Monthly Archives: January 2013

The minor heartbreak of growing up

This morning at about 6am, my 2 year old woke up and called me. It was way too early for her to be up but she wanted “up” so I took a chance and brought her back to bed with me.

She hasn’t slept with me in the morning since early December when I stopped letting her nurse in bed with me for an hour. It was our last nursing session of the day. Since, she has been set against sleeping with me in my bed, even when I kind of wanted her to (especially when it was too cold in the apartment last week).
However, this morning she willingly came into bed with me, started pulling up my shirt…and then I think she kind of realized she couldn’t nurse. Like that part of her life was really over. She laid there and pet my boob for about 10 minutes and fell back asleep against it.

The amorphous “they” say that growing up is a long series of letting go. It’s tiny fragments of a heartbreaking odyssey.

I wanted to be done nursing for a long time, pretty much after month 8 I was ready to move on. But my daughter loved it so, LOVED it. And I had a hard time taking away the one thing that had been such a constant source of comfort from the moment she drew breath. It was nutrition, security, a sleep-inducer, a coping mechanism for sickness, and a reset button for emotional distress. It got us through take off and landing ear popping and kept her quiet during concerts. It put her to bed every single night for 2 years. I said I was going to quit after a year, but when she turned 1, there was NO way she was going to let me. I said I’d “revisit” the issue at 18 months, but even then, she still needed it at bedtime and during the night sometimes. At 2, we started trying to put her to bed without it, but she still needed it to stay asleep in the early early morning hours.

I nursed her for 27 months, 2 weeks, and a day.

It’s probably fitting that our last time was on the bed that my husband and I had in college, the one he first told me he loved me on, which is currently living in my in-laws blue guest bedroom. I didn’t know it would be our last time, but that’s probably for the best. I think I was half asleep anyway.

It’s the end of a chapter. Even if I never really enjoyed nursing as much as I thought I might, I’m so glad I did and I’m actually pretty proud of myself for making it this far.

And I’m proud of my little girl for growing up, even if it’s sad letting go.

Snow White and Mary Poppins: A Lazy Critical Analysis

My daughter hasn’t seen very many movies, Disney or otherwise, but she has seen a few. I felt like we were going chronologically there for awhile. The first one she ever saw was Fantasia, then, Mary Poppins, but then back to Pinocchio, Alice and Wonderland, Dumbo, Lady and the Tramp, Winnie the Pooh, and Snow White. It’s clear her two favorites, at the moment, are Mary Poppins and Snow White. She listens to the “Poppsie” soundtrack All. The. Time. Omg.

I mean, Julie Andrews is basically a magical treasure, but even I have my limits. I think my husband and I have heard “Feed the Birds” about 800 times in the last few months and I’m not even exaggerating. She wakes up in the dead of night and asks us to put on “Poppsie.”

Snow White is a more recent favorite, mostly because Snow White is better branded. She sees Snow White when we are out in the city on toys, books at the bookstore, stickers, and the like. She likes the little critters in it and the dwarves, but I think something about Snow White’s child-like face appeals to her. The music isn’t remarkable, but it doesn’t make me want to kill myself.

However, I have some problems with Snow White’s plot. Take the Wicked Queen, she’s supposed to have all these magical powers yet she fails to kill Snow White? I totally understand assigning her huntsman to do it at the beginning. Seems pretty standard to delegate that, even if it poses risks to one’s popularity should the dirty deed ever go public. Seems like she would have wanted no accomplices. But whatever, she doesn’t like getting her hands dirty. But after she finds out the huntsman tricked her, she has to adopt a disguise, concoct a poison apple recipe that has a catch, go down there herself and hope that all works out? I mean, Snow White is a naive teenager (13 in some stories), basically if you get in range, you could just run her through with a sword. She let the “witch” into the house for the love of god. Why not make this simple? It’s the classic villain “sharks with freaking lasers on their heads” mistake.

The theme of Snow White seems to be: if you are a very sweet and pretty girl who is good at housework, things will probably work out for you.

On the other hand Mary Poppins offers much richer fare: it has a message of the importance of childhood, imagination, spontaneity, civil disobedience, responsibility, financial planning, family togetherness, good health, manners, humor, equitation, job satisfaction, impermanence, and women’s suffrage. Feel free to tell me if I’m missing something. It’s just such an interesting movie. And the songs are pretty great. Sure Dick van Dyke really should have been sent a different dialect coach, but he’s a fantastic dancer and really knows his physical comedy.

I know it’s a popular academic exercise to disparage the Disney Princess role. Even when they try to have a “girl power” character like Merida in “Brave” (yes, I know, Pixar) there are still issues with how their choices are portrayed (see this very interesting post by Rebecca Heins, who is a Media Studies professor with a fantastic blog). But it bears repeating that most of the Disney princesses don’t have stories of complex depth and redeeming personal growth. Are there lessons to be learned from them, sure. Some good ones, some useless ones, and some bad ones. The persistant vilification of people with bumps in their nose did not make me feel particularly great when I was young. It’s not all Disney’s fault, some of these movies are based on centuries old stories and some of them were made into films almost 50 years ago. Snow White was made in 1937, Mary Poppins in 1964 (but based on a story that takes place in 1910), it’s a bit of an unfair competition.

Still, if Disney is going to put all these princesses in a “club” like a box of assorted truffles, I’m going to have to choose. And I’ll take Mary Poppins over any girl they have in a tiara. Besides, Julie Andrews can out-sing them all.

Eating Out Midterm Warning

My husband and I, we have honed our skills, over the years, at eating in restaurants. We can occupy a table in a wide variety of places, three star and no star, of almost any ethnic sway, and hold our own. We have cultivated a pretty nice eating out technique and I think we’d be welcome customers in almost any establishment. A long time living in big metropolitan areas, plenty of travel, adventurous tastebuds, and a shared interest in trying new things has taught us a great deal. Not only are we pretty good at eating out, we enjoy it as well.

Well, our toddler is bringing down our Restaurant grade point average.

We went out tonight because for SOME reason our building shut the water off on our floor from 3pm to after 8pm, without warning. Cooking was out of the question. We went down the street to a friendly little Chinese place that always seems delighted to have children. They normally are very sweet to our daughter. But after tonight I think maybe they’ll reconsider that.

Things started off well, but then one thing let to another, and all of a sudden she was throwing chopsticks on the floor. The waiter brought clean chopsticks and handed them to her and she PROMPTLY threw them to the floor!

Appalling. I nearly left her with the bill.

I had to tell her that we’re graded as a TABLE. This is like a group project. And she’s bringing our GPA down. Not cool.
I tried to explain that if we don’t pass enough tests, we won’t pass the semester. And if we don’t pass the semester, we won’t be allowed to take Restaurants classes in the Spring. We’ll have to wait until Summer and retake Restaurants 101: Food Courts and Coffee Shops all over again. And frankly, mommy and daddy passed that decades ago with FLYING colors.

Someone needs to think of the good of the group and start doing their homework. I’d like to work up to 2 star sushi sometime this decade.

Best of 2012

I am so out of the loop on music and film, art and restaurants. I could make excuses about having a little kid, but it probably has more to do with being broke in academia again. Little time, little money, together equal very little participation in cultural enrichment.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t issue some “Best of” awards of my own devising…so here we go:

Best Book Read: “Cleopatra” by Stacy Schiff
Best Dessert Made: Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake
Best Email: May 12th. Subject line- “So last night got a little crazy” and in the body of the message, a photo of an adorable newborn baby girl.
Best New Electronic Thingy: my oh-so-shiny iPad2. I cook from it, I make lists, I read books, and I spend way too much time on Facebook. But better YET, it keeps my daughter delightfully happy and QUIET on airplanes and in car seats.
Best TV Show: Downton Abbey. No other show results in conversations between me and my friends that go like this-
“Downton. Omg.”
“I know”
“Omg.”
“I know!”
“Omg.”
Best Childhood Milestone Reached: Saying words! I would normally put Sleeping through the night, but I have been waiting to know what goes on in her little head for SO long, I love hearing her talk. Parents of non-stop 3/4/5 year old talkers, don’t ruin this for me!
Best Sister of the Year: Mine. She comes with airport pick-ups, a college degree, insane makeup skills, coveted just-released perfume samples, a ton of volunteer hours, a nutella addiction, and endless supply of “my auntie is awesome” tshirts in whatever size my daughter is.
Best Twitter Feed: @HonestToddler
Best Article: Also Most Terrifying Article- “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math” by Bill McKibben in Rolling Stone
Best Photo:

Have a wonderful 2013!

White Christmas

The snow came just in time this year and has been progressively more beautiful every day since Christmas. The whole countryside is frosted in lovely blue-white powder and the sky is regularly filled with snowflakes.

My daughter discovered the joys of sledding with her older cousins. She was pulled around in a sled last year, but going down a hill is so much more fun. We were on an every-other-day cocoa schedule (or else there would have been non-stop cocoa and premature diabetes) and I’m pretty sure I went through 30 lbs of flour (not counting bread flour) in the last few weeks. There were cookies and cakes and pies, breakfasts and lunches and dinners, 16 houseguests, 6 visitors, 5 dogs, 20 stockings hung with care or thumbtacks, 9 christmas trees, and way too many store-runs.

It was a busy, interesting, memorable, and happy Christmas.

And we all loved that it was a white one.