Monday, September 22, 2014

On Love Bugs and False Hopes

You guys...

I'm in love.  

Isn't she beautiful?  

I used to drive a VW Beetle...a lime green Beetle to be more specific.  Go big or go home, ya know?  

It had a sunroof and a flower vase.  I could always find it in a parking lot.  Children would punch each other in the arm when they saw me drive past.  It was fun, young, and so very me.  

The year before we had Madeline, I traded my Beetle in for something more "family friendly" and "practical".

My current car is dark gray.  It doesn't have a sunroof or a vase.  I can never find it in the parking lot because every other car looks exactly like mine.  I've even tried to get into the wrong car no more than one occasion.  It's a good car, really it is, but it's pretty boring.

Let's face it, my life is pretty boring these days.  But it doesn't have to be.    

Driving to preschool...Driving to the supermarket...Driving to the doctor...Driving to pick up, yet again, more diapers...It would all be so much fun in my bus!

As soon as I saw its picture float across my Facebook feed last week, I had one thought only: She will be mine.  Someday. Oh yes, she will be mine.

I texted the picture to Eric.  He said we could get it, but that he should never be expected to drive it.  I could live with that.  That night, I dreamt of carting my two kids, a dog, and even a tuba around in my mom bus.  

But alas, all dreams must come to an end.  I scoured the Internet looking for release dates, prices, any information about when this beauty could be mine.  There were conflicting reports....and then I learned the cold, hard truth.  Volkswagen has no plans to reintroduce a Microbus.

Damn you Internet and your false hopes!  Don't you know that it's dangerous to toy with the feelings of an exhausted mother desperately trying to reclaim her youth?  

And so, please, Volkswagen.  I implore you.  Make my dreams come true.

Vivi: Thirty-Nine Weeks

I had to look back at last week's update to remember how old Vivi is.  Second child, man, what can I say?

And, whoa Nellie, she's nine months?!  What's up with that? 
And she can do this?!

 Who is this munchkin?  What happened to that loaf of bread who used to sleep on me all day?

Seriously, I still sometimes think that Vivi was born last week. It felt like Madeline was a baby forever.  I basicaly had nothing else to do but watch her be a baby all day long.  This time around, life is not so laid back.  Vivi spends so much time being carted around our messy lives that I've forgotten to just watch her be a baby.  I've been trying to do more of that on the mornings when Madeline is in school.  I sit on the rug and focus on nothing but Vivi....and sometimes my pumpkin coffee.

This morning I watched her crawl across the playroom to try to pull a lamp over.  I stopped her before she got to the lamp for obvious reasons, but she was really, truly crawling.  She hasn't done it since (her toys are not as motivating as a lamp...that rascal), but I'm on the lookout to make sure it wasn't a fluke crawling. 

She is also taking steps while holding our hands for support.  She's a go-getter all right.

It's funny because Vivi figures out how to manipulate objects much more quickly than Madeline did.  She can press buttons, flip lids, and throw things with purpose.  But Maddie was ahead in terms of social interactions.  She could wave, clap, and say a few words by nine months.  Vivi doesn't do any of those things.  Mostly because whenever I try to show her how, she gives me a look that says, "I don't give a damn about choo and your clappin'!  Gimme that lamp!"  

Vivi has major stranger anxiety.  She had two doctor's appointments this week, and she gave the poor nurses and doctors a real earful.  (That lady is looking at me...Bwaaaa!)  And whenever a kind person tries to smile or wave at Vivi, she suddenly finds the floor fascinating.  

We discovered that Vivi has gained over 8 ounces since her last doctor's appointment three weeks ago.  She's moved up to the twelfth percentile.  Hoo-ray!  That formula certainly packs on the pounds.  

She had a poop attack again last weekend.  The doctors think we just need to give her more time to adjust to the formula.  They also recommend allergy testing when she turns one...which is only three months away?! How did this happen?!  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Big Sister Strikes Back

We already know that little sisters can be obnoxious.  But as it turns out, big sisters can be just as bad.

M: Let's take a cute picture for Mumma.

V: Okay, I'm just gonna chew on this booger sucker.

V: Okay, I'm done.  Let me go.

M: Nope.  

V:  Let me go...

M: Nope.  

V: Very funny.  Seriously, let me go.  

M: Nope.

V: Quit it!

M: Nope.

V: Lemme go! Lemme go! Let. Me. Go!

M: Heh-heh...Nope.

V: (Whine. Whimper.)

M: And...nope.  

V: Are you kidding me with this crap?!

M: Look into my eyes...Nope!

V: Mumma!

M: I don't know what she's so upset about.  

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

We are Loved: We are Hated: Mostly We are Barely Tolerated

Going places used to be no big deal.  I was just another forgettable face in the crowd going about my frozen-pizza-buying business quietly and efficiently.  But now that I have two small children, we can't go anywhere under the radar.  Running errands is an event.  We've arrived everybody, stand back less you get sucked into our maelstrom of drool and budding estrogen!

I popped into Starbucks on a whim this morning because the pumpkin spice latte is back, and I think it's some sort of requirement for young, white, middle-class women like myself to indulge in at least one a week if we want to keep our lady bits thawed for the winter.  So since Madeline was at school, and I was in the same plaza doing errands anyhow, I thought I'd just pop in to satisfy my weekly quota.  (My town does not allow drive-thrus because they like to make parents of young children miserable.)

The barista behind the register threw us a smile, but it was clear that she was not thrilled to see a baby balanced on my hip.  Her words were welcoming, but her eyes read, "Okay, how's this baby and her bitch mother going to make my job harder?"  Her feelings were justified when ten seconds later, my spawn knocked an entire display of gift cards across the floor.

The woman behind the counter sighed wearily, her smile a little more rigid, as I apologized and tried to scoop up handfuls of the spilled cards.

"I have three kids at home," she nodded.  "I know how it goes."  Clearly, this woman was in no mood to deal with my child's shenanigans when she had her hands full cleaning up after her own.  And then she shouted toward the back, "Can someone come pick up these cards that just fell all over the floor?"

A manager poked her head out from behind the counter, a clear "WTF" etched between her eyebrows.

"The baby did it," the barista deadpanned, pointing in my direction.  The manager gave me another exasperated, frozen smile as she went about cleaning up our mess.

As I tried to disappear into the haze of artfully brewed coffee and glowing laptop screens, another customer started cooing over how cute Vivi is.  Then she launched into a history of her own teenage daughter.  My pumpkin spiced latte arrived, and still the woman chatted on about her child and mine.

And so, I find that the world's population can be divided into two main categories:  Strangers who are happy to see my kids and strangers who are most definitely not happy to see my kids.

People who are happy to see my kids include the following: most teen-aged girls, moms of much older children, men in business attire (who very rarely take the time to say anything to us, but smile nonetheless), the elderly, fellow redheads/ former redheads/ relatives of redheads, and grocery store cashiers. 

Meanwhile,  attractive young women on cell phones, moms/dads of young children who are trying to get a break by leaving them at home, grumpy old people, pretentious ass-hats*, and every member of the service industry, except for grocery store cashiers, are usually not happy to see my kids.

(* Special Note:  These people are not ass-hats because they don't like my kids.  I suspect many people view my children the way I view other people's pets.  Sure, that hamster seems nice, but I just don't know him well enough to find him cute and/or particularly interesting.  And that's okay.  These people are ass-hats because their heads are in the wrong place, AND they don't like my kids. This includes the lady who spent twenty minutes inspecting and critiquing every slice of meat she ordered at the deli the other day, but who also gave me a dirty look when Madeline knocked over a package of kaiser rolls.  Move along, lady.  Move along.)

There's also a third category of people who don't notice my kids either way.  This includes the moms/ dads who also have their young children with them because A. They are two busy dealing with their own brood to bother with mine, and B: They think their kids are cuter anyhow (false).  This third category also includes most adolescent males who don't notice much of anything at all.

Here's what a recent trip to the grocery store looked like for me and my girls:

Vivi spent the entire time growling, giggling, pulling Maddie's hair, and kicking her in the head.  Maddie spent the entire time screeching, giggling, and pretending to be angry.  (I know M looks sad in these pictures, but don't be fooled.  She was egging Vivi on the whole time.)

Some people smiled at our chaos.  Some scowled.  Some laughed.  Some threw me looks of absolute horror.  Some were too busy blocking the aisle to notice us standing there at all.  Some stopped to compliment Maddie's hair and talk about their ten redheaded grandchildren.

We're now out of paper towels, but I'd rather let the girls wipe their faces with bits of toilet paper than bother with bringing them to the store.  I hope that brings the people who are not happy to see my kids at least some measure of comfort.  And I won't be going to Starbucks anytime soon either.  I'll drive two towns over to use the drive-thru.    

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Birthday Weekend

I've had "Let it Go" stuck in my head since we first saw Frozen last November.  That's right, it's been playing on a continuous loop in my brain for almost a year.  I blame Disney for my recent lapses in memory and my extreme irritability. It might even explain why I've started twitching.

But I love my kid, and that little nugget loves Frozen, so I put my sanity on the line to take her to see Frozen on Ice for her birthday.  

She got Anna and Elsa costumes as her birthday present, so she was allowed to pick one to wear to the show.  She likes Anna better, so I was surprised that she picked Elsa.  But let's face it...her costume is just too fancy to resist!  

My favorite part was watching a sea of miniature Elsa's walking the streets of Downtown Providence on the way to the arena.  Before the show even started, the place was plastered with glitter from so many costumes.  The floor of the ladies' room was positively sparkling with the stuff.  

The show was what you'd expect.  There was singing (on ice), dancing (on ice), and jazz hands (on ice!).  Madeline loved it!  

We had a busy weekend.  Before the big event, we celebrated Maddie's last day of being three, by letting her choose three things she wanted to do.  She picked a trip to the Disney Store, (where she got to use $10 of piggy bank money) Benson's Park, and the library.  

I'm glad she made three easy requests.  If she had chosen Disney World, we would have been in trouble...

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Dear Madeline: September, 2014

Dear Madeline,

Today, you are four.  Four is still little.  You still need help putting on shoes, washing your hands, getting in your car seat.  But four is big enough to be considered a kid.  Not a baby, not a honest to goodness kid.  You can get dressed yourself, get yourself a glass of water, help me unload the dishwasher.  You are my little buddy, my biggest helper, my shadow around the house. 

Sometimes I miss the baby that you were.  That tiny girl, with those chubby cheeks, and halo of red curls will never walk into the room again.  I now fully get what parents mean when they talk about time moving too quickly.  

But the best part of watching you grow is that each and every stage just gets better and better.  I miss baby Madeline, but I wouldn't trade the lovely child you've become for anything.  

You are smart, clever, at times sly.  You are funny, silly, unafraid to let your inner goofy shine.  You are sweet, kind, and gentle. You are brave to the point of sometimes being afraid to let your true feelings out.

  I know you are very big, but it is okay to cry if you fall and scrape your knee in front of your friends.  I know you are big, but it's okay to cry on Mumma's shoulder when a friend at school hurts your feelings.  Don't hold those feelings back, my Maddie girl.  Don't be afraid to stand up for be yourself.  

Stay forever awesome, Madeline.  You are the coolest kid I know.  


Friday, September 12, 2014

Vivi: Thirty-Eight Weeks

The big news this week is that Vivi has slept through the night the past four nights in a row!  I'm talking a solid eleven hours.  It's amazing.  Of course, I wake up every night around 4 am in a panic wondering where the baby is, but it's huge progress.  Now that I've made this milestone public, I'm sure she'll wake every hour tonight.  Knock on wood.

We've been battling the poop monster a little bit this week, which is frustrating.  It's been nearly two months since her last bad episode, so I had hoped that we were moving past this.  This time isn't nearly as bad as her previous battles, which is good, but there's been straining and crying and blockages and a crazy explosion for good measure.  She's fully weened from the breast now, but there was a bit of overlap two weeks ago where I was nursing in the middle of the night even though I had started adding dairy back into my diet.  I'm not sure if what we're seeing this week is the result of that poor judgement, or if it's just Vivi being Vivi.  Time will tell I suppose.

Overall, the formula is definitely working better than the breast milk was for us.  She's chunking up fast, eating more, and sleeping better.  She just seems much more comfortable...except when she tries to poop.

Eric and I continue to be amazed at how physical Vivi is.  She still isn't crawling, but she might as well be.  She gets around so well.  She's been fascinated with opening doors and drawers lately.  Madeline's play kitchen is a lot of fun for her.  I sometimes set up the pack n' play mattress on the kitchen floor while I'm getting things done in there, and she figured out how to access the baking pans in the drawer under the stove.  I really have to keep a close eye on her at all times.

She still communicates mostly in growls, but we're starting to hear more consonant noises thrown in.  Last night she kept repeating, "Dah-dah-dah-dah-dah," under her breath.  This morning there have been  more "Dahs" and lots of "Goos" and "Gahs."  

Vivi is a huge cuddle bug.  She likes to climb up Eric or I when we're sitting on the floor with her.  She stands hanging on to our knees or shoulders for a long time while we rub her back and she nuzzles her head into us.  It's nice.

She's still Madeline's biggest fan.  She thinks her big sister is hilarious, and she wants to do whatever she sees Madeline doing.  Vivi and I have had a lot of alone time this week now that Maddie's back in school, but she's a lot more needy when her big sister isn't around to entertain her.  Madeline is a huge help.

Finally, she still doesn't have any teeth.  This is surprising because we've thought she was teething several times, but still, nothing has poked through.  Madeline had a lot of teeth by this age, and she was eating a lot of finger foods.  Vivi hasn't really started down that road because of her tummy troubles, and because of her lack of chompers.  I think I'll make some soft-boiled chunks of fruit next week to see how she handles finger food.

Come on, baby girl, grow 'dem teeth!