Thursday, December 30, 2010


This is a video of E singing the Jitterbugs song from her music class, taught by one of her very favourite people, Karen.

In case you don't speak toddler, here's what she's (sort of) singing:

Sing! Wiggle! Shake! and Giggle!
I just (wanna?) can't sit still
You know I gotta be free
I got the music in me
And I guess I always will

Hello Elle, How do you do?
Hello Mama, you're a Jitterbug too
Hello Ralph, How do you do?
Hello Dada you're a Jitterbug too

I think she has a future in the music business. But that's just me.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Imaginarium of E

It must be the stellar array of gifts she received this Christmas, or maybe it's just a strange coincidence, but my daughter has FINALLY discovered the joy of playing by herself. She especially enjoys her Little People Animal Village, her pianos and her growing reindeer "family". She talks to her little animals and feeds them milk and muffins, she bangs away on the pianos singing Jingle Bells and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Just now she was opening and closing her backpack saying "I'm very busy right now" over and over. Then she said "California!" and came over to get some help putting the backpack on. Now she's walking around the apartment with the backpack looking for New York City and exclaiming "That's funny"!

I've always known she is stinking adorable, but I just love being able to sit back and watch her get her imagination on, all by herself. It's a new phase that I hope sticks around for a while, not only because it frees me up a little, but it's just about the cutest thing I've ever seen. She's now playing the drum saying "Ra-ta-ta-ta-tat...come with us, Drum!" And every time she catches me looking I get a huge, hammy smile as a reward.

Sure beats the pants off of the "MAMA! PICK YOU UP!!!!" phase.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Snow Day

The bad news: J was supposed to fly to Omaha today for an interview, but all of the airports closed and his flight was cancelled.

The good news: SNOW DAY!!!

Quote of the day from E: "I found some snow!"

Christmas with E: The Sequel - Bigger and Better!

Christmas this year was awesome. Just plain awesome. E knew exactly what was happening, and was in a perpetual state of enthusiasm that infected just about everyone on the planet. Somehow, and if I didn't believe in miracles before this might have just done it, we drove from Brooklyn to Kingston with a baby, without stopping, and without a single complaint from the kid. She slept for some of it, but woke up at the indecent hour of 11pm and chatted her way through the last two hours, trying to fool us into believing that she could "See GrammaPapa's house from here!" and reminding us that it was "Cold and dark outside!"

We rolled into Kingston just before 1am and it took about 3 seconds from key-in-lock for GrammaPapa to spring out of bed to greet the intruders. I don't seem to remember them being so perky when I did this as a teenager. Nevertheless, everyone was very excited to see each other and by about 2:30am J and I managed to get the three kids back to bed before collapsing ourselves.

My hopes of sleeping in were dashed around 7am when a little voice announced "All done sleeping Mama!" I tried valiantly to restore us to a peaceful state of unconsciousness, but gave up the battle after an impressive 90 minutes and released the beast to torture someone else for a while. It turns out that grandparents are willing victims. Christmas Eve was a whirlwind of last-minute shopping, wrapping and chocolate indulgence, followed by some baking and the hanging of stockings. We set out some treats for Santa and the reindeer, we read a few Christmas stories and we ran around naked for a bit before being convinced that Christmas morning comes faster when you're sleeping. After E went to sleep the four Santas got down to business, two of us doing the heavy lifting while the other two supervised from the couch. I'll leave you to guess who got the cookies and who had to settle for the carrots.

Christmas morning. It was perfect. E slept in until 8am so the grandparents were already awake. As much as I had wanted her to wake them up with squeals of excitement, she wouldn't have been able to pass by the tree without noticing the avalanche of gifts and I'm glad that we were all there to see her eyes pop open with surprise and her face engulfed in her smile. She distributed gifts, she waited her turn when opening them, she played with everything and she only ate one or two chocolates, preferring to snuggle with one of the eight million stuffed animals she received.

Shortly after waking up from her nap, the other GrammaPapa arrived from Toronto and the gift-opening frenzy started all over again with a hearty "I need more presents!" She ripped and shook and clawed her way through another mountain, and even helped mama and dada with their gifts. By then she had worked up quite an appetite.

She was the star of the show during dinner with proud mama and dada and both sets of adoring grandparents all at one table. The meal was delicious, and the company was divine. It was a perfect end to a perfect day. It was just the right amount of fanfare, without the overstimulated meltdown at the end. We'll just gloss over the period from 3am-5am completely.

Merry Christmas everyone! It's true what they say that Christmas is about the kids. There's absolutely nothing as joyful as watching your little one light up on Christmas morning. And at this age, it's not about the presents. It's about Santa and furry reindeer and twinkly Christmas trees and just the magic of Christmas. The presents are nice, though.

15 Days of Christmas - Day 15...Christmas Day!!!

15 Days of Christmas - Day 14

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Let it snow!

Really, New York?

It's hard to buy that tough image when all I hear is "Man, it's freezing! I'm so cold! I gotta get inside!" as my toddler and I are enjoying a leisurely stroll in the sunshine, the temperature hovering just above freezing.
A garbage collector called out to me "You're a trooper! You're out in this weather?!" I thought he was being sarcastic.
The manager at the butcher shop let me cut in line so I could get "the baby home and out of the cold". I graciously accepted the offer to avoid a 15 minute wait.
The park was empty, only two other kids showed up to gym class, and anyone brave enough to be out with a stroller had their child completely encapsulated and sealed in plastic. I wondered if E was as confused as I was, or if she was taking mental notes on parental negligence for her memoirs.

All of this took place on Thursday, just three days before the skies opened up and gave us an honest-to-goodness winter blizzard, the likes of which I haven't seen in years. It started around 2:00 this afternoon and it hasn't shown any signs of waning. It's supposed to continue until 6:00 tomorrow evening. It's kind of cold, but mostly it's windy as all get out and snowing like the dickens.

We were on the road today, and almost made it home before the snow started. By the time we pulled up to our house, there were already several inches on the ground. As soon as E's feet hit the sidewalk she yelled - "It's snowing! It's snowing EVERYWHERE!" She buried her hands in the snow and yelled - "Ahhhh!!! I put my hands in it!!!" I made her promise that we can go outside first thing in the morning and do snow angels. She made sure I knew where her snowsuit was.

Let's show these New Yorkers how it's done.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

15 Days of Christmas - Day 13

Keep Calm and Carry On

This thing is everywhere these days, and it has been driving me crazy. I had no idea where it came from or why it was popular, but it kept popping into my head. I decided yesterday to make it my New Year's resolution. But before I could do that I felt that I needed to have a bit more information. I still don't know why it's popular now (anyone care to enlighten me?), but I know where it came from. It was a poster that was put out by the British government at the beginning of World War II to boost public morale (thanks Wiki!). I like it. And I think that the message it sends is the single most important thing I can do to improve my life and my family's life day to day. So I'm going to hop on the bandwagon and buy one of these posters and stick it somewhere where I have to look at it all the time.

I had a really nice chat with an employee at the Brown Hotel in Louisville the other day, a British lady as it happens, and she said that her secret to raising happy, well adjusted children was just staying calm no matter what. She claims that neither of her two boys ever had a tantrum. Well, I don't believe that for a second - time erases the pain of childbirth, I'm sure it can also wipe out a few of those humiliating writhing-on-the-grocery-store-floor experiences - but I do believe that it can make a big difference.

Another thing that I think goes along with this is doing things to prevent problems in the first place. Whenever E gets into things she shouldn't, I always ask myself why I left those things within her reach if I didn't want her to get at them. She's very good at not rooting around where she doesn't belong. She's not very grabby or destructive. So if I just make sure to not leave dangerous/breakable things lying around, we won't have a problem. It's one of those things that is so obvious, but when you're walking around with mom brain all day sometimes you need them spelled out.

There you have it. 2011 will be a peaceful, productive and HAPPY year for our family. Put that in your fortune cookie!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Breaking News: Dog teaches Baby how to Spell!

We do a lot of spelling in our house. It started years ago when Ralph first started to recognize those key exciting words in a dog's life: Walk, Park, Breakfast, Dinner...the usual suspects. So we started spelling those, and after 7 years of spelling things a few other words just snuck in there...Snacks, Bed, Baby, Car, Coffee, Telephone...we just do it out of habit at this point. And when Elle started getting a good grasp of the English language, we found that speaking in code really came in handy - planning trips to the P-A-R-K, or reminding ourselves to buy G-R-A-P-E-S at the store, or wondering if it's time to put someone down for an N-A-P. I figured that she would catch on eventually. It couldn't last forever. But I was completely blown away on the weekend when we were walking home after family breakfast and a little 22 month old voice from the stroller announced:

"Let's go P-A-R-K and play now!"

Looks like we're going to need another code.

Monday, December 20, 2010

It's pronounced "Lou-uh-vul"

I'm sitting in a cozy king size bed at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, trying to type as quietly as possible so as not to wake "she who wakes up at the sound of a feather escaping from the duvet", marvelling at the fact that we really have gotten lucky lately with our little bundle of toddler. A few days ago during our grand Macy's adventure she didn't complain once through hours of waiting around. And today, her day started when I woke her up at 6:55am, threw her into a new diaper and some clothes, strapped her into a carseat and whisked her off to the airport. She grinned, she chatted, she saw the sights and happily ate her blueberries and yogurt in gridlock. Once we got to the airport she sat happily while we wheeled her around from check-in to security, stood patiently by as we disassembled our belongings and all but stripped naked to get through security and then repeated the process in reverse. She was a delightful passenger on the first flight, so easily entertained that we didn't even have to break out the computer for an emergency episode of The Ant and the Aardvark. While waiting for our next flight she jogged around the gate and counted planes, rode the escalator a few times and weaved in and out of people's legs looking for mama and dada in the crowds. But for one tiny little two minute crank before peacefully falling asleep in my arms on flight #2, there was not a titch of discontent felt by us or those poor souls around us holding their collective breath for the other shoe to drop. We looked for penguins on the drive to the hotel, we spun around in circles on our walk through downtown Louisville, we got hit with a "How y'all doin'?" almost as soon as we stepped out of the hotel, we watched football at the Creole restaurant, and we rolled around on the bed "like Ralph!" in the hotel. We bathed in a "giant bathtub!", we watched a little Fantastic Mr. Fox, we had a "dance with Mama and Dada!" in the Crystal Ballroom, and we played peek-a-boo in the closet. We had a full day, and it was awesome. Tomorrow we'll hang out some more while J has his interview, and then I have every bone in my body crossed that we get just as lucky tomorrow night for the trek back to the Apple.

Y'all have a good night now.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sleep? Sleep? Where for art thou, sleep?

I will not bore you with the painful details of the torture that our little angel puts us through every night these days in her battle against sleep. I will only mention in passing that I am slowly slipping into a semi-conscious coma and were it not for the small miracles like the one I will tell you about below, as well as a steady supply of coffee and chocolate, I would surely not be able to write these posts day after day for your benefit.

Two nights ago, after a two hour stand-off that ended with the girl in the bed, me huddled into the fetal position on one side of her and her father battling waves of nausea on the other, I felt tiny little fingertips stroking my back. After petting me quietly for a few moments, she let her hand rest on my back and as she drifted off to sleep she said:

"Don't worry. Be happy."

And for a little photographic cuteness, this is a shot of her early one morning, after waking up ludicrously early. She grabbed her "buddies", put them on the bed, covered them lovingly with her blanket and read them a story. It's nice to see her show so much concern that her stuffed animals get enough rest.

Out of the mouths of babes

Top 10 Things E Wants To Do Before Leaving NYC (in her own words):

10. Go home!

9. Go Manhattan!

8. Make sandcastles. Go beach!

7. Go museum! See dinosaurs and butterflies.

6. Go library! Be quiet. Read books.

5. Play peekaboo! Where's E?

4. Go Bronx zoo!

3. Go park play and family breakfast!


And the number one thing that Elle wants to do before leaving New York City is:

1. Laundry!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

15 Days of Christmas - Day 8

I know, I know. I skipped a few. But there was so much Christmas in today's festivities that I think we more than made up for it.

1st stop: Macy's!

Elle took a ride on the Polar Express, walked through a North Pole wonderland and met Santa! The real Santa, I might add. You don't stand "on line" (that's the American coming out) for an hour and half to meet some two-bit imposter, you know. Plus, everyone knows that the real Santa is at Macy's.

I have to say, she was the best behaved child I have ever had through the whole experience. We waited in line for the elevators, we waited in line for Santa, we waited in line for our pictures, we even waited in line to get out. By the time we left it was two hours past her nap time and with only some minor coaxing she passed out in the stroller for the walk to the tree.

2nd stop: Rockefeller and the Tree!

We had the brilliant idea of stopping for a late lunch, seeing as Elle was asleep, thinking that maybe we could have a nice, relaxing meal during her nap. Of course, she woke up as soon as we sat fact, I don't think my butt had quite hit the chair...and we had family lunch instead. Then we crossed the street to see the tree. She was kind of impressed, but I think that she thinks our tree at home is cooler. I mean, the giant one only has lights - no ornaments, no bows, no homemade tissue paper angels. Come on. But she was a great sport about posing for a million pictures, then we donated to the Sally Ann in exchange for a fun balloon animal and hopped on the subway to go home.

Another pretty perfect day. She was pretty wired when we got home, she ran all the way home squealing and yelling "YAYYYYY!!!", stopping only to close people's gates - it's her own brand of OCD.

When I finally convinced her to go to bed, after a spirited reading of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, she lay there for a while with her eyes obediently closed but I could tell that she was just faking it. I snuggled up to her and she turned her head to me, smiling, eyes still closed. "Hi mama," she said. "Bonne nuit, mama. I love you. Sing please."

Friday, December 17, 2010

Turning the tables

This isn't the way it usually goes down, but Dada was a little extra tired yesterday, so E happily grabbed her book and said "Read to dada!" Of course it would be more convincing if the book wasn't upside down...

It's true what they say...

All the abuse you take as a parent just makes you appreciate the little miracles more. This morning started off innocently enough as my daughter and I ate breakfast, waiting with anticipation for AB to arrive. I noticed almost right away that AB wasn't her usual chipper self. And it wasn't long before I was made aware of just how crappy her mood was, along with how easily E will jump on the crank-wagon.

We were walking home from the grocery store when AB really started letting me have it, crying, yelling "UPPY! UPPY!", and generally voicing her displeasure. Then E picked up the harmony with "Go park play! Mamaaaaaa, Go park play!!!" So I chimed in with a hearty attempt at Jingle Bells and somehow we ended up at home.

At that point I gave them the option - go to the park or go upstairs? They both nodded emphatically at the park option. So, being the doting caregiver I am, I took Ralph upstairs, grabbed the diaper bag and we set off on the four block journey. Four blocks. 15 minutes. About 23 nose wipes. 3 or 4 lectures about how soon we would be there, how crying wasn't helping anyone, about the option of going home still being on the table, and about how if your hat falls over your eyes you really should be able to fix it yourself by now...all met with wails of disapproval.

We got to the park. E was finally pacified. AB would prove to be a tougher adversary. When I took her out of the stroller she planted her feet and refused to move. Not one step. Not crying or complaining, just standing. I figured that if she was happy standing, power to her, and she would join E and I when she was ready. The problem I didn't anticipate was E's utter refusal to play or have any fun whatsoever unless AB joined her. So we have AB standing, E standing a little farther away, yelling "AB, come! AB, come!" and me on the stairs of the jungle gym trying to convince both of them that I'm having the time of my life up there and they should really join me. We did manage about 5 minutes of good times on the swing before AB started nodding off and I had to axe the swinging. Of course, E didn't want to get off the swings, and once off the swings, AB went through the always amusing routine of Step-Fall down-Cry...Step-Fall down-Cry...until she just decided to stand and yell "UPPY! UPPY!"

Of course, once I picked her up E was furious. How could AB follow her around if I was holding her?

Snacks. Snacks always work. I gave them each a cracker and listened to them both complain heartily that they needed their mittens off. I took their mittens off and listened to them complain heartily some more - AB wanted to sit in the stroller and E wanted to eat her cracker on the bouncy bridge. I tried bringing them both on the bouncy bridge. AB wailed. I tried them both in the stroller. E wailed. I aborted mission and headed for home, as they both cried and shouted "UPPY!" "BOUNCY BRIDGE!" "UPPY!" "BOUNCY BRIDGE!" for the entire four blocks. I decided not to join in this time, but instead fantasized about locking them in the bedroom for about six hours as I lay on the couch, drinking coffee and flipping through a stack of magazines.

Going well so far.

When we got home, I decided to feed them some oatmeal. That went fairly well, until E's was all gone and she wanted more, stat. But by the time I had made it she didn't want it anymore, of course. AB had some, I think it was her way of offering the olive branch. We played some, read some, fought over toys some, E had a massive episode of diarrhea that almost didn't leak all over the place, AB pooped five minutes after I changed her diaper (par for the course), and then I decided it was nap time.

This is where it gets interesting. This is how nap time usually goes:
I read them both a story. Then I hold AB and sing to her until she falls asleep, hoping that E will fall asleep beside me, which she never does. I then put AB in the crib and get to work on E, which is never an easy task. She asks for AB, I urge her to be quiet, sometimes resorting to threats of AB never coming over again if she can't let her sleep, and after a half hour or so of alternating between soothing her and empty threats, she finally goes to sleep.

This is what happened today:
I put them both on the bed with their blankets and sat between them. We read a story. Then I decided to sing without picking AB up. I got through my song almost twice. In less than five minutes, we had this:

How sweet it is. I was tempted to leave them like that, but AB has a tendency to launch herself from elevated surfaces without bars, so I had to break up the cuteness. But I have photographic evidence that miracles do happen.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Getting pretty excited over here...

Is it really only 9 days until Christmas?? Oooh, it's coming quickly...I can't wait. Having a kid just makes it so much more exciting! I'm more ready than usual in some ways and typically behind in others. Presents are mostly bought...except for our daughter. But last year - you're just not going to believe this - we went out on Christmas Eve and scrambled for a gift because we (gasp) forgot to get something for her. I don't know, I really don't know what happened there.

Anyhoo, at least we've remembered her this year and we have it almost narrowed down to the perfect gift. My Christmas cards are done and are being dropped in the mailbox tonight. We're a little behind on our 15 days of Christmas, but I blame the stomach flu that my daughter has been tossing around (pun intended) for the past several days. She kiboshed our trip to the Moomah Cafe in Manhattan...or at least postponed it...and hasn't really been feeling up to much in the way of craftiness. I also blame my ignorance, as I failed to realize that Hanukkah is, um, over...making it a bit difficult for us to celebrate it in any sort of organized fashion.

But we did deliver some Christmas treats today, and yesterday was spent finishing up our viewing of Miracle on 34th Street. We've also spent somewhere in the ballpark of six hours in the past two days singing Jingle Bells. Here is E's version:

Jingle Bells
Jingle Bells
All the Wayyyyyy


Oh what fun
Ride on
One horse open sleighhhhhhhhh


Actually, that's not bad. I'm willing to bet it's better than her dad can do. She is also continually asking me: "Where Santa Claus right now?", and begging to watch "Santa and reindeer on comp-oo-ter!"

No, Christmas is not escaping this little girl's notice this year. And she's held fast to her one request from Santa - a reindeer. Simple enough, no? I'm just hoping she doesn't mean an actual reindeer. Because Ralph really hates wearing antlers.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

15 Days of Christmas - Day 4

15 Days of Christmas - Day 3

15 Days of Christmas - Day 2

Getting it all in

Top 10 Things To Do Before Leaving NYC:

10. Go to a Broadway show. Seriously? We haven't done that yet?

9. Take E to Big Movies for Little Kids at the Cobble Hill Cinema

8. Buy E a hot dog from a hot dog stand

7. Go ice skating at Rockefeller Center

6. Take E on a horse and carriage ride in Central Park

5. Take E for her first salon haircut

4. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge one more time

3. Eat approximately 30 more bagels

2. One last shopping spree at Century 21

And the number one thing I want to do before leaving New York City is:

1. Buy three overpriced "I Love Brooklyn" t-shirts and take a family picture in Carroll Park

Monday, December 13, 2010

15 Days of Christmas - Day 1

Reality check

This morning AB was supposed to come over around 9am, and then we were going to head to Jitterbugs for 9:30. Her mom called to tell me that the subway wasn't running, even though there were no notices about service interruptions, so she was going to take the bus. What a drag. We called back and forth, making plans to meet at the class after one bus didn't show up and another drove past her without stopping, and then changing plans again as I showed up to class to find the door locked and no one home. At that point we were both thinking that it wasn't the most stellar of mornings.

Later on today I was scanning the headlines and learned that a 30-something man had jumped onto the tracks one subway stop away from Erin's house after stabbing his parents.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Patience is a virtue. I'm just not very virtuous.

I'm not a patient person. I get frustrated easily, and I don't do very well when I'm frustrated. I'm starting to see this quality in my daughter, which has me scared silly. This is part of the reason that I've been thinking so much lately about my influence on her. If there's a behaviour pattern or quality that I would like her to develop, she has to learn it from somewhere. And since she's looking at me 14 or so hours of the day, I guess I'm somewhere.

So today I took on the day with the sense of calm that I mentioned a couple of posts ago. No rushing around getting all worked up over nothing, no overreactions to minor incidents, in short - no bad behaviour. And I think I rocked it.

When E woke up crying just as my head hit the pillow last night at 11pm, I calmly sat in her room, using my "soothing voice" to urge her back to sleep.

When she had a poop explosion a half hour later the likes of which I haven't seen since she was a wee baby with the stomach flu, I calmly removed my fecally contaminated housecoat, peeled back the sleeper and onesie and the completely useless diaper, serenely sponge bathed my filthy child, and ever so patiently rinsed all of said clothing before dropping it all into a bucket of Oxy Clean.

At 1:17am, when she finally dropped back to sleep I followed suit, buoyed by the knowledge that my peaceful exterior had not cracked.

When she had another episode of explosive diarrhea this morning just after I had changed her diaper and gotten her dressed, I simply removed the now sodden clothing, disregarding the warm plop I felt as the poop hit my leg and dripped down to my foot, shrugging it off when I realized that I was tracking poop through the apartment on the bottom of my foot when I went to rinse the clothes, and went through the routine again.

As AB and E battled over toys and who would feed who next, I was a firm but gentle negotiator, restoring peace rather than fanning the flames.

When E woke up from her nap and whined for 45 minutes straight because AB was still sleeping and she wanted her to wake up, I simply explained that if she couldn't let AB sleep then she wouldn't be able to come over anymore and made myself available to her, letting her get it out of her system without getting wrapped up in the drama.

When E looked at me funny and that little alarm bell went off in my head just before she vomited all over herself and the foam tiles, I uttered no more than a resigned "Oh, man" before slipping off her third outfit of the day and grabbing a roll of paper towels.

I am pretty proud of myself today. All that and I still managed to get my Christmas baking done. Supermom, indeed. For one day, at least.

You take the good, you take the bad, you take 'em both and there you have...

The Top 10 Things I Will Not Miss About Brooklyn!

10. My ridiculously small kitchen

9. My ridiculously small bathroom

8. Having the heat controlled by the stingy people downstairs

7. Lugging our clothes to the laundromat

6. Not having a yard

5. Paying an exorbitant amount of rent

4. A complete lack of wheelchair/stroller-friendly facilities or baby changing stations in bathrooms. I actually whoop for joy when I find a change table, and am almost reduced to tears at the sight of an elevator in the subway.

3. Having one closet for our clothes, shoes, coats, luggage, vacuum cleaner, golf clubs...I'm not sure what else is in there because it has been buried for a year and a half.

2. Being constantly surrounded by "regular moms" at the park wearing $500 Prada boots, diamonds the size of my spleen, perfect hair and make up and outrageously sculpted bodies. It wears a girl down.

And the Number One thing that I will not miss about Brooklyn is:


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Attitude Adjustment

And this is why my blog is good. Good for me, anyway.

I was all set to write a post lamenting the stress in my life right now. How I'm overwhelmed by too many things to do, too many demands on my time and no opportunity to take a step back when I'm about to go over the edge.

Then I thought about how just about everyone else on the planet over the age of twelve could probably say the same thing, especially "during the holidays" (I hate saying that almost as much as I hate saying "in this economy"), and certainly they don't need to hear it from someone else. Of course, I like to think that mine is a special brand of desperation, the depths of which have never been experienced by another human soul, but you're right. Same s&*$, different pile.

So thank you, dear readers, for your honesty and frankness in the reactions that I have projected upon you. Your voices have been heard. Enough complaining, already.

I'm not going to let myself get dragged under the bus of misery where so many people congregate as Christmas looms and obligations and to-do lists pile up. Yes, I'm busier. Yes, I have less time to do things that I enjoy. Yes, my husband keeps getting on a damn plane and leaving me high and dry for days at a time to weather every tantrum and crankfest on my own. But what I need is not, in fact, to sneak off for an extended trip to Vegas with nothing but a bottle of gin to keep me warm...enticing as that is...

What I need is an attitude adjustment. Sigh. My parents were right. I need to look at the things that need to get done and find a way to enjoy them. I need to look at the things I want to do and can't, and look forward to doing them again soon. More and more I've been thinking about being a role model for my daughter, and how I want to show her how to live. I want to show her that having a sense of calm and peace about the way you go through your day can get you a long way. That you always have a choice in how you react to things. That almost everything can have a positive spin, or at least a less negative one. When J goes on interviews it means that I don't even get a five-minute breather during the day, but it also means that I get an evening completely to myself to spend as I choose. When I haven't done any writing all month because my husband keeps absconding with the computer, I get to read a lot more and when I get back to it maybe it will be with fresher eyes and renewed enthusiasm. See? I bet you can do it too.

Today J, E and I started our Christmas celebrations. We went out to family breakfast, then dropped by a CD release party where E listened to her favourite music teacher sing Christmas carols, and bought a Christmas tree on the way home. After naptime we cranked the Christmas tunes and decorated our magnificent tree, stopping to take pictures of the work-in-progress and munch on chocolates here and there. It was pretty close to a perfect day. And that's without any spin at all.

Thursday, December 9, 2010



I kept this one little reason off of my Top 10 List for a reason. This little monkey and the relationship she shares with my daughter will without a doubt be one of the things I miss most about living in New York. I met her parents almost 4 years ago, during the first days of medical school orientation in Newcastle, England. We lived in the same building in Newcastle, then in the same house in Grenada, where her mom and I both got pregnant within months of each other. Our daughters met when we both moved to New York, when E was 3 1/2 months old and AB just a few days old. When AB was 7 months old her mom went back to school and I started looking after her part time.

They took to each other from day one. They would light up as soon as AB walked in the door. They would laugh and squeal and hug and kiss each other until they were unwillingly forced apart at the end of the day. And it hasn't gotten old yet. E knows that Friday is the day we look after AB now, and she is always asking when Friday is coming. She hands me the phone and asks me to call her. She screams and dances around when AB finally shows up. She feeds her water. She feeds her snacks. She shows her all of her new tricks. She's hit and miss on the sharing, but we're working on it.

AB is E's best friend in the whole world. I don't know what they will do without each other, and I'm dreading the time when I have to explain to E that we won't be hanging out with AB on Fridays anymore. Of course, who knows what will happen, but they are likely staying in New York and we are likely not. We will keep in touch, and they will see each other again, but it won't be the same. This will be E's first experience of moving away and leaving the people and places she loves behind. I'm not sure who it will be harder on, but I'm stocking up on kleenex.