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.

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

changing of the guards…

There has been a seismic shift in our household over the past few weeks, allow me to explain…

Just over a month ago when Lenny and I had to split up over the weekend to run separate errands we would haggle over which of us got to bring Lucy.  I would bring her to the grocery store and she would happily sit in the cart while strangers would make comments like “is she always smiling?” or “she is such a happy baby!” Lucy was, in a word, easy-going.  Happy to sit on the floor and flip through a board book on her own, happy to hang out in our room while I got ready in the morning, happy to run errands or pick up Leo from school. Just happy about everything. Lenny and I would joke that we didn’t have a favorite child… “wink, wink”

Until recently, I wouldn’t contemplate taking Leo to the grocery store if I could possibly avoid it, there are just too many scenarios of things that could set off a tantrum. I remember right when school started I took him to the market to pick up chips and guacamole for his snack day at preschool.  We left without anything when he erupted in a tantrum because I wouldn’t buy him a plastic pumpkin jack-o-lantern (Why were there even Halloween items out the first week of September?!?!?). Leo is four. He is distracted by shiny things and 25 cent toy machines, he gets frustrated when plans are changed, he can be downright mean when he is tired.  He is four, so I understand and even expect some of this behavior.  But to his credit, Leo has also grown up a lot in the past few months. He is a fun dinner or park date, he will tell you great stories on a long drives and behaves when traveling.  I even take him grocery shopping, I might end up with some popsicles or cookies that I didn’t intend to buy, but I am putting them in my cart because he asks for them nicely- not because I fear an epic meltdown if I don’t.

On the other hand, now that Lucy can walk she has suddenly decided that she has opinions on just about everything; and if she doesn’t like something she will let you know it.

It started with the baby gates.  We have three baby gates downstairs to keep the kids in the play room, out of the kitchen and off the stairs. When you close a baby gate in front of Lucy she screams like you stomped on her foot. The first time it happened I thought maybe I had accidentally gotten her little fingers in the gate, but no. Leo can open two of the three gates on his own now, giving him free run of the house. Maybe it is hard for her to see her brother going as he pleases while she is “locked” in the playroom. She loathes her time spent in the playroom now.  It’s a room full of toys! How bad can it be? But she wants no part of it.  She just fusses the whole time she is in there- screaming, whining and crying. Initially, I thought it could be teething. Because, really, what parent hasn’t blamed their baby or toddlers bad behavior on “teething”?

At the park the other day I pushed her in the swing for about ten minutes until Leo moved to a new area of the park and was playing outside of my sight line.  When I went to take her out of the swing she clenched the chains so tightly and screamed so loudly that I am pretty sure every other parent at the park checked their phones for amber-alerts after they were done staring at our struggle.

At Trader Joe’s she was sitting in the cart and grabbed the package of tempeh that had put in the basket.  When it was time to check out SHE WOULD NOT LET GO. Again with the screaming at the clenching. The poor woman at the check out just went to get another one to ring up because there was no prying it out of Lucy’s hands (I am pretty proud that my baby is so passionate about tempeh though).

Lucy is discovering the world and starting to realize that babies don’t run it and she is none too pleased.  I know my sweet angel is still in there but right now she is very frustrated. I don’t remember Leo’s tantrums starting until he was almost two but Lucy already seems to be in the thick of it.  I guess having a baby-gate moving, cookie-eating, TV watching brother around may highlight some of the bigger injustices in little Lucy’s life that Leo didn’t even know where possibilities.

Setting boundaries for a 15 month old is hard. You can’t really reason with a baby. Lucy doesn’t understand why I won’t let her wrap cords around her neck or open the hot oven.  She just thinks I am being mean.

The only tactic that seems to be working is just getting out of the house (and the playroom) as much as possible and experiencing new things- parks, train rides, the zoo, restaurants, museums, anything I can think of to keep my opinionated little girl happy.

Or maybe it’s just teething and this will pass soon?

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Lucy on a recent lunch date.  At least eating is still her happy place.

What we are playing with now…

Now that Leo is (almost) 4 and Lucy is 9 months, we have had to shake up the playroom a little bit. Afternoons of entertaining just Leo used to mean a lot of coloring and crafting but now that Lucy is crawling around and putting EVERYTHING in her mouth so a lot of the tiny toys have disappeared. Some toys went straight into the trash or to Goodwill and others into boxes in the basement for when Lucy is older.  Here are some toys that are working for us now…Toys1. MAGNATILES– These seem like such an investment when you are buying them (and adding to your set) but no regrets here. Leo has played with these a few times a week for over a year and they have held up to being knocked over and stepped on hundreds of times. Lucy loves tapping them together to make music and she is really getting into knocking down Leo’s creations, we try to make a game out of it.

2. ZINGO– OK, this game isn’t totally baby-safe.  The tiles are on the smallish side but not in a totally terrifying choking hazard kind of way. It’s also nice for Leo to have a big boy game that his sister can’t play with, it is helping him learn site words and symbols and also the art of winning and losing graciously. Unlike some other kid’s games, this one makes it fun to put the little tiles back into their holder, so small pieces don’t end up all over the house.

3. PUPPETS– We have all kinds of soft finger and hand puppets and both kids like them.  Specifically when they are on my hands and I am acting silly.

4. DUPLOS– speaking of building toys…forget the fact that all of his friends have real Legos. I am so grateful that I didn’t buy the big boy Legos and have to take them away. Leo can still have fun and make creations with his Duplos and Lucy can happily sit by and chew on a few while her brother builds.

5. COSTUMES– Who doesn’t love dressing up?  Leo can’t get enough of costumes and they are totally baby-safe so when he gets bored and throws them on the floor it’s not a big deal.

6. MUSICAL TOYS– We have had the same little egg shakers, piano, xylophone and drums since Leo was a baby.  He still plays with them and Lucy enjoys a good jam session as well.  It’s a great way for her to interact with her brother and vice versa.

I’m still on the hunt for more big kid toys that aren’t choking hazards but our playroom seems pretty well stocked at the moment. What are your kids playing with?