Monthly Archives: April 2012

A Study in Disappointment

The disappointment around here comes in frequent and heavy bursts. My daughter does not know why we limit her so, given her clear preference to have all things upon request. Do we not understand her pointing her index finger so sharply at the TV? Do we not register the stern “mmmmm!” sounds escalating to the furious “MMMMMM!!!!!” sounds that issue forth from her little mouth? Is this most primal of communication over our heads? Should she be forced to learn how to do everything herself? How then shall she attain sufficient height to reach Those Things That Were Placed Out of Reach for a Reason?

She wants to play with the camera. She wants to eat “Hello Panda” for every meal. She wants to dump her beverages on the floor so that she may point to the spill and then, aid us in the critical mission to clean it up. She wants my laptop to link her to entertaining people via video chat instantaneously. She wants to nurse whenever it crosses her mind. She wants to kiss the cat. She wants to read this book, no this one, no that one. She wants to be pushed in her cart. She wants both of us to get up and dance. She wants my phone. Oh, god she wants my phone. She wants to look at pictures of leopards in the May edition of “Vogue” and WHY ARE THERE ONLY THREE? THERE SHOULD BE MORE LEOPARDS IN THIS LEOPARD CATALOG.

But most of all, she wants to watch videos on TV.

It starts early in the morning with refusal to eat breakfast if someone doesn’t turn on something. We appease her by putting music on through the Apple TV, so there’s sound and a screen saver slide show of my husband’s flicker photo-feed. By mid-afternoon she has usually had one or two minor fits about the lack of quality programming. And at dinnertime, she will also refuse to eat and point mercilessly at the TV making whining sounds.

Oh the pointing.

And if you try to explain WHY she can’t do a particular thing right now, you get the index finger of “just one minute” or “shut up,” whichever seems to fit best at that moment. The best you can do is to distract, distract, distract. You just come up with random things and hope that something else will temporarily exceed her laser-focus on her current fixation.

Yesterday, she was sitting next to me on the sofa having a moment because I wouldn’t let her press random buttons on the camera. I was therefore able to capture this brief sequence that I call:

“A Study in Disappointment and Distraction”

Realization


Aghast


Bemusement


Judgement


Resignation

And here’s one last picture of the cat looking smug:

April Showers

My husband got home from London last night where he had been for the last 10 days doing extremely esoteric book-reading at the British Library (during their “busy season” no less). Our daughter had already gone to bed before he rolled in at 10:30pm, so she woke up this morning to a surprise dada next to her in bed. She was rather delighted and gave him kisses.

He had brought her presents such a Paddington Bear from Paddington Station and the accompanying storybook, so he was pretty popular this morning.

We dragged ourselves outside to get an early dinner even though it was raining, cold, and windy. My daughter loves to carry umbrellas but she’s not tall enough or strong enough yet to really manage them so it’s really me holding the thing and carrying her, while she pretends to hold the umbrella up. My left bicep is totally made of steel, people. If only the rest of me was in the same shape (and yes, I know, round is a shape).

I looked at the weather for this week. Big mistake. Rain, rain, and more cold rain. Oh, and possible SNOW on Tuesday. But probably just really cold rain. Le grande sigh. And yes, I’m blogging about the weather. Le double grande sigh.

I know it’s April and all, so this should not come as any surprise. And I half expect there to be 4 good days of lovely spring weather toward the end of the month or the beginning of May. Then, it will get unbearably hot and stay that way until September. And during that time, I will be thinking fondly, “wouldn’t it be awesome if some cold water started falling from the sky?”

Burlington, I barely knew ye

So I traveled home, and made it alive, no one cried. Win.

I checked my 50.5 lb suitcase at 9:55am and began my trip back on Wednesday.

I had to fly through Newark, where I sat at my next flight’s gate and thought about 2 things:

1. That I was a mere 20 minutes away from the city I think of as home and all these amazing things to eat, see, do, buy… Cruel Newark layover. I nearly left the airport and went to spend a few days in NYC, planning to return for my connection later and claiming toddler meltdown/temporary insanity (they’re the same thing, right?).

2. The gate next to me has a direct flight to Montreal. Leaving at the same time as my flight to Burlington, Vermont. This is a pretty mean thing to do to me, right now, Newark. You’ve always been a cruel city to me though, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

I had booked my tickets in and out of Burlington because it’s so much cheaper and you can take a Greyhound bus from the airport to the bus station here which is only 2 subway stops from my place. Well, that bus is 2.5 hours. I was supposed to land at 3:30pm and take the 7pm bus. That’s 3.5 hours, I repeat 3.5 hours in the tiniest of airports not better described as airfields with a 19 month old. Shudder.

I had in my mind, a vision, a desperate hope that this all would go a bit easier because I knew that the buses from the airport to Montreal almost always run significantly late. Therefore, the 3pm bus that I was missing my a half hour could very well be late and I may be able to catch it instead of waiting for the 7pm bus. You can understand my frustration when the board at my gate in Newark posted that my flight was 45 minutes delayed.

Apparently, nothing can beat a Greyhound delay. I landed at 4:15pm and rushed to the bus-desk and the 3pm bus had not yet arrived. Whew. I spent 45 minute or so letting my daughter run around and get hours of plane confinement out before a few more hours of bus/subway confinement. The bus finally left at 5:15pm.

I had by this point burned through almost all my planned activities (stickers, books, toys). I fed my kid some snacks, tried to get her to watch things out of the window, and then, eventually, let her watch videos on my laptop for an hour.

I had a sinking feeling that by the time I got my suitcase and toddler through the bus station and onto the subway that a tantrum would be in short order, but due to a wonderful revelation from earlier that my kid loves riding ON my rolly suitcase like it’s her own personal luggage-pony, we sailed (except for stairs where we gasped) to the train. Two stops, no problem.

Home. We even had time for some food and a bath. It was a tiring day, but it could not have gone better.

Well, except for Newark being cruel. (Casts eyes irritably towards NJ…)

Little girls who are cute all over town

On this trip, you know we’ve been cute all over Target so far. We have also brought delight to a few restaurants (I missed you Panera!!), shops, a mall, an AT&T store, and one very special Obama for America campaign office.

My daughter got to see her great-auntie, our friends and their toddler, her grandfather, and her boompa’s (step-grampa) parents too. I am pretty sure they all think she’s completely adorable.

I’d post pictures but I didn’t really bring a camera with me and I haven’t tried to put any from my mother-in-law’s camera on my laptop. I should probably do that. We’ve just been busy playing in the yard and telling the dogs how bad they are (trust me, they’re bad). I feel like we wake up, get the day started and before I know it, it’s time for a nap. After naps, we get ready to go do something and by the time we head back, it’s time for dinner or bath, and then bed.

Anyway, my daughter has been charming many people in the past week. She even manages to convince her grandmother to pull her around the backyard in a wagon with a rake and a hoe and several balls in her wagon as well. I don’t think she does that for just *anybody.*

Tomorrow is our last day before we head home on Wednesday. We’ll try to cram in all the cuteness we can before we go.

Target

You’ve heard it before, but you’ll hear it again from me: Target is like a magnet for time and money. You can’t get out of there. You go in for one thing and you wind up with 68. If you go in with a toddler of micro-attention spans, you can add about 20 things to that total.

It’s probably a good thing that I live in a Target-free place (though I hear they are coming soon!), since I really don’t need the temptation. While wandering the aisles today, I had a thought that it was sad that I had started to believe that Easter stuff just really sucked now, since this wasn’t true: it just sucks in all MY stores! All the cute Easter stuff! My plastic eggs were dumb colors. Boo Canada.

Today, we set out to get grocery and a few items like toothpaste for the kid. We came home with not only epic amounts of groceries for my in-laws refrigerators, but also: puzzles, children’s books (“Duckling Gets a Cookie!”), a dvd, Dora paper plates??, baby wipes, an eyeshadow brush, coffee/creamer for our local campaign office, oil pastels, laundry detergent, drawing paper, sale easter eggs, egg cups, baking tins, chocolate molds, and a random tube of Neutrogena hand lotion that my daughter threw in the cart without us noticing and managed to get purchased accidentally. Spontaneous furniture purchases only narrowly avoided the grand total.

My daughter was delighted with the party aisle and quite fascinated with the first aisle of toys. She did turn to go down the dreaded “pink aisle” but only picked up a stuffed dog and carried him the rest of the way to the end. Whew.

She was starving and a little manic by the time we got over to the food, so I had to give her a string cheese so that she did not have a meltdown. Let me correct that: I had to give her the string cheese that we clearly had the obligation to pay for anyway, since she had fished it out of the dairy case and bitten into the plastic thereby severing the top portion of the piece of cheese from the rest of it.

Then, there was a very indulgent sampling of the container of blueberries we had selected to go home.

By the time we got to checkout, there was not a single square inch of space left in the cart. The cashier thought we might need two to get to the car.

But hey, we saved $18!

Travel amnesia

Remember how back in January I said that it would take a few months for me to forget how much it sucks to travel with a tiny kid and start thinking it would be a good idea to leave home and go somewhere?

Well. I am here at my in-laws, while my husband is away on a research trip for 2 weeks. It’s nice to be somewhere while he’s away, but oh my god does traveling suck.

And to her credit, my daughter did great. To my credit, my activities lasted JUST long enough to get us here. The car from the airport to grandma/grandpa’s house was the most unpleasant part, at the very bitter end and past bedtime, so it was totally understandable.

I feel like I’ve been herding sheep all day or something. I may have said “no this way” about 10 million times today. My carry-on weighs 45lbs.

Now, I’m going to go collapse and try to forget that I have to do this all again in week.

Easter Eggs


I have been preparing eggs for the Easter egg hunt I’m hosting tomorrow for one of my playgroups. I suddenly panicked today that I didn’t have enough eggs and ran out to get more. I tried to remember how I felt about the contents of Easter eggs at events I went to as a kid and whether or not I found them disappointing. I have this complex that all the kids are going to open the eggs they found and go “Really, lady? This is so lame.”

I vaguely remember going to egg hunts at my tiny township’s park, where the eggs contained tickets that you could trade in for prizes at the end and sometimes quarters. The prizes mostly consisted of small plastic toys. I don’t remember being let down by this, but who knows, maybe I had artificially low expectations?

I told my husband a couple weeks ago that I had thought about posting this egg hunt to another playgroup’s facebook page, but had decided against it since I didn’t want to have so many kids that I wouldn’t be able to make enough eggs. He said “yeah, you’d have to boil a lot more eggs.” I replied “What? Come again?”

Apparently, he had to hunt for hard-boiled eggs as a kid. Bwahahahaha.

But it’s okay. I don’t feel that bad for him, since his childhood was pretty much filled with any toy he could have possibly wanted, according to all reliable accounts.

On Easter, I always woke up to an excellent basket of chocolates and gifts hidden in the most sadistic way. And the older you got, the harder the search and the less hints provided. And we always dyed eggs, with relative seriousness. I remember my cousins battling it out for who got multiple-hours-long access to specific colors so that they would achieve rich colors (NB: Brown eggs are best for this.) My grandmother was always so pleased at our egg-based artistic accomplishments. Most of my memories of Easter involve her in some way, so while I miss her all the time, I am most aware of it when I look at my Easter eggs and wonder if anyone else will ever truly appreciate the fine craft of a egg that’s been held steadily, while partially submerged, in several different colors, for a very long time.

This will be the first year my toddler gets to dye her own eggs. I fully expect to appreciate them, hastily dipped, cracked, and muddied with colors as they may be. I’m sure my grandmother would have loved them too.

I’ve never wanted a cookie so bad

My oven is broken. We noticed it yesterday. It’s just not heating up, neither is the broiler. The power is on and the electric burners still work, but alas, no oven heat.

I use my oven almost every day. I have big plans for it this weekend. We told our building staff this morning about the situation and they indicated that they were going to come get it today, but that didn’t happen.

When I tried to take a shower this afternoon, I got my daughter ready to go in with me. Since she’s been so stuffed up I’ve been using every opportunity to get her into the steam. Well, we both got in and when I turned on the water, it was not heating up. It wasn’t cold, it was just room temperature.
Needless to say, the kid was very unhappy. Cold, wet, and unhappy.

After we got dried off and dressed, I found that the cat had thrown up on the floor by my bed. I pretty much decided to leave the apartment that clearly hates me at that point. So, we went to the playground for awhile.

It’s still too cold to play outside for a long time, but the cold air did help get my toddler’s nose running. My head still feels like it’s a thousand feet under water.

When we got home, the whining period of the day ensued. There was maximum whining about the TV not being on, the inability to put on mama’s socks over her feet and pants, the contents of cups, the lack of freedom to throw food everywhere, the toys that are all still the same, and the insistence that you can’t hit mama in the face with a block.

After making dinner (that only involved the stove), I looked wistfully at my recipe card box. There is an entire section for cookies in there. I finally had to split the “C’s” into cookies and everything else. I could really use a cookie. Sigh.

UPDATE: I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and go make some Chocolate Oatmeal Drop Cookies on the stove. So, today can bite me.

Spring Fever

I wish I could say that our “spring fever” merely involved housecleaning, pulling out our white pants, making cool drinks, and pinning one hundred and four recipes that involve lemon.

Unfortunately, my daughter woke up with a fever two days ago that was as high as the number of lemon recipes I’ve pinned.

Since then, she’s been more miserable that I have ever seen her. She’s been sick before, but she usually is just clingy, tired, and sad-looking. Today, she was writhing. Writhing! Nothing would make her content. She’s got a cough that sounds like she has no room for air in her lungs, no appetite, and absolutely no patience for even her favorite videos or snacks. She’s too uncomfortable to sleep. We have been on Operation Excessive Indulgence, her ever whim being met, we keeps the tylenol coming, but all it does keep her from feeling like a boiled potato. Today, we started alternating with ibuprofen, which I am usually hesitant to do, but I think the situation called for it. It makes her a little manic, but at least I got ONE smile out of her before she went to bed.

She’s tossing and turning tonight. I feel terrible for her, both emotionally and physically. My daughter is very good at sharing: I woke up this morning with a headache and a weird feeling in my throat. I don’t think I’m going to get it as bad as she has, but I do not feel like I can handle another day of both of us being sick.

I have spring cleaning to do and a bag of Meyer lemons that aren’t zesting themselves…