Sunday, September 30, 2007
Z wouldn't even let us come near her with the Kiddush cup. I guess that's what you get for putting off a Hebrew baby naming for almost three years!
Still, it was a wonderful event and we were thrilled to share it with our parents and friends.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
With tonight's premiere of The Office starting (yeah, we don't have Tivo), I wasn't in the mood to make a lot of repeat trips up the stairs to help Z fall asleep. So, in a moment of sheer inspiration, I told her I'd find some special magic to help her sleep. Without a plan, I opened the hall closet. I figured I'd find some baby powder I could call sleep sprinkles, but it wasn't there. I grabbed a never-used bath pouf and carried it into her room.
"This is a very special, very magical sleeping cloud. I'll touch your back with it and you'll fall right asleep."
"A sleeping cloud? Can I hold it? I want to keep it."
She cuddled the bath pouf to her cheek and shut her eyes. I ran out of her room, barely able to keep my giggles quiet. It took me a couple of minutes to explain to Josh what I'd done, I was laughing so hard.
We haven't heard a peep since.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
So I called our local Cosi and ordered a mess of sandwiches, chips, salad and cookies for delivery around noon on Saturday. Imagine my surprise when they showed up today with the food delivery. Fortunately they acknowledged the error was theirs and promised they would still come as promised on Saturday.
With the cooking taken care of and my house cleaner scheduled to come on Thursday, all I needed to do was buy a bottle of Manischewitz. Right? Wrong. Isabel called to say she can't come this week, which means Josh and I are on deck to give the place a top-to-bottom scouring before folks start arriving on Friday.
Instead of merrily skipping into the classroom, she clung pitifully to my legs. It was hot and humid both inside and outside of the building, so I waited for the rest of the children to enter the classroom as the baby in my arms heated up my upper half and the toddler around my middle warmed and immobilized my lower half. I could feel my hair frizz and visualize the damp circles forming under my arms. It was like being in the world's most unpleasant body wrap, except I wasn't just sweating out toxins. I was wearing them, too. My otherwise adorable gray capris sported a generously-sized smear of baby poop on the right pocket. Yeah, I was a real class act.
Cross-posted to the Chicago Moms Blog
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Before Baby A arrived I daydreamed about owning the New Zealand-made Phil and Teds Sport Buggy. Unlike most double strollers, this one is a single stroller that can be adapted to fit two children. You've probably seen it around town in this arrangement--the set-up for two kids over the age of 6 months.
It looks pretty cool and it's got an amazingly small footprint for a double stroller--really no bigger than any single jogging stroller I've seen. But since Baby A still lacks the head control necessary for an upright position, we're using the Phil and Teds set-up for a toddler and a newborn, which has the added benefit of keeping the newborn completely hidden away underneath the toddler's seat. She's away from the sun, wind and curious kids at the park.
Baby A seems really comfy and cozy down below, and I frequently glance down to see her looking straight up at me from her gently swinging bassinet. I've also taken her for strolls without Z's toddler seat on, and while the sunshade doesn't provide a ton of protection, with the addition of a blanket we're set for our long morning walks.
So what do I love about my $400+ purchase?
- Steers like a dream (allowing for one-handed pushing while holding a cup of coffee or a cell phone)
- Handles curbs, bumpy sidewalks, gravel and grass with aplomb
- Folds down small without requiring one to remove the extra seat
- Comes in fetching, eye-catching colors
- Comfortable for the parent as well as small children
- Handlebar is adjustable for adults of different heights
- The brake is difficult to set and almost impossible to release using just your foot
- Placing your infant under the toddler seat and strapping her in feels awkward at first
- The stroller does not come with a parent organizer, cup holders or a snack tray. I purchased this handlebar organizer from carryyou.com.
- The stowage basket is difficult to reach with the seat completely reclined, as it must be for a newborn
- Because it doesn't accommodate a car seat adapter, we've opted to use a hand-me-down Graco DuoGlider for car trips to the library or museum. Pushing it is a chore, but even new it is a decent stroller for the price
Update 9/28/08: My frustration with this stroller has been mounting since May. The top (main) seat has folded in on itself so that instead of a flat sitting area, it looks more like an open book. I called the distributor in June, but because my one year warranty had passed, they would only offer to sell me a new seat for $90.
Friday, September 21, 2007
"Mommy, I'm going to let my baby sister A borrow my dragon."
"Um, okay. But don't go in her room. She's sleeping. Leave the dragon outside her door."
"But I want to put it in her crib." I hear A's door creak. A vision of my tiny baby getting bonked in the face with an oversized, not-particularly-soft stuffed animal flashes before my eyes.
"No, sweetie. She's too little for toys in her crib."
"Can I put it on the chair?"
"No. Leave it outside of her door."
"Okay, Mommy. Mommy? I'm going to let A keep my dragon. She can keep it."
I head upstairs to check on the dragon's location. It is sitting outside the nursery. "That was very sweet of you to give A your dragon." I tuck her in, again.
"Now go to sleep."
Seems like a lovely end to a post, right? Well, while I was blogging I got interrupted again. And again. And again.
"Mommy, I have to go potty." This was followed by my heading upstairs to wipe a truly toxic-smelling poop off her butt as it dangled precariously low in the toilet.
"Mommy, who put sunblock in my room? I'm going to put it away."
"Sockies. Sockies. I need sockies to go to bed."
Now she's crying. I'm giving up on this post and heading upstairs permanently.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
So when I'm fed up with bedtime battles, sour spit-up down my cleavage, endless laundry, dinner dishes and a husband who's short on sweet words himself, I focus on this. Those fleeting moments of sisterly love that make me feel like our family of four is perfectly complete.
Who are you and what did you do with my daughter, I asked myself. Is this the same kid who has been talking about starting preschool since April? The one who responded to her daycare provider saying "I'll miss you," with "I won't miss you. I'll make new friends at school." The girl who's never slept in ... ever?
I started to doubt our decision to send our not quite 3-year-old to a Montessori preschool. A traditional, old-school Montessori where she's be doing "work" and going to the potty without grown-up assistance (I'm dreading the inevitable skid marks).
But since Z loves hearing stories, I decided to tell her about my first day at preschool. I have no recollection of it whatsoever, but I improvised. I told her about how scared I was at first, but how the nice teachers and new friends made preschool a lot of fun.
"Tell me again."
We were on a roll. Z got out of bed and headed downstairs where she ate a good-by-her-meager-standards breakfast. She watched an episode or two of Caillou (curse PBS for canceling it and forcing us to watch it on DVD) and got dressed without complaint.
We walked to her new school as a family and dropped her off without fanfare, as requested by the teacher. I picked her up an hour and a half later and she was ecstatic, jumping up and down with excitement. I didn't get much information from the teacher, but I gathered that she'd spent her phase-in morning working with an older girl on some "numbers blocks" and had cereal for a snack.
She seems to be looking forward to returning tomorrow.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Z knows that her birthday is approaching and that she will be "free" (said as she holds up three fingers). She's also started telling me things she would like to get as birthday presents. Random stuff, like...
Another bear-bear, maybe a blue one
Dora sheets for her bed
A Dora cake
An Alice in Wonderland book
And my favorite, "shavers," like Daddy's!
She's also very sure she wants to be a princess for Halloween. "Because I love princesses!"
Monday, September 17, 2007
Because that's kind of what's been going on at the House of Klein. I've stepped out of my agency life for a few months of breast-feeding, midweek playdates and household chores. I've picked up many of the tasks that I'd handed off to my man over the past couple of years, and while I can still grocery shop, sort the laundry and load the dishwasher with the best of them, I don't do it his way. The man has systems.
So while I'm not going to learn all his tips and tricks before I have to return to the working world, I'm tipping my hat to the guy I married. The man who will take back the diaper bag and take over preschool drop-offs and daycare pick-ups. Who will be warming bottles and scheduling playdates. Making dinner and texting me "WHEN WILL U B HOME?" "STATUS?" "SOMEONE NEEDS MOMMY."
Saturday, September 15, 2007
What she isn't getting is this message: Please don't kiss Baby A's face while you have a cough.
"But I'm not coughing right now," she retorts. Which is literally true, even if the previous moment witnessed her coughing into her elbow (good) and wiping her nose with her hand (ick).
It may already be a lost cause because A is pitifully congested. And miserable. She cried nonstop for over an hour tonight. About 55 minutes longer than she's ever cried before. There were real tears, for goodness sake!
I'm hoping for a quick recovery on all fronts, but in the meantime I need to get a little something off my chest: I really like using the snot sucker on my baby. It is so satisfying to extract a ginormous booger from my baby's tiny nostrils.
Friday, September 14, 2007
So what's on mommy's workout plan? I'm hitting the YMCA 2-3 times a week for 15 minutes of cardio and 20-30 minutes of ab work and free weights. I take my toddler along and drop her off to explore the toys and climbing apparatus in the free babysitting room.
My newborn is welcome at the weekly postpartum yoga class I'm taking through the park district, although so far that class is more nursing, rocking and talking about kegels than it is cobra and downward dogging.
But that's the structured stuff. I also get burn a few more of those Trader Joe's peanut butter filled pretzels by wearing Baby A for at least an hour a day and squatting down to pick up toys and fallen pacis. Plus, I push both girls all over Oak Park and Forest Park in my beloved Phil and Teds Sport Buggy (to be the subject of a future post). And I'm sure there's some benefit to hauling laundry baskets upstairs, pushing swings and carrying around that infernal infant car seat!
If I'm going to keep this up I'm going need some new (and very cute) athletic shoes. Good thing Ryka's giving away 50 pairs of shoes and 50 tees every single day.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
But I'm happy to say marital bliss has been restored. We're both huge fans of the Innobaby Packin' SMART snack caddy I received in my Chicago Moms Blog swag bag before the BlogHer conference. But we call it the SNACK TOWER, which is a much better name, dontcha think? This nifty invention lets you pack a variety of portion-controlled snacks without having to worry about pulverized Cheerios, open Ziploc bags or the mountain of landfill waste that disposable bags and containers contribute to.
Each individual container is the perfect size for a toddler snack portion and it fits perfectly in Z's hand. You can bring as few or as many of the interlocking containers as you wish, but I find it's fun to fill all but one up with a colorful variety of snacks (Fruity Cheerios, Cracklin' Oat Bran, pretzels and dried fruit are our standbys). The last container is perfect for stashing an extra pacifier for the baby.
Z loves the snack tower as much as we do. She pulls it out to show to her buddies and sweetly asks them, "Which snack do you want? This one? Okay, I'll have my mommy open it for us to share."
You don't have to be a toddler snack-toting mommy to get a kick out of Packin' SMART. You could use the tower to transport pre-measured baby formula powder, hair accessories, grilling spices or sewing notions.
Awakened by the noise, I said to my husband, "That sounded scary." I glanced over at the clock radio. 5:30 a.m., too early to get up. Still, today is September 11th, and that made me even more anxious than usual about low-flying planes.I was tempted to reach over and turn on NPR--just to make sure all was well.
But then I heard the pitter-patter of tiny feet.
"Something loud in my room scared me."
I pulled my my almost three-year-old into bed next to me and we dozed together for a half an hour or so. On the off chance that there had been another terrorist attack, I wanted to hold onto a little piece of closeness. To soak up her sweet innocence for a few more minutes.
As I type this all is well, at least in our country. Still, I can't get through this date on the calendar without feeling as though I'm holding my breath, waiting for something bad to happen.
And remembering. Because September 11th, 2001 was a beautiful, breezy day, just like today. I knew a plane had hit the WTC before I left for work. My husband texted me news updates as I rode the Brown Line. "ANOTHER PLANE." "THIS LOOKS BAD."
Usually my ride to work was silent. This time it was different. Commuters were longing for information, for a connection with others. By the time I'd reached my office, I couldn't shake the goosebumps. We huddled around a co-worker's tiny black and white TV for 45 long minutes before we were sent home. Home, were we sat glued to the coach, switching from channel to channel and seeing the same horrifying images over and over.
Sunday, September 09, 2007
Saturday, September 08, 2007
Scared by what I don't know, I haven't been there since. But I've been tempted--there's always a long line at the Forest Park drive-through and their food, while probably about as bad for you as it gets, sure tastes good!
Anyway, it seems someone in the Portillo's marketing department needs to take note of this little thing called blogging. You see, I check StatCounter periodically to see what kind of search terms bring readers here, and I've discovered that at least one visitor every day arrives at my old Portillo's post by Googling "Portillo's nutrition info," "Portillo's transfats," or something similar. Which makes me a leading consumer voice for Portillo's. And I think it's plain to see I'm probably not putting out the kind of word of mouth they're looking for.
So I'm giving Portillo's a second chance. I emailed them again asking for comment and reminding them that I'm out here and my post is getting a lot of hits. I want to know if they'll reconsider their nutrition information policy and reconsider keeping trans fats on the menu. I'll be sure to share whatever I hear back here and on the Chicago Mom's Blog.
3/3/08: According to my site meter, this post gets between 10 and 50 hits a day-- proving that consumers want to know what's in their Portillo's meal. If you have a moment, please show you were here by leaving a comment.
3/11/09: Another year and even more daily hits (50-100) from folks looking for Portillo's nutrition information.
Friday, September 07, 2007
Let's just get this out of the way: I'm in awe of you. As Fashion Director of ELLE magazine and a judge on Project Runway, you define fabulousness. You ooze it.
So when Parent Bloggers Network invited me to preview your new book, The Little Black Book of Style, I salivated. I knew that if I could absorb just one-one hundredth of your fashion savvy, I would be--by far--the coolest mom on the block.
It wasn't long before your cute little hardback (adorably illustrated by Ruben Toledo) arrived in the mail, I knew right away it would fit perfectly in one of today's It bags. The problem is, I don't own an It bag.
You see, Nina, I don't need inspiration, I need direction. Fashion fundamentals. Reading your little black book is like taking French composition before passing French 101. Like trying to master the high dive before learning how to swim. Since I don't have the time or inclination to read the fashion magazine prerequisites for this guide book, I am completely out of my depth.
Sure, you drill us on a few basics, but they're so elementary even I've heard them before: invest in a great little black dress, a cashmere sweater and a white button-up shirt. Don't buy something just because it's on sale. Spend more on a few timeless pieces. Got it. But between working in an industry where image matters and dealing with the reality of being a mom to two very young children, I need you to spell out exactly what should be in my wardrobe. And I'll be passing on the fur, thank you very much.
I want a book that takes the "Girlfriend, here's what you need for your flat ass and poochy belly," attitude of What Not to Wear and pairs it with the catalog-like shopping sense of Lucky magazine (the Lucky of a few years ago, before they went all $500 pants on me). Oh, and can we keep the price-points at an H&M level? Cool.
I want you to take me shopping, Nina. Show me what will disguise my figure flaws, wash out spit-up and chocolate ice cream stains and require little to no ironing. Take my credit card and charge a few key pieces I can mix and match to create a week or two's worth of outfits. Don't tell me Michael Kors thinks every woman should own a pair of crocodile stilettos. Help me pick out a fabulous pair of Michael Kors trousers.
I don't trust my instincts, and a book full of mini interviews with fashion designers and a guide to finding style inspiration from famous films isn't going to get me to start. The Little Black Book of Style is the perfect primer for someone who's already halfway there, a glam gal with money burning a hole in her clutch. That said, reading your book as got me feeling that I need to inject a little bit of fabulousness into my daily looks. So today I changed out jeans and a tee shirt and put on a cute little nursing-friendly aqua dress. And I paired it with... a classic white button-up shirt.
Want to win my copy of The Little Black Book? Leave a comment telling me about your greatest fashion faux pas. Really want to win big? (We're talking $250 Coach bag big!) Participate in today's Parent Bloggers Network Blog Blast by blogging about the one item in your closet you are most ashamed of.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
My goal is to tank up Baby A, strap my boobs into a double layer of sports bras, and run off to the gym 3 times a week. I don't want to subject her to the nasty germs and lackluster care that is the babysitting room, but I'm sure Z will be delighted to play with their toys and climbing apparatus.
And did I mention I'm also enrolled in post-partum yoga through the park district? Healthy living, here I come!
So far the Democratic candidates are in about a dead heat for my vote. None has come out strongly enough in favor of the issues that matter the most to me: universal health care (preferably modeled on the Canadian or French system), paid maternity leave and strengthened environmental protection.
Lady and Gentlemen, I'm all ears.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
I'm going to have to credit my husband for this ingenious idea for luring our toddler into the tub. He saved some of the light up ice cubes he's been given at music festivals (apparently they are the promo giveaway of the summer) and kept them in the freezer. When it's time for Z's bath, he pulls one out and pops it into the tub for her to play with. Liquid activates the light source, so we turn off the bathroom lights and watch her experiment with the cube.
You can buy light up ice cubes online at places like this or check your local party supply store.
Monday, September 03, 2007
Sunday, September 02, 2007
It worked well, for a short while. Then she started asking that her door be left open. Makes sense, seeing as we've taken her Pull-Ups away during afternoon nap; she needs access to the potty.
So today was a "quiet play" day. But things were particularly quiet toward the end. Suspiciously quiet. Then Z shows up at the top of the stairs with two crayons in her fist.
"What were you doing upstairs?"
"What were you drawing on, paper? Is there paper in your room?"
"No. I was drawing on the wall."
I race upstairs and see scribbles all over the hallway wall.
"Oh, no! We don't draw on walls. We only draw on paper. Is this the only place you drew
"No. There's more in my room."
She shows me the scribbles on her wall, her floor and her sheets and apologizes, looking genuinely remorseful. I grab us each a damp washcloth and we get to work cleaning up the mess.
It turns out to be a cinch. Because those crayons? Tub crayons. They're made of soap! Which teaches us parents a valuable lesson. Like maybe we shouldn't encourage behavior in the bath that isn't acceptable out of the tub.
Saturday, September 01, 2007
I thought WWIII was going to erupt before I left the house at 7:40. I nursed A until five minutes before leaving and I knew both she and Z would be asleep within the hour, but our eldest was on a tantruming rampage due to an action-packed, no-nap afternoon. Tears and snot poured down her face as she cried for Mommy to wash her hair, Mommy to put her night-night, and not Daddy [insert blood-curling scream here]!!!
But veteran mother that I am, I was not about to miss out on a night out with friends. So like ripping off a Band-Aid, I said my goodbyes quickly and hightailed it out of there before anyone could suggest otherwise. I offered to Josh that a walk around the block in their jammies might wind everyone down, and apparently it did. I got a text message around 8:30 saying that Z was an angel and A was as easy as pie (she usually is).