Thursday, November 29, 2007

noemi loves socks

I've got another girl who is very into what she wears... Specifically, Naomi is obsessed with socks, and not only her own socks, but Talia's socks. Yesterday she dug out her sister's ladybug knee socks and refused to take them off, or to cover them with pants. This is the outfit she wore for most of the day...

(Try to ignore the toothbrush under the piano bench--we seem to have become the sort of household that keeps its hygiene items in odd places.)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

overheard from the backseat...

...while driving Talia to school in the morning:

(sung to the tune of "Let it Snow..." or something sort of close to that tune, but not really super close)

"Oh, the weather outside is freezing...
And now our Lord is wheezing
Oh, He has to cough a lot
Oh, He has a lot of snot so we should go to the ER and fix Him up..."

Not sure what to make of this. Maybe cold season has officially begun?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

the tests have begun...

Last week, Samuel took his first real test--a spelling test--the kind you have to study for. And because I wanted his test taking career to get off on the right foot, we studied for it all week until Thursday morning. I say "we studied for it" because really, it seems clear to us now that second grade homework is for the parents, as well.

The spelling list had all of the regular beginning of second grade words like "hat," "man," and "pat," but then it also had the bonus words that were taken from their math lesson and included "equation," "digit," "addition," "probability," and "addend."

Apparently, practice does make perfect (thanks, Franklin!) and though S wasn't completely sure he needed the constant drilling from his freaky mom, he went along with my madness. And when he came home at the end of the day, this is what he had to show me:

And this is the proud boy:

Saturday, September 22, 2007

you never know what you'll find in a diaper...

Naomi is not really one to complain when she needs a change. Maybe that's because she's the third or because she's just an easy going kid (heh heh), but today after services, while trying to get her into her stroller (a task that is becoming increasingly difficult since she now wants to push the stroller--with an older sibling in it!), she had a total fit so I figured I'd better change her before we left.

The bathroom was crowded in the synagogue and the changing table is close to the door so that everyone coming in greets whichever baby happens to be getting changed at that point. It's an odd spot, because even I find it hard to coo over a baby who is having his/her dirty diaper changed.

So as I was changing Naomi's pants, an older women I didn't know began cooing and fussing over Naomi while I tried to hold her down and all of a sudden the woman looks a bit concerned and says, "Oh my..." I look at the diaper I've just opened and in addition to the usual, there is a 4x6 index card with smiley face on it.

"That must have been very uncomfortable," the woman says to me, giving me a look that pretty much says, 'what kind of a mother hides pictures in her baby's diaper.'

"Yeah, wow. Very strange," I say.

Just as I'm finishing up with Naomi, Talia comes hopping in and I say, "You will never guess what I found in Naomi's diaper--a smiley face drawing!"

"I knew that, Mommy," she says giggling. "It was a surprise for you!"

Nice. Who doesn't love a surprise?

Sunday, August 05, 2007

regret starts early

It’s been two weeks since she’s nursed and she didn’t even seem to notice or miss it, but this morning, Naomi climbed on top of me and looked at me questioningly before hesitantly pulling at my shirt.
“Mama?” she asked.
“There’s nothing there, Baby,” I said and her completely and clearly distraught expression made me realize she truly understood, though she rejected the bottle I’d made for her.

Apparently the ability to feel regret starts so early that even a fourteen month old can feel that sort of loss. We’d both moved on so quickly—me looking forward to having my body to myself again (and maybe a bit more sleep) and my daughter eyeing that fat, warm easy bottle—and as we both sat there silently, I knew that what we shared at that moment was regret at the fact that greediness got the best of us.

At least we were in it together.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

doogie howser says wear SPF 50

Since skin cancer runs in my family, yesterday I went for my annual skin check to make sure none of my moles have taken on a melanomic look to them. Actually, the truth is that it wasn't an annual visit, but more like a tri-annual (is that right?) visit because I haven't been to the dermatologist for a skin visit for more than three years, despite the fact that everytime a different doctor looks at my history (and since I had a baby a year ago, that has been quite often), they say "Wow, with your history, you should get yourself checked yearly."

But I digress... Sort of. Because it had been so long since I'd been to the dermatologist, I couldn't remember my doctor's name, and even though I looked in all of my old phone books and online at the clinic's site, nothing sounded familiar. So when I called for an appointment, they assigned me to whoever was there and that's how I met Doogie Howser.

I was sitting there in my underclothes and one of those gowns when the door knocked and in came a fifteen year old guy in a white coat. Seriously, he looked so young I don't know how he could possibly be the resident he said he was. It was such an odd experience because I'd heard my parents talk about how odd it was to have doctors younger than you, and I'm not so young that the situation couldn't have happened to me. But all of a sudden I was pretty sure I would not be able to lift up my gown to show this young guy all my icky moles on a body that has birthed three children. I never thought I'd care whether or not my doctor was male or female or what age, but I guess that's changed and maybe I'm old. Or just vain.

Eventually I pulled myself together because it had taken me three years to get there and I had pretty much talked myself into a nasty case of melanoma with a mark on my arm, so I pretended he was a seventy year old woman and tried to forget that I was wearing a nursing bra, and the only real rough spot was when he saw the scar below my ribs (from a previous excision) and said, "Wait, isn't your appendix on the other side?" Oh wait, maybe the rougher spot was when he said it was his first day...

But either way, I walked out with a clean bill of health (a nice, older doctor did a final check) and big bottle of SPF50.

Free for another year...

Sunday, June 03, 2007

naomi is 1!

Naomi is one year old... It's unbelievable how fast this year went by and I can't believe the baby is one. On the one hand, it's so exciting because she's doing all of these new things. She's trying so hard to walk and to talk and we're all getting to really see who she really is, which is this sweet, sweet, funny, smart girl who loves to laugh.

But it's also the tiniest bit bittersweet because I keep trying to hold on to the little things that just fly by. All of a sudden, she doesn't want to be cuddled for long because she has so many new places to go and new things to try and stick in her gummy mouth (where oh where are my daughter's teeth? how many one year olds don't have any teeth???). She wants to feed herself and push the stroller and hold her own cup. They're all good things in creating a strong independent person. But still, I feel the tiniest bit sad even though the trade-off is so good.

But mostly, it's sweet. I wish I could can the sound of her laughing when her brother or sister tickle her under her chin, or the way she yells "Ta Ta" or "Ba Ba" to them when they walk in the room.

And luckily, I don't have to try to remember how happy she makes us all feel. It's amazing to have this little person that we're all in love with all the time.

(hey, it's a birthday... i get to be sappy.)

Friday, April 06, 2007

a new look at spring...

“That is so unbearably cool,” Samuel says as he watches me get driving directions from an online site. “Is that the map of our city? Where’s our street? Can I do it? Where can I go?” And then he sighed, "I can't believe you can do this. It's so amazing."

He is obsessed with computers. We’ve given him our old iBook and it is very definitely his most prized possession. He loves the video games, especially Club Penguin, which is now my favorite game, too, because it’s so interactive, free from adult marketers and marketing (so says the marketer), plus he gets a kick out of going to the coffeeshop, picking up one of the books on the shelf in there, and settling into a good story. It makes him feel grown-up, which I suppose, is definitely a part of growing up.

And today, right after asking about how our bodies know to breathe, he asked how wireless connectivity works and what a router is. He's learning how the world works, how our bodies work, and while computers were a hobby when we were kids, it's now an integral part of our lives. They're everywhere in his life. So along with "Why is the sky blue?", we're getting "How does Bluetooth work?" And once when wondering about G-d, Samuel even suggested googling for more information.

It's definitely a new world. The Charlie Brown Encyclopedia better come up with a new edition.

We're working on our answers and setting screen limits and installing safety software, and urging him not to respond to his desire (at least for now) to take the computer apart to see how it works .

It's finally spring. The flowers are coming up, it's gorgeous and amazing outside, and the days are long and getting longer. All of the excitement of being a kid and playing outside until bedtime is still there. And though I love Samuel's intense interest in all things networked and digital, there's a lot to be said for getting outside, pretending the playset is a fort, and scrambling up the slide to avoid the "lava grass." There's a lot to be said for just feeling the new spring grass on barefeet and dripping popsicles all over you.

There's a lot to be said for disconnecting.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

tali learns life lessons

In an effort to not have to clean the bathroom every single day, I've recently embarked on a campaign to help the minority gender in our household remember to pay attention to what they're doing whilst in the restroom. Apparently, my nagging is having some effect, but perhaps not on the right people because this is what I noticed when Talia was playing with her Barbies this afternoon.

Scenario: Prince Charming Ken is standing in front of the Barbie toilet, pants down. (Why does my daughter have a Barbie toilet? You should go ask her Safta...) He then pulls up his pants, leaves the toilet and is immediately accosted by Bride Barbie Kayla (all Barbies in our house are named either Kayla or Lemonade), who is still wearing her veil.

Bride Barbie Kayla: "Hey Mister, I didn't hear you flush! And, you left the seat up! Hmmph!"
Prince Charming Ken: "I'm sorry, Kayla. I guess the reason I can't remember is because I'm a boy."

Hmmm... Wrong audience, wrong message. I guess I'm back to rethinking my strategy.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

happy birthday, tali!


I just got back from Tali's birthday celebration at school, which was incredibly sweet. The parents bring a photo from each year of the child's life and they talk about their birthday kid during each year of their life, and then afterwards, the child walks around the "sun" (a candle) with a globe in her hands to symbolize a year. It's really sweet and I know that Tali loved having her parents there to show off her gorgeous baby pics and bring in yummy yogurt and fruit salad.

But I walked away feeling like I totally fumbled in talking about my girl. How could I possibly sum up in a short way the most important parts of each year of Tali's life? Granted, my audience was tricky--it's hard to hold the attention of 3 and 4 year olds, and it'd probably be weird for me to let loose and be all gushy in front of them. So... Here's what I'd really like to say about my girl:

  • I love that the fast and powerful way she entered this world completely represents the way she maneuvers herself through life. I'm so proud of Talia's confidence and drive--she absolutely believes in herself.

  • I love that Talia's favorite way to sleep when she was a baby and toddler was on top of me, Snoopy on doghouse-style. She's still incredibly cuddly and when she runs to hug you, you know you're loved.

  • I love that Talia didn't learn to even crawl until 11 months because she was able to get what she wanted by pointing and asking for things, since she started talking at seven months. She just didn't feel the need for walking, but when she started, she never stopped!

  • I love that Talia never wonders about whether or not she can do things--she just does them. She plays along with her brother at his sports practices, does her own "homework" along side Samuel, and is teaching herself to read. She never thinks she's too young to play with older kids.

  • I love that Talia is passionate about art and can spend hours drawing and cutting and pasting and creating, and that her favorite (and my favorite, too) picture of hers is a study of abstract kitchen drawers. :)

  • I love that though she can be a little bossy at times, she is genuinely very, very sweet and tries very hard to be a good friend.

  • I love that she loves to dance and only wants to listen to the classical music station in the car because it "reminds her of ballet."

  • I love that genuinely has a sunny and positive outlook on life and believes this world to be a good and happy place.

Happy Birthday to my girlie... I have never been able to get over how blessed I feel to be her mother and to have her in my life.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

birthdays without pressure

Talia turns four next week and I can't believe it. I mean, not only can I not believe that my baby girl is a confident and sassy four year old, but I also can't believe how truly pleasant this birthday is coming along.

For one thing, we're exiting the terrible threes, which are truly terrible in our house--much more terrifying than the fairly benign twos, and were even more horrifying with Talia, who is both very adventurous and also quite outspoken. Thankfully, she's also quite sweet.

But also, after 6 and a half years of parenting, I have mastered the birthday party!

Tali has been talking about her birthday for about six months now. At first she wanted a party at the bouncy place that you rent out and bring in your own cake and treats to the tune of at least $300. We have friends who have done this for two of their kids at once because their birthdays are close together, and that sounds fairly reasonable and worth it. But for a kid who's not even sure what she wants, it seems like a bit much. And when you also add to the argument that we've never really made it through a huge birthday party without a meltdown, spending that much money starts not making sense for us.

After the bouncy place, Tali got stuck on having her party at Club Libby Lu, where little girls go get their hair and make-up done (little girls wear make-up???), dress up in swanky, tiny clothes and learn to walk the catwalk. Granted, most of the girls doing this were at least eight, but the baby sluttiness of this appealed to my girl. It didn't appeal to us.

Of course it's a lot to ask a four year old, or a not-quite-four year old to plan or want a reasonably priced and age appropriate party, but the thing is, she has been to these parties that she's talking about. The rule at her preschool is that you need to invite all the kids in her class or none at all. So the result is a social calendar of Sundays filled with elaborate and expensive parties because not many people want to host 20-25 preschoolers at their homes, especially in the winter. And this isn't even counting their parents (because really, do you want the parents to drop off their 25 preschoolers at your house?).

So in frustration and because neither of Tali's options were reasonable, I googled "out of control birthday" and found my way to Basically, it's a whole site dedicated to fighting back against birthday party pressure and hyper consumerism. They advocate against huge, planned birthday parties and give some hysterical examples of birthdays gone bad. Their plan seems to revolve around avoiding themes, presents, goody bags, and extravagance in favor of community service and simple activities like group walks and art projects. And while maybe I think some of their party ideas sound a tiny bit boring, and I know that my kids would never see a birthday walk as a great way to celebrate their birthday (unless you make it into an exciting themed scavenger extravaganza, which I'm afraid would miss the point), I do really like the idea of setting lower expectations (I mean, where could you possibly go after Club Libby Lu???). There had to be a way to make it fun and simple. So I decided to try a variation on Tali, whose newest idea involved inviting ten three and four year old girls for a slumber party (the horror, the horror!).

"How about you invite one friend over for a birthday playdate," I said, expecting an immediate rejection, but not getting one, so I continued. "You guys can get in your jammies, have a pizza dinner and birthday cake, and maybe we can make bracelets and play with your dolls. And then when it's time for bed, your friend's parents can come pick her up." No mention of goody bags, themes, or presents, and I held my breath...

Tali looked at me thoughtfully for a second and then said, "That's a great idea, Mommy. I can't wait," and then went back to playing.

When I recovered from the shock of how easy it was to get out of having a huge party, I was thrilled. This year, there wouldn't be any racing around to get invitations out, or putting together goody bags that were exciting, yet inexpensive, or finding just the right theme or decorations. And it's not that I don't love a good party, or don't secretly want to give my kid anything her sassy little heart desires, or even that I don't really enjoy going to those parties sometimes. But at this point in my life, and my four year old's life, I'm overjoyed that I actually get to spend her birthday with her, not running around crazy trying to make a party work, trying to make sure we don't lose any of her friends or breaking up a fight over who has the better goody bag.

Instead, I get to hang out with my lovely girl and enjoy her special day with her. And I'll especially enjoy the fact that we were able to stave off Club Libby Lu for another year...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

the cool kids

Last Sunday we were sitting around the living room, listening to music and reading the NY Times and just generally having a very pleasant time.

"Hey, I really like this music," I say to B. "Who is it?"

"Jack Johnson," B says, not looking up from the paper. Samuel was singing along and Talia was strumming the guitar, pretending to play along. I was thinking to myself that our kids were really cool, and how great was it that they were sophisticated enough to enjoy our music. I mean, these kids listen to Citizen Cope to fall asleep.

"This sounds so familiar," I say, after a few songs. "But I really like it. Why do I know this?"

"Soundtrack to Curious George," B. says smiling, still reading his paper.

At least the kids are cool...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

we've youtubed...

Naomi wants to share her thoughts about how yummy it is to be seven months old...