The milestones that really matter.

The first time they can replace their own pacifier in the middle of the night. (for Z: somewhere around 7 months.)

The first time they can walk without constant supervision/advanced impalement prevention tactics. (approximately 15 months.)

The first time they feed themselves without throwing anything from the highchair or getting food in their hair. (last month.)

The first word they say that you didn't know they knew. (yesterday. "hydrant".)

The first tooth that comes in without being heralded by horrendous behavior/noxious illness/flood-like drooling. (3 months ago.)

The first time they can -and do- follow an instruction, HAPPILY. (16 months. and then... not so much.)

The first time you can in good conscience leave your toddler on your bed, in your room, and KNOW that she can and will get herself down safely. (a few weeks ago.)

The first song they sing. (2 months ago. "Ring Around the Rosie".)

The first time you're pretty sure they said "I love you, too". (tonight. 7:58 pm.)


Sugar coma prevents full sentences.

Easter: Ate too much candy and was, once again, shocked at the guilt/headache/stomach churn it produces (me).

Disinterested in egg dying but SOOO excited about finding hidden eggs, complete with hands over eyes and an excited "HIDING!" (Z).

Dinner lately: Vacillating between making that damned frozen Trader Joe's gnocci for the billionth time and spending at least an hour making some supposed 30 minute meal (who exactly has all the ingredients already chopped?!?!) while shaking the whiny toddler off my leg and repeating "Mommy can't pick you up right now. Please go play with YOUR stove." for the gazillionth time. (me)

Refusing to eat anything but gnocci, hard boiled eggs and bread. (Z)

The zoo on a hot day: *grumble* this place is too hot, too crowded and kinda sad.*grumble* (me)

I wanna see a "monkey/lion/elephant!!" ACK! *CLING* "SCARED" of monkey/lion/elephant. (Z).

Watermelon: It's messy but reasonably healthy (me) and boy does it taste good on a hot spring day (Z).


Springtime in Pasadena means....

...never having to eat a lame strawberry.

Blind spots.

I realized the other day at the playground that I don't really like most strangers' kids. I gaze on many of them suspiciously, waiting for them to hit Z, push her out of the way, cough some invisible deadly germ onto her or teach her some bad word or behavior that will send her down a path to rack and ruin. I often think that some strangers' kids could use some serious behavior modification and, frankly, aren't very cute.

I say this knowing full well that many people probably feel the same way about my kid.

I didn't know what the whole baby love thing was really about until I was holding my own flesh and blood baby. There was something about her being OF me that made me go that special kind of mom-crazy that makes me blind to the obvious. I now COMPLETELY understand why parents have huge blind spots about their brood. Pictures I took of infant Z, and remember treasuring at the time, show her with spacey eyes, crazy stringy tufts of hair and pimply skin. "...Only a mother could love", INDEED.

These days, I find myself saying sweetly "we're still learning how to share" DAY IN AND DAY OUT while Z screeches and wails and clutches whatever item is hers (or she's decided is hers) from impending attack. "Learning to share"??? Hmmmm, NOT SO MUCH, CBHM. That's what one might call 'wishful thinking'.

It's a crazy thing, the love for one's own child, isn't it? Maybe the best gift we give our child is this wishful thinking, this glazing over of faults, this easy forgiveness for imperfections.

I find I can forgive and forgive again when it's Z I'm forgiving.


I need you to need me.

Z is going through a pretty serious Mommy phase. CG and I used to be able to trade off bath/bedtime at whim. Now it is all Mommy all the time and when CG asks if he can please give Z a bath, she says no and cries. (Yes, we sometimes break toddler rule #1: Do not ask a yes or no question unless you are damn well ready to hear and accept either "yeth" or "NO! NO! NOOOO!".)

We still have him give her a bath and put her to bed a few nights a week. She cries a bit at the beginning (which she does at ANY separation from me at the moment) but gets over it reasonably quickly and we both feel it's important that I not become the One and Only.

Needless to say, this latest phase makes CG a little sad.

And me a little.....guiltily..... happy.

As much of a burden as it can be, there's something vaguely satisfying to some small, needy part of me about her wanting me and only me. As if it is some kind of referendum on my relative value as a parent. As if I need her to outwardly, obviously need only, especially, ME to feel validated.

Sometimes this seems reasonable since, let's face it, we all know there ain't a whole lot of feedback in this parenting gig. There are no raises, there are no promotions. (Though I guess you can give yourself a promotion by having more kids. How's that for a promotion? More responsibilities! More work! Less time/money/energy for yourself!) (Okay FINE, more love and hugs too.) So what if I smugly silently enjoy her momentary preference for me? Who does it hurt??

Sometimes this seems like I just need to go back to therapy.

And start saving for Z's eventual therapy while we're at it.


Martha Stewart I ain't.

When I was in college, (I went to one of those former women's colleges where even a bunch of the men take "women's studies" and "feminist" is a term of endearment.) I remember hearing that "Home Economics" as a MAJOR at other colleges.

I remember shaking my head in disbelief. What a useless way to spend your college years, thought I.

Can I take it back?


Managing a family seems to be about the toughest job EVER. Let's start with cooking nutrious, exciting, toddler/friendly meals DAY AFTER FREAKING DAY. This is hurculean in and of itself (says the lady who gave her toddler boxed mac and cheese last night with canned baby food veggies mixed in as a "special sauce" BON APPETIT Z!).

Then there's managing the finances, cleaning the house (there are stains on our sofa that may be there for years at the rate we're going), and raising the child(ren). Apparently, Home Ec would have covered all that.

I'm so glad that I learned all about Maslow's hierarchy of needs and Freud's theories of the ego/superego/id but the rest of my psychology major is a bit of a wash right now. Even "Developmental Psychology" left me with little useful information to handle the Toddler Whiplash.

I could really use a few years at Martha Stewart/Rachel Ray University. Is it too late for a do over?


Oh and thanks for all your advice on yesterday's post. I'll let you know what I do (or don't do!).


This is not a rhetorical question.

I have a Vons near me that is my favorite grocery store. (Oh my God. How suburban mom is that?! I have a favorite GROCERY STORE.) It's reasonably close, it's got a decent produce aisle, carries CG's favorite beer, and stocks organic items. I even have a favorite check-out clerk who's always friendly, remembers Z's name and makes her smile. Z has started to ask for him by name when we pull in the parking lot.

They also employ developmentally disabled (DD) adults as baggers. I love this. I want to support this. I want Z to know DD adults and see them working in the community.

Unfortunately, our favorite check-out clerk now has a new DD bagger who ..... needs some work. He ALWAYS puts the eggs, bananas, tomatoes and avocados ON THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG. He routinely puts heavy things on the very top and overfills the bags. He's very sweet but I WRESTLE with him every time to keep my softer foods from being ruined.

At first I just ignored it. Then I got smart and put all the heavy things at the front of the food mover escalator thingy. He still managed to put the soft stuff on the bottom. Then, I started the wrestling match which is basically where I am now. I literally take things out of his hands or out of the bag and explain that they might get squashed on the bottom and need to be resting on top of the bag. He doesn't seem to get it and my favorite check-out dude doesn't say a word.

What else can I do??


Are we ever going to have an adult conversation again?

When Z was 6 months old, she and I would have "playdates" with a friend I stalked from my breastfeeding support group. My friend and I would talk at length about how little we could get done. Often we would take turns at each other's houses, with one of us watching the girls as they sat on their little blankets and DID BASICALLY NOTHING while the other mom ran around the house doing laundry or picking up. It all seemed really helpful and necessary at the time.

Really, though? What was so hard, Past Self??!?! She SAT ON A BLANKET and DID BASICALLY NOTHING! How is that I felt I couldn't get anything done?!?!

Now that Z is really a walking, talking human (as opposed her to blob-like days), we are constantly shocked at all the changes in this new phase of parenting. If the last phase of parenting was "get as much done and carry on as close to usual as possible while the baby is relatively happy", this phase is "nothing at all will get done as long as her eyes are open, all transitions and errands take an extra HOUR and all conversation in her near vicinity must include her".

The hardest adjustment this week has been trying to catch up with CG. We used to spend time over dinner talking about our days: how his day at work was, how mine at home/work/home was. In between long, substantive, philosophical paragraphs, we would feed Z, ask her if she liked her pablum and gently pat her on the head. (Okay, maybe there were a few meals spent dodging flung food and disciplining for thrown sippy cups but still! We could dodge and TALK. Discipline and TALK.)

Now it's all Z news all the time. Z's mealtime entertainment requirement these days is talking all about her "DAY! DAY!!!". She likes to have us recount every diaper change, meal and activity in exhaustive, repetitive detail while she sits there scraping the cheese off her bread with her teeth and nodding in agreement that, yes, she did go down the slide many, many times today.

This dinnertime recounting of her day started off sweetly enough; it was actually fun to get to converse with her a bit. But now I'm quickly realizing that soon I'll wish she would just be quiet for a few minutes so Mommy can tell Daddy that the doctor called for him or the dog needs to go to the vet or Bret really needs to kick Kristy Jo to the curb on Rock of Love 2 some other vital piece of information.

We've had to add an important new category to our ever-growing To Do list: "Have conversation about:".


Toddler Rollercoaster/ Virtual Baby Book.

Yesterday was one of those days where I just wanted to smush Z up and keep her like this forever. (I know! I KNOW. Can you stand the Toddler Rollercoaster on this blog?!?! Imagine LIVING IT.)

If I had a baby book, I'd cram YesterdayZ in between the pages and stuff it in the bookshelf so I could pull out YesterdayZ anytime I wanted to snurffle her yummy neck, marvel at the explosions of words and ideas in that little brain and giggle at the beauty of life.

It is nice to have a day where I don't dream of a cure for Toddleritis.


My mom keeps telling me to write down all the cute things that Z does, because I won't remember it all. So here's my virtual baby book page:

Z's latest favorite activities: She's obsessed with "babies" (her dolls and stuffed animals). She gets very intent when she plays with them and I can ALMOST get things done while she's engrossed in babyland. Mostly she feeds them and puts them face down, covered with blankets, for naps. From the looks of it, either she's very interested in the whole Mommy thing or she's practicing to work in a morgue.

She's talking up a storm but a LOT of it is unintelligible. Pajamas are "namas". Dogs are "puppies" but pacifiers are "pappies"; I can rarely hear the difference. Books are still "BOOTCH!" and milk is still "MILCH!" (and both are ALWAYS exclamations). Sweet Dog (whose name is Sadie) is called "EEEsay". There are a lot of "Oh?"s and "Really? You don't say?"s out of me as I try to quickly guess what the eff she's talking about.

Since she's gone back to waking up at 6 am, we're trying to teach her to cuddle in bed in the mornings. She'll lie still on a "di-doh" (pillow) for a moment or two before rearing up to sign and yell "EAT!" in our faces. Me thinks she is a morning person. Yes, we actually love her anyway.

She learned "ring around the rosey" at School and whenever she gets excited, she starts turning in increasingly drunken circles saying "aaaaasssses, aaaaasssssses" and then falls down. Gotta get video of that soon.

Yesterday, I came around a corner in the house to find Z lying down with her cheek on Sweet Dog's reclining rump. It was the sweetest thing and I wish I had a picture to freeze that moment forever.

At least now I have it all recorded in my virtual baby book.


Minding my P's and Q's.

One of the more interesting side effects of parenting Z has been a significant decrease in my gutter mouth and a concurrent significant increase in my general human decency.

Because we are trying to practice what we preach, I find myself thanking CG and Z and anyone around me PROFUSELY for ANYTHING. I suddenly have a seriously low threshold for a "Please". I'm always pointing out to Z how we need to ask waiters nicely for our milk, how we should thank people for gifts of all kinds and how we need to acknowledge people when they say hello to us.

Hmmm, maybe I need to work on all those things too.

I never realized how many times I just bark at CG "Can you get me some water while you're in there?" or "When you get out of bed, I need you to pick up your clothes.". Now it's all "Could you PLEASE get me some water? Thank you SO MUCH." and "I would really appreciate it if you would PLEASE pick up your clothes. THANK YOU."

I point out all the time how "Mommy and Daddy are sharing a cookie", or whatever, and realize with a start that usually Mommy tries to eat most of the cookie before Daddy realizes it's gone. Mommy was previously NOT a good sharer. Especially of cookies.

Z is finally starting to say "please" without prompting, though now our issue is that she thinks "please" is some kind of magical word that is the key to her dreams. Many a tantrum starts with a loud and shrill "Please! PLEEEAAAASSSE!!" Like, "C'mon woman! Can't you hear I'm saying the Magic Word?!?!"

Well, like I said, we both need some work still.

Blog Designed by: NW Designs