Beach Baby

Let me just get this out there. I don’t like the beach. And yes, for those of you who know me well, it IS extremely ironic that I need a wave sound-machine to lull me to sleep at night.

I’ll explain. I love the IDEA of the beach. Sipping pina coladas, watching pretty people walk around in swimsuits, listening to the surf and the seagulls while reading a good book.

In reality, the beach is a lot more less idyllic. Really fat people walking around in too-small swimsuits. Seagulls trying to steal food out of your hand, and then pooping on you. And sand. Everywhere. I mean EVERYWHERE. For weeks after you visit the beach. I took a drink out of my water bottle this morning and ended up with gritty sand in my mouth. And I didn’t even HAVE my water bottle at the beach yesterday!

Okay, okay. It’s not just about the sand (although, it’s A LOT about the sand). I’ll let you in on a little secret about me: I am TERRIFIED of the ocean. Not just “oh, no thanks, I don’t want to get salt water in my eyes” scared of the ocean. Literally having a mild panic attack every time I think about even getting in the ocean past my ankles. Don’t get me wrong – I am fascinated with all things ocean-related, and even thought about being a marine biologist at one point. Yes, I realize how crazy multi-faceted I am. I’m cool like that.

I’m pretty sure my fear stems from the fact that I was attacked and mauled by a jellyfish at a young age (I may be exaggerating, but that’s how I remember it. Right, mom? Back me up here.). And also that my mom and step dad got cable when I was at a young, impressionable age – and a babysitter may or may not have let us watch ‘Jaws.’ (And that babysitter may or may not have been my stepsister. And she may or may not have been more focused on the party she was probably having in the backyard by the pool.)

Anyhoo – it was pretty much destiny that I would have a daughter that loves the beach AND the ocean. Paige cannot get enough of it. She loves to sit in the sand (ugh – SITTING. In the sand. See? Sand. E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E.) and build sandcastles. Or, actually, knock down the sand castle I spent 15 minutes making for her. She loves to jump over the waves and is constantly begging to go further and further out into the water. She has ZERO fear of the ocean. Every time I see her take one step further into the water I’m pretty sure a little piece of my heart arrests. It honestly takes everything I have not to establish a fake world for Paige and pretend that the ocean doesn’t exist. I’m willing to go to that length to not have to watch her swim in it. But, I’m not mean. At least, not if you ask me (Paige would tell you differently. In fact, I have been told twice today that she’s not playing with me anymore because I’m mean. Guess what? She’s LYING. Two minutes later she’s back to play with me. And I had JUST gotten my new magazine out. Jeesh.)

So, today I had to do it. Paige was with her daddy out on a sandbar, and Blair was on the beach with me screaming “Daddy! Da!!! (I think ‘Da’ is Paige at this point, but don’t hold me to that). I had to wade out to the sandbar holding Blair, and I had to pretend like it didn’t bother me at all. I’m trying really hard not to pass my neuroses along to my girls. I’m pretty sure they’re already screwed on the OCD front, so I’ll hopefully spare them from the rest.

And I did it. My heart was racing. I was sweating (no shock there). I could have used my inhaler. But I did it. I waded out to them and we played on the sandbar. (Okay, maybe the water only was as high as my waist, and maybe I made Derrick come walk with me halfway out. But, I DID it!).

Luckily, Blair seems to have inherited my feelings about the beach. She HATES it. No, that’s not even strong enough. Blair LOATHES the beach. So much so that Paige opted for the pool this morning because “Mommy, Bear hates the beach. She just cries and cries and cries. Let’s go to the pool so she doesn’t scream anymore.” I agree, Paige.

Blair does that funny little thing kids do where she pulls her feet high into the air any time I try to put her down on the sand, or in the water. She also does that less funny thing kids do when they throw a fit any time you try to make them do something they don’t want to do.

Let’s just say she gets it honestly. She loves the pool. She would spend all day basking in the sunshine and hanging out poolside. Which, incidentally, is right where I hope to be too.

Blair expressing her feelings about being at the beach. People – we were just walking home from dinner and trying to watch the sunset. I never even tried to put her down. She was just THIS pissed that we were even out there.

Paige-isms

It’s been a crazy week (and, yes, I realize it’s only Tuesday), so I thought I’d entertain you all with some recent ‘Paige-isms’:

Oftentimes, Paige is the life of the party. For example, she regularly grabs her drumstick, pretends she’s a conductor, and says to me (loudly, and quite bossily, I might add) “1,2,3,4,7,10 – hit it!!!!” After which, I am expected to immediately burst into song. Not that I actually know which song I’m expected to sing. Usually I pick the wrong one, just FYI.

Also, Paige likes, ahem, making her presence known when she enters somewhere. For example, an arrival at walk Nani and Botsie’s house is typically announced with a loud “Let’s get this party started!”

Sometimes, she’s surprising me with her knowledge of words I had no idea she even knew (note to self – I’m guessing she’s picking them up from me. I should probably clean it up a bit.). She reprimanded Blair one day by yelling “Bear Elizabeth! Don’t spill your bottle! You are making me SO upset right now!”

She also was enjoying a piece of bubblegum and said to me, “Mommy, this gum is very interesting.”

Or, the time we were on the boat and Botsie was having to drive around and around in a circle because the motor seemed to be dragging. She turned to me and said “This is a calamity.” It really was – mostly because we were giving poor Bots a hard time.

Other times she’s this close to understanding a word. She tries it out a variety of ways until she seems to find a way that works. For example, after finding out that her cousin was coming to lunch with us she turned to her and excitedly said “Addison (pronounced “Addy-son”)!! You are coming to lunch too!! That is so acceptable!”

Hmmm…not quite. She tried again a few days later. I asked her if she had fun at a party. Her response? “It was fun, Mommy. But not too much fun. It was acceptable.” Nice. I agreed. It was acceptable.

Most of the time, she’s making me (and others) feel rather silly…or really just like a big ol’ idiot. Like when she was making me laugh and I asked if I could be the President of her fan club. She informed me that “That’s a very important job, Mommy. I think I will be the President, okay?”

Or, the time when we were at Benihana and the chef was doing the ‘shrimp in the picket’ trick. She politely raised her hand and told him, “Um, excuse me. You should not throw food.” Poor guy. Never had a chance.

Or today, when I was trying to get her to tell me what she said to her class about the pictures of her pets she took to school. Finally, after about 10 minutes of me begging her to tell me something, anything about her day, she said “Okay Mommy. I told them ‘blah, blah, blah, blah.’ And that’s it.” Yikes. Message received.

And then other times, she reminds me that she’s only 3 1/2. And that I wish I could freeze the way kids this age talk so they never grew out of it. Sure, it would sound a little silly for adults to say things like “Holy cow! I am soak and wet from playing in that sprinkler!” or “Speaking of walruses (we weren’t) I think I’d like an Icee.”

Or, one of my recent favorites. We were in the bathroom at Paradise Cafe a few weeks ago:

Paige (loudly) announced: “Pew, it stinks in here, Mommy! It’s disgusting! Why does it smell so bad!”
Me: “I know honey. That’s because the potty is where things come out of people’s bottoms. It can be gross.”
Paige: “Well, it’s disgusting. And I’m TRYING to think about donuts here!”

Well said, Paige. Well said.

Are You Ready For Some Futbol?

Folks, you ain’t seen nuthin till you’ve been to a soccer game played by 3 year olds. It is quite possibly one of the most awesome things I’ve ever seen.

Let me set the scene – there’s 30 minutes of practice, and then 30 minutes of a game against another team. Paige’s team is the Twisters, and her friends Simon, Griffin and Tatum play (their daddies are the coaches. Tatum’s daddy is also our dentist – a fact which blows Paige’s mind. “Dr. Ted is my toof doctor AND my soccer coach???? That’s crazy!”) Practice consists of stretching, some running a lap or so, lots of waving at mom, and more than a few tears (no, we’re not sure why, either. I guess soccer is just really sad sometimes?).

During the game, the coaches often had to stop to tie a player’s shoes midway down the field. Oftentimes, a player would swing by their parents’ seats for a quick smooch and a hug (Paige, please never stop doing this, okay?). A little girl on the other team stood with the ball locked between her ankles while all the other kids just stood around and stared at her. When Paige wasn’t in the game, she was on the sidelines sitting in someone’s lap and sucking her thumb. 
At one point, a mom was actually on the field holding her son’s hand while he was chasing the ball. I cannot make this stuff up.
Paige’s favorite part of soccer? The snacks after the game. 
Her least favorite part? “I think it’s very rude that the other team doesn’t share the ball, Mommy. And they keep trying to kick the ball into our goal! It’s not nice!”
This is Paige post-kick. She does this little thing that’s part skip, part hop and all joy. It makes my heart happy to see it.

Paige also spent a bit of time rearranging the field. She yelled “Mommy, dis cone should go riiiiigggght here. Okay?” Okay, Paige. Because, let’s be honest. I probably know as much about soccer as she does, and I agree – the cone DOES look better there.

Blair was VERY pleased with herself in her little chair. She sat here and kicked her little feet for a good 15 minutes. Then she decided to eat grass and put my soda can in her mouth. I swear, it’s a surprise sometimes that this girl makes it through the day without a trip to the ER or a call to poison control.

A post-game lunch at “Shake and Steak”. Go Twisters!!!

What the Hell?

Last week Paige had her first day of preschool. That was on Thursday.

Then, this happened:
Blair had been throwing massive fits in her high chair the past few days, and Friday morning it finally clicked with me that maybe it’s her chair she hates (i.e. not me). So, I put her down and asked her if she wanted to sit in a chair. She smiled slyly out of the corner of her eye, then climbed up into this seat. 
Oh? I’m sorry. Apparently you’ve decided you’re done with your high chair.
Then, later that same day, this happened:
Sob. Last look at the bangs. I had to do it. Grief from my family members aside, this little stinker had figured out how to remove her ponytail holders, and I was afraid she would swallow one.
She FINALLY gets to sit in the driver seat of a Barbie Jeep!

Have I mentioned … SOB!!!!

Paige, patiently watching and waiting her turn.

Paige, picking the hairstylist’s pockets

The finished ‘do. I have to admit it. She looks pretty STINKING cute.

THEN, this happened:
Bye bye, morning bottle.

I decided it was time to start weaning the bottle. (Again, if Dr. Boyce is reading this, ha ha – just kidding. The bottles were gone ages ago. Just trying to make other moms feel better.) Let’s just say she was … um … how you say? PISSED? This cup was tossed multiple times, accompanied by a scream of “Ba ba! Ba ba!” But after putting on a TV show calmly explaining how it was time to switch to a cup, she relented. Or, gave up. For today.
Then, THIS happened today:

Seriously.
Seriously?!?!?!?!
SERIOUSLY! Blair started PDO. She was all ready to go this morning. She was excited when we dropped Paige off for her first full day of preschool (Paige, by the way, didn’t even say goodbye to me. I turned around and she was gone. Before entering the room, I was briefly made aware of the fact that “This lunchbox is WAAAAY too heavy today. Don’t do that again, okay?” Sure, Paige. Tomorrow I’ll just pack you a Weight Watcher’s shake and call it a day.)
Blair was great walking down the hall. She was happy when we walked into the room. Then, I said “Okay, honey. Say ‘bye-bye!'”
And she leaned forward to kiss the teachers goodbye. 
Uh-oh. No bueno.
I gave her a kiss, and handed her to the teacher. A look of realization and panic crossed her face. The sobs began. Oooooh, man. Why does this have to be so hard?
Her teacher, Ms. Leslie, is pretty no-nonsense. Thank God. “Bye, Mom!,” she said, basically shooing me out the door.
I spent the rest of the morning feeling like a band-aid had been ripped off. Sort of a state of shock. I called, and they said she was fine, and in fact was snoozing. 
I went in to pick her up, and she cried for a second when she saw me, then a huge grin spread across her face. “Mama!” She reached for me, turned around, and blew her teachers kisses. 
I’m not sure how next Monday will go, but I know today went far better than I expected.
What the hell.
These girls are killing me. I feel like all the growing up is happening this week. Like it’s all starting to snowball and it’s only going to feel even faster from this point on. Then I look back, and I think I’ve actually felt that way all along. It’s just that the moments seem bigger because now I can literally see the steps towards independence. They’re not just rolling over or eating solid food. They’re actually walking away from me and leaving me for hours at a time to go to school. 
I don’t even know if that makes sense. All I know is that I need a massage (hint, hint.).
One of my favorite quotes sums it up well:
“Making the decision to have a child – it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside of your body.” Elizabeth Stone

First Day – Sort Of

Yesterday was Paige’s first day of preschool … sort of.

I say ‘sort of’ because we were actually only there for an hour, and the mommies stayed the entire time. But, I was still a nervous wreck and was certain I would cry.

The very first thing out of my mouth when I woke up was “Derrick. Our baby is starting preschool today. How did this happen? Wasn’t she just born a week or so ago?” He smiled knowingly (as in, knowing I was very close to the edge and keeping his mouth shut was probably in the best interest of all parties involved).

She was up at the crack of dawn (duh), and we decided to make a pre-preschool donut run.

Paige and Derrick do this all the time together, but Mommy and Blair never get to go. So Paige knew this was a very special day.
Blair was just happy to be along for the ride. And even happier to figure out a way to have her bottle AND her donut hole at the same time (unless you’re her pediatrician reading this. Ha, ha, Dr. Boyce. This isn’t really a bottle. I swear we put them all away at one year, just like you told us to. And just like I told you I had at her last appointment).

Next stop, home. Time to pick out a special outfit and get ready to head to school! She had already picked out a cute little romper to wear, but at the last minute she decided she wanted a dress. Mind you, she had already picked out her accessories (large bow) and shoes. Ahh…a girl after her mommy’s heart. 
Last step (which, by the way, took the longest) was updating her calendar in her room:
You’ll notice behind her that ‘Today’s Activity” is ‘School” (with the school bus). She has been waiting all summer to use that one! She also noted that she was feeling ‘Proud.’

And we were off. She was so brave. All the way to school we chatted about what the morning would bring. I asked her how she was feeling. 
P: “I’m so excited. And I feel proud, too. Because I’m so brave and getting to be such a big girl, Mommy.” (Can you tell we’ve been talking a little about this day here?) “How are YOU feeling, Mommy?”
M: “Very excited. Because it will be so much fun. And a little nervous.” 
P: “Why are you nervous?”
M: “I’m not sure. I guess because you’re getting so big. But nervous is okay.”
P: (after a loooong pause) “It’s okay. I will be there. I love you so much, Mommy.”
I’m pretty sure time stood still for a moment. I wished I had a little locket or something where I could take this moment and keep it with me forever. Play it over and over again. Just to feel that feeling and hear my little girl making a huge leap from baby to preschooler.
And to be honest, this was the only point I really got choked up all morning. She was so excited, and her excitement was contagious. 
She marched to her classroom, showing her Daddy the right way to go (and making sure to get irritated when he mistakingly started walking down the wrong hallway):
She pointed out her ‘owl’ on her coat hook, finding her name all by herself:
And that was it. She headed into her room, giving the teacher waiting by the door a high-five. During circle time, she leaned over to check in on her friend Audrey, who can get shy sometimes. “Psssst. Audrey. Are you okay over there?” She participated, even saying “excuse me” before talking. She played. She painted. She had a snack (and attempted to go back for seconds and thirds). After an hour, when it was time to go, she said “I’m not ready to leave yet, Mommy!” (And, I don’t blame her. Her teachers are A-W-E-S-O-M-E. And you can honestly tell how much they love spending three days a week with seven 3-year-olds. So, basically, they’re crazy people.)
So, basically, I didn’t cry. I marveled at the child Paige has become. As much as she frustrates me and as sassy as she can be, she is also compassionate and caring. As big as her fits are and as loud as her screams can get, she is also full of life and excited to try new things. I can’t wait to experience how much she loves preschool. Seriously. That girl was BORN for the routine and activities these teachers have planned.
Now, Monday I will walk her to the door and she will walk in alone. 
(I’m also dropping Blair off for the morning in the ‘Beginners’ class. She clung to us like a leach while walking through the halls. That will NOT go well. For either of us. Stay tuned.). 
So, basically expect a post about that sometime next month. 
When I can finally stop crying.
                             
Paige’s first day of PDO (Parent’s Day Out) – September 2010                 


First day of Preschool – September 2012

Scavenger Hunt

I admit it – I’m completely obsessive-compulsive.

So OCD, in fact, that I can’t bring myself to hire a cleaning lady (because, let’s face it, I’d clean my house for her before she got here). And, I may or may not be in a constant state of rearrangement for all cupboards, closets, drawers, etc. in my house. Nothing is safe. Really. Don’t bother really learning where anything is (as Derrick will attest to).

So, I don’t really mind cleaning our house. I count it as a workout, and I know my kids could eat off the floor when I’m done. Because, let’s be honest – they’re usually eating things off the floor anyway.

One thing I’m liking about cleaning now that both girls are mobile is that it’s not becoming a scavenger hunt. Full of constant surprises. I never know what I’m going to find.

For example: yesterday I was cleaning our living room. I took the cushions off the couch to vacuum (See? I’m not exaggerating) and found: a handful of Panda Puffs, a pen, two ‘sippydips’, a long-missing remote control and a Little Person (Maggie, the bus driver, to be specific).

While sweeping under the side table I found a sippy cup (with water, thank God – the milk ones go straight into the trash), a large dust bunny I considered keeping and raising, and another Little Person (Zookeeper, in case you’re wondering).

Last, but not least, I moved the large ottoman. Found: one drumstick (the musical kind, not the chicken kind), a book we’ve been looking for, two blocks, a ball and another Little Person (the mommy who drives the mini-van, so you know).

Side note: what is with these Little People? Do I need to be concerned we have an Indian in the Cupboard situation here?!??!

Folks – I clean like this once every two weeks. Moving furniture, taking off cushions, restoring things to their rightful homes. And I pick up toys twice a day – once during nap and once after the girls have gone to bed. How is it possible that just ONE ROOM of our house has enough toys squirreled away to fill a small box for Goodwill to put away for my kids to play with again?

It’s insane. And I’m super-excited. Because I’m cleaning BOTH Paige’s and Blair’s room tomorrow!!! Let the games continue!

Just One Day

You know what? Just for one day, I’d like to live my life as if I were a toddler.

Now, wait. Don’t give up on me. This isn’t one of those sappy posts about how we should all take time to smell the roses, dance as if no one’s watching, blah blah blah. Sure, that’s all true and they seem to have a beat on getting the most out of life, but honestly, they don’t have much to worry about, do they?

No, what if we all decided to act like our kids on a regular day?

Here’s just a few of the things that would happen. (I had to quit after 10 things, because it’s rainy and I’m getting sleepy and think I’ll take a nap. Just kidding. Paige woke up from her nap):

1. I would wake up and demand to know what was being done that day to entertain me? “Derrick? Where are we going today? What are we going to do?” And, if I disapprove of his choice? I’m going to lose it. “No! I don’t WANT to go see a movie! I WANT to go shopping at Nordstrom! Now, just stop it!” (Actually, that doesn’t sound all that out of the ordinary. Let’s just say my kids get it honestly.)

2. I will loudly announce every time I’m going to the bathroom. And, if the door is shut and I can’t get it open, forget about it. I am going to seriously melt down. Unacceptable. In fact, I’m just going to announce everything I do just in case their might be an obstacle that would prevent/delay me. In fact, just follow me around to make sure everything is easy-peasy, K? Thank you!

3. I’m going to open a piece of gum/Capri Sun/anything that has a wrapper and just hand the trash to whoever is closest to me. If no one is close, no worries. I’ll just drop it on the floor.

4. I’m going to complain loudly when someone tries to put me down for a nap in the middle of the day, in a nice, dark room with cozy blankies. Honestly, what is wrong with these kids????

5. I’m going to wear my shoes on the wrong feet, put my underwear on inside out, and most likely wear my pants with one leg through the waist, and the waist around a leg (seriously? You’d be SHOCKED at how often this happens at our house.Usually all at the same time). I will also pierce your eardrums with my screams if you attempt, nay – even suggest, I change these mistakes.

6. If I am finished with my snack, I will simply grab the snack of the person sitting next to me. If they get upset, I’ll just explain we’re “swapping.” “Here, take my empty bowl. This is your snack now, okay?”

7. If you dare to upset me in any way, which might even just mean making eye contact with me at any given time, I will pull your hair. I’m not kidding. I will grab a chunk with each hand and pull in opposite directions.

8. In most conversations I’m just going to repeat the person’s name over and over and over and over and over again. I will also say said person’s name at the beginning of each sentence. Especially if we are the only people in the room. Just so they know who I’m talking to. Oh, and hopefully that person will be on the phone or talking to someone so I can be sure to interrupt.

9. I will protest LOUDLY anytime anyone wants me to use the restroom before we leave the house. In fact, I will throw myself on the floor until people just give up and tell me “Fine! You don’t have to go! I get it.” Then, as soon as we get on the road I will say I do indeed need to pee. And that it’s an emergency and I can’t hold it. I really, really can’t.

10. I will be indifferent to the stares of others when they react to my display of emotions. And I will display whatever emotion I am experiencing loudly and the instant I feel it. And I will change that emotion constantly, like the flip of a switch. I will hate you, then I will love you, then I will be hungry, but if I have to get up to get a snack, I will not be hungry anymore. I will be tired, and I will want you to carry me to get a snack. No? Fine. I will scream.

And I will win. I will beat you down until you give up and I get my way.

And you will love me anyway. Because I’m cute and the funny things I say totally (okay, mostly) outweigh the fits and screams.

And, let’s face it. I keep life interesting with all my personalities.