Thursday, February 26, 2009

This Is Me, Teasing You

I don't think I've ever posted a "teaser" before, so this is pretty exciting for me. Don't get all hepped up though, because nothing all that thrilling is about to happen. Yet.

I've been blogging since late October and I am quickly closing in on my 100th post. I figured that something so monumental deserves a special post, so when the time comes I will be doing something that seems to be all the rage: I'll be hosting a giveaway. That's right, you have the chance to win something, and that item might actually be kind of good, if good means I paid money for it and didn't get it free somewhere. So keep checking back for the day I post about the giveaway. That day will be your only chance to enter, and I don't want anyone crying to me that that was the ONE day they didn't read my blog. I simply don't want to hear. Either you are a religious follower who wakes up in the morning thinking about me, or you're not. It's that simple.

My other teaser is about me going into business for myself. I have finally accepted that I am moderately talented in the crafting area of life, and I'm going to start selling my wares soon. That is, if I can get my act together and actually make the said wares. Once all that comes to fruition, I will be sure to post about it. Don't worry readers, I'm not going to ask you to purchase anything from me. My post will simply be "informative". Information to pass along to friends and family, if you will. Information to help you make informed buying decisions when you find yourself in need of a cute baby gift. That's all. I am merely here to educate the public, nothing more.

But if you want one of my business cards, just let me know. I have A LOT.

A Pavlovian Response, Of Sorts

You know how most dogs go bonkers when the leash comes out, because they know a walk is coming? Well for Moxie, it's the iPod shuffle. The second she sees that little white contraption, she knows a run is coming. I wonder what she thinks the iPod is.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Random Pictures

In lieu of any sort of clever or funny blog post, I decided to share two random pictures with you. The first is of Laura, in all her glory, picking "flowers" in the backyard. This is one of her favorite pastimes, although seeing as it is only February, there's not much to be picked. In another month or two we'll have cute little purple flowers (that are actually weeds) everywhere in the backyard, and she can pick them to her heart's content.

Please note the jeans under the skirt. I told her that morning it was simply too cold for a skirt and this is what she came up with. She received several compliments at school. I was very proud of her creativity and daring.My next picture is of Moxie last night. I had left one of the couch pillows on the ground, and she assumed that since it was on the ground, she should feel free to curl up on it. Moxie's not a big dog, but she's not tiny either, and I was so impressed that she got her entire body onto it that I let her stay. And that, Internet, is the end of this lame post.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Claire, Temporary Superhero

Here’s a quick and easy way to completely impress your young child. Find a parking lot (any will do) and wait until a car (extra points for it being a mid-size SUV) starts to roll backwards without anyone driving it. Notice that car with ghost driver is about to roll backwards into a parked car (extra points if that parked car is your car). Yell to child to stay on sidewalk as you dash into parking lot and, using your Mommy skills and strength, stop car with your bare hands.

I tested this out today after leaving Laura’s doctor’s office, and I’m pleased to report that it thus far has a 100% success rate at wowing young kids. I only wish I had had the foresight enough to use just one hand as I stopped the runaway car-that would have been even more impressive.

My favorite part of this whole ordeal was when I went back into the building to report the runaway car. No one in Laura’s doctor’s office would claim ownership, so we went to the next office to inquire, as the car was blocking part of the parking lot (and my only way of getting out). As I walked by the door leading to the parking lot, I noticed the car was gone! So we went back outside and saw the car being driven away (by a real person this time). I was able to stop them before they left and it turned out the driver was a very young teenage girl. I told her what had transpired and she was very apologetic and said she hadn’t put on the parking brake. There was no harm done, and I told her I had stopped her just to give her a heads up as to why her car was in the middle of the parking lot (I’m sure she was wondering-at least I hope she was). She thanked me again; we went on our way, me with my ego momentarily inflated by my superhero skills.

In retrospect, I have to admit I was surprised when she told me that she just didn't put on the parking brake. That could have been a pretty costly oversight for her, because I would not have been happy if my brand new VW ended up with a smashed bumper. When I was a new driver, my father drilled it into my head to ALWAYS USE THE PARKING BRAKE. It’s called the parking brake for a reason, right? I know it’s fairly passé to use it nowadays, but I present this story as a good reason to do so. You just never know when your car may decide to go joy riding without you.

And as usual, feel free to apply this to your own life as needed. I guarantee it will impress your child! Sadly though, it didn't really impress the Army Man so I can't make any promises for how other adults will react.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Claire, Parenting Genius

So you all read yesterday about Laura's horrible coughing and how I may run away from home because of it. I should tell you that I have been informed that it is only what I deserve since as a baby I would cry (a horrible, annoying cry) all day and night, and would not stop unless I was being bounced constantly. I say that sounds pretty bad, but I still feel worse for myself. Yes, I did just say that. And it was easy to say too, because I think that I deserved nothing less than constant bouncing as a baby. And maybe all that bouncing jostled my brain around a little and allowed me, 29 years later, to come up with the best idea on the planet.

I won't claim that I'm the only one to come up with this, but when it occurred to me today, I felt so brilliant that there was practically a flash of light. I have determined that a lot of Laura's coughing is psychological, especially since most of it occurs at home when she is bored. Once she starts coughing, she starts concentrating on the coughing, and can suddenly do nothing else but cough. I don't mean to imply that I am ignoring my child as she can't breathe. What I am implying is that I am being driven crazy by the coughs of a child who has turned coughing into some kind of tic or habit. We've tried distracting her with a game, watching TV, taking a bath, having a snack-nothing works. This weird, constant cough usually happens after her breathing machine and lasts until she finally is distracted, or the more common scenario, gets some cough medicine.

So today she started coughing again. We had just done the breathing machine about an hour before, and she was breathing just fine. After nearly poking my eye out with a needle, I asked her if she needed some cough medicine, and she said yes. So I gave her some of the most delicious cough medicine she had ever tasted (her words). What was this miracle medicine you ask? Sugar Free Cherry Kool-Aid, served as a one teaspoon dosage in a tiny medicine cup.

And yes, the coughing stopped. Please feel free to use this miracle drug in your own home, as needed.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Enough With The Coughing Already

I was called to Laura’s school yesterday morning to give her a breathing treatment, which was disconcerting. Her teacher made it sound very urgent, as if she was gasping for breath. Usually when Laura is having a hard time breathing, she just coughs a very short, barky cough, and is never short of breath. In fact, the cough is so annoying that I selfishly find myself wishing that she had a different symptom. Horrible, right? But the Army Man can back me up on this-it’s grating and slowly chips away at your sanity. Just when you think she's done coughing, nope, here comes another one! The cough pits people against each other. Grown adults find themselves wanting to do things like run into traffic, jump off the roof, or at the very least go clean the bathroom, just to escape the cough.

So when I arrived at school (in rainy 39 degree weather with soaking wet hair, I might add) I was panicking. Was it going to be as bad as my breathing gets when I have an asthma attack? Was Laura going need to go to the hospital? I rushed in and found Laura calmly getting ready for snack time. Her teacher had a somewhat crazed look in her eyes as she told me, “She has been coughing ALL morning”. All of the sudden it clicked. The teacher couldn’t handle the coughing. She was willing to do anything to make it stop, even if that meant calling me away from the shower and my errands, and not giving me time to get ready for lunch with the Army Man. I understood her pain, although it meant that I then had to go to my fancy lunch with the Army Man while wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, with soaking wet hair. After I gave Laura the breathing treatment, the coughing subsided somewhat (it usually seems to last another hour or so) and I went on my way.

As I drove off, I wondered to myself: Who will save me from the coughing?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Laura, Music Connoisseur

The Army Man was very sweet and recently bought me an iPod adapter for my new car, which means I can once again listen to my iPod while I drive. The only downside to this is that Laura, being the modern child she is, knows all about the iPod and the fact that I can deliver certain songs on demand. She doesn't have to wait for the entire tape (what's that Mommy?) to loop back around like I did as a child. She doesn't have to fumble with multiple CDs if she wants to jump directly from Tears For Fears to Gloria Estefan (yes, those were my first 2 CDs, thank you very much).

So on the way to school this morning, as Laura called out the songs, I realized not only does she know what an iPod is, but she also has surprising taste in music. I know kids her age are limited to what their parents listen to, but I feel I listen to a pretty good variety of music, so she has a lot to pick from. So I present to you, Laura's favorite songs of the moment. These are required listening basically every day:

Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash
Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) by Beyonce
Snow (Hey Oh) by Red Hot Chili Peppers

She particularly loves Single Ladies and gets quite jazzed up when it comes on, singing along to the beginning part. I can see her, one day telling an unlucky ex-boyfriend, "If you liked it, you should have put a ring on it". I have to admit, I kind of like that idea.

I know I'm not the only one with a child who enjoys grown up songs. What surprising songs do your kids like?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Dog's Life

Moxie the dog has a very rough life at our house. In between all the runs, treats, playing with the Frisbee, being petted, more treats, and more playing, she is occasionally expected to entertain herself. She does not like this at all and usually retreats under the computer desk to pout. We were finally able to capture this pouting on camera. What mean owners we are to ignore her!That reminds me--I can't forget to tell everyone about our new dog! She appeared in a box on our doorstep, addressed to Mommy and Daddy Ourlastname. The box was wiggling and we had to open it right away. When we did, a puppy named Susie popped out! Here are our two dogs together.And on a more serious note, can I tell you how bossy talking puppies are? They never like the way you play with them and feel free to tell you so. And they relish popping out of boxes over and over and over, demanding each time that you say, "What's in the box?" before you open it. The Army Man wants to take our talking puppy on tour around the country to earn money, but the puppy nixed that idea. Seems like we are stuck with her for now.

Monday, February 16, 2009

She & Him

As promised on Saturday, I will now tell you all about She & Him.

Did you see the movie Elf? Remember the gorgeous young lady in the movie, the one singing “Baby It’s Cold Outside”? Did you say to yourself, “Dang, that girl can sing and I would pay good money to listen to her do so”?

Well if you did, then you got your wish with She & Him. Zooey Deschanel paired with M. Ward to create She & Him, and released their debut album (Volume One) in 2008. I can’t really describe their style-iTunes lists them as alternative. Their songs are beautiful, moving, and sometimes goofy. They even feature their remakes of “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” and “You Really Got A Hold On Me” on their album. Zooey’s voice is beyond beautiful and I am particularly in love with “Sentimental Heart”-sad yet lovely.

Their website describes their approach to music thusly: a boy and girl choir hell-bent making music the old-fashioned way: by hand - and with as few machines as humanly possible. I’d say that sounds about right. Give them a listen; you won’t regret it. My two favorites are Sentimental Heart and Sweet Darlin’. And I have to thank Kim for nudging me in their direction.

I was going to include a little player with some of their songs, but it drives me crazy that it starts playing the second you come to my blog. Instead I will just provide you with a link to a site where you can listen for free, should you so choose!

Click here to listen.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Claire and Her iPod: A List

Okay, so I’m a pathetic copycat. I was reading one of my favorite blogs yesterday and she was playing a really cute little game that I am going to do too. But don’t worry, I’ll give provide a link to her blog, so you can all go read her blog instead of mine, since she is just so witty. You’ll probably see me mention her from time to time, since I have nothing better to do that read her blog and copy her ideas. But my copycatting is beside the point. On to the game!

The object of the game is to turn on your iPod (or iTunes on your computer), put it on random, and list the first 5 songs that come on. Then you explain (or defend) why on earth those particular songs are even on your iPod, and if you ever dare to subject your ears to them. I have to say that I’m very nervous. What if one of the Army Man’s weird songs come on, and I write about it and say that it’s his, I swear, please don’t judge me, but nobody believes me? I’ll be an outcast forever. More likely though, is that the embarrassing music will be mine and I will have no defense.

Here we go!

1. Mama Can’t Buy You Love by Elton John. Phew, we’re off to a good start. We all know how much I love Elton John. This isn’t my favorite of his songs, but it’s certainly not his worst. I don’t remember this song from when I listened to Elton John as a child, so this is one I came to love as adult. It’s actually a pretty good one.

2. Big Iron by Marty Robbins. I had to laugh when this song came on. I’m certainly not embarrassed by it, but it’s rather amusing that I haven’t listened to this song in ages and it comes on today when I’m writing my list. According to Wikipedia, Marty Robbins was “one of the most popular and successful American country and western singers of his era”. His era being the 60’s, if that gives you any idea of what his songs sounded like. His is the only country music on my 2,030 song iPod. Listening to this song is like watching an old Western. It has an actual plot. There’s a handsome Arizona Ranger and a bad guy named Texas Red. Plus it’s really catchy and reminds me of my parents. What more can a girl ask for in a song?

3. She Came In Through The Bathroom Window by The Beatles. Well, I guess this just disproves the Army Man’s theory that I don’t listen to the Beatles anymore. I wondered to myself if one of their songs would come on-as a young teenager, they were essentially the only music I listened to. I LOVED them. I probably would have been screaming and fainting at their concerts had I not been born in 1979. But oddly enough, as I got older, I got a little tired of them. Not sure how to explain it-maybe I had listened to a lifetime’s worth of their music in a 6 year stretch? But this song brings back good memories for me. Abbey Road was always my favorite album. The songs were so goofy, but not weird and creepy like some other ones I can name. On my CD (this was before iPods, sonny), this song would always segue right into Golden Slumbers which was another one of my favorites from the album. I am actually inspired to listen to this album again once I finish this list!

4. Come As You Are by Nirvana. I’m curious who bought this song on iTunes, me or the Army Man. I was the perfect age when Nirvana came out, yet I never listened to them. I didn’t approve of them at all, since I was listening to artists like Billy Joel and Marty Robbins, and looking down on my peers who would listen to such trash as Nirvana and Green Day. I thought they were horribly inappropriate, but I suppose I probably thought that since I knew my parents wouldn’t want me listening to them. So I discovered Nirvana when I was a bit older, maybe late high school. I enjoyed them, but never to the extent of many people my age. My favorite of their songs is “All Apologies”-a very quiet, sad song. Green Day though- I can’t tell you how mad I am that I ignored them for so long.

5. Black Water by the Doobie Brothers. This is probably one of the Army Man’s songs, but I’ll take ownership of it as well. I like the Doobie Brothers and this is actually one of my favorite songs from them. I DO like to hear some funky Dixie land every now and again, thank you very much. I can’t remember when I first started listening to them, probably back in high school when I was discovering classic rock and bemoaning the fact that I lived in the 90’s.

So that’s my list. And to shake things up a bit, I’m going to list my 5 top played songs on my iTunes on my computer. This will probably be more embarrassing that the other list.

1. Good Time Girl by Nancy Sinatra (LOVE this song)

2. Danny’s Song by Loggins & Messina (Seriously. I have no explanation. I understand if you stop reading my blog immediately. But for whatever reason, this song is really touching to me. The line “Even though we ain’t got money, I’m so in love with you honey, and everything will bring a chain of looooooove” just really gets me. It reminds me of when we were first married.)

3. Sentimental Heart by She & Him (I love this song. Thank you Kim, for telling me about them. I’ll write more on my blog one day about this group. Love. Them.)

4. Keeping the Faith by Billy Joel (My favorite Billy Joel song. It also has one of my favorite lines ever from a song: “Ain’t it wonderful to be alive when the rock-n-roll plays?” True that. Also, what is with singers using the word “ain’t”?)

5. Old Days by Chicago (I think this is my favorite Chicago song. I love Chicago. The city and the group.)

So what are your 5 random songs on your iPod? Do this post on your blog or leave your list in the comment area. Don’t be shy!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Finally, My TV Watching Matters

I got called last night by Nielsen Media Research to participate in the Nielsen Ratings for a week in March. I have to confess I am thrilled by this! I have to record all of my TV watching in a handy little booklet that they will provide, and that will be used to compile the rankings of different shows. As you may know, I love watching TV and it is quite exciting to know that my watching habits will represent my demographic. I hope I make all the 29 year old white girls out there proud, although I doubt I will since I don’t watch many of the shows that are popular in my age group.

I get $30 for my troubles and the excitement of recording my TV watching during one of the sweeps weeks. The Army Man pointed out that now we are going to see, in black-and-white, just how much TV we watch. I don't think it will be as bad as he predicts, because I watch much less TV than I used to. I suppose at the end of my week I will have to share just how many hours we watched. Just keep your fingers crossed that it's not all cartoons.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Puzzle Time

Picture day this time is Laura and Daddy working on a puzzle together. Yes, it’s a beer puzzle. But hey, they were having togetherness. And it turns out that Laura is actually really good at doing puzzles.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cupcakes and Milkbones

Last night I was working on my sewing machine while Laura played on the floor near Moxie. After a little while Laura started barking, something which is frequently heard in my home, and is usually courtesy of Laura, not Moxie. So I didn’t really pay attention to what was going on until a minute or two later, when she was still barking. I look over and saw that she was kneeling next to Moxie, barking at her. Moxie, who continues to prove herself to be the most patient dog in the world, was just laying there looking at Laura. When I looked over, Moxie gave me a look that said, “Lady, this kid is seriously crazy. Unless you start giving me more treats each day, I may have to hide under the deck for the rest of my life.” So in an attempt to keep Moxie from moving in under the deck, I asked Laura what she was doing. It turns out she was “talking” to Moxie and asking her what kind of treats she wants to have at our Valentine’s Day party.

So I learned two things. That Laura can speak dog and that I am having a Valentine’s Day party on Saturday which will feature both human and doggie treats.

Monday, February 9, 2009

It Would Be A Lot Cheaper If I Could Just Sing For My Supper

This won't be a funny post today, so if you don't want to be bummed out, please stop reading. But then again, don't become all depressed before you even read the post. It's not that bad! Today is mostly Claire complaining about the sad state of the world.

After dropping Laura off at preschool this morning I headed to Walmart. That in itself is an injustice, because I do not like shopping there. I do not approve of their business practices, I hate how crowded it is, I can't stand the long lines and the fact that the cashiers are practically robots who have forgotten how to speak (seriously, even a little 'hello' would make me happy).

This shopping trip was one of those short, hold you over until the big trip in a week, just getting milk, bread, and air filters type trip. I had about 10 things on my list, and about 10 more in my mind. That's all I bought. I did not deviate from the list, nothing caught my fancy that I just had to have (except the "tattoo" type bandaids that I bought for Laura instead of regular bandaids, but they were too cool to pass up). My cart was not that full. I waited in line and read about Jessica Simpson supposedly being fat at 135 pounds (give me a break!) while the cashier had some sort of predicament with the lady in front of me. Finally, it was my turn. My purchases were rung up, no words were spoken to me, and then my total appeared on the little computer screen.


I almost started crying there in lane 14 of Walmart. $117 for a few things that will likely last my family less than a week. I cannot even begin to comprehend how much money I am currently spending on groceries. We are a tiny family of 3. This is supposed to be one of the advantages of not having more kids, right? And to top it off, Laura is 4. She doesn't eat that much. If this is how much it costs now, what will it be like when she is older? And along the same lines, how in the world did my parents afford buying food for 4 kids (three of whom were teenagers around the same time)? It's a miracle they didn't have to sell their kidneys to pay for groceries.

I know part of the problem is that food prices are going up. I've seen it happening over the last few years. I pay attention to how much I usually spend on certain items, so I can tell when milk or cheese or pop is higher than normal. So part of it isn't my fault. And I know part of it is some of the things I buy-I do buy organic milk for Laura and the milk boxes I send in her lunch ($2.96 for a pack of 3) are ridiculously expensive. But some of the items I buy aren't all that expensive, so I think it evens out. I try to buy store brand where I can (cheese, yogurt, etc). I always meal plan so I know what I need to shop for when I'm at the store.

I'd like to think there is something to be done about how much I spend at the grocery store. Like if I really worked at it and carefully planned my meals and my purchases, that I could still prepare healthy, yummy food for my family without spending too much money. But I'm starting to think that it's really not possible. I'm starting to think that $117 will soon be my norm for a little shopping trip. That $250 is going to be my regular trip. That I may never buy new clothes again since all I am buying is food. That I'm going to have to train Moxie and Laura to do some sort of little circus act and tour them around the city earning money for dinner.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Laura At 52 Months

I wasn’t blogging back in October when Laura turned 4, so I never did a post all about her and what she’s like as a 4 year old. It’s almost better to do it now anyway, now that age 4 has been thoroughly broken in, and we know what it’s all about.

Since Laura as a 3 year old made me want to jump off my roof and then run into traffic, I laid in bed every night before her birthday, praying that 4 would be better. And guess what? It has been! Oh, there are still plenty of temper tantrums over trivial things such as the gruel I try to pass off as dinner, being banished from eating on the couch after Mommy found smashed pretzels under (and on) every cushion, markers that won’t cooperate, the sun shining in her eyes, or dogs named Moxie that happen to glance at her. All that probably makes Laura sound like a bad kid. And she’s not. She’s a really good kid, trapped in the body of a little girl who is extremely sensitive to her environment and has quite the temper. Those of you who know me know that she comes by at least one of those very honestly.

So what’s the improvement you ask? I think it boils down to a bit more maturity on her part. It’s still hard for Laura not to get frustrated when things don’t go her way, and it’s hard for her to be calm when things are too loud or too busy, but she has improved dramatically when it comes to handling all of those obstacles with more grace. She seems to gain control of herself much quicker these days, and is able to calm down in mere seconds whereas 2 or 3 year old Laura would dissolve in a 30 minute fit. I hate to put too much pressure on her because she’s still so young, but another thing that age 4 has brought us is improved responsibility. Laura is starting to improve so much in the areas of caring for herself, cleaning up after herself, and being safe. She has started (unprompted, I might add) to make her bed almost every morning, put her dirty clothes in the clothes hamper, and putting her toys away (although she has frequently just thrown them all in the closet and shut the door). Every so often she’ll take the Army Man’s giant water bottle into the bathroom and fill it up for him. Crossing the street or walking in a parking lot is no big deal anymore. She knows the drill. She’s memorized our phone number. She knows not to talk to strangers. She’s gotten so much better at brushing her teeth, swishing with her rinse, and flossing. She closes the door when she goes to the bathroom. Now at bath time she wants to wash her own hair. It’s bittersweet. I’m thrilled to see her blossoming into such a smart, helpful, and responsible girl, but it’s hard not to be needed as much. One of the best things about Laura being 4 is the conversations. I love that her vocabulary has exploded and that she understands so much now. She can convey her thoughts extremely well which is such a refreshing change from the collapsing she used to do when she couldn’t explain to me what it was that she wanted. The amount of hysterical laughter I have enjoyed due to her conversational skills is also worth noting. This child can remember almost anything and pull it out at the most random times. She recently referred to the Army Man as a “dirty boy” which I had called him about a month ago as I was bemoaning the absolute mess he had made with all of his Army things. She used that phrase as she explained to him that it doesn’t matter if she makes a mess in his truck since he is a dirty boy. I can’t really argue with that logic.

Laura can now wake up in the morning and tell me about her dreams from the night before. I ask her to remind me to do something later, and she does. We discuss what our plans are for the day. She helped me order a pair of shoes online last night; pointing out which ones she liked the best as we discussed the different styles and colors. How has all this happened in just 4 years? I remember shopping in the grocery store when she was brand new, with her in the Snugli. I remember, later, shopping with her sitting in the shopping cart, her babbling and me talking to her like she could understand every word. And now? She reminds me what I need to buy, she examines things and then places them in the cart for me, asks me questions about what I’m buying, makes food requests, tells a silly story or about something that happened at school.

I interviewed Laura while writing this, asking her to tell me about herself. She was very preoccupied with Valentine’s Day at the time, and talked extensively about all the presents and treats she was going to make and wrap and give to her friends. Laura is a sweet, caring little girl who loves to read, color, watch TV, comb hair, play outside, harass Moxie, jump on her Daddy, wrap presents, snuggle, blow bubbles, and play princesses. She loves dresses, tights, headbands, books, oatmeal, mac-and-cheese, and any type of shoes. Her scream can be heard from blocks away and makes Moxie perk up. She wishes she had a swing set. She loves to save money in her piggy bank. She doesn’t get it when I give her the evil eye. She talks loudly almost all of the time. She’s sensitive. She has to be physically restrained to have splinters removed. She's not afraid to get dirty. She plays rough with the boys at school but loves to take care of her dolls. She wants to be a Mommy when she grows up. She calls me her “sweet-sweet Mommy” which is the best thing I have ever been called.

I love you, Baby Lady.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Gum: To Chew Or Not To Chew

Isn't it interesting that the rules our parents imposed on us as kids seemed so darn unfair, and yet seem so reasonable now that we ourselves are parents? Case in point: gum. I wasn't allowed to chew gum as a child. I was always infuriated at this rule, and vowed that my child could chew gum no matter what! Now that Laura is here, and could potentially choke on that unassuming piece of gum, I'm sure you can guess that I changed my mind.

As you may or may not know, choking is essentially my biggest fear in children. This is why: When my youngest brother was little, about 1 or a little older, I was 14 or 15 and was in charge of him. He managed to find a leaf, and shoved that yummy leaf straight into his mouth. Then he proceeded to choke on it. It was one of the worst moments of my life. I thought he was going to die in my arms. You can't really do the Heimlich maneuver on a baby choking on a leaf, so the only thing I could do was open his mouth, stick my hand in, fish around for it, and finally, finally, pull it out. In retrospect, I'm sure he was not actually choking, because he was making noise, but still, it was horrible. I felt so powerless, so scared, so unsure of what to do.

Flash-forward to Laura's arrival. I was constantly obsessed with keeping her safe from choking. As she got older and started eating, she was always gagging and choking on her food (turns out her tonsils were huge and she couldn't swallow properly, but that problem is now solved!) So that only increased my fear of choking. And now here I am, terrified of choking, with a 4 year old who wants nothing more than to chew a piece of gum. And I absolutely will not let her.

This is a hard rule to enforce, since we chew a lot of gum in our house (the Army Man in particular). I hate having a "do as I say, not as I do" type of rule. I would always tell Laura that she had to wait until she was older, and she finally wore me down enough that I agreed to age 5 as the magic gum chewing age. On the way to school this morning, she reminded me, as she often does, that "when I am a big 5 year old I can chew gum!" Sigh. I can't go back on my word, yet I'm still not ready for her to chew gum.

But I'm starting to think that maybe she won't be ready then either. When we were at the dentist a few weeks ago for her conscious sedation, they offered her a piece of gum to chew after she had to swallow the medicine (to get the bad taste out, I assume). She wasn't allowed to drink water and I felt so bad for her, so I told her she was allowed to chew this piece of gum, that it was okay. I unwrapped it and handed it to her (it was a tiny piece of Trident) and she looked at it, turned it over a few times, and handed it back to me, saying "no thanks". I told her again that she could have it, it was fine with me, just chew on it and don't swallow it. Again she said she didn't want it, and snuggled a little deeper into my arms.

I wish I knew why she refused the gum. Did she just not want it? Have I pushed my fear of choking onto her? Did she think it was a test or something? Was she trying to make me happy? I guess I'll never know, but I have to admit, I'm glad she didn't take it. I'm not ready yet to see her be "big" enough to chew gum. As weird as it sounds, I feel like she won't be my little girl anymore. She'll be a big kid, and I'm just not ready for that yet.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Moxie Waves. Kind Of.

I’d like to share with all of you one of my biggest accomplishments as of late. I taught my dog to “wave” her paw. I embarked on this mission with visions of her being on a TV show, waving her paw in the air to bid farewell to her owner as she set out on a dramatic mission to rescue the President. As time wore on, I decided I would even settle for her being in a dog food commercial. While I finally came to my senses and now doubt that fame will ever actually happen, it was very satisfying to bend my dog to my will and force her to do foolish things in exchange for treats. She looks a little goofy while she waves, but we’re working on that. However I’m concerned that since she’s my dog, the goofy may be incurable.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Picture Day

Okay, so I’m giving up on Wordless Wednesday. People like me just aren’t meant to try to convey thought without words. I’ve seen enough photographs in my day to know what a true photographer can do. I’m more the posed, documenter of important events type of photographer. My pictures need explanation. Like last week, I thought it was so obvious that the tiny patch of snow I photographed was our snowman (you could kind of see his nose). Plus I thought it was so cute how you could see Moxie looking out the window. But none of that transferred very well and even the Army Man asked me why I had put up such a lame picture (I maturely told him “whatever!”)

So, about once a week, I will try to do a post that I am now calling “Picture Day”. I do tend to post pictures a lot, but I will do this regularly just in case it’s been a while since I’ve done pictures. Plus, it is kind of forcing me to take more pictures which is always a good thing. And this way I’m not forced to do it on Wednesday. I don’t like being bound by such restrictions!

Today will be my first Picture Day. This time it is all about me. I know the majority of my readers are here to read about Laura, and I don’t blame them. She’s much cuter than me. But I got my hair cut last night and wanted to share a picture. I got it cut pretty short, and that crash you just heard was my Mom falling out of her chair, because she hates short hair on me. But not to worry! It’s actually not short at all. She thought I meant short like how it used to be, so short that someone once called me “Sir” when viewing me from behind (in my defense I was about 19, very skinny, and in my grocery store uniform which wasn’t all that feminine. But still, not cool.) I am including past photos to show just how short my hair used to be, then how long it got to be, and now, what I deem “short” hair. Drumroll please. So here I am in March 2006. See, you do get to see Laura after all! This was actually not the shortest my hair has ever been. It looks really nice here, because I had just gotten it cut. I have crazy amounts of hair, and short hair was never a good idea. It would get too big and crazy and I was never happy with it. So in October 2006 I made the decision to finally grow out my hair, and my bangs. I had had bangs my entire life, and I'm STILL not used to what I look like without them. I really think I look quite odd and keep wanting to bring them back. You all know this picture. This was from December (my birthday, to be exact). While posting this picture I realized I don't have a lot of pictures that show just my hair. I guess from now on I will have to make a bigger effort to photograph my hair. I think at it's longest my hair was a bit longer than this picture. This picture does show me without bangs though. Don't I look odd?
And here is the picture I took of myself in the mirror this morning. I see I am wearing the same sweater. That is because it is the only sweater I have, so please send me some more clothes! I think the difference is very noticeable, although no one that I saw today said anything. But that is probably because my hair is always up and they likely have no idea how long my hair used to be. I got about 3-4 inches cut off, plus I have some amount of bangs again. I also look very tired.

So thanks for being a good sport and looking at pictures of my hair. I bet that was exciting for you! Next picture day I will try to do something more interesting.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Sometimes My Daughter Scares Me

Laura was goofing off in my bedroom this morning, jumping around on the bed and generally trying to bring some mayhem to my day. I kept telling her to calm down, be careful, stop trying to give me a heart attack before I turn 30, etc. At one point I asked her why she was jumping like that. She stopped, looked me straight in the eye, and said, "Because that's what the voice in my head told me to do".


I casually began questioning her about this voice, trying to find out exactly how much therapy my daughter was going to need. Does this voice always tell her what to do? (Yes) Is the voice just her brain telling her what to do? (No) Does the voice have a name? (Umm....maybe Katie) Where does the voice come from? (The bones in my head)

Eventually she had had enough of my questions and told me that the voice was just always there to talk to her. She didn't want to talk about it anymore. I started to calm down and told her a little story about how sometimes Mommy talks to herself in her head, thinking about what she has to do that day, what she might wear, who she needs to call. To which Laura replied, "Oh. Well that's a lot different than what I do. I don't talk to myself, I have a voice in my head". Sigh. For now I comfort myself by thinking that Laura is indeed referring to her inner monologue and not Katie, the crazy daredevil who has invaded her head.

But wait, the day isn't over yet! Later as we got out of the car to go into a store, I noticed Laura's right hand was red and looked all scratched up. I asked Laura what happened to her, and she told me that she was just biting her hand while we rode in the car. I have it on good authority from the Army Man that lots of kids do this, so I wasn't as worried as I was over the voice. So I told Laura she needed to stop doing that before she hurt herself. She sighed, the kind of sigh a little girl shouldn't know how to do, and said, "But Mommy, I haven't learned yet not to do that!" I told her this was her official lesson not to do it, but she didn't buy that. She said she needs to learn on her own.

I know I say this a lot, but what is this girl going to be like as a teenager?