Thursday, April 30, 2009

First bite of solids!

Afer days of S lunging at our food and salivating while watching us chow down, I finally gave in and introduced her to rice cereal (just shy of 5 months! we waited until 6 months with K due to J's family history of allergies). Of course we're all excited that S is moving on to solids. If distraction is the key to preventing meltdowns in your child (in the car, at restaurant, whenever their good behavior is critical to your sanity, etc.) then food is surely the ultimate distraction. Yay for snacks!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Art in the home and the building of an atelier (ooh la la!)

Since we've decided not to send K to preschool until this fall or next (apparently I've grown comfy with the angst of raising a toddler + infant all day every day), I've been scrambling to help K ward off aimlessness and bordeom at home. I've never been completely at ease with having K watch too much TV because after an hour, she slips into zombie-mode - meaning the light behind her eyes start to dim, lethargy grips her, and brain cells visibly die off due to non-use. I normally don't allow her to watch TV for more than one hour and the TV is not otherwise on (not even for the super bowl! J still hasn't forgiven me.). It doesn't help that J's beloved flatscreen takes up more than half the living room wall - its' presence is dramatic. I wonder about those families who choose not to have TV in their homes and how they otherwise occupy their time. I imagine the children would at the very least have a dedicated art room and it would look something like this:

What child wouldn't be inspired to create, write and imagine in a space like this? More info on the breakdown of this lovely atelier can be found here:
I think that children who grow up in the U.S. have little or no exposure to the arts and are not taught to understand the importance of beautiful and natural quality materials (ie. not plastic) compared to their counterparts in Europe. Which is tragic because at what other point in your life do you have more liberty and natural inclination to engage in art (I've observed that young children are naturally and passionately drawn to the act of creating)? Once they embark on becoming schooled in this country, the emphasis will mostly be on rote memorization. So how precious is this time for a child to enjoy, with little inhibition, the wonders of painting, drawing, crafting, writing, etc. - in other words, being creative and expressing their unique selves!
Which is why I'm working on my own little atelier for K. Since my background in art and teaching is nonexistent and I have no natural artistic abilities to speak of, this project may very likely be abandoned in the next five minutes. Abandoned with vigor becuase I'm also contemplating the mess that will come with encouraging art in the home - crayon on the walls, paint on the furniture, oil pastels scattered throughout the house. UGH. The longer I am a mother, the more I am convinced that a full-time maid/housekeeper is the answer to everything.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

My first bag and japanese loveliness

For a friend's neice

And then for K. Although there was no complicated sewing involved, it took a good chunk of time for me because of all the measuring and cutting from following a pattern. Ugh, I destest measuring and cutting! Which is why I'll probably never be a great sewer (or baker). I have an aversion toward nit picky details (a lawyer's bread and butter, no less!) and following instructions to the letter. Which is why I have a stack of patterns for children's clothing on my desk that I look at with much longing but zero motivation to attempt. Do these pictures not make you melt into a pool of cuteness overload...

The japanese children's clothing books come complete with patterns but alas, no english instructions!! So will be playing it by ear. All purchased via

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mere survival

The question I am naturally asked most often since Sophie was born is "how do you do it?!" They never specify "it" but it is an upsoken understanding between moms that "it" means taking care of a 3 yr. old and infant everyday without having spiraled into clinical depression/pyschosis/obesity from all the anxiety-driven snacking. It is an ever present challenge and I have survived thus far thanks to the following emotional crutches:

1) Wine (I wish it was before noon, but alas, only in the evening)

2) Chocolate in every form (my current favorite: dark chocolate covered pretzels! oooh, and melting baking chocolate chips in a bowl to dip fruits, nuts, bread, anything...). my stash is hidden everywhere around the house so that it is never more than an arm's length away in case spontaneous tantrum/whining/general negative toddler behavior erupts.

3) Venting. To anyone who is willing to listen really, but mostly to J and empathetic girlfriends. Although J doesn't see it as venting so much as unbearably whiny complaining. He has fast become desensitized to my outbursts and is convinced I am suffering a post-postpartum depression. The vent sessions with girlfriends are awesome. The toxins are purged my soul and I am made whole again. Until the next tantrum of course.

Seriously, things are in a sad state of affairs around here. K is at a very difficult age at 3, growing increasingly willful, obstinate, demanding and unbending to either of her parent's wishes. I didn't fully understand until now how much grey area there is in parenting. When type of behavior deserves a timeout? If she refuses to eat should I allow her to starve or accomodate her picky palate? How much TV is too much? Is it ok that she plays independently while I sit here enjoying my coffee or am I guilty of child neglect and putting her squarely on the path of becoming a serial killer???? OMG, my head hurts (as well as my heart).

Thursday, April 16, 2009

K's 3rd birthday: Pinwheels and Polka dots

The invitation

The favors (painted with the initial of each guest)

The favors packaged


More banners! (still mildly arthritic from cutting out a jillion triangles)

The spread (would you be surprised to know that there are very few foods that are naturally pink?)

Strawberry cupcakes with strawberry puree-cream cheese frosting

Can't have a pinwheel party without pinwheels

Polka dots galore (yes, I wrapped those chocolates with polka dot gift wrap. insanity, thy name is mommyhood)

The birthday girl blowing out some very tall candles in her birthday crown. Happy birthday K!! Can mommy take a nap now??

Monday, April 13, 2009

A day in the life

Breakfast! Waffles are on the regular rotation along with oatmeal, cranberry bread with peanut butter and rainbow cheerios (nothing makes a child wake up faster than bright neon sugar coated o's)...

Playing side by side, kinda...

Always have fresh flowers in the home. Even in these tough times, it's the one luxury in which I continue to indulge. You can't have enough things to provide an emotional lift when home-bound with a toddler and infant in the dead of winter!!!

The bonding begins

It's a thrill to see my two girls together. I envision the paths they will take - I cannot know how rocky or smooth they will be; only that their paths are eternally intertwined. Hurrah for sisters!

J's big 4-0!

It's tramautic yet unavoidable. The day you turn 40. I try to dull the pain with braised short ribs and a good wine. And a visit from a good friend.

Christmas 2008

Our first live Christmas tree! Of course 3 days after Jimmy set it up and we decorated it I found a spider in the tree and told Jimmy to take it outside and burn it. Luckily he didn't listen. He and my pospartum hormones are old friends and they have an unspoken understanding.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sophie arrives

The contractions started 4:30am the day before thanksgiving. By 7:30am I was 10 cm dialated and at the hospital. One hour and a half later, after having declined pain medication (long story short: the nurses insisted I could push a few times and have the baby in a matter of minutes rather than wait around for the anesthesiologist), and having pushed for 30 minutes with not much progression, I teetered on the brink of sanity from the pain of natural childbirth. So in I pleaded for a c-section...and lo and behold..

Sophie was weighed in at .1 less than Katherine at 6.8 lbs. Both were around 75% for weight, but 95% for head circumference (please tell me that's why I've struggled and failed to push both of them out). While it was a vague suspicion in my mind before, I am now convicted of this - I am not cut out for labor. So I'm done!

Ah, there's nothing like a hard day's work. I need a vacation.