Spring Break 2010

Monday Zoo Day:

Exploring brambles

Proudly scratched up

Waiting for Carousel

Why is it moving?

Tuesday Art Museum:


Building together

Wednesday hiking and painting:



Dueling Picassos

Which is the masterpiece?

Thursday… I messed up my schedule requests and had to work, so the boy went to the office with Dad and the girl stayed home with a sitter.

Friday, we went to the Dino Museum in the morning (sorry, no good pictures) and then, in the afternoon, I was so exhausted from the week I just put Sesame Street on and sat on the couch with the kids, intermittently nodding off until the girl sat on my face to wake me up, which she thought was a hilarious game.

Hats off to the stay at home parents–while it was really fun to be home with the kids, it is a lot of work and I was tired by the end of the week.  I worked on Saturday and Sunday, and that felt like a break.  Still, sometimes I feel guilty that we both work and aren’t home with the kids more, but the truth is I get a lot more quality time with my kids than a lot of working parents, and for that I’m grateful.  I also have the advantage of having a lot of weekdays off, so I can use that time to do errands and have time to myself so that when we are home with the kids we can just hang out with them and not have to get a lot of work done.  All I’m saying is I’m pretty lucky to have so much flexibility.  Eric would probably prefer if I didn’t have to work so many weekends (two out of four every month) but you can’t have everything, no?

Today I took the kids to school for the first time in nearly 2 weeks.  I was prepared for tears, a struggle, leg-clinging. Instead, I had two children who happily picked up their lunch boxes, ran into their classrooms, smiling and happy to see their friends and teachers, and ready to start learning again.

Old Man Winter’s Last Stand

Yesterday, at 8 am, our street looked like this:

Like the rest of us, this little red-breasted robin below thought that it was supposed to be Spring.  Undaunted, he scampered among the snowy branches.  Robins are a hardy sort.

So are the kiddos, who had a ball with this (hopefully, right, winter?!) last snow of the season.

Okay, so the girl had a bit of a rough start.  She must be from my school of thinking when it comes to winter, which is this: If we were meant to live in cold, snowy weather, we would have been born with thick fur.  Like yaks.  (I cannot claim originality for that line.  It came from a college roommate, who may have stolen it herself.)

Like the robin, the girl is a hardy sort and soon found her footing:

A VERY serious shoveler, there.  Note the pink and purple sparkly scarf, created as requested.  I held one strand of Cotton-Ease with one strand of some cheapo acrylic sparkly yarn and just knitted garter stitch lengthwise until it was wide enough, and attached a sparkly fringe.

Here’s a closeup:

Back at the snow day, after a few finishing touches, came….FrankenSnow!!

You know what’s great? Frankensnow is wearing the itchy mohair scarf that I had made for Eric! He didn’t seem to mind.  Sadly, he was not long for this world, as here is what our street looked like at 5PM THAT EVENING.

The best part of the day, though, was that some of the other kids and parents came out in snow gear and we all played together.  That’s one of the things I love most about my neighborhood–it’s a very porchy, neighborhy, impromptu playdate sort of place.  Everyone seems to hibernate in the winter, and then come spring and summer we’re all  out in our front yards and hanging out.  Much like the return of the robin heralds the beginning of Spring for nature, I hope that this gathering signals the beginning of the outdoor season for those of us in Denver, even if it did take place in almost 2 feet of snow.

Girl, Uninterrupted

See this?

Looks cute, doesn’t she? Sweet, pleasant, cherubic even.  She is–as long as you give her whatever she wants.

Here is a typical response to a request denied:

Her language overall is improving, and for the most part we (meaning Eric, the boy and I) can understand what she means, but not other people.  Honestly, this has been tough for Eric and I since the boy was so verbal and so clear from a much younger age–even at 18 months you could understand everything he said and he consistently used 2-3 word sentences.   The girl….not so much.  She is completely normal and hitting all milestones and such, but the boy just has great language skills.  Everyday I’m amazed by how they are two completely different people, with different personalities and abilities.  The girl, for example, is much more adventurous at the playground than the boy was at her age, tackling the “fast slide” with aplomb.

Back to the language–she is loud. Here’s a relatively typical morning, where we try to figure out what she wants and largely fail.  Turn up the decibel level in your head by about 10 and you’ll hear what she actually sounds like every day.

Musical Beds

Last night was great.

We had put the girl to bed around 6:30, her usual time and she seemed to fall right asleep as per usual.  We finished with the boy’s bedtime routine around 8 pm, also as per usual.  A bit later Eric went to bed earlier than usual because he was really tired.

Shortly after that, the boy yelled downstairs “Can I sleep in your bed?” “Fine,” I yelled back.  He crawls into bed with Eric.

Then the girl wakes up screaming, so I go comfort her and then go back downstairs.

I hear intermittent grumbling from our bedroom as the boy is probably kicking Eric in his sleep.

Then I hear the boy start to scream, and hear Eric call my name.  I run upstairs and find the boy shuddering in fear and crying, almost inconsolable.  “What happened? Did you have a bad dream?” The boy nods. “Can you tell me about it?” The boy shakes his head and starts shuddering anew.  “Was it that scary?” “Yes.” “Were you in it?” “No.” “Was I in it?” “Yes.” “Was anyone else in your dream?” “No. Just you.” “Can you tell me what I was doing?” He starts to shudder again and shakes his head, “No.” He calms down and then I put him back to bed and go downstairs.

The girl wakes up screaming AGAIN, and I give up on the evening, pick her up out of the crib and go to lie down with her in the boy’s bed, thinking at least this way we’ll all get some sleep.

Then, Eric enters the room carrying the boy, who had been snoring and kicking him, hoping to put him to bed in his own room.  Finding us sleeping there, he says, “What the hell is going on here?” and walks out, deposits the boy back into our bed and heads downstairs to sleep in the basement.

At this point, the girl and I are in a twin mattress on the ground, the boy is alone in our king size bed, and Eric is in the basement on the couch.

Now I realize that I’m cold and need another blanket, which is, of course, in the basement.

I sneak out of bed and head downstairs trying to be as quiet as possible, sounding for all the world like a prowler, and scare the living daylights out of Eric who’s asleep downstairs. I’m thankful he doesn’t sleep with a gun under his pillow.

I grab a blanket and head upstairs, and try to get comfortable.  The girl is farting and crawling on my face in her sleep.

I take the girl and bring her into my bed where the boy is, where she continues to crawl on my face and generally squirm around.

A few hours later, the boy sits bolt upright in bed and exclaims, “I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!” “Take what?” I ask. “Sleeping in this bed with the girl!” “So go sleep in your own bed, kiddo.” He takes off and goes to sleep in his bed.

Then HE starts crying saying his tummy hurts. I go into his room, rub his belly.  “Maybe it’ll help if you try to poop,” I offer. “Okay,” he says. Sleepily, we walk to the bathroom where he does his business, says he feels better, and then heads back to bed.  I think it’s around midnight at this point.

The girl continues to fart and roll onto my face all night long.

So not only did I not get a wink of sleep, but apparently I’m so terrifying I give my own son nightmares that are too scary to talk about.  Parenting FAIL.

Warts and All

I was speaking with a colleague today about how difficult it can be to have small children and how much they can try your patience. Often, the stuff that makes it to the blog is the fun, entertaining, aren’t-they-so-cute stuff, but a lot of the time it’s just plain hard to have 2 small kids and be 2 full-time working parents, I don’t care how amazing you or your children are.

Case in point, our adventures with ice cream the other day.

I had a day off, put the kids in school so I could run errands, and told them that I’d pick them up early so we could get ice cream together, thinking it would be a fun idea.

We get to Little Man Ice Cream and the boy chooses chocolate with sprinkles in a flat cone. I get the girl strawberry with sprinkles and we sit down on a bench to eat. The girl is somewhat incredulous at being given a whole cup of ice cream all to herself, and proceeds to gorge herself with no attention to precision and globs of pink fly onto her raincoat. The boy is standing up, licking away at his cone, entirely content.  I feel like a great mom having a great time with her great kids.

Then, it all goes to hell.

The sun goes behind the clouds, and the boy says, “Can we finish our ice cream at home? My hands are getting so cold!!”  It seems reasonable enough, but I’ve forgotten that you can’t reason with a 22 month old.  I tell the girl, “Let’s finish our ice cream at home,” while I take the cup out of her hands.  She responds by screaming continuously.  I try to pry the spoon out of her fist but it’s no use.  It’s her only ice cream left and she’s not having it.  I can’t pick up the livid toddler and carry her ice cream at the same time, so I give the cup to the boy (whose ice cream is now in a cup as well) and we start walking to the car.

As he walks with ice cream cups in hand, he trips and falls prostrate on the ground, scraping his palms on the sidewalk.  Both cups tumble to the ground.  He stands up and starts bawling while I try to console him with the fact that none of the ice cream touched the ground.  Remember, the girl is now being carried like a battering ram and screaming her head off the entire time.  The boy gets it together, still sniffling, and we get to the car where the girl proceeds to make her body as rigid as a board and refuses to get into her carseat.  With no small amount of wrangling, I manage to strap her in, but I’m frazzled now and say to the boy, who is standing behind me,  (and this, I’m not proud of) “I wish you could have just stayed there a few more minutes! She’s so upset now!!”

To which the boy starts wailing, “I’m SORRRRYYYY!!!!” and crying as loud as HE can, repeating “I’m sorry!” over and over.  I get to experience screeching in surround sound.

Sigh.  Two screaming kids and a guilt trip is not what I had had in mind.  People are staring, too.

I turn around, give the boy a kiss, hug him and say, “I’m sorry.  It’s okay–it was getting pretty cold.  Tell you what–let’s go home, turn on the fireplace, and eat our ice cream by the fire where it’s warm and toasty.”  This mollifies him and we put the ice cream into the cup holders in the back seat, where they fit perfectly. 

At home, the girl hyperventilates in her high chair until she gets the ice cream in front of her and proceeds to demolish it and then lick the cup.  The boy parks in front of the fireplace and eats the rest of his as well; peace is restored.

It all ended well, indeed, but there were a few moments in there where I just had to take deep breaths and do my best to remain calm, and even that I failed to do entirely.  This post doesn’t even begin to cover the mad morning rush to feed/clothe/transport children and the reverse routine at night that we have on a daily basis.  All of this to say that while it’s fun and I wouldn’t trade it for anything, it’s challenging too–and I’m well aware that many parents have it much tougher.  I know that you, too, have a story of when you were not a particularly graceful parent under pressure, and I just want you to know that you are not alone.

Singin’ in the Car

The girl does the most adorable thing these days when you drive with her.

No matter what’s on the radio (usually some depressing tale of suffering, anguish, or political misconduct on NPR) she will sing at the top of her lungs whilst slapping her knees and waving her little head back and forth like an Indian raga singer. Her hands reach up as high as they can go before coming down onto her knees one at a time, and she only pauses if she sees a dog, bird or train and has to show you the sign for it.

She’s very tuned into music (pun NOT intended, but there nonetheless) even more so than her brother was.  Some of her favorites are Wilco, the Flaming Lips, Old 97’s and more recently even Garth Brooks.  The boy got a mix CD from a friend of his for his birthday of all of his favorite songs.  It’s mostly a Country mix, and it includes some good stuff like Johnny Cash, but we’ve also had to sit through countless repetitions of “Cheeseburger in Paradise.”  I kid you not. Really, though you put any music on and she starts dancing and swirling around, utterly delighted.

I know some of you have seen the dancing video before, but it’s too cute not to repost here.



Here’s one where she’s singing and doing her little head bobble. It’s a bit older, so she “sings” more nowadays, but you get the picture. Yes, she’s sitting in a tupperware and yes, the boy is “playing” a helicopter.



Does anyone else have the Sandra Boynton book, Blue Hat, Green Hat? (As an aside, how does that book get 87 reviews?! I mean, it’s about 10 pages long and has maybe 30 words?! People love to give their opinions on everything. Like I do with my blog. Anyway.)

For those of you who don’t have it memorized already, the basic premise (if you can call it that) is showing animals wearing clothes. The first three animals are wearing them correctly, but the last one is a turkey who’s got it all wrong. The girl finds this book utterly shocking, as you can see for yourself.

OH NO!!!