Archive for July, 2012

Kindergarten mom

July 30th, 2012
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I've met another milestone in the journey of a parent. My daughter today starts kindergarten, which is a very exciting time for the whole family.

She likes feeling like a big girl in a big school (bigger than preschool), and we as parents feel that with each passing month, she gets easier to raise because she is maturing. We can have conversations with her because she remembers things from day to day much better than when she was younger.

We attend a school nearby, and I love the idea that I can walk her the half mile to class in the morning. It will be a nice bonding time.

Here's the more mundane part of being a Kindergarten mom: I had to buy a long list of school supplies and then LABEL every individual crayon and pencil with her name.

First, the buying process. Longs after work is a very busy place in the school supply aisle. There were like, ten other families on the hunt with their lists in hand. It was a bit of a zoo. There were empty shelves and little siblings running around underfoot. May I recommend you try your lunch hour if you have to do this?

Secondly, the labeling. I roughly added up all the items that needed labeling. It was about 150.

One! Hundred! Fifty!

I asked a veteran mom what she does. She said label makers don't have a font small enough to fit the skinny crayons, and handwriting is a pain. She recommended typing the name on a Word document, copying and pasting it until you have the necessary amount, and then taping it on to the item.

Super drag!

Now, I like labeling as much as the next anal-retentive person, but this was too much for even me. It took me two days to finish this.

As with most families, I'm the primary caregiver, and this task, like most others, fell to me to initiate.

I asked Claus to help me cut the labels up. He wasn't excited, but he did it. He used a cutting board and he cut the columns straight down the middle, so there was a lot of space before and after the name. This meant I had to fix his work before I taped the label down.

But it's done now. To think! Only six more years of this!

What's your experience with back-to-school season?

Attachment parenting

July 27th, 2012
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Since attachment parenting is a hot topic right now, having been the cover story for the May 21 Time issue, I thought I'd add my cent. Not two cents, just one. I don't think I have a lot to add to the national conversation.

What is attachment parenting, you ask? It's a parenting philosophy advocated most prominently by Dr. William Sears; the three basic pillars are breast-feeding, co-sleeping, and baby-wearing with the slings. I have done all three. I did not realize I was practicing attachment parenting.

Olivia, one month old

Olivia, one month old

I'm not really sure what the opposite of attachment parenting would be. I did or do these things because they make sense for me.

I am a huge proponent of breast-feeding. I loved it. I did it for just shy of a year. It was my baby who weaned herself. I could've gone longer.

The doctors say breastfeeding has all these fabulous medical benefits, which I do believe Olivia reaped. She is closer to me, and she is very healthy.

However, it was very convenient and far easier for me to offer a breast rather than heat milk then wash all these bottles. It's also a lot cheaper.

Oh, sure, it was painful at first, not to mention the two rounds of mastitis. But that's infanthood and new parenting, right? The benefits of breastfeeding still outweigh the negatives.

One month old, in sling

One month old, in sling

I liked using the sling because it helped me get work done while still carrying my daughter, particularly when she was fussy.

And I still sleep with my kid. For about half a year I slept exclusively with her because it was so easy to nurse in the middle of the night while we laid down. When we moved her to her own bed, she would wake up somewhere between 1 - 5 a.m. and come into our bed for years. That only stopped a few months ago!

"I am totally ready to kick this guy all night."

"I am totally ready to kick this guy all night."

I love co-sleeping. Claus, not so much. I quote Nathan Thornburgh's essay on a father's perspective on co-sleeping: "In practice, it usually means Dad gets rib-kicked until he finally decides to go sleep on the couch, where he will stay until the child graduates to his or her solo sleeping arrangement, whenever that may be." Quite funny.

I haven't talked to too many other dads about it, but I remember my friend Paul would come straggling into work many a weekend looking worse for the wear for the same reason. He used to tell me that his wife stole the blankets, his two dalmations and toddler son claimed most of the mattress real estate so that he had a sliver to sleep on, and the boy would kick him all night until he finally moved to the sofa.

Hope sprung eternal for Paul, because he always went to sleep under the same conditions, as if anything would change. It finally changed when Noa got older and the dogs died. That's my friend Paul, ever the optimist.

So I guess it's a universal thing, the kids kicking the dad only?

Anyhow - what are your thoughts on attachment parenting? Do you practice it and why?

Extra lucky?

July 25th, 2012
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You know that joke about how you're "lucky" if you step in dog poo, or if a bird poops on you? How extra lucky might I be for having been dumped on... by a gecko?!?

I am the only person I have ever heard talk about this, and understandably so. It requires a lot of skill and timing to be positioned under a gecko's butt.

I was sitting on the sofa last night and I felt a weird splat on my collarbone which was slightly weighty and wet. A tiny droplet of moisture simultaneously hit my cheek.

Now, I've been the bullseye for bird butts a few times in my life so I, sadly, know immediately the difference in the weight of bird excrement versus a water drop. This was neither, but because I could tell it wasn't water, I was confused and curious.

I raised my hand to touch it. It was mushy. I was bracing to be grossed out. I thought it was a dead bug.

"What's on me?" I asked Claus.

He leaned in. "Nothing. Just one of those grey spider egg cases," he said.

"No, it's not. It doesn't feel like that," I countered.

"Just dirt, then. Don't worry," and he swiped it off my neck.

The visual confirmed it: brown, with a dot of white.

Oh, SO super gross.

"It's gecko doo doo!" I sputtered, and got up to get a napkin. It's not the end of the world; I have kept Labradors for more than a decade. I've dealt with a lot worse bodily functions and malfunctions.

After we cleaned my neck and his finger, I had to fulfill my curiosity. Where the hell did that come from? I mean, I know where that came from, but I had to see it.

I looked up. There, on the 12' ceiling above me, nestled in the rafter, was a brown gecko trying to have dinner, completely oblivious to the mini-drama he just created below.

"Wow. I got the coordinates just right on that one," I exclaimed, on the precision it takes to be right under a gecko, in order to have one's collarbone catch his dropping.

So random! I better have an extra lucky day today!

Posted in family | 4 Comments »

Bubbles

July 23rd, 2012
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At the community pool, a girl was having her birthday party. There was an automatic bubble machine and a lot of soap bubbles in the air, drifting into the pool, where I was swimming with Olivia.

We were playing chase and I was, as usual, "It." She swam to the wall and stopped.

"Mama, did you see the bubbles by me?" she asked with glee.

Looking into the sky and all the glycerine bubbles, I nodded, "Yes, and they're so pretty!"

Apparently, we were not on the same page. "Ha ha ha ha! I farted!" she exclaimed, and swam off.

Lovely.

Puffy, and I don't mean P-Diddy

July 20th, 2012
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Brutal honesty:

Olivia and I were looking at my old photos. In a pre-baby photo, I was in a bathing suit.

"You look different," she said.

I thought it was that my hair was shorter.

"Your stomach is not all puffy," continued the kid.

Oh, wow. Thanks and stuff?