Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Case of Bad--and Good--Timing

Sure, now that Christopher is finally home from his latest out-of-town trip, marking the end of three solid weeks during which I was basically unable to exercise due to 1.) being the only parent at home with no way to leave the babies to go for a run, 2.) being out of town as a family for the Thanksgiving holiday with no room in my suitcase to pack outdoor running clothes and shoes on top of the mammoth amount of baby/kid gear we were already taking (shut up, that's my excuse and I'm sticking with it), and 3.) being, again, the only parent at home with no way to leave the babies to go for a run-- well, after all that, now that I can actually leave my house alone (or at all!) it is 7 degrees outside with a major snowstorm predicted for the day after tomorrow. Have I mentioned I've been running on sugar and caffeine for three straight days? (Shut up, how else am I going to keep up with these girls by myself, less than two weeks after doing it the last time, when one is sick and the other prefers throwing temper tantrums to napping? YOU try it.) Have I mentioned I'm only making, like, two drops of breast milk per day anymore? Not exactly a big calorie-burner, people. Maybe I shouldn't have eaten all that pumpkin pie. After all, would YOU want to go running in a blizzard?

November has kind of sucked so far.

However. Have I told you about my new dining room table, the one I waited almost 37 years for, that will--at LAST!--actually fit four to six people around it? It has arrived. Sure, it's in boxes in our garage, but sometime--maybe even sometime soon--I will have a grown-up, large, dining room table in my tiny little dining room. I will be able to have more than one other person over for dinner. We will all have room for our dinner plates AND our silverware on the table. No one will have to stand, eat at the coffee table, or pretend not to notice that our table is the size of a Sit-'n'-Spin.

Christopher and I have made a lot of sacrifices, as a family, to ensure parent-only childcare for our babies. I left my career--for now, anyway--to raise the girls, academia doesn't pay very well, and thus we don't have a lot of things many of our peers have. (Of COURSE it goes without saying that we have a lot of things many people DON'T have, as well. I know this.) Our house is relatively small, and attached. We don't travel or buy new clothes on a regular basis. Sometimes, when I'm feeling particularly devoid of gratitude for this life I should be so grateful for, it seems like everything we own is too old, too small, too outdated, too spare. And it's hard to justify buying new things when you're not putting anything, each month, into that pathetic savings account.

But then I think about this new dining room table, and how sure, it's a splurge, even on sale from a mid-range mass marketer. And how yes, of course we could be putting that money into college accounts for the girls. And even how to some people it's nothing fancy or all that special. But to me, it's a symbol of family warmth and love--to be able to gather everyone around the table!--and something I've wanted for a very, very long time. It's worth the price. It makes me feel grateful--not for yet another material object to compare with everyone else's (bigger? nicer? more expensive? prettier?)--but for what it represents to me, in my own mind: family, children growing up around it, dinners together, craft projects and cookie-baking and homework. Thanksgiving dinners. Weekend breakfasts. The heart of a family.

My new dining room table--even in boxes in the garage--makes November better. Want to come over for dinner?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Foiled Again

The other night I was compelled to break out the trusty Medela Pump In-Style. (Seriously, people: who named this machine? Could it have a more ridiculous name? I think not.)

Do you know what I got for my troubles? One ounce, people. COMBINED. Yep, that's both sides.

OK, so I've read that the baby can obtain roughly twice what a breast pump can, being, you know, a baby and not an unnatural, motorized pump. But that still only comes out to two ounces of milk per feeding. Since I recently cut down to three instead of four nursings a day--feeling that I could probably do that, seeing as how my baby is FIFTEEN MONTHS OLD--that comes out to only six (or so) ounces of milk per day. Six. Ounces.

SIGH.

Let me tell you something: 15-month-old babies are supposed to drink more than six ounces of milk per 24-hour period. In fact, I believe the general consensus is something like 16 ounces, though don't quote me on that. Of course, most 15-month-old babies are drinking cow's milk from a cup at all their meals, or if not cow's milk, perhaps soy, or rice, or lactose-free, or something. Most babies aren't reliant on nursing alone to get all their needed milk-based nutrition.

It's pretty crazy, because when Genevieve was a newborn, I had oodles of milk, way more milk than necessary. I guess my body is tired and old and saggy, and figures, hey, the baby is 15 months old now, she surely doesn't need a whole lot each time, so how about if we just kind of lie here and phone it in? Because surely she's almost weaned. Right?

After my initial dismay and panic, not only did I research "herbs for increasing milk supply" online (and people: do you know how weird it feels to be researching ways to increase milk supply for a 15-month-old? All the articles refer to newborns who aren't getting enough milk, to panicked newly postpartum mamas trying to get the hang of things. Not exactly my situation.), but I also glugged some chocolate milk into a sippy and slapped it down on the highchair tray in front of Genevieve, resigning myself to the last resort. (Internets: this was advised by our pediatrician. I do not take lightly the idea of feeding my baby chocolate milk. Believe me.)

At two meals and one snack yesterday, Genevieve wouldn't even try it. She could tell it wasn't water in the sippy, so apparently she knew I was trying to persuade her to ingest another milk-related substance, and she wasn't having it. But today she took a swig before realizing the liquid inside wasn't clear.

Guess whose baby DOESN'T EVEN LIKE CHOCOLATE MILK? Is she even human?

This morning I added that fourth nursing back into the day. Because apparently I'm going to be nursing this child forever.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Soldier On

Today Genevieve woke up with a cold so severe that by bedtime she was completely unable to nurse. I've had stuffed-up babies before, but never so stuffed-up they literally could not breathe--at ALL--while nursing. Poor Vivi latched on three times, trying valiantly to soothe her miserable self to sleep, but each time as the seconds ticked by she became increasingly panicked, kicking her legs and finally popping off to gasp for breath and then, in a truly heartbreaking display, crumple her little face into dismayed, confused tears. After the third try, over her wailing, I asked her, just to be sure, "Vivi, do you want to try any more nursing? Nursing, Vivi?" and all she could do was shake her head vehemently as the tears dripped down her cheeks. I put her to bed after a book and a lullaby, milk-less, sick, a total sad sack.

I haven't nursed now since 2 p.m., and I don't know what the morning will bring, so I guess I'm going to have to dig the trusty old breast pump out of the storage closet. The breast pump! Can you imagine? That old thing, now? Would you ever think, when you're plugging in that annoying contraption five million times a day to stock the freezer for your newborn, that you'd be needing its services at 15 months? No, because you'd never guess you'd end up with a baby so stubborn she won't drink cow's (or any other) milk and therefore you're it, mama, so get pumping; after all, at 15 months no doubt your breasts are so tired that if the baby skips a nursing they're liable to go Woo-hoo, we're finally off duty! and immediately halt all milk production in a frenzy of relief. Wouldn't you?

Anyway, speaking of trials, before dinner I dragged my sorry self outside for a run, after two weeks off from working out. You know: last week was the holiday trip out of town, and the week before I couldn't leave the house without the babies because of Christopher being gone on his business trip. Also because of being comatose with exhaustion. There was that, too.

I'm a fairly passionate exerciser, but boy, after two weeks off I can sure see how people become sedentary. I felt like I had SO MUCH TIME to get things done when I wasn't also racing to fit a run or other workout session into my day. Seriously, I was a lot less stressed. But you know, I also recognize that when one is on the verge of entering a five-week period of gorging one's self (I mean, partaking of in moderation) on eggnog, pumpkin pie, fudge, candy canes, gingerbread men, and assorted Christmas cookies, it probably isn't the best time to give up all exercise. So, you know, I went for my run. With a fairly minimal amount of wheezing and limping. (Did I mention I have a major pinched nerve in my neck? That rendered me completely unable to move at 3 a.m. last Saturday? That required me to filch my mom's leftover Darvocet from a past root canal to get through the day? And that now I am simply refusing to acknowledge, because it is driving me crazy and listen, neck: I don't have TIME FOR A PINCHED NERVE, hear me?! Um, yeah, so...there's that.)

I feel like all this ridiculousness should add up to some kind of wise, reflective little lesson. Paralyzing pinched nerve, sick baby can't nurse, forcing yourself to do the hilly run after two weeks off, contemplating three more days of solo (and car-less!) parenting to come: doesn't it seem like there should be a takeaway moral in there somewhere? Maybe, "Persevere, tired breasts"? Or, "When you're throwing back the eggnog guilt-free, those sloggy runs will be worth it"? Or, "Suck it up, lady, there's still a lot of mothering to go, so soldier on"?

I don't know. But the breast pump is calling, so...soldier on.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Home Sweet Home

You know those people who get those vehicles with portable DVD players in them, to entertain the children on long road trips? I am in serious envy of those people. Or, rather, on our Thanksgiving driving trek, when Julia didn't nap at all and Genevieve napped for a total of 30 minutes (out of a six-hour car trip that spanned both morning and afternoon naptimes), and Julia began asking "WHEN will we EVER get to Nonna and Boppa's house?!" when we were ONE-HALF MILE FROM OUR DRIVEWAY, well, that's when I was in serious envy of those people. And on the way home, when everything repeated itself in reverse.

In between those two rides, we ate a lot and the girls suffered various degrees of non-sleep due to holiday excitement and noise and unfamiliar beds and we met our local friends who were also up in northern Minnesota for the holiday and took our combined four girls to see Santa at the mall (only one of the four dared sit with him for a photo) and much family socializing occurred. Mostly involving pie.

And then amidst the holiday goings-on we learned of a death in Christopher's extended family and of a serious health crisis in mine, and now Christopher is arranging to get back on the road (by himself this time) in a day or so for the funeral in a remote part of the country, and the girls and I are bracing for another challenging week.

And planning to never, ever take these two babies on a long road trip ever again. Well, OK, maybe not never. But a DVD player may need to be involved.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Stone Soup, with Spoons

It is 9:30 p.m. That's two hours past Julia's normal bedtime. She is still awake. Christopher just went in to check on her. When he came out, he reported that she told him she can't sleep: she's "too excited" about the fact that her class is making soup tomorrow at preschool.

OK. Admittedly, some of why she's not sleeping is because this afternoon the earth tilted mysteriously on its axis and she took a nearly three-hour nap. But, people: doesn't a small part of you sort of wish you were three years old again, when the prospect of making a collaborative soup (each kid gets to bring an ingredient! only we got assigned the spoons! not very exciting! but oh so necessary!), in conjunction with reading the book "Stone Soup", to celebrate a non-specific but still festive "Feast Day" at nursery school, was so deliciously exciting that you couldn't sleep because of it?

There are very few things so exciting they keep me awake at night. (There are plenty of things that keep me awake at night, but very few things that keep me awake because they are joyously exciting.)

I guess I'm a grown-up.

I wish making soup thrilled me to my wide-awake bones.

Stubborn Fifteen Months Old


Today was Genevieve's 15-month well-baby checkup at the pediatrician. She weighs 22 lbs., 9 oz., and is 30 inches tall, making her still a peanut compared to her sister at the same age (who was four pounds heavier, a couple of inches taller). But really, overall Genevieve's pretty average.

When I asked the doctor's advice about Vivi's continued refusal to drink (cow's) milk (thus requiring me to continue nursing her multiple times a day; oh Lord, I'm a die-hard breastfeeder, but mercy me, it's getting a little crazy-making to be still tied to my baby four times a day, including wake-up and bedtime, thus making any attempt to, oh, I don't know--get away for more than a few hours at time? have someone else put the baby to bed? sleep in?--well, making all that impossible), she recommended I try to give Vivi soy milk.

We came home for lunch, I put some soy in Vivi's sippy, she tried it, and then made a face and pushed the cup off her highchair tray.

So much for THAT.

Friday, November 16, 2007

How Dire Was It?

As I write this, Christopher is due home from his business trip in less than an hour. All I can say about that is, thank God. Wednesday and yesterday weren't too bad; I didn't sleep well, so I was dead tired, but the days were pretty uneventful and I managed to get through the hardest things to do alone, like nurse the baby to "sleep" at bedtime with a three-year-old sitting two feet away, or cook dinner with both girls hanging on me and whining, without totally losing it.

But today was pretty dire. These are some of the things that occurred:

Julia's cough turned into a full-blown sneezing/running nose disaster, with, at one point, an entire change of clothes necessitated by a particularly dramatic sneeze. Then she got super-spaced-out from the Benadryl I gave her, causing her to lie on the couch for most of the playgroup we hosted this morning.

The huge, noisy delivery truck bringing some new mail-ordered home furnishings arrived promptly at 1 p.m.--naptime--despite my having been told it would likely come around ten.

Both girls were up from nap by two.

After which, Julia basically had meltdowns the entire rest of the day.

Including the shrieking, ridiculous tantrum she had in the middle of Genevieve's post-nap nursing, which caused Genevieve to become totally terrified, begin crying, and then hiccup worriedly during the rest of her nursing session.

I raised my voice an awful lot. "Raised my voice" is a polite way to describe what I did.

Genevieve picked up the cat's full water bowl, walked away with it unnoticed, and dumped it all over the floor. So then I was mopping.

By 5 p.m. I had already allowed Julia to watch three different DVDs today (UN. HEARD. OF. Now you know how bad it was.).

For dinner, I served the girls a frozen Amy's burrito, dry Cheerios (Genevieve), and a handful of almonds (Julia).

While I was cleaning up after dinner, Genevieve hung on my knees and screamed as hard as she could until I picked her up and did the rest of the clean-up, including vacuuming the dining room (what genius decided to put carpet in the dining area?), with a 24-pound baby on my hip.

I skipped both baths because the thought of having to give two baby baths made me want to cry. Oh, did I say "want to"? I mean, made me cry. For the fifth or sixth time since noon. Did I mention that Julia's hair hasn't been washed since Christopher was home last?

I put them both to bed before 6:30 p.m. (both! which means Julia too! who normally goes to bed at 7:30!) for no other reason than the fact that I could not tolerate even one more minute of baby/toddler-parenting. The only way to get a break was to put them to bed. So I did. (By the way, they were both silent within three minutes.)

I was supposed to edit an essay for an online magazine and re-submit it by today. I didn't get a chance to because by the girls' bedtime each night I've been completely comatose and unable to do anything other than watch TLC.

I hate today. I hate that tomorrow it's time to start preparing to go out of town for Thanksgiving, which comes unforgivably early this year. Because when you're going on a road trip with a preschooler and a baby, it takes you two or three days just to make the packing list. And then another couple days to actually pack up your entire household to go. All the while you really should be feeling THANKFUL.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Secondborn


Poor, second-baby Vivi. Totally gets the shaft. Has 3/4 of one baby-photo album filled so far, at 15 months old (today!). To Julia's 3-1/2 currently-filled photo albums, at three years old, including the GIANT, ENORMOUS, GARGANTUAN baby album that was already filled by the time she was SIX MONTHS OLD. Six months old, people.

Vivi: no home-movie DVDs yet made of her infancy. Julia: four home-movie DVDs by the time she was 15 months old.

Vivi: someone blinked and smiled at her, for, like, two seconds, the first time she held a hairbrush to her skull and pretended to brush her hair. Julia: it's on home video.

Vivi: doesn't know the parts of the face yet, or any of the sounds farm animals make. Julia: quizzed regularly by ten months old. Answered correctly.

Poor Vivi! I mean, she's such a total character, such a treasured little baby bear; we love her with a ferocity that is probably unapparent in our neglectful archiving of her babyhood, our lack of studiousness when it comes to teaching "baa-baa" and No, Vivi, that's a NOSE.

And yet: maybe it's okay in the end. Maybe your big sister's undying adoration kind of makes up for your hardscrabble second-born circumstances, if you're that second baby, parented by default and distraction. Because all day long, I hear things like this: Oh Vivi, did you get a bump? Vivi, do you need a hug? Vivi, I will dance with you! I will read to you! Mama, Vivi needs her nose wiped! Mama, Vivi needs her diaper changed! Can I touch her cute baby belly? Can I touch her little feet? Doesn't Vivi look so cute, Mama? Oh Mama, I just love her baby cheeks.

And this: Oh Mama, I just love Vivi.

And this: I just love her.

And: Vivi, I just love you.

Agenda

Trying to decide if I should work really hard to somehow muster the time and motivation (not to mention energy) to work out on the elliptical trainer sometime today (when? after the girls are in bed, I guess? because I used up naptime already, doing all the other things I need to get done), since, obviously, I can't go for a run without anyone else at home with the girls--or if being home alone with the babies while Christopher is on a three-day business trip is enough reason to say Forget it! Who needs a workout when you're sustaining life over here?

Also trying to decide if I should really try to get the upstairs carpet vacuumed (but when? because the baby is terrified of the vacuum, and there's no one here to take her so I can run it. although I could hold her on one hip and vacuum the upstairs one-armed, which I've done before, although it gave me some sort of shoulder injury. doesn't seem worth it. despite the level of dust and cat hair, and the fact that I'm hosting playgroup here tomorrow morning).

Um, I think I'm losing some sort of battle with my daily to-do list.

Two to Go

Day one, down! Yes, people, I survived my first day of Christopher's "business" trip just fine, thank you very much. And it isn't that I doubt I'll survive this trip, that I doubt I'll be just fine. It's that I dislike being the only parent running the household and taking care of the babies for several days in a row. It makes me tired. And crabby. More than usual, I mean.

Anyway, yesterday was, as I said, fine, especially after Julia got some sleep in the afternoon and stopped impersonating a teenager. Oh sure, we did resort to a 20-minute "drive" at 11:20 in the morning, usually a sign of true desperation, but really, things weren't all that bad. We were bored but there wasn't enough time before lunch to actually go and DO anything. And Julia asked to go. (How bored must a kid be to ask to go for a drive?)

Thanks to a dear friend who truly gets it, we had a mercy playdate yesterday afternoon, during which the three-year-olds got to make treats to eat for snack, and the babies toddled around putting baby-dolls to sleep under washcloths. Genevieve, who is scared of anything made of yarn and resembling a frayed rope, at one point took my hand and walked me over to the other side of the room to contemplate a yarn pom-pom-ball on the floor (the kind on the top of stocking caps). I had to actually hide it behind the telephone before she would resume playing. Poor little honey. Oh, she also made the other mama hide the Raggedy Ann doll. That scary hair, you know.

The worst part of being alone so far--and it's always thus--is that I hardly slept. I mean, I slept even less well than I usually do, which is saying quite a lot since I am a star insomniac. You'd think, since Mr. Snore-tastic is away, I'd be sleeping great, but I'm a total wimp about being alone in the house at night. I hear every tiny sound, like the furnace and the cat, and I lie in bed imagining someone breaking in. Truly, I do. Isn't that ridiculous? For a grown adult? Must be too many "Law and Order" episodes in my history. Damnit! Love that show. But what ends up happening is that I stay up late, monitoring the baby monitors (ooo, so nerve-wracking: waiting for someone to cry), then I fitfully sleep in my bed with a light on somewhere nearby, and then I wake up super-early before it's really morning. Then I get up and start my day. Um, yeah, not exactly a formula for having energy for chasing young children around from sun-up to sundown.

Speaking of, my coffee is calling. The babies are still asleep! I should be using this time to get dressed or pull my questionable hair into a questionable ponytail. Bye for now.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Good Morning to You, Too

Conversation at our house this morning:

Julia, downstairs talking to Christopher: Daddy, can we do "Baby Dance"? [a toddler dance/movement DVD we own]
Christopher: No, not right now, honey. Probably later today.
Julia, whining: But why NOT? I want to do "Baby Dance"!
Christopher: Because Genevieve is going to go down for her nap pretty soon.
Me, calling down from upstairs: You and Vivi can do "Baby Dance" later, when I'm making your lunch, like we always do.
Julia, petulant: Mama! I wasn't WORRIED about it! Why are you talking to me?
Me: I'm just having a conversation with you.
Julia: Mama, why do you ALWAYS HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH ME?!
Me, rolling my eyes so far backward they're practically stuck in my skull even now: Good question.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Amazing Baby

The other day the girls and I checked an old favorite out of the library, the charming board book "I Kissed the Baby!" by Mary Murphy. In it, the animals are all abuzz over a new baby in their midst, and they joyfully compare notes with each other: "I kissed the baby! Did you kiss the baby?"; "I sang to the baby! Did you sing to the baby?" At the end, a mama duck responds to one excited query by saying, "Of course I kissed the baby, my own amazing baby", and we find out that the baby in question is a quacking yellow duckling.

Yesterday Julia said to me, "Mama, Vivi is my own amazing baby."

Seriously, now: how sweet is that?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Those Airplane Rides? You Can Read for Pleasure During Them. Also Drink. Also Nap.

The day after tomorrow, Christopher leaves on a three-day business trip where he will eat meals prepared by someone other than himself, stay at a hotel where there will be a big bed, cable TV, and no baby monitors, and presumably have at least a small amount of free time (like, for instance, while on the airplane) to leisurely read magazines and sip coffee. Oh sure, he prefers to focus on the fact that he will be attending a work conference and going out to dinner with people he does not know. As if that's going to make me feel sorry for him. Since the main activities around this house lately seem to include fussing, crying, whining, teething, coughing in my face every five seconds, and repeating the phrase "Mama what did you say?" ten million times a day (seriously, people: what is it with three-year-olds? Are they literally unable to hear? I do not understand.), I'm not exactly crying him a river.

You may recall that the last time Christopher left me alone with the babies for multiple days in a row, I became Crabby, Impatient, Not Very Nice Mom, a persona I detest and dread but seem unable to prevent from taking over my body when I am the only parent on duty, break-free, from wake-up to bedtime (and beyond!) for more than, say, one day at a time. And maybe even for only one day.

Sometimes I hear of moms of older kids who make something special out of the times when Daddy goes on a business trip: plan special outings and activities, eat dessert for dinner, camp out in sleeping bags on the living room floor or let the children sleep in mom and dad's bed just this once. Kind of a party-atmosphere, to-heck-with-the-normal-routine endeavor, designed to get everyone through the week and create fun and excitement out of something that might otherwise be difficult or, at the very least, a bit of a bummer. I always think that sounds like a lot of fun, and it does allow me to see into the future to a time when being home alone with the girls might be an adventure, not a nonstop need-meeting marathon. But what I always come back to is the knowledge that we're just not at that stage yet, as a family. My children are too young; I'm still in the thick of things like nursing and diaper changing and wiping multiple bottoms other than my own, two naps a day and cutting up everyone's food into miniscule, non-chokable pieces. I have babies in the house; I don't have the kind of mothering life, yet, that can include throwing schedules and routine to the wind.

So think of me later this week, when I'll be attempting to resist poking my own eye out with a stick when I am forced to repeat the simplest comment five times in a row until I DON'T CARE ANYMORE, NEVER MIND, IF I HAVE TO SAY IT ONE MORE TIME MY HEAD WILL FLY RIGHT OFF MY NECK AND BOUNCE ACROSS THE ROOM. And when I'm not only the one to go in and fix the twisted blanket at midnight, but also the one to give more teething medicine at two a.m., change the wet sheets from the leaking diaper at five, and nurse the baby at six. Send some patient vibes my way, won't you? Maybe also a pint of Ben and Jerry's for every solo-parenting evening (I've mentioned that I'm still nursing four times a day, haven't I?), a double-shot espresso for each early morning, and the promise of being paid back, handsomely, at some point in the future.

Thank you.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

My Last Piece

Over at MotherVerse today, I'm finishing up my guest-writer stint with a piece about trying to find time to write. Fittingly, I finished it with a baby grabbing at my fingers and a three-year-old saying, "Mama, is dinner ready yet?" over and over.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

(Don't) Save the Date

I've got a little piece up at MotherVerse today, about foregoing date night in order to pay the water bill. And still remaining happily married.

Moms: What Would YOU Do?

I don't typically ask for parenting advice from the Internet, because a.) Are you kidding me? There are a lot of crazies out there, and b.) I'm almost always perfectly comfortable with what I'm already doing (or planning to do). Oh, and c.) Lot of crazies.

But this time I'm open to suggestions. In fact, I'm actively soliciting them. From other moms, ideally. Who have experienced something like this, even more ideally. Or who, at least, can imagine it happening at some point.

It's official: Julia has a bully. OK, that's a little too simplistic. Let me explain.

Remember "Oscar" (not his real name)? The preschool classmate who knocked her onto the floor a week or so back? Well, a lot has transpired since then, mostly in the form of Julia being knocked to the ground and/or hit every day of preschool since then. So far, this child has physically attacked my child four times. So, what's going on?

I've talked with the teachers. They are properly upset by this child's behavior, and (after I made it clear that I want to be told by a teacher every time it occurs) they inform me daily what's going on. Julia's head teacher has told me that this child lashes out physically--out of the blue, without the slightest provocation--at other children too, not just Julia. She informed me that "Oscar" is currently being assessed for EBD (emotionally/behaviorally disordered)/special education status, and that one of the assistant teachers is currently assigned to be one-on-one with him throughout the preschool morning--although, obviously, it's not always possible to do that when the assistant is one of five teachers for 30 children in three different classrooms. And, clearly, it's not always possible to prevent "Oscar" from hurting other children even with this type of monitoring.

From what I can gather--and from what I've heard from another mom who witnessed one of the incidents--the occurrences are being handled appropriately: "Oscar" is quickly reprimanded and removed from the situation, Julia is immediately comforted and checked to make sure she is okay. She doesn't cry; after the first two incidents, she didn't even tear up. At first she was terribly shocked, confused, and somewhat worried about returning to school. Now she seems resigned and a little ho-hum about this boy, though also completely confused by him. Why would anyone run over to you and smack you as you sit quietly playing Play-Doh all by yourself at the clay table? Why would someone race up to you on the playground and out of the blue knock you onto your back on the mulch? (Why, indeed?)

So, moms. What would you do?

Anyone who has ever been a teacher, childcare provider, or pediatric mental-health practitioner knows that you can't always prevent a child from acting out physically, no matter what you do or how you feel about such behavior. Part of me is very angry, upset, and (mainly) sad for my daughter (if you knew her, you'd really understand how shocking this is; I don't think I'm being too biased when I say she's just about the most innocent, sweet-natured, quiet, well-behaved baby rose in the world). But part of me, also, asks, Well, what do I expect the school to do about it, really? Kick "Oscar" out of preschool? Move him out of the Tuesday-Thursday session so he can then go and hit other children, in other classes on other days instead? Yell at his parents? No, of course not.

But it also doesn't feel right to just take the daily report at preschool pick-up ("Julia got hit again today") with resignation and no apparent plan of action for making sure my child doesn't keep getting hit or knocked over every single time she goes to school.

Any ideas, Internet moms?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Indoor Exercise, Part Two

Oh, and how could I initiate a discussion of indoor exercise (so to speak) and forget to include the following photo?

I like to call it: "How a Busy Mama Stays Fit"

Indoor Exercise

This is just a quick apology for how little I have to say on this site this week. But wait, maybe you're relieved. I've finally shut my mouth for awhile! Amazing.

Anyway, it seems that guest-writing at the MotherVerse blog for these two weeks has drained me of any and all additional writing content or motivation. Good thing I didn't pursue that two-posts-a-day-required paid blogging gig I was offered late last week, on a topic I know nothing about! Yikes. Needless to say I was both flattered and grateful to the very thoughtful and generous writer who tried to talk me into it. But more than that I was disappointed to realize that, much as I would have loved to accept the job offer, there is no way on earth I could have written two posts a day on this particular topic. I would have had to spend all day researching the topic, to try to find something to write. You know, while the babies sort of, um....took care of themselves. Sigh.

Anyway! Last night our family attended a little "family fun night" at Julia's preschool. The highlight was watching overtired Genevieve, already a half hour past her bedtime when the fun began, attempt to walk on stilts. OK, so they were those overturned-bucket-style "stomper" preschool toys, but let's just say they were still beyond her. That Vivi--she'll try pretty much anything. This week her main obsession has been joining Julia for their little "Baby Dance" DVD, where they run around with props like hats and maracas trying to do all the dance steps with the teacher on the TV. They love it and would do it all day if I let them.

Their other big activity these days is a cooperative game involving Julia riding a way-too-small plastic riding toy around our entryway/kitchen, while Genevieve walks behind, holding onto the handles in the back and pushing her (even though the toy is really for a baby Genevieve's size to ride on). The other day they laughed themselves silly, going back and forth like this for a half hour straight. I didn't point out to Genevieve that she was getting the raw end of the deal, having to do all the work. She seemed to be enjoying herself. By the way, this was also the day we saw snow flurries in these parts. I see a long winter ahead of us, full of TV-dancing and pushing the ride-on toys back and forth on the linoleum. Could be worse.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Fall Back (to Sleep)

Before having babies, turning the clocks back in the fall meant an extra hour of sleep. Now it means the day begins at 4:30 a.m. Because, of course, to the baby it is actually 5:30 a.m. And that's, you know, close enough to six to make it not completely unreasonable.

Except it's NOT really 5:30 a.m. It's FOUR-THIRTY IN THE MORNING. Go back to sleep, baby!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Friday Night Link

Last night, Christopher reminded me that sometime in the future, we will no longer--EVER AGAIN--hear Genevieve utter the little sound-effect word she says every time she's giving a kiss: "mmmmm-muh? mmmmm-muh?" Am now totally heartbroken. Too despondent to write.

Except, of course, over at MotherVerse, where tonight I'm writing about the holidays. And how to not be Scrooge-ish about them before they've even properly begun. Merry reading!

Friday Fun

I don't usually post many links on my blog, because HELLO, that would take away from space I could devote to writing about myself, and what fun is that? But today I am making an exception, to bring joy to the masses. And by "masses," I mean the three or four people who read my blog.

I'm sure some of you already read the blog of all blogs, the incomparable Dooce, and may have already seen Heather's post today about Halloween night. But for those of you who haven't, you really have to click here and go read it. The first part, about how much fun it is to do things like this with your own children, more fun than you can ever imagine when you're childless, is sweet, funny, and spot-on. But please, keep going and see the photos of the dog getting dressed in his costume. I promise, you will be glad you did.