Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Imagination Station

Lately it seems Emily's play is involving more and more pretend play. She stands at her kitchen banging her plastic pots and pans then says, "I'm making muffins" or hands me a tiny teacup and asks, "Would you like some coffee?"

She often uses random objects and pretends they are something else entirely. Lately she talks on the phone. Constantly. She sits at the table with her peanut butter and jelly sandwich, pretends to dial on the bread, then holds it to her ear to have an entire conversation that goes something like this...

"Hi! How are you today?"
"Are you having a sandwich?"
"Oh, OK. Bye! See you later!"

I'm dying at this point and could care less about the peanut butter she's smearing into her hair. Once she realizes I'm watching she becomes a little more reserved and starts to giggle. We laugh together and she says, "Mommy is being silly!"

Oh, Sweetheart... I'm not the one talking into my sandwich! I love this little girl.

Friday, July 23, 2010

"Dear Jennifer,... "

My gig as a Q&A website expert is hoppin' lately. It's funny because while I feel more qualified answering parenting questions, there are many more questions about relationship issues. Many are fairly easy -- Why hasn't he called? How do I get over her? No sweat.

There are those, however, that stump me. I answer the questions as best I can, but I feel like I'm flailing a little when I give relationship advice to a 40-year old gay man (about his sex life, no less) or the woman coping with heartache after her husband admitted to a 10-year affair (Yikes!)

The questions I find myself thinking about later are the parenting questions, of course. Today a mother explained that her college-aged daughter has informed her she'll be getting a tattoo. A very, very large tattoo from neck to lower back. This mother is adamantly against this decision and wants to know what to do.

Let's see... The objective professional in me thinks she should ask her daughter if she'd like her opinion then offer it as gently as possible along with the reasons she feels this way. Ultimately, it's her body and she has the right to decorate it however she'd like (Is decorate the right word??) The parent in me is envisioning Emily coming to me with this grand idea, my eyes bulging out of my head, and the words, "Over my dead body!" streaming out of my mouth at 200 decibels.

I like to play the "What if..." game and asked Jason about this situation...

Me: "What if Emily came home from college and told you she was going to get a huge... I don't know what... tattooed on her body?"

Jason: "I'd tell her to go talk to her mother."


Thankfully I'm not the mother who has to worry about it today. Maybe she came to terms with the idea and respected her daughter's decision after all. That's certainly what I'd do in her position. Yeah, right!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What's In A Name?

My mother came over yesterday to help me reupholster our dining room chairs. Em calls her Mimi and could be heard throughout the day saying her name.

"Mama, Are you talking to Mimi?"
"Where did Mimi go?"
"Mimi, Did you have fun at the fabric store?"

When I talk to my mother, I call her "Mom." Emily must have heard me call her that several times because at the dinner table last night she repeatedly said to me, "Mom? Mom. Hi, Mom."

I hated it!!!

Not only because I adore how it sounds when her sweet little voice says "Mommy" or "Mama," but I think of "Mom" as something reserved for older children. She's 2!!

Remembering how I handled the swear word she said earlier this week, I thought I'd go with the same tactic (why mess with something that works?)

"Mom.... Who is Mom? I don't know Mom..."

Emily looked at me, smiled, and said, "Jenny!"

Ach!!! Forget it. Call me Mom.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Simply Unpredictable

Emily used to love broccoli. It was my "go to" vegetable when I thought she needed something green to counteract the orange hue she so often had from too many carrots and sweet potatoes. I bought and steamed a few crowns feeling smug about the fact that my little girl LIKES a green veggie. She liked them for two weeks. Next it was corn. Couldn't get enough. When I served corn a week later, however, it may as well have been dirt.

It's not just Em's eating habits that are unpredictable. One week she can't bear to leave the house without Peter Rabbit. Suddenly she's lost without (of all things) a yellow plastic fork! Then there's her behavior... Don't even get me started.

My MS brings an even more daunting level of unpredictability to my life. For those of you unfamiliar with the disease, consider this MS 101... Multiple Sclerosis is a disease that attacks the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves). The body’s own defense system attacks myelin, the fatty substance that surrounds and protects the nerve fibers. When any part of the myelin sheath or nerve fiber is damaged or destroyed, nerve impulses are distorted or interrupted, producing the variety of symptoms that can occur. Symptoms may be mild, such as numbness in the limbs, or severe, such as paralysis or loss of vision. The progress, severity, and specific symptoms of MS vary from one person to another.

A friend of mine recently wrote a blog post that touched on how well-meaning, yet misinformed friends and family often make insensitive statements. So true! Upon diagnosis, reactions from others varied significantly from the friend who became terribly upset at the prospect of my death (MS is not a fatal disease) to the one who shrugged it off and said, "Well, I'm sure you'll be fine. You look great." She can't see my symptoms. I get that.

She's not the only one who assumes I can do things I probably shouldn't. I push the envelope too often and find myself with legs that buckle under me or a body that feels like I just finished a full day of skiing (I wish!) I think I try to do as much as I can before anything new crops up. The thing is, though, it might not! Ever! That's just how unpredictable MS is. More likely, however, I'll be faced with further symptoms that will force me to adapt to a new "normal." I don't know what the future holds, but I'm hoping the new "normal" will at least include a child who eats what I serve for dinner!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Potty Mouth

Yesterday morning began just as any other morning. I turned on some Raffi, gave Emily a few books to read in her crib and she entertained herself while I showered. Then I came back to get her ready for the day -- She's entering a princess phase and insisted on wearing a dress. I was combing her hair singing along to Baby Beluga when it happened.

My sweet little angel looked up at me with her beautiful green eyes and said, "Shit." No mistaking it. I asked, "What, Honey?" (slightly startled) to which she repeated the word even more clearly and smiled as if to say, "This should be good..."

I acted like what she said wasn't really a word and that I was sincerely confused by what she was trying to tell me. "Sit? Sit down? Is that what you mean?" She then laughed and repeated, "Sit down!" Whew! That was close.

I'm amazed at what comes out of my daughter's mouth these days. She's curious, bright, and very chatty (dangerous combination). A few days ago we were in a public restroom -- 3 stalls and nothing you want your toddler to touch -- inside our neighborhood grocery store.

"What are you doing, Mommy? Are you going potty?"

"Yes, Honey. Don't touch anything. Stand right there, okay?"

"What's she doing?" (Pointing to the shoes in the stall beside us)
"Is she going potty?"

And before I could answer she was on her hands and knees, half under the stall and peering up at my neighbor to yell,


Thankfully, the woman laughed. I was embarrassed, but I'm comforted by the fact that my little lurker is eager to praise others and at least it makes for a funny story. If she's going to repeat the things I say, I'll take words of encouragement over profanity any day! Even in the bathroom.

Monday, July 12, 2010

San Francisco Days, San Francisco Nights

We're back! What an amazing trip and a much needed break from toddler tantrums and crazy neighbors setting off illegal fireworks directly over our home. These are the same neighbors, mind you, who burned their house down a few years ago. My pyro neighbors are blasting rap music from their car stereo at this very moment (during Em's naptime, of course). Having had a break from it all, though, I'm only half as annoyed as I would have been last week. It was wonderful to have some alone time with Jason and I feel refreshed and rejuvenated. I also feel 10 pounds heavier, but it was totally worth it.

Friday night we had our anniversary dinner at Acquerello. The highlight of our 4-course meal was a ridged pasta with foie gras, black truffles, and a Marsala wine sauce! They gave us a few complimentary treats and champagne to help us celebrate our special occasion. We brought a bottle of 2004 Archery Summit Estate -- Yes, we're that couple -- and I'm so glad we did since it was incredible with the parmesan budino and Jason's melt-in-your-mouth fillet. Are you drooling yet??

The whole evening was an extravagant and upscale affair right up until I walked out of the bathroom with my cocktail dress tucked into the back of my underwear (sigh). Thankfully I noticed before strutting across the restaurant to our table and at that point I'd had enough wine to find the whole thing hysterical. Almost as amusing as the grown men giving each other long, slow bunny kisses at the table behind us (seriously!)

We packed the days and nights with tourist attractions, amazing dining, a comedy show, and dancing until well past midnight. It was great not having to worry about racing home to the sitter or getting Emily back home for her nap. With that said, I really missed my little girl! I'd see small children at the Ferry Building market or pointing to the sea lions and I'd think how much fun it would be for her. Then again, an occasional break makes us a much better couple and better parents. If we could do it all over, I wouldn't change a thing. That's not true... I wouldn't feel the need to FINISH all four courses. Lesson learned. It's great to be home!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Big Mouth

Remember when make-up artists recommended lining the outside edge of your lips to make them appear fuller? And then that suggestion went away. I'm fairly certain this is largely in part to the fact that WE CAN TELL THOSE AREN'T YOUR LIPS!

This was going through my head while grocery shopping earlier this week. I must have been staring at the woman in the cereal aisle who missed the memo (we'll call her Lips) because she gave me one of those, "What!?" looks. I looked away and quickly turned to face the Rice Chex and Cinnamon Life (as if that's a tough decision).

It must have been the night before inventory was re-stocked because the shelves were practically bare and they were out of everything on my list! I think out loud when I shop with Emily. OK, so I think out loud all of the time when I'm with her, but I like to think it helps her language development. God knows she's as chatty as I am these days. At one point I said, "Sweets, We're having an unlucky shopping trip... This is annoying!"

Two aisles later we met up with Lips again. She was looking at top shelf shampoos and her cart was blocking the aisle (Hello!? I'd like to get to my shampoo, too!) Cue the toddler who repeats something Mommy said not even five minutes earlier.

"This is annoying!"

There haven't been many moments when my little parrot made me want to hide, but this was definitely one of them. What was I supposed to say? She didn't mean you... She's repeating something I said a few aisles ago -- Not when I saw you before, I mean... Forget it. I went with a simple, "I'm sorry." It was awkward and although I felt bad, I still couldn't stop staring at her mouth. Em cracks me up. I couldn't help but giggle as we ducked out of the store and I said, "Shoot! I still need shampoo!" I'll let you guess which part of that sentence Emily is repeating now. When will I learn??