanting to leave where I am. I’m sad and pissed but guess I have to pull it together, because we’re going.

The kids know and are thrilled about having a house though they have each asked me if they’ll ever get to see their friends or babysitter (who has been with us since Jake was 5 months old) again. But they’re ready for an adventure.

In my head, I know it will be fine. A yard and a house and a school bus will all be fun for them – “normal” life, like where I grew up. They’re going to make a bunch of friends and we’ll go to watch the high school football games on Friday nights and it will all be great. The husband seems happy there, too, so far. And New York will always be here, but how often will we really get to come back? And how long until I’m able to make our lives as rich as they are here?

I know, I know what you’re thinking:

Boo hoo. Stop your pity party.  Lots of people can’t find a job, even in Ohio. Lots of people don’t have wonderful families like you do. Lots of people are desperate for babies but something is not working. Lots of people have severe medical problems. Get over yourself…

I understand that I have it pretty good. But I’m still sad. (I’ll note that being pregnant is not helping.) Maybe most importantly, I’m still willing to be lucky , even if it’s in Ohio.

Lucky or not, I told the husband that I would probably cry every day for a year. So far, I’m right on on track.

 

 

Jun 8, 2011

What you’ve missed