Saturday, February 26, 2011

She Swims

This little girl is ready for her first swimming lesson.

It started a few weeks ago when we mentioned that she'd be starting lessons. Will I get a new swimsuit because I've grown? Yes, Alyce. A brand new suit. Will I be able to splash? You bet.

A few days before her first lesson, we packed her bag. I was excited for her, but also a bit anxious. I hated swimming lessons. Loathed them, really. Now, I loved to swim and could spend hours in the water. But for me swimming lessons weren't about enjoying the water, or even really about swimming. When I think about swim class I am immediately flooded (sorry) with insecurities about my body, my inability to crawl forward or backward--don't even get me started on my elementary back stroke--and most of all, my general disinterest in learning to hold my breath. Why would I want to stay under water when the air that I need to breath is right here, on the pool deck. At summer camp I was in the same level swim class four years running.

Speaking of summer camp: One year I had a particularly sadistic counselor-in-training who had me convinced that the water on the other side of the ropes (the area of the lake in which we were permitted to swim was marked with rope) was filled with piranhas. On the second last day of camp she pushed me over the rope into the piranha-infested waters. I screamed, she laughed. I should really look her up.

Back to my Alyce. I want her to learn how to swim and I hope that she loves her lessons. The Talmud, Matt tells me, obligates parents to teach their children how to swim. Alyce knows, because I seem to tell her all the time, that my most important job in the world is to keep her safe. She understands that it's my job to protect her from falling down and getting hurt. If only she knew that I also really want to protect her from feeling bad about her own body or anxious over never quite landing the right stroke. I want to protect her from ever feeling inadequate.

But my obligation is bigger than this. What I really need to do is get Alyce ready to face the world on her own. I can't protect her from feeling inadequate or awkward or clumsy. I just can't, as much as I might want to. What I can do, I hope, is give her the confidence to learn how to swim in spite of the other feelings. I will get excited for swim class right along with her.

I thought she'd be hesitant, but she wasn't. When her teacher called her over to sit by the pool for the first time, she let go of my hand, looked back at me just for a second, and then promptly forgot any anxieties she might have been feeling. She jumped in the water, learned her kicks and scoops, and asked for her next lesson the second the first one was over.

And now my Alyce is a swimmer.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Because I Can't Keep This to Myself

No babies were harmed or even mildly annoyed in the making of this photo.

I hadn't expected to be back here today, but I couldn't sit on this. Matt had the girls this morning while I was at work and I'd asked him to stop by our local food co-op for a few few things. Shopping with two is no easy task, and I appreciate how he improvised when all there weren't any carts for children to properly sit in, you know, with leg holes and straps. I also appreciate that Alyce is shopping with her umbrella. I appreciate a lot of things about my crazy family.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Good Day

Alyce now reads to me and Shira while I'm nursing. Thanks, Alyce.

I think I've mentioned that it's been a challenge to nurse Shira these last two weeks while we've been transitioning with Alyce home full-time. But I think I've been going about it the wrong way. I've been trying to continue nursing Shira the way I did while Alyce was at school--quietly, on the bed, with few distractions. I'm sure those of you with multiple children are howling with laughter and enjoying that last little bit of my innocence right about now. Unless I actually strap Alyce in a chair in front of a movie (and even then I have doubts), I have no hope of distraction-free nursing time for Shira. So I am letting go of any expectations and accepting the chaos. Until I made this decision I had found myself at odds with Alyce, trying desperately to convince her to give me and Shira some quiet time, and ultimately, I think, making Alyce feel left out. I caught her little face falling and it's just not worth it. I will just have to trust that Shira is getting enough milk. If I looked really hard I'd bet I'd find some extra milk tucked in her arm rolls. She's the resourceful type. She'll be fine.

Shira is compensating for these changes by demanding round-the-clock access to cheese quesadillas. Seems a fair trade. I also enjoy cheese quesadillas, so we're both happy.

We all had a great day yesterday. We had some friends over for a play-date in the afternoon and Alyce was over the moon excited and proud to have a new friend over. I wish I could bottle Alyce's excitement over asking her little friend, do you want to come play in my room?, and give it away to anyone who is having a down-in-the-dumps day. I think it might immediately cure all ills. Once the girls were in bed at the end of the day I abandoned Matt and The Cats and enjoyed a wonderful dinner with a friend and her insanely adorable son, Finley. Considering that I had even made it to the gym in the morning and cleaned the bathroom, it was a pretty fantastic day.

Finley, a seasoned dinner companion, seemed to enjoy our company.

I'd love to know what you're doing for the weekend. Is spring in the air where you live? I remain optimistic.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

So She Grows Another Tooth Just As I'm About To Fall Asleep

How is anyone going to get around to sleeping with this red cheek showing up?

Some babies drool, some scream, others develop glow-in-the-dark rosy cheeks. This particular rosy cheek is courtesy of Shira's third tooth (first on the top), that has finally made an appearance after months of these cheeks. Speaking of cheeks, my mum told me this week that my grandmother's cheeks were so rosy as a baby that her mother was regularly accused of putting rouge on her. Rouge. As if Shira would sit still long enough for rouge. It seems that while Alyce received her name, it is Shira who carries on my grandmother's glow. How lovely.

Her new tooth isn't quite keeping Shira awake, so to speak, but it is keeping her nursing. Before I realized it, Shira was in bed with me last night for an hour. We were both mostly sleeping, sometimes awake, and always comfortable. See, that's where I get into trouble. She wakes up (last night it wasn't until two or three) and the zombie version of myself scoops her up and brings her to bed. She starts nursing and I'm back asleep in a few minutes. I have, since the moment she arrived, loved sleeping with Shira, as though I grew her just to keep me warm at night. While Matt and I love the idea of having our grown-up, child-free bed, if sleeping with Shira in bed with us meant that we'd all get a good night's sleep, we'd be happy to change our bed habits. But when she's not teething, Shira is a terrible sleep partner. It's true.

I expect another teething babe in bed with me tonight. I realize that this is doing very little for our efforts at sleep-training, but I've had enough experience with tooth pain in my own life to say no to her. Once again, she's playing me like a sucker.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


We woke up this morning to a thick covering of snow that fell as we slept (well, not Shira, obviously). But I'm not fooled, because just the other day Alyce and I discovered these poking through the ground:

When Alyce saw the snow a few moments after waking she asked me where Spring went. Sing it, sister. I assured her that the flowers growing in the back garden were terribly eager, and that it was in fact winter for just a little while longer. But only a little while. In just a few short weeks (I'm very optimistic when it comes to the arrival of spring), we will be gifted with some warm sunshine, a flower or two, and the chance to breathe some non-house air.

Along with the snow, this morning I woke up wanting to reset myself, a do-over, if you will. It has been such a transitional time around here since I decided to stop writing my dissertation and while Matt and I both look for new work, it's not surprising that life can feel a bit overwhelming sometimes. We don't know what careers we will have or in which city we will live, and we don't know when we will know any of this. There is tremendous freedom in our situation and that this is an exciting time for us is not lost on me. But sometimes this freedom feels heavy, especially when I've spent so much of my life planning (or hoping) for a certain life that isn't so certain now. I'm not the first one to feel overwhelmed with how to start over, but that doesn't make it easier. The past couple of weeks I've been feeling down about how to proceed, and I'm sure this has been made harder by the transition of being home almost full-time with the girls now. Life has felt hard some days. Life just is hard some days, I guess.

But that's ok, I can handle the rough patches, especially when I've got Matt looking out for me, trying to encourage me from the sidelines. I woke up today with not so much a new perspective, but a new feeling. Like I can feel things moving forward, in a good way. So come on, Spring. I'd like some support.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Post That Was Never Meant To Be

Do you remember that little incident this morning, when I accidentally published a post instead of saving my unfinished work for later, like a good blogger should? I do. Anyway, I couldn't figure out how to unpublish my post, only how to delete the entire thing, so I deleted my post only after copying my text and pasting it into another document. Or so I thought.

I guess that post was never meant to be. I was rambling on about impatience or something, probably annoying even myself, so maybe it's for the best. On to bigger and better things, I say, like how I just made three attempts to leave the house with the girls so that I could workout, and instead I'm still at home. With a certain three-year-old enjoying some alone time in her room. I realized just now that sometimes my impatience sometimes steps from old-fashioned selfishness. Like I really wanted to go to the gym and workout but instead I have to stay at home and follow through with teaching Alyce that she can't have a complete meltdown each and every time it's time to put on your shoes.

Can you imagine what the world be like if we all had breakdowns every time we had to put on our shoes? I love putting on my shoes. Sometimes they're the red ones, sometimes the mary janes, sometimes my worn sandals. While sometimes I have a little sigh because I wished that I was putting on those beautiful leather boots that I've been coveting, it isn't meltdown material. Just a dream.

Back to the post that never was: my first week at home with both of the girls taught me that I have a lot of work to do in the area of patience. There are times when I get all hard on myself regarding my inability not to be annoyed when my plans are thwarted by the tiny people living in my house, but then I remind myself that I'm human and incapable of perfect behaviour. Then Alyce breaks into a song and all is usually forgotten. Usually.

Anyone who has lived through the preschool years: any advice for how to get out of the house with fewer meltdowns?


A few moments ago I hit "publish" on a post that I am still working on. Can I blame that on being tired? Probably, but either way just ignore that one if you had already spotted it. I took that post down and will republish later today.


For those of you who had the pleasure of reading half a post, are you just dying to know how it ends?

A Little Something for Your Monday

We all have our things. Like few things make me happier than grocery shopping. Much like Mondays, there is so much potential in a grocery store, especially the good ones. To give you some idea of how much I love a good grocery store, I drive 30 minutes each week to Trader Joe's, and every once and awhile I'll drive 45 minutes to the Whole Foods. In the next state. I know. But the bulk food section! And the fresh fish! And the cheeses, oh the cheeses.

What makes Alyce happy is taking her most favourite things of the day into bed at night. Receive a new card? Bring it to bed. Spend the afternoon building a tower out of blocks? Bring them, too. Develop an unusual attachment to your Mama's Charlaine Harris books? Don't forget to bring them to bed.

This is what happened last week when Alyce received some new rain boots. Is there anything more exciting than finding out that you've grown so much bigger that you need new boots? The sparkle in her only brightened when she spotted the green frog boots sitting on the shelf at Target. Naturally, she wanted to wear them to bed that night.

Who are we to stand between a girl and her rain boots? I expected her to settle down after the initial excitement and take them off after a few minutes. Wouldn't the feeling of big rubber boots be uncomfortable under the covers? Not for Alyce, who slept thirteen (glorious) hours wearing her green frogs.

I hope everyone enjoys the little things this week as much as Alyce does.

P.S. Inventory of her bed that night, for those who are interested: fairy princess, eagle, mermaid shirt, small purple pillow given to her by a sweet woman at synagogue, Tinkerbell postcard from grandparents, Valentine's Day card from grandparents, my Club Dead book, baby bottle for her dollies, my recent Martha Stuart Living, new swimsuit (swimming classes begin this week!), toothbrushes still in new packaging. Not shown: elmo, big bird, water bottle, crocheted blanket from our friend, Kaylie, and sparkly Valentine from Kaylie. Somewhere in that bed fit tiny Alyce. And her boots.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Taste of What's Coming

Spring, that is.

Delaware was gifted with two incredible Spring days this week. When I lived in Alberta we would occasionally enjoy an unseasonably warm day in February or March, and I enjoyed those, too. But those days were always bittersweet because everyone knew that spring wouldn't actually show up until May. Whereas last May in Delaware I was forty-one weeks pregnant during a heatwave. Spring arrives a bit earlier here, and for that I am grateful.

So what do you do when the weather turns lovely, after a cold winter? You search for those cicada skins you buried in the fall, of course. At least that's what Alyce did. And she found them. She also offered the remains of old cherry tomatoes to the squirrels, along with a few old cheerios. She's a giving soul, that one.

What I can say for sure about this week is that everyone's mood improved. A lovely twist after a rough week. I hope everyone was so lucky!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

That Face

(Update: And I only write this quietly, in parentheses, in case she hears me. Shira slept beautifully last night, waking only to nurse once and woke for the day at 5:30--which is actually an improvement. I got to sleep last night for multiple hours in a row. I woke up this morning and did a little dance. )

Alyce told me to make her look silly.

Done and done.

Yesterday was the first day of operation no preschool/daycare/nanny. Ok, we've never had a nanny, but if we did, we would have gotten rid of her, too. We're all about saving money right now and it just works best for our family to have both kids at home.

Poor Alyce doesn't realize that she's not going back. Today Matt took the girls to the gym while I was at work. He was called away from his treadmill because Alyce had told one of the employees that she didn't go to daycare today because she's sick (the only times she's not been at daycare in the past is if she's sick). She is not sick. Nevertheless, Matt was reprimanded by one of the employees for bringing a sick kid to the gym. Hilarious. Sorry Matt, but our three year old got you in trouble. By lying (sort of).

What a face.

It should be an interesting week.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Even Alyce Tells Me I Look Tired

This is not a blog about sleep, but it is a blog about my life. So here we are: I'm exhausted and you get to read about it.

Shira's night sleeping is all over the place. We had made the decision to sleep-train her (nursing her only once through the night), and things were going well. She was making it until around 1:30 or 2:00 before nursing, and then waking up every hour or so until 6:00. I would let her yell and cry each of those times, but not get her out of bed (keeping in mind that Shira is sleeping in our room, so not jumping out of bed to make the yelling stop takes a lot of restraint).

Before I continue, I realize that there are many people who don't agree with any kind of sleep-training or crying it out during the night. I think people should do what works for their family. What is best for our family is that Shira and I get some sleep, plain and simple. I realize, however, that not everyone is with me on this, and to this end I was blown away by the comments I read last week on a blog post over at Strollerderby. Holy cow, those are some mean comments. Parenting can be really challenging some days, so let's not make it worse for ourselves. Yikes.

Anyway, back to me.

Matt went out of town for two nights and all hell broke loose. We don't have a baby monitor (forgotten in Canada on our last trip), so I needed to leave all the doors open between my room and Alyce's room. My little wisp of a light sleeper woke up at Shira's first stirring and began sobbing in her bed, make Shira quiet, Mama. What could I do? Say no that little voice? Hardly.

So Shira quickly realized that she had a free pass to nurse anytime she wanted. What's that, Mama? You don't want me to breastfeed again? Ok, then, I'll just yell really loudly. I wonder if that will wake up Alyce... So we went from progress to waking up ever hour, all night long. After nine months of not getting enough sleep, I became a zombie. I was that kind of tired that I stopped driving for a few days. If you had been looking for someone to drive a forklift last week, I would have had to turn you down (as much as I want to help). Instead I stayed home and did the following:

-Hit my head on the corner of the cupboard.

-Hit my head on my fridge.

-Walked into a different cupboard door.

-Invited a friend of Matt's over for dinner and instead of baking the the mushroom tart on parchment paper, I grabbed the waxed paper. The smoke of the melting wax made the rest of the house smell, well, like melting wax. We ordered pizza.

-That same night I was baking my new favourite chocolate dessert and I couldn't for the life of me find the stick of butter I'd taken out of the fridge. Only after ten laps of the kitchen did I discover that I had placed it on the table in front of our dinner guest, in another room. Poor thing thought I was serving butter for dinner.

Matt returned home, finally, and sent me for some extra naps this weekend. Life looked sweeter by Sunday. Shira is back to nursing once a night and keeping me up from 3:00-6:00. Baby steps. Exhausted, sleepy, stumbling baby steps.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Nine Months

I have never been so tired in my life, but she makes me laugh and she is all mine.

That said, go to sleep, Shira.

Happy nine months, or as your pediatrician said at your appointment yesterday, Happy .75!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Oh, Transitions, Why Do You Taunt Me So

Remember when I mentioned that there were other changes coming, besides my not applying to an education grad program for the coming year? The other change begins tomorrow afternoon, around four. As of end of day tomorrow, Alyce will no longer be attending daycare/preschool. She will, instead, be supervising things at the house with me, and some mornings, Matt.

We both feel a bit rotten about the whole thing. Alyce l.o.v.e.s her school. She started there a few months after we arrived in Delaware, when she was thirteen months. She'd just started walking and was the tiniest little fairy of a girl. We had enrolled her somewhere else a few weeks before but pulled her out once I saw that the teachers enjoyed yelling at babies. Who enjoys yelling at babies? They do, it turns out. But it was all to the good, because we ended up finding a small children's center, filled with the warmest of people. Alyce was instantly smitten with her teachers and she never looked back.

Working hard on her Valentine's cards for her friends.

What Alyce did not enjoy, was not having 24 access to milk. My milk, that is. While other kids were showing off their collection of bottles, little Alyce was crossing her arms and stubbornly waiting for my boobs to show up. Every day for months Alyce would not let a sip of liquid pass her lips until four in the afternoon, when I would walk through the door and she would yelp and latch on before I could even sit down. But like everything else, habits changed and she was soon drinking milk from a cup, just as tomorrow she will start driving and applying to art school.* Why do they always grow?

Now she is potty-trained (thanks mostly to her very patient teachers), talks a ten miles a minute, lovingly bosses her friends around, and strolls though the center as though she owns the place. In many ways we have her amazing teachers to thank for her confidence and general know-it-all-ness. (Or is that last one from me? Never mind.) We are grateful for the kind women who welcomed Alyce every day and respected the fact that Alyce was going to sing all the time, all day long, no matter if it was quiet time or circle time. They let Alyce be Alyce, and for that we say thank you.

Our house if full of change right now and while we are in this transition between old jobs and new, it is best for our family that Alyce stays home with us. As much as we adore her school, it isn't free, and since I can be home most of the time, we've decided to try something new. Three mornings a week Matt will stay home with the girls while I work and take my American literature class; the rest of the time it will be all girls, all of the time, at our house. This will be a big transition for all of us, but ultimately a good one. There are moments I'm a bit suspicious that my patience can stretch enough to include a three year old jumping bean in my every day routine, but then I get over myself. And Shira? She's losing her mind, excited.

Shira helped, as only Shira can.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Even Shira is Yawning

Though I'm not feeling much sympathy for little Shira. For the most part, I'm just not in a very generous mood. Other words for my mood today include: grumpy, impatient, irritable, fun-loving. Well, everything except that last one. Fortunately I was able to get over myself for an hour or two and take advantage of lunch with a friend. (Thanks for putting up with me, Dani.)

I would really, really like to talk about something else, but I've just reached that point where nothing else comes to mind. It's been months and months and I'm exhausted. I would love to begin a conversation about all the other stuff that is going on in our world, but when I try to speak or type all that comes out is this sludge of tired. Blurgh.

Matt, if you're reading this tonight from your quiet, child-free hotel room, we miss you here in sleepless Delaware. The girls put up with their tired mama and they are all tucked in their beds.

And I didn't even sell the cats! Although there is still tomorrow.

Come home soon.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ten Things About My Tuesday

1. I am back to feeling that kind of tired that only Shira can produce. She's so sneaky that I sometimes don't even realize that I've brought her to bed and started nursing her. Before I know it she's pulled up the covers, claimed the good pillow, and is moving on to side two.

2. I got the results from my second Praxis exam (the English literature test) and I kicked its ass.

3. This morning a very tiny man arrived in my kitchen to fix the broken fridge light. I think he might have been part hobbit. After weeks of darkness, there is now light in our fridge. And, it turns out, a lot of dirt.

4. Matt is away in North Carolina for a few days and he stole the MacBook Pro and I miss it

5. I also miss Matt.

6. No, I really, really do. It turns out that I have the hardest working husband around. Life between 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm feels like hard work most days, chasing after Alyce, nursing Shira, coordinating bedtimes, making Alyce's lunch for the next day, and cleaning the mess that generally plagues our house, but it feels more than hard when you're doing it alone. Holy cow Matt does a lot around here.

7. Alyce and Shira go to bed at the same time each night, so Matt and I usually divide and conquer. Since I have boobs, I get Shira. I needed to come up with a plan tonight so that I could spend the necessary time nursing Shira to sleep and Alyce graciously offered to watch Alice in Wonderland and eat pretzels until Shira was sleeping.

8. I found out that I was pregnant with Alyce in March 2007. I think that might have been the last time I cleaned the litter boxes.

9. I'm not above eating chocolate icing from a bowl. This is unrelated to the previous entry.

10. My husband is currently in a hotel room, with an enormous bed, without children or cats. I don't really know how to process this information because I'm so tired I can't think straight. But I think I'm really jealous. A lot jealous.

Monday, February 7, 2011

School, Part Two

No textbook should ever be this big. Especially when I am required to bring it to each and every class. And because I don't like to break school-related rules, I will (but I'll complain about it).

2874. As in 2,874 pages with tiny print. Norton, this is out of hand.

Today begins round two of me returning to school. You'll find me in American Literature, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The enormous Norton Anthology aside (if I can lift it), I'm looking forward to this class. I've been reading mostly cookbooks lately, and it's probably best to expand my horizons a bit.

I hope your Monday is an excellent one. What are your plans for the week?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Can You Send a Blog a Valentine? Made of Bread?

I love the internet.

Would you like to know why? Because I'm going to tell you.

(Please forgive the photo, but I wanted to offer proof!)

I made this bread a few days ago. As in, I came home from the gym, got Shira set up in her kitchen exersaucer (from where she can supervise), and made this most delightful bread. It took about 10 minutes from start to oven, and was cooling on the counter an hour later. And it is with thanks to the internet that our family came to devour this bread.

I started making my own challah a few years ago, though only very sporadically. After a year of classes and meetings and more classes, I had converted to Judaism before Matt and I were married (I was finally a Jew just a few days after Passover 2007). So when I began making challah, my kitchen wasn't filled with recipes passed down from parents and grandparents. I was faced instead with a few Jewish cookbooks and a counter covered in flour, yeast, and honey. Never mind trying to braid it. I was proud of my lumpy bread, and Matt, Alyce and the cats all enjoyed it. But making challah without a community of challah bakers and eaters was a lonely business, and so it didn't happen too often (we had just moved to Delaware, hadn't found a synagogue yet, and didn't know a single person).

There are a lot of reasons that I credit the internet, and blogging community in particular, for changing how I felt about baking my own bread, and how I felt about parenting. I was lonely for some community in so many ways when we first moved here, but discovering the incredible writing of, let's face it, some pretty fantastic blogs, opened up a community for me that I hadn't expected. I was trying really hard to make some in-person friends, but it was the community of parents and cooks and knitters and general life-adventurers that got me through. Oh, I'm just swooning now. Forgive me. If I sound a bit crazy-woman-on-the-interwebs, well, so be it.

But back to bread. I started making challah again because it was showing up again and again on some of my favourite blogs. All of a sudden I have only one recipe to follow, but I got my community of challah bakers, because of course one recipe linked to another, and another, and another, and you see where I'm going with this. If blogs are good at one thing, it's gently pushing you in the direction of twenty other good ideas.

I now make a pretty decent challah. But why stop there? Why not also make this wonderful soda bread, too? And then take a photo of it and share it on your own blog. Interwebs, you've created a monster.

For those of you who observe it, have a wonderful Shabbat! For the rest of you, enjoy the greatest of Friday nights.

P.S. My favourite challah recipe.
P.P.S. The soda bread recipe that you need to make this week. Update: I forgot to add that I had to add more all-purpose flour to get the consistency right. Since I don't have a kitchen scale, it might be just because I had the conversions a bit wrong.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

In Other News: There is Standing

This week Shira discovered that her legs are more than just delicious rolls of baby and stripey leggings. They are perfect, it turns out, for standing.

It also happens that Alyce's bed is the perfect height for little hands to hold on to for dear life. Those legs, after all, are new at this standing business.

So if you stop by our house anywhere between six and six (during the day, please and thank you), be sure to stop by the girls' room, where Shira has vowed never to leave her new post.

(I just noticed my own feet in the photo. Lovely. -the editor)

P.S. Shira has gone from waking every hour or two to only waking up once or twice through the night! I love progress so, so much. Especially when it involves sleeping. I'll keep you posted!

P.P.S. Alyce still doesn't want Shira back. I can't say that I blame her.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ten Things I've Learned This Week About Feeding My Children

1. I will always end up being the one crying in the corner. Every time.

Moving on, then.

2. If you join us for dinner, be prepared for Alyce shrieking at the possibility that I've hidden something in her macaroni and cheese. It was pepper, Alyce. PEPPER. Clearly, I've been discovered.

3. Did you know that Shira loves pears? No, wait, she hates them. Nope, she loves them! No, wait, she still hates them. What's that Shira? You NEED them? You needed them five minutes ago? Not anymore? Not ever? Of course. I give up. Again, sobbing.

4. Alyce is such a Nosy Parker that she'll insist on trying anything that's on my plate--even if she's disgusted by it--just in case I tried to sneak a piece of chocolate inside my quinoa.

5. Shira, I'm just not buying the melodrama.

6. When Alyce asks for peanut butter toast she doesn't actually want toast, and if you bring her anything toasted, well, I wouldn't want to be you. What she really wants is peanut butter on a piece of untoasted bread. She'll take some jam, too, if you've got any.

7. The one way to ensure that your child will not like a food is to order it by the case. If anyone needs a case of organic baby oatmeal, you know where to find me.

8. I don't ask much of the cats. The least they could do is eat the cheerios on the floor. Instead they spend all their time circling the table, awaiting their chance to swipe the more desirable yogurt or shredded cheese. Maybe it's time to remind them that I can unsign the adoption papers. Especially Lucy's.

9. Pediatricians, parenting books, and all manner of dinner experts will tell you not to stress over how or how much your child eats. They are probably right, and if I were writing a book on feeding kids (which I'm not), I might suggest the same thing. After all, my husband survived an entire year on olives. But no matter how many times you read about how you shouldn't stress, feeding kids can be really annoying. When you hard-boil eggs, make egg salad, offer it to your child who loves egg salad, and then have it handed back to you as though you handed her a salad of stinging nettles, it drains a person.

10. A three-year-old is a most useful ally in distracting a stubborn baby at the dinner table. I will always be grateful for Alyce's help, whether it is her pterodactyl impression (a reliable laugh, for sure) or her mash-up of John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt and ABCs.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sick Day

It was a sick day at our house. Alyce's sniffles from yesterday turned into a fever and other unpleasantries. Alyce coped with a rare weekday viewing of Alice in Wonderland, some Dora, and, of course, crafts. My favourite thing about her creation this morning is that she wrote out all of our names (Shira, too). If you are having trouble, look closely at the scribbles. You need to squint your eyes a bit. Maybe all the way.

By afternoon Alyce was in fine form, fever gone and fancy free. But all that getting better makes a girl tired, and she passed out before six, with me not far behind her. The cats too.

Good night!