Saturday, February 28, 2009

Small Blessings

Here's one reason I love four-year-olds:

This morning when I came downstairs dressed for a few hours' of volunteer work at my daughter's nursery school's registration--outfitted in nothing more fancy than black trousers, a lavender long-sleeved t-shirt with a long necklace, boots, and a scarf-tied ponytail to hide the fact that I didn't feel like washing and drying my hair last night--Julia looked at me, gave me a thrilled grin, and sighed, "Oh Mama, you look SO BEAUTIFUL."

All it takes is some accessories and a pair of non-denim pants to impress them to their very cores.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Storm/Scale Update

Depending on which area of the bathroom floor I place my old Target bathroom scale, I weigh anywhere from 110 to 118 pounds. This eight-pound differential does not inspire a lot of faith in small appliances. It's like one corner of the bathroom is my good-news home scale and another corner is the evil doctor's office scale. Luckily, I prefer to choose my own version of the truth. My version of the truth happens to also involve skipping my five-mile run in favor of eating Reese's Peanut Butter Cups while watching "The Office," because there's a snowstorm outside and therefore fortifying snacks are in order.

Uh...it's probably not 110, come to think of it.

Moving on! In other news, believe it or not, I loved this crazy Extreme Snowstorm today. I mean, yes, I'm tired of winter, and I will be thrilled when going outside with toddlers/preschoolers does not involve twenty minutes of wrangling with snowpants, boots, parkas, hats, and mittens. But the drama and excitement of the epic blizzard that hit our town this afternoon got the girls all thrilled and joyous, and everything shut down, and we talked happily of sledding in our backyard again, tomorrow when the storm has died down. I made them homemade hot cocoa for snack after their super-long naps, and they were just thrilled to death, sipping it as we gazed out the back windows in awe at the incredible snow and wind. It was cozy and fun. You've got to make days like this cozy and fun if you can, when you live up here in the frozen north.

Thanks to all who have written in with tips and tricks for saving money around the house, in response to this post. Keep them coming! They're fantastic, and much appreciated. Love you all, dear readers!

I Interrupt This Economic Crisis for a Dramatic Winter Weather Event

Outside right now, it is both blizzarding (think old-fashioned, can't-see-your-hand-in-front-of-your-face, high plains snowstorm, with zero visibility out my back window toward the farm fields) AND THUNDERING . Huh? Good thing the girls and I went for our (very chilly) walk at 10:30 this morning instead of later this afternoon. (We were on a Snowstorm Hunt, by the way. It didn't start while we were out, though.)

Also, I don't think I'm going to be running my five miles today. Yikes!

[Edited to add: I just checked the online local weather forecast site, and underneath the temperature, where it usually says normal weather-forecast blurbs like "Partly Sunny" or "Freezing Rain" it currently says "Heavy Thunderstorm Snow." Uh.....]

Two Nickels to Rub Together

My friend The Endurance Diva posted this joke/card the other day and it CRACKED ME UP. Whew! I laughed myself silly, because sad to say, this reminds me of me. Oh my goodness, at least we can laugh, right?

In all seriousness though, last week when Christopher and I realized we could not afford to both refill Genevieve's acid-reflux medicine prescription AND buy the necessary groceries for a dinner for some visiting relatives before the next pay-day, we faced the unpleasant facts that since Christopher lost his second job in December we have been down nearly a thousand dollars per month in income. I had avoided actually adding up the numbers because I was afraid to know how much less money we were making each month, but it turns out that his former part-time job brought $900 per month into our household, $900 we are now struggling to do without. If by "struggling" you mean "frantically trying to figure out what we're going to do." Oh, and also if by "struggling" you mean "begging your parents to bring groceries along when they visit, and also shamelessly and gratefully accepting their $100 check." (Thanks, Mom and Dad!)

When I quit my part-time practice when Genevieve was born, Christopher and I knew that he'd have to teach part-time on top of his full-time day job for us to survive as a family of four with a non-working parent. We just didn't know that his teaching job would dry up this winter. It's shocking to be an educated, graduate-degreed, professional couple and be doing things like deciding to skip the dental check-up because there's always a hefty co-pay, like not replacing the Diet Coke carton when it's empty, like taking Genevieve to library storytime every week instead of Wiggles & Giggles, because even though Wiggles & Giggles is the only opportunity she has to get active play in the winter and that's important, it costs $5 to get in and storytime is free. It's realizing we really can't afford that coffee date we were thinking of in a few weeks, with the babysitter and everything; it sounds pathetic, but I don't think we have $15 to spare right now for a sitter.

And of course, we are so much better off than so many in the country today. But it's still very stressful. (One note: please don't tell me I need to go back to work. Have you seen what full-time daycare for two children costs these days?)

So! On to the point of this post!

I've been working hard to discover creative ways to save money. I haven't quite gotten to the point of re-using coffee filters, but I'm tempted. I'm feeding my kids the cheap store-brand bread instead of the super-healthy whole-grain variety. I'm scrubbing the toilets with generic bleach instead of pourable Lysol. I'm making cheap dinners like waffles (thanks for the waffle iron, Mom and Dad!). I'm using half the suggested amount of laundry soap, and hoping the clothes still get clean. I'm doing without certain toiletries and cosmetics I typically use, or buying the cheapest versions available. I've sworn off the gas fireplace, lovely and cozy as it is. I'm drinking my coffee without cream. I'm making homemade pizza dough rather than buying take-out or frozen pizza from the store. I'm using cloth rather than paper napkins even more than we already did. I'm using fewer paper towels and Kleenexes each time I need them.

Most of us are tightening our belts these days, and maybe you have some good household tips for pinching pennies. Care to share? What are your best money-saving secrets, oh Internets? I'm especially interested in economical cleaning products: do any of you use that old vinegar and baking soda strategy? Cleaning products are crazy expensive--what are some cheaper ways to clean house? Any ideas?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Two Completely Unrelated Thoughts

1.) In some ways I am very lazy when it comes to parenting. For instance, I have zero desire to potty-train Genevieve. I haven't even tried to start. She's 2-1/2, but heck if I feel like doing anything about it. I'm all like, Potty training? Uh, would that involve heroic amounts of patience and energy on my part? Yes? Well, then...meh. Diapers are pretty much fine.

Guess I'm hoping potty training somehow magically occurs all on its own. You know, like SO OFTEN HAPPENS.

2.) Barack Obama is a balm for my soul. The country is in a royal mess, and yet every time I'm reminded that he's in the driver's seat, I feel a sense of great calm and optimism that everything will be all right. Every time I hear him speak, I become tearful with amazement, relief, and gratitude. (It goes without saying that every time I heard President Bush speak, I had to turn off the TV or radio and talk myself down from having a stroke.) It's not that I think he's a god or a comic-book hero with superpowers who can fix all our nation's problems instantaneously or without mistakes or struggle. It's that he's so obviously intelligent, educated, thoughtful, and calm.

I'm in love. But in a totally appropriate, respectful, I'm-just-so-relieved-you're-our-new-President sort of way.

(November 4th, 2008)

Melt

The girls and I just returned home from a walk that took 45 minutes and spanned TWO BLOCKS. It involved a giant puddle, snowpants gleefully wet up to the knees, and one showdown at the OK Corral, during which Genevieve stood in the middle of one block with her arms crossed and feet planted, refusing to walk OR to go back home, and Julia and I stood at the corner of the same block, waiting for her to relent.

Now you can see why it took us 45 minutes to go for a two-block walk. Right?

Changing the Sheets

Do ever get that split-second flash of nostalgia when something mundane suddenly transports you into the past for a moment, bringing with it the emotions of that time as well? I was changing the sheets in our guest room this morning, on the bed that used to be Christopher's and my bed, back when we had newborns. In the time it took to shake the soft old wildflower-print cotton sheet over the mattress and watch it billow down, the sight and scent of that flowered fabric near the garden-gate headboard sent me straight back to our half-story, under-the-eaves bedroom in our tiny south Minneapolis house, back when Julia was a baby and slept in a makeshift nursery made out of the dormer in one nook of the room. There were a lot of things I hated about that house, especially about having a newborn while living in that house, but the memory of shaking out sheets on a spring morning with a breeze wafting the curtains of the windows under the eaves is a nice one.

Sometimes I think about how one day in the future this current time will be what I remember; how one day something minor will remind me of the time before my children were in school, these slow and unscheduled mornings, the PBS Kids and pretend games of "camping" and "pet store" and "restaurant" and the baking and cooking projects we like to do when the girls and I are all home on a non-preschool day. Maybe I'll be changing sheets, and something will remind me of the crib bedding no longer in use. Maybe I'll be putting away laundry and will suddenly envision the heart-printed hooded sweatshirts my girls love to wear over their pj's. Maybe I'll be taking children to school and I'll suddenly recall spring mornings involving nothing more pressing than drawing with sidewalk chalk out on the patio.

Amidst all the current suffering in the world and in this country--and amidst the stress of bills and the car breaking down and doctor appointments and preschool tuition--I am working hard to be present for the tiny joys of daily life with young children. I hope you are too.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Progress?

Last Tuesday I successfully ran six miles--a personal goal for 2009, and the longest I've run since 1998, the year before I developed arthritis--and then spent the rest of the week being too busy/lazy/tired to engage in any further exercise whatsoever. Also eating excessive amounts of chocolate and batter-dipped walleye with french fries (belated birthday dinner, people). So, you know: one step forward, two (or three) steps back. Does it count as progress if you run six miles and then fall nine miles behind in your normal weekly mileage because you've HAD IT with running in the cold and snow? I'm not so sure.

In other news that could potentially be interpreted as progress, I spent a few hours at a baby shower this morning for some very dear friends, due in less than a month, and did not for one second ache to give birth to, hold, or otherwise care for a newborn baby. OK, if you get me thinking about nursing, I admit I can get a little misty; but overall the idea of having a newborn in the house again gives me the shakes. I think it's because my TWO-AND-A-HALF-YEAR-OLD still does not sleep through the night, consequently, I am VERY TIRED, YOU ALL.

Of course, later this week I plan to visit a local friend with a week-old infant, and I anticipate there will be some newborn-cradling involved, so talk to me again after I've cuddled an eight-pound bundle to my shoulder. Who's to say? I might wish my own baby wasn't thirty pounds now and saying "yogurt" correctly.

But I kind of doubt it. I'm tired.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Big Now

The other day Genevieve said "yogurt" instead of "doga" for the first time. "You said 'yogurt'!" I exclaimed, and she grinned and said, "Yes! No 'doga.' Yogurt! Because I'm BIG now!"

Which of course made me think of how Julia always said "yor-gut" for "yogurt". And that reminded me of this post (which was also published in a slightly different form at MotherVerse).

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Update

OK, so after I wrote the post below, I went for a six-mile run and came home feeling MUCH BETTER. So, you know--thank goodness for behavioral self-therapy. Wall Street can just go and *&%#@ it.

M&Ms Do Not Ultimately Make You Feel Less Anxious About Anything

Help! I can't stop eating peanut butter M&Ms. No, I mean it. CANNOT STOP EATING THEM. Seriously, have you ever tried to eat them and then stop? Impossible. Hey, did you know that if you eat enough peanut butter M&Ms, you can magically re-gain the four pounds you lost from giving up evening snacking? Hmmm.

Kittens, I'm an anxious little bundle these days. (I just started reading a new blog, Already Pretty, and the oh-so-fabulous Sally McGraw says "kittens" like that sometimes. So, you know, I'm stealing it today.) Why am I such a ball of nerves? I don't know. The economy. The fact that more than 50% of my retirement account disappeared into thin air in 2008. My bay-beee (as another fave blogger, Susan Wagner, would say) going off to big old kindergarten in mere months. Tax season, which reminds me that I still owe nearly $35,000 on a graduate education I'M NOT EVEN USING ANYMORE, which I will be paying off until I'm SIXTY YEARS OLD (because that's how long it takes when you've got so little income that you need your monthly payment to be as small as possible). Do you know what sixty years old is? Almost retirement. Retirement from a career I'm no longer doing. But will still be paying for.

Is your heartbeat becoming irregular yet? Or is that just me?

Is that enough to explain my chronic nerves? (I feel like I belong in a different era, one in which women suffered attacks of nerves and needed things like vapors.) What about the volunteering, and the decision to delay my other bay-beeee's entrance into nursery school, and the second-guessing that decision, and the endless back-and-forthing of Do I or don't I send Vivi to preschool in the fall? and the What if I regret it and want to put her in at the last minute next August and there aren't any spots open? and the But we need the money and if we skip preschool this year we'll save a thousand dollars and the stories about friends losing jobs and homes and coming down with (though beating! hurrah!) cancer and.... Did I mention the economy?

Sometimes I think I have too much going on, and that if next year I just quit absolutely everything else I do or try to do--abstain from all volunteering (forget it, new kindergarten! I have LEARNED MY LESSON) and just stop all frantic attempts to find freelance work and give up completely the evening writing and the submitting and the hustling for any kind of writing gig that will pay, take a break from all of it and just be a mom, that maybe then my nurse practitioner wouldn't need to monitor my blood pressure and pulse rate and give me funny looks when I tell her about my hair falling out in giant clumps. But then I remember how it is very, very difficult to support four people on one modest salary these days and Good Lord above, would it kill someone to pay me fifty dollars to write something for them? So I could use it to order my contact lenses and pay for toddler gymnastics class?

THANK GOODNESS my dear friend Mnmom is launching a new blog, The Endurance Diva, which is going to be all about how to hold it together when the stresses of real life threaten to shake up your heartbeat and raise your blood pressure. I'm hoping to find out how to stop stressing about preschool, my student loan debt, and the fact that no one is paying me to be a mom, despite serious financial need and a damn good job performance.

Stay strong, kittens.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Although I Do Look Forward to One Day Having Everyone Sleep Through the Night

The girls and I spent the morning at a meeting of our old playgroup, the one that was formed three years ago when the four of us moms all had 1-1/2-year-olds and were all pregnant with our second babies, and that has since pretty much disbanded since those 1-1/2-year-olds are now all preschoolers on different school schedules. (How is it possible, that the babies we all met each other with are now four years old, and the then-in-utero bundles are now older than our firstborns were when we started?)

It is a rare occasion (like today, a school holiday) that all--or most--of us are free to get together to play, and nothing brings back a bittersweet swell of nostalgia like sitting in someone's living room on a breezy late-winter weekday morning, exchanging motherhood news and advice over the din of children playing trucks and blocks and baby-dolls, just like we've done so many times before, since our "big kids" were toddlers. I have a lot of memories attached to playgroup. Like the time I drove all the way home from a playgroup meeting in the country with newborn Genevieve's infant-carseat straps unbuckled. Remember that? Ah, yes.

I've been thinking a lot lately about my current mothering life, and how it differs from my new-motherhood life, and how I don't even really consciously know the ways in which it is different, because it has evolved organically over time as I've grown into my role and into this life of parenting two. Of parenting babies, and then toddlers, and beyond. But how if I could somehow peek back at my former parenting life--say, when we lived in south Minneapolis with Julia as a baby--I wouldn't even recognize that routine, that existence, that self. Would I even remember what it was like to be hardly able to get outside once a day with my colicky newborn, how there were no friends, no other children, no fellow moms, just me in the house alone with one baby who nursed nonstop and cried the rest of the time? What did I even do, then? Did I ever cook, or clean, during those days? What did I do with myself then, with us? I don't really recall, other than a flash here and there of memories that give me stomachaches. A vague sense of being very, very lonely. A lot to do, and a lot of nothing to do, all at the same time.

It's so different now. Last week it grew warm and the snow melted, and I took the girls for a walk to the park. We took the stroller in case Genevieve wanted to ride, and I know we're almost grown out of the stroller, I know our stroller days are almost done, but I brought it anyway, because it KILLS ME to say goodbye to that vestige of babyhood, such a symbol of new-parenthood, a young-family icon: the stroller. And even more so: the double stroller.

And I could just die, because what came in the mail that very same day, but Julia's KINDERGARTEN REGISTRATION FORMS. Oh my, my mama heart aches. All this time I thought I wanted my high-maintenance, intellectually precocious firstborn to give me five minutes' peace during which THERE WAS NO TALKING WHATSOEVER, and here I'm faced with an upcoming life of Julia off to school every single weekday morning, and all I can think is how I'm not ready for my five years to be up. You know what I mean, don't you? You get these five years alone with your babies--truly, not even five full years, because of course they go off to preschool at age three or four and you lose them a little bit then, but it's not every day, so it's not quite the same. You get these five years of you and them--and this is why I chose to be a stay-at-home mom, so I would get those five years of all-day time with them--and you can have your idiosyncratic mornings, your pj's till 11 a.m. days, your on-a-whim decisions of park or library or coffee shop. And then your solid time with them is done, and never again, save for summer vacations if you're still an at-home mom, will you get long uninterrupted stretches of days with them, of time when they don't spend half or more of their waking hours with other people, other kids and adults, sometimes people you hardly know. And maybe some moms are overjoyed when this milestone arrives, dreaming of solo bathroom visits and those fabled five minutes of silence, but I don't know. Do I really have to be giving up the stroller AND filling out kindergarten forms at the same time? Is someone trying to do me in?

I'm currently accepting sympathetic condolences, experienced-parent anecdotes, and special deliveries of prescription mood-enhancing pharmaceuticals. Thank you.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Truer Words Were Never Spoken

Overheard just now:

Julia: Daddy, is this the Sunday paper?
Christopher: No, we don't get the Sunday paper anymore.
Julia: Why not?
Christopher: Because it costs money, and Mama and I never had time to read it anyway.
Julia: But if you didn't have children, then you'd get to read it.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

No More Evening Ice Cream?!

Awhile ago I decided to give up evening snacking. I've been a huge evening snacker for years--possibly forever--so for me this is a bit like giving up, say, wearing clothes. Or drinking coffee. Or breathing. You get the idea. One reason I always snack at night is because I exercise almost every day--hard-core, high-energy exercise like running five miles at a time or completing an hour-long strength-training workout DVD during which the instructor is clearly trying to kill me--and I generally do it in the evening. And let me tell you, an hour after you come home from running five miles in the raging wind on the hilly roads on the edge of my town, OH MY GOD SO HUNGRY.

But, everyone knows that nighttime eating is not the healthiest. You go to bed with a full stomach, and your body is working all night long to digest that food; you end up with less than restful sleep. You wake up not really hungry. You're a bit lethargic and puffy. You've got a little tiny potato-chip belly in the morning. You know what I'm talking about.

So, in the interests of science, I started a little experiment with giving up night snacking. Now don't get me wrong; anything and everything up to about 7 p.m. is fair game. It's not like I gave up all my desserts and sweet treats; I just stuffed them down earlier. (The girls' bathtime is a good option.) And yes (sigh), I have slipped up a fair amount (because: did you read that up there about OH MY GOD SO HUNGRY???!). But in the past month, including all the random relapses, I have magically lost four pounds. I'm sure if I had truly applied myself I could have lost five or more. (Not that I particularly need, or was really trying, to lose weight--but who's complaining?) And everything the experts say about sleeping better? TOTALLY TRUE. I DO sleep better when I don't eat past 7 p.m. It's amazing! (Though even no evening snacking cannot help me when a windstorm rattles the windows all night long or Genevieve wakes up crying ten times a night because we accidentally let her eat tomato sauce at dinner and poor baby with the reflux and the bad dreams and the YELLING IN HER SLEEP.)

And did I mention the four pounds?

But now I'm busy pondering whether a life of snack-less viewing of "The Office" is actually worth living. Hmmm....

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Two Minor Questions

Can someone please tell me when kids get old enough to accomplish all their bathroom-related tasks WITHOUT ANY HELP? Like, what's with the arms that are too short to effectively wipe one's own bum? It seems hugely unfair. Mostly to me. Seriously, people--I would just like to know when I can anticipate no more bum-wiping.

Second, am I the last woman past a certain age on earth to discover the glorious effects of tinted moisturizer? I got a sample in the mail the other day of Stila SPF 15 "illuminating tinted moisturizer," and I'm pretty sure the light of a hundred angels shone down on my face when I tried it out. Too bad that less than two ounces of fancy face cream costs about as much as, say, the ingredients for a week's worth of lunches for my family. I guess my choice comes down to a.) have pretty skin and forego groceries, or b.) look as pale, blotchy, and tired as usual, but be able to pay the bills.

Wiping other people's bottoms AND suffering age-related sun spots on my face. SO. UN. FAIR.

Long-Winded

Last night I did my very best to go to bed early, tired from a long evening run in brisk wind, a busy weekend prior, and a day of limited naps and unlimited tantrums. I turned out the light before 9:30 p.m., but was awakened around 11 by the sound of the back side of our house being buffeted by extremely high winds. Ah, spring in Northfield. The wind blew nonstop all night--it's still blowing now--and it was so loud that I didn't really sleep after that. I tried everything--covering my head with a pillow, turning on an extra white-noise machine--but nothing could drown out the bangs and roars of the wind whipping across the farm field out back, bending our trees and rattling our windows. I figure I slept about two hours.

Strangely, it rained yesterday and last night too, and although the girls and I were outside sledding on our back hill just last Friday, now our backyard is mainly grass. (It's been warm.) This being Minnesota, however, I'm sure a few more snowstorms are in store between now and April.

In other news, Genevieve has added a third alter ego to her list of favorite imaginary identities. The latest is named "Big Boy" and is, per his name, older and larger than Genevieve. In fact, she likes to say that he's "5T." Because apparently my two-year-old is up on toddler clothing sizes.

Do you think I should be worried that all my baby's pretend identities are MALE?

Sunday, February 08, 2009

38 Doesn't Feel All That Old, Actually

Today is my birthday! You will all be happy to know that I celebrated in style, with a little brunch party at our house for seven old friends (four grown-ups, three kids, one adult sadly absent--and can it be possible that I've known those friends for ten years now?!); a heck of a lot of potato-onion-cheese frittata, chocolate-chip cornmeal scones, oatmeal-raisin muffins, strong coffee and cream, o.j., and birthday cake; and the delight of several little surprise birthday treats from friends who don't listen when you say, "no gifts please." Not to mention an afternoon movie date yesterday with three other friends which involved copious amounts of both popcorn and Junior Mints. I know how to rock my birthday weekend, you all.

I'm thinking the end of this birthday weekend calls for pj's, the sofa, "Curb Your Enthusiasm" on DVD, and a second piece of birthday cake. Because when you're 38, you get tired easily and have to lie around and rest a lot. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Off to the Movies!

One of the best things about being a stay-at-home mom is that, when I prepare to leave the house to do something without my babies--whether it be my thrice-weekly runs or my approximately once-yearly movie with girlfriends--and the girls cry, "Mama, stay HOME!", I can happily depart without a lick of guilt, because I know that I'm with them ALL THE FREAKING TIME, hours and hours every single day, and therefore their pathetic little whimperings don't bother me for even half a moment. It's nice.

(And no, I'm not trying to make any working-moms out there feel guilty. Eye roll.)

Friday, February 06, 2009

When Do I Get MY Nap, I'd Like to Know?

It is 1:18, the girls went down for nap 15 minutes ago, and Genevieve is currently in her crib screaming, "Mama, I'm all done-a nap!" That's six times in less than two weeks. Shoot me now.

Apparently Genevieve Aspires to be Either the President or a Snowman

Genevieve has two alter egos she likes to pretend to be these days. The first is President Obama. Whenever she declares, "I'm Obama!" Julia says with great seriousness, "Wow, you've got a big job ahead of you." The second is "Frosty Boy," a boy named after Frosty the Snowman. No one knows where that one came from.

Seriously, you can't make this stuff up.

In other news, I can now go for my hour-long run at 5 p.m. and make it home before it gets dark (hurrah!), AND yesterday the girls and I played outside in the snow for 75 minutes in 40-degree weather. It was so warm that I went hatless, and Genevieve discarded her mittens to better shovel snow into a sand bucket. Is it spring?!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

One Minor Note

I should mention that, Genevieve's three-hour nap yesterday aside, today is the fifth day in a week and a half that she has skipped her nap. She turns 2-1/2 in two weeks. NOT OLD ENOUGH TO STOP NAPPING. Oh, and in case you were wondering? She's cute and all, what with her new pigtails and her actual sentences and her "Mama, you are a buddy"? But even so? Thirteen hours straight of Genevieve, with no break thrown in there around mid-afternoon? Equals TOO MUCH GENEVIEVE.

Busy Busy Busy

So the girls and I are uncharacteristically busy this week. Julia had her second swimming lesson on Sunday, and thanks to a little pre-lesson powwow with the teachers before class began, it went much better than her first one the week before. (Whew.)

On Monday Julia had preschool as usual, and Genevieve had her very first ECFE class. ECFE is somewhat of a rite of passage for pre-K children and at-home moms in Minnesota, and poor Genevieve--due to the whole second-child syndrome, when you skip all sorts of opportunities your first child had at the same age because now you're coordinating things like preschool schedules and the logistics of two children vs. one--had yet to experience it. I finally figured it's about time that Genevieve starts getting used to things like early-childhood classrooms and teachers, circle time, playing with a group, sharing toys, and allowing me to leave her for a short while. (The class involves parent-child play for the first half of class, then a period of parent-discussion/education in another room while the toddlers play in the classroom with the teachers.) Unfortunately, on Monday I spent the entire parent-discussion period with Genevieve in the classroom, since she was not ready to separate. Mainly I watched her play with Play-Doh and puzzles while I gazed longingly in the direction of the next-door parent room, where a bunch of my fellow-mom friends were sitting in adult-sized chairs, drinking tea, and eating a snack. Ah well, perhaps next week.

Finally, yesterday we had our last toddler-tumbling class, and today during Julia's preschool I took Genevieve to a large open-gym toddler playtime sponsored by our local Y.

You'd think all this activity would wear a child out, but right now Genevieve's in her crib, calling, "Mama, I'm not tired! I'm not tired! I'm not tired!"

I wish that were two of us.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Maybe I'm in Need of a Makeover

April, 2008: the longest my hair has ever been. NOT in a ponytail, thank goodness.


Today Genevieve told me--repeatedly--that she loves me even when my hair is in a ponytail (which it was, today). Yep. That's what she said. "I yuv you, Mama! Even whenna hair ponytayo. Even ponytayo, I yuv you."

Uh...sigh.