Thursday, May 31, 2012

Behind the Scenes: May

Eric got me a new phone for my birthday, which was in the beginning of May.  My previous phone was a flip phone that I've been toting around for the past five years.  It got to the point where my students shrieked in horror every time they caught a glimpse of my stone-age device lying on my desk.

I felt really bad replacing my old phone.  It had been so loyal and trustworthy through the years, and how do I repay it?  By upgrading to a younger, sleeker, fancier IPhone.

Yet, as much as my heart goes out to my old phone now lying on the bottom of our junk drawer, I must admit, my new phone is pretty damn awesome.

Since getting it, I've probably taken around 200 photos....mostly of Madeline.  She loves taking self-portraits because she can see herself on the screen and thinks it's hilarious.  

Some examples:

This last one was taken first thing in the case you couldn't tell...not that we look...rumpled...or anything.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


No, I'm not Blossom's precocious, hat-wearing bff...altough I should sometime cause she was pretty rad.   I'm talking about Top Baby Blogs.

I'm pretty sure the only people who read this blog on a consistent basis are my parents.  They are, after all, among Madeline's biggest fan club.

The other day when Top Baby Blogs reset their numbers, my parents voted for our good ole bloggy wog over their morning cups of tea like they do every day.  Luckily, my parents wake up before the sun does.  This means, that for about an hour, before the rest of the world was awake, my blog was actually number six on Top Baby Blogs.

Not only was this probably the only time that my blog will ever make it to the first page, but six is also my lucky number.  So lucky, in fact, that I was born on the sixth, I was parked in parking space number six when I got the call for my first grownup job, Madeline was born in delivery room number six, and I purposely try to maneuver sixes into any flights I book.  I feel that seeing the number six is the universe's way of saying, "You must chill!  You crazy, neurotic redheaded beast, you must chill!"

My mom sent me an email that morning alerting me of the madness, but by the time I checked, I had resumed my usual spot in the low sixties. mom did take a picture before our blog turned  back into a pumpkin.

I'm basically famous.

I also love that the other pages my mom had open at 5 am were Tiffany & Co. and something about Julia Child.  That is sooooo my mother.

If you'd like to vote for the bloggy wog,  I wouldn't be opposed. Please click the brown box in the sidebar.  When you see the owls, click a second time.  You can vote once every 24 hours.  Thank you!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Little Squeaker

Madeline has been very particular about her footwear recently.  She likes to pick out her own shoes, and becomes very insistent about wearing them even if they are not the proper kicks for the occasion.  We usually don't care.  Want to wear silver sequin-studded sneakers to school even though they don't come close to matching your outfit, Madeline?  Sure, why not?

So when Madeline picked out gold, fancy dress shoes to play in the yard this weekend, I didn't blink.  When she started walking down the hallway and I remembered that these shoes squeak with every step she takes, I only blinked twice.

It wasn't until Madeline was running around the yard, squeaking like a maniac did it occur to me that it was 8 am and her shoes were probably waking up the entire neighborhood.  It's probably also important to note that Madeline no longer walks.  She only runs.  That's why our neighbors love us.

P.S.  If you listen closely, you can hear her asking for cheese, putting Elmo to bed, and declaring, "It's morning!" to wake him back up again.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Long Weekends...

...are the best!

We packed a lot of family-fun into the past few days.  We went to the beach, we ate seafood, and visited two toy stores.  Then we hung out with the neighborhood kids, planted veggies, and took a dip in our kiddie pool.  And then we barbecued, discovered that Madeline loves hot dogs, took long naps, and planted sunflowers.  Furthermore, we played on the swing set, missed our town's parade by an entire day, accidentally watched a different town's Memorial Day parade while stuck in traffic, visited farm animals, and went on a shopping spree.

 Phew.  I'm exhausted just thinking about it.  I need a vacation to get over this long weekend.....oh wait!!  It's coming in just three short weeks.  Hoo-ray!  

Friday, May 25, 2012

On Daughters

Sometimes I forget that I have a daughter. Obviously I know Madeline exists. I did, after all, thrust her from my loins. One is not likely to forget something like that…for realsies, yo.

Yet sometimes, it’s like a lightning bolt hits me with this sudden realization: Whoa, I am a mother and I have a daughter, and I am responsible for the welfare of a whole separate human being. Someone brew me a second cup of coffee…stat!

When your child is a little baby, it’s easy to think of them as just another part of your own self. I viewed the whole first year of Madeline’s life from my point of view: what it was like being a new mother, what it was like staying up all night with a crying baby, what it was like having her sleep on my chest and seeing her smile at me for the first time.

Now that she’s older, motherhood extends far beyond my own limited view. She’s her own person. This is her life, not mine. She’s watching the world and thinking about the world and having feelings about the world that I know nothing about. Every new experience is shaping and molding her into the person she is and will be.

And I think that it’s such a wonderful gift I’ve been given to watch this beautiful little girl grow up and become her own person. Then I think of the tremendous responsibility of the whole thing, and it’s enough to knock the wind out of me.

Madeline was playing with another child yesterday and he pushed her. He’s just a little baby himself, and he doesn’t know any better yet. Madeline’s little face twisted with pain before bursting into tears, and it broke my heart a little to see my child hurt by someone else.

This small situation was a reminder that Madeline will experience many playground bullies, hurtful comments, and worse over the course of her life. Someday she’ll see that there’s a lot of ugliness in this world that cannot be explained. As much as I wish I could put a plastic bubble around her and roll her through life, I won’t be able to protect her from everything.

So how do you make sure your daughter has the confidence and ability to believe in herself? How do you teach her to tell off the playground bully? How do you teach her that she’s better than the hurtful comments? How do you teach her to look for the good in life and try her hardest to fix the bad?

I don’t have a son, so maybe I just am out of the loop, but I feel that there’s a special responsibility to make sure our daughters are confident and strong. They have to trust in themselves enough to not let the ill-intentioned men of the world damage them, and not let the mean-spirited women of the world walk all over them.

I look at my daughter and see the most magical, beautiful, sweet-spirited person God ever created, but I how do I ensure that she feel s the same way about herself as she grows up?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What We've Been Up To...

Madeline had some sort of virus over the weekend that had me literally praying for the poop to stop.  We went through enough disposable diapers to make Al Gore cry.

Then she got home from school today and grunted and groaned and strained enough for me to pray for the poop to start back up. 

 I thought the obsession with my child's bowel movements would fade somewhere around the one-year mark, but it's still a pretty big part of our lives.  Big enough for God to become involved.  Poor baby.  


Here's what we've up to: (besides frequent bowel movements) 

First, Eric went to NY for the weekend to visit with family, so it was just us girls.  

We basked in the sunshine:

We visited Drumlin Farms in Lincoln, MA with Amy where we saw sheep, lamb, chickens, fisher cats (shudder) and cows:   

And where I realized that as difficult as birthing babies can be, thank the sweet Baby Jesus that at least I'm not a sow: (hold the jokes, please)
 Although her piglets were pretty darn cute:

 And we learned Madeline is the size of a pony and not a horse:
 (as if we really needed a sign to tell us that....)

 And we ate delicious Popsicles:
 Then we played in the yard where we remembered NOT to mess with the water meter:  (Good listening, Maddie Bear!)
 And we admired our flowers:
 And colored the front walk with chalk:
 And contemplated the universe from the back stoop:
 And ate even more delicious Popsicles:
 And took lots of self portraits:

In spite of the frequent bowl movements, it was a pretty good Mumma-Madeline weekend.  It has me craving the lazy days of summer close I can taste them...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Revisiting Our Past

 We went and visited our old stomping grounds last weekend.  It was little strange playing tourist in a place we had lived for several years.   And although we always knew that our old neighborhood was a little...well "seedy"...several months living in suburbia made it glaring obvious just how dicey it can be.

Still, it was nice to visit with the corner people again, and we even met a little street urchin who tried to make nice with Madeline by screaming in her face at the top of his lungs.  I'd blame his parents....but there weren't any in sight to blame.

Really, the old neighborhood's not that bad, and we had a nice afternoon eating lunch, walking along the river, and visiting some art galleries.  Plus, Madeline had a lot of fun running around the playground.  Until the street urchin appeared that is...

 And of course, there was that awkward moment when we realized there was nasty graffiti printed above our baby's head...
 And I took some pictures anyway...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Our Little Wedding...Dress

I ordered my wedding dress last week.  Surprisingly, the whole process was very easy.  It only took two stress-free appointments.

The dress I chose is totally not what I was thinking I wanted.  In fact, the first time I tried it on, I quickly dismissed it and sent it back to the land of misfit wedding dresses.  After I left the store, however, the dress kept swimming to the surface of my mind.  When I went back for my second appointment, I knew it was mine the moment I put it on.  

Here's a hint:

It's a cross between...


and this tampon dress...

Okay, not really, but you don't think I'm going to give away my wedding dress on the Internets do you?

Monday, May 14, 2012

20 Months

Dear Madeline,

How can it be that you'll be two years old in just four short months?  Where is time going?  Where is my little baby going?  You are turning into our little girl. 

I feel so lucky to be able to watch you grow up and discover the world.

Now that the weather is getting warm, we've been able to spend more and more time outdoors.  It's our first spring in our little house, and I'm so glad you have a place to play.  You pick me flowers.  You love blowing bubbles.  We took out a fresh package of chalk yesterday and colored the bricks on the front walk.  You like to swing and go down the slide on your baby-sized playground.  Yesterday, Dada and I were observing how you'll soon outgrown that swing set.  

When you see bugs you yell, "Ant!  Ant!" and point at them like it's the coming of the zombie apocalypse.  Sometimes you are afraid of the ants, and you come running to me for comfort.  Other times you get brave and stomp on them and laugh maniacally.  (Poor ants...) 

We've been hearing your evil giggle a lot lately.  You're at a stage where everything that's inappropriate is funny.  You see a little boy fall and scrape his knee? Laughter.  You spill your juice all over the floor?  Laughter.  You make rude noises with your tongue?  Laughter. 

In spite of your evil-genius cackle, you continue to have a sweet disposition.  Ever since you were a tiny little tater-tot, you've liked to hold on to our fingers.  It used to be the only way we could get you to fall asleep.  As you get older, you continue to want to hold my hand.  When I rock with you before bed, you reach for my fingers.  When we watch a movie, you snuggle up next to me on the couch and reach for my hand.  Now that we've turned your car seat around to face forward, you sometimes reach out your hand for mine.  I can reach you if I'm in the passenger seat, and you're quite content to just hold on to my digits as we ride along.

You've been singing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" to us a lot recently.  It's funny because you don't know all the lyrics, but we'll catch a correct phrase here and there throughout the tune.  You've also begun to memorize books.  When you flip through The Bear Feels Scared, you say some of the words and babble through the rest. 

And holy cow, Miss Madeline, do you have a temper.  Patience is not a virtue you were born with.  We've had to give you a few time outs recently after particularly dreadful behavior.  When you don't get your way, you melt down into a red-faced puddle of tears.  There are some days where you just can't seem to get out of your own way, and I have no idea why you're crying.  On those days, the looks you give me are enough to break your poor Mumma's heart.  Still, we're trying our best to stay strong and not spoil you....too badly at least...

On the other hand, you're manners are coming along nicely.  You say please and thank you on a regular basis.  My heart swelled with pride when you thanked the clerk at a local store this weekend without any prompting from us.  Then when I bought you a Munchkin at Dunkin Donuts, you looked right at me and said, "Thank you, Mumma."  Those moments balance out the moments where you dump the freshly folded laundry on the floor or fight being strapped in to your car seat.

I'm very proud of you little miss.  Keep up the good work.



You were crying in this picture because I offered you a banana for snack, but you wanted a rice cake.  So I gave you a rice cake, and you started crying for the banana.  So I gave you the banana, and you started crying for the rice cake.  So I gave you both, but you still cried for a full five minutes until you finally settled on the banana.

That pretty much sums up life with Maddie Bear this month.

Lessons in Bad Parenting

Madeline was in a particularly grumpy mood on our way home on Friday since I interrupted her afternoon nap when I came to pick her up from daycare.

We stopped to buy her a new pair of sneakers, and she behaved like a beastie most of the time.  I tried to smooth over the situation by letting her pick her new sneakers herself, (from a pre-screened selection.)  I let her wear her new kicks out of the store, and it seemed like a baby tantrum had been adverted.  

I was feeling pretty good about my mad parenting skills until Madeline decided to screech, rip off her new shoes, and throw them across the backseat of the car. 

Therefore, when I heard her making creature growls from the backseat as we drove out of the parking lot,  I ignored her.  I sighed deeply, ground my teeth, and started counting the hours till bedtime.      

When her crying grew a little more urgent, however, I glanced over my shoulder to see what was wrong.  

There was Madeline, back arched, limbs flailing, sliding out of her car seat and onto the floor.  It seems that in my hurry to get my whinny baby home, I forgot to buckle her in.  

Oops.  Mother of the year award here, folks.  Yes indeed.  

Oh, and her new shoes gave her blisters.  

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Dandelion Princess

This afternoon, Madeline picked two dandelions and carried them across the yard to me. She kept one for herself and handed one to me. I showed her how to blow the dandelion seeds the other day, but she hasn't quite mastered the skill yet...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Toddle Along Tuesday: Miraculous Goldfish

Last spring we brought Madeline to the zoo.  Mumma and Dada ooohh-ed and ahhh-ed at the animals while Madeline mostly ignored them.  The exotic yaks and flamingos were too foreign for her to appreciate and too far away in their pseudo-natural habits for her to observe up close.

Me: "Look, Madeline, LOOK!  See the bears?!  The bears?!"  
Madeline: "Nope.  Don't care.  When's lunch?"  

It was then that we realized that things like trips to the zoo or aquarium are much more fun for us than for her.  And if we're going to be shelling out $20 a ticket...Madeline better be having fun.

The Bears:  You're not so great either, kid.  

Now we know that going on adventures with Madeline can be as simple and cost-free as stopping by a Petco on a Sunday afternoon.

Whenever we find ourselves doing errands near one of these superstores, (which is pretty often...they're everywhere) we stop in to show Madeline the animals.  Most of the time, there's nothing more than some fish, reptiles, rodents, and birds, but that's plenty of excitement for a one-year-old child.

Madeline is a big fan of the fish.  She is certainly more interested in them than the bears at the zoo.  There must be something about the bright colors and non-threatening water habitat that draws her in.  Meanwhile, she's equal parts curiosity and caution when it comes to the birds  We hold her close and speak to her gently while she watches the parakeets hop about their cages with rapt attention.  She doesn't seem to care much about the reptiles either way, and she's only mildly curious about the rodents.  (I don't find them particularly interesting either, Maddie Bear.  Bleck.)  

Sometimes there are cats there waiting to be adopted, but Madeline seems to have a bit of a fear of felines.  She holds us close and shakes her head no when we bring her to see them.  I wonder if she has  subconscious memories of her run-in with Dizzy...

The many dogs who frequent Petco might seem like a more interesting target for Madeline's enjoyment, but we usually try to stay out of their way.   Going to the store must be a pretty exciting trip for a Poodle, and I wouldn't want to ruin the fun by making it behave for a baby.  Imagine if an unleashed dog came up and tried to pet Madeline while she was at the playground for example.  I'd be a bit annoyed that I'd have to guard my child from animals in what is clearly a kid zone, so I offer the dogs the same courtesy while on their turf.

However, Madeline is free to view the dogs behind the glass as they engage in doggie play dates or get their doggie pedicures, which she loves.  She waves, and ooohs, and says, "Hi puppy!"

Our trips take no more than fifteen minutes, but it's a nice way to break up errands with something interesting for Madeline to see.

And while I'm sure that we'll be visiting the zoo again this summer now that Madeline understands what a lion is, it's amazing to see the wonder and curiosity blazing in her eyes over something that we adults tend to dismiss as the mundane.  Who knew a tank filled with goldfish could be so wondrous?    

Monday, May 7, 2012

31 Loves

My birthday was this weekend.  Why is it that 31 seems so much older than 30?

For serious...

Sadly, I didn't seem to gain any pearls of wisdom or greater understanding of the universe other than the fact that Madeline will view The Little Mermaid the same way that I view Lady and the Tramp.  Whoa.

I also poured salt in my coffee instead of sugar three times last week, and wrote 2008 as the current date on the board in my classroom several times.  Apparently 31 is the age where my brain turns into a bowl full of mush.

Anyhow, last year I shared 30 random facts about me to celebrate my entrance into a new decade of life.  Rather than subject  you to the fact that I can touch my tongue to my nose, have no idea what bra size I wear anymore, or secretly enjoy watching My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, I thought I'd share 31 of my random favorites.

Thirty-One Loves:

  1. Extra sharp colored pencils
  2. Blank, fresh paper 
  3. Audrey Hepburn
  4. Gin and tonics
  5. Cherry tomatoes straight off the vine
  6. Hot pink
  7. Prism rainbows
  8. The Little Prince
  9. Anne of Green Gables
  10. Orange, late-afternoon sunlight
  11. Steamers at the beach with lots of butter
  12. Walden Pond in the fall 
  13. Cozy, fuzzy socks
  14. Books you can't put down
  15. Scarlet O'Hara 
  16. Atticus Finch 
  17. Gravy fries
  18. Tea with milk and sugar 
  19. People watching (in a total non-creeper sense.)  
  20. Chinese food on Friday nights
  21. Getting magazines in the mail
  22. Elephants
  23. Dunkin' Donuts pumpkin lates
  24. Sitting on the porch
  25. Finding money in the dryer
  26. Decorating the Christmas tree
  27. Eclairs
  28. Deep, stress-relieving sighs 
  29. Anticipating next week's episode of a great TV show
  30. Rocky road ice-cream with real marshmallows
  31. Free afternoons

Friday, May 4, 2012

Sick Day

Madeline had a rough night of sickness last night, so the two of us ended up staying home from school today.  

We did absolutely nothing but cuddle on the couch all day long.  We watched Disney movies and drank lots of juice.  I tried to get her to eat some chicken noodle soup, but she was on to me.  Then I tried to get her to eat some oatmeal but she wasn't keen on that idea either.  So we settled on a roll and more juice.

After two long mid-morning naps, she seemed to get a bit of color back in her cheeks.  Hopefully by tomorrow morning she'll be climbing on her chair and standing on her head like her normal, charming self.    

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Being a Mom is Gross

Eric doesn't really handle the "nasty" side of parenthood well.  He prefers a neat and orderly world, where babies don't smear apple sauce on his pant leg and boogers on his shirt. 

Which is why if Madeline was going to pick one of us to vomit on this afternoon, it was a good thing it was me. 

As soon as we got home this afternoon, my spidey-mom sense told me something was not right.  Madeline was cuddly in a way that usually means she's coming down with something.  She snuggled on my lap and read some books for a while before turning her attention to her toys. 

She was in the midst of asking to be picked back up when it happened... epic, chunky baby vomit all over my lap.  Then she paused for a moment, we looked at one another with confusion, and she did it again.  Two epic baby vomits in my lap.  Awesome. 

If anyone else had vomited in my lap, I'd probably lose my ever-loving mind.  But it's like I'm immune to any gross bodily functions Madeline experiences. 

Sure, it was gross and all, but I was able to calmly slip my clothes off, clean myself up, scoop the chunks into a bag, and throw our sofa's slipcover into the washing machine without so much as gagging.  I might as well have been picking up her morning Cheerios.  Yet, when the cat used to throw up, I'd do anything to avoid dealing with it.  (What cat-vomit on the floor???  I don't know what you mean, Eric!)  

I guess the Evolution Fairy knew what it was doing when it created mothers. 

As for Madeline, once the vomit was out of her system, she seemed to return to her normal self.  Maybe she had a hairball?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Adventures with Maddie Bear

This is what I spent the afternoon doing...

...chasing Madeline off of every and any conceivable climbing structure we have in the house.  

Eventually she fell off her little desk directly onto her noggin and cried epic baby tears.   Then she wore two plastic bowls on her feet and skated around the kitchen a few times while I was making dinner.  Then she dumped the entire contents of her juice cup onto her chair and splashed her feet around in the puddle while she precariously perched on the armrest.  Then she used a leftover Easter balloon she found behind the dryer as a yoga ball and rolled across the floor on top of it.  Thankfully, it did not pop and is now in the trash.  

A week ago, Eric entered the kitchen to find that Madeline had emptied the entire contents of her drawer and was sitting comfortably inside it.  Sadly, Eric is a good father and he took her out of the drawer instead of standing there taking pictures like I do.    

This also happened last week:  

At least she chose the "Color Bible" to decorate...gotta give her that.  

Just when I was ready to tear my hair out after discovering that she had ripped every single page out of her pop-up book, she said, "I lul yoooooooou," as I put her down in her crib this evening.  

Heart.  Melt.  

This is why you get away with this nonsense, Madeline.