Monthly Archives: August 2012

Quote of the Day: On Words

“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” 

– Rudyard Kipling 

Think about what you say, about others and about yourself, especially in front of your children.  To be continued…

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Screw the Security Blankets!!

My daughter has a small, silky pink blankie. It’s the first thing she grabs when she wakes up in the morning, and the last thing she holds on to when she goes to bed at night.  She can’t sleep without it. Sometimes it seems as though she can’t breathe without it.  Most kids have some sort of security blanket, stuffed animal or doll.  It is something that makes them feel comfortable and secure. Something that reminds them of home or of their parents or of some unexplainable thing that gives them comfort.  There is nothing wrong with children needing these things.  The problem is that many never grow out of it.  Although most adults don’t carry around a threadbare blankie or filthy teddy bear, they grow up to be even more attached to another type of security blanket…  an Iphone or Blackberry.

Most people I know check their phones first thing in the AM and last thing at night.  They keep it on the table throughout dinner, in their hand during a walk and attached to their ear most other times of the day.  A smart phone gives you the security of knowing that you are linked to the rest of the world.  When you are alone, you have your phone to keep you company.  When you are bored, you have entertainment.  When you are away from the office, you can stay informed.  With an Iphone you are always connected, and there is security in that.  However, by staying connected through your phone, you might be missing the opportunity to create real connections.

Ok, so here’s my soapbox.  You don’t still suck your thumb, do you?  You don’t use a pacifier, sleep with your teddy bear or poo poo in diapers (except for a couple of friends of mine who thought this was a funny idea and who shall remain nameless… for now.) Regardless, you are not a kid anymore so grow up and get rid of  the security blanket already!  Put the phone down.  Just for a few minutes.  See what happens when you take in the world around you instead of burying your nose in your Blackberry the instant you have a free moment.  It’s ok to sit at a coffee shop by yourself and just relax and drink your coffee.  It’s ok to go to on a walk and simply enjoy the sights and sounds of nature (or of smoggy traffic if you live here in LA.)  You might have an interesting conversation with a stranger or even make a new friend.  You might discover how much you enjoy a particular hiking trail, or how much you really love blueberry muffins.  And you can definitely enjoy the park with your children a lot more if you are engaged with them rather than half-ass playing while checking out who “likes” Wal-Mart on Facebook.  And Ps. the world won’t end if you are not on email/Facebook/Twitter for the 20 minutes it takes to have a conversation over dinner.

I am not going to pretend that I don’t use my Iphone as a security blanket myself.  I do it.  I admit it.  If I am sitting alone at a coffee shop, or waiting for a friend at a restaurant, or even (gasp!) dining alone, I spend the entire time absorbed in my Iphone.  Hell, I often pretend to be absorbed in my phone, so people don’t think I am a friendless loser because I am there alone. I once faked an entire conversation with my bestie about what dress she should wear to the gala (yes, I really said the word “gala”) because my phone was totally dead.  But regardless of all evidence to the contrary, I am a grown-up and it is time for me, too, to say, “Screw the security blanket” and sit alone in the coffee shop without the aid of a dead Iphone to keep me pretend company.  I’ll let you know how that goes, and how long I last before grabbing a newspaper to bury my nose in instead.  Baby steps, people.

It’s fine to talk on the phone, to check your email every now and then or to read up on the latest news (or blog, reading my blog is ALWAYS acceptable.) But you don’t need it to fill your time or your life.  I am sure that your life is full enough already.  So focus more on actual connections, and less on the wireless ones. It’s time to rid our lives of these security blankets; these things that we just can’t live without.  Except, of course, for wine… I really CAN’T live without that.

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Quote of the Day: On Newborn Boys

“I always do a double take when I’m told a newborn’s ‘length.'”

– Aaron Karo (who obviously does not have kids, but is funny as hell)

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Quote of the Day: Moms, Remember This!

“You can do anything, but not everything.”

 – David Allen

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Never Forget The Small Things

As of late I know that I have made many references to time, or lack thereof.  And as much as I post about it, I actually whine about it about even more (sorry friends, family and random strangers who mistakenly ask me how my day is going!)  In my life there is barely enough time to do all the things I HAVE to do, such as eating, sleeping, changing diapers and teaching my daughter all the dance moves to “Call Me Maybe”.  So, if there is barely enough time for the things I must do, there is rarely enough time for the things I SHOULD do, like shower, exercise, grocery shop, clean, and connect with friends and family every now and then to let them know that I am just really busy, not dead.  If there is rarely enough time for the things I should do, forget the things that I WANT to do like… hmmmm… what did I used to like to do anyway?

It’s no secret that when you are a parent, there is just never enough time.  But it is not simply the lack of time that bothers me, it is also how quickly the time that I do have goes.  My daughter is now 16 months old.  She is walking, running, talking, playing and feeding herself (more food usually ends up on the face/hands/hair/clothes/floor/ceiling/mom’s shirt than in her mouth, but it still counts!) However, it seems like only yesterday she was a snuggly little bundle curled up on my chest, reliant on me for absolutely everything.  And even though it has been less than a year and a half since all this madness started, for the life of me I can’t remember half of it.  It has all become such a blur.  What was her first word?  Was it “Lyla” or “Hi” ? (Yes my daughter’s first word was her own name, if that says anything about her.) When did she start sitting up?  Was it 4 months or 6 months?  When did she begin to crawl?  What was her first food?
When did she start sleeping through the night?  When was her first smile, giggle, and full-out laugh?  It all blends together in some kind of wonderful, exhausting, beautiful life-smoothie.

Some of these things I wrote down in a baby book, but there are many things that I didn’t write down because either I thought that they were not important enough to count as “milestones”  or because I thought they were things that I would never forget.  What I failed to realize is that a child’s life is full of so many major milestones that sometimes the smaller things get lost along the way.  And while the day that Lyla took her first step is very important (that one I do remember… 10 months and one day) there are so many more small but wonderful things she does that I never want to forget.   The Small Things are not the milestones that you find in books or that you brag about to Grandma or that you use to compare notes with your friends.  No, the Small Things can sometimes seem insignificant in a lifetime of achievements, but often it is the Small Things that make a big life.  They are Things that only you know, Things that only you recognize.  They are the Things that can’t be captured in a story or on video or in a photo.  They are the Things that make you tear up with love, smile with pride, and  laugh till you wet yourself (c’mon, you know that if you had a baby come out of your JJ this happens.)

But as important as the Small Things are, they are often the first things forgotten in a busy life full of memories.  So, in recognition of these magical Small Things I am going to write a few of them down here and now so they will be recorded for all of time… or at least as long as the internet is around.  And if you ask me, the Internet is here to stay.

TODAY’S SMALL THINGS:

– The way that Lyla “reads” a book to herself, all in her own language.  Pointing at the things, as I do, and usually saying “shhhh”  and “noooo”  they way I do when I read to her.

– Her favorite word “Missibah”.  I have no idea what it means, but it seems that Lyla does.

– How every color is currently “bu!” (blue)

– The way she sometimes looks up at me, smiles and presses her nose against mine.  It’s our own special kiss and it always brings tears to my eyes.

– How, the second I pull her out from the car, she says “hi” and waves, just in case anyone is around who she might need to say hi to.

– The exact way she smells right at this moment:  baby shampoo, laundry detergent, Vick’s Baby Chest rub (she has a cold), fruit, milk breath and Lyla.

– The way she shrugs her shoulders and scrunches her face up when I ask her where anything is.

I hope I never forget this!

– How tightly she hugs me around my neck and then kisses me directly on the mouth with a wet, slobbery kiss.

– The way she contentedly twirls her hair with her fingers while she is drinking her bottle.

Ok, so these are a few of my Small Things.  Now it’s your turn!  What are the little things that your child or children do that you never want to forget but probably will.  Feel free to record them here for all of the world… or at least all of my followers… to read.  And if you don’t want to share them with me, write them down for yourself every once in a while.

Cheers to the Small Things!

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Quote of the Day: On Time and Nothing

Since my daughter’s daycare is closed for two weeks, I am finding this to be more true than ever…

“There is not enough time to do all the nothing we want to do.”

 – Bill Watterson (the wise author of Calvin and Hobbes)

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Quote of the Day: On Human Nature

“You don’t really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around – and why his parents will always wave back.”

William D. Tammeus

Enough said.

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Quote of the Day: On the Joys of Motherhood

“The joys of motherhood are never fully experienced until the children are in bed.”

Unknown

So true.  No matter how exhausting the day or how crabby the daughter, everything always seems better when I can reflect on it in a quiet house with wine in hand.  No matter what the day was like, by the time we go to bed my husband and I spend at least 30 minutes talking about how wonderful/smart/funny/perfect Lyla is.  Unless of course, she is up crying…

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Today is My Birthday

Today is my birthday.  The reason that I am telling you this is not to make you feel guilty for not remembering (unless YOU are reading this.  You know who you are.) nor is it to fish for the requisite “Happy Birthday” comments that such a post could inspire.  No, my reason is just the opposite.  Full Disclosure:  I am going to get a little bit cheesy and perhaps a tad cliché for a moment… so if you don’t feel like dealing with that, then stop reading right now.  But it’s my birthday and I will let a slow tear run down my face for a moment if I want to.

Where was I?  Oh, yes.  Slow tear… Today is my birthday, and instead of asking for a lot of things (except from my husband of course) instead I am going to give thanks for this life that I lead every day that is truly a gift.  I have a wonderful husband who accepts my faults and sees more good in me than I do in myself; who is an even better father than he is a husband if that is possible; and who buys me great gifts for my birthday.  I have a fantastic family, who are all my biggest fans and I theirs.  I have amazing friends who inspire me every day to be a better friend and person.  I have a job that I enjoy and that gives me the freedom to spend a lot of time with my daughter.  And a daughter… oh, my daughter.  She is the greatest gift of all. And for all the complaining that I do about how tough motherhood is right here on this very blog (because God knows it’s tough sometimes,) there’s not enough time nor words nor people who would care to read all that I could say about how much my daughter has changed my life in the greatest ways possible.   Every day I look at her and wonder how I could have gotten so lucky as to have her in my life.  Thank you.

So, there you have it.  Maybe it is the prosecco talking, but it is my birthday and I already have everything I could possibly want…. unless you have a pair of Louboutin nude peep toes in size 9 1/2.  What can I say, I’m a sucker for those red soles.

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Here It Is: The Full Proof Way to Make Traveling with Kids Easy!!!

If you are reading this believing that I can offer you a full proof way to make traveling with kids easy, you are either:

a)  Delusional

b)  Not a parent who has ever traveled with kids

c)  Extremely desperate

If you are c) Extremely desperate… hey, I get it.  After spending most of the past month and a half either on plane, in a car, begging my daughter to sleep, or sobbing inconsolably… often most of these at one time, I would try just about anything to make traveling with my daughter even a little easier.

I love to travel.  I wish that I would have done more of it when I was young and unencumbered. There are so many places in the world that I want to see, foods I want to taste, cultures I want to experience, and languages I want to not understand.  Yes, I love traveling, but I have come to realize that I do not love traveling with my 15-month-old daughter.

Me in Bali BEFORE baby. Don’t I look relaxed?

This summer we flew to Italy with Lyla.  She is very well-behaved, but she is also extremely curious, very energetic and besides that…she is 15-months-old.  Too old to want to sit in my lap for very long or to fall asleep in my arms, but not old enough to discover the joys of the Ipad, portable DVD player, TV, or really anything at all for longer than 3.5 minutes at a time.  She wants to run, explore, play, and say hello to each and every person on the plane, whether they are sleeping child-hating weirdos or not.  No matter how well-behaved she is, 12 hours on a plane spent chasing, playing and apologizing profusely is exhausting.

But it is not just the plane ride that is the killer; it usually doesn’t get much easier once you arrive at your destination.  It certainly didn’t get easier once we arrived in Italy.  When you take a new country, a new bed, new people, new food, new schedule and a bevy of new experiences and add that to a significant time change plus jet lag plus not sleeping for 15 hours on the plane ride, you get one cranky baby.  And one cranky baby equals two cranky parents.  You multiply that by the two weeks we were in Italy plus the two weeks it took all of us to recover when we got home, and it DOES NOT equal a relaxing vacation.

I guess that maybe our intercontinental jet-setting ways could be to blame.  Ah…if only that were true.  The truth is that it is not much easier traveling even a short distance.  After returning from Italy, I flew alone with my daughter to visit my parents in Colorado for our yearly tradition of the Llama Races.  It was only a two-hour flight and a one-hour time change, but still my daughter was cranky, clingy, and completely unrecognizable as my usually-delightful spawn for most of the trip.  Every single nap and nighttime took 2-3 hours of rocking, milking, reading, pleading, bargaining, and threatening (threatening God, not my daughter… threats don’t work on her yet.)  Most parents would agree that nap time and bedtime are some of the best times of the day (sorry Lyla, I love you, but it’s true.) These moments are the only time that you can have a real conversation, an actual meal or a full glass bottle of wine.  So missing out on this, when I had gone to Colorado to spend time with my friends and family was a slap in the face.  By the third day I was on the edge of a nervous breakdown.

To rub salt in the wound, my husband had to stay home to work, so I was doing all of this alone.  My husband meanwhile was sleeping in, going out, watching movies, seeing friends, and drinking many a bottle of wine and/or beer and/or vodka.  I was out-of-town, but HE got the vacation.  Not that I resent him… he works very hard and deserves a vacation more than anyone.  But to say that I was just a little, teensy bit jealous would be an understatement.  But then, I am a jealous bitch.

Ok, so here’s the part of the blog where I turn it on its head and tell you how I was able to make it all easier, or how through some incredibly special moment with my daughter, I came to realize that it was all worth it.  Sorry, friends.  Not going to happen this time.  There is no full-proof way to make traveling easier.  There is no magic device to make kids behave the way you want, when you want them to. (Sorry Apple!)  I truly wish that there was. The point of this blog is just to say that if you are a parent and halfway through your “relaxing” “vacation” you found yourself just wishing you were home watching reality TV, you are not alone.  It is tough. I don’t know if it gets better.  I hope so, but I doubt it.  I have a feeling that you exchange one hardship for another.

So, do I need a vacation from vacations? YES.  Will I ever travel again?  Certainly.  What’s the alternative?  Sit around all year drinking boxed wine and watching the Bachelor Pad?  Actually… hmmmm… tempting.  But alas, Bachelor Pad only lasts a month or two.  And besides, what could I possibly learn if I made everything easy on myself? And more importantly, what would I blog about?  The world is full of places to visit, people to meet and experiences to discover… for my daughter and myself.  And while my travels were not exactly relaxing, I did find time for a lot of laughs with friends, some great conversations with family, and many wonderful moments with my daughter.  Moments that I wouldn’t trade for anything… except maybe a staycation at home by myself.

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