Friday, September 28, 2007


I called home last night to tell Sam that I was on my way back from NJ. The phone rang as usual. But then, when it picked up, I didn't hear anything. Just silence.

(Then prompting from Dad, "Say Hello!")
"Hi sweet pea! Its me, Mom!"
"Mom! Mom! Mama! Mom!"
"Yes! It is me! How are you? Did you have a good day?"
"Did you take Daddy out to play in the backyard?"
"Did you take a nap?"
More silence.
More prompting.
Crying as Dad tries to wrestle away the phone.

It was awesome! We had a little conversation. Whenever you ask Seren any sort of question in the past two weeks, she picks up on the inflection in your voice and enthusiastically answers, "Yes!"
We get a big kick out of this. We ask all sorts of silly questions of her- mostly for our own amusement but also for hers. She likes when we laugh. She is quite the comedian. We think it is funny. Then again, we are the parents. We are SUPPOSED to get big kicks out of little things.

A new first- chatting with my daughter on the phone. Sam said she refused to give him the phone but just sat there, the phone pressed against her ear, with a really serious look on her face as she tried to figure out how Mom was 'in' the phone.

I loved it!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Things have a 'place'

Perhaps it should come as no surprise...afterall, Sam and I aren't what you call 'relaxed'. We plan, organize, fret, and plan some more. That is just who we are. I always wish I could just goof around through my life. Go rock climbing, forget to go to college classes, watch tv. But nope, not me.

So I don't know why I am surprised that Seren seems to be well...organized. It is amazing to watch her learn that certain things go in certain places. We clean up her room during the day and during the night. She helps us with this. So, she has learned that the Moose from Grandma goes on the top shelf of her bookcase. And that the cart should go against the wall.

Last night, I was dancing for her...wearing Sam's big flip flops. I don't know why, they were just there and since they made a loud noise, I went with it. She completely didn't appreciate my wild dance gestures, my shaking butt and my singing. Nope. She was focused on the flip flops. You see, they weren't MINE. They were Dad's! They didn't belong. She kept pointing and grunting. She was stressed out about it! Something was just plain out of place! When I stopped dancing to address the grunting, she just worked to pull them off my feet.

She returned them to Sam. Placing each flip flop carefully on each of his feet.

Then the dancing could begin.

Everything has a place. A child of my own heart.

Oh boy.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The one nap has arrived

This is an entry to help me remember the milestone: we are down to one nap! The jury is still out when the nap happens but yesterday, she was left by her Daddy in her crib with Baa-baa (her sleepy sheep) and put herself to bed. Good job, Seren! Lets hope it continues!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

If she only did windows

We had a end of summer 'clean the yard day'. Seren was a huge help! Seriously! Since at this age, she specializes in taking things out of boxes/bags and putting them back in, that meant that she had honed her leaf raking/leaf placing skills. She had her own bucket and put a whole bunch of leaves in it. I'd then empty her bucket in to the big one.

I looked over at her from across the yard. OUR yard. She was so busy. So focused. The sun shone. My husband was busy mowing the lawn. Moments like this, I pinch myself. How lucky are we? We are a family! I loved every moment of our yard work. Seren was a huge help and really got into the spirit of weeding as well. I have an image of all of us in my mind. Wish I could share it with you all. But it was wonderful to realize, again, how lucky we are.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Our little helper

Seren has become a personal shopping assistant. She is also really good at unloading the dishwasher, sweeping and picking up pieces of lint. It takes great skill, of course, to know when the cheese wants to be in the refrigerator and when it wants to be out. Clearly, us, as her parents, are not 'in touch' with most of the vegetables in the fridge. She is the great liberator of cheese, apples and lemons. And she works quickly! Turn around to set down the milk? Another lemon has been freed from the 'fresh' drawer.

As soon as the fridge door opens, she wants to be in there- liberating all of the food- saving them from certain boredom and doom.

Dad called to report that she was a great help at the Supermarket. She was especially skilled, he noted, at picking up the cans of cat food and putting them in the basket. The problem was that we didn't need ALL the cans of cat food. Seren was concerned that her job wasn't done. After all, there were still several dozens on the shelf! Why stop now, Dad?

Joking aside, we certainly do praise her for her help. She is a helpful person and we'd like to raise a helpful person. But I wonder sometimes if we go overboard in our praise.

The other day, Seren decided she would stand on a book. She puts one foot and then the other foot on a book laying on the ground. Just to get a rise out of her, I said, "Ta-da!" with my arms raised in jubiliation. Her visiting Grandma and father joined in. She liked that. She liked that a lot. Now, frequently, in the evenings, when I return home, I find her standing on items. Books, blocks, small cars (her experience with rolling objects hasn't been so positive) and she is yelling 'Ta-da!'

Wouldn't it be great if for every small accomplishment, you had someone cheering you loudly? Get to work on time? Ta-da! Pay the bills on time? Ta-da! Remember to floss every evening for a week? Ta-da!

I should work on this.

Friday, September 14, 2007

On why Moms sometimes need moms

My daughter is sick today. It started yesterday with what my optimistic husband was calling 'allergies'. We haven't had a cold in many, many months. I have no idea when Seren had her last cold so, I suppose were due. But man, just seeing your little one, full of snot, crying, wiping snot all over her face, toys, clothes...just makes you want to cry. So she didn't sleep well. We didn't sleep well. She actively fights any attempt to wipe her nose. It is a two person activity!

And I'm sure we'll get sick what with Snotfest 2007 raging in our house!

We are supposed to go away with my inlaws to the shore this weekend. People in NJ/PA say 'going down the shore'. Not 'to the shore'. So we are planning on doing this but the thought of traveling with Ms. Snothead to a family friend's home that won't be childproofed where we'll sleep on the floor? Ugh. It is just so hard and disappointing. We were so looking forward to this! We shall see. Maybe the fever will break and she'll be able to go to her first music class- also scheduled for today- but the chances are, I'll be snotty in a few hours.

Then *I'll* need a mom.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Why singing lessons have backfired

I have been teaching Seren to sing for about 5 weeks. I sing to her all of the time. Little songs. La-la-la songs. She sings to me. It is just wonderful. It is something that Seren and mom do.

But last night and tonight, I realized that the singing lessons have failed me. As I was singing goodnight songs to her, she started to 'la la' right back at me. Then she started to giggle. So suddenly I'm racking my brain for some lullabye that a)I know the words too and b) doesn't have any 'la la's in it.

I really hope the singing keeps up- but lets hope the singing is a specialized thing- it stays in the shower.

Using the 'nice' things

I have always been careful to take care of my things. I have earrings that I've owned since 6th grade. I have clothes that still look good despite years of wear because I am clean and try to take care of them. And then there are the things that I simply don't use because they are expensive or meaningful to me and I don't want anything to happen to them.

My good china- still in boxes despite 5 years of marriage.
My great aunt's ring.
My gold bracelette.

But at the end of the day, these things are just that...things.

I decided recently that I would start just USING these things. If they are so special, I should enjoy them more! Seren recieved a very beautiful silver bangle bracelette from her Uncle John for Christmas. It was perfect. Just beautiful. Small. Sweet.

I put it on her arm for my mothers' birthday lunch. She LOVES it. We have tried to take it off but she complains when we do. It has been about a month. There it sits, a beautiful, feminine bracelet. I got a look at it up close last night; I managed to wrestle it off her arm.

I felt a twinge of guilt.

It was showing its wear. It has become banged up and scuffed from our walks in the park, baths, and daily playing.

It looked worn.

But children grow too fast. There is no guarantee that it will fit in the next "special" occasion. And isn't every day special? Shouldn't we live like it is instead of saving joy for 'later'?

I placed the bracelet back on Seren's arm. She pointed to it and smiled.

Monday, September 10, 2007


As a woman, I've never been one who cares too much about appearance. In an ideal world, I'd wear jeans, teva/danskos (depending on the season) and a t-shirt. Unfortunately, with work, I have to do a little bit better than that.

I feel the same way about my hair. I cut it. I try my best but that is about it.

As a mother, I have a whole other head of hair to worry about. My hair is what I like to call "seaweed on a rock". It is straight. It doesn't too much. It looks somewhat the same for years and years.

My daughters hair? Not so much. She has two crazy callicks in the back and curls! I personally LOVE the curls. My curly hair friends say that she'll hate them one day. But what to do with curls? We currently are sporting ponytails. Sometimes Mom does a great job of it. Sometimes Seren sqirms too much and well, at least I tried.

Our digital camera was left at a friends' house so we don't have it for three weeks (sniff, sniff) so here are some early July shots of Seren and her ponytails. Before and after. My friend says that she looks older with her hair down. I'm not so sure.

When do I bite the bullet and get her hair cut? Will the curls leave? I'm not ready to say goodbye to them!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Nothing a little snuggling wouldn't cure

I was in a funk yesterday about Mommy guilt, time away from her, working, the name it.

But last night, Seren seemed to sense that Mommy needed a little pick me up. So in answer to my own question, "What will make me happy?" the answer came from Seren.

I do all sorts of things to try to make her laugh and smile. I play endless rounds of peekaboo, jump around, dance, make faces. It works. But not all of the time. The secret to spontaneous fits of giggles and laughter? Rubbing her face with my nose.

I was putting her to asleep and thought that she drifting off into dreamland. So, I snuck a little snuggle in- caressing her face with my fingers and then my own face. Her eyes opened up in the near darkness of her room and she started laughing. While I was trying to put her to bed, I couldn't help myself. I rubbed the tip of my nose on her cheek again. And again. More laughter! Then full out belly laughs.

What a riot.

Sometimes all I need, all we really need, is a snuggle.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Pleasure...with guilt

What is wrong with me? I have such guilt- at all times for all things- most of these things are totally ridiculous!

So I went for a massage Friday night. I was so excited! But for about 1/4 of the time, I was lying there, trying to relax and worrying about everything! I ruined my massage by stressing myself out!

Then, today, I was super excited to see my friend and get a pedicure. Talk about a weekend of luxuries! But could I relax and enjoy? Not at first. I was like a hot cake- nervous with excitement.

I literally can't relax due to an overwhelming feeling of guilt- that I don't deserve something, that I am imposing on my parents, my husband, that I should be spending more time with my daughter. It is an all consuming thing for me. And it stinks.

But, I really did have friend seeing my good friend, U. And my parents were wonderful with Seren. And my husband had a blast on his own- pulling up carpet. It is just me. Me who forgets how to enjoy life and is driven by an internal to do list and a sense of guilt that is unlike anything I've experienced.

If a massage, a wonderful coffee with an old friend, free babysitting and a pedicure won't do it...I ask ya, what will?

Thursday, September 6, 2007


Perhaps one of the most challenging things that I go through is what I call the seperation of church and state. Which has nothing to do with either. But it is the complete divide in my brain between home and work. All of my life, I have had the ability to focus on one thing and do that one thing well. When I'm at work? I work well. When I'm at home, I do home well. Motherhood, to some degree, has changed that. Certainly I think about my daughter all of the time at work. But I think that part of my ability to do this 'seperation' between the two worlds is purely protective. I am protecting myself.

Because if I think about the fact that I'm at work and not at the zoo, or not playing on the playground or not making friends with other local moms, or not home with my daughter bonding, and not being her 'everything', then I start to cry. After months of crying, I decided I wouldn't do that anymore. So I have this guard up- so that I can just trust that when I"m home, I'll give my 100% and when I'm at work, I'll do the same.

The rub, of course, is that giving 100% all of the time, in every arena, is impossible. And you can end up feeling shitty about yourself as a mother AND as a worker. But that is another post.


I am work and just got a call from a happy Sam and Seren. They are at the zoo today! While I'm bored and working on spreadsheets, they are taking in the final hours/moments of summer at the zoo! Wow! I am so glad that they went out of the house and are doing these fun things. These are the days that Daddy will remember when Seren is older. The commute to the zoo wasn't bad and everyone seemed happy. Sam said, "Hey! We are right in front of the baboons!" and guess what I hear in the background, "Ba-boo! Ba-boo!"

Seren LOVES animals- just like her daddy. She loves telling us what certain animals 'say'. Her newest sound is the sound that cats make, "meow". She loves our cats.

I am in trouble.