Clover really wanted to go to a wedding a few years ago which unfortunately coincided with a patch of no weddings amongst our family or friends. She's outgrown her girlie-girl stage, but she was interested enough in this magical thing she'd heard about called wedding cake that she looked forward to a family wedding this past weekend. We really talked up the cake with Rocket, especially when trying to get him to wear a tie. He responded to the tie like we were trying to get a noose around his neck as he squealed and protested. He also wanted his shirt unbuttoned and he did not want to wear shoes. Somehow we managed to turn him from hippie kid to young Republican in 30 minutes, although I compromised and let him wear Crocs because his brown leather shoes were a size too small.
Clover almost had to wear Crocs too because it wasn't until we were walking out the door that I realized she had no other shoes (not including cleats) that fit. Thankfully Target stores are almost of common as Starbucks and we were able to get her a pair of silver ballet flats to match her dress. Somehow we got talked into a new game for her Didj, making my shoe oversight more expensive than I would have thought.
Rocket ate almost all of the pats of butter put out on our table, which we allowed to keep the peace (especially since he was growing quite comfortable, proficient and therefore threatening with a knife), yet after he threw up for the second time hours later, I started to regret that greasy, high fat decision.
Clover was thrilled with the disposable camera left on the table. She claimed the role of table photographer and proceeded to snap pictures of her brother eating disgusting amounts of butter, then she moved on to taking pictures of herself making funny faces.
The night wore on and on and when it was clear that Rocket could not stay another minute, we had to leave without having cake. Clover put down her Target-shoed foot and demanded her share of the cake. With the bride nowhere in sight, the cake wasn't coming any time soon, but at two hours past Rocket's bedtime, but we had to go. Clover dug in her heels. I offered to buy a cake the next day, then my sister offered to give Clover an extra chocolate truffle favor. The negotiations continued until Clover finally agreed to leave without cake. As she and I walked out, her holding three large chocolate truffles, Clover moaned and said "I can't wait to take off my shoes. My heels hurt." I laughed at how she sounded so much older. I don't think she was reassured when I said that's pretty much what all women say as they leave weddings.
Rocket was thoroughly confused by the Earth Day celebration at Clover's school, which was held on Monday because today, the Earth's real birthday - or, like Christmas, is this an approximation? Maybe the Earth is really a Pisces? - Clover's class is putting on a play. He asked why we were going to stay at Clover's school for awhile Monday morning.
Me: It's Earth Day
Him: With cake?
Me: ? (long pause) It's Earth Day
Him: Having cake or cupcakes?
Me: Not birthday, Earth (pause) Day.
Him: The Earth's birthday?
Me: No, it's more to think about the Earth and how we treat it.
Him: Soooo, no cake?
Clover's class, along with the kindergarten class, carried out the totem poles they'd made. Each child made an animal representation of themselves or maybe just an animal they like or maybe, like Clover, just an animal for no reason in particular (which is how she explained her choice). Hers was a dinosaur, just in case it isn't clear. Dinosaurs are frequently represented in Native American art, one just has to go back to the really, really Native Americans: the dinosaurs.
The celebration was full of music and dancing, everyone holding hands and circling the totem poles, all serving as a beautiful reminder of why we love this school so much, which is especially timely because tuition payments for 2009-10 begin next week. So...no cake.
My share of the Easter candy has been taken care of, allowing me to get on with my life. Also, I've made a post-Easter decision to finally throw away the candy canes. If I can motivate myself more, maybe the Halloween candy should go too. I'll send Kevin into work with a pinata's worth of random candy which will be eaten quickly because software nerds are too busy looking for their next sugar high to check expiration dates.
While I'm cleaning up, I've been meaning to relay how my mom's attempt to friend me on Facebook played out. I got the friend request on April Fool's Day and spent a good deal of the day wondering how I was going to not friend her while avoiding her standard lecture about how I am a horrible person (this is true, just ask my youngest sister, who gets a similar version). My mom had been talking about joining "The Facebook," so this came as only a mild surprise. It was a day I knew was coming, yet still did not want to accept.
That evening after emailing back and forth with my sister, who also got a request, I sent my mom an email pretending I thought it was a joke. "Best April Fool's Day joke ever!" I wrote, hoping to delay the inevitable rejection. My sister went right ahead and rejected my mom without hesitation. But then she's the youngest and can get away with stuff like that.
Later that night, after a trip to the gym and dinner, I finally had a chance to sit down with Kevin when I remembered to tell him about the friend request. "Oh my god! What did you do? How are you going to handle it?" He peppered me with questions until I proudly told him that I played it off like an April Fool's Day joke. "APRIL FOOL'S!" he shouted at me.
Yes, my husband punk'd me (and my sister). He set up an account - first an email account, then a Facebook account - in my mom's name, then he friended us.
I called my sister to tell her, then I checked my email where my mom had responded to my previous joke email with "Did you mean to send this to me? I have no idea what you are talking about?" Had I read my email before talking to Kevin, his prank would have been foiled. I called my mom to explain it to her and she said, "Funny because just today dad and I sat down to look at The Facebook and he said we shouldn't join."
The other day my parents very seriously asked me if I "Tweetie or is it Tweeter?" Somehow Twitter morphed into the name of my childhood canary Tweetie Bird and got bungled in my parents' heads. My mom then asked how Twitter was different from a text, which is a legitimate question made funny by the slow, unsure way she said "text."
I will die if they ask me next about sexting.
My egg was made using this pattern from Little Cotton Rabbits. Obviously I took the easy way out and used variegated yarn rather than following one of the more complicated decorative options in the pattern. I plan to (some day...) make another egg, but this time I'll skip or reduce the simple knit and purl section in the middle to see if that makes the eggs smaller, more like chicken eggs than goose eggs.
I'm currently project-less and am feeling the pressure from my fellow knitters to get going. I hope to scrounge up a specific doll pattern and get to work on it, hopefully when our group gets together this Thursday. I fear the doll may go the way of my robot, which means getting pushed so far back to my list of things to do that I forget all about it until reminded by the tough love knitting group.
It was the baddest Easter ever, according to Clover, and she didn't mean "bad" in the very good 80s way. It was the baddest, which she insisted is a word because bad is a word, because at one point in the day Kevin told her to ease up on the candy. Her eyes were already saucer-sized as she manically showed us how to work toy after crappy toy she received yesterday, so the suggestion wasn't out of line.
At some point Easter became Christmas. Yes, I know I am the same person who complained that Valentine's Day had turned into Halloween, by my grumpiness doesn't make this any less true. My kids were given five Easter baskets/bags full of loot, NOT including the main basket from the Easter bunny and not including stuff from the two egg hunts. So much for minimalism. It should have come as no surprised that sweet tooth Clover was working toward a sugar coma by the afternoon and she only succumbed to my pressure to eat protein because she knew it would lead to one tiny after dinner candy.
The Easter Bunny has a sense of humor shown by bringing the kids a sleeve of Hostess powdered donuts in their baskets, plus there was a cookie from a local French bakery, but that was it for basket sweets. When we went to Tahoe in February, in anticipation of getting stuck in a storm, I packed enough food in the car to live for at least a week, including something I never buy: donuts. (During my packing, Kevin asked if I packed water to drink if we got stranded. Um, no, we will be surrounded by snow?) Despite dodging the storm, we opened the powdered donuts anyway and Clover raved for weeks about how good they tasted. It was the child equivalent of a meal the The French Laundry. She blissfully talked about the taste and texture and she wished that one day she would be so lucky to have them again. Kevin's suggestion to put the donuts into the baskets was funny, but it was pretty much lost of the kids who ignored them in favor of all the marshmallow, chocolate and sprinkle covered treats yesterday brought.
Guilt got to me, forcing me to take the kids for a picture with the Easter bunny last week for fear that missing a year would come out in therapy a decade from now. Rocket would not move from the awkward, hunched position he assumed when I lifted him onto the bunny's knee. He would not move despite my efforts and those of the elderly photographer shaking a stuffed alligator and rattling a bell at the same time. I thought he looked like an uncomfortable mannequin when I realized that maybe I could adjust him the same way. Sure enough, I tilted his chin up and moved his head to the right, all while he maintained the same look on his face and frozen posture. The photographer was elated, suddenly the kid had gone from difficult to ideal.
I took his picture before I moved him and my style made me laugh. I try not to post pictures of other people's faces on the internet, so naturally I cut out most of the bunny, but it wasn't until I looked at the picture that it dawned on me that I was protecting the identity of a bunny costume.
As I buckled him into his car seat, Rocket whispered to me, "The bunny didn't eat me." What? He said again, "The bunny did not eat me." The poor kid was frozen in fear after his sister joked earlier in the day that the bunny might eat him. Sometimes it's hard to be the youngest.
We colored brown eggs this year and quickly found that we actually prefer it. Sure, the lighter colors didn't work so well, but ultimately they produced richer, more natural colors. We will be using them again next year.
Why yes, we did only color six eggs. It turns out that may be something that gets repeated next year as well.
We were standing in line earlier this week talking to the chatty woman behind us (who, by the way, seemed almost offended when I suggested that having backyard chickens wasn't such an anomaly anymore) when she asked Rocket if he was going to color eggs this week. I had completely forgotten about the eggs. I had already realized that I'd forgotten pictures with the Easter bunny, but I'd come to terms with that. Adding the eggs to the list of things I'd forgotten made me feel pretty pathetic, but then I did remember the candy and when it comes down to it, it's what my kids care about the most.
Rocket and I popped into the drugstore next door to buy the dye, but at home I realized we only had brown eggs and only six of them at that. I never quite know what to do with the colored eggs anyway. Does one of us put them out while the other distracts the kids in another room? We can't even put plastic ones outside at night because animals would take them. Easter protocols confuse me.
The six eggs were perfect. I hard boiled them carefully, fearful of losing any. It turns out that three per kid was the perfect amount so that no one got upset, bored or lost their patience. The kids handled it better too.
The egg that did not fair so well was my knitted and weak front-loader-felted egg. Next time I'll use a styrofoam shape and not fiberfill because this one looks like a little football. I won't felt it either because the front loader's results weren't so great for me.
(Part 2 of my one kid, two kid saga is being pre-empted today as I have a case of the blahs with a side of too many jellybeans.)
I've been so saddened and horrified by what happened to Sandra Cantu, then last night I heard the awful news that Maddie Spohr, the 17-month-old daughter of an LA Moms Blog contributor died unexpectedly. It was a night where I wanted to check in on the kids repeatedly, except Clover was sleeping over at a friend's house, so I spent most of the night hoping she was okay. I woke up to the sound of helicopters, which is never good because we live under what frequently is the helicopter path to Stanford Hospital. This time the helicopter noise did not stop to the point that I was wondering if there had been some sort of terrorist attack and this was the military response. Within minutes a friend called to say her husband had learned there was a fatal car accident near our house. I couldn't see the helicopter from the house, but after I called Kevin to see if he was okay - he luckily went the other way to work - I looked online to where the accident occurred.
We live on a hill with narrow, winding roads and honestly, it has always surprised me that there aren't regular accidents as people tend to drive way too fast for the road. Driving 25 mph on our street and others nearby is going too fast, but sadly that is the speed limit. The accident happened on the larger, therefore faster, road at a spot where there is at least one significant accident a year typically caused by someone coming down the hill well over the 45 mph speed limit who then cannot handle the s curve. Last year I drove by a wreak at this same spot and saw a child on a stretcher being lifted into an ambulance. The child did not appear to have life threatening injuries, but still, it was a scary sight.
This is all to say that today has pretty much sucked. Although my kids are either fighting horribly or conspiring to create chaos, I know that I am lucky that they are healthy and they are here.
Severe preeclampsia hit early when I was pregnant with Clover, but somehow she and I were able to hang on until 35 weeks. Lucky for us, Clover has always been precocious and even though she was teeny tiny, she wasn't considered a preemie and didn't need to go to the NICU - other then when she stopped breathing a few hours after birth, but that is another story for another time. Even then, she was only in the NICU for about 30 minutes. Getting to Rocket was a painfully rocky road, but his start on life was remarkably easy. From that rocky road, I know that things could change in an instant, one second all is fine, you are skipping to a friend's house, driving downhill or dealing with a toddler, when suddenly everything is flipped upside down.
This is one of those days that I want to keep everyone in the house, all within easy eyesight, even if that means pillows will be tossed from couches to the floor and the dog will be considered a moving target for the rocket-blasting toy. A mess is nothing.
Clover went with my parents for a spontaneous two nights away at their house where they spoiled her almost, quite literally rotten. Yet they were surprised when she woke up ill one night and didn't seem to connect it to the amount of junk food they allowed her to ingest...but that's all in the past now.
Rocket shined during his time as an only child. He is generally a sweet and caring kid, but he seemed extra sweet this weekend. He was easy going and pleasant, but more surprising was how I was as well. Not having to deal with whining, bickering or full out fighting so out of control that it would make an ultimate fighter wince, it turns out that I am a nice person.
Monday morning we set out to our club to swim when I realized there was really nothing from preventing me from doing the same thing during a normal school week. However, with Clover and the sibling rivalry gone, I found that I had so much more energy. Usually I feel somewhat beleaguered already by Monday morning and my to-do list is full of things that need to be done during the few hours that I only have one kid asking for a drink, something to eat or a book to be read. Spring Break has taken us off of our normal schedule, but the bigger break was the one from two kids.
Sunday afternoon Rocket fought a nap, but then in a rare moment, he fell asleep on me while we watched baseball. I held him while I reminisced about all the times I held him during naps as a baby almost three short years ago and then I continued to hold him, worried that this could be the last time he naps away in my arms. At about the hour and a half mark, the feelings - especially those in my arm cradling his head - faded and I gently woke him up. Even then he was as happy as could be.
The only time Rocket clung to me was when I was in the bathroom. He opened the bathroom door while I was in the shower and shouted "THERE'S SMOKE!" As I stood dripping in the family room I realized he meant the steam from the shower. Later that day when I tried to use the bathroom, he opened the door and when I asked for privacy, he enthusiastically said "Oh, I'm just here to drum," in a "don't mind me" tone. He plopped his LeapFrog letters drum on the counter and started drumming and singing along. "Now go fast or go slowwwww. Play the drum everyone, play the drum!" I left.
(This is threatening to turn into a massively long post, so I'll continue the rest tomorrow.)
Even though we didn't own any of Leslie Patricelli's books before receiving two of them last month, I immediately recognized them. Patricelli's illustrations are distinct, producing the most adorably fun books.
Patricelli has several books out, including Binky, Blankie, Yummy Yucky and The Birthday Box, which I always see as a suggestion on Amazon, but I had never really looked at them. The books feature a simple concept, for instance Higher! Higher! features a girl on a swing wanting to go up and up. The other book sent was Baby Happy, Baby Sad, featuring pictures of things making the baby happy or sad (a balloon floating away, a struggle with another child vs. a hug from mom, running around naked, etc.). There are few words, as the illustrations do most of the talking, which makes these books perfect for Rocket. He can understand the entire book without needing to read, yet he sits still, "reading" the book again and again, which after my experience with Clover seems to be a step closer to learning and loving to read. Her books are perfect for toddlers (most have a suggested age of 1-3 years, although Higher! Higher! has a Higher! age range) and I plan to buy more to give as gifts. They are just so cute.