Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Pitter Patter of Little Feet

The last picture is the image that started the idea for this post in my head. I was washing up bibs (again!) and putting them in the dish drainer next to our sink and thinking about how that blue booster seat tray could probably be put away since Kate hasn't used in a while. She's sitting up to the table now eating off a plate with a fork and spoon. Soon, she won't need these bibs at all and some days we only use one. It got me thinking about all the little things around the house, in the way, cluttering up corners, tripping us up, that will someday disappear from our lives, and I wanted to take pictures of them before they are gone. Not that I'm gonna miss scrubbing those bibs!

**Disclaimer: I never claimed to be a great photographer! Be glad the things I was trying to take a picture of ended up in the frame at all. :)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Maggie Sez...

... I'm playing Brasco and Peanut Saves the Day!

This involves a cat-shaped and a dog-shaped Silly Bandz sitting in a bowl of dominoes.

... Brasco is the cat and Peanut is the dog. Brasco and Peanut Saves the Day starts February 6th month!

She then added a duck to the game.
Mike: What's the duck's name?

... Peanut Perasco. Peanut Perasco is a little duck with a lot to learn.

And later...

During dinner, Mike and Maggie are naming all the foods Maggie likes to eat:

Mike: How about cheese sticks?

Maggie: Yes, cheese six. ... And seven.

Mike: Bingo!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Just Your Average Wednesday Morning

The girls are playing some kind of sport (I think it's jai alai) in the living room with two limes. Don't worry, I confiscated the watermelon before someone got hurt.

Friday, September 17, 2010

You Know What I Love...

I love having to leave the girls strapped into their seats in the car out in the driveway [Kate was very unhappy about this] to go back into the house for a broom and a towel so I can kneel down in the rain and fish a cracked plastic bucket out from underneath the car before we can go.

That's always a great way to start the day.

At least I didn't run over one of the cats.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Katie Sez...

[this morning at the breakfast table]

... Mom! Help! Sticky hands, Mom! (holding up her oatmeal covered hands to be wiped off)

Me: Do you want to get down?

... Get down, Mom! Peep!

You want to watch Peep?

... Wanna watch Peep!

She's really learning to talk so fast, I can hardly believe it.

Monday, September 13, 2010


I wonder if my children assume that *burnt* is how microwave popcorn is supposed to taste. My fault!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Don't Hassle Me, I'm a Local

I've been meaning to put these pictures up for weeks, but just never found the time to do it. I was already feeling super guilty, and then when Mike updated our Snapfish account the other night and I saw all these photos again, I really felt like I ought to get them up here and tell about our two super fun outings in Boston with the girls' Gram.

On our first Ladies Day Out, we planned to take the girls down to the Public Garden to ride the famous Swan Boats. The girls are familiar with Robert McCloskey's classic book Make Way for Ducklings, so they were looking forward to seeing the real thing and taking their picture with Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Oack, Pack, and Quack at the ducklings statue. Jane drove down from NH, we caught the T to Park Street, and walked across the Common and into the Garden.

Maggie and Kate in the Common in front of the State House. We know all about how the "Glistening gold glorifies democracy's greatness" from Martha Day Zschock's book Journey Around Boston From A to Z.

The girls love the fountain in the Common. Well, all fountains really - Maggie likes to throw pennies and Kate likes to drink the dirty water.

Everyone who travels to Boston with kids has to take their picture sitting on the Make Way for Ducklings statue in the Public Garden.

In the story, Mrs. Mallard leads her ducklings from their nest on an island in the Charles River, down Charles Street through Beacon Hill, and into the Public Garden where they meet Mr. Mallard in the pond where the Swan Boats are.

The Mr. Frosty ice cream truck even has illustrations from the book on it.

Next, it was already time to meet Dad at Legal Sea Foods for a swanky downtown lunch of popcorn shrimp and fish-shaped cheese ravioli. The girls were angels and had so much fun having lunch out with Daddy and Gram. A real treat!

Kate is crazy about corn on the cob!

Now for the Swan Boats! Maggie really enjoyed it, but Kate was a little too young yet probably. I spent the whole time wrestling with her while she shouted, "Water water!" and tried to throw herself into the pond.

Gram and the girls

See the sign in the back? The Swan Boats have been a Boston institution since 1877. That particular boat has been on the water since 1910. The same family still owns and operates them!

After the boat ride, we headed back to the T through the Boston Common. We stumbled on this carousel and the girls insisted on taking a ride.

Maggie's horse was named Margarita!

I think Kate was a little scared. The only other time they had been on a carousel, she sat on my mom's lap on a bench. The moving horses may have been a little bit much for her even though she loves the music.

Ladies Day Out #2:

On Jane's last Friday before school started, we ran downtown for one more summer day out in Boston. This time we headed to Quincy Market, which is where Jane used to take Jeff, Mike, and Amy when they were small and visiting Dale in Boston for the day.

Listening to some very talented flamenco guitarists. Kate nodded along with the music and Maggie went up and put a few dollars in the case.


We had to get balloons from the Balloon Man!

Lunch at Durgin Park in Quincy Market. Durgin Park has been in business for about 180 years! This kind of thing is why I love living in Boston so much.

I got caught in the middle of a balloon sword fight (really a balloon flower/dog fight) between Maggie and Kate.

After lunch we walked out to the new Rose F. Kennedy Greenway. We were on our way to the North End via this gorgeous chain of parks that exist now where the old I-93 overpass stood when we first moved to Boston, but we stumbled on these fountains and had to take a detour.

The girls LOVE a fountain!

Kate is a daredevil extraordinaire.

I was not prepared for swimming on this trip, so the girls only had the clothes they had on plus extra diapers and, luckily, an extra pair of underpants (because I usually am prepared for everything). I should have just stripped them down to their pants before they flung themselves into the water, but I didn't think of it until it was too late. Jane, however, is great on the fly, so she ran over to Baby Gap at Quincy Market and got them a couple of cute little dresses to get home in!

Kate loves getting drenched - unless we're trying to wash her hair in the bathtub!

After a quick wardrobe change, we headed over to the North End to grab some treats for Dad at Mike's Pastry and some gelato for us girls at Cafe Vittoria.

Kate enjoys people watching while Maggie eats my ice cream - after she already ate all her own!

The girls were totally exhausted after both outings, but they had so much fun and want to go downtown all the time now. We met my friend Erin in the city for lunch a few weeks ago and went to Cambridge see Mike last Thursday. They are definitely becoming urban, sophisticated Ladies Who Lunch. Gram is a good influence!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Haunting of Old Ghosts

Last night, I was browsing around on the internet and I came across this article about a dad's struggle with his colicky baby and the resulting damage done to him and his wife. Now for those of you who have never had a colicky baby, my choice of the word "damage" may sound a bit dramatic, but let me ask you: have you ever known me to be an overly dramatic, emotionally theatrical person? [Mom, I know you're thinking about those years when I was 14-16 years old, and I'm going to claim now that they don't count. Every 14 year old girl is like that, OK?!] No. I'm not being a drama queen when I say that I believe Mike and I have a mild case of PTSD after Maggie's GERD experience... and this is three whole years after the fact.

I don't know where these articles were back in the day when I spent hours doing deep knee bends while holding my screaming, writhing, purple-faced infant and desperately googling every kind of applicable phrase I could think of to describe a 7 lb. one month old baby who was not a preemie, who never slept, threw up almost everything she ate in a lemon-juice-mixed-with-cottage-cheese-like form, and screamed bloody murder at ear splitting decibels. All I ever read was kindly, pointless platitudes about how some babies are difficult and it's an unfortunate situation and you should try to get a break to regain your sense of joy and loving motherhood whenever you can. My generation now talks openly about Post-Partum Depression, and women with PPD can get treatment and support and anti-depressants, but where is the support group for parents who can't leave the house like normal people because their babies scream all day and all night? I wasn't depressed really, just desperate. There's a difference, but I still needed some pharmaceuticals and a nap and... an escape hatch... and a sensory deprivation chamber.

So much in this article (and a few of the other linked articles listed on the page) resonated with me:
  • The frustration with doctors who didn't seem to be taking it seriously enough, even though we were eventually referred to a pediatric gastroenterologist who prescribed a series of increasingly powerful acid reducers. We started with generic "colic" as a diagnosis, and while colic is common and not physically damaging to the child who is supposedly otherwise healthy (although doctors know almost nothing about colic, really), it is extremely psychologically and emotionally daunting for the parents. Just saying it's normal and will pass is cold, cold, bitterly cold comfort when it's happening to you.

  • I also still have a list of "experts" that I would like to punch in the groin.

  • Crying "more than 3 hours a day more than 3 days a week for at least 3 weeks in a row," which is the definition of colic, doesn't even come close to the actual totals. And it's furious, unexplainable, untreatable, unsoothable crying that leaves you as a parent feeling like a crazed failure. And as the author says, "fussy" does not even come close to describing a baby with colic. Tortured and torturous is more like it.

  • This quote rings a bell: "Just see how long you can do that in the middle of the night without simultaneously tearing a rotator cuff and having a complete mental breakdown." Yes, Mike had to go to a chiropractor because the pain in his shoulder from swinging Maggie in her car seat became unbearable. A colicky baby may be physically healthy, but the parents probably are not... anymore.

  • Yes, you long to drink away the pain and suffering, but a hangover + colic would only compound your misery. So I also ate pints of ice cream and sleeves of cookies to self-medicate. Not getting any sleep at all that would actually count as sleep to any normal person also makes your body crave carbs for energy, I discovered. Desperate, angry, grieving, and FAT.

  • Nobody else understands. Everybody else's baby is sweet and sleeping through the night. Everybody else thinks you are a high-strung, wound up, shrill nutcase who can't manage the typical ups and downs of having a newborn. Everybody else complains about how their baby cried for 45 minutes the other night until the parent finally realized that they had put the diaper on backwards or something ridiculous, and then you have to restrain yourself from stabbing them. Desperate, angry, grieving, fat, and crazy.

  • I also told my baby to shut up. I yelled at her. I never, ever shook her, thank god, but I put her in her crib and shut the door to her crying and went and sat on the couch for ten minutes. I still don't understand people who abuse their toddlers or school aged children, but I do understand people who smother babies or leave them on public transportation or in hospital waiting rooms. Desperate, angry, grieving, fat, crazy, and mean.

  • We almost did not have another child. I get the commenters who say this is the reason why they only have one. And then once we did decide we needed to have another baby, we had our second child fairly close behind the first simply because we knew we needed to rip that band-aid off quickly or we would never be able to force ourselves to do it again. How far from joyful is that?

  • It felt completely cathartic to me to read how many of the commenters noted that they are also schedule nazis now, despite what others think of them, because you spend the entire beginning of your parenthood feeling entirely helpless and out of control of a situation that is causing your child anguish. Once you get to a place where you can have a normal existence where you can actually circumvent some of their distress and discomfort by meeting their needs, you can not let your guard down. You do not ever want to gamble with putting them over the edge into crazy meltdown status because of something as easily avoidable as fatigue or hunger. After having a baby who was in too much pain to sleep, I still hate to see either of my girls slumped over in a contorted position trying to sleep in their stroller or car seat. I can give them better than that with little inconvenience to me, compared to what once was, so I am compelled to do that for them.

  • After three years and another (calmer) child, I still get sweaty and panicked when I think about colic and crying babies and the woman who yelled at me on the subway one day when I couldn't get Maggie to stop crying, and even when I think of the strangers who said kind, encouraging things to me. Negative attention from strangers just sucks, even when it's kind and pitying. I still feel sick to my stomach whenever my kids are too loud in a public place. I still feel angry about what we went through.

  • After three years, I feel like Mike and I have been through the worst of it - and we're still together. Things weren't always pretty and he has been on and off of my list of people who I would like to punch in the groin, but we never said or did anything to one another that we can't forgive. But I'm sure he felt that dread outside the door to our apartment each night, and I know I was that woman in tears begging to be relieved. In the aftermath I can see how I would not have survived without his help, and everything else seems easier to manage now with more sleep and less stress.

  • Once we got past that first, say, six months, Maggie has become the smartest, most charming, funniest, most curious, most intriguing kid I could imagine. She is definitely still strong-willed, stubborn as a mule, and very sensitive, but I hear that I was no angel either. And I think I turned out OK in the end. I have a lot of high hopes for her now and love her to death. I would absolutely trade those first few months for something better in a heartbeat, but I would never want her to be anything other than who she is now.

So if you think I'm overreacting or taking myself too seriously, you probably have never had an angry baby. And if you do have a howler monkey for a kid, all I can say is that I sympathize, it's not fair, it's not your fault, your baby is not possessed by the devil, hang in there, daylight is on the horizon. Buy a blow up doll, dress it up like Dr. Sears, and punch it in the groin. Then call me and I'll be glad to come over and hold your screecher while you go take a long shower. You deserve it.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Maggie Sez...

(after I gave her and Kate a bite of the sauerkraut out of my reuben sandwich)

... Mom, this sour crap tastes terrible!

Kate literally gagged on hers and spit it out. So much for our German heritage!

Manual Labor Day Weekend


(Really Before:)



"3% Less Ugly!"

Maggie and Kate's holiday weekend at their summer home in NH:

PS - Doesn't Maggie just look so grown up in this picture?! Scary.