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.

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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.

 

 

 

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!

what to do about a crow?

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Help!  My son is a hoarder.  He’s only four so he hasn’t been able to collect enough objects to fill an entire room yet, but I fear it may happen soon.  Leo is what they call a crow. Someone who likes to collect tiny and shiny things… old twisted paperclips, beads from the sandbox at school, googley eyes from the craft box, photo strips from the zoo.

He has a little treasure box where he keeps his most valuable possessions.  He is sentimental about the strangest things. For instance, he has a napkin rolled up with a rubber band around it from our trip to Hawaii in January; if you try to move it or throw it away…HE KNOWS. Free toys from the movie theater, foreign coins from countries he have never been to, hotel room key cards… all his favorite possessions.

I am the opposite of a crow; I throw out everything from mail and receipts to my kid’s artwork and handwritten notes pretty much the second they come in the door.  I am not sentimental. I don’t love to accumulate, which is probably why Leo’s treasure hoarding is hard for me to deal with.

My brain is saying, “throw out pipe cleaner sculpture,” but I don’t, because I know it’s important to Leo and that he treasures it. Is this something that he will grow out of or will he take his popsicle stick collection to college?

I’ve googled the habit and the search results are mostly not so positive. Is he favoring objects over people? Is he collecting to satisfy an unmet social need? Am I a terrible mother?  Oh Google, why do you do this to me?

Does anyone else’s kid to this? Is it totally normal? Help a mamma out!

a lovely vacation… Legoland California

Thanksgiving is a great holiday, don’t get me wrong, but it is also exhausting. Because I am a compulsive planner, I start working on my menu weeks in advance so by the time the week comes around I have a timeline organized for the week that includes everything from shopping list for different stores (five this year) to what time to put the sweet potatoes in the oven.  After three straight days of shopping and cooking, our family needed a break!

We headed south to Legoland, California for two days of fun.

We decided to stay at the Legoland hotel which is right at the entrance to the park.  This was a good call. The hotel is set up for kids to have fun so their parents can relax.  If you’re a design snob, this may not be the place for you but I felt that there was a little something for the parents and a little something for the kids in each area of the hotel so it made it all really enjoyable. For example…

Your bed looks like a pirate ship (or castle or something else tacky depending on what floor you’re on), but the kids sleeping area is totally separate (and even has a TV, egads!)

There may be terrible polyester carpeting with lego bricks all over the hotel … but there are also lovely lego “flower arrangements.”

The food at the breakfast buffet may be mostly terrible, but it’s included in your room charge so you can leave quickly without paying a check when your kid starts melting down.

The main feature of the lobby is a giant pirate ship play structure… and it happens to have a bar right next to it.

Got it? Good.

legoland decor

The park itself was fun. Not overly crowded and the rides were great for a 4 year old… though Leo could have benefited from 1-4 more inches of height for a few of the rides.  He was rejected from the Lego version of the teacups, which was oddly the one thing that didn’t send him into a full-blow tantrum over our two day park visit.

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He loved the rides he was able to go on…including one roller coaster that totally freaked me out!

They also have a ton of areas for little ones to play in each section of the park which was great for little Lucy.

lucy legolandMy favorite part of the hotel and the park were all of the cool lego creations- from life-size Chewbaccas to the entire Las Vegas strip.  No photos of those so you will have to go check them out for yourself.

Now if you’ll excuse me… Hanukkah starts in four nights.

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.