Monday, August 3, 2009

Goodbye July

Au Revoir! Sayonara! Auf Wiedersehen! Do Svidanja! Don't let the door slap your ass on the way out!

The month started off with a bang. My mother suffered a serious injury and spent some time recovering at my house. Sugarplum spent two weeks at her new preschool. My husband has been cramming for tests to finish his commercial pilot certification. Work has been extra stressful for everyone, so as you can imagine, it's been a month for the record books.

I started August off on a good note though. Saturday, I took Sugarplum to a water park for playing and a picnic. She had LOTS of fun. Yesterday I got some housework done and hung out with my mom. My husband took the written portion of his test and passed.

Feeling a little more positive this morning with a few bucks in my wallet I decided to treat myself to a mocha and bagel at our cafeteria this morning... and guess what? My favorite bagel is back!

A year or so ago, my favorite bagel was replaced with an imposter. My favorite bagel was an onion bagel that had asiago cheese baked into the top of it. Not little bits of onion that give you really bad breath before meetings. It was replaced with a plain bagel with a whole lot more cheese on the top of it. This morning, my beloved onion/asiago was back. I'm choosing to take this as a good sign that August will be a much better month.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Toddler Diaries #2 - Pre-school Days #2

Well the week at daycare last week ended smoothly. Sugarplum made 3 little friends that she has talked about and seems to have had fun with all her little projects. Each day we collect her work from her drawer which mainly consists of various colored worksheets, rubber stamp collages and even a dinosaur fossil. I'm still not sure what material they used exactly, but it looks like a fun project and Sugarplum was very excited to show it to me.

This week they are learning about community helpers. I'm sure I'll be able to extend the lessons at home and get her to help find toys in her room to donate. I'm getting tired of it looking like Toys R Us threw up in there.

She does miss her daycare and got a chance to talk on the phone to her daycare lady this weekend. She'll be excited to go back for the month next week and hopefully we won't have too many tears when it's time to say goodbye. There will be lots of changes to visit since Oma lives next door will be surely cushion the blow.

Looking through grown up eyes, her concerns and worries are so trivial, but to her they mean the world. If I do my job right, I'll ease her mind and spirit and she'll sail through this transition with only minor bumps and swells marking the passage along the way.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Toddler Diaries #1: Pre-school Days

dear blogland, it's been 2+ months since my last post, please forgive me. All two of you that read this blog. :)

For the past several months, Sugarplum has struggled with the rules at daycare. She has been testing the limits and boundaries with the daycare provider and the other kids. We tried everything we could think of to no avail. We found that on days there were no other kids at daycare, or just 1 or 2, were much better days. From that, I drew the conclusion that the issue for her is not necessarily the rules or other kids, but that she views the daycare lady's home as her space, her territory, and if she doesn't want to share she doesn't think she should have to.

I've got another think coming for her.

Pre-school is on the horizon for fall and I found a school near work that I really like. Best of all, the daycare lady is on vacation this week and next week, so she gets to try it out before she goes full time in September.

Yesterday was her first day. She made an easy transition in the morning and had no problems telling us goodbye and settling in. She even made friends with another little girl. Her favorite part of the day was recess and judging by the seat of her shorts, she had lots of fun on the slide.

Each child has a cubby and work drawer that the parents collect their things from. Yesterday the drawer contained a folder of info from the school, as well as 4 or 5 worksheets Sugarplum had done. They're learning about dinosaurs and community helpers these two weeks so she had several coloring pages with dinosaurs on them.

It's bitter sweet for her dad and I. We know she needs to make the transition, we found a way to make it work out financially and with working hours, and as exciting as it is to see her blossom and grow, it's a little sad too to know that she is slowly, going to begin growing away from us.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Don't Micro-manage Me

Woot! Micro-Managing work harpy is NOT the shit!

So a few months ago, I finally got things changed up a bit at work and I am no longer having most of my work tasks being overseen by a micro-managing harpy. My boss was a bit concerned about whether or not I could really handle my job and how much I might have needed her oversight. I just had my focal review and low and behold, I am doing a good job and she has seen great improvement over the past couple months. She wasn't sure how the harpy filter may have been helping or huting my work. Yeah... kinda what I've been saying for the past year.

I hate that I had to struggle so much for her to listen but I'm glad she is seeing that what I've been saying is true. I work much better when I am actually given the responsibility of doing my job myself and not being questioned every 10 minutes by a micro manager about why I don't do it all HER way instead of my own.

What's even better is that now that the harpy's focus is off me, she can't toot her own horn about how she manages my work and has managed to make a couple good mistakes of her own. The evil part of me rejoices.. sometimes she needs to be taken down a peg or two and at least now my boss actually can see it for herself.

What I've learned though is that I DO NOT do well being micromanaged... so please don't... and think about it if you have employees who you feel you need to babysit all the time... maybe if you cut them a little slack, maybe they will shine rather than fail.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Sometime during the year that I was 3 I learned about the birds and the bees. I was a curious child and I asked my mother how babies got made. I was also tenacious because I was not satisfied with a simple when-mommies-and-daddies-fall-in-love-and-get-married-they-have-babies answer. I wanted to know the mechanics. "Yes... but.. HOW??" So she explained.

Apparently that trait has rubbed off on my princess. On the way home from daycare:

Sugarplum: Mom, before babies get born and you have a baby in your tummy, how does it get there?

Me: Umm... well.. that's kinda tricky.

Sugarplum: But how?

Me: Well... when mommies and daddies are grown up and fall in love and get married, they can make babies.

Sugarplum: HOW??

Me: Well... they can cuddle up together and use their private parts

Sugarplum: Private parts? What's that?

Me: Well.. you know.. your private parts.. when you go to the potty? Your body parts that no one touches?

Sugarplum: ok.... but I want to have a baby in my tummy while I'm young

Me: No baby, your body is not ready to have a baby in your tummy.

Sugarplum: YEEESSS!!!!!

Me: No baby.. you have to be a grown up.

Sugarplum: But I want when I'm young!!

Me: Well, you'll be young for a long time baby.

Next thing you know, she'll be asking me loudly in a crowded movie theater whether or not I masturbate. Like mother, Like daughter.

Stop laughing mom.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Personal Space

Sugarplum sometimes has trouble respecting personal space. She wants to climb on you to get your attention. She wants to sit in your lap or stand on your legs. This is all well and good if you're her parent but not so much if you are the 10 year old at the daycare lady's house after school and you're trying to do your homework.

So they've been talking about personal space. How everyone has some and how it needs to be respected. If someone asks her to move from in front of the TV she should. If they don't want to be tackled, she should not instigate a wrestling match.

Apparently SOME part of the message is sinking in, but it's still a work in progress. She seems to understand that her space should be respected but we're still working on the do unto others part.

Yesterday morning while I was in the bathroom getting ready for work:

Sugarplum's Dad: Good Morning baby

Sugarplum: Nooooo

Sugarplum's Dad: Can't I have a snuggle?

Sugarplum: No.. this is MY personal space. Move over Daddy!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dreams of my Father

When I started up this here blog, it was to chronicle life with my daugther. My thoughts, my impressions, my experiences as her mother... but when I sit down to blog something.. it all flies right out the window. I think of some funny story to tell on the way to work or home from daycare and by the time I arrive at a computer, it's gone.

I've been off for a week and am catching up on my reader thinking I should find something to write about.. and then her post saved me... and I decided to steal a previous daily writing prompt.

The year that I turned 8, I lived in Germany with my father and brother. I missed my mother terribly, but I would not trade that experience and can honestly say that living in another country made for one of the best years of my life. My mother knew it would which is why she let us go. She is so wise.

Before returning home in the summer of 1986, my father became sick. My mother came to pick us up and flew home with us in late July. My father followed a couple weeks later. He was home for a few days, maybe a week or two, before being admitted to the hospital. I think he was there for about two weeks or so.

One Saturday morning in September, the phone rang. Early. It was the hospital nurse calling for my mother. She left right away. Before heading out I asked her if I could come too. "Not this time. Maybe next time." It was always the same answer. So I poured a bowl of cereal and turned on cartoons waiting for my brother to wake up and join me.

When my mother returned home, we turned off the television. She told us that she was informed when she arrived at the hospital that she was 60 seconds too late. My brother went to his room. I began to cry as the information she had just given us sunk in. She took me to the backyard and told me to pick a cloud. She told me that from that day forward, he would always be there, behind that cloud, watching over me and protecting me.

It's been 22 years since my father died. I've dreamt of him twice. Neither of them were bad dreams, but after the first one, I woke up terribly upset. I missed him. I thought about how he wouldn't be able to take pictures of me in my prom dress. He wouldn't be there for any father-daughter dances. He wouldn't be able to give me away at my wedding. He wouldn't meet his grandchild(ren).

The second time I dreamt of him, I got to visit him in our house in Germany. The best part was that I got to hug him again. He had been dead in my dream, but somehow, we were granted a visit. I don't know if it's me reaching out, if it's completely manufactured, or if it's real. But some part of me got to visit my daddy again, even if it was only in a dream. I wish he could visit more often.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Legacy - Part 2

10 years ago this month, two deranged teenagers walked into their school at started shooting. Accounts of the Columbine Massacre are still so disturbing to me that I want to cry. I don't understand what drives people to commit such horrible acts. Afterward, I always wondered what their parents must have been going through. What signs did they miss? How was this not prevented? How were they so out of touch with their children that they didn't know how disturbed they were? I can only imagine what kinds of questions they have asked themselves over the past 10 years. What kind of guilt or remorse they must feel for what their children did.

Then there are family members of people like Lovelle Mixon who claim that their good for nothing criminal relatives are heroes. Lovelle Mixon was an animal. He had been convicted of many crimes. He was out on parole and shot and killed 4 police officers. The only good thing to come from that incident is that he was killed to. His DNA was recently connected to the rape of a 12 year old girl. How the hell can someone like that be considered a hero by anyone?

I am amazed at how vastly different some people's priorities can be... and how some are so completely indifferent about what an incredible job it is to raise children. We mold them, we shape them, their values, their morals. How did Lovelle Mixon's parents get so far off track to raise a son capable of raping a child and then killing 4 officers? Those sworn to protect us from ourselves.

It's a huge responsibility to raise our children... one that most of us take pretty seriously. They are a reflection of us in a lot of ways. My daughter is my legacy. I want her to be good.. compassionate.. responsible.. ethical.. what will your legacy be?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Legacy - Part 1

They say you never get over the loss of a child. No matter how old that child is. I haven't experienced this and I hope I never do. I can't imagine what the pain must be. My grandmother has suffered this fate though.. twice.

I had an uncle who died before I was born. I found out as a teenager he had committed suicide. I'm not sure how I found out and that detail is unimportant.

I found out a year ago that my cousins, who are all much older than me, did not know that he committed suicide. They had just found out about it. I was shocked that their mother wouldn't have told them the truth. She let them grow up with a lie. A lie she created and kept up with. I was completely baffled.

Until I thought about it, and I realized, she was following her number one instinct as a mother. She was protecting her children. Protecting them from the questions that would inevitably come - why didn't he want to live? Why didn't he want to be with them anymore? She was protecting them from the guilt they would possibly take on.

It's common for children of divorce to feel guilty. "If I was just good enough, if I didn't get time out and if I ate my vegetables, mommy and daddy would still be together" Would these children have wondered what they did that was so bad their father chose not to live any longer?

It must have been quite a surprise to find out as an adult that the parent you lost as a child took themselves away from you on purpose... and I wonder how their few memories and ideas of their father may have been changed that day. I wonder how their feelings of their mother may have changed.

It is such a delicate dance we do as parents - striving to do a good job. Taking pride in our children's accomplishments. Working hard to mold them into kind, caring, productive people. Viewing their actions and choices as a reflection of ourselves. All of our parenting choices, the good and the bad, shape the legacy we leave that is our children. Sometimes, that legacy turns out to be something all together different from what we intended.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Why I Should Always Check the Pockets

"Something stinks in the laundry and my computer crashed!"

"OK.. I'm leaving the grocery store now, I can check the laundry when I get home. What's wrong with the computer?"

"I don't know! It crashed and I can't get it to reboot off the recovery disk and I'm supposed to leave and I don't have time for this bullshit and the clothes really stink!"

"OK.... I'll figure that out as soon as I get home"

This was the conversation my husband and I had as I was leaving the grocery store on my cell phone. I get home and stick my head in the dryer and sure enough, the clothes reek. They smell like fish. Which might not be so uncommon except that my husband doesn't like fish. So I don't cook it. I rarely feel like eating it, so if I want it, I get it at a restaurant.

I stick my head in the washer, it smells clean. So I rewash the clothes. They still smell like fish.

I run a "clean washer" bleach cycle on the washing machine. The bleachy goodness smells nice a fresh now.

I wash the clothes again. On Hot. With Stain Treat. With a Pre-Wash. With a Double Rinse.

They still smell like fish.

I search the vast intelligence of the interwebz. Powdered detergent was the only thing a fellow domestic goddess was able to use to get fish smell out of her laundry. So I go in search of powdered laundry detergent and try again.

Then my husband comes home from the gym - he's solved the mystery.

"you said the clothes smelled like fish right?"


"well.... I had my fish oil capsules in my pocket and didn't take them last week"

"Oh that explains it - it's your fault!" >this gives me great joy because I know I can work this into a shopping trip<

So I literally sniffed out the offending pocket and tried washing the clothes for the 5th time sans 1 pair of jeans. This was promising.. with the exception of about 3 items, the rest of the clothes smelled alright. I sniffed each and every article. A little disappointed about my foiled shopping plan, I put the clothes in the dryer.

When the cycle finished, I went out to fold the clothes to put them away. I open the door and the delightful odor of a shopping trip comes gently wafting to my nose. That's right... 5 washings and I could. not. get. the. smell. out. I had to trash the clothes. UGH. Lesson learned - I will ALWAYS double check the pockets even though 99.9999999999% of the time they are empty. My husband is usually really good about that. Most of the clothes ruined were his, but I'm not one to miss an excuse to go shopping. I'm just grateful his work clothes were not in that load.. that would have been a much more expensive trip.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Helllooooo? Anyone home?

Whoa... it's been over 3 months since I posted anything. I bet you're wondering what in the world was so important that kept me away for so long aren't you?

The answer is really disappointing - nothing much. It's been all about work and work.. and oh yeah, work. It's been a bit nuts for the last few months.

My husband's company went down in flames but thankfully he was able to find another job relatively easily. It's a temporary job for now but is very promising for hiring in another 6-8 weeks. It will even give him a raise from what he was making at that point. It's a pay cut for now, but not so severe we are in danger of losing our house or anything, but we definitely have to watch the pennies. It will be nice to lossen up a bit when he gets hired on. I really wanted to hit that 5 cent wine sale at Bevmo.

I went back to the gym. My mother enticed me to join the torture known as circuit training at the Y. It's not too bad - It's a good combination of cardio and weights and since you alternate between cardio and the next weight station every 2 minutes it keeps me from getting bored. I felt like a total wuss today though. I was on the weights following this guy who was twice as tall as me (really) and who was lifting 3-4 times as much as I was... but, I was there, and that's what really counts.

Work seems to be lightening up a bit so I'll have more time to catch up with reading the blogs I've missed and posting my scatterbrained thoughts every now and then. Just what I know you've all been waiting for.