not a cool mom…

I have always thought of myself as cool mom. I mean, I wear red lipstick every once in while and I went to a Beyoncé concert this week.  That’s cool right?

In actuality, I am not very cool at all. I have no idea what bands are trending or what kind of boots will be popular next season. I am still wearing “skinny” jeans even though multiple media sources have told me they over. I have no idea what happens at Fashion Week but I can tell you within days, perhaps even hours, if Trader Joe’s debuts a new snack.  Bottom line, I am not very cool.  But my kids think I am cool, right?

But you know what I just figured out, my kids don’t care about any of that stuff.  Fashion, music, trends, all of it. Doesn’t matter when you’re five. Your child’s definition of how cool you are is only dependent on one thing: how much stuff you let them get away with.

It’s all about screen time and sugar intake with the the kindergarten crowd and apparently in that area I am lacking.

Currently, Leo is woefully aware that he does not have an iPad.  And not only does he not have an iPad, but he doesn’t have an iPad with Minecraft. This is partly my fault because I signed him up for a Minecraft “class” after school one day a week. A class where they play the game in partners on vintage PC laptops and the main topic of discussion must revolve around who has an iPad and who plays Minecraft at home. And in an instant I have become that mom that says, “Just because little Johnny has an iPad and plays Minecraft at home doesn’t mean that you can.” And that mom is NOT COOL.

When it comes to parenting, I am starting to realize that I am not cool at all, I am actually sort of strict.  This is the exact opposite of how I thought I would be as a parent. I remember resenting family dinner growing up when I knew that so many of my friends ate dinner in front of the TV and here I am, twenty years later, making family dinner the rule in our house.

And it’s not just that! We have stickers charts, good behavior jars, ready-for-school checklists, early bed times, no television on school days… all of these things I thought were for crazy type-A parents before I had kids. Now I am totally one of those parents.  But I have to say, it works for us.

My kids do better with routine, they are nicer people when they have less screen time and they are getting old enough that occasionally family dinners can be pretty enjoyable. Every family has to do what works for them and if I have to take a little bit of the brunt and be the “mean Mommy” (Leo’s words, not mine), then so be it.

I am not a cool mom, and I own that.

oh… and Lucy turned 2!

Let’s be honest, the second child doesn’t get the same childhood as the first. When Leo turned two he was enrolled in toddler music classes and gymnastics, he had a little playgroup, weekly trips to the zoo or Children’s museum.  The world was his oyster.

I did try to suffer through toddler gymnastics with Lucy but there are only so many times you can sing the ABCs while watching babies attempt to jump on a trampoline before you lose your damn mind, and I have officially reached that point. In Leo’s first two years, I was more of his chauffeur; Lucy is more like my sidekick. I am sure there are huge developmental benefits to in trips to Trader Joes, Target and my gym’s Kids Club. Right?

Leo had a big party for his second birthday, with a ton of other kids and homemade food and decorations. This year I was so exhausted after Leo’s birthday and all of the Kindergarten prep that I declared, “we’re not having a party for Lucy!” Leo started Kindergarten just three days before her birthday and our house is a disaster since we have been childcare-free for over a month now and there are toys everywhere… she isn’t even going to remember her second birthday party, right?

Lenny and I went back and forth over this for weeks- he wanted a party, I wanted cupcakes and candles.  I really think that Lucy would have been fine with either option but we settled on “a little playdate” with a few of her friends. We sent out a Paperless Post with a kitty on it because Lucy loves cats and I ordered a kitty cake from our favorite bakery. That was supposed to be it. But since I can’t leave well enough alone, two days before the playdate I decided that I needed to start crafting kitty stuff like mad. I blame Pinterest.

Kitty cookies, kitty sandwiches, kitty gift bags, kitty bunting…

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Happy girl on her birthday!

After Lucy’s birthday it was on to the next challenge: potty training. We use the boot camp method in our house so when Lucy woke up the day after her birthday, all diapers were gone.

It takes a few days for little ones to get that peeing and pooping your pants is not a good idea, even if you’re in the middle of doing something really fun. So after pooping in a friend’s lawn, peeing at the Natural History Museum and few washings of the car seat cover, Lucy has potty training down. Which of course means she is ready for the biggest milestone of toddlerhood! Preschool!

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First day of school!

Lucy started last week at the same preschool that Leo attended and she is loving it.  Just like her brother, there are no tears at drop off, only smiles and hugs. Her teachers say she is thrilled with every activity and completely well behaved… if only it was that way at home right?

It seems like Lucy went from a baby to a little girl overnight. A part of me is sad that she is growing up so quickly but a part of me is really excited to see what kind of kid she will be. Will she be a storyteller like her brother? A bookworm like me? At least I know that she is having such a fun time figuring it out right now.

 

 

 

too many milestones!!!

A lot has happened in Leo’s life in the month of August.  Leo had his last day of preschool, turned five, took his first solo (parent-free) trip with his grandparents and last week he started Kindergarten!

I would love to stay that it’s all been sunshine and rainbows over here but that would be a total lie.  Transitions are hard for my little guy and it’s been one meltdown after another… Except of course when he was with his Grandparents, because he was an angel with them… but I digress.

Leo had a great birthday complete with a Star Wars themed backyard bash with family and friends,  Darth Vader  even showed up! We spent his actual birthday at Westward Beach, our new favorite spot in Malibu with grandparents. Then the next day he was off to the airport for a week of “camping” in Oregon with my parents where he got to experience all of the critters and cold of the Oregon coast. We only had six days between his return from Oregon and his first day of Kinder, but it felt like six months.  With temperatures in Los Angeles in the mid-200s (well, not really but it felt like it), no childcare and a two children who seemed to be having a contest for “most epic meltdown,” it was not a fun week. My rosé supply has hit an all time low.

But onward we go!  Leo has started Kinder and I think he likes it more than he will admit and we are starting to get back into more of a routine as a family. Below are some photos of my little guy’s epic month.

IMG_4777Leo takes on Lord Vader.

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Birthday boy at the beach.

080416-12With his Bubba (and without his parents) in Oregon… acting like an angel.

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Little dude on his first day of Kinder.

Leo’s last day of preschool

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His last day was a Knight themed dress up day, hence the crazy outfit.

I remember dropping Leo off for his first day of preschool almost three years ago, he seemed like such a baby.  The playground was filled with veteran preschool parents smiling and greeting teachers and friends after the week-long Summer break… and then there were the newbies like Lenny and myself, unsure of where to put our children’s lunch boxes and how to leave without causing a scene.

A kind pre-school teacher leaned over two children fighting over a toy in the sandbox and told them to “use their words.” I was so scared for Leo, just a few weeks into his second year he barely knew any words. When it was time for the parents to leave, Leo sobbed hysterically, for a second I considered taking him home. Maybe he wasn’t ready.

Then a teacher explained to him that Mommy and Daddy were leaving but would be back.  It turned out he was only sad because he thought he had to leave too!  He ran away from us into the sandbox, then it was my turn to cry in the parking lot. My baby was no longer a baby. That sadness and hesitation melted way quickly. Preschool has been wonderful experience for Leo and for us.

His school is play-based with monthly changing themes which have exploded Leo’s imagination. Without any direction or props Leo can play in space, in the ocean, in the jungle only using the power of his mind.

He has learned how to make friends and how to treat he peers. He has his own rich social life at school complete with “best friends,” bickering and the occasional bully- and he can handle it all with grace. He knows how to resolve conflict and recognizes when a friend is feeling sad or left out.

With Kindergarten around the corner, we know that Leo is well prepared.

Along with Leo, Lenny and I and I have also had a great experience.  We have made wonderful friends whom with we share play dates, dinners, holidays and vacations. Through lice scares, toddler tantrums and countless viruses we have had a great support team in the friends we have made through preschool. I have learned that having friends who share a same-age child is essential to dealing with the stresses and joys of parenting.

Above all, we trust our preschool.  We have been able to drop off our son and know that he is with teachers that truly care for him.  When he is there, I know he is happy and engaging in an awesome activities. That is priceless.

In September Lucy will be starting at the same school, I can’t guarantee that it will be a tear-free drop off that first day but I am so excited for her and the new friends she will make and the experiences she will have.

Everyone thinks my daughter is boy…

At least once a day a someone thinks Lucy is a boy.

“How old is he?”

“He’s a cute little guy.”

“Hey little dude!”

It really doesn’t bother me that they think Lucy’s a boy.  I guess I don’t go out of my way to dress her in super-girly clothing.  She spends most afternoons getting dirty at the park so flowery dresses are sort-of out of the question.  I don’t even try to get cute headbands on her anymore, I know that’s a battle I’ll never win. Is it because of her little jeans or the fact that she doesn’t have a ton of hair?

What does bother me is the constant awkward interactions with strangers. Here’s another daily interaction:

“He’s so cute, what’s his name?”

“Lucy.”

“Oh, oh my. I’m so sorry! Oh course she’s a little girl.”

If I can possibly avoid it, I don’t correct them. I mean, I’m not going to like and say “His name is Lucas.” But sometimes I will answer the the “how old is he?” question with “17 months” instead of “She is 17 months.” (Side note, my husband totally will just roll with it and say, “he’s 17 months.”)

I hate seeing people feel bad. And people feel really bad about this simple misunderstanding for some reason. I always try to smile and say something funny, attempting to alleviate how the other person is feeling.  I see people blush and stammer apologies all the time. It’s not like you just asked me when my baby was due only to find out my baby is almost two years old. By the way, that’s totally happened too, I am less nice to those people.

It’s really not a big deal people! Can we make some sort of agreement that babies are gender-neutral?

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Little dude on a horse.

 

 

freaking out is a normal response to childhood illness…

I am no stranger to tense situations,  I’ve had high-stress jobs in events and entertainment. But nothing prepared me for the stress of dealing with a sick baby. When my kids get really sick I tend to PANIC.

Lucy had a really rough time last week. She started coughing on Monday night and it didn’t sound good. When we went in to check on her we could hear her breathing and sleeping peacefully. Tuesday morning, when I turned on the light, it was a totally different story. There was vomit everywhere; all over her sheets, bed and hair. I jumped into action, my heart rate went up to about 170 beats per minute and I started scrambling like the big one was coming and I had two minutes to get my baby out of the house. Leo was so confused as I rushed around at warp speed. I paged Lenny at the gym (yes, you can still do things like that in 2016), I whisked my little girl into the bath dressed her and rushed to the Emergency Room and Children’s Hospital.

There she proceeded to throw up all over me and herself again. My poor little girl looked so stunned and started bawling. I have never seen a staff less phased by anything, they handed me a barf bag then continued chatting about their co-workers party. I wanted to scream, “DON’T YOU SEE MY BABY IS SUFFERING?!?!?!” But instead I went on wrapping Lucy’s vomit soaked dress in my vomit soaked sweatshirt and getting her changed.

The nurse took a look at her. No temperature. A little bit of a high heart rate because she was dehydrated. The doctor took a look at her and listened to her cough. He wasn’t sure, but she might have croup. So another nurse came in and gave her some syrupy cough medicine. Meanwhile, I am still FREAKING OUT. My sassy-girl Lucy was very cuddly and quiet, which are traits she rarely expresses. They sent us home with a “good luck,” “lots of hand-washing” directive and a vague diagnosis. Internally, I am thinking, “you should probably just admit my baby because this is really scary and I am freaking out.” But I knew I would look crazy if I did that, so put Lucy back in her car seat and headed home.

She proceeded to vomit the syrupy cough medicine all over the car seat and start wailing again as we pulled into the driveway. Are you sick of hearing about vomit yet? I had our babysitter come over and hold her while she slept so I could begin the multi-step process of sanitizing the house and car. I ordered pedialyte and saltines from Amazon PrimeNOW which cost about fifty dollars, what was I thinking?!?

When I was done with that round of freaking out, I resumed the holding and snuggling and pretty much did that (with a few mini episodes of sickness and more freaking out) until Friday when she started eating and drinking a little and acting like her normal sassy self. IMG_1531 (1)I am calling this the collage of sadness, my poor sick girl.

I know this was only the flu and there are far worse illnesses for a child to have. My panic is totally irrational. Every mother goes through it; perhaps if you have medical training, you are spared from the freaking out.  There is just nothing worse that your little one being sick. Your heart breaks every time they look at you with their little sad eyes and there is nothing you can do for them except be there.

Though she is a little lighter, Lucy is almost back to her normal sassy-self. Here’s a photo to prove that she still remembers how to scream at me when she doesn’t get her way…

IMG_1551I hope all of you Mamas are getting through this cold and flu season! And if your little one is sick, it’s OK to freak out a little (or a lot).

xo, Lisa

#Resolutions

BEST OF 2015

Look at my my best of 2015 collage! What great memories. This past year was a whirlwind.  I felt like I kept saying to myself, “How is it already March?” then April, then May… now 2016 is here! Where does the time go! 2015 was a blur, so many good times but also so much stress and change.  I dealt with some major health issues, we went from being a family with a toddler and a baby to a family with two toddlers, I went back to school, Lenny changed jobs… a lot happened. With everything going on, the big picture stuff got a little lost.  This year Lenny and I sat down and went over our resolutions for the new year, here are some of our family and personal goals for 2016.

FOR THE FAMILY

  1. SUNDAY FAMILY DAY- Between errands, birthday parties, haircuts, playdates, visits from family, etc. The weekends end up being like a game of tennis, passing the kids back and forth, and we rarely do something as a family with just the four of us.  We are going to try to make this a weekly thing from now on.  It may be something as easy as a trip to the park or a beach day, but we are going to make it happen.
  2. PLANT A GARDEN- If you know me, you’re probably laughing.  I am a perpetual killer of tomato plants. We can barely keep our small patch of lawn alive in the backyard. But we are going to do it!  I think with a little determination and a drip irrigation system we can pull this off. I am not talking about an acre of land or anything… just utilizing the side of our yard to grown some herbs, zucchini, carrots and (with any luck) a tomato plant or two. My hope is that if Leo is involved in growing his veggies, he may actually eat more of them.  It’s also a great way to bring down our family’s carbon footprint.
  3. DO A REAL SPRING CLEANING- No cabinet or drawer left unturned! I’ve already started on this one and it feels great. Goodwill, our stuff in coming to you… and there is going to be A LOT of it!

FOR THE KIDS

  1. CUT BACK ON TELEVISION- No television Monday-Thursday for the kids! I am totally guilty of using TV as a crutch while I am trying to get dinner on the table and 15 minutes turns into 30 which turns into 45… No more! We still do a family movie Friday and Leo can watch a show or two on the weekend. Tomorrow begins our first week of this. Wish us luck!

FOR MYSELF

  1. MAKE TIME TO WRITE AND READ- Writing this blog, fiction and or even emails to friends hasn’t been enough of a priority over the last year. This year I am going to literally carve out time of every week to do this.
  2. TRY NEW PLANT-BASED RECIPES- Since our family has gone vegetarian, we have been in kind of a pizza rut.  I need to add some new things into the dinner repertoire. I am doing a vegan month in January (the kids and Lenny are not).  I did this on my own fruition but apparently it’s a real thing. I signed up for The Purple Carrot, which is like a the plant-based Blue Apron for some help in this department, and I have been researching in cookbooks and on Pinterest as well and there is a ton of stuff that I am excited to try! I figure if I make 20 new dinners this month a few of them are bound to be hits that can be added to the monthly menu.
  3. GO TO BED EARLIER- I need to face reality and realized that my kids aren’t going to miraculously start sleeping in anytime soon. My little alarm clocks are going to go off between 6 or 6:30 weather I like it or not so I have to be in bed by 10PM, especially on school nights.

Wow, that seems like a lot (and there are some that I am not even sharing here). Maybe putting them all on the internet will help us stick to them. Here’s to an awesome 2016!