Tuesday, December 20, 2011

More Toddler Notes

Scribbling these down electronically so I won't forget them, ever ...

- Anne loves parmesan cheese. She calls it "Paw Paw cheese."

- Every night, she and I snuggle up in our new oversized armchair and read. When she's ready for her reading session, she comes to me and says, "Mommy, book-a-couch?" If she wants to read in bed later, she says, "book-a-bed?"

- Like clockwork, she started over-using the words "no" and "mine" on her second birthday. Weird.

- "Mommy stay." That's what she says whenever I tell her I have to leave for work. Breaks my heart.

- "Mommy, no puter!" That's what she says whenever I take out my laptop. I'm taking the hint and trying not to do computer work when I could be playing with her.

- "No bath." "No brush teeth." "No water." "No food." It's as if she's decided to insert "no" in front of every word in her vocabulary. (Every word except "chocolate cake.")

- Last night, she was working on some puzzles she'd gotten for her birthday. They are a little advanced for her, and she was having some trouble figuring them out. She'd get a couple of pieces, and then she'd get stumped. "Can you find the piece with the monkey on it?" I would ask helpfully. She would think a minute, and then turn and pick up a different puzzle. "Maybe here?" "Maybe this one?" (I think this was her way of subtly hinting that she wanted to do a different puzzle.)

- Her most requested food is chocolate cake. Her most requested drink is orange juice. She is definitely her mother's child. I probably got her addicted to OJ while she was in the womb because I drank gallons of it throughout my pregnancy.

- This morning, she wanted to bring her blanket downstairs. Since I didn't want her tripping over the blanket on the steps, I offered to help her carry it. "Okay," she agreed, and held up a corner of the blanket. "I carry this part." Dan and I just looked at each other. I'm not sure why that seems more advanced than all the other sentences she's uttered so far, but it does.

- She's moved up to the two-year-old class at preschool. She's now tinier and younger than all her classmates. She seems to be doing pretty well, though. Intellectually, it's a better fit for her. (Is it proper to use the word "intellectually" when referring to a two-year-old's mind?)

That's all I can think of for now. I'm sure I'll write more later.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Couple of Pictures

Anne with her birthday cake


Crawling in her tunnel, a present from GG and Paw Paw

Friday, December 16, 2011

Ready To Start Living Again

Anne’s school semester ended today. My school semester ended last Monday. My tech writing job ends on Wednesday.

I am so ready to start living again.

Tomorrow is Anne’s birthday party (six days after her actual birthday), and I have no clue what I’m getting her. The extent of the planning I’ve done has been to order a cake because I knew I wouldn’t have time to bake one. I never even got around to inviting anyone outside of a few family members who would have understood if I’d had to cancel at the last minute.

Of course, I'll be working at the tech writing job in the morning. The house is a wreck, so I'm hoping the Hubster will be able to get it cleaned while I'm at the office. At some point, I need to go get some balloons. (Anne calls them "bloons." She loves "bloons.") And I need to get some crusty bread. And a birthday present, which I’ll need to wrap, of course. And I’m supposed to make soup, too. All of this at some point between work and the party.

I’m seriously having one of those “I-suck-as-a-mom” moments—moments that I’ve had entirely too often in the two years I’ve been a mom.

Anne was sick this morning, so I stayed home with her. At one point, we were watching Elmo, and she patted my leg. “Thank you, Mommy,” she said.

“For what, Miss Anne?”

“Mommy stay home. I like Mommy home. Thank you, Mommy.”

She’s the greatest kid. I suck as a mom, but she doesn’t know it yet. Hopefully I’ll be a better mom by the time she can tell.

Starting Thursday, I’ll be a “stay-at-home-mom” for two weeks. After that, it’s back to school as an adjunct instructor. And no more technical writing. I’ve resigned from that job. I think my corporate career is really over this time. There are actually a lot of things I love about the corporate life, and things I love about that job in particular, but I'm relieved that it's almost over. I don't think I could take another season of stress and long hours and time away from thing people and things I love.

Things I love ... ah, writing. And piano. Running. Listening to music. Living.

Yes, I’m ready to start living again.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

More Cuteness

Anne loves Kleenex, or “tissue,” as she calls it. She went through about 30 of them last night. “I blow my nose,” she would say, and then she’d blow her nose (mostly just air) into the tissue. Then she would hold the tissue to my nose and say, “Mommy blow.” I would pretend to blow my nose. And then she would do the same with Dan: “Daddy blow.”

Once we had all “blown our noses,” she would wad the tissue up and say, “Garbage.” And then: “Anudder one.” So we’d repeat the process with the next tissue.

(Funny, in my former life, I would have thought such an activity was boring and a little gross. But it wasn’t boring at all (Dan and I were laughing so hard we cried), and it wasn't really gross because there were no boogers involved.)

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We’re trying to teach Anne how to scratch our backs, since she’s the only member of our family who doesn’t have a nail-biting problem. She’s starting to learn. “I scratch Mommy back,” she’ll say, and then she’ll scratch it for about three seconds. “Enough,” she pronounces, and then, “Now Daddy back.” So she’ll scratch his for two seconds, then say, “Enough.” And then, “Scratch Anne.” So Dan and I will scratch her back.

Then we’re back to “I scratch Mommy back.”

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Speaking of backs, she has discovered the pleasure of riding piggyback on Mommy. I’ll typically gallop around the house with her on my back, singing “Ella Monk, Ella Monk, Ella Monk Monk Monk” to the tune of the William Tell Overture. (Ella Monk is Anne’s three-year-old cousin.) If I stop singing for more than a few seconds, she’ll pat my shoulder and say, “Ella Monk, Ella Monk!”

Last night while I was making dinner, she said, “Ride Mommy back,” so I let her climb on my back. Since I was doing whatever in the kitchen, I didn’t gallop around the room or anything like that. After a minute, she started hitting my shoulder and saying, “Ella Monk, Mommy! Ella Monk!”

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She crawls on me and kisses me and hugs me and says, “I love you, Mommy.” There is nothing like it.

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She’s started speaking in grammatically correct, complete sentences. My little girl is growing up.

Friday, December 2, 2011

More Cute Ann(i)e Things

Oh, dear. There’s just so much to write. So much to be forgotten, and I don’t want to forget any of it, so I’ll write some of it down now.

1. The Nose Honk – Like many parents, Dan and I each make honking sounds whenever Anne touches one of our noses. (Well, Dan honks and I beep.) The other night we were all lying in the bed, just laughing and tickling and having fun. I was saying something to Dan, and Anne put her hand on my nose. I didn’t think about why she was doing that, and I just kept saying whatever to Dan. Suddenly, Anne yelled, “Honk! Mommy, HONK!”

2. She’s informed us that she wants to be called “Annie.” This morning, I went into her room as she was waking up. “Good morning, Miss Anne!” I said, as I always do. She shook her head and said, “No. Annie, Annie, Annie.” (I’m still calling her Anne, as I don’t see her as an “Annie,” and she’ll probably decide in the next week (or the next decade) that she hates “Annie.” We’ll see.) (I did call her “Annie” a couple of times, and she just beamed.)

3. She’s peeing in the potty pretty regularly. I always swore I wouldn’t be one of those moms who blogged about potty-training, and here I am. Oh well. She’s pooped in the potty a few times. We might do a “potty-training boot camp” once school is out and I’m no longer at my tech writing job.

4. She goes to preschool now. I have lots of stuff to write about that, but I’m not going to write much right now.  Too many mixed feelings and uncertainties still. But it’s been a good move in many, many ways.

5. Miss Anne will be two in less than two weeks. She wants to have a Peppa Pig birthday party. Unfortunately, Peppa Pig memorabilia is super expensive unless you live in England. And we don’t live in England.

6. She has a Dora the Explorer fixation. She’s seen the show maybe three times, but she absolutely loves Dora. I can’t understand it. I can appreciate Elmo and Little Bear and Peppa Pig, but … Dora? I just don’t get it.

7. She’s also a Julie Andrews fan. This makes me very happy. She loves Mary Poppins. One day, I popped in my “Sound of Music” CD and started playing “Do Re Mi.” Anne’s face lit up and she yelled, “Mary Poppins!”

8. She’s also a Yanni fan. I’m not sure what to think about this.

9. At Kindermusik, when it’s time to put something away, the teacher will sing something like, “Bells away, bells away, time to put the bells away” (using the same tune as “A-Tisket, A-Tasket”). Well, when she’s in the tub and she’s ready to get out, Anne will start singing, “Toys away, toys away,” as she puts all of her bath toys up.

10. One night at Kindermusik, we were playing with scarves. The teacher started to sing, “Scarves away …” and Anne immediately ran to the bag where the scarves are kept and walked around the circle, holding the bag out so everyone could put their scarves away.

11. Another Kindermusik thing: Anne keeps an eagle eye on everyone to make sure everyone has what they need. Does one kid’s mommy have only one maraca while everyone else has two? Anne goes and gets her a maraca. Does another kid not have a ball to bounce? Anne gets the kid a ball. It’s the sweetest thing.

12. We got in a bit of a food argument the other night. She wanted to watch Dora. I wanted her to finish her broccoli. She loves broccoli, but she’d decided she didn’t want any. (This is really funny because my dad and I had a famous war over eating broccoli when I was about four years old. I won.) Anyway, I would say, “No broccoli, no Dora.” She went to the door to the basement and cried. “Dora! Watch Dora!” “No broccoli, no Dora,” I repeated. I felt so sorry for her, but I couldn’t exactly back down. Finally she came back to the table, grabbed her broccoli off her plate, and stuffed it into her mouth. It was the funniest thing—she had this look on her face that seemed to say, “OK, Mommy, I’ll concede this time.”

13. The next night, she wanted more rice but she hadn’t eaten any of her cauliflower (and she loves cauliflower even more than she loves broccoli). “More rice!” she said. “Eat your cauliflower first,” I replied. She ignored me: “More rice!” She turned to point to the pot on the stove. “No, Anne,” I said. “No cauliflower, no rice.” She sort of huffed, and ate her cauliflower. Then she looked at me: “More rice.”

14. Her favorite things to drink are “ah-ju” (orange juice) and “nuggie” (milk). She tasted my “Daddy Coke” (Diet Coke) once and made the most horrible face—probably not too different from the face I made the first time I ever had it, back in 1984. Then she looked at me pleadingly. “More Daddy Coke, Mommy?” I have no clue why she said that, unless the caffeine jolt just had that strong of an effect on her. (She didn’t get any more Daddy Coke.)

15. I think I’ve written enough for now. One cool thing that I don’t know if I’ve mentioned is that my daughter, who has been the spitting image of her daddy for most of her short life, has started to look like me. I never dreamed it possible, but it’s happening. It’s weird but wonderful. Wonderful but weird.

16. One more thing: She tells people “I love you.” Last night when she kissed me good night, she said, “I love you.” When she leaves preschool each day, she tells her preschool teacher “I love you.” She has no idea how profoundly that makes someone’s day, to hear a sweet two-year-old saying, of her own volition, “I love you.”

I love her. I love her so much.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December. It's Now.

It's December now.

Now it's December.

It's now December.

Those versions, and more, keep playing in my head, occasionally punctuated by a "Wow!" or an "I can't believe it. Is it really ...?"

Have I survived?

No. I have not survived. Just another couple of weeks, and I will have survived.

30+ hours a week as a technical writer. 40+ hours a week as an "adjunct" instructor--teaching part-time, yes, but grading is a full-time job itself when you teach writing.

In the in-between times, I played Mommy to my rapidly growing toddler. I've missed her more times than I want to think about. In fact, next to sleep, I think Anne is what I've missed most of all for these past few months.

What else have I missed? Oh, random things. Exercise. Eating. Writing. Reading. Piano. Hiking. All those things I used to do and haven't done much of for six months.

Oh, and I missed my husband, too. That guy who lives in my house. The one who's made quite a few dinners and given Anne quite a few baths while I've worked late at my tech writing job, graded papers, or (on the very rare occasion) come home and passed out from exhaustion at 7:30 p.m.

I haven't missed housekeeping. It's missed me, though.

I am ready for this phase of my life to end. This phase, which started last May and really cranked up in mid-August, has been pretty demanding. Add to that a few bouts with the crud, childcare woes, a sick and dying (now dead) cat, the usual money concerns, and a few students occasionally taking their frustrations out on their English instructor ... and you have a pretty stressful few months.

But I've handled it relatively well. Sure, I'm 10 pounds lighter because I never had time to eat, but that's not a bad thing. For the first time in my life, I'm looking in the mirror and thinking, "Wow. I could really stand to gain a few pounds."

When I was 15, I would fantasize about being able to think such things. So I'm not going to complain about it now.

I've fallen behind in everything in life--fallen out of touch with friends and family, and I haven't completed a single book this year. (Reading, I mean--though I haven't written any books, either, come to think of it.)

I think is the first year of my life in which I haven't completed a single book.

That will change.

I'm signed up to teach a few classes in the spring, but I've made a big life-change in that I'll no longer be working at the tech-writing job. Yeah.

It'll be just school and Anne and Dan and reading and writing, and maybe the occasional piano lesson, and a good run or hike every few days.

So life should quiet down. I hope. I really need it to quiet down.

I'm ready to move on to this next phase. I think Miss Anne is ready, too. And Dan. And George the piano.

We're all ready.

Who knows, maybe I'll even start blogging regularly again. (Probably not, but one can dream.)