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June 13, 2015

after a long hiatus

i am back to say:

work still sucks, mostly.

my oldest is a youtuber.

i refuse growth hormone treatment for my youngest.

cam is still the very best man i know.

the children are still minecraft-obsessed... and cam and i play far too much restaurant story 2.

we just bought a ridiculous fixer upper that in no way resembles the mcm home of our dreams.

and... i think it might be time to start making use of the ten dollars i spend per month to keep this site running.

January 19, 2015

pay us our due

i am very tired after a day at home with the kids.

it isn't so much that they are naughty or that they don't get along.

it's more that... they're so used to being waited upon that it isn't until i've already brought them something (for the 432nd time) that i realize WHAT THE HOLY HELL, THIS ISN'T SILVER SPOONS.

they've just got such a grand air about them. "this is how things are," they seem to be saying to me, "and life would be so much easier for you if you would just follow along."

December 20, 2014

holiday honesty

me: nola, did you get paul a christmas present?
nola: no.
me: do you want to get paul a christmas present?
nola: no, thank you.

June 8, 2014

shine

my children graduated this past week.

my boy finished 5th grade, and my girl wrapped up kindergarten. with a whimper, not a bang. neither one covered themselves in glory in the conventional school-accepted ways, but the joy of their smiles once the fanfare was over brought tears to my eyes.

i'm proud of these kids. you go, babies. i will always love you, and i will always be proud of you. you are far smarter--far more aware--far more vivid--than i was at your age, and i am regularly awed by the brilliance you show in your own ways. thank you for letting me see you glow.

June 7, 2014

snuggles

snuggled with nola and two blankets.

nola: blanketception.
me: a blanket in a blanket?
nola: yes.

nola: mommy, mommy.
nola: i want you to watch me play blockheads.
me: but i'm so comfortable cuddling with my girl.
nola: you could cuddle me while i play blockheads.
me: fine, get your ipad.

June 1, 2014

playing restaurant

paul: what's your order?
nola: we haven't decide yet.
nola: can we have a bit time?
paul: "can we have a bit time."
paul: such formal nola!

paul runs to bathroom.
nola: our waiter...
me: he's just taking a break.
nola: oh, he's just taking a break.
[sounds of plumbing]
nola: our waiter is done with his little break!

cam delivered my drink order--coffee. it turned out to be beer in a tiny teacup. disturbing.

at the end of the meal, paul brought me a receipt. $2.53 for two strawberry lemonades, one "coffee," two sandwiches, one miso soup, one chocolate cake and four cookies. what a bargain!

May 29, 2014

dairy disappointments

i don't have the details of what actually transpired, but the end result is that nola ate some bread containing milk and LIVED (yay, nola), and paul is feeling blue and left behind.

my poor paul.

(second thought: WHY THE HELL DID NOLA EAT BREAD WITH DAIRY? KEEP ME BACK.)

nola's reactions have always been relatively minor compared to paul's, and her early bloodwork didn't show a milk allergy, but we made the decision of keep her off dairy in infancy because she developed a rash on her face whenever i consumed dairy products (remember, she didn't wean until she was 5, thank you very much). so i cut out dairy while i was her exclusive source of nutrition--to this day, i only eat cheese maybe once or twice a month (if that) when the kids aren't around.

(giant plug for double rainbow soy cream. LOVE the blueberry. when i first saw the line at whole foods i was compelled to buy some because of the double rainbow shop in rockridge. oh how i loved rockridge. i should have gone to barney's one more time before i swore off meat.)

despite the test results, we have always treated the kids if they had identical allergies. maybe this was unfair to nola, but i refuse to believe that she has been damaged by our choices. there is a life--a world--beyond the consumption of dairy products. ask morrissey!

so. we're going to set up allergy tests this summer, and we'll see where we can go from there. maybe we'll get some good news. maybe we won't. either way, we'll continue as we have been. we don't keep dairy in the house (minus a tiny stash of cowgirl creamery's mt tam... shhh), and i won't make a distinction between paul-safe and nola-safe food. there's just food, and our children are far more than what they can eat.

May 25, 2014

tiny works of art

we made funny crayons today out of broken crayons (melted in the oven in a silicon baking pan (little brownie squares--i never used it for its intended purpose, so why not use it for crayons?)). never done that before. they look weird and not that easy to actually draw with, but i'm not sure that's the point.

yay, crafts!

sixth birthday, take two

nola had a birthday party last weekend that was notable for a number of things:

1) adventureplex is good fun for middle-schoolers as well as elementary-schoolers.

2) kindergarten girls are FLAKES.

3) neither time nor distance nor silence can prevent nola from falling in love again with her preschool best friend.

4) from a distance, paul and a cousin (yes, a male one) would have been indistinguishable if it wasn't for the fact that one was in shorts and one wasn't. yay for blue t-shirts, lanky builds and long ponytails.

5) a good birthday party can be had even if kindergarten girls are FLAKES. i cannot stress enough how irritated i am that a bunch of girls bailed after telling nola that they would come (mind you, they didn't rsvp officially, but still. don't promise my baby girl you'll come and then don't.).

6) chocolate cake is better than strawberry cake, so chocolate cake pops are inherently better than strawberry cake pops.

May 22, 2014

orange

the dolls are endlessly entertaining.

nola: i'm sorry, guys, i have to go to work.
nola: i have to work at home depot.
me: did i just hear you say you have to work at home depot?
nola: [heavy sigh]
nola: not me.
nola: POCAHONTAS.
me: oh, of course.

overheard

if i didn't know she was playing with her dolls, i would be very puzzled.

nola: where you do live?
nola: i live in hawaii.
nola: where do you live?
nola: in the sea!
nola: where do you live?
nola: arendelle.
nola: where do you live?
nola: arendelle.
nola: where do you live?
nola: arendelle.
nola: i live in hawaii, you live in the sea and all of you live in arendelle?
nola: yes.

May 18, 2014

overheard

unless i am mistaken, nola's doctor-barbie appeared to be explaining to a bunch of ponies about eczema and dry skin.

May 15, 2014

cake pops, for real this time

we didn't make cake pops for nola's birthday--we had cupcakes instead. but now it's the thursday night before her party, and goddammit, that beautiful sassy child will have allergen-free cake pops at her party if it kills me.

so i'm baking two cakes because she wanted chocolate cake pops and strawberry cake pops.

and i agreed to do this why?

because 1) i'm a sucker, and 2) it is completely unfair and sad that my kids can't eat the cakes at their own birthday parties. for paul's last birthday, i think he had a slice of pumpkin pie while everyone ate his cake. it was a fine cake, yes, if you happen to be free of allergies. don't feel bad for paul, though. he asked for pumpkin pie. he loves my pumpkin pie. so there.

nola wanted cake pops, so cake pops she will have. there will be far too many of them, and i will not be surprised if we end up with a ton of them left over, so they will go into the freezer and i will end up eating them every time i pass by the freezer like a crazy cake-pop-aholic, claiming, "we could totally use that freezer space, yo."

but wtf-ever. because apparently one turns six twice, and one should never waste an opportunity to celebrate.

May 7, 2014

it's a curse

paul said that nola was going to tap dance at the school talent show. huh? nola doesn't tap dance.

she nearly cried. "i don't want to go."

me: it's okay.
me: you don't have to participate.
me: i don't have any talents.
paul: yes, you do.
paul: WORK.

well, shit.

May 4, 2014

more more more

thank goodness for christmas giftcards.

nola opened her birthday presents with great pleasure--noting which gifts came from her very substantial wishlist (more on that in a moment)--but insisted that she had to have a very specific toy that would dovetail with one of the items we bought.

after two days of nagging, i gave in and "bought" it with giftcards (yay, free stuff). i tried to find something else to buy to take advantage of free shipping, but ultimately decided that it's not like i was really spending my money, so... if she wanted to spend a chunk on shipping fees, well, so be it. one day she'll understand that strange tension between convenience and paying [ridiculous amounts] for shipping.

anyway.

so. the nola wishlist. stuff of legend. tired of her saying, "mommy, i want that" every few seconds, i pointed her at toysrus.com (or something like) and showed her how to bookmark items worthy of a second look.

you know, things are different now that she can read. she ate up the internet so fast, i think her wishlist contained more items than there are stars in the sky. add that to the 100+ item "mommy, take a picture of that for my wishlist" album on my phone, and well, it all paints a picture of the sweetest, most good-natured, most adorable tiny materialistic girl that ever was.

that's my girl.

April 27, 2014

outhouse

the children were completely and totally captivated by a toto display at a local appliance shop.

i'd close the lid of a particular toilet, and it would open itself right up again.

we probably closed the lid at least a half dozen times. the children shrieked with delight as the sentient toilet responded appropriately.

if i hadn't had wine with lunch, would i have been quite so accommodating?

April 21, 2014

girl crush

cupquake is too cute. i want purple hair and mad gaming/baking abilities.

April 1, 2014

elementary and middle

my brilliant babies now have reserved magnet spots for the next school year. wasn't really worried, but now really relieved!

March 23, 2014

polyamory

yesterday cam and nola had an interesting conversation about gay marriage. apparently you can get married now in minecraft?

cam: i married a girl.
nola: I KNOW THAT.
cam: but girls can marry girls and boys can marry boys.
nola: okay.

later:

nola: [excitedly] i'm going to marry her!
paul: what?
me: she can marry anybody she wants.
paul: yeah, okay, but she's already married.
me: OH.
me: okay, in that case, nola, you can marry anybody you want except somebody who's already married.

we're not quite THAT openminded.

March 22, 2014

whippersnappers

the children have begun to communicate by skype while at opposite ends of the house.

i thought it was funny that cam and i text each other from different rooms, but i guess we're old school.

March 16, 2014

the cold never bothered me anyway

even if i didn't have so much shit going on in my life, i've heard "let it go" so many times over the past few months i could be forgiven for thinking it my theme song.

February 20, 2014

shampoo commercial

after a bath and a blowdry, no one in the world has hair as lovely as that of my children. i have serious hair envy with those two.

February 16, 2014

one with the wind and sky

there is a frozen singalong going on in my living room. nola is belting the hell out of "let it go."

i wish she sang this loud when we went to the frozen singalong at the el capitan last weekend.

(nola: i don't like hollywood... it's creepy!)

February 11, 2014

she loves me best, part three

nola: i will follow you FOREVER.
nola: EVERYWHERE.
me: everywhere?
nola: EVERYWHERE.
me: don't follow me to work.
me: don't follow me to the basement!
nola: okay.
nola: i won't follow you to the basement or to work or to the bathroom.
me: the bathroom!
nola: any place where only one person is allowed.
me: only one person can be in the basement at a time?
nola: yes.
nola: no.
nola: i will come with you to the basement.

February 9, 2014

she loves me best, part two

nola: your second tattoo should say "nolamommy."
nola: and then your third tattoo should be a heart of us.

she loves me best

nola: mommy, i wish you wouldn't have work.
me: you wish i wouldn't have work?
nola: no, i wish you wouldn't have a job.
nola: and i wish you could drive.
nola: then you could pick me up from school.

January 26, 2014

my aim is true

nola's favorite song (surprisingly beating out the songs from "frozen," which we've seen twice in the theaters, once in 3d) is "alison." since obviously she didn't just stumble upon that on the radio, i guess i'll take the blame.

there is something surreal about hearing her sing, "i know this world is killing you."

i wonder if she'll one day think we were crazy and morbid or just kind of interesting.

January 4, 2014

overheard

nola: [to self] i am a grown-up.
nola: i don't have any homework.

December 22, 2013

taking the wind out of one's sails

me: paul, did you clean your room?
paul: [angry whine and pout]
me: [aggressively] paul, i think you've forgotten who's in charge here.
nola: [cheerfully] it's me and you!
me: [running out of room to laugh]

November 30, 2013

contributing

the kids have always been entertained by this blog... even though my language and content can be more than a little questionable on occasion. bad mommy.

paul: if i see bad words, i just skip the post.

they like to read about things they've said. and now they can read the things they've written. expect occasional updates from small people.

November 29, 2013

what a revelation

i woke up from a half-doze to see nola climbing all over the bed. cam was still asleep.

me: where are you going?
nola: i want to watch kipper.
me: do you know how to turn on the tv?
nola: no.
nola: you.
nola: he doesn't understand me when he's asleep.

November 22, 2013

dancing in the rain

today nola danced quite gamely to "any turkey can tango." twice. (to make sure no parent lost the opportunity for the perfect photo opp.)

cam and i ditched our respective offices early to stand in the tiny rainy kindergarten yard.

kindergarten performances are always adorable, but they clutch the heartstrings most ferociously when one of those little ones is yours. i nearly wept, which really makes me wonder when i got so soft.

November 15, 2013

meta troll

nola: [repeating everything i say... quite well]
paul: nola is trolling you.
me: no, she's copying me.
me: imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
paul: imitation is the easiest form of trolling.
me: i need to write that down.
paul: on low foot clearance?
me: yeah.
paul: YEAH!

fruit soup

the children are currently obsessed with making their own desserts. god help me, they tend to involve mashed fruit and water. paul, my wee gourmand, has graduated to fruit and soy nog, but nola is sticking with the tried and mostly true.

October 19, 2013

first parent-teacher conference

nola is so small, other kindergarten teachers don't know what to make of her.

"she's in your class?" they ask her teacher. "is she really five?"

"yes, she's in my class, and she's my best reader right now!" she retorts.

think that sums it up nicely.

September 22, 2013

no fries with that

the children declare they will go an entire year without eating mcdonalds' food, starting today. calendar alert already set for september 22, 2014.

September 21, 2013

trash

nola: how do you spell [indistinguishable]?
me: what did you say?
nola: how do you spell [indistinguishable but sounds like bean]?
me: bean?
nola: bin!
me: bin?
me: like garbage bin?
paul: rubbish bin!
me: b. i. n.
me: hey, did you know that if you want to say that you threw something away, you could say that you binned it?
nola: i binned it!

September 17, 2013

never did get to the pledge

playing school:

nola: mommy, say "we now have a special visitor."
me: we now have a special visitor.
nola: hi.
me: what is your name?
nola: nola [last name]
me: where are you from?
nola: uh, the hospital when i was a baby.
me: [stifled laughter] okay, very good.
me: and what are you going to perform for us?
nola: the united states of america.

it still took about another two solid minutes of talking before i realized she meant the pledge of allegiance. it morphed into a monologue about how to be a star student and be the line leader.

nola: now i'm going to be the teacher.
nola: jonathan!
nola: why are you talking to your friend?
nola: i am so mad at you.
nola: i'm going to tell your mother.
me: nola, does your teacher really talk like that?
nola: sometimes.

it is endlessly entertaining to hear nola's take on school.

September 14, 2013

dobuita

nola is watching cam play shenmue. we've explained to her that this is the source of her and her brother's middle names, so she refers to ryo as paul. (much to paul's annoyance.) she doesn't like megumi's dress.

she is very seriously talking about the game.

nola: "why does everyone know paul?"

September 8, 2013

new one

the children squabbled because nola's name has more syllables than paul's.

REALLY?

August 25, 2013

beach bells

we were in hawaii a month ago.

ostensibly, it was a family vacation, but the underlying reason was this: work-bff was getting married at sunset on a beach on the big island, and i was going to be there.

the first part of the trip was spent at the disney resort on oahu (AWESOMENESS--i recommend highly). it wasn't always smooth, and i worked more than i expected to have to work, but our accommodations were really cool, and we also got to visit cam's family.

then we island-hopped to the first outdoor airport i had ever seen in my life.

the big island... was a little dull. for a vegan, well, the eats weren't that great. we had gotten spoiled by the aulani, and sneaking out for a drink after the kids were in bed (my mom was with us, lest you think we would actually leave the children alone in a strange place) was not easy. but the pool there was fun, the volcanoes were interesting, and the children continued to work on their lovely tans.

we missed the first half of the rehearsal dinner (in transit from the other side of the island), and then cam proceeded to get somewhat shitfaced when we met up with the happy couple and friends at a bar afterwards. (note: if you feel the need to ask--at great volume--if you're embarrassing me, there is an excellent chance that you might be.) efforts to get home post-bar were rather stressful. who knew that big island cab service shut down around 11? fortunately, the bar was at a very nice resort, and their night manager permitted their bellhop to drive us back.

the next night was the wedding, and it was delightful. the setting was magical, the ceremony touching (who knew the work-bff had so much sweetness in him?), the food and drink plentiful... and who doesn't love a gay dance party under the stars? i lost an earring and a pair of sunglasses, and all i could do was laugh. thank you, work-bff, for inviting us, and thank you, mentor extraordinaire (work-bff's boss), taking time from your busy schedule to attend, and thank you, cam, for making this trip possible.

May 27, 2013

overheard

playing scribblenauts in the backseat:

nola: how do you spell "diamond armor zombie," paul?
paul: [watching videos] ask daddy.
nola: daddy, how do you spell "diamond zombie"?
cam: diamond zombie?
nola: yes.
cam: D I A M O N D space Z O M B I E.
[cam's spelling aloud interspersed with nola's "wait," "okay," and repeated letters.]
nola: [sounds of scuffle]
nola: [indignantly] I can't kill him!

May 17, 2013

overheard

paul: [at computer] ahhh!
paul: i kicked the bucket!
nola: what bucket?
paul: kicked the bucket.
paul: it's an idiom meaning, "i died."

April 6, 2013

apples, trees

caught my daughter gazing at a lovely picture of benedict cumberbatch.

March 26, 2013

sleepyheads

i was originally going to write about yesterday's business trip, but instead i have to write this:

my kids are having a "sleepover" in paul's room. first paul read nola some stories (many giggles could be heard), and then cam went in and did some magic shit to make them go to sleep. now nola and paul are sleeping back to back in paul's bed. SO EFFING CUTE.

March 23, 2013

unexpected encounter

at a park by a climbing thing:

nola: [about to start climbing while a little girl is still climbing up]
me: no, nola, wait for her to get to the top.
girl: [stops, turns around]
girl: yeah, i don't speak chinese.
me: [speechless]
girl: [looks at me, looks at nola]
girl: i don't speak chinese or japanese.
me: [recovering tongue] neither do we.
girl: [continues her climb]

WHAT THE HOLY HELL WAS THAT?

cam: who was it?
me: that little white girl with the purple shirt and orange skirt, about 5-6?
cam: oh, dora [referring to purple shirt].
cam: of course.
cam: she speaks spanish.
me: [eyeroll]

NO, REALLY, WHAT THE HOLY HELL WAS THAT?

(to ease cam's mind, i will state right now that i wrote this poorly and that he didn't mean that the child looked hispanic, he was referring to the shirt. i thought i said that, but clearly i'm stupid and i DON'T speak english.)

March 19, 2013

gamine

frantic phone call from my mother.

sudden fear mingled with impatience.
impatience mingled with amusement.
amusement mingled with exasperation.

why was my mom upset? because nola got her hands on some scissors and hacked off a big section of her hair. AND, to add insult to injury, she wouldn't admit she did it. she blamed a ghost.

me: would you put her on the phone, please?
my mom: your mommy wants to talk to you.
nola: hi mommy.
me: hi nola.
me: nola, i hear a ghost cut your hair.
nola: yes.
nola: no.
nola: i did it.
me: oh, okay.

my mother clearly felt like she had to do something, so she offered to call their stylist for an emergency haircut. once nola confirmed she would be okay with that, i told her to go for it. the relief was obvious. i couldn't tell if she was upset that nola might have to go to school missing a hank of hair or if she had other reasons for her panic. i personally would have been more panicked by the idea of HOW AND WHERE DID NOLA GET THE SCISSORS, but she was in such misery i didn't push it after she gave me a half-assed excuse.

my mom: [wailing] she's going to have hair like a boy once it's all evened out!

a boy with girl hair and a girl with boy hair... not the weirdest thing this house has ever seen, surely?

so they went for their emergency haircut, and nola proved so amenable to the whole experience that my mother had time to get a haircut, too. now my little girl has the most adorable crop, and my mother is finally calm.

March 16, 2013

overheard (and also oy)

watching the video for one direction's "one way or another (teenage kicks)":

nola: i like it when he's naked in the shower.

maybe we do watch too much youtube here.

March 10, 2013

logic

watching one direction's "little things" on youtube:

nola: [pensively] i think they broke up.

nola: when i a big girl, i don't want to go to the one direction concert.
me: you don't?
nola: no, i don't want to scream so loud.
nola: my ears will ring!

March 7, 2013

lactation contortion

nola: [from living room] mommy, you should be with me.
me: [from kitchen] okay, in a minute, let me just finish my milk.
nola: what milk?
me: [in doorway, holding up glass] strawberry banana milk.
nola: OH.
nola: i thought you meant the milk that i need to sleep.
me: UH, NO.
nola: you can't drink that milk because it's from your body.
me: right.
nola: your head can't bend that low.
me: NO.
nola: right.

and with that, i guess i just came out of the closet. yes, i nurse a preschooler to sleep.

March 3, 2013

thistles

i remind myself regularly, sometimes hourly, that my life is close to perfect.

i have a wonderful husband, two beautiful and brilliant children, good friends, a lovely home, a good job, strong work relationships. my mother gave up her home to live with me and help me with my children. we have limited debt. i am well-respected and well-liked. i can't remember the last time i took a sick day. i think i laugh a lot.

and yet some days i can feel such misery and frustration sweeping over me that my arms go numb while my heart rages hard enough to rip itself from my chest. then i want to curl up in a ball in my bed/the closet/under my desk at work--or if i can bite back my fear of being seen, i might actually venture past the low-walled cubicles--eyes glued to blackberry so as to avoid eye contact--to lock myself in a stall in the bathroom down the hall. i have anxiety attacks in the car, in crowded restaurants. i rely on surface tension to keep the tears in check. i hope cam won't notice but he always does.

i have no right to be so unhappy. part of me feels like i'm having a meltdown over my SHEER BALLSY LACK of right to have a meltdown. people in my circles (and just outside them) have real problems. when i start to feel the agony under the skin, i remind myself that i'm just self-indulgent. i try to shame myself out of my "moods"--how dare i weep over being overworked when i know people unemployed for far too long? how can i be so exhausted when i sit at a desk all day long? how i can i feel worn out and stressed by my kids when i know people who would do anything to have children? how i can complain about the behavior of my children when my own inability to communicate effectively has created the barrier between us? how can i be upset at my boss when he has so clearly made his priorities known? where do i get off being miserable about a headache when just about everyone i know has a serious health concern? i can't do anything right.

but i have good days, weeks, even, when the quality of life rises above sea level and i feel normal. fun. sassy. even my hair looks livelier than usual. my zingers have more zing. in those moments, i am ashamed for thinking that i have any kind of true emotional upset. self-indulgent prattle, indeed. call it pms, call it hormones. i do, and i hate myself for being so conventional.

and then back into the pit. cam's worried eyes haunt me. i would do better, i would try to be better, for him. the kids know to be quiet when mommy is crying. soft hugs and clumsy pats. i would try to be better for them, too, if i knew what to do. one day they'll look back at my mood swings and be scornful when they grasp the lack of reason behind them, but for now they are kind.

February 24, 2013

yakety sax junior

nola has been humming/singing this song today.

i know she's explained to me WHY she does this, but i keep forgetting... i very much enjoyed her look of exasperation when i asked, "who are you, benny hill?"

February 9, 2013

resemblance

my children are SO obsessive. they are world class. i can't remember the last time i had a conversation with paul that didn't reference minecraft. nola's fondness for a little girl in her preschool verges on single white female.

quelle surprise.

January 28, 2013

all that glitters

for years i've kept my ever-increasing (thanks to my mother's obsession with the home shopping network) necklace collection on a wallpaper-covered bulletin board leaning against the back wall of my closet. a little precariously balanced, especially given the weight of the chunky rock necklaces my mother favors, but functional--i can see my inventory, so i usually remember to grab something while i'm getting dressed. this is also an easy access solution for nola, who used to like to wear as many necklaces as possible.

but as the collection expands, i've been thinking more and more about getting a big wall-mounted jewelry cabinet. i'd see nice ones on flash sales, but i've had the hardest time pulling the trigger. i finally forced myself to order one just last week.

so last night i told nola i finally bought a jewelry box.

nola: for me?
me: no, for me.
nola: [disappointed face]
me: do you have any jewelry?
nola: [laughing] oh, i forgot!
nola: i don't have any jewelry.

so now she wants jewelry of her own--a necklace with her name, and a charm bracelet with hello kitty, cupcake and butterfly charms. i guess i know what she's getting for her birthday in may.

too bad i can't get away with telling her, "but all this will one day be yours."

January 21, 2013

full bellies

because new year's day was a tuesday, mlk, jr. day ended up on my birthday.

so i am spending my 38th birthday at home with my children. (cam, working for a small company, did not have the day off.)

i cooked breakfast, paul made me lunch, and nola and i are working on dinner.

it's been a nice food-filled day.

January 19, 2013

overheard

nola: i'm doing parkour, daddy!

January 18, 2013

pre-birthday

nola: this package is for you.
me: yes--do you know what it is?
nola: no.
me: it's a birthday present.
nola: i know that.
nola: how old will you be on your birthday?
me: 38.
nola: whoa.
nola: that's a big number!
me: [hiding smile] yes, it is.
nola: are you going to be taller?
nola: will be you be taller on your birthday?
me: no, i'm sorry, i'm as tall as i'm ever going to be.
nola: i like you how you're supposed to be.

January 6, 2013

i don't even pretend to understand

the children are watching a chimneyswift review of a minecraft mod. says nola, "this is an awesome mod! i hope i can get it."

nola: i'm gonna troll you with...
paul: blackberries!
nola: no, raspberries.
paul: raspberries are my favorite fruit.
paul: OH!
nola: strawberries are red and raspberries are red.
nola: you can troll me with strawberries, paul.
paul: i'm going to troll you with coal plants!
nola: no!
nola: [half-crying] i don't like coal plants!

January 1, 2013

a discussion of hair

me: i'm going to cut your hair while you're asleep.
paul: wah.
me: i'm not going to cut it, sheesh.
paul: well, i thought you would.
nola: what happens when you cut off all your hair?
me: my hair?
me: my hair will be short, but it's no big deal because hair grows back.
nola: uncle bumbo's hair grows.
me: yes, it does.
nola: he likes his hair short.
paul: i like my hair long.
nola: he doesn't like his hair long because he doesn't want to look like a girl.

passive-aggressive nola.

December 24, 2012

ho ho ho debunked

paul no longer believes in santa. cam had THAT talk with him this evening. to be honest, i'm surprised he ever did at all.

nola, on the other hand...

growth spurt

nola: when i'm super super big, i'm going to be a giant!
me: you will definitely be bigger than me.
nola: and when you're super super big, you're going to be a giant, too!
me: and we can be giants together?
nola: and when daddy's super super big, he's going to be a giant, too!
nola: [blissfully] we can all be together.

nola's plans don't always include paul. but paul's plans don't always include nola, so i think they're even.

November 11, 2012

must keep her off tumblr

when she watches her one direction concert video, WHY IS NOLA SO OBSESSED WITH THE BOYS CHANGING THEIR CLOTHES?

overheard

playing a disney game online about animals:

nola: [look of extreme disbelief] what?
nola: octopuses don't lay eggs!
nola: only birds lay eggs.
nola: ... and dinosaurs!

November 5, 2012

the new normal

nola: where is q?
nola: i don't remember.
me: q is the first letter in qwerty!
me: do you know where q is now?
nola: yes! [presses q]

menu

nola typed the alphabet by herself. she had me make a few changes, then add a few extra words, and presto! she declared it was a menu:

ABCD
EFG
HIJK
LMNOP
QRS
TUV
WX
Y and Z
now I know my ABC's
next time won't you sing with me?

Rice Krispies
Strawberries
Apples
Watermelon
Smoothies (strawberries, sugar, and teensy bit ice inside)

:) sweet stuff!

November 4, 2012

overheard

nola: one two three four!
nola: i wish you come back to me... more!

October 30, 2012

logical assumption

at the hair salon, looking at color samples:

nola: i like that one.
nola: that's my favorite.
me: oh, you like red hair?
nola: yes.
me: daddy would kill me if i brought you home with red hair.
me: hey, you know what?
me: i had red hair once, a long time ago.
nola: [worried] did daddy kill you?

October 28, 2012

overheard

nola: if you say magic words, i'll disappear.
nola: [heavy sigh]
nola: presto!
nola: i disappear! [rolling off couch]
paul: really, nola?

October 27, 2012

pumpkins

this past wednesday was a rather monumental day--not only was it paul's birthday, but it was also nola's first field trip.

i worked from home that day so i could go with her. (cam's on the halloween party committee, so i knew he wouldn't be able to attend this, and i couldn't just send my mom.) it ended up working out perfectly because paul needed someone to take him to school and pick him up. (well, perfectly is a bit of a stretch because wednesdays are the worst possible day for me to out of the office, but sometimes life just works out that way.)

i was looking forward to this field trip for two reasons:

1) hello, first field trip EVER, and
2) preschool field trip t-shirts

when paul attended this preschool, he had a lime green city of ____ t-shirt that the school provided on field trip days. the teacher never let the kids take them home until the end of the school year because she was smart enough to know that if she sent them home any earlier, she'd have a hell of a time getting people to remember to wear them on field trip days. the t-shirts were all the same size, so short and tall alike wore the same shirt.

nola's t-shirt is turquoise. and it falls to mid-calf. EEEEEEEEEE.

the field trip was to a local pumpkin patch. we don't live anywhere where pumpkin patches can really... exist, so this is just a set-up in a local mall parking lot with a petting zoo, bounce houses and lots of hay and straw beneath a striped circus tent-type thing. nola was immediately annoyed by the smell, and continued to be bothered by it until we left. but she did pet a goat or two, and she did smile obediently at cameras, and she even got a parting gift of a cute little pumpkin.

(later she declared the pumpkin was an egg, and it would hatch... a baby snow golem. um, what?)

i'm glad i could go with her, even though it was hard being away from work (being pestered by text while trying to convince a clingy child to look at llamas is not my idea of fun). i missed so much of paul's preschool year because of work and pregnancy, so this is something non-negotiable.

unplugged

i'm eavesdropping on the kids as they play a sort of real-life minecraft with paul's new minecraft lego set. (which is insanely cute.)

the kids are really good at making stevie dying sounds. lots of "ha ha, you're in the void... you died."

much to my amusement, they took a short break from lego-play to sit down in front of nola's toy kitchen.

nola: let's make a cake.
paul: there's a cow!
paul: i got three milk.
nola: i'll find the sugarcane.
paul: let's find the wheat.
paul: we need three.
paul: wait, i need an egg.
paul: i think there are some chickens spawning by the, you know, the lake.
paul: maybe we should craft bread?
paul: nola, do you have the sugarcane?
nola: yes.
paul: craft it down to sugar.
nola: here.
paul: i made the cake.
paul: yum!
nola: yum!

paul talks so fast sometimes.

and now they are back to lego minecraft. paul is trying to feed nola lines, but she is resisting his efforts. i bite back smiles.

October 21, 2012

overheard

nola: the sign says, "no messing around in the movie theater"
paul: what does "messing around" mean?
nola: [outraged] PAUL!
nola: you know what messing around means!
paul: no, what does messing around in minecraft mean?
nola: oh.
paul: no placing and destroying blocks?
paul: no flying?
nola: yes.
paul: what about practicing?
paul: can I stand in front of the screen and pretend I'm in the movie?
nola: let me check the computer.

October 3, 2012

nola's busy wednesday

again with the big days for nola:

weekend before last she had a blood draw (sigh... my brave little girl), so today she had a follow-up appointment with the allergist. according to the blood test, nola is mildly allergic to egg (whites stronger than yolks) and milk, and NOT allergic to nuts. in a year we'll probably do a skin test, which will be a little more accurate. the allergist suggested we try nuts and baked goods with eggs. (at paul's appointment, she told us we could try baked goods with eggs for paul, so... i sense a scary experiment coming up.) she offered us a flu shot, which the allergy department would administer. said cam, "i promised her no shots today."

nola also met with the pediatric endocrinologist, who is not terribly concerned about nola's stature right now, but wants to see her again in four months to determine if her growth velocity is on track. if not, then the doctor will discuss screening options with us. she asked us if we wanted to start the screening today. said cam, "i promised her no shots today."

(and she'll go back to the optometrist next month to see if she needs glasses! why is nola's life all about waiting?)

oh, and she had school today. cam was a parent helper. (i was in that role yesterday. fun times! that is a post for another day.)

no wonder she was suggesting bedtime before bedtime could be suggested to her.

good night, baby girl.

September 30, 2012

bemused

the children are singing "we are never ever getting back together" while playing minecraft.

it would be much more annoying if they weren't practically babies.

it would also be much more annoying if paul didn't still have such a piping high little voice. and if nola didn't have this semi-hysterical filipino accent.

September 18, 2012

eggs and milk, milk and eggs (and peanuts)

yesterday we met paul and nola's new allergist (their former allergist (and my former pediatrician) retired about a year or so ago). we actually met her once in pediatrics, i think. strong grip. the nurses were kind of a mixed bag. some smiled, some didn't. some acted like we inconvenienced them by showing up.

1. when your department calls CAM after i provide you with three separate phone numbers for ME, please be aware that i already find you obnoxious.
2. when your department INFORMS US that paul should come in for an appt, then please be aware i find you incompetent for asking us why we're there.
3. just because cam is doing the lion's share of the talking doesn't mean that i have ceased to exist. a little EYE CONTACT, please.
4. cam, why do you have a mental block about nola's previous bloodwork?
5. yes, thank you, we are like separate families under one roof. he has his kid, i have mine. I DON'T KNOW, IT JUST WORKED OUT THAT WAY.
6. paul, the way you smiled through your tears during the skin test just broke my heart into a thousand little pieces. recurring theme: nerve endings on the outside!
7. kids, why so goddamned punchy?
8. medical professionals, you saw the big welts on paul's arm from the skin test. why so effing surprised we haven't fed him those same allergens that caused that bullshit?
9. well, cam, your fear of feeding the kids nuts has served you in good stead.
10. yes, yes, i do fail as a mom. i know nothing about my son. (see #3 and #5.) thanks.

round two: on saturday nola has to go to the lab for a blood draw so allergy can run some tests. then she gets to come back to allergy in two weeks for her own appointment. also that day she gets to meet her pediatric endocrinologist.

i think this is why i stay away from doctors. appointments beget appointments!

September 11, 2012

still smiling

nola has taken to preschool like a kid who actually likes other kids.

she brought home ART today, a sloshy shaky NOLA in deep blue tempera paint ("ocean" writ neatly in teacherly writing in the corner) and a cut-out crayoned cake with green construction paper candles and her birthday written in the center.

she talked of friends. sang a song she declared to be her teacher's favorite song.

i'm so glad she's adjusting so well.

September 5, 2012

most traumatic day ever

yesterday afternoon nola and i met with her pediatrician for a belated well-baby (well-child?) doctor's appointment.

at 4 years and 4 months, nola is 35" tall and weighs 27.2 pounds. he showed me a growth chart. he is slightly concerned that she doesn't really follow the curve anymore, so he is going to refer us to a pediatrician who specializes in endocrinology just to see if she thinks this is cause for concern.

the poor baby was confused by the vision test*, but she figured out the hearing test okay.

the poor baby was also attacked by needles. four shots, two in each arm. tightly holding and trying to console a tiny sobbing girl in tiny hello kitty panties (the hospital gown would get in the way) is not a job for the weak. but at least she won't need any new shots for kindergarten next year.

by the time we left, she was fine. she had stickers, bandaids and a new book. her mother, on the other hand, was inwardly broken. first preschool, now this. nerve endings on the outside, people. that is the life of anyone who cares for kids.

*i don't think i mentioned that our optometrist told us that nola has astigmatism in both eyes? we're supposed to go back in november to see if she needs glasses.

September 4, 2012

preschooler

today was nola's first day of preschool.

to quote the lovely people i've been reading on tumblr:

OMFG. THE MOTHERFUCKING FEELS.

i nearly died.

she cried hysterically about being left behind, mere moments after declaring bravery. and then she proceeded to have a pretty damned good day, while i was reduced to a gibberingly sentimental idiotic hover-mom.

thank the lord there is only ONE first day of preschool.

September 3, 2012

but i never had a monkey friend

me: i was never as pretty as you, but i used to look a lot like you when i was your age.
me: i had the exact same haircut, i think.
nola: you looked like dora [the explorer]?
me: yes.
me: i looked just like dora.

September 1, 2012

overheard

nola, again playing minecraft alone with two ipads:

nola: take that!
nola: i am a bad guy!

August 31, 2012

schooled

nola is teaching me how to play minecraft.

sort of.

we make gardens and we pretend to swim and we shoot each other with arrows and we giggle like fiends.

paul rolls his eyes, but he SO wants to join our games.

August 28, 2012

overheard

playing minecraft by herself with two ipads:

nola: there you are.
nola: hi mommy!
nola: i'm going to kill you.
nola: [maniacal laughter]

August 25, 2012

video

there are few things more instantly amusing than the sight of my youtube history.

i have two laptops (old black dell, newish tiny macbook air) at home. the kids use the dell regularly, the apple rarely. i have a big old dell desktop at work. i'm signed into my youtube account on all three computers, which means that my history is a mix of:

boyce avenue acoustic covers (me)
"sherlock" scenes and fanvids (me)
strawberry shortcake videos (nola)
nerf wars (paul)
minecraft song parodies (paul and nola)
minecraft fanvids (paul)
lego battles (paul)
pop song lyrics and videos (me, paul, and nola)
one direction videos (nola)
nanalan episodes (nola)

one day when i got home from work i asked nola if she had been watching strawberry shortcake videos while i was work. (i saw new videos at the top of the list that hadn't been there when i checked in the morning.) she looked confused... was mommy here or was she at work?

if i were a better parent, i know i'd be watching these videos to be sure that they are all they are supposed to be. youtube is such a... minefield. i've turned on the safety mode, so at least that provides some filter, but... i don't know. there is so much good on youtube (ALL ONE DIRECTION VIDEOS, ALL THE TIME), but there is also so much crap. my boss and i agree song parodies can be the road to hell. you think you're going to be listening to something you know--and then ONWARD with the naughty language and imagery... quick, quick, shut it down shut it down shut it DOWN! what to do?

June 16, 2012

mix and match

the other day the kids decided they wanted to have a slumber party, so they set up little beds on my bedroom floor. nola, lacking a sleeping bag (paul got a cars one years ago as a present from his grandparents), somehow seemed content with a pillowcase. my god, that child is small.

before they went to sleep, paul asked nola if they should wear pajamas. she agreed this would be a good idea, and they ran off. much to my amusement, they returned giggling with paul unchanged and nola wearing an unmatched set (purple pants and a blue top... or was it blue pants and a purple top?). they sang a song:

mixing
mixing
mixing is important

and proceeded to abandon the beds on the floor in favor of a real bed and a story.

June 15, 2012

the bee and the baby

cleaning paul's room, i found this little story dictated by nola to cam:

Once upon a time there was a bee. The bee flew in a house. And a hive. And next he fly on his hive and make honey. He played on his brother Nola. They messed up! Play games and the end.

i wish they put a date on it.

June 3, 2012

it's a beautiful night

nola's version of "marry you" would make people want to have babies just so that one day those babies might be able to sing this song THAT awesomely.

in other news, i apologized to cam for introducing the children to the catchy wussiness that is bruno mars.

June 2, 2012

just a nice day

we had a lovely day today.

we decided to take the kids to the aquarium of the pacific. we wanted to get there early, but early means different things to different people, and as a result we didn't get there until almost noon.

the parking garage was packed. turned out there was a run that ended not that long before we got there. we went in the aquarium, which was similarly packed. turned out there was some kind of pacific islander festival going on inside. (me, coincidentally dressed in a hawaiian floral tank top, winced.) the drums, the crowds, the misbehaving of other children. (cam: just when i think our kids are being little shits, we go out and OH MY GOD.) lunch in the onsite cafe was not that great. the kids were a little whiny. we decided to go home, then i declared that i wanted to go for a walk... and life magically improved.

we walked from the aquarium over to shoreline village (which was magic in itself because i always thought shoreline village was SO far away), spent some time in the arcade, then took a WATER TAXI back to the aquarium. cam and nola went to see an exhibit while paul and i frolicked and chatted outside, then we dropped the kids off with cam's parents and sister while we had a dinner out alone. (during which much drama was discussed and i cried because i'm a freaking horrific emotional wreck these days, but it was okay.)

now the kids and cam are asleep, and i will soon get cam up so we can watch the last ten minutes of "heathers" (we almost finished it last night, but the kids woke up cranky so we had to get to bed).

there were no work emergencies today. no full-scale tantrums. just fun, sun, my lovely family, and beer. i wish every saturday could be so nice.

May 20, 2012

city girl

it is not physically possible for me to properly express my amusement with the kids' current obsession with tegan and sara. i am trying to not die laughing at their version of "walking with a ghost." i might be turning purple at this very moment.

April 12, 2012

one day she'll need me to take her to the mall

nola: mommy, you don't know how to drive.
me: i don't?
nola: no.
nola: if you grow up like my daddy, you'll be big and you can drive!

April 6, 2012

overheard

paul: draw swirlies or something.

[children drawing furiously]

nola: i win.
paul: there is no winning in art.
paul: just draw what your mind tells you.

[children drawing furiously]

paul: i win.

March 17, 2012

there is always a punchline

[random sounds from the living room]

paul: [making sounds into a cheap echoing microphone toy] hoo-oooh!
nola: hoooooh!
paul: we're making a noise contest!
paul: hoooo-ooooooh!
nola: [noticing for the first time that paul has her echo-phone] hey!
nola: paul, that's mine!
paul: [tries to drop it behind the couch]
me: that was unnecessary.
paul: [picks it up and waves it just out of reach]
me: paul, just give it to her.
nola: [crying] paul, give it to me!
paul: [dangles it by cord, then tugs cord when she reaches up]
me: [annoyed] paul, let go.
nola: [crying] paul, let go.
paul: [dramatically lets go]
paul: she didn't fall backward like i hoped.
me: nola, like i said earlier, paul is a bully.
paul: hey!
me: [sighing] paul, when you see preschoolers at school, do you push them and yell at them?
paul: there's a FENCE. [duh]

hear the drums and cymbals? he's here every night.

in retrospect, i shouldn't have been so quick to have him return the toy to her, but his attempts to keep it away from her were just so... irritating.

knightly ambition

you and me, we're going to be girl knights in the bad guy kingdom! we're going to have swords, and shields, and everything we need. we'll have apples and other food. i'm going to have gloves and i put them in my pocket. you're going to have a girl knight haircut. hold still.

March 11, 2012

mouseketeers

am now the proud owner of a disneyland annual pass.

it never occurred to me that such a thing might be a good idea until our trip there on the day before christmas. paul rode star tours what seemed like half a dozen times, and nola began an unhealthy obsession with disney junior live on stage.

faced with their obvious interest in the disney empire, i agreed with the idea of an annual pass, but at the same time i pooh-poohed it.

no, i'm sorry, annual passes to disneyland are for the obsessed. the people who know which characters are at what place at what time, the people who know the words to every movie and every song, the people who feel the need to just "drop by" disneyland in the way i "drop by" target.

but the idea kind of grew on me, and today we bit the bullet and bought the passes.

as a result, we had the most lowkey disney afternoon EVER. we got there after three. i took paul on star tours while cam and nola went to see the last showing of disney junior live on stage. we bought two bags of cotton candy and a loaf of boudin sourdough. (cam also bought a beer and directly confronted paul's obvious disapproval. har.) then we went home.

"we won't regret this," said cam on the tram back to the parking structure, a mere 3+ hours after arrival.

no, i don't imagine we will.

i've spent the last 30-something years looking at amusement parks as full-day excursions, events to plan to the ground. such days started at dawn and ended at midnight. you wore such-and-such lightweight jacket, wore your most comfortable walking shoes. you either needed a locker or tried to boil your accessories down to the essentials so you could skip the rental. if you didn't ride X number of rides or see Y number of sights, it was an unsuccessful day. when you've got small children, who needs that? and disney's so expensive, honestly, a few trips and the pass is already covered.

here's to a new era in the happiest place on earth. i hope this little investment proves to be a sound one.

March 9, 2012

sorry for saying sorry?

nola was telling me about something that happened--i don't even remember what it was--but it was something that she didn't like.

true to my normal response, i said, "i'm sorry."

surprised, she looked at me, patted my arm and replied, "you didn't do it, mommy."

i wonder how old she will be when she realizes that i am one of the most... apologetic people on the planet?

March 6, 2012

under the weather

nola is turning somersaults on the couch.

me: nola, you're such a daredevil.
paul: *i'm* more of a daredevil.
paul: but i'm not at full capacity right now.

February 20, 2012

rockstar

nola and i went to see the fresh beat band at club nokia today.

it was a very charming show. i didn't think she really enjoyed it, but when we got home i caught her singing along with videos. and right before bed she tearfully declared that she wanted to see them again.

my wee groupie.

January 21, 2012

lucky

we had a lovely late birthday lunch at shojin.

cam baked me a vegan chocolate cake.

the kids gave me puzzles they could do with me. (awww.)

now i'm drinking wine and having a snack with my best friend. (never mind that said best friend bought me a 40th birthday card. um. jerk.)

i'm more fortunate than i have any right to be.

December 18, 2011

but how else is santa going to know?

me: what would santa say about nola?
nola: i want a fairy kitchen.
me: nola wants a fairy kitchen?
nola: yes.
me: what would santa say about paul?
paul: that i want more beyblade stuff.
me: and what would santa say about daddy?
paul: that he needs more coal.
me: i'm going to put that up on facebook RIGHT NOW.
paul: don't.
paul: you.
paul: dare.

September 24, 2011

knit, part 2

got nola to try on her poncho by pouting at her.

nola: i wear this and you will be so happy.

September 23, 2011

knit

i wasn't as invested in the target for missoni thing as APPARENTLY LOTS OF PEOPLE WERE, but i was looking forward to it.

on the day of launch, the target site was down almost the whole time i was at work. not that i was actually looking at it all day, mind you, but it was down every time i checked.

disappointed in person by, um, no stock, and juniors' clothing hanging on the missoni racks at my local target, i went home and ordered two ponchos--one 4T and one XL girls. they looked cute online, they were still in stock, and i was feeling a little... peeved.

then i got not one, but two delayed shipment notices.

immediately followed by a shipment notice. wha?

the ponchos arrived yesterday.

they are lovely. while overpriced (the same price for toddler AND girls?), they are on-trend in a variety of ways and they certainly feel nicely made. nola refuses to try hers on, much to my sadness, but i guess i've tried mine on enough for the both of us.

now to figure out what to pair it with for work...

friday night

paul and nola are asleep in my bed. (cam's on the couch.)

nola fell asleep to "the goose-girl." lucky for me, she passed out before the "waiting-woman" could declare that the appropriate punishment for deception is to be put into a barrel and dragged by horses "until dead." oy.

paul, cutely enough, fell asleep listening to the wiggles lullaby album. i think he specifically wanted to sleep in here with us so that he could at least eavesdrop on our bedtime routine:

  • one red dot
  • 2-3 stories from the sesame street treasury
  • one story from my phone (i've been downloading free fairy tales)
  • wiggles lullabies

now i'm dealing with paul's school fundraiser. i've already filled out countless forms for him in the past two weeks... what's a few more? not the most exciting of evenings, but i've been going to sleep early lately because i've been sick and tired and just generally drained, so it's just kind of nice to be awake.

July 2, 2011

oaty goodness

nola is trying to convince me that "old macdonald" is actually "oatmeal donald."

June 18, 2011

faithful steed

nola: i'm the princess.
nola: you the horse.

June 13, 2011

overheard

paul: nola, fight me!
paul: i'm vulnerable!

May 23, 2011

overheard

nola: horse, i need ladder.

May 8, 2011

stickler

me: lie down, nola.
me: [sings] plop goes the nola!
nola: [stony glare]
nola: no, POP goes the WEASEL.
me: oh, sorry.

May 6, 2011

early morning exchange

me: how is baby nola?
nola: no!
nola: i super nola.
me: you're super nola?
nola: mm-hmm.
me: okay, how is super nola?
nola: i fine nola.

May 2, 2011

older than she looks

happy third birthday to our wee girl.

so glad we took the day off to spend with her. a picnic at the park--what a lovely way to spend a sunny day. we didn't need gifts, a cake, or any of the usual trappings.

"good birthday party," she said with satisfaction.

April 30, 2011

happy two-days-early birthday

today we had a party for nola at cam's parents' house. the usual group: cam's parents, sister, uncle, my mom, and us.

the best gifts were homemade (iron-on) ducky momo shirts--one from paul and several (identical) from cam's uncle.

the creepiest gift was a pair of sing-a-ma-jigs. but the adults loved them.

the strangest moment was when nola burst into tears when we sang "happy birthday" (and covered her ears) and wouldn't blow out the candles.

the most annoying moments were when my mom had outsized reactions to paul's behavior. yeah, so he was a little hyper and attention-hogging when nola was opening gifts. whatever. he's a kid.

the most unexpected moment was when paul and i decided to take a walk around the block and i got him to tell me that he felt left out when the neighbor girls decided to do an activity instead of playing a game with him.

the cutest moment was when the kids snuggled down on nola's new pillow pet and wrapped themselves in her new hello kitty throw.

the funniest moment was when nola pretended to read bedtime stories to us. "once time. bamdaid. my bamdaid. come here, boy. the end." there were quite a few. i wish i could remember them all.

i like these family parties. low-key. i'm not looking forward to the day when we'll have to host parties for groups of giggling girls.

i hate people

ducky momo is a current obsession in our house.

April 27, 2011

inside joke

paul: you're mad.
paul: you're not mad.
paul: you're stickles!
nola: [laughing hysterically]

cook and fly

today paul and i played communist-controlled aircraft while nola made a salad of acorns and leaves. partway through, paul took a break from battle to help nola find more salad fixings.

paul: [outraged] you stepped on my plane!
nola: no--i cooking!
paul: [looking in bucket] can i see?
nola: yes.
nola: booberries, bwackberries, stwaberries.
paul: mmm, that looks good.
paul: can i help you find more food?
nola: yes.

he gave her some blades of grass and a small piece of blue fabric ("have some blueberry paste") he found on the ground, then matter-of-factly returned to his stated mission of destroying me.

April 25, 2011

point of pride?

nola: strawberry shortcake is girl.
nola: [triumphantly] like me!

April 23, 2011

the boss of daddy

cam is surprised by nola's manipulative powers.

cam: she does it with a smile!

April 22, 2011

logical

nola chuckled at an old airplane hanging from the ceiling of the air and space museum.

nola: i like bicycle airplane.
me: bicycle airplane?
nola: has wheels like bicycle.
nola: [confidently] bicycle airplane.

April 16, 2011

signature sound

my children are so lazy, they don't even go to the effort of laughing anymore.

instead they just make a "hmp" sound. it's very strange, but i find myself doing it, too--but then i have to smile because i so clearly picked up from them.

April 13, 2011

little in common

i wish nola liked sleep as much as i like sleep. oy.

March 29, 2011

snuggly

nola in paul's snuggie is a hilarious sight. "armholes!' she hollered at me from the bottom of a pile of blue fleece.

i think she'd fit better in the one sized for dogs.

March 27, 2011

bill

a toddler, left to her own devices with an ipod touch, was watching the cosby show.

1) how did she find the cosby show?
2) why did she decide the cosby show was what she wanted to watch?
3) the cosby show?

i thought i heard talking, so i asked paul what nola was watching.

paul: [peering over her shoulder] it looks like tv.
me: tv?
paul: and it looks inappropriate!
me: [looking over his shoulder] oh, it's the cosby show!
me: it's very appropriate, actually.
paul: oh... it looks hilarious!

trickery

nola: [whispering] go to sleep, mommy.
me: [obediently closing eyes] okay.
me: [opening eyes] hey, get your finger out of your nose!
nola: no!
nola: stop looking me!

March 26, 2011

surrogate

my cousin's son is an adorable little boy. he's a little younger than nola, a little taller.

nola is crazy about him--more in theory than in practice, anyway. the other day she put two hello kitty dolls in a little box, claimed it was a car, and then declared one was her, the other, him. but today we met up at the cemetery and she wouldn't look at him for at least 15 minutes.

i like seeing him. i really do. he's a cutie, and he seems quite fond of us. but good lord, whenever he has to accompany his grandparents on an outing involving us (be it to my house or the cemetery), why do they give him to me?

hello, do i look like i need more kids?

yet they hover close enough to make me feel uncomfortable with any kind of discipline. how many times can i gently say, "share, please," before i start to lose my patience? and please, throwing rocks at a tree is not a good pastime for tiny uncoordinated people.

(on the bright side, nola sat in a high chair at the restaurant for an entire meal just because he was sitting in one next to her. amazing. almost three and she's never done that before.)

i know you guys enjoy your chats with my mom and other family members of a certain generation, but this reminds me a little too much of when i was a kid and expected to watch my little cousins. i must ooze responsibility or something.

March 15, 2011

ceremonial

it's almost nine, and nola is laughing and pointing at her teapot.

nola: i making tea ice cream!
nola: song!
nola: i making tea cake.

now she is counting teacups.

nola: i'm count this.
nola: mommy, you count me.
nola: one two three four five six seven eight nine!
nola: is enough?
me: yes.
nola: [thinking] yay!
nola: [triumphant pose] i did it!

now she is showing me two small stuffed animals.

nola: like match.
nola: look mommy, both brown.
nola: [holding up two fingers] like two bears.

i've been playing the wiggles lullaby album in the background for over half an hour now, and clearly the only sleepy person here is me.

October 23, 2010

happy nonsense

me: zsa zsa boo!
nola: [laughs]
me: zsa zsa Boo!
nola: [laughs] more!
me: zsa zsa BOO!
nola: [laughs]
me: beep beep beep!
nola: [laughs]
me: beep beep BEEP!
nola: [laughs] more!
nola: beep beep beep!
me: [laughs] more!
nola: [sly look] zsa zsa BEEP!

October 17, 2010

more

we heard paul laughing in other room.

nola: [sleepily] paul!
nola: paul laughing!
me: yes, that's paul.
paul: [more laughing]
nola: more paul!

the neighbor's dog barked outside our bedroom window.

nola: dog!
me: yes, that's the dog.
neighbor's dog: [more barking]
nola: more dog!

cam stirred and snored lightly.

nola: daddy sleeping?
me: yes, daddy's sleeping.
me: daddy's snoring.
nola: daddy snoring.
cam: [more snoring]
nola: more daddy snoring!
nola: [fake snore]
nola: more snoring!

October 16, 2010

good manners

took the kids to lunch at coco's today.

at nola's request, the two of us went to examine the restaurant's halloween decor after we finished eating. an old woman approached us while cam and paul were paying for our lunch at the counter.

old woman: those are the best behaved children i've ever seen in a restaurant.
me: thank you!
old woman: [nodding] i used to work with children.

after a few comments on nola's age (she thought she was only a year old) and size, she went one way and we went the other.

she must have been looking in the other direction when they were beating each other up. and maybe she was in the restroom when they were blowing on each other?

October 15, 2010

dizrythmia

nola and cam have a game.

one of them will turn on the music on the sit and spin (remember when those didn't make sound?), and then the two of them run around in circles, yelling, "dizzy! dizzy!"

i think it's meant to wear nola out so that she will go to bed, but i suspect it's more exciting than sleep-inducing.

October 9, 2010

full responsibility

nola farted while waiting for a new diaper.

nola being nola, she laughed.

me: was that you?
nola: nola.
nola: nola butt!
me: that was nola's butt?
nola: yes.

September 12, 2010

inside joke?

i don't know where we picked it up, but nola and i like to say:

thank you, thank you... oh! thank you, too!

if i say it to her, she giggles and says it back to me. so cute!

September 6, 2010

speak only when spoken to

today a lady said hello to nola.

nola dropped to the floor and started wailing.

"i guess she didn't want you to say hello," said the lady's friend.

September 4, 2010

primate baby?

nola just brought me a tiny toy monkey wrapped in a cloth. when asked, she denied that it was a monkey. wonder what it was supposed to be?

August 29, 2010

angels and demons

my children are lovely, beautiful and intelligent... but they are also the whiniest little shits i've ever known.

omg, will this weekend never end? part of me is dying to go back to work tomorrow.

August 14, 2010

amusement parked

took the kids to universal studios today. exhausted. hope the kids sleep in late tomorrow.

let me just say that the "front of line" pass is expensive, but worth it on crowded days like today -- even though i felt like a total d-bag as i nonchalantly strolled past the miles of lines to get to the tram/rides/shows.

August 3, 2010

staged antics

sunday nola and i went to see the wiggles. nola's first concert!

first, let me just say that universal studios' rerouting of gibson amphitheater's entrance from over by the theme park to somewhere in the middle of citywalk is just plain ass. i hope it's a temporary move. if it's not a temporary move, then please fix it so it doesn't look like we didn't pay some ungodly amount for tickets and we're just trying to sneak in by the side. the people selling souvenirs from SHOPPING CARTS was a nice touch. who would have guessed that a little dorothy the dinosaur would cost $12 from a homeless person? and having to stop the line so that trucks could drive through the middle? priceless.

so. we ran/hopped/trotted from the end of citywalk to the middle of it (me in 4" cork wedges, carrying a baby and a diaper bag) and hit the correct line with about 3 minutes to spare. the young woman at the gate had a malfunctioning ticket scanner, so getting actually checked in took a while. once we got into the venue (great seats, by the way), everything calmed down, and luckily we still had about 10-15 minutes before the show started.

things did not start out well. when the ringmaster came out to warm up the crowd, nola just looked blankly at him. when he got the group to start clapping, she started to cry! she used my hands to cover her ears.

it was going to be a long afternoon, i thought to myself, remembering my last wiggles concert experience.

but once the wiggles showed up, she sat up straight, moved my hands aside and STARED. she STARED throughout the whole show, mesmerized. it was tv come to life! other kids sang and danced and clapped (behind me, an overzealous filipino dad was whipping his little boy into a frenzy. "look, it's dorothy! look, it's captain feathersword! look, jeff! play your guitar, dennis, play your guitar!"), but nola simply stared.

i looked around and was amused to see other tiny tots (too tiny to dance? too tiny to want to?) had that same intense stare action going on.

it was a good show. they were high-energy but not too high-energy, they mixed old and new songs, they tossed in a few more grown-up comments to keep the parents amused. i was amazed at anthony's upper-body strength. no wonder someone carried a sign that read "anthony, my mom likes to watch you."

because we had such good seats, almost all of them ran by us at one point or another. i didn't think to bring a real camera, unfortunately.

the only thing that i thought brought the show down, and i know this is a big part of all of their stage shows, is the running around and picking up of roses and bones, and the reading of the signs (and the inevitable photo opps). i know this is a tradition, but it takes forever.

nola said hardly a word during the show, but that changed after it ended. "wiggles," she said, wiggling her hands. i bought her a purple t-shirt, and she insisted on wearing it right away. "purple! wiggles!" with her oversized purple shirt and paul's old reversible hat (wiggles live! patch on the plain denim side, green wth yellow dots on the other), she was quite a sight. when we met up with cam and paul (they went to the movies), she announced, "wiggles!" to them as if they couldn't tell.

i'm glad we went. not sure what her next concert experience will be, but i hope it's as positive overall as this one was.

July 18, 2010

just the three of us

today cam went to see "inception" with his dad.

i had planned to hit the nordstrom anniversary sale with my mom, but we decided on sunday morning instead. we could have taken the kids with us and gone today (well, i guess yesterday? saturday), but paul would have been the most miserable child ever.

(speaking of movies, paul saw "despicable me" with his grandfather the other day. i felt secretly teary because i've never been to the movies with paul.)

i did think -- foolishly -- that i'd be able to get some cleaning done, but the children had other ideas. the kids played in the backyard with nola's water table, then while nola napped, paul and i ate a snack/early lunch and read encyclopedia brown stories.

paul is hysterical about encyclopedia brown ("eb," he says). when i asked him if he knew the solution to a case, he told me he knew but wouldn't tell me. once i read the solution at the back of the book, he crowed, "i was right!" the times i i thought i knew the answer, he would tell me that he knew it, too, but he always kept mum until i told him my suspicions. then, of course, "i was thinking the same thing." and if i'm right, then "i was right! you were, too."

when cam came back, i was a little sad but more than a little relieved. it's funny -- cam and i are just so tied at the hip that i have so little experience spending time with both kids without him.

July 17, 2010

saturday morning cartoons

the kids have been watching saturday morning cartoons for almost two hours now. i feel like i should stop them, but i possess a bit of the potato in my soul as well.

small talk

nola has a tendency to repeat the last word said to her. even though i know we aren't really having "real" conversations, we can usually keep up the question and pseudo-answer thing long enough that our talks certainly have the flavor of them.

me: are you okay?
nola: okay.

sometimes she surprises us.

nola: [wailing dramatically]
cam: are you faking?
nola: [wailing even more dramatically]
nola: [pause] yes.

me: [reading book]
nola: [grabbing book] enough!

she has such a big throaty voice for such a little girl, and it sometimes seems like she gets tickled by her own speech. (she'll cover her mouth and giggle, or she'll cover her face and look down.) i love hearing her talk.

July 16, 2010

inky

i am semi-obsessed with designing a tattoo.

it's not so much that i MUST have one, i think it's more because i'm (hate to so publicly admit it) growing weary of the demands of toddler breastfeeding.

don't get me wrong -- i love that i am able to still nourish and comfort my daughter with my body, but she's 26 months old now and sometimes i long for the things i gave up in order to do this for her (and that includes the right to not be chewed by a fierce half-asleep little jaw). i don't plan to wean her -- weaning should be her idea.

while i'm waiting, i might as well draw.

July 1, 2010

tiny stylist

nola is intently combing my hair with tiny helicopter rotors. i guess they are kind of comb-shaped.

June 27, 2010

paul the human

paul: knock knock.
nola: who there?
paul: time.
me: time who?
paul: adventure time! [nola and paul fist bump]

June 20, 2010

baby joke

nola: knock, knock.
me: who is it?
nola: ice.
me: ice who?
nola: wiggles.

June 17, 2010

a toddler's lament

nola: milk.
nola: oh, milk.

June 12, 2010

just the girls

today nola, my mom and i went to the mall to have nola's bangs trimmed.

it was a disaster. the lady had cut nola's hair twice before, and nola had been less than thrilled both times, but this time was the worst. the child wailed the whole time, choking and gagging.

but at least her hair was cute afterwards. and the accompanying shopping trip was productive (two dresses for me, one skirt for nola and a romper for a friend's unborn baby). i guess it could have been far worse.

June 11, 2010

inarticulate rage

last week paul picked up nola's baby doll and deliberately dropped it to the floor.

nola immediately pointed at him and let loose a veritable volley of syllables and angry-sounding warbles. she sounded exactly like pingu.

paul, initially nonplussed, quickly recovered and pointed back at her. and responded in garbly kind.

it was a very strange moment.

tiny waking moments

my daughter is a night owl. i do not have time in my life for a weeknight night owl. dammit, where is the baby who would go to sleep by 9:30? normally i insist on keeping her in bed until she falls asleep (between 11:30-12), but since it's a friday night and i intend to stay up late, she's with me in the living room.

right now she's pointing at the tv. "gwasses," she says, talking about a john flansburgh puppet. "gwasses," she says, pointing at me.

now she's wearing paul's rainboots. "boots," she informs me. she stumbles. "whoa, whoa! shoe. shoe. shoe. shoes." she removes the boots and carries them to me. she gets upset when my feet won't fit into them, but cheers up when she puts them back on. "wook, boots."

now she's lining up her baby doll and some stuff animals on the steps. "sit," she tells them.

i know she still naps during the day (and god knows she sleeps in late in the mornings now), but how does she manage to have so much energy when all i want to do is veg?

June 6, 2010

directly indirect

paul says "carry." nola says "come."

both mean essentially the same thing, but clearly nola is working on the devious arts of manipulation. wouldn't you feel more amenable to tiny outstretched arms and a tearful request to "come"?

June 5, 2010

with sugar on top

we've been trying to get nola to say please when she wants something.

usually the request results in a pile of angry baby on the floor, but i've been hearing "pwease" with increasing frequency in the past few days. maybe (fingers crossed) this part of the terrible twos will soon be a distant memory...

June 3, 2010

wiggly party

it makes me happy that nola likes the wiggles. i'm looking forward to taking her to their concert in august. the tickets were insanely expensive for what it is, but i think she'll have a good time. (she couldn't possibly have a worse time than paul, right?)

i'm watching her shake her hips with wags the dog. earlier she was moving her arms like henry. there is nothing else in my life as babycute as this.

nola: wook!
nola: i'm dancing!

half full, half empty

now both kids are playing with trains.

they are sharing a big track, but they aren't really playing together. nola is happy waving her train and yelling "choo-choo!" paul is imagining disasters.

that pretty much sums up their life experiences to date.

June 1, 2010

tiny conductor

nola and cam are playing with trains while i try to work.

(paul went to bed early -- he wasn't feeling well.)

nola: choo-choo!
cam: choo-choo!
nola: woo!
cam: woo!

i wish i didn't have to work.

May 28, 2010

she fought the law

paul: she broke the law.
me: she broke the law?
paul: she broke newton's laws.
me: what?
paul: you can't have two things in the same place at the same time!

i'm still not sure what she did.

May 26, 2010

they look as if they were wearing tuxedos

my children ARE pingu and pinga.

February 28, 2010

two dresses

bought two dresses on sale from anthropologie.com. wonder of wonders, i might actually keep both -- that doesn't happen very often. i still have a pile of things to return to lands end.

my mother REALLY likes one of the dresses.

the other one, she doesn't so much. of course, that's the one i like better.

me: i think this dress is actually kind of hot.
nola: hot!
nola: hot?
nola: hot!
me: yes, it's hot.

yesterday she explained that she didn't think it fit very well, which sent me into agonies of self-doubt and misery. should i exchange it for a bigger size?

cam: if that means it'll be longer, then no.

rainy with a chance of tsunami

saturday was a busy (rainy) day.

playing with my cell, nola managed to call paul's dentist. sigh.

we went to a book fair at paul's school. as far as we knew, it started at 9. we planned to get there at 9 because we had afternoon plans, but... we're us, so we got there after 10. sitting in the car in front of the school, i looked out at the marquee and discovered, hey, it started at 10. i was so glad we didn't rush.

even though paul kept saying all morning with great excitement that that the book fair would be open until 2, we were out within half an hour. they didn't have any encyclopedia brown books, so he got a cam jansen one instead, along with a military picture book and two little nature books. nola picked a book with a clock with positionable hands.

after the book fair, we went home, got my mom and headed out to moreno valley for a birthday party. this party would usually be a joint birthday party for my grandmother and my uncle's mother, but my poor little grandmother didn't make it this far. but everyone ended up watching the remembrance and funeral video my cousin made, so i guess it was her party, too.

we were late because we stopped for lunch at cpk in riverside. even though the party was to be a typical filipino party (you know, with lots of food), there is almost never anything for the kids or me to eat. for myself, that's fine, i'm used to it, but i always feel a little weird when family is coaxing me to eat and i really just want to say, "well, then you should have cooked something for me." while we were there, we watched the news on a big screen tv about tsunami warnings in hawaii. (thank god they didn't amount to much!) then after lunch there was a lot of traffic on the freeway, so we were even later than expected. (kind of the story of my life.)

the party turned out to be a pretty good time. nola was charming and funny (clingy, of course), and even paul seemed to enjoy himself. poor cam was so tired after the drive because he had stayed up very late the night before, so he took a nap.

i had a work emergency, but it was cleared up fairly quickly.

towards the end, my favorite aunt insisted on taking pictures with everyone. she explained to me that she always hated picture time because she thinks of herself as ugly, but recently she realized that means she's missed so much because she's not in the pictures she has, so now she's determined to be in as many pictures as possible. for some reason, that made me tear up.

then we drove home. nola talked ALL the way home. the conversation went something like this:

nola: daddy?
cam: yes, nola?
nola: shoes.
cam: i don't have any shoes.
nola: mommy? [pronounced mahMEE!]
me: yes?
nola: shoes.
me: yes, i know you have shoes.
nola: meema? [pronounced meeMAH!]
my mother: yes?
nola: shoes!
my mother: yes, you have shoes.
nola: meema?
my mother: yes?
nola: shoes!
my mother: yes, you are wearing shoes.
nola: meema?
my mother: yes?
nola: SHOES!
my mother: [wearily] yes, shoes.

paul slept in the car, so he got to push off bedtime until later (would have preferred that he stayed asleep when we got home, but fat chance of that). nola and i went to bed by 9, then i got up at 10:30 to work. i just finished what i wanted to finish about 10 minutes ago.

i guess it's time for bed, but it's also just about time for another day. decisions...

February 24, 2010

setting up an ethnic identity

my almost 2-year-old daughter loves shoes and identifies herself as "baby."

funny how she's already a stereotypical filipina.

February 21, 2010

in-home care

cam, paul, nola and i have been sick for what feels like years.

paul has been in and out of school. cam has spent quite a few days working from home. (my mother guilted me for going to work while nola was ill.)

everyone coughs, snuffles and swallows painfully.

i had pinkeye!

these past few days have been particularly galling because cam and i seem to have gotten worse (although it's been okay today) instead of better. i'm losing my voice for the second time in two weeks, and the illness is completely different from what it was then. nose, please stop dripping.

must we run through the entire gamut of potential colds/flu before this winter is over?

February 16, 2010

pissy

nola has been in the foulest mood lately. she throws tantrums at the slightest provocation, she hits paul, she screams and cries all the time. i don't know if it's because she's sick or if THIS is what her terrible twos are going look like. i am... terrified.

February 2, 2010

foam sweet home

the children are yelling hellos at each other while climbing all over their new foam home. (no, we didn't pay that price, it showed up on kids woot for about half that, i think.) the house is super-cute, but the kids are even cuter.

January 31, 2010

no speech therapy

nola is very talkative. when paul was her age, he communicated mostly by signs, so this is new to us. (of course, now paul won't stop talking, so this means we have multiple children with mouths that. never. close.)

she calls her grandfather "beepa."

she likes to count: "one two three four five six five six five six"

our favorite sentence (a little garbled, but still understandable): "help, i'm stuck!"

she likes to laugh like the count: "ha ha ha."

she likes to sing "tinkle tinkle," much to the delight of her grandparents. she also likes to sing the theme song for "yayoo" (caillou).

wook (look), uh-oh, mulk (milk), wahr (water) and mommy/daddy/paul still pretty much make up the bulk of her conversation, but it's a lot of fun trying to deciper the rest of her warbling.

January 30, 2010

awake = noise

in the car after running some errands this evening, paul declared it was time for a "just being silent" contest.

predictably, both kids fell asleep.

January 24, 2010

tiny girl

yesterday we went to toys'r'us to look at bikes for paul.

a woman smiled at nola. i smiled back and didn't think anything of it.

later while pulling nola around on a tricycle, the same woman stopped by us again.

her: i have to ask -- how old is she?
me: she's almost two.
her: she is SO cute!
me: thank you.
her: she doesn't look big enough to walk!
me: yeah, her clothes are just one-year.
her: SO cute!!

she walked off and i dragged nola on the tricycle in search of cam. when i found him, i started laughing.

me: i feel like the mother of a primordial!

good thing i didn't tell her that nola wears 6-9 month shoes.

January 23, 2010

houdini!

i have been informed that nola now knows how to unbuckle the top buckle on her graco snugride. not so good when she does it while the car is in motion... on the freeway. paul, sitting next to her, apparently freaked out and lost his shit when she did it.

time to dust off paul's old britax marathon. it was newly manufactured when we bought it, so it's still got a couple of good years left in it.

January 7, 2010

of little significance

while going through the mail last night, i discovered a baby announcement.

me: sweetie, you have a new cousin.
paul: nola has a new cousin?
me: you do, too.
paul: you said nola.
me: no, i said sweetie... i should have said sweeties!
paul: [no longer interested]

nola wandered over to me. i held up the baby picture and she took it. she walked around, waving it, occasionally stopping to study it. then, with the same degree of nonchalance, she dropped it into the trash.

my children. so very much the center of the universe.

January 3, 2010

coherent rage

nola knocked paul's toy helicopter off his lego box and it fell to pieces (it IS made of probuilder mega bloks, after all).

paul: NOLA!
paul: i am SO mad about this!

December 31, 2009

field trip day

skipped out on work a bit early today to accompany the family to the discovery science center in santa ana. it was a good break, even if i was checking my blackberry every few minutes. (cam's office has been closed all week, so the fam has been on museum mode for the past several days.) paul likes it there a lot, and i think nola enjoyed herself, even though the place isn"t really structured for toddlers. my mom was with us, and she was kind of amazed that such a kid-centric environment existed. right. my childhood was clearly all porn, hookers and blow.

they went to the aquarium of the pacific a few days before. i suspect i would have liked that better, but this was fun. i'm just glad i was able to accompany them on at least one trip.

December 29, 2009

call this a day off?

today:

i sobbed.
cam yelled.
paul whined.
and nola ate mud.

but it wasn't all bad.

December 28, 2009

not quite meat

today nola and i nibbled on bacos. doesn't that sound strange?

December 27, 2009

musicality

a few weeks ago, nola got really excited about a commercial for little tikes pop star instruments (or whatever it is they're called). she stood up, pointed and kept saying, "wook! wook!" since she doesn't normally react to that sort of thing, i took that to mean that she might appreciate such things for christmas.

cam picked up the keyboard for her. i wrapped it without really paying too much attention.

today i realized it was playing "love shack." in confusion, i pulled out the box (which had already been flattened in preparation for next week's trash/recycling pick-up). then i went to the kitchen to point out to cam that this toy was supposed to play the songs that *we* grew up with. huh? "wide open spaces" (dixie chicks), "hot hot hot" (buster poindexter), "all star" (smashmouth), "abc" (jackson 5) and "love shack"? i guess i grew up alongside these songs (well, "abc" predates me a bit), but i don't consider them to be old friends or anything like that. odd, very odd.

December 19, 2009

mistaken identity resolved

be still my heart. after months of being greeted with cries of "daddy," nola is finally consistently calling me mommy. eee!

December 13, 2009

worst week ever?

nola went to the backup daycare on tuesday because of my mother needing to go in for a biopsy. (the next day she stayed with cam's dad and sister because my mother was still too sore.)

let me just say that it was a long day for everyone. little "miss nola" is known for being needy and always wanting to be "in arms." she also is known for not eating a damned thing without me.

daycare worker: does she talk at home?
me: a little, yes.
daycare worker: here, all she says is no!

now she is sick, but i don't know where it came from. since she was in daycare on tuesday, but didn't get sick until friday, i'm a little perplexed and a little unwilling to blame them. whatever the source, it's pretty nasty. my poor miserable congested runny-nosed feverish sweetie. dammit, didn't we just get the h1n1 (which paul calls h1x1) out of our household?

December 12, 2009

tickly feet

nola found some little brushes in paul's art chest.

somehow she made her way over to cam on the couch with brushes in hand. he picked her up and tickled her feet with the brushes. i didn't hear her laugh or anything, but when he released her, she walked over to the little couch, sat down and started tickling her own feet.

good gravy. that's cute.

December 7, 2009

with my little eye

paul: i spy with my little eye...
paul: something that starts with o.
paul: it's something that nola likes.
me: um...
paul: do you know what it is?
me: starts with an o?
paul: yes.
me: no, i don't.
paul: nola likes it...
me: no, i'm sorry, i still don't know.
paul: obama!

December 6, 2009

cookie monsters

my children like their oatmeal with chocolate chips. why do we bother making oatmeal? let's just make a huge batch of chocolate-chip oatmeal cookies and call it breakfast.

December 5, 2009

screamy

this morning my mom, nola and i went shopping. we got a great deal on three jackets (two identical leather jackets in different sizes for my mother and myself... cringe). on the way home, nola suddenly decided she hated life in the car seat and screamed the entire way, stopping momentarily only to vomit all over herself.

my mother: [sadly] nola knows how to take the thrill out of spending $300.

December 3, 2009

navy fleece

i bought matching pajamas for the whole family. paul and nola are so very adorable in theirs. as for cam and myself, i cannot express how hilarious it is that we two now have clothes from gymboree.

November 26, 2009

flu'd

the children are very sick, so we stayed home today.

cam's dad delivered turkey to our doorstep for dinner (to make up for our lack of thanksgiving lunch).

the flu actually hit me last friday (by the way, the bowling birthday party paul attended last friday? perfection. i see more bowling in paul's future, but hopefully not in mine), so i'm pretty much well-ish now. still a little sniffly, a little worn around the edges, a little cloudy, but not too bad all things considered. cam, remarkably, may actually get through this unhealthy season unscathed.

nola is feverish and clingy. she threw up on me twice last night, and today she has scarcely eaten. i have been carrying her for most of the day.

paul complains of cold and stomach pains. he whines and squeals in misery.

neither one slept well last night. naps today have been brief.

it's going to be a long day for my poor babies.

November 22, 2009

well, duh

paul: [irritated] STOP IT, NOLA!
me: what's going on?
paul: she's rubbing me with an eraser!
me: maybe she's trying to erase you.
paul: [highly annoyed] NOT FUNNY!

November 21, 2009

first blood

nola cut paul with a pair of scissors. oy vey.

i was trying to attend to a screaming bloody-thumbed paul -- "oh MY! oh MY! it HURTS!" -- but my mom kept getting in the way. i finally had to stop her.

me: would you PLEASE keep an eye on nola?

eventually she left the room to pick up nola... and then came back to crowd us at the sink. sigh.

we stopped the bleeding and put a bandage on his thumb. then he wanted a frozen lemonade to help stop the bleeding ("from the inside out?" i asked). then he wanted me to hold his thumb with one hand and feed him orange veggie straws with the other.

cam was out buying sandwiches when it happened. by the time he came home, all was well. of course, when paul told cam about it, he was very dramatic, but that luckily did not last that long.

point to nola, i guess.

November 19, 2009

evening play

i am watching nola walk around the coffee table. it's like a baby obstacle course -- she has to slide past a stool, squeeze by the playpen, climb over a box, and sidestep around various toys on the ground. she seems to be enjoying herself. half an hour ago she was screaming bloody murder at the idea of going to bed, so i'm just happy she's not crying.

November 15, 2009

where they are

nola likes to pretend to sleep -- she will lie down and mock-snore, but her eyes stay open. she likes to say "look" (wook), "hat," "babies" and "shoes" and loves to wear her little boots (target-brand faux uggs). nola won't drink milk other than breastmilk and drinks more water than i do. at the ripe old age of 18 months, she is finally wearing 9-12 month clothing.

paul is a really good speller and is also very good at math. he finally had his first birthday party with friends. paul loves sweets, but is partial to vegetable soup and english muffins. he likes pizza crust, but can do without pizza. his arms are too long for size 4 lands end long-sleeved polos, but he can still wear that size in the short-sleeved ones.

both children snore. they love to be swung around by their arms. paul will drop food on the floor and nola will pick it up and eat it. in a fight, i think nola would win because she uses her claws. i haven't yet decided which one is funnier, though.

prioritizing sunday

ended up folding laundry and starting a new load. then i went to paul's room to clearing up a little without his interference. (the other day, my mom said that kids don't have respect for their stuff when "you keep buying and buying." i was a little stung. look, lady, it's not just us, he has other family, and YOU would totally buy him more stuff if you knew more about his interests!) nola woke up while i was in paul's room, so i brought her in there to fiddle around while i worked in there. she was fine puttering around by herself for the most part, but then she became really clingy and i had to carry her. then i unloaded the dishwasher.

cam's awake now, so i guess i can "start" my day.

November 14, 2009

tiny singer, part two

how could i have forgotten the fact that we named our daughter "no la," the girl who can't sing?

November 11, 2009

tiny singer

nola's singing is so cute! she approximates a tune and the words and comes out sounding slightly deranged and drunk. now that i've written it out, it doesn't sound so cute, but trust me, it's cute.

October 23, 2009

tricky

on october 30, my firm is doing some kind of halloween thing where you can bring in your kids to go to trick-or-treating on each floor in the late afternoon.

when it was announced, i totally wanted to bring nola and paul. but paul has a school event that afternoon, so i dropped the idea. but then it occurred to me i could bring nola to the back-up daycare and then pick her up by 3 so we could participate.

i mentioned it at home.

me: so i was thinking nola could go to the daycare...
my mom: she would have SUCH a rough day.
my mom: she's so clingy she won't even let me leave the room...
me: oh.
me: okay, i won't bring her.
my mom: [smugly walking away]

the more i thought about, the more irritated i got. nola would be fine. she likes kids. and it would only be for one day. i bravely decided to make a reservation for the daycare -- only to discover that nola's medical papers were out of date. without updated paperwork, she can't go.

but cam talked to kaiser and they said we could drop the paperwork off and the doctor would complete it with a 24-48-hour turnaround, so that's what we're going to do. cool.

put nola in her halloween costume (a little purple girly fairy thing i bought on clearance from gymboree last year) and it fit and was adorable. huzzah. wasn't sure about the fit because it's 12-18 months, but gymboree stuff tends to be long and narrow, so it worked -- a little bunchy, but nothing bad. i just need tights and a long-sleeved onesie and she's good to go for real trick-or-treating next saturday, too.

i'm looking forward to bringing nola to work. i hope she enjoys it.

October 18, 2009

little rory calhoun

as of yesterday, nola is officially a biped.

i was beginning to wonder if she was ever going to break her crawling addiction. it's a little bit hilarious. the child has been able to walk for months, but she seemingly chose to crawl up until a few weeks prior to her 18th month... um, birthday (anniversary?). wonder what tipped the scales for her? whatever it was, i must say that i love her little chunky zombie walk!

October 10, 2009

likes and dislikes

nola likes to clap and say, "yay." she also likes to point at paul (or pictures of him) and say, "pawwwwllll." she laughs at things she considers funny, and she likes to futz with the water cooler. she also likes to yell.

i like to sleep.

she does not like me to sleep.

October 4, 2009

appropriate reaction (more or less)

whenever nola drops something or pushes something off the couch/table/counter/whatever, she looks us in the eye and says, "uh oh." my god, it's so cute. her vocabulary is a little limited at the moment, but her timing is spot on.

little drummer girls

i -- with nola's assistance for a little bit -- played rock band myself today (drums). good lord. nola is awesome, but i suck.

October 2, 2009

moptops

cam recently bought the beatles: rock band (and an xbox 360). he plays it with the children: cam on drums, paul on guitar, nola on cam's lap with microphone. they are so painfully cute.

September 26, 2009

the power of an unintentional bowl cut

last weekend i caved to pressure (and nagging) and i cut nola's hair. the back was fine, but the front was a little crooked because she moved. yeah, well... i'm not exactly a professional.

the short hair is good because she no longer has hair in her face and mouth, but her head now suddenly seems exceedingly round. her face is, as cam pointed out, a series of circles. round eyes, round face, round mouth.

she also seems to have grown tremendously. she's walking more, warbling more, playing more. she seems taller. she seems braver. she seems more aware of what people are saying to her. how much infancy was tied to her hair? she's like the anti-samson.

September 25, 2009

girly fun

nola was half-asleep on my lap while cam and i watched "numb3rs." the villain of the week shot at david and colby, who returned fire. pop pop poppoppop.

me: that snapped her eyes open.
nola: [laughter]
cam: you like gunfire?

September 13, 2009

bottleless

finally put all the baby bottles into the recycling bin. it was largely symbolic because nola gave up on bottles about seven months ago, but it was still a little wrenching.

September 12, 2009

nemo and pooh

a bored nola, left to her own devices, is trying to put on a swim diaper.

September 6, 2009

out and about and out again

yesterday was a tremendously eventful day. busy busy busy. i can't have too many days like that or i'd be even more of a wreck than i am now.

in the morning, we went to the farmer's market with my mom to buy flowers to take to the cemetery. nola and i went with my mother to the flower stall while cam and paul bought fruit. it was hot and crowded and cam and i both got very stressed. i was glad to leave. (amusingly enough, we ran into our next-door neighbors. the husband commented on cam's rather hirsute appearance, saying he looked a bit like keanu reeves. i smirked internally. personally i think cam looks more like bo brady (at least in the 80s-90s... dunno if he still looks like that), but i see where my neighbor was going with the comparison.)

then we went to the cemetery. it's important to note that my mom doesn't like to drive if she can avoid it -- and as a non-driver, i understand -- so she was squished in the backseat between paul's high-backed booster and nola's rearfacing infant seat. (we had to take her pt cruiser because our a3 isn't big enough for three in the backseat AT ALL.) she never wants to sit up front if cam's driving, so she insists on sitting in the back even though it would be less of a squeeze for me back there. nola fell asleep on the way and continued to snooze upon arrival, so cam stayed in the car with her. paul had picked out a bouquet of flowers "to plant," he declared (note that we had already bought the flowers and they were waiting in the car by this time, so it was just one more thing to be stressed out about -- hurry up and let's go!), so he came with us to the gravesite. cam let him run across the street unattended -- it was a cemetery, after all -- and i questioned cam, but ultimately it didn't matter because no one was coming. part way through the flower arranging, paul got bored, so i escorted him back to the car. he then decided he wanted to come back to us, so he "helped" us out by rearranging flowers and cutting some very short. i then refused to play because 1) i was still dealing with flowers and 2) we were in a cemetery for chrissakes, so i brought my sulky little boy back to the car. my mother got very stressed.

on the way to the cemetery, cam and i had joked about test-driving a bigger car (this topic had actually come up about a week prior) afterwards. well, after we left the cemetery, that's exactly what we did. paul was reluctant, so cam convinced him of the fun of it. then cam got cold feet, but paul really wanted to go. har. so cam test-drove his big car of choice at the moment, a ford flex (which he partially likes because it looks like a giant mini cooper). we were initially going to all go on the drive, but then i thought maybe nola, my mom and i would stay behind. but then paul wanted cam to sit with him, so i decided to tag along to give paul a traveling companion (and to let cam focus on the car). oh, how nola wailed when i handed her to my mother...

the drive was nice. cam seemed impressed and paul LOVED it. we sat in the third row and paul was the happiest little test-driver in the world. he wouldn't stop talking -- we were, he said, in a big airplane with cupholders and storage for toys. if we pushed certain spots on the car, things would happen. i asked him, "can we do anything to help the people up front?" he told me to push a spot on the window while he did the same on his side.

me: what was that for?
him: it made cupholders pop out in the front.
me: oh, how nice.

after the test-drive, we drove to a local mall for lunch. i was thinking food court, but cam convinced paul to let us go to cpk because i had been wanting to go there (grilled vegetable salad, yum). turned out cam needed to bribe paul with a ride in a $7 (!) rental double stroller shaped like a fire truck. lunch was beyond stressful. nola nibbled crayons, paul pouted. nola screamed, paul climbed around on the bench seat. nola rubbed food on my shorts. a table of pretty young girls in their 20s looked over at us while i shoveled food in my mouth while trying to keep nola from crawling on the table.

i've had finer moments.

after lunch, we walked about the mall with our expensive rental stroller. the kids were happy (even nola, the hater of strollers), but i was embarrassed to be walking a mall with that monstrosity. i can struggle with a car cart in a grocery store, but a mall? ugh. i then took my mom into nordstrom, abandoning cam with the kids, and we hit the shoes, then the petite section. i ended up buying two dresses, a wrap and a sheath with elbow-length sleeves. now that i'm not pumping anymore, i love my dresses. i wasn't sold on one of them (the sheath), but i wanted to show cam before just saying no to it completely. besides, my mom would have been disgruntled if i didn't get that one because that was the one she liked better. (cam ended up liking that one better, too, but he liked the wrap as well.) my mom didn't like anything she tried on, so she left with the same amount of money she brought in.

after the mall we finally went home. i fed nola and we took a brief nap while cam filled up an inflatable pool in the backyard. when nola awoke, we got in the pool. it was freezing, so we didn't stay in too long. then we took quick showers and went to whole foods for groceries and dinner.

the kids got to bed really late. cam and i intended to stay up and have some wine, but we were completely bushed and fell asleep. sleep of the just, i say.

August 23, 2009

new storage

nola has developed a strange, strange new habit. instead of just putting things in her mouth, she is now putting things in her EARS. the hell?

the other day i saw her grab a kleenex, tear it into little bits, wet one of said bits in her mouth, and then shove the wet bit into her ear. if i had known her intention, i would have intercepted the tissue en route to her ear, but as it was, i was laughing too hard to be moving very fast.

August 15, 2009

character assassination

me: nola, you're dangerous!
paul: and unreliable!

tooth and nail

i am SO tired of struggling with the children over the trimming of fingernails and toenails. can't i just have them declawed?

August 14, 2009

jack

last night nola watched part of "jack's big music show" while paul and i played a game vaguely resembling soccer in the living room.

after a few minutes of kicking the ball (a gift with purchase -- an inflatable globe we received with our subscription to national geographic kids magazine) around the room, we looked over at nola. she was in exactly the same position i left her. her eyes were glued to the screen.

we flopped down on the couch and just stared at her.

me: she hasn't moved!
paul: [tickling her foot] look, her toes are moving!
me: but she's still watching...

it was cute, but kind of creepy. i've never seen her zone out quite like that.

July 29, 2009

a round of applause

sometimes nola will clap while nursing -- leaving me to think, "was that a particularly tasty gulp of milk?"

July 27, 2009

bean counter

yesterday cam managed to keep nola occupied with a pile of coins and a bank shaped like a dog. she would select a coin from the pile and then carefully push it into the slot on the dog's back (the dog used to bark when you put in money -- cam expressed regret that it was broken, but i had no such sadness). this kept her busy and interested for an amazingly long amount of time. when she appeared to tire of it, i put the coins in the slot and she'd push them in. she liked that, too. do we perhaps have a little accountant on our hands?

nails

why do my children make such a huge fuss over having their fingernails clipped? with all the complaining and squeaking, it's hard to believe that one day they might actually pay for a mani/pedi (paul, too!).

(of course, i've never paid for one, but that's because having my nails done puts me to sleep. instantly. ask my mom.)

July 18, 2009

hope they weren't listening

cam: did you really say "douchebag" in front of the kids?

July 17, 2009

pins and needles and wineglasses

nola is asleep on my arm. soon I will sneak out of bed to hit the bottle.

July 4, 2009

a saturday in july

today felt like a sunday because we had friday off (which still strikes me as odd, although i'm not sure why).

my mom's youngest brother has been here since thursday. he just got back from the philippines, and because he's between jobs, my mom and i decided to pay him to paint a fence. so while he worked on that, we worked on the railings in the front -- sanding and scraping in preparation to repaint.

but before we could get started, there was a lot to do. i made pancakes for breakfast (paul requested shaped pancakes, so i made him an airplane and a rocket (cooked in cookie cutters in the pan). it was so much effort, i decided against making others like that and ended up just making big pancakes and cutting them with cookie cutters. after breakfast, paul wanted to go early to cam's parents' house (where we were going for lunch), but had to wait an hour while they got ready... so cam had to amuse him while i started in on the railings (nola hung out with my mom). i worked alone until cam returned from dropping paul off, then we worked together for a bit longer than we should have. cam had to call his parents to tell them to eat without us. by the time we got over there, everyone had already eaten, but paul sat with us and ate a shocking amount of corn.

after lunch, paul and cam's sister made lemonade and set up a stand in the backyard, where they sold said lemonade for a penny a cup. nola played in the sprinkler and got soaking wet. i had to forcibly remove bits of dried grass from her mouth. that child will eat anything. around 3ish, i tried to feed nola so she'd take a nap, but she was uncooperative. cam and i ended up leaving paul there while we took nola home to sleep.

we returned to cam's parents' house around 7ish. we ate dinner and went outside to watch the fireworks. it was much more toned down than in previous years. the whole day was much more toned down -- we used to dislike this holiday because of the block parties and the insane fireworks. but today was quiet and mild. paul still thought the fireworks were too loud, but it wasn't nearly as bad as before. nola was fine with the loud sounds, but she started melting down because she was up past her bedtime.

when we got home, the kids went to bed fairly quickly and easily, so now here we are, sitting in front of laptops and tv with wine and coffee. it's a little noisy outside, but nothing too bad. happy 4th of july.

July 1, 2009

sibling rivalry

the kids, oh how they fight. nola usually wins with a swipe and a scream. paul falls back, pouting and whining. it's a little disturbing to realize that it can only get worse from here, but i can find comfort in the fact that it will not last. at least it won't if i can help it.

my brother and i fought like crazy when we were growing up. we argued over anything, everything. (my mother blamed me for the decline of that relationship.) we were legendary amongst the family for our inability to get along. it was so bad that at my own brother's FUNERAL my aunt asked me why i was sad. "you hated each other." never mind that we had pretty much eased up on the fighting for years by the time he died. never mind that he was MY brother and i was HIS sister and that DEATH had taken away a person i had known my entire life. he was GONE. is GONE. FOREVER.

pardon the caps. the rank stupidity of that comment never fails to rankle.

i like to think that my brother and i could have had a good adult relationship. it hurts that there isn't one. i think about people estranged from their siblings and i wonder, "how could they have let that happen? this is the only person who knows exactly what you went through. there is a lifetime, a wealth of shared experience wasted because of past strife." (not that i always think in such language.) nola and paul will one day be friends -- or just not enemies. that's all i ask.

June 28, 2009

not a typical saturday night

cam and i had a date night (5:30-8:30?) while his parents and sister watched the kids. we went to an italian restaurant in brentwood -- nothing fancy, just a little neighborhood kind of place. one of our favorites. after dinner, we sat outside and laughed at ridiculous high school experiences with all the good cheer engendered by a bottle of wine and a happy relationship. we sang all the way home.

then we went to pick up the kids. newsflash: nola took THREE steps to me! so exciting. i'm still a little astonished i didn't cry. apparently she stood up a few times while we were gone, but there was no walking until we arrived.

it was pretty late by the time we got home, so we put the kids straight to bed. i wanted to stay up with cam, but nola was fussy so i spent more time with her than with him. around a quarter to one, he woke me but then decided i should go back to sleep. since i was asleep, i don't think i had anything intelligent to contribute.

and here i am now, awake with a crippling stomachache. am not quite certain what could have caused it -- dirty vegetables? maybe the dairy i sneaked in my dessert? (insert shamefaced emoticon here.) whatever it was, man! not exactly the best ending to a really great night.

June 27, 2009

musical taste must not be genetic

nola just crawled over to the tv remote, changed the channel to a documentary on the rolling stones and gave it three thumbs up. what?

June 26, 2009

walk the walk

did i mention that nola is now standing on her own? it is sooo cute. paul likes to have standing contests with her -- when she sits down on her diapered behind, paul cheers. "i win!" (it's crucial to him that he wins, and it's not important to her if she loses, so... there you have it.) i both can't wait for and fear the advent of walking. it will be a new era.

but even without walking, it's not like she's not mobile. just the other day she scooted through an open baby gate and shoved it closed -- with me on the other side. i looked at cam. "your mom says she does that to her all the time," he remarked.

she's almost 14 months now. paul started walking at 15. when will her turn come?

June 23, 2009

feline

"nola looks like a cat," said cam. in front of our house, an orange cat peered at us. "that cat looks like nola," he added.

that cat is now referred to as "nola-cat."

there's something about nola's eyes that make her a little cat-like. runs in the family, i suppose. i have this vague memory of cam being called "toonces" in high school, but maybe i made that up.

so, in honor of this realization, i have renamed her category "chibi" after the little kitten adopted by megumi and ryo in shenmue. (yes, i do recall it was multiple-choice, but we picked chibi way back when.) i've even started calling her chibi. she responds to that more than she ever did to "baby t-rex."

June 6, 2009

wub club

so far it seems there are two things that the children will watch together that doesn't seem to be inappropriate for either. (yes, my one-year-old watches tv. do you have a problem with that?) one would be the they might be giants dvds ("here come the 1-2-3s" and "here come the a-b-cs"). the other, amusingly enough, is wow wow wubbzy.

(the kids will watch the wiggles together, but it's pretty young stuff so i'm surprised paul tolerates it. same with blue's clues. nola apparently likes family guy and conan o'brien, but paul doesn't watch either one. paul's shows aren't really big hits with nola. she's not that keen on dinosaurs yet.)

so we are watching wubbzy right now. i think nola likes it because of the songs and the colors. paul likes it because it's funny and "old." (i don't know what that means.) i like it because it's surprisingly uncloying. it could be worse, right?

June 2, 2009

security measures

last night i watched nola unlock the iphone at least three times. i could not stop laughing.

May 29, 2009

so-called day off

there's a partner at work with severe boundary issues. since he works all hours, we should work all hours. i told him i was off today, and he emailed me twice to call him. um, no?

so i called his assistant instead.

(had nola's follow-up appointment today -- four shots and bloodwork, plus a re-weigh. she weighed exactly the same as she did two weeks ago, so the doctor is not as concerned. my poor tiny pincushion of a baby.)

May 22, 2009

littlest girl

since nola's doctor's appointment last week, i've been talking to people a little bit about nola's size.

i don't care how big nola is, where on the charts she falls. all i care about is that she is happy and healthy. as long as she doesn't have the dreaded "failure to thrive" label slapped on her, i'm perfectly content. i can see why the doctor is concerned (her weight did take a dive on the charts), but i also live with the child and see that ever since she learned to crawl, she has been racing around at three hundred miles an hour.

so far i've found myself thinking about three different opinions.

one: "at least you won't have to buy new clothes very often -- she'll fit in the same ones for a really long time!" very prosaic, very practical. i liked that.

two: "guys like short girls. and short girls can wear the cutest shoes -- the best ones tend to have three-inch heels, and tall girls can't always wear those." only a tall girl would tell me such nonsense. rock those heels, tall girls. don't be ashamed of your height. as for guys liking short girls, why should i care about that? what if my short girl doesn't like guys?

three: (said with some heat) "those charts are for average american kids, right? they don't take into account kids who are three-quarters' asian!" this bothered me a little bit. what is the average american kid? am i to assume that the people behind these charts only measured white kids? (if so, why is kaiser using a chart of whiteness to measure children in a not-so-white area?) and here's a thought: should i move to a land of three-quarter asianness so that my children will appear tall? this is where we live. it's a melting pot. southern california is a place of all races, all sizes. to me, this is "average america" and we are what we are. my children will go to school with and be friends with kids of all colors, and they may be bigger or smaller than them. whatever. do i want nola saying, "i don't fall where i should on that chart because the chart-makers didn't measure people LIKE ME"? why make excuses?

when i bring up nola's size, it's partially because i think it's kind of hilarious. yes, my daughter is still solidly in 6-9 month clothing at almost 13 months. yes, i can still wear her without pain in the baby bjorn (i don't think i lasted even a month with that thing with paul). she's a wee thing and absolutely adorable. i'm not looking for comfort. if something is seriously wrong, then please, i might like some comfort then. but now? i don't need someone patting my hand and uttering soothing shit because she's little.

May 18, 2009

variations on a theme, or swine flu?

am home with nola today because she is a sad and sick little girl. cam came home midday (with lunch) because he is sick, too. all i need is a call from the paul's school nurse to make my day complete.

May 16, 2009

doctorly concern

the kids saw their pediatrician friday afternoon. paul is doing well, but the ped was concerned about nola's weight -- nola has plummeted since january. she has gained weight, but very little. the ped hoping that her recent illness (she's only been sick since yesterday) and poor appetite account for the weight issue, so we have to go back in two weeks. because she was clearly sick and unhappy, her immunizations were postponed until that follow-up appointment. poor baby. (lucky paul, though -- he doesn't have any more shots until he's 11!)

May 11, 2009

day of mom

i had a very nice mother's day. it took a while to get moving, but that's typical for us.

paul made me the awesomest poster. i love it. i need to hang it up at work.

we got takeout from veggie grill and noah's bagels, then went to a park in rpv for a picnic and playtime. sitting happily on the grass, nola made plenty of people smile as they walked by. after we ate, we explored the park for few minutes, then paul and cam went to play baseball. nola and i went for a walk and i took many pictures of her. at one point i let her crawl around on the grass. while looking at the camera, i was alarmed to discover that i had snapped a picture of her eating weeds. she screamed with delight and fun as i tried to fish greenery out of her mouth.

on our way to cam's parents' house afterwards, we drove by the trump golf course. who knew it was so close?

it was a good day. we need more of those.

May 4, 2009

chocolate cake with pink frosting

nola's birthday party was yesterday.

she wore a pink tutu and ate pink-frosted chocolate cake with her bare hands.

if that isn't a recipe for cute, i don't know what is.

May 2, 2009

and many more

happy birthday to you
happy birthday to you
happy birthday dear nola
happy birthday to you

April 28, 2009

hokey pokey

this morning i got up at the usual time, took care of the usual chores (lunches, unloading dishwasher, refilling coffeemaker) and then returned to the bedroom to feed nola.

when i got back to the bedroom, i just stopped and burst into hysterical silent laughter. all three of them (cam, nola and paul (our 2 am visitor)) were asleep with one leg sticking out from the covers. (nola has recently become crazed about not sleeping with both legs under covers. she can be totally asleep, but she'll start wiggling and kicking as soon as i pull the blanket up.) i couldn't help it -- i had my phone on me (i don't really know why), so i took pictures of them. i don't really like pictures of sleeping people (i blame that on my mom), but these pictures just crack me up.

April 20, 2009

grind

as happy as i am that the baby has some lovely teeth that she can now use to eat all kinds of new and yummy things, i wish she would STOP GRINDING THEM. the sound is so painfully cringe-inducing. what a horrible noise.

April 10, 2009

more precious than gold

the milk situation with nola has become very stressful.

pumping for nola has never been as productive as pumping for paul, but i also haven't worked as hard. i guess i felt i didn't need to because her demand for milk while i'm away from her has never been very great. so this time around, i haven't kept up with the mother's milk pills or the lactation tea (i couldn't find the brand i used to buy, so i tried something else that made me feel like vomiting -- so i cried foul and went without). i figured that as long as i could keep up with her daily needs and not have to regularly rely on stash, i'd be fine.

it was working until about 2-3 months ago. my supply suddenly went to shit. i think i was sick. my already low output went shockingly low. pumping was horrible while i had nola at the backup daycare. i pumped and dumped in dc -- good results one day, awful the next. then i got sicker and it dropped even more. for a while i was having to hit up the stash each and every day to fill nola's daily bottles.

but then i started to get better and production went up to about 50-60% of normal (normal being about 50% of what i used to get with paul in the same amount of time). my mom startled me by having me reduce nola's daily milk supply to a mere nine oz a day (three bottles of three) from 12 (three of four). she was drinking the milk from her bottles happily, but then she'd discard them with an oz or so left. so my mom decided that to cut down on waste, we might as cut down on what i was leaving her. i could keep up with that, yes.

it's a far cry from paul. at his peak, he was drinking 22+ oz a day while i was at work.

earlier this week my mother informed that nola had apparently weaned herself from the bottle. it's now the end of the week and the bottles i put in the fridge back then are still there. it'll be time to toss them soon. she absolutely refuses bottles. she absolutely refuses milk while i'm away.

this weekend i'm planning on picking up some simple straw cups and we'll try the milk in that. my stash is still going strong (i've added to it this week, obviously), so i'm hoping she'll drink it all over the next few months. i'm starting to wonder how much longer i should pump, and if i should try to push the bottle a little longer. since i planned to wean her from bottles at a year, it hardly seems worth it to encourage bottle use for less than a month.

she nurses happily throughout the night, but daytime nursing isn't always easy. there's too much going on and nola is a very active child. we can hide in a room with the windows closed and lights off, but unless she's really sleepy, her tolerance for that isn't very good. she screams, she twists, she bites (three and a half teeth). this has been going on for a while now.

i had always assumed i'd get to nurse for (at least) 18 months with nola the way i did with paul, but i'm not so sure anymore. is this just a phase? or is this really the beginning of the end?

March 30, 2009

cud

am trying to figure out how to break nola of the habit of reaching into her mouth while she's chewing and pulling out said chewed food to examine it. so messy!

March 21, 2009

banded

about two or so weeks ago, i spent $2.99 on a pack of elastic bands for nola's hair. she has long hair that is always in her face -- i know i could cut it, but i don't want bangs for her right now.

at the time, i laughed because $2.99 bought me 600 elastic bands. 600. i figured that would last us FOREVER.

much to my surprise, these bands are beyond disposable. they stretch out so much that they often can't be used more than once. some of them have snapped. (not on her head, though.) what originally seemed like an amazing bargain is now a bit less than that. a lifetime supply suddenly reduced to less than two years? they are great little elastic bands, perfect on nola's baby soft hair, yes, but... i think what i really need are those little tiny orthodontic rubber bands i used to get for my braces. i wonder how much 600 of those would cost?

March 5, 2009

multitasking and the art of daycare

i've been a little out of commission posting-wise this week because i've been bringing nola to backup daycare at work. not that i usually post at work or anything, but because i'm so damned tired when i get home. i get to work around 6:30-6:45, feed and change her, then walk to the daycare around 7:25. i get back to the office about 20 minutes later. then at 12:30 i go feed her, returning about an hour later. at 3:20, i pick her up and bring her back to the office. i usually continue to work (while carrying her or feeding her) until cam shows up around 4:30ish.

now i know what it's like to leave the office in the middle of the day! it's amazing to see... daylight! but it also sucks because i'm used to working continuously, so i feel like i got very little done this week.

nola has had a pretty good time at daycare this week. each day was better than the day before. the first day she wouldn't sleep unless someone was carrying her. by thursday she had two long naps in their little nest (this wading-pool-sized thing that looks like a dog bed -- i believe they use this for babies who don't normally sleep in cribs). she cried each time i left, but the crying times got shorter and shorter. i fear that when i bring her back on monday she'll have to start all over again. the girls there are really sweet and they seem to really like nola (she can't possibly be the most challenging thing they've ever dealt with). i am so glad my firm offers this place as a benefit.

March 1, 2009

family party surprises

went to my aunt's house for my grandmother's birthday party yesterday.

the drives went very well. with the help of david archuleta, there was minimal crying on nola's part. poor cam forgot his headphones, though, so there may have been slightly more crying on his end.

the party itself was fun. it was nice to see my aunts, uncles and cousins. not much for us to eat, but that's pretty much how things have gone for me since i stopped eating meat over a decade ago.

one of my cousins has a son two years older than paul, and they played together pretty well for two boys with very little in common. my poor boy can be very sensitive sometimes. as cam puts it, paul is "pretty good -- he's social, but playmates can be overwhelming." it was a little alarming to see how my cousin's boy appears to have an aversion to going to the bathroom. (we thought paul's own distaste would go away soon -- but if the other boy is still going strong two years later... ugh.) my cousin's boy also had some temper/fighting/behavior issues that i didn"t really see -- cam took him in hand, though. cam is a really good dad.

paul was terrified of a little dog. i don't think he's always been afraid of dogs, so i was a little surprised by the tears.

everyone loved nola, but nola wanted nothing to do with everyone. she has been considerably more social in the past, so again, i was a little surprised by the tears.

it was a pretty good day (surprisingly), but i'm in no hurry to do that sort of socializing thing again anytime soon (unsurprisingly).

February 27, 2009

musical tastes

nola clearly spends too much time with my mother.

last weekend nola cried so hard in the car she threw up all over herself. yesterday my mother drove her around without incident.

the secret to my mother's success? a david archuleta cd, apparently.

today i rode in the car with my mother and nola. nola was fussy until the cd started then she "sang" along and babbled in the silences between songs. she was so content, she passed out.

tomorrow we're going to moreno valley for my grandmother's birthday. it's a long drive, so we've armed ourselves with david archuleta's voice on my ipod -- a fact i fear will make the drive even longer. (cam plans to arm himself with headphones.) this evening nola crawled over to my laptop and somehow got his songs a-playing. when she drowsed off, i changed the music over to jason mraz -- and she woke up, crying!

i don't have anything against david archuleta, but i don't have anything for him, either. alas. i knew i should have bought a david cook cd way back when.

February 20, 2009

nola in a jar

for my birthday, a friend gave me a marvelous aromatherapy candle. it's marked "sensual," but it smells EXACTLY like nola's baby lotion. instead of taking it home, i left it on my desk. sometimes i open it up (thank goodness it has a lid because i don't want it getting dusty) and sniff it for just a whiff of a warm post-bath baby. it makes me a little sad, but it's nice to have that touch of sweetness in the office.

February 14, 2009

calling names

i know she isn't really talking to/about me, but i do admit to getting a little schmoopy when nola says, "mamamama."

February 8, 2009

tiny arms of steel

nola is in the crib. she is pulling herself up, looking around, and then soundly, roundly, bland-facedly letting go and plopping her big diaper-covered bottom down onto the crib mattress. she is doing this over and over and over. i'm not sure if she's doing this because it's fun or if she is trying to get my attention. i would have suspected the latter, but she's not even looking at me half the time.

right before i was about to post this, she miscalculated and left one arm hanging onto the side of crib as she fell. body dangling, one arm twisted and clutching the crib railing, the other resting below her, she was initially silent as if stunned, then started to whimper. i rescued her from her contortionist pose, and she immediately resumed her standing and sitting exercise with my headboard as personal trainer. but at least this time she's smiling.

February 4, 2009

new smile

today nola bit paul. he said, "wait a minute, she has a tooth!"

and indeed she does. her first tooth broke through today after what seems like months of off-and-on drooly teethingness.

happy first tooth day, sweetie.

February 1, 2009

[super]bowl of blackberries and blueberries

the children and i stayed at my mom's house from 3-8 so that cam could watch the game in peace. they ate almost nonstop. you'd think we never fed them.

January 31, 2009

mobility

if she couldn't be trusted before, now she should be in lockdown. the child crawls (albeit haphazardly), can make her way up stairs (albeit slowly) and can pull herself up to standing position in seconds flat -- on the edge of the crib, the bathtub, paul's bathroom stool, the baby gates...

she is a menace. a very small, very drooly, very happy menace.

January 28, 2009

open mouth

a couple of weeks ago, i began to think about making our own baby food to give nola some more variety in her diet. she was happily eating rice cereal and tofu and mashed potatoes, etc. etc. etc. but it was time for something else.

then i decided that maybe i'd buy a jar or something or other and see how she liked it. much less labor-intensive.

but before i could make any kind of change (other than buy more rice cereal and baby oatmeal), the girl suddenly decided she wanted table food. no more soupy cereal for her. this morning, she shared cam's bran flakes (he uses soy milk). this evening, she ate about a quarter of my roasted veggie sandwich. in fact, because i don't eat dairy or eggs, she can eat just about everything (provided it's soft enough, of course) i eat.

the girl still has a healthy appetite for milk -- i pump 4-5 times a day and breastfeed on demand when possible. it just never occurred to me that at just about nine months she'd also have a healthy appetite for food -- MY food, in particular. if she keeps this up, soon i'll be lucky if i get a quarter of my own sandwich.

January 25, 2009

animated baby

nola says, "deg deg." supposedly that means "bye bye" in simlish, but i don't think nola speaks simlish.

January 15, 2009

sucker

the other day, nola successfully used a straw to enjoy a tasty soy smoothie. based on this experience, i am encouraged to think we will be able to move from bottle to straw cup come may 2nd. i am all for skipping the tyranny of sippies!

December 27, 2008

mouth breathing

i know that she's just breathing a little noisier because she's so congested (we're really putting that aspirator to work, much to her dismay), but damn if it isn't funny to hear her practically panting with frustration as she tries to shove very large toys into her very small mouth.

December 25, 2008

holly berries and mistletoe

merry christmas!

so far it's actually been a pretty decent day. all of the gifts at home have been opened (except the ones not for us, of course), nola is having a late breakfast, my poor sick mom went home to lie down, and cam and paul are playing with legos (ones he already had, of course). nola was not that interested in her gifts, but oh how she loved the idea of eating wrapping paper. paul was dismissive of clothes, but he did say, "i've always wanted this" to a number of presents -- it's always nice to hear that.

as always, i'm astonished by the generosity and the sheer amount of stuff that the kids have received. my co-workers -- one assistant in particular -- lavished gifts on paul and nola. it's true, this part of the holiday is really for children, and it's fun to shop for them. it makes me feel a little sheepish that i did giftcards, but since i have the youngest baby, i think people might cut me some slack.

we'll be heading over to cam's parents for lunch and more gifts. our food contribution this year -- and honestly, we usually don't bring a thing -- is a vegan chocolate fondue and assorted things (banana bread cubes, pretzels, raspberries, strawberries and bananas) for dipping. earlier this morning my father's sister and her family dropped by for a brief visit. it's not even noon and i've already had to be more social than i can stand -- especially when i'm sick and losing my voice (yeah, not sure when that happened). but oh well, peace, goodwill towards man and all that good stuff.

hope you and your families and friends are having a good day.

December 23, 2008

gently rounded?

at the party i attended on saturday, there was a quick conversation about how my cousin is miffed about how often she hears, "your daughter is so pretty -- she looks a lot like your husband." this came up because her husband (and another cousin's husband) said that nola is so cute and wow, she looks like cam. i get this a lot. i am not particularly miffed.

that said, how was i supposed to take this?

your daughter is so chubby -- i think she looks like you!

of course, she did preface this with, "you've lost all the baby weight! you look great!" so i can't think she really meant that the way it sounded, but still... ouch.

December 22, 2008

learn by example

tell me -- how is it possible that nola watched another baby crawling in person on saturday night, and then somehow knew how to crawl herself by sunday night?

December 21, 2008

bruised

cam, paul and i went to benihana today with cam's parents, sister and uncle for an early birthday lunch. i had originally planned to stay home with the baby while my mom went with them, but she changed her mind and volunteered to babysit so that i could go. i took pity on her obvious discomfort (what, go out with the in-laws without me?) and agreed.

we had a really nice lunch. i had been a little leery about it because paul has traditionally not been a fan of the experience (we go to benihana every year except for the year that our local one was closed for remodeling), but this time he was into it and ate a lot. there were some tears (when he dropped his chopsticks on the floor, when cam broke a water glass, when he got a splinter from a chopstick), but he was generally in a good mood. after lunch we stopped by two baby stores, then headed home. he was so boisterous that it wasn't a surprise when he passed out in the car.

i dealt with laundry and wrapped up a package for cam to drop off at the ups store (so last-minute, alas), then went to get nola.

i should have known something was wrong when the first thing my mom did was apologize. there, on my poor baby's head was a small purple bruise. she had fallen off the couch. i calmly inspected her head while my mom went on and on, apologizing to nola and to me. "she didn't even cry..." she said, "much." what really distressed nola was when my mom tried to put ice on her head -- she preferred to suck on it. i sighed inwardly.

she does seem fine and the swelling and discoloring is actually very faint. i know these bumps and bruises are the price she pays for mobility, but that doesn't mean any of us -- her included -- have to like it.

December 20, 2008

savory and sweet

nola likes refried beans and vegan chocolate frosting (not together, as far as i know -- but we haven't exactly tried). i think this is the kind of funny let's-see-if-the-baby-will-eat-it feeding that we missed out on with paul because of his allergies. she has them, too -- at least some of them -- but we're a lot more comfortable this time around. we're just a lot more laidback in general with this one. it's nice, but at the same time i feel a little guilty because i think we might be a little too laidback.

December 14, 2008

half empty

when it comes to how much milk i've left nola for her daily rice cereal, i'm an optimist and my mom is a pessimist.

me: i left you about two ounces.
her: no, that was only one.
me: it was almost two -- more than one and a half.
her: no, it wasn't.
her: it was closer to one.

knowing how emotionally and physically draining all this milk production and pumping is, couldn't she just humor me a little bit?


the start of the season

for the first time, yesterday made me feel like the holidays were upon us.

in the morning, we did our annual holiday decorating thing at the cemetery. every year i think, "why?" but every year i dutifully go for my mom's sake. honestly, my brother wasn't exactly kris kringle, nor was my dad, but we go and decorate their graves like they were known for wearing christmas sweaters or something. but, you know, it's not like flowers or whatever are really for the dead folks, anyway, so if this activity actually forces certain family members to remember to honor my grandfather -- if not my dad and brother -- then good. i felt bad because i carried nola almost the whole time and therefore couldn't exactly help out too much. then i walked around with paul and nola, so there was more time spent not being useful to the rest of my family. my cousin showed up with her husband and new baby just in time to take pictures, so i guess she was even less useful. she didn't even seem that interested in her own baby, but that's a story for another time (or not). we tried to take some pics of paul and nola to use on our christmas card, but they didn't want to cooperate. great pics of them separately, but together? not quite.

after we finished up, they all went out to lunch to a filipino restaurant. because we are eschewing eggs and dairy, the four of us declined to go with them (much to the surprise of two cousins and an uncle, who hadn't realized we weren't until they arrived at the restaurant). i was ready to head home, but paul declared we needed to go to a restaurant that didn't require us to drive on the freeway. big sigh. we ended up at a red robin five miles away. i was expected crowds (aren't most of those attached to malls or shopping centers?), but it was positively empty.

late afternoon, two old friends arrived at our house for a visit. it was lovely, although i did feel a little sad about how they found marriage to be such a logistical and practical nightmare. (i do understand their concerns, however, and i do agree that it is easier if you marry younger rather than older because you aren't so set on your own ways, etc.) paul was so keen on playing with my friends that cam eventually had to forcibly take him away. he returned close to the end of their visit, and showed off legos like they were going out of style. cam repeatedly called him back, but "i'm not paying attention to my daddy," he said. we took some pictures and paul cheerfully bossed everyone into position. he also gave them school pictures with his name written twice on the back -- once with solid lines, once with dotted lines so that my friends could write his name, too.

it was a nice festive kind of a day. more social than we're used to, but that's no surprise because we're hermits.

December 9, 2008

falling on deaf ears

tell me:

how can FOUR people be asleep in one room and yet only ONE of them can wake up to the sound of an alarm? and how is it that the remaining three then don't hear the second alarm going off in the same room, while the one awake person can hear it... from the BASEMENT?

you people scare me.

December 2, 2008

lunchtime note

from 11/31:

Dear Paul,

I'm holding Nola as I write this note. She will do the P.S. Have a good day at school and Grand'pa's. I love you and am proud of you.

Love,
Dad

P.S. [scribble] I held the pen to the paper but she moved it.

November 26, 2008

lunchtime note

from 11/24:

Paul [gigantic scrawly P with an 8-looking thing at the bottom],

The hi from home on the front is from Nola. She wrote part of it including the P in your name.

Love,
Dad & Nola

P.S. Did you see her 8?

November 19, 2008

an old nickname

the other day cam said to nola:

i'll call your grandma.

i heard:

i'll call you grandma.

so we've been calling her grandma ever since. i don't think it'll stick, though.

stage mom in the wings

today i entered nola's picture in a cute baby contest. of course, i did not pick wisely -- why did it not occur to me that the free contests might also be the most spam-ridden? jesu cristo. no, i do NOT want to join seventy-five million mailing lists. no, i do not want giftcards from random stores. no, i do not want to join a coupon-clipping service! next time (and yes, there will be a next time) i swear i will be more discerning.

November 16, 2008

icy

nola loves tofutti ice cream. right now she smells like an ice cream sandwich.

November 15, 2008

wiggly parties

we're watching the wiggles again. cam is singing and waving his arms. nola is watching him with a very stoic expression on her face. cam and paul danced earlier to "the wiggle groove." i feel very nostalgic.

knack

a few days ago i introduced a newly pregnant friend to the world of "nak" (nursing at keyboard). she has expressed an interest in breastfeeding, and as i was actually feeding nola while we were email-chatting, i thought i'd mention it. depending on nola's position, sometimes it's a one-handed operation, sometimes it's two. sometimes my arms just go around her to reach the keyboard (like right now, actually), sometimes one arm rests on her while the other arm is awkwardly reaching over her head. in all positions, the potential for typos and discomfort is there, but sometimes, you know, you just gotta type.

it's kind of fun talking to someone about stuff like this. is this what i've missed by not having many mommy/mommy-to-be friends?

November 13, 2008

like mother, like daughter?

when nola was with me at the office on tuesday, she seemed pretty happy with my coworkers -- all except one. apparently she frowned when caught sight of one woman. when that one woman went in to touch her hair a few minutes later, nola screwed up her face and started to cry. well, it just so happens that nola's "enemy" is actually one of my least favorite people. wonder if nola picked up on that vibe from me?

November 11, 2008

mission aborted

today nola went to the backup daycare.

today cam picked us up by noon and brought us home.

she had a massive freakout. wouldn't eat, barely sleep, wouldn't stop crying. after listening to her scream on the phone, i made the decision to pick her up. i wanted to see if she could stay at the office with me, but my boss was clearly not on board with that idea. so now we're home.

am not really thrilled about this unexpected afternoon at home, but on the bright side, at least i didn't have to pump today.

November 8, 2008

meaty

nola is holding an aspirator like a drumstick and is making smacking sounds at it. does she think it looks tasty?

November 6, 2008

patchy

this week nola had two bottles (8 oz total) of milk pumped before i stopped consuming dairy products. her cheeks are red and bumpy. how can her blood test indicate no allergy when her poor little face looks like this?

November 5, 2008

lunchtime note

Paul,

The marks on here are from Nola. She helped me write your note today. We love you.

Love,
Dad & Nola

the note is covered with little scribbly lines. cam told me he had to take the pen away when nola started doodling on the counter.

November 1, 2008

a day early

nola was thoroughly unimpressed by rice cereal.

October 28, 2008

tiny pincushion

last tuesday was nola's six-month check-up.

the appointment itself went fine. nola is growing and developing as she should be. her amusing weight gain has slowed a bit as she has become more mobile. she rolled, sat, grabbed and smiled. the ped was pleased. cam mentioned the allergy testing, and she not only agreed, she put in a request for a blood draw right after the appointment. (apparently this early they don't do skin tests. i feel like i should have known that, but i don't remember much beyond the stress of dealing with paul's allergies and the relief when his skin started to clear up.) so nola got her six-month shots and down to the lab we went.

it was the stuff of nightmares. tiny veins in tiny arms equals huge issues. the tech had us bring her to the back room so that she could lie down on the table. he called in another tech for assistance. i held nola's free arm and kept a hand on her stomach, cam held her legts. they stuck the needle in her arm and fished it around. no luck. we turned her so that they could try the other arm. this time i held her legs and cam held her free arm and stomach. they were finally successful. nola was screaming and sweating. i was frustrated and nearly ready to start crying, too.

the post-vax fever lasted about a day and a half, i think.

a few days later we got the results from her allergy testing -- the ped left a vm for us. much to our shock, she said nola was only allergic to egg whites. not milk, not wheat, not nuts. i was instantly skeptical because of our unofficial dairy results, but the news was still quite welcome. we're going to do a measured dairy test one of these days -- i'll try ONE serving of dairy and see how it affects her. now the task is to determine exactly what form that dairy will take... it's a huge relief that her allergies aren't as daunting as paul's were at that age, but even if they were, we've already lived through that once and it wasn't as bad as i thought it would be.

October 26, 2008

father-daughter time

it's the middle of the night and cam and nola are watching tron. cam is making shooting sounds and bouncing. he just told her that this is the best movie ever. i know she won't remember this, but i'm sure i will.

October 20, 2008

beautifully racial

today some of my mom's friends dropped by the house. they said, my mom reported, that nola was very pretty because she was part japanese. what?

me: i'm rather offended!
cam: you should be.

mind you, my mom's friends are filipino, so it wasn't like they were being partial to themselves. (being filipino myself, i would have been much less startled if they praised her appearance as being quintessentially filipino and then patted themselves on the back.) i just found it all very off-putting. it reminded me of all those years i washed my face with skin whiteners to make myself something less than natural. we filipinos, sometimes it seems like we can only see worth in a fairer complexion.

October 19, 2008

the skin(ny) on nola

have been panicking a bit about nola's skin. the rash potentially caused by a smoothie didn't go away as quickly as i expected, so i descended straight into pessimistic hell and predicted a return to the very strict elimination diet that i was on when i was nursing paul. i even reviewed paul's pictures from this age and determined that because his skin burst out of control between the ages of five to seven months, she was right on schedule and soon we'd be thrown back into that world of infant allergies. but her skin has slowly and steadily improved day by day, so i'm thinking perhaps i was a bit rash (sigh) in my instant negativity. she does have her six-month check-up on tuesday, though, so we'll ask about allergy testing at that time.

October 14, 2008

reaction

the last few days nola's cheeks have been rough and bright red. distressed, i suggested to cam that maybe i needed to cut something else out of my diet. he didn't consider that a good idea.

then he thought about what we had eaten recently -- and he remembered that we had jamba juice smoothies for dinner on saturday night. we all usually get the protein berry pizzazz (i think it's called the protein berry workout now?), which is just strawberries, banana, soymilk and a soy protein boost. i've been drinking these for years. we usually don't have problems with this, but once they rolled out the option for a whey boost instead of a soy one, cam (as the person who actually goes to buy the smoothies) has had to be hypervigilant to the possibility of mistaken identity (so to speak). at least once we've received a dairy-tainted smoothie. based on nola's rash and the minor anguish of my lactose-intolerant stomach, we suspect that a tainted smoothie was again the culprit.

it's been a few days and nola's face is clearing up. my stomach hurts less, too, which is nice but infinitely less important. my poor baby, i wish i were allergic to milk, too, so that i would have realized the contamination sooner. paul is old enough that he can immediately let us know when he's having a reaction, but we still have to speak for nola.

October 5, 2008

the mouth on her

people always say that babies have oral fixations, but until we had nola, i wasn't sure i believed it.

paul was never that interested in putting stuff into his mouth. we didn't have to worry too much about him on that front. in retrospect, maybe he was just wary because there were so many things out there that made him feel sick.

nola, on the other hand, would lick a raccoon if it got close enough. everything goes to her mouth. i am constantly prying things -- sodden things -- out of her slimy viselike grip. it's insane. i've never seen a child so hellbent on tasting THE ENTIRE WORLD.

in many ways, nola is the total opposite of paul. it's funny, but it's a little weird. so much of this baby-raising thing is familiar, but a lot of it is completely new territory.

October 2, 2008

rolypoly

nola is no longer to be trusted. the child rolls and flips like a fiend all over the damned place -- and smiles about it.

no!

i forbid it!

stop this growth, baby!

babycare

i have tremendous respect for everyone who is able to successfully jump through the administrative hoops to put their kids in daycare. we enrolled both paul and nola at a backup daycare facility near my office (it's a work benefit -- $15 copayment per full day of emergency daycare for a max of 30 days a year) and goddamn, there was an awful lot of paperwork. i've actually filled out the forms for paul three times, but never turned it all in until now. since paul is in school now, i doubt he'll ever have a need for it, but i was determined to get nola to go there at least once because dammit, her life is an experiment -- if i finally follow through on all the things that i had planned to do with paul, will she be less whiny and shy when she's his age?

it's a good thing i finished up all that paperwork because i needed to take her to the daycare this last tuesday. (my mom had a doctor's appointment and a plan to visit my aunt.) i dutifully ordered labels for her stuff (i got a set for paul for school, too.) and made sure i had a decent-sized diaper bag to send along with her. the last thing i needed to bring the daycare was a set of labeled photographs of the kids and anyone authorized to pick them up, so we had some pics developed at target. the night before, i packed up the bag and felt like i was sending my child on her own vacation.

had some qualms about how much milk to pack. i wanted to make sure she had enough, but because i know my mom has a tendency to comfort with milk, i wasn't sure if what nola usually eats on a weekday is a really a good indicator of what she might drink if left in more... professional hands.

i could have left nola with cam's dad and sister, of course, but i didn't want to overwhelm them -- paul had the day off, so the idea of leaving both kids with them ALL DAY just made me feel bad.

the next morning, i dressed a girl and off we tried to go. cam managed to drop his coffee cup just outside the front door, so that was an unexpected and messy delay. in the car, nola was less than thrilled to be buckled up so early in the morning, so i sat in the back to try to calm her down. she fell asleep, but i was unable to take my usual morning car nap because the center position of the backseat was not quite comfortable enough.

when we got to work, i realized i had a dilemma on my hands. i could put her in a sling, carry my bag and the diaper bag on a shoulder, hold my lunch bag in one hand and my coffee cup in the other -- or i could open doors. because cam dropped his coffee, i gave him mine without too much regret (at that moment). then nola and i went inside.

a coworker showed up and cooed, smiled and carried nola (she insisted on having her "baby time") for a while, then i fed and changed her. once she was clean and fed, we went on a brisk walk to the daycare facility, where i left her with a very nice young lady who gently shooed me away with "you can go now. she's in good hands."

i planned to go see nola at 1 to feed her, but i received a call at about 12:30. "she just woke up and she's ready to eat." i rushed down to the center and stayed with her for about 45 minutes. interestingly enough, the crib room -- where i fed her -- was really cold and the music was really loud, but she seemed perfectly content. since she is an extremely sweaty baby, i guess the cold air felt good. she ate for a long time, then promptly spit up all over my shoulder. when i returned to the office, i stopped by the restroom and washed myself off the best i could.

the rest of the afternoon passed pretty quickly. a little before four i went to pick her up. nola was already ready to go. her bags were packed, she was dressed and smiling. i received a chart with eating (she only ate 5.5 oz combined with her morning and afternoon bottles instead of the 9 i sent with her), changing and napping times, and a comment section that tickled me -- how nice that nola was able to work on her "gross motor skills." much to my surprise, the nice young lady handed me a pink frame decorated with flowers. inside the frame? purple glittery footprints. nola and the date were spelled out in glittery rainbow stickers. i think i nearly teared up! we were told to come back soon by quite a few people -- nola's smiley self apparently made a few friends.

on the way back to the office, we stopped off to see some coworkers. they were practically beside themselves with joy and longing. babies seem to do that to people. it doesn't hurt that nola smiled and smiled and smiled. they were very disappointed to hear that nola wouldn't be returning to the backup daycare the next day.

we was almost to my office when i realized that cam was already parked across the street. some coworkers were outside, so they came up with us. i showed the baby to a few people as earlier promised, then my assistant helped me carry my stuff down to the car.

it was a very successful day. i think i'll be bringing nola back there at least once more before the end of the year -- my mom could use the break, and nola would enjoy the experience. i wish i had brought paul there as a baby. i think he would have liked it.

September 24, 2008

don't have time for this

argh!! where did the elastic strap for paul's bento box go?! why is nola awake?!

September 23, 2008

backyard entertainment

yesterday my mother told me a story. "i think we saw two fish making little fish!"

apparently she and nola often go outside to look at the pond during the day (usually to distract nola from all the screaming as she is wont to do). at one point two fish were sort of twirling around each other, bumping heads and the like.

nola watched, entranced.

"shameful," my mom scolded. "doing that in front of the baby!"

me: what?
me: you scolded the fish?

so now i know what goes on while i'm at work. my child watches fish porn.

September 21, 2008

arachnophobia

because paul thought we should, nola and i accompanied paul and cam to the newest exhibit at the la museum of natural history: the spider pavilion.

blech. i am not a fan of spiders.

but it wasn't too bad, and paul was obviously thrilled to be there. i was amused to note that little boys outnumbered little girls 10 to 1, and paul was far from being the only little boy there wearing a t-shirt with a spider on it. afterwards we split up for about half an hour -- nola and i to a quiet place to nurse, paul and cam to the insect zoo.

it was a nice way to spend a sunday morning.

September 20, 2008

winged

speaking of bags, nola just got her first -- a little light blue backpack with white puffy wings from a friend in hong kong. too cute!

mama needs a brand new bag

being a purselover, you'd think i'd be thrilled that i get a chance to look for a new diaper bag, but i'm not all that happy -- i'm more disappointed in the bag that i do own and have been using.

i splurged and bought myself a b-kaed masala in black before nola was born. i rationalized that i could carry it as a work bag once the diaper days were over. it's worked great for me (maybe a little heavy), but i made a horrifying discovery last sunday: when i carry it with the strap across my chest while wearing nola in the sling facing in, her drool mixes badly with the leather strap and i end up with black marks on my shirt. when i saw this, i suddenly realized that it had happened before -- i just hadn't connected the strap with the stains. so... until she stops drooling i better carry another bag when i wear her.

i've had three bags in mind: a lesportsac baby bag, a lexie barnes darling and an orla kiely maxi sling. all have their pros and cons. (i do have two skiphop duos that i could use, but they have both been repurposed as laptop bags.) it's kind of funny -- if i just decided i wanted a new bag, i'd pick one and that would be the end of it, but knowing that i'm getting a bag to replace/supplement an existing bag just irritates me and makes it hard to decide on a new one.

demand and supply

nola has slept through the night TWICE in the last week. this is HUGE. i was shocked to wake up in the morning (engorged, of course) and realize that i didn't take her out of the crib all night. what a good sleeper!

but i'm (stupidly) torn.

i want her to be a good sleeper because paul never was and still isn't, and i want her to sleep well in the crib. she seems to be doing both.

but i want to keep nursing/pumping as long as i can, and i think the only reason why i managed to pump so long was because paul was still sleeping with us and therefore was helping himself to milk whenever he wanted it. it kept my supply up. if a girl cuts down on her feeds this early, how am i going to be able to keep up with her bottle demands?

September 15, 2008

stutter

it surprises me how often i say "no" to nola. "no, nola," i say as she tries to eat my lunch. "no, nola, let go," i say as she attempts to shove my fingers into her mouth. "no, nola, stop that," i say as she starts to menace an innocent book/pillow/handbag/toy/person with her drooly mouth.

i have to wonder: does she think that "nonola" is just a variation on her name?

September 12, 2008

thumbelina

nola is a world-class thumbsucker. i'm sure i'll be concerned, um, when she's 10 and still sucking her thumb, but right now it's so cute and helpful (HELLO, self-soothing!) that it makes me giggle a bit when i see her in action. paul was never a thumbsucker, nor did he take a pacifier -- he rarely even brought things to his mouth, unlike his very orally-fixated little sister -- so this is all very new to us.

September 6, 2008

developing

you're older than you've ever been and now you're even older
and now you're even older
and now you're even older
you're older than you've ever been and now you're even older
and now you're older still.

nola is so different from week to week -- sometimes even from day to day. i looked at pictures we took within a week or two after birth and i was really startled by how much she's changed since then. when did she get so cute?

September 5, 2008

the milk/bottle saga

after two weeks of bottles, it looked like we were set.

my mother discovered that the bottles themselves were not the issue -- apparently, if a girl is hungry, then all that matters is that the bottles have milk in 'em. since we were all set to drop a bundle on born-free bottles ($18 for two?), this discovery was particularly sweet. i would have liked to use the sassy mam bottles ($12 for three) we had, but my mother said they leaked (plus she thought they were too hard to warm up) so that was out of the question. we were initially pleased by the idea of avent's bpa-free bottles, but the price was stupid (and, to be honest, avent bottles are kind of a bitch to pour from). instead we bought a set of medela bottles ($15 for three) and they work great. i prefer evenflo glass bottles with slow-flow comfi nipples (can't remember how much the bottles were, but the nipples were 2 for $1.99 at bru), but the bottles are a bit heavy. nola drinks her way through 5 bottles of 3 oz each while i'm away. right now we're rotating four medela bottles, two evenflo and two born-free. eventually i'd like to get at least two more bottles so that we have two complete sets, but eh, this will do for now.

today cam and i were talking about how i was managing to keep up with her demand. i was feeling pretty good about it. i nurse/manual pump at 4:45 am (i get between 3-4 oz from one side while feeding on the other), go to work, pump at 9/12/3 (get between 10-13 oz total), and if i'm a bit short, i might do a manual pump session in the evening at home or i could take from the stash. (ideally, i'd keep my stash numbers stable by using a bag of frozen ebf and replacing it with new.) when paul was a baby, i felt like i was pumping all the time. i was drinking mother's milk tea, taking fenugreek capsules, drinking a lot of water, stressing and crying that i couldn't keep up. i pumped until i bled (pink milk = bad). but this time is different -- nola doesn't eat as much as paul.

but out of the blue my mother declared today that she wanted to up the bottles again (we started out at 2 oz per bottle) to 4 oz. she wants 4 bottles of 4 oz each with a just-in-case 4 oz spare. jesu cristo. i'm not convinced that nola needs that much -- i think it's more likely that my mom is using milk as comfort. when she was telling me she needed MORE milk, i could feel the old anxiety building up again. i never wanted to be that stressed again, and here i was, having to get ready to hop on that old train.

i ordered fenugreek capsules this evening. we'll see how this goes. i guess as long as i can keep the blood out of the bottles, we should be fine.

August 27, 2008

hungry baby

when a extremely-recently-previously-exclusively-breastfed baby refuses a bottle when you think she should have one, that does not count as a "hunger strike."

SHUT IT.

August 25, 2008

work: the return

today was my first day back at work. all things considered, it wasn't so bad. i pumped, socialized, got some new computer equipment and even did some work. i missed nola terribly, but even i had to admit at the end of the day that i was much less tired than if i had stayed home.

August 24, 2008

bottled milk

after much frustration and tears, nola has successfully taken the bottle twice today. the trick was feeding her while she sat in the bouncy chair. i also pumped 12 ounces today. i am guardedly optimistic.

i hope she and my mom have a reasonably freakout-free day tomorrow or i will cry all night.

August 23, 2008

nasal

i love love love nola's laugh even though it sounds like it comes from behind her nose.

August 22, 2008

she ain't heavy

nola's four-month check-up was thursday morning. while she is middle-of-the-pack for weight, she's only 10th percentile for height (length). har! sweet tiny pudgy thing.

August 21, 2008

visiting the workplace

nola and i went to work yesterday while cam and paul visited the museum of natural history. from what i heard afterwards, it sounded like they had more fun, but our little trip was pretty nice. nola was a bit hit -- she smiled a lot and was pretty quiet. people kept raving over her hair and eyes. much to my amusement, everyone wanted to touch her chubby little legs and feet. (in the lobby, a strange woman came running up to us. "i don't know you or your baby, but i have to touch her little feet! so juicy!") i didn't get to see everyone i had planned to see, but she was getting a little grumpy.

yes, i can and will use my child as an excuse for not stopping on attorney floors or running down to records across the street.

one of my assistants is a single never-married guy in his early thirties. his girlfriend is staunchly anti-baby. yet he was cuddling and nuzzling nola like he had just spent the last several years raising a dozen babies of his own. we were all startled. my other assistant nodded at his camera. "i'm getting all of this, trust me."

i dreaded the visit, but it went by surprisingly quickly and pleasantly. i feel a little bad that i didn't do it sooner -- i am going back to work on monday, after all -- but oh well, they should be happy we came at all.

August 19, 2008

sunny san diego

we just took a mini-vacation to san diego -- sunday afternoon to tuesday afternoon. sunday we went to the fleet science center in balboa park. monday we went to sea world. today we just drove home. it was a very spur of the moment thing. i mean, we knew we wanted to take a short trip, and we had kind of a halfassed idea that sea world might be the thing to do, but we didn't make any real plans until friday or saturday.

but, oddly enough, it worked. we stayed at a hyatt near sea world, and although it was a bit pricey, it was a great place to stay -- we got upgraded to a nice suite (very west elm in decor, i thought), they offered soy milk on the room service menu, we could see the sea world fireworks from our room, and the hotel had three pools (one of which had a little sloping "beach" area). we ate breakfast and dinner in our room (we had a big dining/conference table) and spent some time in the pools. both nights dinner for the guys was fish and chips from a place within walking distance. paul declared that fish and chips were the best dinner ever. he loved the room. he loved san diego. he had the best time ever. in fact, he cried as we prepared to leave because he "hate[s] home" and "love[s] vacations." (i don't necessarily agree, but i understand the sentiment.)

we brought the stroller with us to sea world, and thank goodness we did because paul refused to walk -- he spent almost the entire day (which was abbreviated because he got tired, anyway) riding the wheeled board. nola, on the other hand, spent her time in the sling. poor baby got a mild sunburn on one arm because it was hanging out of the sling.

i don't know if it was just me, but sea world seemed really outdated. the aquariums were not very spectacular. some of the tanks just looked too small for their inhabitants. plus i've never been a big fan of trained animal shows, and those are key at sea world. (never mind that watching marine life documentaries has really messed with my ability to enjoy killer whales and other animals. eesh.)

today we initially planned to return to balboa park for the natural history museum, but changed our minds because paul and cam are going to the natural history museum in la tomorrow. i'm glad because i need a rest. it was nice to come home and just veg after spending the last few days out and about.

we should take impulse vacations more often. it will be interesting to see if we can top paul's assertion that this was the best vacation ever.

August 15, 2008

burly

a few days back when we went to sears to buy a toaster (and return pants), we ended up in the sewing machines/vacuums/microwaves section because we didn't know where the toasters were. there were some guys talking there -- salesguys, i guess. as we approached, one burly type was talking about how you can take your weapon with you as you leave base. cam, holding nola, asked about the toasters, and we were pointed in the appropriate direction. we thanked them and left.

as we were walking away, there was a pause. then the burly type said [imagine burly voice], "that was a cute baby."

i cracked up, but only once we were out of earshot.

August 11, 2008

cold, wet and sleepy

spent a lot of time in the pool again today. i had no intention of getting in -- i was just going to sit by the pool so paul could play in it -- but he asked me to, so i sighed and agreed. unfortunately, the water was so cold that i wished i said no for both of us! but we perservered and had a lot of silly fun.

nola wasn't initially in the water with us, but she kept looking over to see what we were doing. eventually my mom put her in a swim diaper and brought her to the pool. sitting in the water she was miserable, but she settled into some sort of glazed contentment while floating around in the inflatable plane, which paul called "the nola tour." she didn't look thrilled, but she didn't scream, either, so we figured she was happy enough. when i accidentally splashed water onto her head, the crying started, so i thought she might be ready to get out -- but when we put her back into the plane, she settled down immediately and passed out. i wanted to bring her into the house, but paul was adamant that we remain in the pool until cam got home. (ugh. after a morning of fights, i was just... not wanting a fight.) because it was getting kind of chilly, he permitted us to put a towel over nola like a blanket. luckily, cam arrived not too long afterwards.

once in the house, nola (now awake, obviously, and less than thrilled) and i took a nice warm shower while cam got paul dried and dressed. cam had told me earlier he had a headache, so i told him to take a nap while i sat with the kids. much to my surprise, paul and nola were soon asleep. i wanted to nap, too, but i needed to get those bathing suits and towels into the washer. then i sorted mail, drank some coffee to thaw out my insides and opened a package. nola woke up while i was thus engaged, and i stopped what i was doing to nurse her on the couch next to paul's sleeping self. cam got up a little while afterwards and was much amused (and mildly horrified) that paul was asleep.

funny how my family all reacted the same way to different experiences -- cam to work, paul to play and nola to riding around in a pool float. me, i think i deserved sleep, too, but every home needs a martyr.

August 10, 2008

water play

cam inflated and filled up our kiddie pool again today. he also set up our old canopy as shade and inflated a little floating airplane that we got at a kbtoys outlet for a few bucks. paul wanted to ride in the airplane before the lunch, so he put on his swim trunks and got in. of course, once he was in there he didn't want to come out for lunch, so he whined for a while until cam got him out. then we left the pool uncovered so the water could warm up for the afternoon.

after a few hours, cam and paul got ready to get into the pool. i dressed nola in a swim diaper and a onesie and put her in the floating airplane. she seemed to enjoy it -- at the very least, she didn't seem to dislike it. once cam and paul were in the pool with her, i left the three of them and changed into my own suit.

we spent a long time in the pool. nola got out earlier than the rest of us and stayed with my mom. it was pretty funny because even though she didn't want to be in the water, she wanted to be near the water (and therefore near us) so every time my mom tried to bring her inside, she would scream bloody murder until they were back with us. the first time my mom brought her inside to change her clothes, but she cried so hard that my mom brought her back out in just a bathrobe. then she brought her back in for a diaper, but she could only manage a disposable instead of a cloth one because a cloth one would have taken her too long to put on. they spent most of their time sitting on my mom's front steps.

cam was trying to get paul to float on his back (nola had submitted to my attempts at floating her), but i don't know how successful he was. i do know that he did get paul to hear underwater. paul's favorite game was one where he would try to crawl/float away while i was holding onto his ankle. then when he got far enough to almost grab a toy fish, i would yank him back. we must have played that game a thousand times. he did get dunked once and started to cry, but after wiping his eyes he decided he was okay.

again, he didn't want to get out of the pool, but i forced the issue because his lips were turning blue. once i got out, he, of course, was in a hurry to get out, too.

it was a good outdoorsy afternoon, and i have the tan lines to prove it. (really should have picked a bathing suit with straps instead of a halter.)

spitty

ah, nola, if you could go one hour (in 24) without spitting up, how much happier (and cleaner) i would be.

August 9, 2008

bottled

cam is trying to feed nola a bottle (she needs to learn how for when i go back to work). i don't think it's going so well. the screaming is breaking my heart.

yesterday cam tried to use a glass evenflo bottle and nipple, today he has a playtex drop-in. if she doesn't like either, maybe we'll try born free or green to grow.

postscript: she figured out the drop-in! yay! but poor cam looks like hell.

nap, dammit

my mom is off visiting relatives for the day. paul and cam are off bug-hunting at madrona marsh. nola is asleep. why am i not asleep? so far i have done some laundry, loaded up the dishwasher, tied the water hyacinth to a rock to keep it from floating around the edge of the pond (the raccoons savaged it last night), and general picking-up-around the house.

i was convinced i'd fall asleep instantly because we had a rough night. woke up at one point to find paul in the bed. four people in a queen-sized bed does not make for a comfortable sleeping experience. my children are aggressive sleepers. nola by herself can almost knock me off the bed. paul CAN knock me off the bed. i spent a lot of time hanging off the bed while trying to protect nola from her brother's feet and elbows. yes, i could have put her back in the crib, but where's the fun in that?

my head is splitting, my bones ache and yet i persist in sitting here, awake...

August 7, 2008

of the day

paul called nola "the baby of the day," so of course we had to make up a song about it.

i am the baby of the day, of the day
i am the baby of the day
i am the baby of the day, of the day
i am the baby of the day

maybe when she's a little older we'll teach her to sing it herself so we won't have to sing it for her.

August 3, 2008

wet and wild

after a semi-disastrous trip to the citadel outlet mall in commerce, cam and paul inflated our little swimming pool and filled it partway with cold water. since it was already heading towards late afternoon, i sort of questioned the wisdom of such actions -- but since hell hath no fury like a paul thwarted, i just shrugged.

turned out to be a pretty good move. nola and i even donned suits (hers was an old tshirt and an oversized swim diaper) and stayed in until nola's and paul's lips turned blue. great wholesome fun!

August 1, 2008

pinned down

the last few days nola has not been able to sleep for very long away from me. her favorite place seems to be on the boppy (on me, post-feeding). every time i manage to get up with her still asleep, she'll be awake again within minutes of being put down. in order for her to get a nice nap or two, i've just been staying put after she falls asleep. been using this time to catch up "what not to wear," watch marine life documentaries (am not really a fan of mike degruy) and online-shop for the perfect black bag. (i feel so... shallow.) when paul's not around, this works out fine, but when he's here i feel so mean for telling him that i can't get up.

July 31, 2008

larva

you know, even though i've seen her do this a thousand times, it's still so funny/cute to see a pair of swaddled legs lifting into the air. it's like watching a little wiggling cocoon.

July 30, 2008

beddybye

as usual, paul and nola didn't go down easy.

cam: how did we end up with nocturnal kids?
cam: is it because we are, too?

how can he say that we're all nocturnal? it's only 10:55 and i'm the only one still awake!

renaming

paul has been calling nola "nolies" for several weeks now. the funny thing about this affectionate little name is that the rest of us get the same treatment.

paul: good night, nolies!
paul: good night, mommies!
me: good night, paul.
paul: don't you mean "paulies"?

July 29, 2008

from newborn to small?

time to size up nola's diaper covers. i feel a teensy bit sad about this.

quaking

am a little rattled. not a big fan of earthquakes. nola, predictably, didn't seem to notice. (paul, on the other hand, cried a little bit and didn't want to come out from under the table at his grandparents' house.)

eye-level

when we go out with the baby, we either carry her or wear her (usually a combo of the two). we've only used the stroller outside the house maybe once so far. it's just easier to pull a sling out of my diaper bag and use it than it is to drag the stroller around. it does make trying on clothes a little difficult, but how often do i get to do that, anyway? (and honestly, how many times have i left the house in the last three months?)

on sunday nola got a lot of attention from strangers. people were coming up to us and smiling and asking her name and age. now, if you've been to a mall -- any mall -- in the last ten thousand years, you know that the place is positively lousy with strollers. there is no dearth of cute little babyfaces at a mall. (and as much as i love my pudgy little girl, i am not so deluded to think that she was the only child there worth looking at.) but think about it -- how often do people stop folks with strollers to peer into one and coo? i don't think i've ever done it myself and i always try to sneak peeks at babies. i figured people were talking to us because you could actually see nola. cam made a good point about it being a lot more intrusive to look into a stroller. strollers are personal space.

the more i think about it, the more i think that people see strollers more than the contents of them. more often than not, they're just in the way. maybe it's just because the areas we don't really live in a babywearing kind of place, but people seem to notice the sling right away and then the baby in it. i got a lot of strange looks from stroller users, but i'm getting used to it. i like wearing nola. of course, it's no fun when she cries because she's that much closer to my ears, but she can usually be soothed relatively quickly. (lately she's been doing it herself by shoving her entire hand into her mouth and noisily sucking.)

i know as she gets older, we'll need to use the stroller, so her time as a pseudo-celeb will be coming to an end, but... i will enjoy it while it lasts. yes, she is beautiful, thank you very much.

July 27, 2008

south coast

because cam is a kind and thoughtful person (most of the time), he arranged for a boy to spend the day with his parents -- and then took his two girls out to costa mesa for lunch and shopping.

(shopping with two kids is not easy, but let's face it, shopping with just paul has has never been easy. nola is much more portable, and she can sleep in the sling when she gets bored. she cries, yes, but she never whines.)

why costa mesa? h&m, of course. i ended up getting a little gray cardigan and an orange tank top. there was a tan coat i liked a lot, but it had too much hardware. i imagined the buttons leaving strange marks all over nola.

we also hit the lv store, where we were greeted by a strange sight: an extremely tall white woman in an ugly pinkish furry jacket posing by the entrance. since lv was (and always is) filled by noisy short asians, she seemed to be at least ten feet tall. i coveted the epi alma in cassis. swoony, but where would i carry an expensive purple handbag? i also admired the bowling montaigne pm (also in cassis), but as cam points out, it looks like it has a face.

other stops: went to crate and barrel because we wanted to buy towels (we have giftcards), but didn't see anything special. bought a star wars pillowcase for my assistant for his birthday from pottery barn kids. cam bought himself a new iphone at the apple store.

i nursed nola in the car post-shopping and we went home. we had talked about stopping by container store and ikea, but it was getting late.

it was a nice day. i needed to get out, and i think it was the most relaxing afternoon i've had in ages. thanks, sweetie.

July 26, 2008

an old friend revisited

when paul was still nursing, i ADORED the boppy. it was a trusted companion. this time around, when we were unable to locate that old boppy in our storage under the house, we bought a new one. although the new boppy is almost always by my side, it is no longer the same friend. the culprit is the new stretch panel -- the damned thing keeps sliding away from me. i've gotten the hang of holding onto the boppy while feeding nola, but it's a bummer when new and improved isn't necessarily anything other than new. i might have considered buying a my brest friend pillow (used that in the hospital) if i hadn't been so put off by the name.

July 25, 2008

no room of one's own

i just realized i have never mentioned how we fit nola into our house.

when we bought this house, i think we originally intended to have only one kid, so the fact that we had only two bedrooms wasn't an issue. (yes, we have a computer/craft/junk room, but it opens to the backyard. like hell i am going to give a child a bedroom with a door to the outside world. if said child grows up and sneaks out the window, that's one thing, but i'm not about to hand the kid his/her very own escape route.) now that we have two kids, they'll share a room once nola is old enough for a big girl bed until they can't stand to share a room any longer. (no idea when that will be.)

nola's crib (paul's old crib, painted purple) is now in our room. the underbed drawer kept falling off its track, so we removed it completely and put it on casters. i moved paul's old rocking chair (which is upholstered in blue denim) to our room, too. we used to have two canvas-covered shelving units with our clothes (the closet in our room isn't very big, so we kept stuff on shelves and in plastic drawer units hidden by the canvas covers) but they were farmed out to other places in the house and replaced with ikea pax wardrobes. the plastic drawer units now live in our closet, full of nola's stuff. her little dresses also take up part of a clothing rail.

paul's room has not escaped unscathed. i replaced the rocking chair with a big chair and ottoman poached from the living room (for storytime). he keeps his clothes in a big blue armoire, so we cleared out his closet to hold the changing table and nola's diapering supplies. we call it the "changing room." luckily the closet has a little window in it so we can air it out every once in a while.

after all the prep for paul's nursery, it was weird and a little sad that we had to shoehorn nola in like this, but she doesn't seem to mind. this whole process has reminded me how little a baby actually needs. as long as she has food and diapers, she's a happy girl.

life at home

so... during my past life as an adult working outside the home, paul would spend every wednesday and every other friday with cam's dad. oddly enough, during my temporary current life on house arrest, paul has been spending practically every day with cam's dad. you'd think he'd want to spend more time with his mother, but it seems to be the opposite. sometimes it hurts my feelings a little bit -- i'll think that we're getting along SO well -- or maybe that he's mad at me and is choosing to lash out by shunning my company -- but sometimes i'm all, "go on, get out of here, good riddance!" it's not that i don't want to spend time with both my kids, but inevitably there will be a moment when everything is happening/everyone is talking or screaming or crying at the same time and i want to cover my ears and holler "eeeek!"

paul's imitation of me saying, "everything's going on at the same time!" is note-perfect. he lives to mock me, i suspect.

a few days ago, i had the rather unique experience of both children pooping at the same time: paul was in the bathroom while i was changing nola's diaper. then the phone rang (cam), so i hurriedly fastened nola's diaper and ran to the phone. didn't put the diaper cover on. big mistake. she pooped again and warm wet babyshit was soon running all over my hand and down my arm. paul laughed hysterically from the bathroom. poor cam, the stuff he must have heard. (the same thing happened the next day, minus the phone and the diaper explosion. i swear, these children are in cahoots.)

i'm glad that paul adores his little sister. the lack of "pay attention to me!" does make life easier, but i could do without him crawling all over her, trying to carry her, trying to pick her up, dragging her around the couch, etc. (i could also do without my mother's irritation and panic with paul's mild rough-housing and less-than-gentle caresses.) the way he tells me that she wants something that he really wants -- as if he were the royal translator -- sometimes makes me roll my eyes. don't feed me that bullshit, i do not believe that the infant wants a frozen lemonade.

i think as far as keeping paul home with me, this maternity leave has been an absolute failure. however, as far as keeping my sanity, having paul not here all the time has been a wee bit of a blessing. (oh, the guilt i feel by putting that in writing...)

July 23, 2008

it only took three years

finished (albeit poorly) the bench cushion for my dining set. yippee! (if you don't look too closely, it looks fabulous.) now i'm starting a tiny quilt for nola. no real reason why other than i got the idea i wanted to make a tiny quilt.

it feels good to play with my sewing machine again. my skills are mediocre, but i got mad enthusiasm.

July 17, 2008

violence in movies and sex on tv

what soothes our little savage beastie? "family guy" in hd, apparently.

yeah, i didn't see that coming, either. she really is daddy's little girl.

July 11, 2008

figures!

nola would not let me sleep late in this morning. (paul is usually the early riser.) been up since 5:15 or whereabouts. go back to sleep, girl.

July 8, 2008

more sleep, please

on weekdays we have settled into a routine: cam gets up for work, showers, eats breakfast and gets paul up so he can wave goodbye. if paul can't wake up, cam drops him off into our room, where nola and i are usually still asleep. if paul can wake up, he waves goodbye from the window and then heads over to our room to crawl into bed. paul and i usually get up a few hours later - maybe around 9ish. we eat breakfast and then play, watch tv, etc. until nola gets up. sometimes nola wakes when we do, but lately she's been a litle lie-abed.

this morning, paul AND nola refused to go back to sleep. since i couldn't sleep until after one and nola woke me up at 2:30, and then i was up again by 5:30, i was pretty tired. nola fell asleep again around 7:30 and i started crashing shortly thereafter - paul tried to get me to stay awake, but i couldn't do it. he hung out with my mom while nola and i napped. just before ten, we got up and rejoined our boy. i was still exhausted (couldn't speak for nola), but i didn't want to let him down again.

July 7, 2008

shuteye

nola and i took a three-hour nap. was great, but i see a long night ahead of us. damn.

busier than ever

i realized about a month and a half ago i could do this two-kid thing when i found myself carrying paul while standing on one foot and rocking nola in her carseat on the ground with the other foot. it's funny how multitasking has really become multitasking since nola was born.

July 6, 2008

THE field trip location

today paul announced that he wanted to go to the aquarium -- specifically the "close" one (cabrillo) because he didn't want to "see the movie" (the aquarium of the pacific in long beach turns off the lights and projects short films onto the walls several times each day. i don't know why, but this always freaks the boy out in a major way.). being that cabrillo closes at 5 pm on sundays and it was already half past three, i was astonished when cam agreed. nola and i almost didn't go with them, but cam decided at the last minute that we should.

there had been a preschool field trip a few months back, so paul and cam were there recently, but the last time for me was back in elementary school. cam had been paired with my best friend susan, and my partner was cam's best friend paul. (funny, huh?) but paul was a goof and seemed to really like embarrassing me, so i stuck close to cam and susan. (at least that's the way i remember it.)

the place looked unfamiliar from the outside, but the main hall struck me as having a lot of really old science fair-looking exhibits that very well could have been there 20 years ago. whatever it was, there was definitely a sense of deja vu for me.

after touring the aquarium complex, cam and paul decided to walk on the beach. as i was carrying a baby wrapped in a blanket and my splurge-y leather diaper bag, i was less than pleased. couldn't even sit down because i was afraid of getting sand into the bag (or damaging the bag). at least i was wearing shorts and flipflops. i amused myself by people-watching. when nola fell asleep, i tucked her into a sling to give my arms a break. paul had no desire to step into the water, so they spent the majority of their time playing in the sand. we left after about half an hour.

unpleasantly, it took us about another half hour to get out of the parking lot.

as we were driving away, i saw a "tsunami evacuation route" sign. who knew? thank goodness i live on a hill.

it wasn't the greatest afternoon, but it was all right, i suppose. at least paul was happy and nola was quiet.

July 2, 2008

coo

the baby is talking to my mother. she is making some of the cutest sounds i've ever heard.

happy 2nd month of life, little nola.

June 29, 2008

comfycozy

just tried out my new comfy joey sling. nola fussed for about a minute, then passed out. awesomeness. doesn't hurt that the sling (reversible pouch in plum blossoms) itself is lovely.

June 28, 2008

youthful eyes

sometimes the way nola looks at me makes me think of this:

"He attended to her face first. He padded out the tissue beneath the eyes, just a little, and lifted the fold above them; now less of the white beneath the iris showed, and more above it, so that her eyes suddenly became wide, candid and innocent, and large in proportion to her head: they were enchanting, as kittens' eyes are enchanting, or indeed the eyes of the young of any species -- even of the crocodile."

I imagine that when she's older, she'll be a little annoyed that as a baby she made me think of Fay Weldon's The Life and Loves of a She-Devil. from the way she's crying right now, i think she's already annoyed.

June 27, 2008

mii, mii and you

we spent an amusing amount of time today refining our miis. gave my mii a new hairstyle that more closely resembles my newly short hair. nola has a mii of her very own -- she looks just like paul but with longer hair (black instead of brown) and gray eyes. i set her up just so that she could hang out at our pokemon ranch with us, but it's somewhat surreal to have her walking around there when right now the child can't even hold her head up. we also adjusted our heights -- it was a little weird to have three out of the four people in this family be exactly the same height.

(set up a mii for my mom, too, so i can try to shame her into trying wii fit. don't see it happening, though.)

June 21, 2008

unusual emergency

paul: i'm calling 911.
paul: hello?
paul: my baby has a monkey stuck to her stomach.

cut to nola, oblivious, with a tiny stuffed monkey sitting on her stomach.

stomach bugs

now both children are vomiting today. poor things. i think we should all just go back to bed. (of course, paul will have none of it, but nola goes where i make her go.)

June 19, 2008

all's well

just had nola's two-month checkup (a little early) and it looks like things are going the way they should. the not-so-wee thing has grown half an inch and about three (!) pounds since her last appointment. i mentioned cutting out dairy and the ped seemed to find that interesting (combined with the fact that paul and i have food allergies -- i don't think that bodes well for an allergy-free life for nola). she was most amused by the way nola abruptly stopped crying when she caught sight of herself in the mirror. the poor thing had reason to cry again later when she received three shots and an oral vaccine. (paul couldn't stand to watch, so he made cam take him to the lobby.) but she didn't cry for long -- she fell asleep shortly afterwards.

now she is post-feed sleeping on my lap. sweet little baby. i am glad you are doing so well.

June 18, 2008

a smile by any other name?

you know, i don't care if it's gas or accidental or whatnot -- nola's "smiles" are just so freaking cute.

two sleepyheads

am sitting on the bed, the laptop on a pillow on my feet. the baby is sleeping on the boppy on my lap. paul is sleeping next to me, clutching my knee. it's nice to see them so peaceful -- and QUIET. is it a crime that i like them best when they are sleeping?

(i'd go to sleep, too, but i want to keep an eye on paul in case he starts throwing up again.)

elimination diet, take two

a week or so ago, nola started to develop a red rash on her face. it got a little worse each day. at first it was just bumps. then her cheeks were covered in a solid mass of raised redness.

"baby acne," i said confidently and dismissively.

but i was not particularly confident. flashbacks to paul's angry red and weepy face rash in his infancy sent me to the internet. eczema? allergic reactions? i made the decision to cut out dairy, and her skin improved immediately. she still has little red bumps on her chest and back and (double) chin, but her cheeks are clear. her next well baby visit is tomorrow, so we'll have to bring it up to the ped then. because of paul's allergy history, we need to be particularly vigilant.

going on an elimination diet for paul's sake was hard, but this time around is even less pleasant (which is pathetic because i've only cut out dairy at this time). the reason for this is because i became really really dependent on cheese as a protein source during my pregnancy. (love tofu, but i sort of soured on it during the gestational diabetes diet once i realized just how much tofu i needed to eat in order to meet my dietary needs.) now that i can't have cheese, i'm at something of a loss. my standbys, my quick and easy go-to meals are now verboten and i am by turns depressed and pissed. i know it's lame, but whatever -- this is my reality. if i can't have a little whine OR cheese, why the hell do i even have a blog?

needy

one child is fussy, the other is vomiting. cam decided to work from home today. (thank you, thank you.) this could be the start to a very long day.

June 17, 2008

headache gray

i wish nola would sleep better at night.

June 9, 2008

strange sound

do all babies squeak? i don't remember paul squeaking, but nola squeaks all the time. so many times during the day i'll look at her and think, "surely that sound did not come from a human being."

June 8, 2008

the modern multitasking mom

breastfeeding a newborn while playing wario ware to amuse a preschooler is not easy. those two-handed forms jiggle the newborn just a little too much.

June 7, 2008

goldilocks one and two

call us stupid.

back before paul was born, we did excessive research. (surprise!) bought what we believed to be the very best mattress for his crib -- the colgate classica I.

he never liked sleeping in his crib, so we didn't force it. instead we became reluctant co-sleepers -- it was super-convenient for middle-of-the-night nursing, so i was fine with it, and when i went back to work i enjoyed having that extra cuddle time, but truth be told, we would have been thrilled if he had slept in his crib every once in a while, especially when he reached the age when perpendicular became the position of choice (head on cam, feet on me, or the other way around).

damn, that was a long sentence.

he slept with us for a long time. as he got taller and taller, the bed seemed to shrink. his nursery was kind of a waste -- it was just a place for diaper changes and to keep clothes and toys. why did we decorate the room? why did we spend $300+ on a crib?

we were determined that nola would not sleep with us. yeah, well, we failed in that regard. she would sleep in the crib for an hour or two during the day, but at night she never lasted more than a half hour at a stretch. in the beginning, i would take her to the living room and we'd sleep on the couch (me sitting up with her in my arms). after a few weeks, we ended up sleeping in the bed together.

a lightbulb went off the other day. what if, god forbid, it was the MATTRESS that was the problem? what if a softer crib mattress (concrete would be softer than the classica I) would make nola a happy crib sleeper?

we went to babies'r'us last sunday and picked one out, but couldn't buy it because it wouldn't fit in the car if we had any kids with us (and nola was with us). today cam left us all at home so he could buy it.

nola has been asleep in her crib for about two hours now. jesu cristo. how very rueful i feel.

cam: wow, it's almost like a real mattress.
cam: we kept feeling the [old one] and saying, "it's so hard."
me: and doing nothing about it.
cam: yeah.

to think i could have spent paul's early toddlerhood in so much more comfort is a little irksome, but oh well, it's nice to know that quite possibly we might get our money's worth out of the crib.

June 4, 2008

postpartum demons

today my mom, nola and i visited our friendly neighborhood faith healer.

okay, so she's not really in the neighborhood anymore because we moved. and it's not like we just visit her for this reason because she's actually a family friend (i think my folks helped her and her husband find work when they made the big move from the philippines back in the '70s). but today we went to her for a very specific reason.

after paul was born, she told my mom to bring me by her house. i expected a massage (always a nice thing) because this faith healer also does that -- in fact, when i was a kid, we always went to see her when we were sick because she would do a great vicks rubdown that always had us up and running within a day or so. any aches and pains? off we'd go. my mother's sisters would go see her, too, whenever they or their children were feeling less than great. so. shortly before i was set to go back to work, we went to see her. i was pretty much back to prepreg size (except the girls, of course) but i still couldn't really wear much of my regular clothes because my shape was rather different. she sized me up, had me lie down on the floor on my side, and she STOOD on my hip. then she made me lie down on the other side and proceeded to stand on the other hip. had to help move everything back into place, she said.

when i got home, i was elated to see i could wear my old jeans.

this time around my mom asked her when was the earliest we should come by. (i've said this before: my mom has issues with me being fat.) a month post-birth, she was told.

after one month and two days, i was back on my spot on the floor. this time, however, she did not step on me. (i was rather disappointed.) but she did practically kneel on me. she commented to my mother that i wasn't very big. (a compliment? to my mom, maybe.) she then wrapped my waist in a long piece of cloth and knotted it tightly to cow the flesh into submission.

when i stood up, i was amused to realize i felt taller. but that may have been due to the fact that i was wearing clogs, and well, she's a tiny 75-year-old filipino lady.

before the... i don't even know what to call it... massage?... we did the regular faith-healery thing. candles, flaming spoons, wax shapes in water, prayers, crucifixes, blowing on my head through a piece of old crocheted lace, comparisons of the lengths of fingers, the whole nine yards. after the massage, she did the same thing for nola (but nola's session was much shorter because she didn't have any demons inhabiting her tiny body -- i, however, had five.).

when i was younger, she once attributed a rash to the tiny demons in chicken and shellfish. as chicken was the only meat i was eating back then, i forced myself to eat hamburgers instead. mmm, western bacon cheeseburgers. the rash went away, but man, i got kind of fat.

we'll have to see how well this works. honestly, i'm not expecting much because i'm still carrying quite a bit of excess stuff, but hey, it's an experience.

June 2, 2008

the darkness in the hearts of infants

a few minutes ago paul told me he was going to my mom's house.

his reason? his sister had an "evil cry," he said very seriously.

evil? congrats on mastering that concept so young, nola. it took me many years to get to that point.

May 30, 2008

fit and flatter

today my mother, nola and i went to the mall to buy me some transitional clothes (i just can't stand the way maternity pants fit right now). it was a disaster on so many levels.

1) my mother thinks i'm fat and wants me in my pre-pregnancy size NOW. um, i'm four weeks postpartum. i thought i looked pretty good for this stage. guess not.

2) nola's scream can fill an entire department store.

3) not all women's restrooms in department stores are equipped with "lounges." hence... poor child had to be fed in a stall.

4) cute tops are not necessarily easy access. also, many cute tops are not made to fit newly postpartum boobs.

5) you can't effectively try on anything when you're slinging a sleeping baby. now i know why people use strollers.

6) a miserable baby can scream all the way home.

i think it'll be a while before we attempt another such trip. maybe by then i'll be back (more or less) to what my mother considers to be a reasonable size. i think i could have taken more of these things in stride if i felt a little happier about myself. talk about kicking a girl when she's down.

May 27, 2008

proof

yesterday i was told that nola is a "beautiful little thing" and that she looks just like me. by the transitive property of beauty, does that make me a beautiful little thing, too?

May 25, 2008

minor deformity

nola just managed to work her right arm free from her sleeve. how surprising to pick her up and see an empty sleeve and a strangely lumpy shoulder!

May 23, 2008

queen for a day

nola is an adorable little girl, but she so clearly resembles her brother as a baby that when i put her in pink hearts-and-flowers stuff, she really just looks like paul in drag.

gesturing

earlier today nola was looking at me challengingly and throwing baby gang signs. i was not entirely sure what to make of this.

May 21, 2008

astonishingly loud

i'm in the living room. nola is napping in her crib in the bedroom. i just heard her poop. wow.

May 20, 2008

smell that angel

x (my mom's friend): she's smiling!
x: you know what it means when babies smile?
x: it means an angel is playing with her.
me: [outwardly smiling, inwardly groaning]
my mom: [flatly] it's gas.
my mom: doctors say it's just gas.
x: [incredulous] are you joking?
me: [outwardly and inwardly smirking]

May 18, 2008

bleary

between the heat, nola and my inability to focus on the reviews i need to write for my assistants, i have had about 4.5 hours of sleep since friday morning.

May 16, 2008

wardrobe hijinks

it's embarrassing to admit that my tv consumption has increased exponentially since nola was born. i spend so much time sitting on the couch nursing her (or burping her or holding her while she sleeps) that stacy and clinton from "what not to wear" feel like old friends. it's very kind of nola to schedule feedings during the 9 am and 3 pm showings.

babywear

i love how nola snuggles down and goes to sleep when i wear her. i'm using my old ring sling (which is acceptable to cam -- pointing to the rings "i think those can support six pounds") for now until i get down to a... less puffy size. i wish i had bought a sling earlier in paul's life.

eating for ten

i can't remember what the nutritionist told me to eat after giving birth -- i think he told me to go down to 1500 calories -- or was it 1200 -- from the 2000 calorie gestational diabetes diet. but when i left the hospital, the nurse told me to follow the lactation diet, which includes an extra 500 calories for milk production (but didn't tell me what goes in that diet). when flipping through some hospital paperwork from paul's birth, i read that i was supposed to be eating 2500 calories a day. does that mean that i should be following the gestational diet PLUS 500 calories? wow. oreos, here i come.

May 14, 2008

yellowy

poor nola. a scant week and a half old and her heels are already covered in scabs. will her bilirubin levels NEVER go down?

May 13, 2008

snacktime note

paul,

have a good day and come home soon. i love you.

love,
nola

May 7, 2008

picture imperfect

nola is very cute in person. why is she not more photogenic? i'm never going to get her birth announcements done.

how we became four

every baby deserves a birth story, so here's nola's.

(i don't have one in the blog for paul -- he is older than lfc, you know -- but i did write one up for friends and family after he was born. maybe one day i'll dig it up and post it.)

cam and i checked into the hospital early friday morning. the new labor and delivery (and post-delivery) ward just opened about a year ago, so even though paul was born at this hospital, we had never been to this building (except for a failed attempt to visit cam's cousin -- she had already gone home by the time we arrived). after getting my id bracelet and signing off on a few forms, our nurse took us to a huge fancy room. it wasn't likely you'd mistake it for anything but a hospital room, but compared to accommodations in the old wing, we could have been at the ritz. it was really nice. i changed into a hospital gown and we settled in.

the next few hours were spent sitting/lying around and watching tv. i was hooked up to an iv for the induction drugs and other gadgets for contraction/baby-monitoring, so i wasn't exactly mobile. after a while, my doctor broke my water to get things moving a bit quicker.

by midafternoon, i was in a considerable amount of pain. we had discussed pain treatment with our nurse and an anesthesiologist, and i had mentioned that i was interested in an epidural. what i didn't say was that i was also interested in toughing it out without pain meds. turns out it was a good thing that i WAS interested in toughing it out because by the time i told the nurse that i was in more pain than i liked, it was too late for an epidural. she checked me, made several exclamations of astonishment and then everyone swung into action. it was just about three in the afternoon.

cam: we'll have a baby by four!

nola was born at 3:04. i was in the middle of yelling when i suddenly realized the pressure and pain was over. i'm sure i had a baffled look on my face.

the nurse was much impressed, calling me "awesome" and saying that she had never had such a good patient in the 20 or so years she had been on the job. the doctor showed us the placenta, which was cool and gross at the same time. one nurse cleaned nola up, another nurse brought me food, and within a short amount of time we were moved over to our real room, which was much smaller than the birthing room, but still nice.

the next few days were not so much fun. we ended up spending an extra day in the hospital (three instead of two) because nola was in neonatal intensive care due to blood type incompatibility and jaundice. it was really frustrating to only see the baby once every three hours for feedings -- and even then only for 45 minutes max at a time because they needed to keep her under the UV lights as much as possible. plus the nurses were... occasionally challenging. they never communicated with each other or with the doctors, it seemed.

poor paul had never before spent a night away from us, and here he was, saddled with three. cam was going to spent one of those nights with him, but i was really painfully sad. i knew she'd be fine, but spending all that time in the room without her was pretty gut-wrenching. cam had pictures printed at target and brought them to the room so at least we could see her whenever we wanted. paul came to visit me often. he liked the hospital and went around telling the nurses that i was in labor for only four minutes. paul brought me an oregano plant and drew a picture of a tornado that he showed to a nurse.

one thing i really liked this time around was that the lactation consultant treated me like an expert. once i told her i had bf'd paul for 18 months, she was all, "go bf for another 18 months." she arranged for me to rent a hospital-grade pump for a month because she thought i'd need to go home without the baby, but it turned out that we were able to bring her home. still, it's cool to have the pump so i can at least practice with it again during the month.

the pediatrician who gave nola her final in-hospital checkup was fabulous. good sense of humor and very laid-back, down-to-earth. i would have loved to have him take over her care, but we've set her up to share a ped with paul. that'll be fun, i think. we'll need to return to kaiser for follow-ups, of course, but at least it'll all be outpatient stuff.

we came home monday afternoon and... that's that. welcome to our family, sweetie. thanks for making us more complete than we already were.

May 5, 2008

nola

our girl was born friday afternoon. since her birth, we have proceeded to come up with a variety of unflattering nicknames for her -- major briggs, triops, seven pound burger, squeakers -- but i think it's fair to say these names were coined with affection.

May 2, 2008

induction appt at 8:30

and away we go...

April 30, 2008

40th thursday

tomorrow is my due date, but i don't expect to spend it in the hospital. nope, we'll save that for friday.

tomorrow paul and i are going to spend the day together while cam works from home (his last day before a two-week vacation). i am not sure what we're going to do. we've talked about a walk, i've thought about baking a cake, but chances are just as good that we'll sit on the couch and watch a variety of tivo'd shows about tornadoes. i'm not really sure how the day will go, but i am determined to not take up the day with housework and nesting-type crap when this is the last day that paul will be an only child. it will be a good day, goddammit.

today cam and i talked a little about stuff we'll do once the baby arrives. we'll come along to preschool, i declare bravely, we'll go for picnics, all four of us. we'll fly a kite, cam says, making a mental note to buy a new one because god only knows where the old one went. we smile, but there's a hint of nervous desperation behind it because we know that very soon things will NEVER BE THE SAME. may paul forgive us for what we are about to do to his world.

April 29, 2008

wah wah wah (cue the tiny violins)

i know that i should be actively writing about the joys of nesting and the miracle of (waiting for) birth, but i'm just too damned tired, sick and stressed. this is not the way i envisioned my maternity leave would start. i guess i should be glad -- at the very least -- that i can suffer through the braxton-hicks contractions and hot flashes in the comfort of my own home.

April 24, 2008

postage hostage

this baby better be born before may 12 -- i will be most irritated if i have to pay additional postage when i send out the baby announcements.

April 22, 2008

gifty

had my baby shower yesterday. went surprisingly well, but man, i have a lot of thank you cards to write now. people are entirely too generous.

April 20, 2008

the similarity between 8 weeks and 38 weeks

at 8 weeks:
asleep by 8.

at 38 weeks:
asleep by 8.

April 14, 2008

the difference between 27 and 37 weeks

at 27 weeks:
x: how are you?
me: doing great, thanks for asking!

at 37 weeks:
x: any kicking?
me: yes, all the time.
me: CONSTANT discomfort, if you really want to know.

April 12, 2008

pouch

have been trying to settle on a pouch sling for the baby. i have a ring sling i used for a while with paul, but we never really got the hang of it. i do like the idea of babywearing, though, so i thought i'd give it another shot with a pouch. so far i'm debating a hotsling or a comfy joey. i was considering a peanut shell, but since i have a severe allergy to peanuts, i just can't get past the name. i know it's shallow, but...

April 1, 2008

purple flowers

i designed a birth announcement today. hope it prints out all right. part of me feels like i should mock one up in blue just in case my doctor and the lab tech are wrong and it's a boy...

March 27, 2008

the inevitable

cam informed me yesterday afternoon that i have begun to waddle. i am 35 weeks along, so it's not surprising -- i guess i should be glad it's taken me this long because i know i was waddling much much earlier with paul.

March 24, 2008

rude!

this is why i don't tell everyone what we've picked for the baby's name:

me: we're thinking of calling her "nola."
x: nola?
x: that's a dumb name.
me: [speechless] uh...
x: i thought you said "nora" -- everyone's going to think you meant "nora."
x: why don't you call her "x" instead?
x: "x" is a beautiful name.

guess we're getting close to the end

my back started to ache while i was standing at our file cabinets -- i was trying to sort through some papers in a drawer that was just below stomach-level. funny, i had spent some time rooting through that same drawer on friday and thursday without any ill effects. at first i started to feel old, then i just started to feel veryveryveryvery pregnant.

March 21, 2008

sometimes what counts for sassy is just plain rude

the other day my boss stopped by my office with his boss.

his boss: when are you due?
me: may 1.
my boss: [quickly] if she stands up, you'll be able to tell when she's due.
me: [wrinkled nose] um, thanks.
me: i think i'll just stay seated.
my boss: [on a roll] she is VERY DUE.

god, who asked you?

March 16, 2008

amnesia

it's sunday morning and the guys are asleep. i know i should be off doing something useful (god knows i have enough to do), but i just want to sit here and stare into space. was i like this before i got pregnant? i could have sworn i was somewhat more industrious than i am now.

February 14, 2008

pregnancy etiquette?

coworker: hey, you're getting bigger!
me: uh, yeah.
coworker: when are you due?
me: first of may.
coworker: [knowingly] oh, you have quite a ways to go still...

yeah. never stop a pregnant woman on her way to bathroom, especially if you're in the mood to comment on her size.

February 1, 2008

trapped and isolated

i wish my maternity leave started today.

January 30, 2008

large-scale floral

i just made a horrifying discovery a moment ago.

i'm wearing a floral maternity dress today. it's a stretchy lycra-y fabric with white and pale blue line drawings of flowers all over a blue background. i like this dress so much, i have the same exact dress in black, too -- white and tan flowers over a black background. i wear this dress and/or the black one at least once a week. in the bathroom, i was looking at the dress in the mirror and i suddenly realized -- much to my absolute horror -- that the flowers on my stomach are HUGE. one and a half entire pregnancies after i bought this damned dress, i now see that the stretchiness of the fabric also means the stretchiness of the print.

i think i will safety-pin my cardigan shut.

January 19, 2008

cartoon network

paul: i have a new name for the baby and it's a funny one!
me: what is it?
paul: dee dee.
me: are you dexter?
paul: no -- you are.
me: because i have glasses?
paul: yes.
me: but i don't have a secret laboratory under the house.
me: i do spend a lot of time in the basement, but that's because i'm doing the laundry.
paul: you have to turn the basement into a secret laboratory.
paul: when the baby comes, she will break everything.
paul: and then you have to rebuild all of it.
me: oh, okay.

January 17, 2008

wets and dries

am starting to think about cloth diapers again, thanks to this. i think i need to get some new diaper covers. the plain white proraps we bought from the diaper service were fine the first time around, but this is going to be a spring/summer baby. she's probably going to spend a lot of time in just a diaper and shirt.

January 16, 2008

strangers in a strange land

went to babies 'r' us to check out carseats and baby clothes. it felt like we had never been there before because there were so many new and different products. it's kind of amazing how much things can change over just a few short years.

January 14, 2008

finalists?

i think we may be (at least temporarily) down to two names for the baby: nola and teagan. even though we removed nola from our list a while ago, it keeps coming back. i shouldn't be surprised -- we've loved it for a long time.

January 11, 2008

well-dressed welcome

finally picked a coming home outfit for the baby. after a great deal of hunting and deliberation -- combined with the serendipitous discovery of a good sale AND an extra 20% off coupon -- i ordered tea collection's lotus tiny tea set in pearl. also picked up a pair of crib sheets -- two sheets for $11. a nice deal. can't wait for this very pink package to arrive.

January 8, 2008

starting with a

paul has expressed an interest in naming the baby himself.

paul: a-b-z.
me: abz?
paul: a-b-c-z.
paul: a-b-c-d-z!

after he was told that "abz" could be short for abigail, he then proceeded to root for abigail to be his new sister's name. we were actually okay with this -- the name had come up before and had failed to excite too much negative feedback -- until i checked the latest social security lists and discovered it was just too freaking popular for our taste. i hated being "grace r." growing up (to distinguish me from grace k.), so i don't really wish to have her go through school as "abigail r." or "abigail r.-c."

paul was really on the abz/abigail kick for a while, but the other night my mother announced paul had come up with a new name. a little warily, i asked what it was.

paul: andalee.
me: andalee?
me: how did you come up with that?
paul: i just said it and i liked how it sounded.

people have given children names for worse reasons, i suppose. cam thinks it's cute. it is cute, but i'm not sold. (plus i googled it and first hit was a belly dancer. hmm.)

January 7, 2008

bella

the bella band is astonishingly useful. i wish i had bought one sooner.

January 6, 2008

middle

we appear to have a middle name: megumi. it's another shenmue name, so now paul won't feel so alone when he's a teenager and raging against his parents for naming him after a guy in tight jeans with an ugly brown leather jacket and a permanent bandage on his face.

(for those who must know, megumi was the little girl trying to take care of an orphaned kitten near a shrine.)

January 4, 2008

shared room

been thinking a lot about space issues in the past few days because paul and the new baby are going to have to share a room at some point. i'm leaning towards this plan:

*get the flexa low loft for paul so that he can slowly get used to being up higher than usual (or maybe i should just spring for the bunk bed now?)
*get the additional pieces from flexa to convert the low loft to the low bunk bed when paul is old enough for the top bunk and the new baby is old enough for the bottom bunk
*when both kids are old enough for top bunks, get additional pieces to convert the bunk to two high loft beds so we can put their desks underneath
*"elfa-ize" (probably a cheaper alternative) the closet to accommodate both kids' clothes

when the kids are old enough to want their own rooms, we can either give up our room, build up, or move. we'll see.

cam: it's so funny that you're thinking ten years from now.
me: that's because we didn't think ten years from now when we bought this house.

my mom recommended that we move -- "it's a great time to buy a house!" -- but i nixed that idea immediately. dammit, we can make this work.

January 3, 2008

pink quest

have been searching for THE coming home outfit for the baby. (obviously for the baby -- who cares what i wear? cam thinks i should wear my colts jersey, the way i did when we brought paul home. um, no.) so far i am leaning towards newborn/preemie stuff by zutano, kumquat and tea collection. this little girl will spend most of her early months/years dressed as a boy, so i want to make sure she has at least one girly outfit to begin her life with.

the whole preemie sizing thing is funny. when paul was born, we brought two outfits with us -- a classic pooh sleeper in 0-3 months from target and a funny little octopus preemie sleeper from walmart. (the one time we had ever been to walmart, we bought a baby outfit. we saw that tiny little octopus suit -- heretofore referred to as "the ricky williams babysuit"-- and just fell in love with it. subsequent visits didn't yield such a fruitful bounty, so we haven't been there since.) we had taken to heart stuff we had read that "newborn" stuff never fit, so buy big from the start. of course, the preemie outfit was the only one that fit, despite the fact that paul was nine pounds at birth. i joke now that his body was four pounds and his head was five.

because of this, i was determined to find a preemie or newborn outfit at least for the hospital. if i buy nothing else for the baby, i'll at least have that.

December 30, 2007

sage and red

bought our first new outfit for the baby -- a holiday shirt, pants and hat set from babystyle on clearance. unisex. isn't it kind of funny-sad that our first baby girl outfit is gender-neutral?

December 28, 2007

hands and feet

the kicking and punching is cute now, little baby girl, but it will eventually grow tiresome.

December 27, 2007

labeling with love

we've been puzzling over names for weeks now. the girl thing has kind of thrown us for a loop. girl names are just not coming to us. amusingly enough, we've had a boy name (first name only) ready for a long, long time. cooper -- after the one we dubbed "the unloved oldest manning brother." we were just joking around one day. "no, not peyton. no, not eli... i know... cooper!" and that was it. we were all set to have paul and coop running around our house.

but now here we are, thinking about girl names. it's been difficult.

for a while, we were set on either gemma (my choice) or fiona (cam's choice). but then one day in the shower it occurred to me that gemma was a little too close to [aunt] jemima, and i sadly gave it up. as much as i liked fiona (after gabrielle anwar's character in "burn notice"), i kept thinking of it in terms of shrek and cameron diaz, and how could cam have a child named after a princess (ugh) voiced by a cam?

once upon a time, i loved sofia, but then paul found himself with a little blond classmate named sophia.

i liked annabel, annaliese, zora, jane. cam liked zoe, kenna, corinne, anne. we agreed teagan was a cool name, but with its popularity on the upswing, i was a bit concerned.

our 2003 boy/girl shortlists were from a different place in our lives. boys -- liam peyton and declan finn (and paul ryo, obviously). girls -- nola thessaly, ella nozomi and quinlan paige. (funny note about "thessaly" -- originally we agreed (somewhat drunkenly, as we had come up with names a few weeks prior to trying to conceive) on nola eblis, eblis being a name we had taken from sandman. then we went home and discovered eblis was another name for the devil. well then. hardly an appropriate name for a little girl. we replaced eblis with thessaly, another sandman name. sure, thessaly was a witch, but at least she wasn't satan.) since we have a ryo, we can hardly have a nozomi. that would be like naming your kids romeo and juliet. (well, not quite, but you get my drift.) quinlan? no. nola was our big discovery/revelation name back then and we adored it (nola, the girl who can't sing), but i sighed and packed it away when joel and his wife named their son nolan.

so what do we do? any suggestions?

December 26, 2007

extra hooks

this pregnant woman's best friend is the bra extender. who knew that such a cheap little item could keep me in such (relative) comfort?

December 23, 2007

name game

asked paul the other morning what his sister's name should be.

paul: trebuchet.
me: i don't think that's a very girly name.
paul: trebucah.
me: not sure about that one, either.
paul: u-g-l-a-a-l-a-l-a-l-a- [etc. etc. etc.]
me: how do you say that?
paul: [gleefully] uglaalalalaa [various guttural sounds]
me: um, no.

i think i liked it better when he said that the new baby should be named paul because "she would be my friend."

December 20, 2007

fatso

just because i'm bigger than you think i should be doesn't mean i'm having twins. how dare you.

December 17, 2007

confirmed

at my appointment this afternoon, we told the doctor about our disappointing ultrasound visit, and he very obligingly did another ultrasound to see if he could 1) get us some pictures, and 2) confirm the sex of the baby.

he did both.

oh my god, it IS a girl.

December 13, 2007

splenda and cinnamon

it's hard to get excited about having a girl because we're not sure it's a girl. i'm happy the baby looks healthy and is developing normally, but the whole sugar-and-spice experience is kind of lost on us at the moment. i tried telling myself that it's a girl and i must think it's a girl (but keep a few choice boy names in the back of my head just in case), but that's a lot harder than it sounds.

December 12, 2007

supposed to be a big day

i took the day off work because i had my big ultrasound scheduled for today.

took advantage of the free morning by attending preschool with paul and cam. preschool was an interesting experience. paul was up-and-down, but i think it was a pretty good day. he did, however, not listen to cam when it was time to return inside after playground time, and that was a little stressful. when the teacher snapped at me for asking paul if he needed help on a ladder, that was also stressful. meh. what did she think i was going to do, grab him off the ladder and spoonfeed him pureed peas? he was stuck. i just asked if he needed help. the "working" parents that day made me feel in the way, so i tried to stick to the wall and be unobtrusive as possible. the children themselves -- when they noticed me -- were a bit more welcoming.

during a playtime, a girl yelled at paul he was playing hopscotch incorrectly. he raised his arm as if to strike her, then hid behind me with his usual, "i don't want ANYTHING."

me: [yelling girl] is brutal.
cam: paul is a ninny.

as soon as class was over, i headed to the car to drink a quart of water before the appointment.

when paul finally finished his goodbyes, we all went to kaiser for my ultrasound appointment. the lab tech called me in quickly (half an hour prior to my actual appointment!) and told cam and paul that he'd call them in to see pictures after the exam. the exam part took about 15 minutes, mostly spent in silence. then the tech left to bring in cam and paul. after several minutes, he returned alone, saying he was unable to find them. i was really disappointed, but what could i do? he rushed through some shots, then asked me if i wanted to know the sex. i said yes, and he indicated that he was "leaning towards a girl." then it was all over. i asked if i'd get pictures, and he breezily said his printer was broken. there i was, disappointed about cam and paul missing out, disappointed about his lack of certainly re gender and disappointed by the lack of pictures. well. it wasn't that the tech wasn't nice, because he was, but he was awfully cavalier about the whole thing.

as i opened the door to the waiting room, cam and paul walked up. they took one look at me and realized that the appointment was over. cam looked pissed and paul started wailing. they were so clearly upset about missing the ultrasound that i started to cry. i didn't even get to the bathroom, even though i was on the verge of desperation (the bladder of a pregnant woman is no laughing matter). i was too busy apologizing to paul.

but, as usual, out of the wreckage came a few moments of hilarity.

paul: [tearful] but how do they know it's a girl?
cam: they're looking for something.
paul: what?
cam: uh, okay, they're looking for a thing -- like yours.
cam: if they don't find one, then it's a girl.
cam: because little girls don't have one.
paul: but big girls do?
cam: um, no, they don't.
paul: [practically sobbing] but how do they pee?
me: can we please not have this conversation NOW?

we dropped paul off with his grandfather (and i had my much needed bathroom break), then we went home to take a nap. cam explained he wasn't mad at me, but i wasn't really convinced. if i hadn't been lying on a table with gel all over my stomach, i would have told the tech i'd find them myself (they were in the bathroom, by the way).

it was a pretty exhausting day. as nice as it was to take a day off work, enough bummerish things happened to make it less than fully pleasant. i guess i just had idealized visions of how the day was supposed to be.

December 7, 2007

time to hit the sale rack

assistant: are you wearing sweats today?
me: no... it's a sweater.
assistant: [striking pose] sporty grace!
me: no, more like pregnant desperate grace.
me: if it stretches, it fits...

November 5, 2007

lycra

i am on my first day of wearing maternity clothes to work -- today i am wearing a maternity polo-type thing with a regular skirt and boots. the skirt keeps sliding up over my stomach, an unfortunate side effect of skirts with elasticized waists (like water and most people, they seek the path of least resistance). i feel a little ridiculous because the shirt is still pretty baggy, but hey, at least i'm comfortable.

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