Wednesday, March 30, 2016

I'm so lucky and it pisses me off

Today I was hesitantly folding up the Rock and play that has been parked next to our bed since Miranda joined us. I did this quietly and unceremoniously so as not to jinx the progress that my sweet pea is making. I was thanking goodness she is starting to get into a sleep pattern and thinking thinking how grateful I am that I am still on leave and hadn't been back at work when she was up so often or while she was sick and I was basically a zombie. I feel so grateful and lucky for that. 
But it is crap that I should have to. How are things still so messed up that my case- taking four months with no salary and only the non binding agreement that I'll have a job afterward- falls in the extremely lucky category of maternity leave. 
It sucks that it's like that. I find myself reflexively defensive when people say how lucky I am to have such a long leave. I yammer for second about it being unpaid and a choice/sacrifice that we decided to make for our family. Then my internal voice slaps my face to remind me that not only don't I need to justify our choice but it's a pretty bizarro world we live in where families have a million obstacles it in front of them and that is just status quo ( health insurance tied to work, the outrageous cost of daycare and the problem of undervaluing daycare workers, the poor and inconsistent maternity leave policies). 

34 years ago my mom had to leave her 8 week old after a cesarean section because that's when her disability ran out. That's still the same policy and not every state has disability. Plus while policies such as fmla would have been open to her as an employee of a large hospital it still would have left her family without pay and while being without pay is an option for my family now fmla is so limited that it doesn't even apply to me. 

We've gone nowhere toward making things work for families and the impact that still has on women is immense yet ignored. 

So I get it that I'm lucky. I've been reminded of it by almost everyone I've talked to in the past few months. But I still think we are in a giant hole when it comes to creating a reasonable environment for families. 

But hey- now that I am a little more rested I get to enjoy these two goobers.
"What now, you're going back where?"
Andrew picking up a few extra duties for when we're back to work. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016


Keep it simple stupid. 

Our Easter tradition comes from a great place, it is inexpensive, unique and really easy. 

Backstory, Michael was going to Oklahoma to visit his family on the first Easter we were together. So I bucked tsa rules and wrote him a note on a puzzle and hid the pieces throughout his luggage without his knowledge. 

Every Easter since we have hidden a puzzle with a secret message on it. 

No basket, no candy but I like it because it is special to our family. 

But I feel the pull. There is so much cute stuff out there that Andrew would love. He would have died if we'd used a dump truck as an Easter basket. 

And I agree with it on the surface. However, I'm conflicted because my mom did work to make my childhood magical. And it really was in many ways. 

She would throw dress up tea parties and my big sister and cousins would do my little friends and my garish makeup. She would organize the neighborhood kids to throw impromptu talent shows. She and my aunts competed at who could pull the silliest or sneakiest pranks on each other (toilet paper was king). 

We had traditions of course but what stuck with me was out overriding tradition which was being outside the box. And I loved and love it. 

Thinking about my childhood and that article I think the differences are at least these. 1) the magic created as described above was basically free. It was the creative mind of a mom and her crew who had pretty limited financial resources but invested the time happily 2) my childhood was set in a neighborhood (an apartment complex really). There were lots of other kids around including at least a few cousins. 3) my mom really let her personal social life revolve around the kids- I genuinely believe because she loved it. 

I hope to be creative and interesting in how I raise my kids. And that's pretty inexpensive. I have a lot more available resources than my mom and i hope that enhances rather than replaces the creativity she brought to my childhood. 

I don't know how to make my friends and family more like a neighborhood. These days everyone has something else going on and it gets harder to have impromptu adventure. And since impromptu adventure is hard to achieve you wind up scheduling things which then ties you up from being able to have impromptu adventure. Then it becomes a vicious cycle. 

The third point is the one I need to deviate from my mom's model. Because I see now how poorly it works down the road. As much as I want my kid's childhoods to be magical I want my adulthood to be interesting and engaging in itself and I want to have my own ambition to work toward when my children inevitably forsake me. 

So, as I sit here without a kids Easter basket to pilfer, I want to do my best to have our traditions and the magic we make for our kids come naturally, creatively and in the spirit of enriching the whole family. This is easier said than done sometimes but still worth a shot. 

Puzzle hunt
Andrew putting Miranda's puzzle together. 
Chocolate bunny from friends are still appreciated
All gussied up
It still brings joy to put babies in silly headpieces

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Second child complaints

I am filing this complaint on behalf of Miranda. I feel qualified to represent her in this issue as a second born child. 

1. It feels like every time she sits down to eat, Andrew needs something. Usually he  can be put off except for when he has a BM. BM always trumps nursing. 

2. Why does she get dragged all over the north 40? To preschool, to parks, to other kiddie places. She couldn't give a damn about the children's museum and yet she has been there basically as many times as she is weeks old. 

3. This is related to above, why does she need to be around so many germy, slimy kids? The whole point of taking an extended maternity leave was to avoid so much interaction with other kids. Fail!

Now, she will relent in her complaints when she reflects how much Andrew makes her laugh, how (even when she isn't interested) he is a toy valet and that, smothering as they may be, his kisses and hugs are worth the buy in. 

But damn I can empathize her pain having to stop eating so he can have his rear wiped. That's harsh. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Two year old talk #3

Scene opens with Andrew in the bath chatting with me. 

2yo: I like X. Do you like X, mommy?
A: I do. 
2yo: does daddy like X?
A: he does!
2yo: does Randa like X?
A: I bet she does. 
2yo: our whole flamily (pronounced fff-lam-ly) likes X!

X= baths, spicy stuff, soup, etc. 

Do I like X?

Thursday, March 17, 2016


We had such a fun day today. It was not a sure thing, I had to get a root canal yesterday and wasn't sure I'd be up to it. Sadly our friends also were under the weather and couldn't make it. Since we weren't having people over we spread the activities out throughout the day. 

In the morning we did my favorite density experiment (and just plain fun). The apple cider bottle was green but the actual liquid was more brownish. We dropped golden raisins into the cider and watched them rise and fall (until Andrew couldn't contain himself and added too many raisins). 

Since it was a miraculously sunny day we decided to check out a park I'd been hearing about. Kelsy Creek Farm is a city park which has a working farm. It was awesome. We saw sheep, goats, pigs, horses, chickens, bunnies and a barnyard cat. Plus there was a sandbox with large dump trucks to play with. We will be back soon!
Then we went shopping for our green dinner. Andrew and I picked out all sorts of green foods. He picked the watermelon- I approved it since the rind is green. I've been looking forward to a color meal with my own baby for years. This is something I used to do when I babysat so I was excited to do it with my Andrew. We will certainly be doing that again soon too. 
After a nap we mixed colors. Full disclosure we also had red- because while making green is fun we also wanted to be able to make purple and orange. 
Then before Michael came home Andrew hid shamrocks for a treasure hunt- which he wound up finding the majority of the shamrocks...which he'd hid. 
Dinner of green shepards pie, brocolli and watermelon and mint chip for dessert. 

It was a super fun day. We missed our guests but it was still a good time the 3/4 of us. 

St Patrick's day isn't a biggie for me but it was fun having green day with my family. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Talking with two year olds #2

Talking with this guy is so hilarious. 
Scene opens this afternoon in his room getting him ready for a nap. 
2yo: grandma came in to check on me last time (referring to Valentine's Day when my mom babysat while we went to the movies)
A: yep, that was fun. 
2yo: but I cried -my eyes were red (he is paraphrasing Madeleine which he knows front to back and reverse by heart)
A: why buddy?
2yo: you and daddy went to the movies. 
A: yep, sometime mommy and daddy like to go together just the two of us. 
2yo: but I like you to just sit on the couch. 
A: oh ok, we don't need to hang with you we just can't be having fun without you.

(Again, didn't say the last one but it made me laugh)

First photo shoot for M. She wasn't her most smiley but they turned out cute.