Saturday, October 27, 2012

Firefighter cookies

As the majority leader of our house (much of the time), I made the executive decision this week that we (me and the girls) were going to do some serving today (Saturday).  Ben is gone basically all day today, and these kinds of days bum me out because, much like my daughter, I really miss the boy, too.  I miss the time that I could otherwise have to myself and the jobs to do with only one daughter hanging on me rather than two.  Selfishly, I decided that we were going to do something to prohibit me from being in a funk all day because historically, it happens far too often.  Plus, it's definitely time for all of us to be reminded or learn about serving others before ourselves around here. 

So Abby and I came up with a game plan for today.  On the list of daily activities:
1.  Buy dog & cat treats and take them to our local animal shelter.
2.  Make ___________ and take to some local firefighters.

Right now, it's in the middle of naptime and we're one-for-two.  "We" made chocolate chip cookies this morning.  In actuality, we both needed some time to ourselves to just chill a little, so we both reverted to our zen defaults--I cranked up the mixer and Abby hooked up with PBS Kids.  Normally, I'd be all like "Oh NO you 'aint!!" about having screen time while I was doing the service project.  But today, it was needed.  If the spirit of the project was going to succeed, the most important part--taking the cookies to the station and actually giving them to people, we both needed our quiet time.

And it worked!  The never-fail delicious cookies were produced and Abby came away relatively happier and more willing to socialize in a civilized manner.  We packaged up the cookies together, and Abby pulled out some of her tried-and-true, no-fail ways to keep Audrey happy while I had to re-install 2 carseats at the last minute.  This was a deciding moment in the morning.  It was closing in on lunchtime (i.e. toddler-melt-down-at-any-moment-potentially time) and Audrey was fussy crying for lack of action after getting all packed into her seat.  Abby doesn't always tolerate crying well.  Those are fun times...

But we made it without incident to the fire station, and (tear) my ever-so-painfully-shy daughter walked in not only in front of me but also without burying her eyes to face a pantheon of strangers with 2 Halloween bags of cookies.  Her valor was rewarded with some stickers and a close-up look at a fire truck, and she even managed a quiet but audible thank-you to the very nice firefighters. 

We are going to do this again.  Count on it.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

3 years later, I'm still not used to ______.

Tonight's post is dedicated to Ben simply because he ever so kindly informed me today that he's about to perform his annual reading of my blog, except that he didn't read it last year (so he says), so it's not even annual.  That's support.  Here's to you, spouse.

Just to make things clear, I'm not complaining in this post, just rather stating how things are for me now.  It's a good thing to chafe at. 


I went to the bread store today.  To get bread.  Just bread.  I usually pick up a handful of packages of bread all at once so that I only have to go every few weeks.  You know.  Nothing special.

And as I was sitting at the stop light waiting to turn into the place, I was thinking about how I scheduled this errand around when I didn't have to take our 2 girls with me.  And I remembered again that this is how my day-to-day life is now, subdivided into the I-don't-mind-taking-the-girls-with-me errands and the I'd-really-rather-not-wrestle-2-kids-around errands.  Going to the bread store is the latter, for sure (quick stop, tight aisles).  I also limit myself to X number of in-and-outs of the car when I have the girls with me, usually no more than 3.  I'm so over car seats that have straps that twist and a toddler who takes her ever-so-sweet time getting into and out of the thing and takes it as a personal attack if I dare encourage her in the slightest to hurry her self along (exaggeration).

So going to the bread store by myself is something of a luxury for me.  Running errands is a LUXURY.  Getting out of the house for a few minutes by myself...I even argued on my behalf to take the car to get the oil change today where there's only a gritty little waiting area full of weird smells and sticky, split vinyl chairs. 

That's just my personality.  3 years later, I'm still not used to lack of freedom.  The only thing that really grates on me at times is having to coordinate every minute of my day (regardless of whether or not I'm working) around who has the kid(s).  And then, when I very very rarely find myself by myself at home, the crushing enormity of freedom is OVERWHELMING like the first afternoon when you get home from the last day of school.  There's so much to do all at once and you don't. do. anything.

Except smile.

I like the idea of anonymity that freedom affords me.  I like being able to go to a store on a whim or jump in the car if I have a pressing need to do something without arranging around napping/feeding/playing/preschooling/whathaveyou times.  And so sometimes, just for kicks, I decide to do crazy things like go the park on nice days without telling anyone that I'm going to take the kids and go.  THAT's freedom for me now.  And I really like those times when the girls and I just decide to do something (hello Dunkin' Donuts on Friday afternoon when it's too cold and rainy to be nature loving).  Sometimes, we leave the cell phone in the car, too, so it's really like no one know where we are.  Whoa.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

What do you title something that is barely coherent?

I had an idea about something to blog about when I was in the shower this morning (otherwise known as my 10 minutes of solitude throughout the's kind of like a teacher who has her prep period during 1st period).  But, whaddya know?  I kinda forgot it.  Real life happened and superfluous things don't always stick around indefinitely.  But I sort of have a moment to myself right now, so I'm bound and determined to blog about something.  Because I can.  Bear with me (or don't read on--your choice!).

I'm eating brownies right now (yeah, 9:26 a.m.).  Abby is eating an apple.  I'm rather hiding in the kitchen while eating the brownies so that Abby doesn't realize the disparity taking place.  Sneaky.  I know that I'm not the only parent that does this. 

I could write about all sorts of things, but they're almost all kid-related (yawn?), and none of them particularly pithy or extended.  I just made a blog-executive decision and hereby declare that this will, indeed, be kid-oriented. 

I'm not that literate about kids' tv shows, partly because we no longer have tv (whoa---mind boggling), so anything that Abby gets to watch is either streamed through Netflix or checked out from the library.  To that extent, I sometimes find that Abby has become hooked on something from when she was at the sitter's that I have no concept of.  Even when we did pay for tv, we still didn't watch any kids shows.  Ever.  Like not even once.  We're very much the you-have-a-small-alotment-of-time-for-screen-activities-per-day kind of parents, and I highly recommend it.  TV is a treat, not an expectation, and in general, we don't get sucked into branding.  Have I mentioned that Abby has never seen a Disney movie???  (I think I did, but I don't want to check.)  Is she missing out on some essential part of childhood?  No.  Am I glad that I watched movies and tv when I was little?  I'm ambivalent.  Abby gets enough of her fix of Little Einsteins (love), SuperWhy (love), Diego (ick), and Science Kids (like) to make her happy.  She's all good.

Confession time: Abby has never had a hot dog either.  Again, we're pretty much of the mindset that if she doesn't come to expect this (and consequently acquires a taste for good food) that when she has a choice someday between a hot dog and fill-in-the-blank with something else that isn't garbage, then maybe, just maybe, she won't choose the hot dog.  On the heels of this ideology, I'll also point out that Abby decided that she wanted some broccoli for breakfast yesterday (10 pieces).  Granted, that's not normal, but still.  That's her general mindset.  She knows that she needs to (and gets too) eat veggies & fruit for meals and snacks.  Now, she just finished her apple and is noshing on some whole grain cinnamon crackers.  Rough life, this kid has.  She's never once complained about eating whole grain bread or asked for white bread instead.  It's what she's always known, and it's what she expects.  I find that I'm much more likely to prejudice her based off of what I expect kids to be like, but it doesn't have to be that way.  Abby eats spinach in things like lasagna, and she knows that it's there; she doesn't complain about it.  I know that the first time we gave it to her, I was holding my breath in anticipation, but it's not like she knows that other people don't like it.  Lest you get the misguided impression that Abby is a stellar eater with anything and everything, I'll be the first to point out that she's three and has a three-year old mentality about food.  She used to scarf up roasted zucchini but has lately decided that she doesn't "like" zucchini.  Whatev kid.  And supper is often a touchy situation.  There are oh so many things that she'd rather be doing than sitting still and eating.  Heaven forbid.  And she rarely finishes her milk, even if she promises that she will when she asks for it and I only give her about 3 T worth.  We all have our food issues, and wow, they start early. 

So as to not be all pat-myself-on-the-shoulder or a Debbie Downer, I'll end with some joy from yesterday that had nothing to do with our parenting and is just happy.  Audrey is a watcher, an observer of all situations and people, especially Abby.  Yesterday, we had returned home from some activities, and I was shlepping Audrey around while trying to unpack things.  But Abby was dancing around and playing on her kazoo, which I was neither paying attention to nor ignoring.  She was just being Abby and not bothering us.  I was holding Audrey facing out, and then I realized I kept hearing Audrey giggling.  The goober.  She was giggling at her older sister dancing around playing the kazoo.  And she kept giggling and giggling and giggling.  It was the coolest thing since pretty much everything.  So we stopped and had a little giggle/dance/kazoo fest with lots of smiles and lots of laughter.  And older sister--she was flying high.  Abby desperately wants to play with Audrey.  It was only 5 minutes, but it was such a blessing yesterday.