Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday Morning Shower

The diningroom looks like Pompeii, thousands of years after the volcano erupted - perfectly preserved food from dinner still on the table, nothing changed from the night before. I want to take a shower, but hubby wants to stay in bed 20 more minutes, sans babies. So I enlist the help of Lady and the Tramp to babysit Nourit while I pull the exersaucer into the bathroom and put Avi inside. I supply her with other toys since she's not interested in the ones that are actually on the exersaucer. I turn on the hot water and get into the shower. Ahhhh...

"I have to go to the potty, Mommy!" Nourit runs into the bathroom. I direct from the shower. I reach out and hand her the stepstool over the exersaucer so she can get onto the big potty. She puts her little potty on top, the one with the soccer ball picture on it. (She loves to say she's peeing on the soccer ball.) She starts to take her pajamas off, but it's hard for her while she's dancing the I've-got-to-go-now dance. I coach her through getting her feet out, and taking the tabs off her diaper. She's finally free and hops up onto the potty. Success! Next, I forcefully tell her she MUST get some toilet paper and wipe. The exersaucer is in the way of the sink, so luckily, there is a box of wipes in the bathroom within the reach of the shower and I toss her one for her hands. Probably not as sanitary as soap and water, but better than nothing. Especially considering what she did next.

Little naked girl is gone for a few minutes, baby is contendedly playing in the saucer. Little naked girl returns happily stating that she had helped herself to ONE chocolate chip. With such an emphasis on the word ONE, I know she has gotten more. I ask a leading question and she 'fesses up. "I got ONE for me, and ONE for Dodo," says the naked girl.

I think my shower turns out to be 15 minutes longer than usual with all management executed from behind the plastic curtain.

Friday, November 14, 2008

We Put Avi in the Closet - and It Worked!

5 nights later, we have had two nights of getting up every hour, followed by three glorious nights of a baby who sleeps through the night! Guess the closet did the trick!

(If you want to read more, click here to see my post "Nobody Puts Baby in the Closet" on the Chicago Mom's Blog.)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

No Plan Stan


Today was one of those rare days with no agenda. Everyone seemed to sleep just a little longer, it was my morning off work and we had no music class to get to, no plans with friends, and nothing pressing to do. The weather looked to be a bit nicer than the last two days, too. Bliss! I bundled the girls up and got out the stroller. I knew Avi would fall asleep immediately - she's had this low-grade fever since yesterday and just wants to be still. Nourit wanted to go to 'campus' so off we headed. Sometimes she claims a word for her vocabulary and you think you know what she means, but then you realize later that her meaning and Webster's meaning are completely different. I'm still not sure what she meant by 'campus' because after we got on campus, she still wasn't convinced we were there. We went inside one of the buildings, but that wasn't where she wanted to be. We went to the pond. Still no good. So I suggested Bixler and she was happy to trade 'campus' for the playground. We had the entire place to ourselves and played for awhile. I coaxed her back to the stroller with the promise of a croissant (but only after we stopped by the bookstore to pick up something for a friend.) We took our Medici croissant and headed to the Winter Garden and sat at the foot of the statue of the 'nice man' and shared our chocolate-y treat. There was a group of young children out playing, and she wanted to run and play with them so badly. So we kind of ran and played parallel to them. It still makes me want to consider another preschool for her for the fall, if the French school doesn't pan out. I just don't know...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Mama's Girls

I caught a glimpse this weekend of what my life will be 30 years down the road. Children, in their 30's, returning home sick with laundry and children for me to watch. Yes, I am 34 and I'm still a mama's girl. I woke up with some fluey thing on Thursday, threw all my laundry (including the kitchen rugs) into the car, along with the babies, and headed back home. The entire way I willed myself to stay awake, keeping a close eye on how far the next exit would be in case I had to throw up. 3 hours later, I pulled into the familiar driveway, handed the girls to my mom, and promptly fell asleep.

For all the times I complain that nothing has changed in the house I grew up in (same pictures on the wall, same knickknacks on the shelves) I was thankful for it this weekend. There's nothing better than a cozy home with a mom who wants to make sure you are warm enough, fed enough, and happy enough. I needed that this weekend. Avi has exhausted me, and my body finally said, "Enough!" After some rest on Thursday afternoon, I started to feel better by Friday.

We took a lovely walk on the last semi-warm day, and then made the obligatory run to the mall to pick up a few items. I WISH I had had my camera. In the middle of the sad little midwestern mall with 30% of the shops empty, is a row of cars with a handle for the parent to push their kid around. Totally kitschy and obnoxious. Nourit jumped in the biggest one, a fire engine with two seats, and my mom went to see just how much it cost. $5! (With a $1 refund upon return.) I said absolutely not, and Grandma put the money in anyway. I decided to set Avi in the front and from that moment, the look of pure joy never left the girls' faces. Avi was so excited, steering the big fire engine, while Nourit was in back completely enjoying the ride. Grandma pushed them all over Macy's while I looked for this and that (and never did find what I needed.) She said it was the best $4 she ever spent. If I could have looked into the future 18 years ago on one of those Saturdays I was hanging out at the mall with my friends, and seen this sight, I'm not sure I what I would have thought!

Friday night, though, between Avi and Nourit, I was awake from 12:15 until 6 am. At that point, I walked downstairs crying and handed Avi to my mom to watch so I could at least get an hour's sleep. She didn't wake me, and two hours later, I woke up and realized she'd never make it to work in time. She said it was just fine, called in late to work, then ended up taking the entire day off so I could get some more sleep. The next night, we made a deal, and I handed Avi to her at 3 am so I could get a few hours of uninterrupted sleep. Four hours of sleep later, I felt like a newer woman than I've been in a long time.

I returned home full of plans for Avi, poor little creature. Operation Sleep Facilitation for Avi is now underway. Stay tuned for more details of our strategy. Or is that our tactic?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Night, 2008

We just experienced a pivotal moment in history last night. Now that I’ve cried, cheered, and celebrated with my friends and neighbors, I want to write a little about where we were, where my baby girls were, November 4, 2008, to share with my future, grown-up girls.

Nourit and Avi were both sound asleep when ABC announced that California had gone to Barack Obama, and he was, at that point, the President Elect. A feeling of relief and emotion made tears well up in my eyes. We watched scenes from Grant Park where thousands of people, including many of our friends, had gathered to watch the results and celebrate. I was so proud of my city – everyone was responsible and orderly, and the look of thankfulness and pure relief on the faces said it all. Even the gunshots outside our apartment, a few blocks away, sounded more joyful than menacing. (I still would prefer NOT to hear gunshots so close to my child’s window, though.)

My girls slept while history was being made. They will grow up never knowing a United States that didn’t have a black president. They will grow up accepting that a foreign sounding name is absolutely normal.

Never once in this election did race make an impact on my decision to vote for Obama. Obviously, I didn’t dismiss him as a candidate because he didn’t have the same skin color as I do, but I also didn’t cast my vote for him to change history by electing a black president. I simply voted for him because I thought he was the better person for the (incredibly difficult) job of getting our country back on track. After they announced his election, though, and after listening to numerous stories about how far we’ve come from just a generation ago by electing a black president, I stand amazed at how monumental this decision really is. It’s shocking to me how racist and divided our country has been, even recently. I can’t fathom bearing the same prejudices that were in place not even 100 years ago. I’m not completely na├»ve. I know that racism still accounts for so much injustice. The fact that it’s 2008, though, and that electing a president without white skin is this extraordinary – well, that’s amazes me. Thank God that my children will be even farther removed from useless prejudice.

I found John McCain’s concession to be wonderfully expressed. Where was this John McCain over the past few months? I found Barack Obama’s speech to be, as always, even and graceful, but sober, as well. He handed the victory back to us, and challenged us about the difficult days ahead. I feel like I do when there is house cleaning to be done: I just want to start immediately get the hard part over with. I’m sure it won’t be as simple as that. By the time my girls are old enough to read this and place it within their life experience, I hope, pray and believe that we will have become a better America. For them.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Weather Forecast for Today is...

Exquisite! November 3rd has never been more beautiful. The leaves have changed colors, but are still on the trees. The sun is warm, the breeze is soft. Walking home through the Winter Garden, I passed groups of students, sitting crosslegged in circles, their teachers treating them to class outside. I came upon five people, five points strategically placed, sitting perfectly still, quietly reading and silently reveling in this amazing day.

I want to play hookie, to go running by the lake, or lay on the grass with my eyes closed, soaking in the sun's warmth. But I can't play hookie from my children. Perhaps they will play hookie with me...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Obama-Ween

Okay, so only about 20 minutes of our entire Halloween was dedicated to Obama, but since we are just a few days away from the election, it added to the excitement of the day (or night, as I'll explain later in this blog.)

I don't know who was more excited for Halloween Friday morning, me or Nourit. Once we got her costume on, though, she executed her role as Fairy Princess quite effortlessly.Her baby dragon sister, cozy in her fleece costume, promptly fell asleep as soon as we put the stroller on the road. First, we went to Music Together class and did the Monster Mash with all the other adorably costumed kids. Avi even had a dragon boyfriend there. Next, we visited friends working on campus, passing out the last of the fall cookies we had made the day before. Then, we attempted a nap, but that ended soon after I heard "Happy Halloween, Mama!" about 10 times in a row over the monitor.

We finally got ready to go to Claire's for trick-or-treating and a party. When we arrived, Mike, who had never been to Lisa and Nate's house, realized it was where our old friends Alison and Jonathan used to live. (Well, they rented the coach house adjacent to Lisa and Nate's house.) Claire and Nourit looked like little fairy-butterfly cousins, and once the rest of the kids showed up, we set out to trick-or-treat around the block. Surprisingly, Nourit and the other little girls took it all in stride when we approached some pretty scarily decorated houses. I guess their eyes were on the prize(s).

While we were out, we heard the rumor that Barack Obama was at the house across from our friends' house. Sure enough, when we wandered back, there were Secret Servicemen everywhere (but no sign of Senator Obama.) It was finally time to eat when the cry rose up that Obama was getting ready to leave his friend's house. I've never been one to be starstruck, and always feel rather uncomfortable gawking - after all, they are only people. But with the election only 4 days away, I was excited enough to line up next to the driveway and wait. That is, until I realized how hungry I was, and that there was an amazing plate of homemade Macaroni and Cheese a la the Barefoot Contessa. (That, and I had left Avi in Claire's crib upstairs, and I knew she'd be screaming.) So I went back inside, and of course, at that point Barack Obama came out of the house, drove right by Nourit and Mike waving the queen's wave, and went on his way. Of course, our camera battery had died an hour earlier. Following the sighting, Nourit allegedly said, "There's Obama. Where's my candy?"