Monthly Archives: August 2012

Birthday 2.0

My Darling Two-year old,

If you were a racehorse, this would be a really big year for you. Since you are a toddler, this is supposed to be the year that parents dread: “The Terrible Twos.” Well, I might be biased, but I don’t think you could ever be terrible. Check back with me in a year and see how I feel, but I’m fairly confident on this one.

In the past year, you have improved on so many skills like running, coloring, eating, putting on shoes, and babbling. You are great at puzzles, following directions, and spotting squirrels and pigeons. You make us laugh, you make us think, you make us really confused sometimes, but you also make us happy, your dad and I. We can’t get over how charming and adorable you are, how genuinely sweet you are and how curious, silly, and beautiful too.

After your first birthday, you started becoming more and more independent, always wanting to try things yourself and playing more on your own. I would continually be surprised when you understood me and acted on my words. It happened so gradually but it seems that you understand everything now and I have no idea when that happened. I ask you to go throw something away and you do. Amazing.

You continued to be delighted by Sesame Street videos, music, dancing, and playing at the playground. You always want a new ball, to touch the balloons, other kids’ sand toys, and to feed the squirrels. Your favorite foods have consistently been fruits, but dessert-y things are taking a strong hold. You eat your broccoli and yogurt, so I’m pretty happy with that. I just wish I didn’t have to beg you for almost every bite.

There were several weeks last January-February where you started waking up every 10 minutes all night long. It was pretty awful, I’m not going to lie. I think you can go back and find the posts from that time and re-acquaint yourself with how whiney it made me. You went through a pretty nasty sleep regression in February 2011 too; what do you have against the month of February? Are you that sick of winter by then? I tried everything, I really did. Your dad finally had to step in and get you back to bed in the middle of the night and then as soon as it started, it was over. And then there was some amazing sleep for awhile there. Things sort of got back to normal, but there have been small improvements along the way. The first time I laid you down not-quite-asleep, you popped up, but then laid back down and fell asleep on your own, I thought I would dance with joy (except that I didn’t dare breathe, lest it wake you up).

And then on July 25th, your dad put you to bed without me being home. I… there just are no words.

In the next year, I hope for many more new feats of growing up. I think you know that big girls use the potty, don’t nurse anymore, and get to use Twitter. We’ve discussed what these things mean, but I’m not so sure you are on board right now with the first two. I’ve been reluctant to push you, I’d prefer if you’d see the benefit in wearing fancy underpants and just snuggling and want to take steps on your own to make those things happen. I would also like to hear some more talking. You’ve really been holding out on me with the words. It would not only be tremendously helpful to have you verbally communicative (the whining and pointing is only going so far), but I can’t wait to hear what you have to say. I bet it’s awesome. I bet it will heavily include the cat. You have come pretty far, but I know this year you are really going to blow us away.

When I try to remember you as a 13 month old, I see you as I see you now. I feel like you’ve always been this way even though I know all the new and cool things you can do. When I look at photos from when you were a newborn, I can hardly believe it was you and that it was just 2 years ago. I feel as if I’ve known you forever but simultaneously, that you have only been with me for a little while. I guess baby-time moves like that. Other parents tell me that this time flies and that all-too-soon I will be nostalgic for these days when you are still so little. I have no doubt that this is true. I am self-aware enough to know how I will miss you at this age, and I remind myself of it every time it takes me over an hour of holding you to get you to go to bed. Does it make the frustrating nights any less frustrating? Maybe not, but it makes me appreciate the value of time more. If it were my last night on earth, all I would want to do is hold you until you fell asleep. I know that.

I hope you have a wonderful second birthday, a third year of life as extraordinary as you are, and that we all come out of it unscathed.

Love, High Fives, and all the balloons ever,

Your Mom-mom-mom-mom

Ready, Set, Prevaricate

I’m getting ready for this big Second Birthday party we have coming up this weekend, but I’m in that weird space where I have a lot of stuff to do but can’t really start much of it yet. I’m making a lot of lists…

I have hosted a big party every summer for the past 6 years now, so when I had a summer baby, that party just got rolled into her birthday. I kind of have my routine down, but it still makes me nervous the week before when everything is up in the air and I can’t see it coming together without a few sleepless nights. It almost always does, but I have also been pretty lucky.

Right now, there is a pennant-bunting sewing project in the works, which involved 3 of us standing in the backyard debating how many feet it is between the house and the garage, and an exchange of foam board sizes that needs to happen tomorrow.

I’m using this Pepperplate menu/recipe app to consolidate all the food, desserts, and drinks I’m making, as well as my grocery list. I hope that helps, I know that having an ipad really makes an app like that worthwhile. In the grocery store, I have an e-list I can check off as I go, organized by store section. Also, having the recipes all stored and with me while I’m shopping is also amazingly convenient.

I still don’t know what shoes I’m wearing, what my final guest list will be, or how I’m decorating the cake pops, but by god, the croquet set has been cleaned.

So you know it’s going to be awesome.

The Sinus Blues

About twice a year, I get a sinus infection. I’m miserable for a few days, I spend a few days after that being full of mucus and sounding unpleasant, but then it’s over. I don’t know how many years I’ve been in this pattern, but it seems that the symptoms are getting harsher. My last sinus infection dragged on for almost 6 months. No joke. It was pretty low-grade for most of that time, for one month, I just had a headache every day. But it would occasionally spike into a severely sore throat or something like that for awhile.

Last Tuesday, I woke up and knew I was getting sick. By lunch time, my head was pounding with pressure and my joins hurt. By dinnertime, I felt nauseous and feverish. And by midnight, I was pretty sure that death was imminent. I have never believed you could die from sinus infection before, but as I lay on the sofa, freezing cold, every joint aching, my lower back in total agony, and with the kind of head pressure that I was convinced could cause brain damage, I was totally certain that forced to confront weeks of feeling this way, death would be preferable.

My toddler had gotten a milder version of this, a few friends I had seen camping had versions of it, so there’s something definitely going around out there. My guess is a nasty little rhinovirus, but who knows.

I hope you are all spared.

And I hope that my ability to fight these things off becomes more proportional, because it seems my immune system went to the nuclear option this time dragging me and my personal comfort along for the ride. Last time, it took forever to clean out the bugs, so it’s almost as if the performance evaluations were taken personally and there was some angry overcompensation going on this time. My immune system apparently can’t handle constructive criticism. I am putting that in it’s file.

I’m doing better now. I sound gross, but I feel mostly okay. I’m in the “how much tissue can I go through in a day” phase, but the good news is: I will live to see the next sinus infection.

All the single ladies

“In Defense of Single Motherhood,” Katie Roiphe, New York Times, August 11, 2012

Besides stopping once in awhile and wondering in total bewilderment how single moms do it, I also frequently wonder why they get so much negative publicity when people have no idea why they are single. In this article, which is long overdue, Ms. Roiphe writes:

Studies like those done by the Princeton sociologist Sara S. McLanahan, who is one of the foremost authorities on single motherhood and its impact on children, show that conditions like poverty and instability, which frequently accompany single-mother households, increase the chances that the children involved will experience alcoholism, mental illness, academic failure and other troubles. But there is no conclusive evidence that, absent those conditions, the pure, pared-down state of single motherhood is itself dangerous to children.

Professor McLanahan’s studies over the years, and many others like them, show that the primary risks associated with single motherhood arise from financial insecurity. They also offer evidence that, to a lesser extent, particular romantic patterns of the mother — namely introducing lots of boyfriends into children’s lives — contribute to the risk. What the studies don’t show is that longing for a married father at the breakfast table injures children.

And Professor McLanahan’s findings suggest that a two-parent, financially stable home with stress and conflict would be more destructive to children than a one-parent, financially stable home without stress and conflict.

The money quote, no pun intended, however is:

The real menace to America’s children is not single mothers, or unmarried or gay parents, but an economy that stokes an unconscionable divide between the rich and the not rich.

The world looks very different for the children of single moms with good jobs, supportive friends and family who in turn have good jobs, than those kids who are not so fortunate to have those things. If you try to define familial success by the presence of two in-house parents you not only force relationships that are destructive for parents, discriminate against parents who were left or widowed, but you set bad precedents for the future generation who may have more flexible ideas about what a great family looks like to them.

Everyone is #1!

I have been out camping, visiting my sister/mother and their various house-guests for a couple weeks, so I apologize for my un-announced absence. I have barely managed to keep up with email, let alone writing. I have done fairly well keeping up with the Olympics in London, considering my long hiatus from technology.

The Olympics where everyone is #1! Especially America!

Pretty much, by some metric this is true. Unless you are Canada. Then you are #13. They were hoping to be 12th in medals, but they are 13th. That is so Canada.

Michael Phelps is #1. In Maldives. In drinking. With 22 medals on. Who needs closing ceremonies when you have 22 medals?

Gabby Douglas is #1 in being pretty upsidedown and several other things.

Kobe Bryant is #1 in showing up on time for the last game.

Oscar Pistorius is #1 in looking awesome while just standing around, not to mention going very fast.

And Great Britain is #1 is Opening Ceremonies, with only minor deductions for dragging Paul McCartney out of retirement to warble at us.

I’m so happy for all the countries without any coins to rub together for every medal they got, up against well-funded machines of athleticism that are some of the medal-leaders. I’m really touched when someone like Tiki Gelana wins the Marathon; she looked so overjoyed. Way to go Ethiopia. However, it’s also really cool to watch US cyclist Kristin Armstrong come back and win gold again in the time trial after having a baby and sort of retiring. As a mom, I give that serious serious respect. I couldn’t bike to the store and back right now.

I have really enjoyed these Games and I hope that all the athletes, no matter how they placed, go home feeling like they’re #1 in something.