Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Bliss

Almost three must be the perfect age for Christmas. Cora is not quite ready to buy into the whole Christmas idea, but big enough to understand the idea of presents. She has no Santa fetish. She doesn't really get the Christmas eve adrenalin rush and sugar high combination, nor does she bounce out of bed on Christmas morning at four AM eager to see what Santa brought.

Instead, she is happy to go to sleep on time, wake when Mom and Dad (who do still get the adrenalin going) wake her, and listen intently as we try to explain why good behavior puts you in the red; Santa's big red heart that is. She also just loves the idea of presents.

A couple days before Christmas she helped Dad wrap presents for Mom, and Mom wrap presents for Dad. After tapping her lips and happily telling me she wanted me to see the "cards" a great hint that one of dads packages might contain a card game, she began to use the word presents. In the spirit of the holidays, she began to use a towel and wrap up various items as gifts for the kittens.

One towel, which contained a couple pairs of her play shoes was delivered. "Here kitty! I have a presy for you!" she said. The kitten looked at the big green thing coming toward her and took off.

Being two, Cora resorted to her typical method of delivery.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to lecture a two year old on throwing things, while digging a cat out of a pile of shoes and towel?

Christmas is bliss this year, because Cora was happy to give from her heart, to everyone (not just the kitties). Maybe that is the best spirit of Christmas.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The day after Christmas

Its the day after Christmas, all is quiet in the house.
Nyobi got up at 6:30, which means moms up and about. The boys are asleep. Cora went down at 9:00 last night, and has barely stirred. She wore new Christmas clothes to bed. Nyobi is wearing a colorful outfit (not new clothes) and snuggling with mom on the couch while we blog about the holiday.

This is the first christmas that Cora will probably remember. Santa came. Santa even ate the garlic cookies which some silly mother stamped out in attractive shapes. There were little do hickeys and trinkets galore. The favorite gift seems to be the paint set that Santa left. Now if only he had left a floor cleaner for mom...

Pete installed his new memory in his now warrentyless netbook on the fourth try. Kelly is psyched to have two new games to woop Petes butt at, and Nyobi has glow in the dark nookies (FINALLY! I'll be able to find the Bleeping things a 3 am at Nannys house.)

And then there is the question of love. My living room is strewn with small child toys, and colored pencils, but my daughters favorite Christmas present was getting to drag her two bachelor uncles to her room for some one on one block tower building. Nyobi broke the all time sleep record by failing to take longer than a 20 minute nap all day, ensuring that she spent time in everyones arms, and tried to pull off parts of everyones faces.

If you could explain why she ONLY puked on Mom, I would appreciate that. In the end, christmas is not about the things, though they are nice and shiny, but about the memories. Next week, the toys will still be here. The computer toys will seem like they have always been installed, the games played, and the slinky...

Actually the slinky probably didn't make it through today.

It will not be "another slinky" that Cora will ask for. She will ask to go see Uncles Beer and Shorty, and to go to Nannys house. She will ask for that magic of christmas again. To spend time sitting on the floor with Mom and Dad in her pajamas playing with goofy little trinkets and eating a pound of sugar.

I better hide the christmas candy before she wakes up.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Flicker of Light

Our Christmas tree is beautiful, and its created a couple interesting problems in our house. I waited until a few nights ago to tinsel it. Between the active re decorator (Cora) and the active de-tinselers (cats), it was just easier to give the tinsel less time to spread out.

Cora woke up in the morning, walked down the hall and stopped about five feet from the lit up tree. She approached with caution, leaning in and wrinkling up her nose and face with a look of displeasure. "WHAT is ON my tree, Mom?" she quearied. The accusion in her voice when she said my name was paramount.

She now accepts and appreciates the tinsel. Nyobi had no such issues. That is probably because her vocabulary consists mostly of baby sounds and the mornful middle of the night maaa maaa. She found a piece of tinsel on the floor and spent a good ten minutes trying to pick it up. Then once she managed to free the staticy piece from the floor, she put it where EVERYTHING goes these days.

I gave her her chew keys when I took the tinsel away, but she wasn't done attempting to eat the tree yet. A few minutes later, I noticed the lights on the tree were flikering. I looked up just in time to do an across the room dash.

Babys with sharp little teeth should probably not chew on the light cord for the christmas tree.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Little white Lies

Cora came into Nyobis room with two jars of baby food. I asked her where she got them. It was important to know whether she got into the pantry (discouraged but not punishable) or my bedroom closet where Santa stores Christmas presents (punishable and usually locked). She looked at me and hemmed and hawed. Finally, her mind settled on the "right answer" i.e. the one that owuld get her in the least trouble in her mind.

"Your closet mommy." She answered, her eyes twinkling with pent up devilry.

I turned her around swatted her butt and sent her to her bed. She left crying as I followed out of the room. I looked in my bed room, and the closit door was closed. Worse than that the hook and eye at the top of the door, well out of her reach was still secure. I looked out in the hallway again, and sure enough, the pantry door was wide open and the baby food jars were spilled across the hall.

Thats when it hit me. Cora LIED to me about where she got the food. She did it thinking she would avoid punishment, but all it did was make the punishment worse. The worst part was that I spanked her for getting in the pantry (not a spankable offense). Wait, I thought. Pausing as I looked at the tear streaked face in the room across from me.

She lied.

Now I know what the lecture can be on!

Sometimes parents can be the stupid parties.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cooking with Cora

When I stepped out of the shower yesterday, I noticed that the door to the bathroom was closed. This, I have learned through hard experience makes the couple minutes after my shower trouble. In this case, I found the culprit sitting on the floor in the kitchen by our turn around cupboard. She was, in her own words "Cooking for YOU Mommy!"

As sweet as the thought was, It just wasn't my morning for trail mix flavored rice vinegar and oil salad dressing. Especially not when the idea of using a bowl just had NOT occurred to the chef. Stunned by my silence, and deciding that my lack of words was a result of miscommunication, She demonstrated her cooking ability by taking a huge globful of vinegar and oil soaked dried fruit and dumping it into the nearest (unplugged) appliance.

It must have been a day for cooking, because after a truely gruesome diaper change I found a puddle of corn syrup and rock salt (with a bit of pepper). And I walked back from using the bathroom to a puddle of lawrys seasoned salt. My kitchen floor is very clean now too!

Oh, and did I mention that I might need to buy a new toaster?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

All That Effort, and Foiled by Mom.

Nyobi can crawl. Well rather she can push up on her hands and slide her whole body. Unfortunately, she only goes backwards. Put her down on the floor and eventually she rolls over onto her stomach and begins to scoot around the room.

Usually she is trying to get to the toy in front of her. She stares at it in deep concentration. She pushes up. She slides backwards. She then raises her hands and feet off the ground and wiggles them trying to get that forward thing working. Sometimes she uses one arm and reaches for it with pudgy little fingers. Other times she talks to it, with soft happy baby noises, which roughly translate as. "Come closer little chewable object!"

She's been attempting to move forward for the last couple days, so the excitement and urgency are no longer as obvious as when she first discovered her ability to move. Last night was different.

Last night there was a Christmas cookie on a napkin on the floor about two feet in front of her head. Having come to the conclusion that big people food (especially anything associated with Cora) is much better than baby food (pureed green beans and brown rice, bleck!) she zeroed in on the treat. After a quick attempt at cookie whispering, she tried to move.

It resulted in the same backward motion.

So she arched her back. With hands and feet off the ground she began to kick frantically, waving her hands to increase the natural rocking motion. Her eyes were glued on the cookie. She kept it up for quite a while. Finally Mom picked her up, her eyes still focused on the dratted treat.

Wow is she going to go fast when she figures out that her tummy is supposed to be up and her hands and knees down.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Mommy, Let my people Go!

Coming out of the bathroom, Cora met me at the door yesterday. She had my keys in her hand, and she spewed out a half intelligible sentence. "Mommy the people are stuck." she said when I asked her to repeat.

"People?" I ask. Wrapping my towel closer around me, and trying to hear noise by my front door.

"Stuck." She adds again, as if I'm being excessively dense. Two year olds must think so quite often. Most people just can't understand them, even though they are wasting all this energy on talking when they could be trying to turn your sofa cushions into snowflakes.

I decide that any people, real or fictitious would rather see me clothed than naked (specific party excluded), and calm her down with an, "In a second, help mommy get dressed first."

whipping through my drawers and pulling on clothes, I retrieve the fore offered keys from Coras hand.

"Where are the people stuck, sweetheart?" I ask.

"In the box." she says. Leading me into the living room. She pulls me over to the fake train set that is lieing on the floor still in its container. "See, they stuck. You unlock them."

Then showing an aptitude for lateral reasoning that surprised me. "Daddy tape them, see!" She points. It is nice to know she suspects Daddy of locking up the imaginary people on the train not me.

Releaved that I wasn't expected to aid some silly Georgians who decided to try driving in a Michigan winter, I sat down and began to help Cora assemble the train. As I pulled out the track, she pulled out the cars. As I assembled the track, she peered into the box. "Where are the people? Where are the houses?" she asked me. She lays down the box and points to the village miniatures they use to make the train set look very appealing.

Fortunately there were people on the train. I explained that those houses were just in the picture, and she could make her own if she liked.

She didn't. She was too busy letting the train run into her hands and then waiting impatiently for me to put it back on the tracks.

I now understand that adults aren't the only ones taken in by false advertising. My husband should thank me for not telling her that he hadn't managed to tape the box shut in time and they escaped.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A day without Pain

This morning, in the midst of the rush to get everything done and get out of the house, we multi tasked. My husband went to the end of the drive way to bring back the trash cans, and I got the kids in the car and pulled out onto the drive. Unfortunately, Cora decided that I, in my infinite wisdom, forgot to make sure daddy wasn't in the car.

As I pulled out of the garage, there were genuine tears rolling down her cheeks as she frantically tried to communicate the fact that Daddy wasn't in the car. "Forgot Daddy! Forgot Daddy!" I stopped in the drive way, and the forgotten one approached the vehicle and climbed in.

Nyobi managed to soften up a client whom I work with. Her happy looks also smoothed over some rough emotional background. I think she might be starting, or fighting a minor ear infection, but she's such a happy baby, its hard to figure out when she's in pain. Asside from the occassional teething issues (she draws blood with the two teeth she has), she is a smiley child.

This afternoon, my big girl helped me make all sorts of appetaizers for a family party. I need to do this again when I visit the other side (mine) of the family. Cora rolled, spread, sprinkled and thoroughly enjoyed the cooking process. Please don't mention this to anyone until after the 13th. People are always a little suspicious of child cooked foods, and with good cause.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Someone is Sleeping

Due to the marvels of Michigan weather, I spent the night at my parents in an impromptu grandchildren visit. Wound up from driving in an icy sloshing winter scape, It took me an hour to settle into the idea of crawling into bed. At midnight, I cuddled up closed my eyes and fell half asleep.

The special senses that come with being a mother, or a light sleeper, woke me up an hour later. As I opened my eyes, I got a close up view of my eldest daughters face. "Mom, I sleep with you?" she queried. I moved over, made room and helped hoist her into bed.

Evidently, her definition of sleep and mine are not the same. Half an hour later, she is still tossing and turning, and putting her cold feet on my legs. I believe this was the time that frazzled tired mom said something about f'ing going to sleep. A moment of peaceful silence followed, and I drifted off with the illusion that cora was asleep.

In the depths of slumber a small voice said "I go see Sammy and Nanny."

Once it filtered through, my eyes popped open to a deserted pile of covers. I leapt out of bed, motiviated by an entirely unrealistic urge to find and duct tape my child in her sleeping bag. At the top of the staircase, I found her cuddling with the dog, and physically relocated her. Just as she was drifting off to sleep, there was a sound from a corner.

The baby was hungery.

I am sure, someone somewhere was sleeping, but it was not me. I was busy trying to comfort a sleepless two year old, and feed a baby.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Life is a Beach

Tuesday evening, Cora and I picked up her room. We found the floor! We also located a book of creatures, some of which she petted and others that she pointed to with a false scream and hid behind me. One that left her staring in fascination was a crab.

We talked about crabs and where they live and what those big claws are for. I told her, "some day, we will go to a beach with crabs, and try and catch them."

The next morning, she came trouping out of her bedroom bleary eyed and dragging her back pack. She set it down with her blanket and doggy T, then went back to her room. When she re-appeared she had a magnifying glass and a pair of tweezers which she thrust into her back pack.

"What are you doing honey?" I asked. "Why do you have your back pack?"

"We are going to the beach." she said. Then she looked out the window at the snow. "It's cold. No swim suit. I wear my boot."

Some day was evidently yesterday, because her insistence that we go to the beach continued until I explained the the crabs had gone south for the winter.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Crayon Marks and Supports

So, I have learned a new trick this evening. I can now include illustrations in my diatribates on my favorite subject. As you can see from my first illustration Cora learned a new trick today as well.

When we moved into this house, I could not understand why the closets in the childrens rooms had supports in the center of the shelves, nor could I understand how or why there were crayon marks everywhere. I thought, in my infinite (and pregnant with our first) wisdom, that these parents must have been terrible.

They were terrible parents, but that wasn't the issue. The supported shelves were an important functional part of making a place of small children to play. As you can see, Coras position explains the supports completely. It also explains why there were (and still are) crayon marks on the ceiling of the closet.

I'm still trying to figure out why there are pencil marks on the hallway wall that I painted last week, and washed this morning. I don't even know when she got a pencil. Maybe it was one of the cats.

I'll ask Cora. Her other new skill this week is telling little falsehoods. It will give her a chance to practice.
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Mushrooms for the Holidays

Cora has hard time remembering the difference between items. She mixes up sugar, salt and flour. She calls any white goop in the fridge sour cream, which means that pumpkin pie is topped with sour cream in her mind. Actually that sounds kind of good.

These mind switches resulted in some interesting names. she calls bananas blini's. She calls mac n' cheese simply cheese. After all, the mac part is relatively un important in her mind.

The most hilarious and well documented switch she makes is a bit obtuse. She mixes up mushrooms and shrimp. It might be the shr noise in both of them. She will ask for shrimp while holding a can of mushrooms, or ask for mushrooms when she sees the shrimp in the freezer.

I am tempted to make a dish with both of them in it, just to see what she does.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Cleaning House

This weekend was devoted to cleaning up the girls rooms. With the holidays coming, it was time to go through the almost threes toys and remove the ones that were destroyed, not used and generally past her play level. This is not always an easy thing to do, especially with said two year old helping.

Whilst going through Coras toys I found a couple items that i thought could be happier with another child. One was a childs xylophone. The other was a set of plastic dominos. Remembering what she played with recently, I reluctantly put back the xylophone and put the dominos in the donate bin. At this time, Cora came to check on my progress. Seeing her dominos her eyes lit with excitement. "My dominos!"

"No honey, you don't play with those, we are going to give those to another child."

"NOOOO mommy! MY dominos." She grasps the bucket they are in with both small hands and hugs it to her chest possessively.

Pete steps in, "Cora come here!" I know precisely where this is going. My wonderful husband is backing up my decision. Cora WILL do as I say, and he is enforcing it. However, I have a brilliantly silly idea.

"Okay honey, if you want to keep the dominos you need to choose a different toy that you don't want to keep." I scan the pile of iffy toys that I've stacked next to the donation box. The xylophone hits my eyes. "How about this?" I ask. "Do you want to keep the dominos or this?"

She looks at the two items, and taps her lips with one finger in her classic thinking pose. "Okay." she says, turning back to the dominos.

"You want to give away the xylophone not the dominos?" I ask in surprise.

"Yeah Mom." she says vaguely.

She watched me put it in the car. I asked her again. "We're going to give it away right?"

"For another kid." she told me.

The second conversation occurred over the bin of toys I designated for Nyobi. She reached for one and said "Mine!"

"Yes." I said. "But you are too big for those toys. Why don't we give them to Nyobi? You can teach Nyobi how to play with them."

The silence that greated this comment worried me a bit. "I'll put them here on your shelf and you can give them to Nyobi to play with when she's ready." I finished. This plan, I was certain, would fail.

Which is why I was delighted this morning, when Cora reached over and grabbed the shape and color matching bucket and handed it to her sister. Then she helped me talk to Nyobi about colors and put the shapes in the right spaces. Nyobi loved it, and both girls played together.

For every "mine" incident, and hardbitten possessive incident in Coras child hood, I will always remember the ease with which she chose the dominos over the xylophone, and the joy she had showing Nyobi how to play with her old toys. It takes a special child to give like that.

Maybe some adults could take lessons from her. I know I can some days. Objects slowly creap up on me and start owning me instead of vice versa. Its time to reverse the rolls, and really decide what is important.

Anyone want an exceptionally selfless two year old who is currently trying to "cook" with my coffee creamer?

Just joking. I wouldn't trade her for the world. Especially not until after she's cleaned up the mess she just made.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gum and Coffee

There is a serious problem with your life when the following happens:

My 2 year old daughter saw that I was dragging and irritable. When I grabbed my hair after catching her yet again trying to get the gum off the top of the TV, I groaned, "I'm soo tired of this."

She went into the kitchen, and got her chair. She dragged it over to the counter, got the coffee down, the coffee pot out of the coffee maker, and a napkin.

She then proceeded to use the napkin as a coffee filter, put it in the right place and fill it with grounds. This is the point where I enter the kitchen. "What are you doing?" I demand.

"You tired." she says. "I make you coffee."


She might be a pain in the butt kid some days, but she is MY pain in the butt kid, and I think she might just love me.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sharp these please!

Cora is a color aficionado, but she does not like crayons. Her favorite tool for putting shade on paper is paint. Her favorite tool for putting shade on skin are markers. She occasionally gets to paint. I must be crazy, but I let her sit on the floor and slather paper and little wood boxes with acrylics.

I also discovered that a fine toothed comb can remove acrylic from hair, and that cello pads get it off of linolium with out scratching the floor surface.

Currently the compromise color tools are pencils. She has a variety of colored pencils, which she uses to super saturate the pages of her coloring books, her craft papers and if I do not supervise well, her walls. She likes them to be sharp. She likes them to be really sharp, and it makes her smile a goofy little smile that I can totally relate to.

Unfortunately Cora cannot seem to say "sharpen." Every time she tries it comes out "sharp-". A swallowed e at the end signifying her efforts to make it the correct word. These colored pencils have a new name too, they are her "sharps."

"Mooom, sharp these sharps please!" she asks.

"sharpen, shar---- PEN" I enunciate for her.

"Yeah Mom, Please" she says, totally avoiding the language lesson.

"okay, give me the sharps." I say with a sigh.

Its nice to know that I'm teaching her language. Or vice versa...

Monday, November 24, 2008

I'm Big Too!

With your first child, their only other examples are parents. They accept the difference of treatment quite readily. Parents are parents after all, and children are children. With the second child there is another example of treatment, the older child. At five months, Nyobi is beginning to notice this disparity of treatment. Her expressive eyes seem to flash the reproachful statement "I'm Big Too!"

When Cora brings my a bottle of pop and asks for a sip, I open it up. I take a sip then pass it to her. Nyobi watches us disappointingly. "I'm big too!" those eyes say. "I want some!" She gives a little whine of protest as I set the bottle down and re-cap it.

As Cora plays with her cars on the floor, Nyobi watches and begins to crab. "I'm big too!" she says. "Why can't I have a car to play with?" Then when her frustration grows at not being able to play with it properly the real tears begin.

That is why second children do so much stuff way before the first one did. They seem to notice that small people are allowed to do these fun things, and they don't seem to understand the size difference functionality. So as I slip another spoon full of chocolate ice cream into Nyobis mouth, kiss her little spoiled nose, I remember that second children are special.

Did I mention I'm a second child? Thats why I get chocolate ice cream.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Vocabulary Growth

Once upon a time I did not notice what words came out of my mouth. Now I sometimes stop mid sentence or change course as to avoid certain catchy phrases and idioms. Sometimes there are mess ups that just stick, regardless of whether they make sense or not. Last week, I told Cora we were going to go out.

She looked up from her coloring book. "Where?" she asked.

"To find a pirate ship. Don't you want to go sailing on a pirate ship, Yarge!" I said.

I didn't think much of it. She didn't think much of it at the time either, because she went back to coloring. The instance passed from my brain.

Then today, after an episode of treasure hunting TV, I again took her "adventuring" with me.

"Good!" She said. "Lets find a pirate ship. Lets do that!"

When we returned from our adventures her dad asked her what she did. "Looked for a pirate ship." she said.

"Did you find one?"

"No." She sat down to take her boots off. "The pirate ship was closed too!"

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The snow blower

Now that snow season is here, its time to drag out the snow blower and start it up. I am always up toward doing so before it freezes outside. I am not so great at moving the snow blower though. The blower itself weighs more than I can comfortably drag around without it being motorized. I did attempt to start it this fall.

It doesn't have a manual. It is composed of a lawn mower engine bolted onto the old base for a Canadian blower. You can tell it is Canadian because the french writing on the original control panel has not worn off yet. The English instructions are rusted out.

Fortunately I can read french. I cannot however figure out how to start it this year. Looks like a job for Super Husband!

I did attempt to start it. I dragged it out of the shed, turned on the choke, yanked the chain, heard the clicking noise, and saw a small brown creature with huge black eyes poke its head out of the snow chute. Awe! How cute! A mouse!

Yank two had the mouse attacking my foot.

Once I finished a neat little dance, the thoroughly freaked out mouse ran back in the shed, and the thoroughly freaked out me went back to yanking the chain. Another mouse attacked! then another, and another.

By the time four sets of baleful black eyes were staring at me, my nerves were worn out, my shoulder hurt, and the engine was just starting to make "going to turn on in ten more minutes of intense attention" noises. There was nothing else to do. I took the snow blower and I rolled it back into the shed. I ushered the disgruntled residents back into their home, and closed the door.

Then I mentioned to my husband that he might want to wear long pants and boots when he goes out to snow blow the first time. He looked at me as If I was a total idiot. Perhaps I should tell him why...

Nope. He's always saying that he loves surprises.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Snow Snow Snow

What a different a full year makes in a childs attitude toward snow. We had our first snow fall this week, a light fluffy layer that appeared early one morning. The sort that sticks to the branches in inch high stacks. I was not elated. The snow blower is still in the storage shed.

Cora was enraptured though. She woke up grumpy and discontented, sat on the couch until I almost dragged her into the kitchen to look out the french doors. Suddenly the sleepy veneer crumbled as an inner delight hit her eyes and her feet. On tip toes she ran over and began to pull on her slippers.

"No honey." I told her. "You have to wear boots, and snow pants and a jacket to go outside in the snow."

"No Mommy. I fine."

"Either you wear what mommy wants you to, or you don't go outside." I told her.

It took her a minute or two, but she came over and began helping me dress her in a layer of insulation that was thicker than she was. Walking bow legged she got to the french doors. I lifted her up over the thresh hold and put her on the top step of the porch. I watched her take a tentative step, and wondered whether she was going to manage to bend her knees enough to step down the stairs.

She did. A snow angle and a couple of snow balls and such later, she was ready to come inside.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Confidence and Attitude

Though I am certain Cora has many faults, the biggest problem this week seems to be her confidence. She is sure of herself in ways I did not think two year olds understood. Size does not intimidate her. Looks do not intimidate her. I do not intimidate her.

Today, instead of whining about day care, she requested to go see Miss Sheri, Toby, Drew and Kyle. I was delighted. When I picked her up, I discovered that her newfound love of daycare was accompanied by her regular bravado. The trial period for Miss Sheri was over, and she was quite hilariously describing to me why Cora deserves an A in attitude, from the hands on hips pose to the Clothes line, block the other kids from the toy bin routine.

Regardless of my lack of sympathy, I did talk to the little dictator about manners. I think the description of "head strong" goes about as far toward true as "stubborn as a mule."

Stubbornness and confidence don't always work well together. Yesterday on our weekly trip to the big pool, Cora showed unusually high confidence in water. I was thrilled until she migrated from the safe "leasure pool" with its 5 feet depth to the lap swim pool with its 13+ foot diving well.

After watching the joy and bravado the other children showed jumping off the diving board, and before I could climb out of the pool and catch up with her, she was on the steps to go off the one meter spring board. This is not bad. I love her desire to do all new things. I usually encourage her to try. There was just one little problem.

Cora can't swim yet. She has steadfastly refused to let go of me in the pool. She clings to me with the desparation of someone who knows they are going to drown if they let go.

I stood there holding her hand, explaining to her that she would end up sinking thirteen feet to the bottom if she jumped off. She just nodded her head yes, and stared determinedly into the debths. "Do you still want to jump?" I asked.

"Yeth." she said.

"Are you certain? Mommys not going to catch you. You will be all by yourself in the water."

"Yes."

"You are gonna have to swim. Do you still want to jump?"

"Yes."

"Do you want to practice first?"

"No. I jump."

Confidence is a beautiful thing. Right now, its scaring me beyond belief. Luckily, Cora is still small enough I can pick her up and bodily remove her from the diving board.

Friday, October 31, 2008

New Teeth, New Game

Nyobi has her first tooth! We spotted it growing out of her lower gum's yesterday, which would explain the temperature and temper tantrums I lived through yesterday afternoon. It does not explain the vomit, but I don't think there is an explanation for baby vomit. It just happens.

Cora has a new game. She loves memory. We made memory tiles out of stickers and paper, and have been matching the pictures. She is pretty good at finding the matches and remembering. Of course there are only twelve tiles. Now all I need to do is make a set of tiles with letters on them.

I left Cora in the kitchen playing memory tiles, and Nyobi in the swing, bibbed and ready for her morning feeding of baby food. I went to use the bathroom. I came back to Coras excited crys of "Mommy come here! Mommy look!" I got ready to ooh and ahh over another great match of memory tiles.

Instead my eyes were greated by my two year old, baby spoon and baby food jar in hand, pointing precariously toward the front of the baby swing. In the five minutes of my absence Cora fed nyobi a quarter of a jar of baby food, most of which, because Nyobi was too busy smiling, ended up on Nyobis bib, chest and hands. Both were excessively please with eachother. Both were covered in pasty oatmeal with pears and cinnemon.

Another two outfits relegated to the laundry pile.

Note to self. Do not put babyfood within reach of Cora. Wait, its better than cheese its isn't it?

What happened to the memory chips?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Catalyst

Some mornings, especially after nights with frequent wake ups, I do not want to get out of bed. These mornings tend to drag in an endless row of excuses and slow downs, until noon rolls around and I am still in my night things, and Cora is eating crackers, not a nutritious breakfast. This was bound to be one of those mornings.

The baby began to cry at 6:50 AM. She didn't settle down again though, so at 7:15 I was up with her, making yet another bottle, and wondering why I didn't buy the expensive coffee maker that ground, measured filled and brewed at the push of one button. By 9 I was still in pajamas, Cora was watching her second choice of a movie (the first was too scary), and the baby was just waking up for the short nap.

I retrieved the mewling infant. Babies do really make a pathetic mewling like noise when they want attention. She gave me a beatific smile, and happily tried to stick her feet in the pooppy diaper I changed. I picked her up again, rubbed her nose and then watched in utter astonishment.

Nyobi vomited in a clear clean arch, right down the V in My pajama top. It was as if she aimed. Only the left over end of the vomit spew managed to soak my robe and her outfit. Her favorite pink blanket didn't have a drop of disgusting curdle on it.

So here I am, caring for the baby, finishing my blog post, drinking more coffee and dressed and showered. Its amazing what a simple catalyst a little bit of baby puke can be.

I have to quit wearing V neck shirts, that is the ickiest feeling on your skin.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Grocery Store Panic

This Monday I took both children grocery shopping with me. Considering how badly things can and have gone at stores with the two, I'm amazed how well they went. There were only two incidences of paniced running to the bathroom with a two year old whose bladder control is barely existant. Best yet, I knew where the bathroom was. Nothing is worse than a store whose bathrooms are hidden in a distant location, and require instructions, especially when you are holding the child with their crotch against your body. If they lose it, you get soaked.

Cora did cause a moment of panic in the store though. It was not because she dissappeared either. We were in the vegi section. She was walking with me, which is a great way of getting your cart loaded down with produce. She retrieved tomatos, cucumbers and a hand full of garlic heads, all of which were not on my list. While she was checking out the snow peas, she discovered the worst mistake the produce employees could make.

I didn't actually see the discovery, but I'm sure the lightbulb above her head was the size of a blimp. All I heard was an elderly ladies voice from behind me go "uh oh! There is trouble!"

Its amazing how I associate the word trouble with my daughter. I turned just in time to see her press the trigger on the hoze nozzle and shoot a stream of water all over the displayed vegitables. As I began sprinting toward her, I watched her eyes turn bright blue and sparkly and the nozzle head turn toward me.

Fortune smiled upon me. I did not get a shower in the Meijers produce aisles, but I did get a bit of a scare. What idiot left the hose down there anyways?

Where are they? I want to spray them. While I'm at it, I'll get those two ladies who stared down their noses at me like I was some degenerate parent.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Why Newness Does Not Last

Within 24 hours of being in my house, my new couch absorbed spilled juice and baby puke. I expected this sort of abuse. I purchased with this sort of abuse in mind, but it always gets me that small children both gravitate toward new objects in the house and manage to destroy thier newness.

Friday I purchased a new pair of jeans and a flannel shirt. With a burp rag on my lap, i sat in a chair with my youngest, talking and holding her. She had not eaten in over half an hour, putting her outside the regurgitation period.

I hear a pop noise coming from her, and look down. A huge glob of baby puke exits her mouth with a surprisingly large horizontal tragetory. It totally misses the aforementioned burp rag, and instead flops down on the zipper panel of my new jeans. The slimey goo refused to wipe gracefully, and left a strong odor of stale milk in its wake. The jeans went in the wash, and the baby went back to Daddy while I changed.

Nyobi never pukes like that. The one day she does, I have on jeans I've worn for less than 24 hours. So much for new.

Newness does not last because children are present in a home. Some weird feng shui balance principle reserves the title new for them.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Farm Market

Fall is here, and with it, the impending end of Coras weekly morning treat. She loves the farm market. On Thursday our local community has a small farmers market in the parking lot next to where my husbands office building is located. Cora lives for this event.

"What do you want to do today?" is usually followed by a hopeful "Farm market?" The notion of a weekly event is hard for someone who can not wait ten minutes without getting bored. She really does think that I can waive my hand and make the kind vendors appear in the parking lot, ready to tolerate her stomach fueled kleptomania. She eats her way from booth to booth, a green bean here, a strawberry there, a cherry tomato at TA, and OOOh! Her body wiggles with excitement at the site of black berries. I pull out some cash. She'll scarf an entire bundle of those.

Unfortunately, once the snow flies, or November's cold sets in, the resident farm market peoples pack up their Thursday get together for good. I know it will be back in May, but I have a feeling Cora will not be comforted by its return in six months. What I'll do when the tears start flying I have no idea, maybe I'll just pretend there are no Thursdays in November or December.

Oh wait, Thanksgiving.
And Christmas this year too, both on Thursdays.
That won't work at all. Perhaps I should find some enrichment course, or kleptomania therapy for her.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dictionary of the Pre-School Home.

Lovey: A dirty blanket, stuffed animals (usually non-machine washable), or a toy that a child names, and refuses leave the house without. The loss of a lovey will cause both child and parents to break into tantrums and tears.

Blankey: (a) any blanket that will not cover more than half of an adults body. (b) a lovey, whose sacred substance should not be touched by strangers, even if the child attached to it puts it in their way deliberately.

Kitty: (a) a house cat. (b) a skunk, hopefully outside of the house.

Sippy: A lidded cup usually possessing a stop flow valve, that allows small children to turn the glass upside down with minimal spillage. Note: hurling sippys at objects, or squishing them too much will cause them to leak.

Potty (a) the place you should not be when a two year old declares they have to "go potty" (b) a room with NO privacy.

Pretty: (a) the other adjective the child could have used instead of stinky. (b) something you should not hand over to the child if you ever want to see it again, even if you think its indestructable.

Puppy: (a) any dog like animal regardless of age. (b) a kitty.

Horsy: (a) any animal larger than a great dane that the child is not familiar with. (b) a horse.

Fishy: anything that lives in water and is not a froggy.

Froggy: anything that lives in the water and is not a fishy.

TeeVee: Something children never feel they get enough of, and parents think they get too much of for their health. Note: TV's in parents homes rarely show anything that is not rated less than PG.

Onesy: A long t-shirt that buttons over the crotch of a child, stopping it from riding up when they squirm.

Nukey: a pacifier, see also Paccy, sucky, and dirty.

Crazy: where parents are driven by the vocabulary that ends in the "ee" sound.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A New Noise

My daughter Nyobi appears to have the great makings of a conversationalist. She talks. She talks back to you, she complains vocally when she is not comfortable, and she engages in that charming past time of infant conversation. My favorite past time is to sit there and talk to her about really silly stuff and see her smile and goo ga back at me.

I know she doesn't understand, because she would never have smiled at my explanation about the impending use of the nasal spray on her cute little nose. She did clearly tell me afterward that she didn't enjoy the experience. At least I think that is why she screamed bloody murder for fifteen minutes. What I really want to know is why my husband walks in the door right after I do things like that. Either that or why Cora must cry too, as if I spend my days torturing the children to tears.

At dinner the other night, we were holding a beautiful conversation. Pete was telling me about his day, and I was telling him about my efforts at social networking. Cora was picking at her dinner and "arfing" like a dog (she sounds very realistic). Suddenly a new noise overrode everything. I was about to ask Cora if she hurt herself when the sound repeated; actually hurting my ears.

This new ear piercing, obnoxiously loud noise was emiting from our four month old. All three of us stared at her in shock for a second. Then Pete looked at her, "awe, are we ignoring you?"

She stuck her fingers in her mouth and grinned, munching them into a slobbery mess and continuing her conversational imput with more goos and gaas. "Arf arf" said Cora.

"No barking at the table." I imputed sideways. "No shreiking either!" I waved a finger towards Nyobis grinning moist face. She said "blagaaaga."

My worries about Nyobi, the second child, not getting heard dissipated.

Darn it though, Cora and Pete now have an excuse for selective deafness. I certainly do.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Zoo.

Waking up to a beautiful and warm day in October, I turned to my husband, snuggled up and suggested that we go to the zoo. Instead of answering me, he sighed deeply with contentment and commented on the fact that the only people in bed right now were him and I. At that point and time, Cora's footsteps approached down the hallway, and a little voice started calling "Moom, mom!" as she approached.

Cora was moderately excited about going to the zoo. She didn't really understand what a zoo was though. When we first got there, her only interest was playing in the leaves and chasing ground squirrels. Then we hit the first exhibit.

A flurry of body energy passed into her as she clung to the viewing bars and pointed to the pool filled with Pelicans and Flamingos. "Look daddy!" she said with great excitement. "My favorite chickens." The eagle was also a member of the ubiquitous chicken family. The tapir, and warthogs were either doggies or pigs. Any reptile was a snake, except the turtle, which had its own name. Llamas are horsies. The chimps, and sloth were both monkeys, and the cats were kitties, no matter the size.

It really is hard to catagorize animals if you have never seen them before, and I'm proud of my daughter for getting so many close to their relatives. I am not proud of her for calling her sister a monkey this morning. I told her she couldn't have one of hr favorite chickens as a pet.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Something Strange, this way Comes.

Since having a child I have met creatures I did not know existed. Here are a couple of the most recent and cutest things that Coras imagination brought to life. Hopefully this is simply a usual childhood trend and I will not spend years dodging lightening harnessing resucitation machines.

At the restaurant the other day, I met Squishy. That is the name of the pencil topper octopus Cora found in my purse. Squishy borrowed Cora's pen. Squishy drank some of Cora's milk. Cora even made the sippy noise for her. To top it all off, squishy wiped her mouth on Cora's napkin.

Then Squishy jumped on to the floor, inciting Cora to jump down after her and rescue her. This of course was a necessity, which my daughter tried to explain to me trumped the "stay in your seat" order Mom gave her. Finally, at the end of lunch, Squishy jumped back into her bubble gum machine ball, and was stored safely in my purse for the next lunch.

Oing Loing wasn't that lucky. Oin Loing was purchased at a craft fair. He bounced around, the yarn spider that he was, on the end of his elastic thread. He bounced so much in the ten minutes we spent walking the craft fair, that the elastic broke.

In a fit of frustration or bordom, Cora then removed the eyes. After a visit to the emergency Mom hospital, he is now residing on the halloween decorations. Cora still talks to him.

Where squishy and oing loing came from, there are many more creatures to come. I am sure an imaginary freind will eventually take responsibility for some small disaster or another. I look forward to meeting them, and speaking to each one. After all, imagination got me 10 minutes of browsing at a craft fair I never would have had. Perhaps I should go catch an imaginary fly for Oing Loing.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My Little Helper

Children are very useful. They take care of some of the nuisances in life that annoy people. Cora is definitely my little helper. Just last night, when food was ready for those strange men who hang out in my basement talking about swords, ogres and skeletons, she performed a very important service.

She stood at the top of the stairs and yelled down, over and over again, "Okay guys, time for dinner! Please to the table! Guys!!! Daddy?" Usually I end up doing that for a very long time before I can be heard over the havoc of battle.

Having no attention span, she is also the perfect answer to sales people, and vendors. At the craft fair, I didn't need and excuse to escape from a chatty junk wielder. I simply followed after my child, breaking off in the middle of sentences. Nobody felt badly, especially when they saw her tearing apart someone elses booth.

My favorite though, was watching her totally discombobulate a sales person at a furniture store. This furniture store is well known for their pushy sales folks, but I had no problems. At one time, in the middle of trying to convince me that I should buy somthing more expensive, we turned and looked over at the bunk beds lined along a wall. I turned back to the saleswoman, then immediately back to the bunkbeds. Cora was on top of the tallest one.

There was no ladder on the tallest one. My two year old climbed up to the top of another one, then somehow spanned a gap as big as herself and hauled herself up to the blocked bunk. Both I and the sales woman made it to the bunk bed in record time. Then with her guarding the entrance route, I convinced Cora to come to me.

After that, the sales lady seemed to realize I was going to leave without buying if Cora could not be contained. All of a sudden, I had a very tolerant babysitter, who kept Cora occupied, brought her cookies, and talked to her, while I did whatever shopping I wanted to. Very useful these children.

I still want to know how she got on top of the bunk beds.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Half way to my Fall Goal

During the warmth of summer, and the season of potty training, I became a lax parent. I let Cora play in the back yard, minus her clothes, or run around the house minus the benefit of garments. She is still an infant in many ways, and a child in others. She does not understand nakedness as anything more than freedom of movement. Perhaps age is, in itself an Eden apple we all must bite.

As fall approaches though, the temperatures fall. I started to worry about whether her body could produce enough warmth without some added layers. I began a campaign to coax her back into clothes, and I am happy to say it is working. Yesterday, Cora started out in full pants and shirt. In the morning, she lost her pants. She had to go potty, and then refused to put them back on.

At lunch, she dirtied her shirt. As she pulled it off, I discovered the discarded bottoms in the babies room. For the afternoon she wore those, and no shirt.

If my goal is a clothed child, I am halfway there.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sitting

After putting the children to bed, my husband and I relaxed in the living room. Sighing as I sank into my arm chair I glanced over at him. He was absorbed in his computer. I smiled fondly.

Cora profoundly affected everything we do. To provide her a place to sit, my husband was jammed against one arm of his chair, leaving six inches of open space on one side. This space existed for the sole purpose of allowing her to sit with him. I opened my mouth to tease him about still sitting to one side.

Then I glanced down at my chair, and the six inches of fabric between my hip and the armrest. Will I ever sit without providing cuddle room?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Relaxing Baths, Vibrating Phones

I was stewing in a relaxing bath last night. Candle lit, and comfortable, I closed my eyes. Then I heard it. My phone was vibrating. I have my phone set on vibrate on purpose. Too many times, I lost the nap advantage because of inopportune ringing. The phone rattles on the counter though, so usually, a trained ear can pick up its mute physical pleas.

Well, they are not totally mute, or I would not have heard it vibrating from the sanctity of my kid free bath. I sighed, got out of the tub and wrapped myself in the towel. I heard it continue, that rhythmic buzzing noise. My phone continued to ring. I glancing at the clock. It is eleven PM. Nobody calls me after ten.

Wait! I plugged my phone in to charge the battery. It should not vibrate. It should ring. The buzzing continued. It also should go to voice mail by now. What is that noise?

My congested baby snores. It sounds exactly like my cell phone vibrating.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Art of Conversation

Our eldest is leaving the tantrum ism and failure to communicate age of two, and growing into three. That is not to say she is no longer a terrible, but rather that the terrible is softened with a hint of cognition. Having a conversation with a two year old is alot like talking to a wall. Having a conversation with a child a year older actually makes sense.

Most humorously you learn about their concept of the world. You can tell that my daughter goes places with me. Her response to the question "Are you going trick or treating?" was "I don't know where that is." The stunned silence was marvelous.

"Who is that?" A question she is often asked as part of Dad play routine, she answered efficiently with "That is my sister. Her name is Nyobi. She is four months old." This should not be surprising to me. I answer these questions in front of her every day. It is, however, amusing.

My favorite so far is the compliment stage. Cora has always been a queit child. She also has striking looks. Blond curly hair, bright blue eyes, dark lashes and a pale complexion get her lots of comments. People say, "What a beautiful child!" or "Aren't you beautiful!" Before I can say anything, Cora will gallop away with a totally dis-interested "I know." trailing behind her.

I guess I shouldn't be afraid of her getting a fat head any time soon.

Unfortunately, conversation includes one of the most annoying and dreaded things children can do. Watching cora rifle through the DVD's and VHS tapes, probably searching for the Lady and the Tramp movie I sent back to Netflix's, I told her "You are not going to watch any TV right now."

Slowly, oh so slowly, her head turned toward me, her blue eyes shining with inhuman delight. She smiled a little not so innocent smile and asked me "Why?"

Then my MOM spoke out from behind me. "Because I said so!"

I'll have to ask my Mom how she learned to throw her voice 45 miles at just the right moment. I certainly couldn't have said that.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Dinner Table Etiquette

Polite manners at the table are an important part of life. Teaching Cora manners should, therefor be easy. Yeah, right! This is the child who will eat at any other time of the day, a million foods that are not appealing. If she's sitting at the table, food is "Bleck".

Yesterday we decided to try one of those pasta dishes the pizza chain recently invented. It was a delicious looking concoction. We also tried some bruschetta. Cora tasted the bruschetta before we sat down, and swallowed a whole mouthful. After she sat down, she watched me put the bruschetta stuff on her plate, and said "Bleck". Refusing to taste it.

She also refused to taste the pasta. "Bleck" she said. That did not sit well with the parents.

After pointing out that she would taste it before she made up her mind or else, an important rule of the table, and part of being polite, she put some in her mouth. Her face was screwed up in her attempts to prepare to eat something hideous. Then relaxed. "MMMM." she said. "Cheese! I like cheese!"

"Juice, please." she said to Dad handing him her cup and picking up her fork. I am so proud of her for not making me carry through with the ominous and poorly defined "or else", like she usually does. As we turned to our meals, I had a sudden thought. With a quick peak under the table I stared across at my husband.

"She's not wearing pants!!!"

I guess we have alot of manners to work on yet.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Big Pool

To carve out some Cora and Mom time, I've started taking her swimming in the Big Pool. This location is actually the high school and community swimming center, which consists of a racing/ diving pool and a leisure pool. Cora loves going there.

She won't put her face under water, and won't try and swim, but she will wade around the leisure pool areas up to her armpits and allow me to piggyback her all over the place. Cora will swim until her small body is one big goose bump and her eyes are bright red from the chlorine. I don't think either set of grandparents are surprised by this.

There are two things at the big pool which truely enrapture the small child; a water slide and the teenagers. The water slide is the innocent fun. It allows small children to launch themselves down a small white plastic slope at top speed, and splash out into the swimming area. The teenagers are another part entirely.

First are the teenage lifeguards. Cora could care less about them. She ignores them completely. She even tried to push ones legs out of her way once.

Then there are the teenage swimmers. The girls she tries to grab hands with and make them play with her. Poor classy teenage girls in bikinis trying to flirt and have a good time do not appreciate this sort of attention. The boys she just thinks are too wild.

Which is why, once we were out of the pool last swim day Cora stood with her arms crossed in a noisy changing room yelling in her most imperial tone at five six foot tall teenagers. I don't think anyone of them heard her direct commands to "stop that" and "Go away!" I did though, and I truely admired the fact that she wasn't about to be intimidated by them.

Maybe my original goal was to teach Cora to swim. Right now I'm just enjoying spending time with my daughter and learning the mettle of her character. This one definately needs to learn self defense, because her flight sensors don't work.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Packing it Up.

We decided to go away overnight. Because we have romantic and far reaching dreams of sunning on the beaches of Aruba, eating udon at a street stall in Tokyo and drinking vodka in a pub near the Kremlin, we visited my parents. Its close, Cora loves it and they will let us get out of the house without either child. Besides that, they have baby supplies, from the food down to the diapers and crib.

I once packed to go overseas for four months, and fit everything I would need into a carry on and a hiking back pack (40 lbs of kit total). You could NOT fit what we took into that same backpack. it was too much. It was one night only, and I was packing light.

Welcome to adventure with children.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Ravenous Cribs

I strongly believe that objects have personalities. I also believe that they have appetites. They must. It started with my washing machine and dryer. I would put baby socks into it, only to have them re-emerge a few weeks later from other locations in the house. One even popped out from under the dish washer smelling like freshly dried laundry. Then there is the red recliner which coughed up a silver railroad spike on my floor.

This week I began to suspect a new object of having developed an appetite for a specific delicacy. Wednesday night, after her first middle of the night nursing (she has two) I could not find Nyobi's pacifier in her crib. I grabbed a substitute one from the stand then settled her down. Thursday night the same thing happened. No big deal, I thought, its not as if I won't find the pacifiers in the morning.

At 3 AM this morning, I stumbled about the baby room, feeding her then setting up her current "lounge" style seat. The seat is essential for keeping the snot filled baby oriented correctly. I settled her in, smiled at her and then looked for her "Nuky". I knew exactly where it was, because after two nights of losing them and having to think hard enough to find a replacement at 3 AM, I took the preventative measure.

It was gone. I stripped the crib, but could not find it. Fortunately, I grabbed the one spare, and settled the baby. There is only one huge problem with this. That was the LAST spare. I went from having five nukys around the house, to having one. Also, when a plastic piece disappears from the crib in the room when you are looking at said piece of furniture and nobody else is awake, you worry a little about putting the baby back in said same furniture.

This morning I searched her room crib and clothes. None of the three nukys I KNOW for certain were last seen in her crib are in her crib. They aren't even around her crib. They are GONE!!! That is what I have, a Nuky eating ravenous Crib. What happens if the crib really does eat nukies and doesn't mind a side of baby? Some weird cartoon like mouth creeps open from the mattress and swallows it all whole...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

That Little Noise.

I took both children shopping with me. Cora was an angel (and she was wearing one too)! Nyobi was fine at first, but then she got uncomfortable. She started to cry, so I gave her the nookie and she relaxed. Ready to finish my task, I turned away. Then I heard a noise. It was a little noise, not a scream, not a pout, but a little tiny pacifier muted moan.

"Nnnn."

It lasted only a second at most. I patted Nyobis cheek and turned back to Cora who seemed equally disturbed by that little noise. "Okay." I said. "Now what do we need to get next?"

"Um, Fish!!" said Cora.

"Nnnn." said Nyobi.

WE both turned to her in dismay.

"Nnnn." said Nyobi, her big eyes showing her despair that she was stuck in the carseat in a grocery store and not being held, and fed. There is no demand in her gaze, just lost hope and broken dreams. Its heart rending.

"Nnnn." said Nyobi. My heart pulled, my brain decided I was the worst parent ever.

"Oooh," a passing stranger said. "Look at the poor thing, with those big Blue eyes." She cast a disparaging look my direction.

"Nnnn." said Nyobi. Cora grumbled to herself, and tried to pat her sisters cheek to calm her down. There are ways of dealing with a screaming baby. There are ways of soothing a crying baby. There is no good way to make that little noise go away. I know. Both Cora and I tried.

We did manage to shorten the grocery list, sped up check out and got us home in record time. "Nnnn." said Nyobi.

That little noise will undo my calm yet.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Baby et al. Goes to the Doctor

Nyobi needed a doctors visit on Thursday. She has a virus that won't go away, and I was concerned it was something worse. Being used to our doctors offices methodology, I knew I had two choices, call in early in the morning and hope I got lucky, or take Nyobi in to the prompt care. Prompt care involves showing up, turing in some information and then waiting in the hopes someone can work you in. Cora is not good at waiting, and a Doctors offices are filled with that dreaded "W" word.

I struck gold and got an appointment for 2:40PM. I showed up ten minutes before my appointment. While going through paperwork with the lady at the front desk, I glanced up. Coras blanket was still right where she had been, but she was across the lobby. In fact, she was inside the elevators and the doors were closing.

After the nurse escorted a slightly wild eyed Mom, Cora, carrying the daiper bag, and the Nyobi into the examining room and took a weight (14 1/2 lbs) we settled in to wait.

Fortunately, I bourght smarties. Cora and I played a game called, if you try and anwer a question you get a smartie. It is fun. It is fun, because it lessens the number of time I have to NO behavior, exploration. She also emptied the diaper bag out onto the floor. Tried to put on her sisters pants, and stole a tongue depressor.

Considering it took an hour and twenty minutes to do the appointment, Cora was very well behaved. Nyobi was an angel. She, of course, is too small to try and get into stuff.

And fortunately, the elevator doors opened, before Cora got off the ground.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Freedom!

It is a good thing that I have a six foot privacy fence around my back yard. My daughter, Cora does not appreciate the modesty bequeathed upon her by clothes. She would rather race naked through the yard than wear anything. Frequently, I send a well dressed two year old out to play only to turn around and find a mostly naked child eating all my tomatoes.

As if outside nakedness were bad enough, Cora's opinion of clothes extends inside. She will change outfits at least once during the day. I have no idea why. She is sensitive to any spills or dribbles. The first time a drop of milk touches her shirt, the darn thing comes off. Its hard to explain to guests why your two year old is stripping at the table. At the back of my mind is a discussion my mother and I had when she was first receiving solid foods.

In an effort to save on laundry, I stripped her to her diaper when I spoon fed her. Dearest Nanny insisted that my daughter would think she was supposed to eat naked. Yes, Nanny, I remember this discussion. Yes, Nanny, you were right.

Nakedness is spreading too. With baby smiles and coos, Nyobi convinces her big sister to help her undress. Its hard to imagine Cora coming up with that idea all by herself (heavy sarcasm intended). Being an extra big helper, Cora is also always on the lookout for pee diapers. She checks them, and then removes. Being a two year old extra big helper, that is where her efforts end.

Which is why I will walk into the living room to find a nudist colony meeting and four big INNOCENT bright blue eyes.

Freedom!!!!

It is cute. It is super cute. If I took a picture, child family services and the FBI would investigate me for something so vile I can barely stand to think of it. That is why I am so busy trying to figure out how to secure clothes and diapers on two children. I should feel fortunate that Cora knows the difference between baby poo and lotion.

PS: In the middle of composing this article, I walked into the livingroom only to be met by four INNOCENT blue eyes.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Good Day

Last night at dinner, when Cora was acting up and my husband started to get perturbed, I made certain to inform him that our eldest was very good the whole day. He looks at me with surprised. Generally you can tell how bad or good Cora was by the state of the house work chores. A needy day leaves dishes in the sink, dirt on the floor and usually paper towels over cleaned up potty training messes that need one more spritz of deodorizer.

"For a two year old." I interjected. My standards of good and bad behavior have drastically changed since the new baby arrived and my business is doing better.

"That is true." My husband says, his eyes lighting up with glee. "The house isn't on fire, and you didn't call me from the emergency room all day long."

Obviously his standards of good and bad behavior have also adjusted.

I need to go make certain that the lighters and matches are securely located and the fire extinguishers function.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I caught her red handed.

She was playing in the sink. I was nursing the baby. Playing in the sink is a less harmful activity than a lot of the things Cora tries to do when I am nursing the baby. For instance, she is not smearing feces anywhere, nor raiding the knife block, nor playing in her fathers tools. I decided not to check on the contents of the sink. I just did dishes so there should be nothing harmful in there.

To my surprise, she entered the living room with her hands coated in red liquid, holding them out like a stigmatized witness of faith. I grabbed her wrists, gently and in the sudden calm spoke gently. "What were you playing with?" I queried.

She didn't answer, but then she wasn't screaming in pain either. I licked her finger, expecting the coppery taste of that life giving liquid. Instead I got super sweet fruit punch.

Fruit Punch?

Note to self. Koolaid mix should not be left near the sink.

Coming Home to Trouble.

Our garage door has a unique problem. Either that or we are just lazy home owners who do not repair it frequently enough. I went shopping in the rain one day this week, and came home with a car full of crying children and groceries. I pressed the garage door opener, and nothing happened. The bolt slipped out of the slide, again. I should really get a nut, secure it and glue it in place I thought. I tried the door next to the garage door. It was blockaded with the stroller.

I checked on the children. They were still crying. Cora was howling in undisclosed grief. Nyobi was just hungry. The hungry baby cry puts my teeth on edge. I will do just about anything to get it to stop in a peaceful manner. No matter how much logic I throw at the reflex the hard wiring wins out. I grabbed my keys from the ignition.

I stood up and closed the door in the rain. Great I thought. Now I had two screaming children in a cold car. The rain was sucking more warmth out of it, and my groceries were not refridgerated. I stormed through the drizzle to the front door. My hair was wet. My pants felt damp. I hate cold rains.

I unlocked the front door and pushed it inward. The chain caught.

Since our eldest daughter decided that running outside at weird times was appropriate behavior, I drop the security chain on the front door and leave it dropped. I never exit out the front of the house. I almost always go out through the garage. A big water drop fell off the eaves and slid down the back of my shirt. I glanced at the car. I could see Cora throwing her head back in a yowl of discomfort.

When my husband got home that evening, I handed him a piece of trim, nails and chain still attached. It took me three good kicks to get the door to open all the way. Perhaps I shouldn't send in my application to the swat team just yet.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I catch a Butter

Children have their own language. Hopefully their parents speak it. Here are a couple of Coras favorite phrases and what they might mean. I'm never certain.

Upon seeing tony the tiger at the grocery store, with a larger lady close by. "Thunder cavth HO!"

Entering the house with something in her hands. "I catch a Butter." Opens hands. "Oopth." A grass hopper jumps onto the living room carpet.

"Big Pool?" Coras question whenever I start packing. She loved going swimming at the high school pool.

To ward off anyone's help, Cora yells "I do, I do!" Either that or she gets married a lot.

"Rabbit." Coras name for any bunny, hair or similarly small furry creature.

"Want to wear an Angel." Coras name for a dress, because too many people told a curly hair blond child with blue eyes and her Dads porcelain complexion that she was an "angel in that dress."

"Cheese and Butter." Coras two favorite dishes. Cheese is mac and cheese, or grilled cheese, or anything as long as cheese is a primary ingredient. Butter is butter bread.

"Make Pop." Not the soda version, the corn version. For some reason, she can't seem to wrap her mind around the whole word.

And my all time personal favorite. "Where babay?" Poor bombay is hunted down frequently, but Nanny and I took forever to figure out she wanted the cat not her baby sister.

River **** Daycare.

For some reason, I just cannot make an appointment to interview a daycare lady on time. Daycare ladys do not like late interviewee's. They seem to think that failure to be timely is a trait not easily overcome. Perhaps their great experience dealing with the crazy parents of other children is valid.

To make sure I was not late for the newest daycare interview I sat down to feed the baby fourty minutes before the interview. Twenty minutes later baby was happy, sitting on my lap and I was helping the two year old into her panties and pants. Then the baby pooped.

Ten minutes later, smelling of baby poop and pee, but with no obvious stains on my clothes, I thew the kids in the car and took off to find "770 river bend drive off of M-40 by Babylon." as I was instructed.

Evidently the ONLY name someone in this area can give a subdivision is one that starts with River. It must be in the township ordinences. After Riverview, Riverridge, Rivercourt and a fourth subdivision which is "River trailer park" to the locals, I gave up on locating the magic Riverbend subdivision. Instead I pulled into the realters and yanked both kids out of the car. I was 15 minutes late for the interview.

It took the realtor 10 minutes to find the riverbend subdivision. It was ON babylon, not on M-40. It was five minutes away.

It was raining when I arrived. According to this ladies instructions, I searched for the drive with the travel trailer parked in it. There was none.

My heart fell in my chest. This was not happening. The drizzle increased. I chose a door with a back yard filled with play equiptment. I stood in the wet staring at the door, ringing the bell. Late and smelling like baby poop, I just wanted to go home. The daycare lady answered the door.

"Did you find it Okay?" she asked.

If my daughter goes to daycare there, I'll have to make sure I teach her orienteering first. She might get lost finding the bathroom if she uses this ladies directions.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Go to BED!!!

After taking Cora to the fair, I took the over tired small child to my parents house to finish out the weekend adventure. Actually, I just wanted a back up plan for any bad incidents. Somehow I have a nagging suspicion that the bad incidents were brought about by my back up plan. Its not something I want to overly contemplate.

In usual form, my Gran, whom lives with my parents, or vice versa, wanted to discuss parenting tactics and child behavior. I love talking with her about it. I dislike the fact that my daughters demonstrate the worst possible behavior for her, and my tactics either fail or fall to the last ditch, worst strategy. Like "Go to Bed!"

At 8:30, my daughter grabbed her blanket and wandered downstairs saying she was tired and wanted to go to bed. I felt like kissing her. This behavior is barely ever demonstrated without a parental prompt. I tucked her in to her sleeping bag on the floor, and stood up to leave. She got up too.

For the next two hours, I stared at the door to our guest room. Every time I saw her, I would repeat, "Go to Bed!" she would howl in tears. I would explain about how sleep was important, I told her a silly story about a chicken named poop (hey, you try being inventive at 10 at night). Then I would go up stairs, chat with Gran for a couple of minutes. She would say astonished, "She's still awake and its 10 at night! Does she do this often?"

No, my daughter only does this when I'm trying to show off what a good child she is, and Dad the Enforcer is no where to be found. If she did this all the time I would be wearing a straight jacket and in a padded cell. Either that or I would be an alcoholic.

Fortunately Nanny and Gramps were soaking up the lovely sleepy cuddles of my youngest girl, so I was free to try and convince Cora to GO TO BED! At 10:30PM, with my hand played out I fed Cora more food, and found the baby. I put her in the crib. I took my two year old's sleeping bag and threw it onto the futon bed. I laid down next to her and told her to go to sleep.

She gave me soft kisses, rubbed her nose with mine, said "good night." Then she popped off the bed, went to the door to the room and stepped out holding the knob. "And Thtay in bed or I thpank you!" She admonished before closing the door.

So help me God, I will lose it with that child before she gets past two.

Wow do I sound silly saying things like that.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Spitting

After feeding the baby at 3 AM, I crawled back into bed, listening to the end of hurricaine gustav rain down upon my roof. I was half asleep when something cold hit my face. Lieing with my face towards my husbands, I thought to myself, why is he spitting while he sleeps? Another splat landed on my shoulder, it was cold.

It was not spit. It was raining. I forgot to close the windows, I thought.

No, the window was closed. All the windows were closed. What was wrong then? Where was the water coming from?

It dripped again, and i heard it hit the sheets below. It was dripping out of the fan. I sat up, placed my hand on the spot. Here I thought my husband was spitting on me in contempt as I slept, but it was only the roof leaking, I felt so releived.

Wait, the roof was leaking? Maybe I should make coffee, I thought. This is not making sense.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Taste; Because I Don't Have Any

It is a good thing that my daughter Cora has taste. I do not. In fact, some days I doubt that I even have tact. My in-laws, at whose house I clearly demonstrated the inability to make funny quips and say humerous statements without offending someone will attest to that fact. I'm still trying to make up for calling Jessies outfit un-matching. After being in graduate school and knowing the sort of schedule that one lives by while striving to do so many other things (like cook, laundry, clean, spend time with family, breathe....) I just feel horrible for re-enforcing some sort of super standard on someone who is already exceeding spectacular.

The worst part, is that I really am not fashionable. I wear alot of black, because you can't mis-match black with other colors too frequently, and because black hides stains. I wear alot of t-shirts, because I can whip them off fast to feed the baby. Most of my outfits engender the statement "doesn't think about her clothes and can't lift the baby poop stains."

Cora on the other hand cares about clothes, and not just on herself. She cares about colors, and she doesn't like it when Mom wears certain shirts. She made me put back the navy tank top, instead of wearing it with the black jeans. I am so lucky to have the little fashionista in my household. She even does experimental wardrobes with her dresses and shirts. "Angels", her word for dresses, are in vogue right now, accompanied by a pair of shorts or even pants, fitting right into that long torso look I see in fashion magazines. When she begs for bermuda shorts I will start turning in the application to Parsons.

If the clothes make the person, Coras 24 carat. I guess that puts me down there at gold plated. Oh well. From what her grandparents and great-grandparents tell me, there is no daughter alive who truely approves of the way their mother dresses.

Besides, at least someone has taste, because I do not.

Potty Fairy!!!!

I was desperate. My moral was low. Cora would pee and poop in the potty but she would not be a consistent potty user. On top of that, she thought that her bowel movements were gifts. In an effort to share the "love" she would poop in her hand and present them to Mom. You can only hold your disgust over such odiferous presents for so long before you feel like crying in frustration. Plus, my mind paniced. If I showed too much admiration, or lack of disappointment, she might decide to do that to a guest. I'm sure Emily Post does not have a chapter on "How to deal with guests reations to childs gift of escrement." Maybe Martha Stewart has some advice...

Now that you understand exactly how low my moral was, let me tell you the brilliant solution. First, Cora learned how to finish the process. She helped me clean up every poop and pee mess. This is part of the "going pee and poop" scenario. If you miss, you clean (or at least help). Second, I pulled out a contemporary of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny (no chocolate egg jokes here), the Tooth Fairy, and the birthday bird. Perhaps you have heard of ...... the POTTY FAIRY!

Said fairy, in an effort to reward the self control of the learning "big kid", leaves little gifts for children who go the whole day without any accidents. They leave this gift on the closed toilet seat in the morning, like the tooth fairy leaves money under your pillow. How long the potty fairy leaves gifts is still up for debate. I am hoping the answer is, as long as necessary.

Its nice to bring magic into my childs life.

Yes. Bribery works on small children. It works really well. Best of all, I no longer recieve little "chocolate" gifts.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Irony

My daughter eats pickling cucumbers, tomatoes off my plants and robs my fridge of yogurt and fruit. I keep a stock of chocolate bars in the fridge.

My husband diets by eating less and working out. I diet by not eating the leftovers on my daughters plate after meals.

I will not cancel cable, because it keeps me from going crazy when nursing during the day. Unfortunately, Cora watches it with me.

Here is irony at its finest. The greatest verbal supporter of a healthy lifestyle is also the one who sabotages her own chances at success the most. I need to get with it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Lets go out to eat...

Nanny and I took the two girls to a nice restaurant for lunch. I figured we would be safe. They have a beautiful outdoor patio, and a child's play area that I'm familiar with. It was towards the end of lunch that the true nature of my daughter emerged.

First, she waved at me, half hanging out the second story of the play house. courtesy of some stronger child, a bench moved under the window opening. I ran like a tripping lunatic to the play house, only for her to greet me grinning and safe at the bottom of the steps.

Second, she decided she needed to take off her milk spotted shirt. A restrained conversation later, she was still dressed. A penny for the fountain distracted her.

Did I say fountain? When I suggested this particular location for lunch, I forgot that it had a working outdoor fountain. Worse, the fountains lowest pond was within easy reach of a two year old. That would explain why, within moments of using up her penny she was fishing for others and splashing in the water.

That wasn't the problem. The problem was when she decided to wash her hair.

At least I have a good argument for my super packed diaper bag with extra absorbent blankets/towels. You need them for those occasional bath incidents in strange fountains in front of (thankfully understanding) patrons. That, and Its a marvelous way to get and pay your check quickly so you can leave.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Teaching Perception

Now that my daughter is talking about letters, and pointing to words asking what they are, I decided this was what people call child lead education. I bought some teaching aids to introduce her to the alphabet, mixed them up with some of the stuff around the house, and wrote up a schedule of classes (soon to be ignored). Better yet, I took cora with me, so that it was already a fun time for her to spend with Mom.

I'm not trying to teach my child to be brilliant, or even make her learn the alphabet. I do not have any goals with her becoming a doctor at age 12. That can at times be abusive to the child. What I'm trying to accomplish, is to burn some extra calories through brain exercise. Learning IS an adventure. Maybe if she explores letters she will leave my bathroom cabinet alone.

I hung my "dive into the alphabet" (cute huh?) poster on our fridge, with the first letters already ensconced on their little fishy plaques. Cora was thrilled with the creative process. She likes the fishes. She wanted to hang more. We went over the letters, and made their noises, until her mind flitted elsewhere.

When trying to teach a two year old, one of the perceptions you have to have is when they are done. She happily left the poster alone until dad and his friends emerged from the basement. Then she pulled each one over to show it off, and pointed out the fishes. What made me proud was when she pointed to one fish in particular and said "Aye" correctly labeling the letter on it.

One letter down, 25 to go.

The best part is, nobody can say I'm crazy for trying to teach a two year old the alphabet. The people who might have criticized were given a sterling lesson in success.

Now if only I can get Cora to poop in the potty.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Motivation

Cora, whom I think is the reincarnated soul of that Evil Knievel, loves "rides". This involves putting her in a laundry basket, and then swinging it like a single bucket theme park creation, powered by the parent. The faster, wilder, crazier or more disorienting you spin, the louder she giggles.

I folded laundry this morning. I was sitting in the chair, my feet surrounded by piles of neatly folded clothes when Cora plunked herself down in the laundry basket next to me. "I need ride." she said.

I looked at her. "I need ride." She repeated, then when I didn't move, "Please."

"Okay," I said, "Mom just needs to get her butt in gear." I sipped some coffee, thinking that rides were a lot more fun before Cora passed the 25 lb mark. It was considerably harder to safely swing around 30 lbs of child.

However, my daughter is no dumb bunny. She stood up, not giving up her laundry basket location, leaned over and in an amazed voice goes "WOAH!" slapping my still well padded abdomen. "You are big!" she enunciated beautifully. She then proceeded to make the left over baby fat jiggle in the most un-appealing way, pulling up my shirt to give a skin view.

She got laundry basket rides till my arms felt like falling off.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Monday After

We went to nannys for the weekend. Nannys with tons of relatives is great for me. My constant vigil can be foisted off in parts on the other family members. Unfortunately it also means that the weekend chores get compressed into Friday and Monday. That would explain why, in the midst of trying to consume coffee, do laundry, vacume the living room, and deal with whatever landed on the desk of my secret alter ego (sexy working woman), Cora walked out into the hallway without pants on, rubbing something into her hair.

I know what you are thinking. It wasn't (Thank GOD) lotion, but baby soap. She knew it too, because as she massaged it in, she said "take bath". The fact that her panties were missing due to a potty training accident assured that she got one immediately.

Cora loves baths. She hates cold water poured on her head. With dishes and laundry, the bathwater for the impromptu fill started luke warm.

I got ready to rinse her hair. I put the baby down. The baby screamed. I began to rinse. She tried to stand up. I stopped her. She struggled, and started crying. I gave her a hug to sooth her. I was officially soaked. I stripped off my shirt and pants, explaining to her why I must do this to her.

I poured. She sprang up, desperate to escape the cold torture chamber. She was sobbing. Her feet slipped, and I caught her, my grip communicating fear, anger and frustration. I yelled at her for standing in the tub. The baby's voice rose to an almost brittle octave. Coras sobs began to make her hyperventilate, and there was still soap in her hair.

I poured, forced her down again, poured again. There was still soap in her hair, but I was done. I wrapped the only dry towel around a goose bump covered sobbing two year old, ignoring my own dampness. I picked her up and tossed her on her bed. I retrieved a screaming infant, soaking her. She screamed harder. My phone rang.

It was for my sexy alter ego. I didn't answer it. Voice mail is infinitely better than pretending to be important with two screaming children in the background.

Instead, I laid down next to the naked sobbing two year old, with the soaked screaming baby on my chest, wearing only undercloths, and proceeded to cry with them. Next time we go to Nannys, sexy working woman is taking the day after off. Maybe I can too...

The Perfect Guests

After a couple of nights at Nanny's house, my children have been labeled the perfect guests within their age groups. Of course, the fact that they were the only guests under six at the weekend party (happy 85th Gran) probably impacted their behavior. I, too, am enamored with their sterling behavior. My husband was impressed as well. Our gratitude and amazement differs greatly from that expressed by our relatives and other guests.

Yes, it is true that the two year old didn't scream during meals, or at least not in a way you could hear, given the volume control problem our family discussions seem to possess. Its also true that she didn't have any nuclear melt downs, slept fairly well, played nicely most of the time, and ate what was set before her. A lot of this has to do with the efforts that Nanny made to make sure she had child friendly food, the fact that she had pleanty of adults to carry her, fetch for her, or beat on with helium balloons. Actually, Coras melt downs are reserved for instances when Mom is in charge and frazzled by life.

Our infant, Nyobi, is just past the fragile stage. She's not seriously teething yet, and she just started sleeping in longer segments. Her admired behavior was just luck of the age, and the fact that she LOVES being held. She too was passed around from relative to relative out of love rather than necessity. One of the benefits of breast feeding is that she arrives back at Mom every few hours. This behavior did NOT impress my husband and I. What did impress us was her total control of bodily function.

My one brother and his wife are working on starting a family. They complained briefly that its mostly just the "working" part not the actual starting. I wish we had time for the "working" part.

I though, before the weekend, "What a perfect chance for them to learn how to change diapers, and bathe the little suckers." How many of those first panicked days of infant care did I wish I had tried it on someone else's first? In one of those impossible feats of parental thwarting change, Nyobi pooped only three times in two and a half days. this was two less than the amount of yellow gold changes I received on Monday. She did do an impressive job on each of the three occasions. I know. I changed her. My sister in law slept through two. My brother failed to show interest in the workings of that particular end of the baby, and my husband snagged the last one. He doesn't produce food so changing a butt was a good excuse to get to snuggle with his own child.

They WERE the perfect guests. Charming, smiling, and in good moods, they negotiated a mostly adult weekend with tact, fortitude and a little constipation. I actually got a chance to relax, talk and socialize. I only panicked once, when a packed house of adults suddenly did not contain a two year old, and I hadn't seen her leave for a walk (through the poison ivy) with cousin Alex.

The Monday afterwards though...thats a different story.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Snoogles at Night

As a parent of an infant, you spend much time observing them. Aside from feeding them and cleaning up their poop, there isn't much else you can do with an infant. The American Society of Pediatrics frowns on turning them into human projectiles and making them perform household chores. Actually, so do the child human services people and the police.

Nyobi and I observe each other the most when there is no sun. Babys do this. This is not related to manipulation of my genetic material when i became a blood sucking lawyer. I call this snoogling. Its a combination between snuggling and schmoozing ones parents. Let me tell you about one particularly long snoogling session to explain how these two opposite states can be combined.

First, Nyobi cries. She is not poopy, hungry or cold. She just wants to be held. The unwitting parent (thats me!) picks her up. She whimpers a little, she grabs a fistful of my shirt in a white knuckled grip. She rests her head against my shoulder blade, her ear curled into my chest and relaxes against me in complete trust. Her other hand creeps up to the side of her head, where she calmly begins to grasp handfuls of her fuzzy hair and pet it. Her head pops off my chest to gaze at me in astonishment.

She begins to suck meditatively at the nuky and lowers her head back to my chest. I rock her. We are involved solely in the physical being of each other. We are snuggling.

Time passes and her breathing becomes heavier, and the nuky slides down my chest, abandoned. I lean her back to stand up and put her in the crib. She smiles up at me. She makes little tongue motions, and grabs my shirt again. After a few more minutes of sunny angelic happiness I stand up.

She smacks her lips and gives a whimper, and her eyes fill with fear. I give her the nuky again, but this is not what she desires. She crabs slightly, and I sit back down. She rests her head against my shoulder, and slowly the whimpering subsides. I relax, she relaxes against me in complete trust.

The nuky falls out, but I'm comfortable. The little hand stops petting its big round fuzzy toy. My breathing slows, and I rest my cheek on top of the small head, appreciating the little fingers and the soft fluff. I smile. Its really not safe to sleep in a chair with an infant though, and you get swollen ankles if you do it too much, so I press her against my chest and go to stand up.

She lets out one alarmed squawk, then begins to whimper. I relax back into the chair and rock some more. She kneads my shirt with her hand and snuffles and smacks her lips in search of the nuky. I find it, and she stares at me with big eyes as I lean her face back to pop it in. She smiles at me for a second, then licks out in search of the soothing piece of plastic.

Plugged back up, she rests her head again. I relax and snuggle some more. She relaxes into me again too, in complete trust...that I'm not going to put her down until SHES good and ready to be put down, which as it turned out the night before last was two o-clock in the morning.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Lotion Chapter 3

Coras obsession with lotion did not end with the torture of the cat, nor the over-application of multiple actual skin care products. In fact, she is fascinated by all things smear able. If there is one sentence I utter more as a parent than any other, its "No, Cora thats not lotion, thats ________." Since the Vaseline, there has been butter, various soaps (in different bottles), spray cleaners, tooth paste, mayo, wasabi paste, craft paint, sunscreen, neosporin ointment, acne treatment, makeup foundation, and diaper cream. If it comes in a tube, bottle or jar, Cora defaults to "lotion".

Aside from discovering that bathing your child in dawn liquid dish detergent will remove a liberal layer of butter, mayo and wasabi paste, and that mint smelling two year olds aren't nearly as disgusting as one that smells like acrylic paint, I'm happy to say the worst catastrophes were diverted. We taught her quickly and efficiently that no lotion was edible. Thank God that baby soap doesn't taste that marvelous by the mouthful.

Today was another lotion disaster. In my infinite parenting wisdom, I childproof as the child grows. That means that when Cora started accessing my shampoo and soaps, I moved them to a shower caddy that hangs off the shower head. ("Look mommy! Lotion!" "No Cora that is Mommys shampoo, and you are not supposed to spread that all over the toilet seat!")

I am assuming that Cora learned how to climb onto and balance on the edge of the bath tub. She could now get behind the shower curtain, by the business end. There she could grab the bath poof that hangs off the bottom of the shower caddy, and use it to bang the shower caddy against the wall. Stuff falls off. Specifically, my razor, and a little jar I have that contains sea salt scrub.

For those of you who are not familiar with what sea salt scrub is, its a mixture of scented oils and sugar and salt crystals. You scrub rough skin with it, and the sugar and salt scrape off dead cells and then dissolve. The oil you rinse most of off, but fills the bath with an elegant (and in this case slightly overpowering) herbal scent. It is NOT lotion.

At the end of the previous blog post, I turned from my computer as Cora ran excitedly into the living room. "Lotion!" she said, presenting some well greased hands. It looked like Vaseline.

It really looked like Vaseline.

Which would explain why I didn't even touch it. I grabbed her (thankfully not covered) wrists in shackle like grips and half carried half dragged her to the bathroom. In a deft move I picked up when I discovered that you could not add arms to your body as you add children to your life, I used my elbow to flick on the light.

I promptly stepped on something both grainy and slick at the same time, and proceeded to fall on my butt, back into the hallway, still suspending my two year old in a hung arm position. She giggled and sat down on my belly. My elbow acrobatics gave brilliant light to what impeded my advance. There spread out on the floor was ALL of the sea salt scrub. Coated in the floral "lotion" was my razor blade, with which she had, presumably, scooped the glop out of the container and flopped it on the linoleum. I dropped my grip to sit up.

"Lotion, Mommy!" She said, smearing my face with the gritty mixture.
"No Cora, thats not lotion, thats...."

A Nutritious breakfast

This morning I opened the fridge and gazed inside at the blurry fuzzy mess. It was my first challenge of the day, and so far I was not feeling very up to it. Wait! I hadn't had any coffee yet. That explained a lot.

I poured a cup of coffee added a smidgen of creamer, and a teaspoon of sugar. I stared at it for five seconds, then slammed half of it. The contents of the fridge now were distinguishable as separate grocery items. Now maybe I could concoct a nutritious breakfast from the formerly blurry innards. This was indeed a challenge.

Given recent scientific studies, carbohydrates are bad for you. I'm also lactose intolerant, and I"m cooking for a two year old, which means basically everything i make will fail in some way. To compensate, I've been trying to invent new breakfast greats, especially those not labeled "kids breakfast cereal" or "sugar high in a convenient and kid friendly package."

We eat a lot of eggs and fruit.

Today, my fridge could not cough up a yogurt (my daughters favorite entree) to save its life. Its a good thing I"m not in the habit of killing fridges. Instead I found eggs, 2% milk fat cheese (acceptable healthy cheese if consumed in proper serving sizes), and a baked potato. The potato was small enough to provide the right amount of carbs, even though it wasn't the best whole grain variety.

I chopped the potato into home fries, sauteed them in margarine, then cooked the eggs over medium and topped them with half a slice of cheese each. I put the other half of a cheese slice on my daughters potatoes and voila, protein with fat the stayed on the plate, and potatoes. I would consume ultra processed one serving of dairy, with a meal. This is about all my system can tolerate. Then I added some orange drink for my daughter.

Healthy nutritious and delicious, the eggs and fries even looked inviting with their cheery yellow cheese. We sat down to eat.

Cora finished her potatoes, she ate one half of the cheese on the egg, and then she proceeded to dip her fork into the center of the egg and lick off the yolk. Now, the principle behind cooking eggs over anything is to allow the fatty unhealthy yolk a chance to escape being eaten while still consuming the protein filled whites. This fascinating and drippy method of eating egg defeats the entire purpose of my preparation technique.

Having finished her potatoes, the two year old began scarfing them off of moms plate, ergo defeating the low carb diet plan for her, and making mine lower than low carb.

Well, I thought to myself, at least I defeated the sugar deamons of breakfast, as I idly played with the orange drink container. Glancing at the label, I made the mistake of looking at sugar content...

Sometimes as a parent when you fail utterly at a goal you set for yourself, it is best to step back and examine the whole situation. Here, my mission was thwarted by the eating habits of a two year old, but the primary objective HAD been accomplished. I cooked something that Cora would eat, and eat a considerable amount of, that contained natural calories without the bolstered effects of cereal, and that I could modify slightly to make it tasty and edible for me.

This WAS a nutritious breakfast for a two year old. It was not some fast food billion calorie creation, or an artificial concoction of puffed processed grains and added sterile flavorless nutrients.

I win!!!

I bet you're still wondering how much sugar was in the orange drink....
9 grams.
( most kids cereals have 12-15 grams)

Oh! And did you know that egg yolk is what Michaelangelo mixed with pigments to get all that paint to stick to the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel? And did you know you can stick all sorts of things to a shirt with the same compound?