Wednesday, November 28, 2012

On Fathers and Daughters

I was never what one would refer to as a "daddy's girl."  I've always been my mother's daughter.  I have a great stepfather, and I suppose my actual father was a great dad at one point too, but that was long before I can remember.

Therefore, I think I sometimes underestimate the role Eric plays in Madeline's life.  I easily forget that he's my partner in this strange trip called parenthood.  As much as I am Madeline's protector, caregiver, and guide, so is he.  I don't get to claim that job for myself.

 I didn't mean to write any of this tonight.  I was just going to post some pictures from the beach. Yet, when I looked back through the photographs, I couldn't help thinking about how lucky Madeline is to have such a great dad who obviously worships the ground the she walks on.  He will always, always be there for her.

And Eric is lucky in the same way I am.  We get the amazing privilege of watching the incredible life we created become a person.

And I get the added benefit of being able to witness my daughter becoming a daddy's girl.

Unfinished Buisiness

From where I sit, I can see the beginnings of a yarn-wrapped wreath perched atop our bookshelf.  I started that project when we still lived in our old apartment...over an entire year ago.  Then Eric told me it looked like a hemorrhoid donut.  In fairness, it totally does.  There it still sits...waiting for the day that some poor hemorrhoid-ridden soul turns to it for comfort.

This is just one example of the myriad of unfinished projects that clutter up my life.  In spite of my inherent laziness and propensity for letting laundry pile up until I run out of clean underwear, I have a hard time sitting around doing nothing.  Alas, this does not mean I fill up my hours with useful household chores and paper-grading.  Instead, I busy myself with the kind of silly projects that keeps Martha Stewart rich and allows Pinterest to take over the Internet.

The problem is that I have a hard time finishing a lot of the projects I begin.

Take the charming, pink, homemade teepee...darling of the Internet....that I created for Madeline last winter.  I was so inspired by that project that I finished it in a single evening.  At least I thought it was finished.  I was thrilled with the outcome until the entire thing collapsed upon itself about fifteen minutes after setting it up.

To this day, I have not figured out the mystery of getting homemade teepees to stay upright.  Either Pinterest is lying to me, or I'll be the first to be eaten during the zombie apocalypse because while everyone else takes shelter in their homemade teepees, I will be exposed to the elements.  Meanwhile, the teepee lives rolled up in the corner of Madeline's bedroom until I find a solution...someday.  

When I decided to stencil the office this past summer, poor Eric thought he'd be living in a disaster zone for the rest of his natural life.  While I'm pleased to report that I did finish stenciling, the room itself is far from finished.  I need to retouch the ceiling.  I need to hang shelves.  I need to finish organizing our filing cabinet.  I'll get to it....eventually.

During Hurricane Sandy, I spontaneously decided to make Madeline a quilt out of her old baby blankets.  I made solid progress, but packed the scraps away last week  in order to turn my attention to a more urgent project...Madeline's advent calendar.

It seems advent calenders are the new hot trend in Pinterest land this Christmas.  I've been bombarded with adorable, simple calendars made from boxes, envelopes and clothespins. 

Unfortunately, I was not acquainted with the magical time-suck that is Pinterest, when I began lovingly piecing together Madeline's advent calendar the fall I was home on maternity leave.  While my project is still pretty adorable, it's also been a lot more work than the equally adorable clothespin version I saw online this morning.

I did not finish it in time for Christmas 2010.  Nor did I finish it in time for Christmas last year.

This year?  This year, my friends, I will finish the advent calendar.  As God is my witness.  After all, Madeline is finally old enough to enjoy it.

I've only got a few days left!  Better get stitchin'! 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope you all had a wonderful, long Thanksgiving weekend.  Ours was pretty fantastic.  So fantastic, in fact, that I'm anxiously counting the days until Christmas vacation already!  Four weeks, Summer.  C'mon.  You can do this thing!

We spent Thanksgiving day at my parents' house.

They generously fed us:

And plied us with alcohol.  Which, is all I really ever ask for in I was pretty happy and fat.

Madeline did what Maddie Bears do adorable.

After dinner we tried to walk off some of the turkey by chasing Madeline around the neighborhood playground for an hour or so.

When we got back from our walk, I cancelled out any possible health benefits from our walk by eating ALL the pie.  And the cheesecake too.  Cause obviously.

 Madeline, for the third year running, did not eat much of her Thanksgiving dinner.  Gal doesn't know what she's missing.  But, she sure did sleep well that night.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Maddie Bear Says...

Mumma:  Madeline, guess what?  It's Thanksgiving this week.  Happy Thanksgiving!  What are you thankful for?

Madeline:  Chicken.

Mumma:  You're thankful for chicken?!

Madeline:  Uh-HUH.  And Nana.

A few days later....

Mumma:  Madeline, what do you want Santa to bring you this year? 

Madeline:  A chicken. 

Mumma:  A chicken?!  What kind of chicken? 

Madeline:  A pink one. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

An Open Letter to the B at CVS

Dear Bitch from CVS,

I want you to know that you are very, very lucky that it was my husband who heard the rude comments you made in regards to my daughter today while waiting in line at CVS and not me.  He is very mellow and able to brush those comments aside with a shrug and roll of his eyes.

Me, however?  I am bat ass crazy.  And trust when I say, it would have taken about .5 seconds for me to lose my redheaded mind all over your face.  I probably would have even started waggling my head from side to side and snapping my fingers, unleashing my inner street from deep inside my gap-clad loins.    

I realize it is annoying when my daughter starts whining and fussing in public.  Trust me, I know.  It annoys me too.  I had to listen to her whine and fuss all the way back to the car.  I have to listen to her whine and fuss about ten times a day.  You, however, had to listen to her for less than two minutes.

Apparently, the conversation you were having on your cell phone during those two minutes was so monumentally important that you felt like you could take a big ole dump on my front of everyone within earshot.  I apologize.  The next time you decide to have an important conversation on your phone in the middle of a public place, the rest of us will cease existing until you are finished.  After all, you're obviously much more important than the rest of us.  And although I can assume from your skank-ass boots and lack of legitimate pants that it was not an important business call, your incessant yapping is probably a much-needed distraction from the shallow, vapid thoughts blowing through your head.

Furthermore, my daughter is two, and she was tired and cranky.  She has an excuse for sometimes behaving badly.  Cut us a god-damned break.  You?  You are nearing thirty and are a miserable ass hat.

The only comfort I can take is from your declaration that you will, "Never have kids."  Thank God.  We do not need a new generation of self-important, Jersey-Shore wannabees with zero compassion or consideration for the other human being you share the planet with.  Also?  You smell like a stripper.  

Happy Thanksgiving, you heartless snake.  I will be enjoying it with my family.  My daughter is not a perfect angel 100 percent of the time, but she is pretty damn amazing nonetheless.  A few tantrums are a small price to pay for the light and love she brings the world.

I hope you enjoy the multiple cases of single-serving Easy Mac you purchased tonight.  It must be awesome to be alone.  


The Frazzled Mother Behind You in Line Tonight

Monday, November 19, 2012

Signs You are Too Old for Twilight

1.  You almost throw your back out trying to reach the drive through ATM.

2.  When you meet up with your best friend at the movie theater, you complain about how you slept funny the night before and now have a stiff hip.

3. You run into a person you grew up with.  He asks you what's new.  You answer, "I have a baby, and I got married!"

4.  A former student works at the movie theater.  You can't remember his name even though he was a student from last year.  However, you do remember that his grandmother's name is Nancy and that she is a lovely woman.

5. You close your eyes during the scary parts of the previews.

6. Carlisle will always be Mike Dexter.

7. When Bella makes a comment to Edward about how rigorous their sex life is going to be for the rest of eternity since they are both now vampires who never need to rest, you inwardly groan and think, "God, ick.  That sounds awful...."

8.  The vampire who lives in their attic reminds you of Kurt Cobain.  

9. When the movie's over, you debate sneaking in to see...wait for it...Anna Karenina.

10. You choose to take the back roads home instead of the highway because 495 is just too crazy on a Saturday night.  (P.S. It's 7:30)

11. You jam out to Live's "All Over You" on the long drive home.  You no longer remember the lyrics.

12. You debate taking advantage of some rare along time with a visit to Joann's Fabric, but getting there seems like too much effort.

13.  You decide to get a burrito to go instead.

14. Next up on the radio?  "Basket Case."  This is your lucky night.

15.  As you pull in the driveway, you remember that there's supposed to be a meteor shower tonight and debate convincing the hubby to stay up to watch it.  However, you remember that it's your turn to wake up with the baby tomorrow morning.  Instead, you pour yourself a glass of Fat Bastard wine left over from the night before and eat your burrito in front of the computer screen.

And that, my friends, is how you keep it real.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Dear Madeline: November, 2012

Dear Madeline,

Last month I wrote about how challenging your two-year-old self has become.  I'm pleased to report that this month has gone much more smoothly.

I'm not saying you don't still have your moments.  You do.  Tonight you got a time-out for hitting Dada in the face while he was trying to keep you from playing in the silverware drawer.  Uh-oh.  Yet, I feel like we've fallen into a comfortable routine with this new you.  I know when you're trying to test your limits.  We've come up with some slightly better strategies for dealing with those moments.  And most of all, you've become a big ball of love and fun again.  

You've always been a very loving baby, but now you know how to fully express it.  Often your father and I are greeted with giant hugs and exclamations of, "I love my Mumma!" and "I love my Dada!"  You like to cuddle, stroke my cheek, or pat my back.  You ask, "How was your day, Dada?"  or "How is that apple, Mumma?  Good?"

In fact, your loving nature sometimes knows no bounds.  For example, after professing your love for Dada the other day, you turned to an evergreen bush in the yard and sighed, "I love this bush."  Yesterday, you crawled up in my lap, stroked the Ipad and expressed your love for it as well.  I guess this makes us question the seriousness of your affections for us.  

Our electronic devices are no longer safe in your presence.  You try to swipe my phone whenever you get the chance.  You like to take pictures.  I have deleted hundreds of photographs of the ground over the last few weeks.  If allowed, you will sit with the Ipad on your lap happily playing games for at least a full half-an-hour.  You know just what apps to visit for the Maddie games.

Having conversations with you continues to blow my mind.  It's so much fun to hear what you remember from your day.  A few days ago we learned all about a fight you and a friend from school had over a Pooh Bear toy at school.  It resulted in yet another bite mark on your poor shoulder.  But it was very interesting to hear how the conflict started and how worried and upset you seemed by it even days after the fact.

We've taught you to tell the other babies, "No-no. No bite!" when someone attempts a nibble.  I want you to be able to stand up for yourself.  Apparently it's working because when I pretended to gobble you up recently, you said, "No-No, Mumma!  No bite!"

Probably the biggest new milestone for you is that we've started the serious business of potty training.   You've successfully used the potty many times, and even though we try to keep you diaperless for as long as possible when we're home, we haven't had any accidents over the past few days.  If your in a mood where you really insist on wearing a diaper, we don't push it, but you seem to be mostly willing to play along.

I brought you to the store to pick out your first pair of big-girl underwear over the weekend.  There were many different kinds to choose from, but you went for the Rapunzel theme.  An obvious choice.

 I can't believe what a big girl you're becoming, little lady.  We're very proud of you.


Monday, November 12, 2012

So Long, Autumn

I know we still have a full month of my favorite season left, but it just doesn't feel like fall anymore.  Between the hurricane, the snowstorm, and the current 70 degree weather over the past two weeks, it seems like we're living in some bizarre-o version of New England.  (Somewhere, Al Gore is crying a million tears.)

And let's not even get started on the fact that since at least the beginning of October, it's been Christmas, Christmas, Christmas everywhere I turn.  In some stores, it stared in August...
I am one of those Scrooge's who refuses to acknowledge the holiday until after Thanksgiving.  Let me enjoy some gravy and pumpkin pie at my own leisurely pace.  In fact, I might have thirds seconds.  Then, and only then, will I turn my attention to the Baby Jesus thank-you-very-much!

Meanwhile, to give Autumn a fair send-off, I'm photo dumping some pictures of Madeline playing in the leaves a few weeks ago.  This year was really the first year where she could notice and enjoy the seasons changing.  She loved playing in the least for the week we had them before they turned mushy and gross from the hurricane and snow.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Eyes in Ears

Kids are weird, man.  They continuously defy logic.  And one would think that somewhere along our evolutionary track, Mother Nature would have solved this problem.  Why, for example, is it necessary to teach my daughter to not head-butt people and things?  One would think that a single painful knock to the head would be enough to stop her....but no.  It's something I actually have to teach her.  The same way one might learn Algebra.

It's never ceased to amaze me that basically all parenting boils down to is trying our best to prevent a younger generation from destroying itself.  Why don't we come out with a full set of teeth, spear in hand?  "Thanks mom, point me toward the nearest watering hole so I can catch you some dinner."  Instead, we are completely helpless creatures for the first several years of our lives.  I for one, spend most of my waking hours following Madeline around to stop her from doing silly, possibly dangerous, things.      

We spent last weekend in Connecticut visiting with Eric's family.  While hanging around the hotel playing with Madeline, I happened to glance something strange in her ear.  It almost looked like she had a piece of rolled up paper wedged in there.  

I passed her off to Eric for a second look, and to Nana for a third.  I briefly debated finding some tweezers and poking about there myself...there's that evolution thing again...but we thought better of that, and whisked her off to a walk-in medical facility for a closer look instead.

See this sterile lab container?  It contains the googly eye extracted from Madeline's ear later that morning.  

Googly eye is a very technical term for those plastic, wiggly eyes used in arts and crafts projects by preschoolers across the planet.  Here's a closer look.

How did this end up in Madeline's ear?  She put it there, obviously.  After all, isn't that what one does with googly eyes?  Shove them in one's ear canal?

Thankfully, it took the doctor about two minutes to get it out.  Although she did not complain before we noticed the eye, after having it removed, she kept saying that her ear felt funny.  Of course your ear feels strange, dearest.  You can hear again.

Much later that night, when that trauma of the doctor's visit had faded, I questioned Madeline about her ear.  After some careful prodding, I learned that she had put the eye in her ear at school while "at the table."  When I asked her if she told the teacher, she said, "I cried."  When I asked if she was scared, she said, "Uh-huh!"  Poor baby.  When I asked her why she had put it in her ear, she told me, "I don't know."

We keep reiterating the lesson that we do not put things in our ears.  Hopefully the message sticks, although I'm thinking we should probably add nose to the list just in case a pipe cleaner makes its way up there.  

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Halloween that Finally Was

Last Wednesday, I rushed home from school to get ready for trick o'treats.  We decorated the door, poured pounds of candy into a child-friendly bowl, dressed Madeline in her costume, and popped over to my mom's house to share some of the cuteness with her. 

 By the time we got back to our house, we expected the festivities to be in full swing, but something was amiss.  There wasn't one single ghost, goblin, or Spiderman roaming the streets in search of bite-sized treats.

Halloween had been postponed in our town due to the hurricane.  Last year a blizzard thwarted our plans, and now this.  Womp. Womp. Womp.

I realize that hurricane relief takes high priority over trick or treating, however, we did not lose power, there were no downed tree limbs, school was back in session, and every town in our area went forth with their holiday celebrations.  There was little evidence of ever having had a hurricane in our neighborhood.  Womp. Womp. Womp.

To ease our disappointment, we decided to indulge in a celebratory burrito.  That usually makes me feel better.  So we drove our little garden gnome to a local burrito chain only to find the place had been invaded by every teenager in town.  I peered in the window at a group of rowdy football players dressed in pink tutus long enough to realize that we weren't getting any burritos to celebrate Halloween either.  Womp. Womp. Womp.   We went to Subway instead.  Their meatball sub tasted like the crushed hopes and dreams.  Madeline ate it anyway.

But last night, trick o'treating finally happened.  It was just as magical as I could have hoped.  Even though it was her first trick or treating experience, she caught on pretty quickly.  She went right up to every candy bucket without being too shy, laughed at most of the other costumes, and held our hands without a fuss.  She even managed to remember her manners at a few houses by saying, "Trick or Treat!!!" and, "Tanks!"  (Thanks!)

My favorite part was that even though she was dressed as a garden gnome, she kept shouting, "I'm a princess!  I'm a princess!"  You see, the only way I could get her to try on her costume was to tell her it was a pretty princess skirt and hat.  When she heard people complimenting her gnome costume, she was a little confused.  Isn't that how we all go through life...thinking we're princesses when really we're just gnomes??  sigh....

When we were done, we let Madeline sit on the front stoop to greet everyone.  She very happily munched on a lollipop and waved to all the kids.

She was so jazzed from all the fun, in fact, that she didn't fall asleep until well after nine.  We listened to her jumping around her crib and were happy we only let her have one piece of candy before bed.  When I went upstairs to check on her later, I found that she had stripped off all of her clothing and was huddled in a little ball trying to keep warm.

And that's how you know Halloween is a success, folks.

Who is that masked wonder???