Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pleasantries

Em must read my blog or something. She's been closer to her old, cheerful self the past couple of days, and it's been a welcome relief. Her teeth still haven't broken through, but she's much more playful and full of smiles.

Plus, she's eating like she has a hollow leg! She's still picky about the food she'll eat, but she's been gobbling down all her usual favorites. Is there a 12-step program for a toddler with a yogurt addiction? She's constantly pulling at the fridge handle, asking, "Yogurt? Yogurt? Yogurt?" after she's already polished off a cup of it.

It's been a while since I shared some videos of our sweet gal and her pleasant self. These might be more for the grandparents than anyone else, so I won't be offended if ya skip them.

We lost our Flip Cam for a few months, but our cleaning lady happened to find it in the crack of our couch recently. We were probably hiding it from Em...or maybe she was hiding it from us. She loves playing with the camera.

It's hard to know what's going on in the following video without an explanation. Em is holding our Flip Cam. She says, "I dizzy. Dizzy!" and then proceeds to spin in circles. Brent asks if she's twirling. She replies, "Yes." Then she runs off, still holding the camera, and tosses it on our coffee table. Apologies in advance for the motion sickness this may cause.


A minute later, she runs back to the table and picks up the Flip Cam, which is still recording. Not the most flattering angle, but I still love this vid.

It's not always easy figuring out how much to let Em explore on her own. I do, however, really like a nearby park with a playground just the perfect size for Em. I still hover a bit because I haven't figured out how one explains gravity to a toddler.

"I don't want this parks department to build any parks because I don't believe in government. I think that all government is a waste of taxpayer money. My dream is to have the park system privatized and run entirely for profit by corporations, like Chuck E. Cheese. They have an impeccable business model. I would rather work for Chuck E. Cheese." - Ron Swanson, Parks & Recreation

Monday, July 26, 2010

On the cusp-id of losing our damn minds

Want to see what four hours of sleep can do to a blogger?

Read on, my friends. Read on.

Em has been a bit of a...pill lately. Thought it was just an early preview of the Terrible Twos, which I hear are the prequel to the Theatrical Threes. Then she started gnawing on her fingers, pressing her little toddler palms to her cheeks with a look in her eye that said, "Mom, there's this pain and it's no fun. No fun at all."

Brent and I have always been proud of Em's taste buds and her willingness to gobble up everything within her reach. We boasted to friends and family that Em was a hearty eater and that we lucked out with our gal who didn't show any signs of being picky. Not long ago she started refusing all foods, including her ol' standbys -- yogurt, string cheese and apple sauce. Gah!

I assumed this was all due to it her molars coming in, the dreaded toddler phase loathed amongst the parenting info I've read. Upon closer inspection, though, I realized that she has her first set of the two sets of molars, and the second pair isn't slated to come in for a few more months.

Our little gal is not herself because of her canine/cuspid teeth. They've already busted through the top, and they're about to make an appearance on the bottom.

Em's never been one of those angelic teethers who aren't bothered by the protrusions and just wake up one day with pearly white surprises for their parents. She gets extra droolie and a little cranky, but it's generally not anything that can't be soothed with the usual remedies -- motrin (generic), teething tablets, Oragel, bribes. (Just seeing if you're paying attention.) Even on her crankiest days, Brent and I would at least have some respite after she was down for the night.

This time, though, it's a whole different ball of wax...or spears of calcium. She's the most unhappy we've ever seen her. She's a 29-lb. bipolar monster, if I may be so blunt. She can be in a fit of happy giggles one moment and then turn into a screaming banshee the next. That's not to say that she's never been a typical testy kid -- I've always thought she had a somewhat short fuse, although she can be quite the loving, endearing kid I'm always showcasing here. Lately, though, there's no fuse to be seen. It's one easily-activated button, and we never know we're pushing it until it's too late.

Brent works late sometimes, but generally only by an hour or so. I'm always eager to have him home to help me with our nighttime routine, particularly on days when Em has been home with me. I love my gal dearly, but she can be a tiring handful, like all toddlers. On Saturday I left Brent and Em home for a few hours. I came back to find Brent literally curled in a ball on the floor, muttering something about how Em had spent the majority of the time yelling at him. He suddenly understood the urgency in my recent calls to his office at 6 p.m. "When are you coming hooommmmee???" aka, "I'm standing atop our kitchen counter because Em is yelling unintelligible demands at me, and I don't think that's a play knife in her hand."

This morning Em awoke with blood curdling screams, shouting, "Up! Up! UUUUPPPP!" Oh, and this was at the ungodly hour of 4:30 a.m. Here I was, thinking we'd seen the last of that hour until our eventual next newborn. No, I'm not pregnant, and as a matter of fact, I'm going to read this post the next time I get a twinge of baby fever.

I was unable to get her to go back to sleep, and eventually I figured out that the only way to calm her down was with some TV (bad mommy alert, bad mommy alert! Even more bad mommy? I put it on reruns of Full House. Have mercy!) I deciphered a demand for yogurt somewhere amongst her screams, and much like anything she seems willing to eat these days, I'm ecstatic to provide it if it means nourishment.

I'll spare you the details between then and now, including Em's sudden desire to dance and jump, and the part where I told Brent that I'm understandably snippy because I've had FOUR HOURS OF SLEEP. (For the record, he did get up, but I put him back to bed because there really was no need for two sleep-deprived parents.)

This morning's adventures end with this, two minutes into our seven-minute drive to daycare:

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I sent the photo to Brent, who replied with an emphatic, "NO, NO, NO! She CANNOT become NOCTURNAL!"

So, this is my cautionary tale to you new parents and parents-to-be: canine teeth are the DEVIL. I don't want to hear about kiddos who are the exceptions to what has become the rule in our household unless you want to hear the sound of me throwing my laptop at your face. Em's cutting teeth and I'm this close to cuttin' a bitch.

(I will, however, consider suggestions for other remedies. I have an all-spice teething necklace that I'm hoping to get Em to wear. I'm also looking at some amber teething necklaces.)

Signed,
Tired and testy in Santa Monica

"N'eggs are negative statements that sound like compliments to throw women off their game. Like, 'Most people can't pull off large teeth, but on you they work.'" - Howard Wolowitz

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Splish splash

My 33rd birthday was nice. Japanese for dinner followed by a viewing of Despicable Me.

We also saw Toy Story 3 not long before my birthday. I loved it so much, and I just may have shed a few tears at the end. Maybe.

We watched Inception last weekend. We had planned to see it anyway, but the virtual hype online after opening night was TOO. MUCH. TO. BEAR. I was almost in a state of panic while ordering our tickets. I did enjoy the movie and thought it was a wonderfully executed concept, but I had to continually push out the thoughts of, "ZOMG, this is going to be the best movie in the history of movies...isn't it? Hmph."

Typing all of this out makes me realize that Brent and I have been pretty good about getting out lately, thanks to our neighbor who's always happy to babysit, and my in-laws, who've been kind about letting us leave Em at their place while she slumbers.

Just last night we left Em with Grandma and Grandpa while Brent and I caught a great show put on by Jamie Cullum at a teeny tiny outdoor venue near the Hollywood Bowl. That little Brit is so fun to watch.

It's safe to say that the grandparents are loving Em's age right now. We get her to say "Gramma" and "Grampa" whenever they're around, and you can virtually see them melt into a puddle of pride. She talks A LOT. Although we still can't understand a lot of what she says, it's still exciting to watch and hear. She even has a few 3-word sentences, like, "I did it!" and "I'm all finished!" My favorite is when something drops or makes a noise, she stops with a look of shock on her face and asks, "Uh-oh. What happen?!?"

She and I are taking a swim class to help Em learn some of survival techniques should she ever, God forbid, find her way into a body of water unaccompanied. After our third class, it's obvious that she's not a fan of the pool. She screams and cries nearly the entire time -- and she's the least happy kid in our class.

Part of the class includes teaching them how to float on their back. It's hard to explain, but I stand all the way up in the shallower end (the pool is only 3 feet deep). Em floats in front of me, perpendicular, while I lightly cradle her head/neck with one hand and her shoulder blades with the other. The first time we tried it, she kept turning over onto her belly, screaming in protest. The second time she protested (and left me with a horrific wound), but she did float that entire segment of the class -- more so than any of the other parents/tots I saw. The last class she floated the entire segment, and even stopped crying. She was peaceful about it, so very zen, just focusing on the lights above. The instructor was impressed, and it made up for the other 27 minutes of her screaming.

While the goal of that class isn't to get the kids comfortable with water, we're still making an effort outside of class to get Em to at least like it a little more. We hung out with our friends Josh, Jami, Kim and their kiddos recently. Josh and Jami provided the small blow-up pool, which Em didn't like at first.

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However, it took just a little distracting by her friends to turn that frown upside down.
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In other news, I'm heading to NYC in a couple weeks for BlogHer. Anyone else going that I don't already know about? It'll be strange to be away from Brent and Em for four days, but it'll be worth it.

Lastly, I'm down one size and 10 lbs., thanks to Weight Watchers! I'm focusing on the success thus far instead of my ultimate goal because I still have a loooooong way to go.

"Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air…" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, July 09, 2010

Stuff

I know you've all been waiting with bated breath to find out what I've been up to since I haven't been blogging much.

Last month we decided it was time for Em to ditch her pacifier. I was hesitant to give her a pacifier in the first place, but we decided that we'd much rather have to ween from that than a thumb. She only used it during naps and bedtime, but our pediatrician had told us that it only gets harder to ween the older they get. (Having said that, I have had other friends whose kiddos were fine giving up their pacis when they were older.) We were also worried about potential harm on her teeth.

The first night was rough, particularly because it coincided with Em's newfound ability to yell, "Moooommmmy! Mooommmmy!" from her crib. But naps the next day weren't bad at all, and that following night was surprisingly short -- and no complaints since. Well, no more toddler complaints than usual. Maybe we were more dependent on the paci than she was.

***

A couple weeks ago I was invited to a tasting event at Soleil, a French-Canadian cafe. That night it was all about a new addition to Soleil's menu, called poutine.

Poutines

My arteries were probably a little harder than when I arrived, but it was worth it.

A few nights later, we celebrated my in-laws' 40th wedding anniversary at Bouchon in Beverly Hills.

Our Bouchon meal

The food and company 'twas amazing, but the highlight was when the waiter came back and whispered to my father-in-law, "Um....sir, I don't think this is a real card."

"Sir...."

My father-in-law had accidentally cut up the card he *meant* to bring. Oops! (Don't worry - he had another card to use.)

***

Last week Em got sick, and then Brent started to feel ill, too.
Fever

I'm smiling because it was a rare moment when Em set aside her independent spirit and was all about the cuddling.

She was still not 100% when the 4th rolled around, so we were low-key. We caught a small parade here in Santa Monica that morning. Although I've been in dozens of parades myself -- woo hoo, band geeks! -- it was Em's first, and I think the first that Brent and I have ever seen together.

Marching band!

You're a grand ol' flag

The first thing Em did when the parade ended was run out into the blocked-off street and dance. Even a fever and runny nose can't keep our gal down.
Post-parade

Em is fairly recovered from whatever virus she had, save for a yucky cough and snot for days. Brent is recovered, but wouldn't you know that I went to bed Tuesday night with the start of something, and woke up the next day with a full-on something. Feeling mostly better, but I'm ready for this house to be healthy again, especially since tomorrow is my 33rd birthday!

"Darn it, Debbie! You are not going to spoil my visit to Disney World! Now, I didn't say anything at 'It's a Small World' when you went on about low birth weight in babies or during the fireworks when you started talking about Feline AIDS..." - Lindsay Lohan on SNL