Archive for the 'everyday' Category



No!

Molly’s new favorite word is ‘no.’ Sometimes it’s a curt ‘no’ and sometimes it’s a very dramatic and emotional ‘NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’ What’s confusing (read: frustrating) is that sometimes it doesn’t mean ‘no’ at all. It might mean ‘not right now’ or ‘maybe’ or – despite all of the PSAs to the contrary – ‘yes’ (gasp!).

Anyway, just today I was revisiting a Slate article from earlier this year that a friend had recently posted to her Facebook page. It’s all about why we should be cool with toddlers’ freakouts and tantrums. After a four-day weekend home with a 20-month old (21 months today! Happy day Bear!), it was especially reassuring. My favorite part? This quote, from the all-knowing Harvey Karp:  “It is hard to spend all day with a 2-year-old, and they don’t really want to spend all day with you anyway.”

So true. This morning, as we were driving Mollybear to school, I turned around to face her in her carseat. I smiled and said, “Hi.” She smiled back at me, giggled and said, “No.”

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A trip to the grocery store. Or how we spent our hours in exile from the open house.

AO has long wanted to check out Yue Wah, a grocery store on South Park. And we had to be out of our place today for an open house, so we thought we’d finally see what was inside. A little tornado warning was not going to deter us.

Yue Wah

Yue Wah

Do you see Bear? Anyway, I’m no expert in grocery stores, but this one seemed pretty nice. I especially liked that it was not crowded. Though that could have had more to do with the ominous skies and probably shouldn’t be relied on by future customers who might be reading this.

Horseradishy

Horseradishy

Hello panda

Hello panda

Plates and spoons

Plates and spoons

Snake-head fish

Snake-head fish

Coffee

Coffee

Fruit

Fruit

Bear kept insisting on putting quinoa in the cart.

Blurry quinoa

Blurry quinoa

Sauces

Sauces

And then we went out to lunch and Bear sat in her first booster seat. I know she was probably old enough for that rite of passage many moons ago, but don’t blame her for the delay. That’s on me. I hope I didn’t do any permanent damage.

Crayons and a booster

Crayons and a booster

Booksbooksbooksbooksbooks

I admit I’m feeling overwhelmed at the moment and I’m pretty sure it shows. I have a bunch going on at work (I know, who doesn’t?), we’ve decided to put the condo on the actual market with an actual realtor (which means keeping the place clean for showings and open houses), Bear’s early rising has risen again with the time change, hosting Thanksgiving is on the horizon, we’re in the midst of trying to get the Union’s members to recertify us, I’m behind on my transportation committee duties (like getting up to speed on everything), and I’ve been slacking in the running department and haven’t run since last Friday. I’ve been having tons of stress dreams lately – last night I dreamt I was way stressfully behind on  orthodontia appointments that hadn’t seemed like my responsibility to make (and I was somewhere between two and four years old in the dream).

What I really want to do is just sit and read and let all of the rest of it wash away for a bit. Last night, I started reading Curtis Sittenfeld’s new book, Sisterland. And I also just picked up from the library (after having it on hold for what seemed like forever) Khaled Hosseini’s And the Mountains Echoed. And I just got an alert that Joanna Trollope’s Sense & Sensibility is waiting for me on a sweet little library shelf! Where. Is. The. Time. I don’t know: but I’m going to find it.

Losers

My aunt Jane just sent me this interesting op-ed from The Times and I must say I found it quite timely. Recently, I became aware of some of the phenomena discussed in the editorial. For example, a friend of mine told me that on her 3-year old son’s t-ball team, it is not possible to be “out.” She was describing how her son would gleefully hit the ball and meander over to first base. She said she would yell, “Run,” but her son would just look at her kinda quizzically, as if to say, “Why?” It’s not that he’s lazy – far from it; in fact, she said he’s the first to run after every ball hit. It’s just that he doesn’t understand the point of sprinting to first base. In his mind, quite understandably, all a person does is hit the ball and then move onto the base. In addition to finding the image adorable, I thought, “That’s so weird.” I didn’t have the studies cited in the article to back up my scientific conclusion that the t-ball rules were “weird,” and I didn’t really think about it in terms of harm to the child in the way the article describes.* Instead I thought, “Why on earth would it be bad to tell a kid he’s “out”? It almost seems as though the adults are implicitly suggesting that failure is a character flaw instead of what it really is: a necessary part of life. And certainly a necessary part of baseball. I mean, really. Those games are long enough.

I’m sure it won’t be fun to watch Molly fail (though if the present is any indication: I’m callous. I’m still laughing about her running smack into the clear glass door at the library), but it’s not something I’m very scared of. Of course she will fail! If she doesn’t, how will she ever succeed? It makes so much sense to me that the kids who are uber-praised will stop trying once they have that first failure. If you haven’t learned how to deal with failure early and often, it must be terrifying to experience it after only lots of “success.” Good grief! It’s like just setting kids up to fail by not letting them fall. Oy. Let’s please try not to do that, ok?

Not to mention that I have no interest in storing a boatload of crappy participation trophies in my house.

*And let me be clear: I don’t think there is any harm being done to this particular charming three-year old. I know he’s already been given – and will continue to be given – plenty of opportunities to fail and succeed in his life.

Up too early

These days, Bear is getting up criminally early. If we were able to get her to sleep until 7 am, I would probably break down in tears of happiness. And confusion. Usually, she gets up sometime in the 5 am to 5:45 am zone. I recently discovered that if I give her a bottle, and tell her to go back down to sleep, she will sleep (or at least lie down) until anywhere between 6:15 and 6:45. Oy. And yes – I know she’s not supposed to have a bottle in bed (and maybe not even a bottle at all at her age. Her age! Can you imagine?!) – but when the clock is screaming 5 something, and I can barely make my eyes adjust to the world – a bottle she gets. [Sometimes the bottle has milk, sometimes it has water.] UPDATE: We are experimenting with not going to her until the first number on the clock is a 6. She has been strong-willed in her crying, but with the amazing video monitor we can see that she lies back down. And then gets up again. Very Chumbawamba of her.

When it’s a week day, whoever gets up with her just sort of lazily hangs out in the living room, reading old sections of the Sunday Times or watching whatever is on the telly at that hour. Earlier this week, AO read the US Weekly on getting ready for the royal baby. I’ve been watching some Tour de France, adding the word pelaton to my vocabulary. When it’s a weekend morning, we try to get out of the house so that (a) it’s something more fun than our living room and (b) the other person can get some much-needed sleep. On Saturday, AO took her to the westside farmers’ market and for breakfast at HyVee. [Sidenote: Aaron recently asked me, “Do you think because we had Molly last year, the opening of the HyVee is the most exciting thing to happen to us this year?”] Because it’s summer, there’s a lot of options on the weekends. Even with lots of options, though, there’s still a limit to what time those options start. In taking the Sunday shift this week, I worried I’d be at a disadvantage. What opens at 7 on a Sunday? Bear and I headed out the door shortly before 7, saying goodbye to a sleeping Grace-a-fur, to see what we could see.

I decided to drive to Hubbard Avenue because I thought they might be open and I thought they might tolerate us and because I couldn’t think of anywhere else to go. I first noticed that there are a lot of people who walk their dogs at 7 am on a Sunday. I mean, maybe not a LOT, but a lot more than I would have thought. It turns out Hubbard doesn’t open until 7:30 on Sundays, so Bear and I took a few laps around downtown Middleton, checking in with Trulia on the few houses we noticed for sale. At 7:33, I parked the car in front of the restaurant and released Bear from her five-point harness. A grandpa-looking figure was walking towards the front doors with a toddler beside him. I immediately felt I’d made the right choice. After Bear finally decided to make her way through the doors, we were seated at a table and given a basket of crayons and a paper coloring menu. I think a lightbulb actually appeared over my head: this place is ok with kids. I mean, I know the staff is made up of individuals – some of whom may love kids, others maybe not so much – but as a whole, I felt welcomed. I’m sure I sound like a dunderhead talking about this, and I’m certainly not articulating it well, but I want to be conscious of where I take Bear and make sure we’re not unduly annoying people while, at the same time, getting out and about in the world. Alright, so, anyway, we settle in and Bear orders the one egger, which is one egg (didn’t see that coming, did you?), a piece of bacon, hash browns and a biscuit. Yes, it’s a ridiculous amount of food for a 16-month old, but I like that she had choices on her plate.

Bear with her breakfast

Bear with her breakfast

She really enjoyed the bacon and the biscuit, preferring to chomp right into it instead of letting me break it apart. I don’t really blame her. I’m sure I’m going to sound like whatever is worse than a dunderhead when I say that I was shocked by how many people were at the restaurant. I mean, when we walked in, I was certain we would be only the second group of people there (after the grandpa + granddaughter duo), but no – there were probably at least five other tables with peeps enjoying coffee and conversation, or maybe the morning paper. Or both! There was no stopping these early birds. And people kept coming in. I even saw a young, 20-something couple and the woman was fully made up. A couple of groups of five or six friends were getting together in what seemed like mini-reunions. Some couples came in and chatted with other couples they knew.

It seemed like we had inadvertently stumbled upon the happiest place on earth.* I’m pretty sure we’ll be back soon.

After breakfast, we drove downtown and parked by The Plaza. We walked down State Street to the Terrace where I thought we would see some ducks. Nope, no ducks. Were they still sleeping? We walked back up State Street to the Square. I sort of felt like we were seeing what happens in the theater as they’re getting ready for the play to start in a couple of hours. I felt like I was seeing behind the scenes, into a world that is obviously always there, but one which I was never aware of. I’ve lived here my whole life. I worked on State Street for years. I’ve worked on the Square for almost nine years. I don’t think, though, that I’ve ever been downtown on a stiflingly hot, Sunday at 8:30 am. It was fascinating.

This weekend it’ll be Up Too Early: the Saturday edition.

 *Bear broke that spell, though, when I dared to change her in the bathroom. I tried to tell her, “There’s no crying at Hubbard Avenue! Didn’t you see all those smiles out there?” She calmed down once the changing was over and made herself happy again by touching every stool on her way out the door.