Thursday, March 30, 2006

High contrast

In my past life, I used to buy coffee at 3 different corner stores alternately because I'd drink it differently depending upon my mood. At Dunkin Donuts, I like my coffee flavored, light, and sweet. At Starbucks, black dark roast or if I'm feeling like treating myself, a double espresso. There was a third shop that had awesome cafe con leche.

In my current life, more often than not, I drink day old coffee microwaved that's half skim milk. I usually eat a bowl of Smart Start while it's heating up.

In my past life, I would hope to arrive before my coworkers so I could get back to my desk without actually having to have a conversation with anyone before the aforementioned coffee was consumed.

In my current life, my daughter does a jig when she hears me coming down the stairs and cheers "Go, Mommy, go! Go, Mommy, go!"

In my past life, my work day was often interrupted by the gravelly voice of a coworker that I (perhaps not so) secretly wanted to throttle.

In my current life, my work day is punctuated by my daughter suggesting that we play a game.

In my past life, I used to think that my coworkers deliberately tried to tick me off by redistributing the paperwork on my desk and moving my stapler.

In my current life, my daughter occasionally draws pictures in the margins of my day planner and it makes me laugh.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Friendly traditions

With my husband out of town in his marathon of travel this week and next, I decided to take my daughter to the Friendly's Restaurant. I ordered clam chowder and a sandwich, and she ordered chicken tenders and an ice cream cone.

While we waited for dinner, we colored with the four crayons they always give you at diners: red, yellow, green, and blue. Unlike the Edison Diner, these crayons didn't have the colors written in both English and Spanish. My daughter drew a sad face, and said it was her Daddy, and he was sad because he wasn't with her and wasn't getting ice cream because he didn't eat all of his dinner. She colored two eyes, nose, mouth, beard, mustache all in blue, and gave him green hair. His frown extended outside the outline of his face. Looking at the picture, she pouted herself and announced that she missed Daddy and doesn't like when he travels.

"Me neither," I replied.

"Don't be sad, Mom. Daddy said he will be home for dinner tomorrow night." she put her hand over mine.

"Well, ok. That makes me feel better."

"Me too," she said. "But he still can't have any ice cream." She made a stern face.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The accident prone branch doesn't fall too far from the tree

I was the family klutz. If there was some way to injure oneself doing even the safest activity, there'd I'd be needing a bandaid or ace bandage. My husband will tell you that during our early years of marriage, I once cut myself on an apple.

My daughter has managed to bruise or nick herself on pretty much every smooth surface of our house in the past couple of weeks. Her lovey these days is "Boo Boo Bunny", a soft furry covering a little block of freezer safe material to apply to bumps and bruises - a shower gift from my stepbrother's now ex-wife. My daughter has actually taken to calling the palm-sized bunny simply "Boo Boo", which leads me to believe they have perhaps an inappropriate level of intimacy currently.

On the other hand, who doesn't love a little stuffie who can manage to instantly soothe any small hurt and make the tears stop? Hey...I want one of those!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Monday morning musings

My daughter is particularly facinated by sharks right now. Occasionally, she'll ask me to find pictures of sharks on the Internet. Unfortunately, unless you search for a certain kind of shark, mostly the searches spawn pictures of Jaws. Right now, she is playing with her LeapFrog Globe, and learning about the Great White and Hammerhead Sharks.

I feel bad that I have 2 entries in a row complaining about my husband. He's really a great guy, and I can't think of anyone I'd rather be stranded on a deserted island with. He's easily the smartest person I know, and probably one of the funniest. After 13 years together, nearly 10 of those years married, he's still growing and changing and still manages to surprise me.

In fact, he spent most of his waking moments this weekend repainting the downstairs bathroom. Repainting from our renovation just a year ago because I chose a really bad color. Really bad. Think minty toothpaste. This is a really tiny powder room too, so the fact that it was minty toothpaste green made it so much worse. It took us about 5 samples to settle on a color this time because the trim color we've painted the molding downstairs is a taupe...but now, just 2 days later, the powder room is a beautiful shade called Palladian Blue...kind of similar to the color that Tiffany uses for gift boxes.

And, you know what? He even changed the cat box!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Talking out of her butt

My daughter has been having potty accidents lately. It makes sense, to me anyway, that this sort of thing just happens that a 3 1/2 year old kid gets distracted...and probably also, when you're a 3 1/2 year old only child who is going to have a new little baby sister at some point in the near future, you might get distracted.

My husband and I have tried not to make a very big deal about it, but the net result is that we often ask these days if she has to use the bathroom if we notice that she hasn't in a while. She reacts with some irritation because she feels this detail is under her control and we're just pestering her.

So it is, once again Play All Day day. And my husband got up for the early shift this morning after my daughter bounced into our bedroom.

His first question, "Do you have to go to the bathroom?"

She gave him a funny look. "Let me ask my butt." Brief pause. "My butt says no." With that she went bounding out of our room, and back to hers.

I rolled over. "She needs to talk to her butt in private now?"

My husband laughed. "It looks like it."

About ten minutes later, she returned. "My belly says, 'Where's my breakfast?'"

"Ok," my husband replied. "Let's go brush your teeth."

"Ok," she skipped into the bathroom and turned on the faucet.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Arguing with doctors

My daughter proved once again that she is compelled to argue for the sake of arguing...she particularly likes to argue with doctors.

Example one: Getting a Sonogram

At 20 weeks, my husband and I took my daughter to the big reveal sonogram. When the radiologist declared she was 90% certain that the baby is a girl. She piped up, "No, it's not."

The radiologist said, "Yes. Yes, I am pretty sure that's a girl."

"You're wrong," my daughter replied.

"How do you know?" the radiologist asked.

"He's wearing a hat."

Example two: At the allergist

"Is it okay if I listen to your heart?"


"Can I look in your ears?"

"Ew. No!"

Example three: At the obstetrician

So today, dear friends, I needed to get my Rhogam shot at the obstetrician's office. He was filing out the paperwork in triplicate required in response to administering the drug, which apparently needed the test date and form number for the bloodwork that showed I am rH negative. When he flipped through my chart, he noticed that my glucose tolerance test numbers were either (apparently this was submitted in 2 tubes) 2 marks below the cut off for "normal" or 5 marks above the cut off for "normal". He decided he wants me to go to the lab for additional testing, though he thinks it was probably something I ate that interfered with the test.

My daughter spent the entire ride to the doctor's office determined that she would tell him that the Glucola was yucky and I should NOT have to drink that again. So after this rather lengthy explanation on his part about ranges of normal, she said, "Are you the one who made Mommy drink the Yuck?"

He looked at me, unsure what this meant.

"Yes, honey." I said. "And now he is saying Mommy has to have more of the Yuck."

"Well," she put her hands on her hips, "He's wrong."

He stifled a snicker. And focused on whatever he was writing.

"Well," I said, "He's the doctor. So even if you think he's wrong, he wins."

He looked over my daughter's head to shoot me a look, eyebrows raised.

"Oh. He's still wrong," she said resolutely. She looked at him and shook her head, as though she couldn't quite believe it.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Making plans

"When I grow up, I want to work like Daddy," my daughter told Dora on television.

"You want to be an architect?" I asked.


"You want to draw pictures of buildings?" I asked.


"Hmm. Then what do you mean you want to work like Daddy?"

"I don't want to work here."


"Dora's a big sister too!"

"Did Dora have a little brother or a little sister?"

"She had both! Her mom had 2 babies!"

"Did she help feed her little brother and sister."

"No, Mom. They didn't show that."

"Do you want to feed your little sister?"

"When she's hungry."

"Do you want to help change her diaper?"

"When she has an accident."

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Move over Monty Hall

Saturday is Play All Day day. We went to a party and wore our fancy clothes. My daughter wore a white dress with a tuile coverlet embroidered with pink flowers. She called it her Cinderella dress.

My daughter doesn't like crowds. We usually arrive, she freaks out and one of us has to take her outside for a few minutes to calm down, then we try again. Today was no exception. My husband's stepmother is always excited to see our daughter, and for whatever reason, my daughter likes to reward this by being coy and aloof. She will hug every relative before she will approach Nanny.

Today, Nanny didn't get a hug until almost 3 hours after we arrived. When I saw the display of affection, I leaned over and whispered in my husband's ear, "Did you offer her money?"

"No, worse."

I raised an eyebrow. "What'd the hug cost you?"

"Three M&Ms, 5 jellybeans, and a brownie," he replied.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Heureux au jeu, malheureux en amour

I first heard that expression when I was 14, and stayed in France with a family for the month of July through an exchange program called NACEL. It means "Lucky at cards, unlucky at love". The family I stayed with taught me how to play a game called Tarot Trump, and marvelled at my ability to always end up with the most trumps per hand, even when I didn't understand the game. The very cute cousin of my French "sister" shook his head and said, "Je suis desole pour ton petit ami", that is "I feel bad for your boyfriend".

Someone bought my daughter a card game for Christmas that I found on the bookshelf about a week ago. Crazy Eights. There are 36 cards which are colors instead of suits (red, yellow, green,
blue) and numbered 0-8. Each numbered card has an animal on it, reinforcing that the items with different colors but the same numbers go together.

So we've been playing Crazy Eights together. I have always been a fan of card games. My great aunt on my dad's side taught me how to play Gin Rummy when I was 5. Sitting by Gramma's pool, Auntie would chain smoke her Viceroys. She never let us win, she always played a fiercely competitive game so when you actually won a hand, wow, it was big stuff.

So these Crazy Eights cards are a little too big to be comfortable in my hands (so my 3 1/2 year old daughter can't manage to hold her hand properly) and the numbers are printed in the upper right corners, which means you have to spread the cards facing left. The first day we played together, we were excited when my husband came home to play a three-person hand. He leaned over to my daughter and said very seriously, "Never bet at cards against your mom."

"Ok, Daddy."

"Your mom is SCARY GOOD at cards," he said. "Never bet anything you're not prepared to lose."

So this morning, we played a few hands of Crazy Eights, just my daughter and I. She continued to set her cards down face up in front of her, and talked her way through the game ("The next card has to be yellow, a number 5, or a Lizard Card (an 8)"). Of the 5 hands we played, she won 2 of them.

At one point she set down her cards."Mom?"


"Daddy said you're very good at playing cards," she said carefully.

"Well, Daddy thinks so."

"Oh." Her eyes widened, "Maybe I am going to be very good at playing cards."

"Sure," I replied. "If you practice, you will get better."

"I like to win," she said.

"Yep. But the game is still fun when you don't win, isn't it?"

"Yes. But it's more fun when I win."

I smiled. And dealt another hand.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Monkeys...or not

We were in a hurry this morning to get the car to the Chevy dealership. Ironically, the warantee repair they need to do only presents itself when the temperature is below 30 degrees. Even in the wee hours of the morning, the temperature hasn't dipped below 35.

My daughter is NOT a morning person. She prefers to eat her breakfast undisturbed in her pajamas. The unspoken rule is beyond saying "Good Morning", she wants to start the first conversation.

This morning she wore her scrunched up grumpus face when she saw me come downstairs fully clothed with her clothes. She reluctantly put on her pants, socks and shoes, whined about how she really wanted to watch Go, Diego, Go! and spouted off some facts from yesterday's show that featured the pigmy marmoset. "It's the smallest monkey," she said.

"I know," I replied. "But we have to take the car to the mechanic to be fixed."

"It's my fault the car is broken again," she said, sounding defeated. She dramatically threw her arms up in the air and collapsed them back at her sides.

"No, honey," I said trying to think about how to explain what a factory defect is in terms she could understand. "Sometimes things just get broken."

"Oh," she said.

We went to the back foyer to put on our coats. I realized I left my cell phone and her sweater on the banister, and turned to retrieve them, "Be right back, ok?"


The walk from the back foyer to the front foyer is perhaps 15 steps, even slow pregnant ones, I couldn't have had my back to her for 10 seconds when I heard a loud scream. I snatched up my phone and the sweater and raced back. No tears. "Uh, what's wrong?"

"There's a monkey in the basement."

I sighed. "There aren't any monkeys in New Jersey. Monkeys live in the jungles of Africa."

"Oh," she said, sounding unconvinced. "Then it was Santa Claus."

"In the basement?"


"In March?"


"What's he doing in our basement?"

"Making sure we put our Christmas lights away. It's not Christmas."

And there you have it. Jolly Old Saint Nick, the decoration enforcer. I wonder if he'll leave me a ticket for the tiny village still set up on the mantle?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A career path for the preschool set

Ever since Grampie bought her Cinderella, my daughter has been focused on a particular career path. Yeah, I wanted to be a princess. She wants to be a Very Godmother. She has since convinced grandparents to purchase a variety of Magic Wands. My daughter plopped herself on the bed last night, Magic Wand in hand.

"Are you practicing being a Fairy Godmother," I asked.

"No." she said sadly, "I am not a good Very Godmother".

"Oh," I nodded, "Why not?"

"Well," she said, "I need to go to Very Godmother school."

"Is that like college?"

"No, Mom. It's just school."

"Oh. When you get bigger?"

"No," she was speaking slowly as though she couldn't believe how thick I was being, "When I get older. You have to be older to go to Very Godmother school."

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Every day is Christmas with Peapod

As I get into my third trimester of pregnancy, the idea of grocery shopping has simply become too tiring. I spent the final weeks of the second trimester exhaustedly pushing my cart along with my daughter down the aisles, to check out, load the car, and then sit with my key in the ignition wanting a nap. But then, that's why God made Peapod.

Peapod! Oh, how I love Peapod. I can virtually browse the aisles OR I can type all my items into a list and it will find each one. And then the next day, a man arrives with groceries in hand and sets them on my kitchen floors.

The only one who perhaps loves Peapod more than I do is my daughter, who promptly starts unloading the bags, item by item. "Oh! Peapod knew we were out of chocolate donuts!" or "Look, Peapod knows that this is my favorite yogurt!" The delivery man stands snickering as this 3 1/2 year old little person praises him for knowing JUST what we wanted. "Thank you, Peapod Man!"