Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Wow it's been a while since I've written anything - nearly a month! Very uncool. It's not really from lack of material, but more lack of time and energy. Also a surfeit of material really. We have so many great photos from fun stuff we've done in the past couple of months - I feel unable to get through it all and post the ABSOLUTE BEST STUFF. So of course I should just post whatever I feel like - because something is better than nothing, right? (don't answer that)

So a topic on my mind these days is bedtime. Because really ever since the great pacifier weaning it's been a whole new ballgame around here. Lily's still a good sleeper - I wouldn't even pretend to cry sleep-deprived knowing what I do about how little sleep other parents have to function on. But the bedtime routine has definitely morphed from "Look Lily - here's your crib! and pacifier! Have a blast!" to something much more complex.

Now, bedtime goes something like this.

After dinner we head straight to the potty. We sit there a while. Usually Lily directs me on what to do: "Mommy sit stool" and then "Mommy magazine" (yeah, she really says magazine, kind of cracks me up). Then I browse through Real Simple while she checks out the latest issue of Parenting. Eventually there is peeing involved, sometimes pooping - depending on the day. Eventually she is persuaded to move to the lovely bath we have prepared for her. She hangs out there playing with her cups and squirty octopus guys until the water mysteriously disappears down the drain. After the bath there is some mystical teeth brushing ritual with Daddy that I do not even pretend to understand. All I know is that I am terrified I might have to partake some day. Gordon can not go away again until she is an independent brusher.

At this point the party moves to the bedroom. There is diapering and dressing. Then Lily roams around picking up her favorite books. Sometimes she asks us to read one. Usually she'll hand me a favorite - these days either "Peek! A Thai Hide and Seek!", "Goodnight Moon" or "Knuffle Bunny". Then she'll pick up a different book and flip through that while I read the other one. Kids these days - always with the multi-tasking!

A few notes on these books. The Peek! book is excellent - it's a big game of hide and seek between a dad and his baby girl played in some awesome tropical paradise where really cool animals roam around free. If you followed the link, note that on the cover the baby is wearing shoes and holding an umbrella. Lily tracks the location of these items like a bloodhound throughout the book. We often get stuck on a page for a while because she's upset that "Daddy! baby shoes!" (daddy has baby's shoes) or "Baby! 'Brella" (baby has dropped the umbrella again, clumsy baby!).

We have similar issues with Goodnight Moon. How many of you have noticed that the mouse is hiding somewhere different in every full color page? Once you spot it you've got a game within the book. There are two pictures that hold Lily's attention in a particular way.
*spoiler alert*
In one the mouse is perched precariously on the bookshelf. "Uh-oh! Mouse! Boo Boo!" she exclaims, looking very concerned. In the other the mouse is hanging out by the mush bowl, eying it hungrily. Here Lily becomes VERY agitaated "Mouse take mush! Eat!" She is very concerned about animals eating her food - we're not sure why - we don't even have pets!

Phew - I'm off-track - back to bedtime (see this post is pretty much EXACTLY like bedtime). Eventually we manage to get to the crib. Although usually there's a another trip to the potty before that happens. Because let me tell you - there is NO time like BEDTIME when it comes to the potty. This potty trip is bare-bones - no books, no magazines. Sometimes Lily will say "Pee Pee Potty! No book!" and shake her finger at me.

Tired yet? At this point I'm usually pretty much fried. But Wait! There's MORE!

So let's assume we're past the final potty trip and into the crib. Let's also assume we found room to PUT Lily in the crib. Because the crib is also home to: Baby Tad, Lobster, Whale, Rabbit, Turtle, "TWO FROGGIES", Roo, Mama Duck, and others. Now we begin the entertainment part of the program - where we sing for her pleasure. There are three songs - never more, never fewer. The first two are usually taken from:
"Quack Quack Song"
"This old Man"
"Rainbow Connection" - known to Lily as "Me" (that's her favorite line to sing)
"Doe a Dear"
and pretty much ALWAYS capped off with
"You are my Sunshine"

At this point we make our escape. Sometimes Baby Tad continues the singing, but lately not. Sometimes we have to deny requests to: pee-pee/poop in the potty, eat berries, drink milk. Sometimes if she thinks I'm being too strict about this whole bedtime thing she'll tell me "Mommy tired, Mommy lie down" to get rid of me so she can work on Daddy one-on-one. It's brilliant really - I AM exhausted, how can I refuse? Eventually we convince her to say "Night Mommy, Night Daddy" and then we know we're golden. We tell her good night and how much we love her.

Then softly close the door and sneak off into the living room to eat caramel popcorn and watch TV. I always KNEW the adults were doing cool stuff once we kids went to bed!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Secret Post #1 (or 5 Weeks)

[Note: this post was written back in September, but posted on November 18th]

I'm faced with a conundrum - I've got some good stuff to write about, but am not quite ready to share it with the world yet. So Gordon suggested I write up the posts and just wait to publish them - brilliant idea! So here we go - this is "secret post #1"

Way back when we talked about having a family G and I both knew we wanted at least two children We both have siblings and had a hard time imagining raising an only child. So once we had gotten our feet under us in the parenting sense (but do you ever REALLY get your feet under you?) we "pulled the goalie" and started on baby Wong #2. And a handful of months (a couple of OPK kits, a bunch of pee-sticks and some silly obsessing by me) later here we are - pregnant again.

Or at least that's what the last two pee-sticks told me about a week ago. To be honest, I don't FEEL very pregnant. I can't remember - was I already sick at this point with Lily? I know I was eventually sick, but can't remember when exactly it started. I think that emotionally and mentally I just don't have room in my brain to even think about being pregnant. I know that every pregnancy is different, but this one is already SO different from when I was carrying Lily.

First there are the physical differences. I'm not super nauseous yet - just a little nausea here and there, but really laughable compared to how I felt last time (yeah, I know - I just jinxed myself). My skin is under full attack however - I'm breaking out and the rosacea and excema are both flaring up. I'm tired of course - at night I find myself hardly able to get through dinner before just wanting to curl up in a ball. I have no energy for silly things like condo business and budgets.

...ummm okay so I got called off for something while writing this post and never came back to it. So I'm calling it done now and moving on to the next one - Seven Weeks! (yeah, yeah I don't know what happened to week 6 either...)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Mama Duck Quack Quack Song?

So what is it with little kids songs? I mean have you ever really listened to the words of some of them? Everyone's heard the whole "ring around the rosy"-bubonic plague theory - and that's a little extreme, but there are a bunch of other, less obvious examples.

The first time I noticed this issue was while singing Rock-A-Bye Baby when Lily was an infant. I was always really disturbed when I got to the cradle-falling-out-of-the-tree bit. Maybe it's cuz Lily wasn't very colicky - but I never had the urge to think about her plummeting to the Earth in a wooden cradle. I used to change the end to say something lame like "Mom will catch Lily! Cradle and all!"

Then a couple of months ago we were at the library story/song time and the librarian did a song I had not heard before "Five Little Ducks". Excellent I thought - a new song - and Lily, she loves ducks! But as I listened I grew more and more distressed. The gist is that Mama duck sends 5 ducks out to play one day, but only four come back. The next day she sends those four out and then only three come back - you get the picture, right? I couldn't help thinking "HELLO - Earth to Mama Duck - they're NOT COMING BACK - STOP LETTING THEM GO!" I had to fight urges to get up and go call the duck-DSS on her ducky-butt. Being a child of the 80's all I could picture was a sinister white van driven by some clown ducks parked just off the little ducky path...

But you say - it's teaching subtraction. OK fine - but how about we stick with the monkeys jumping on the bed? I mean there's a nice subtraction song- AND it teaches consequences and at least Mama monkey is TRYING A LITTLE.

Anyway at the end of the song Mama duck - who is now sad - oh really? she had to lose ALL HER DUCKLINGS before she got sad? - goes out looking for them. And look! she quacks and they all come back - yay. Too little too late if you ask me.

Despite my strong reaction to this song I decided to sing it to Lily while she was on the potty one day because Lily! she loves the ducks! Anyway she's all happy and making the quack quack noises and the gestures and all that jazz. Then I get to the last verse - the part about "Sad Mama Duck". And sure, maybe I was a little affected by the tragedy in the song at this point (I've been known to cry at particularly heart-warming commercials after all) - and MAYBE my voice got a little too sad. But Lily took one look at me as I sang about sad mama duck and - i kid you not - bust into tears.

Gordon chose that precise minute to walk into the bathroom - and of course I looked like a total heel for bringing her to tears with a song. Funny thing is that since then she requests this song ALL THE TIME - "mama duck quack quack song"? I've been very careful to mask my true feelings about the sad mama duck verse and at the end there's a vigorous round of clapping to celebrate the return of the ducklings. She's also gotten attached to one of her duck stuffies who we use to act out the part of Mama duck (after she's sobered up enough to go look for her ducklings) during the song.

On the other side of the spectrum are the songs that have been changed to be more PC or something. My favorite example of that is the "wheels on the bus" song. Imagine my surprise when we sang that at a sing-a-long and after the baby cries the parents all say "i love you" instead of "sh sh sh". I mean, come on! If I'm on a bus and baby is crying - I'm going to shush! Even Dr. Harvey Karp agrees - shsushing is MUCH more effective then saying "i love you"! I'm happy to report that when we sing the song - Lily shushes enthusiastically.