Sunday, July 28, 2013

Mad Guy

This is how I spent my day.  Getting rid of Mad Guy.

Wait, let me back up a minute and share with you how I used to spend my day, way back in the old days.  I'd get up with the birds, pack myself on the Commuter Rail, and commute 1.5 hours each way to work.  I was a Clinical Trial Manager.  Meaning, I managed clinical trials.  Like, ran studies for NIH or pharmaceutical companies.  I've been published a few times, including in the New England Journal of Medicine.  I regularly sat in on meetings with the most brilliant researchers you could ever hope to meet, at one of the top institutions in the world.  I solved big problems.  Sometimes serious ones.

Not anymore.

Today I got rid of Mad Guy.

Backing up again...last night Miss E called me into her bedroom at midnight and asked me to lay there with her.  She ALWAYS wants me to lay with her, so this wasn't anything too out of the ordinary.  She was chatting my ear off--again, not out of the ordinary--while I pretended to sleep and then she asked me this:  "Mama, why is the gate mad?"  I picked my head up, sure I misunderstood her and asked her to repeat.  "Why is the gate mad?  Who is the Mad Guy on the gate?"  I dragged my sorry butt out of her bed and examined every part of her safety gate, looking for this Mad Guy.  "Is this the Mad Guy?  What about this?  This?"  Until I pointed to two screws:

Do you see Mad Guy?  Good, 'cause neither do I.

And she screamed.  I hit the nail on the head.  Or, the screws on the head.  Whatever.

Dude, I was looking for something MAD.  Like, super mad.  If it's going to keep you up until after rock stars go to bed, it better be freaking MAD.  This Mad Guy isn't even facing the right direction!  He's not mad, he's dumb!  But I had to find a temporary solution to covering up Mad Guy, or no one was going to sleep.

I would have been happy to go with this solution permanently because if you
squeeze Mr. Bunny he sings a super annoying song and no way Emmie
would squeeze him while he's on Mad Guy.

We covered him up, and sat the singing bunny on top, and all was good with the world.  Of course I went to bed wondering if I was doing the right covering him up, was I conceding that there was indeed a Mad Guy?  Should I be telling her, no, she's crazy, it's two screws and go to bed, kid?  Now I'm losing sleep because I'm worried I'm messing up my kid by agreeing to protect her from two screws that don't even look mad.

Today, the first thing when she woke up, E asked what I was going to do that was a more permanent solution to Mad Guy being in her room.  Clearly,  Mr. Singing Bunny could NOT live there forever, and a breeze might come in and knock him down, so there had to be something better.

So I spent half my day coming up with different proposals until Miss E heard a solution that was acceptable to her.  Sort of like presenting a plan to a Principal Investigator for a new recruitment strategy for a clinical trial...NOT.  We finally landed on smiling stickers.  How could Mad Guy be mad if there were smiling stickers?  We stuck them on as tight as possible, and then re-stuck them again and again after little Miss R tried to pull them off.  (I'm not sure she was aware of the gravity of the situation and that she was disturbing Mad Guy...)

And that was my day.  Well, half the day.  I spent the other half brainstorming how to combat another problem.  When E went down for her nap, she looked so contently at the stickers and Mr. Not-So-Mad-Guy and said, "But, Mama...what if Swiper comes in and swipes the stickers?"

You've got me.  I'm stumped.  How DO I keep Swiper from swiping them?  Close the windows?  Lock the doors?  Swiper seems to come from out of nowhere, so how could I possibly protect us from him?!

So now I have the Swiper problem to work on.  Different than the kinds of problems I used to work on?  You betcha.  But I wouldn't change it for anything.  (Although I better get some New York Times crosswords or something so my brain doesn't turn to congee...)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

By the Sea

Just like with Emmie, we're not sleeping anywhere except our house for the first several months that Rosie is home.  We want her to have a really strong sense of where her home is, and understand that we always come back here before we start mixing it up with hotel rooms and the like.  Maybe it's overkill, and I know lots of people don't do it this way, but we just wouldn't want R to walk in to a hotel room and say, "Hey, wait a minute here!  Last time I was in a hotel room, everything in my life was turned upside down."  In a few months, she'll be more secure with us, and she'll also have more language so that we can explain to her what is going on when we stay somewhere other than our home.

The challenge is that it's summer, and summer is short, and we love to go places, especially to the ocean. The good thing is that P and I have always been big day-trippers, so that's how we're handling this summer.  The girls love going to the ocean as much as we do, so we're making sure to visit as many places as can be reasonably be done in one day so our newest little sweetheart can be tucked in to her own bed every night.

We recently visited Portland, Maine and had a great time eating and shopping.  We took the girls on a scenic cruise on a Casco Bay Lines ferry.  They loved it, although Emmie kept asking if the deck hands were pirates.  E was so observant, pointing out every lighthouse and lobster trap along the way.  Every time we passed another boat, both girls would wave and scream, "Hi!!!"  On the way home to break up the long drive, we made a quick stop in Ogunquit to stroll the Marginal Way.  We're so happy that the girls love breathing in that salt air as much as we do!

Mmmm...Micucci's!  Little girl, big pizza.

With her Main Squeeze on the ferry.

E pointing out the sites.

Waving to every boat we passed by.

Marginal Way, Ogunquit.

Getting ready for the long ride home so she can sleep in
her own cozy bed.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

First Fourth and other good stuff...

Between getting settled with Early Intervention, medical appointments, cleaning spills up off the floor, and the other boring stuff of daily life, we've been busy getting into enjoying the summer--even in this crazy heat!  We always do lots of fun day trips on the weekends with Baba, but I've also been brave/crazy enough to get out and about with the girls during the week.  It's funny because when R was first home, I felt like going to Market Basket was an impossible feat.  I remember calling my mother and saying, "But how DO you go grocery shopping with two kids?  I mean, really?  How did you do it?  One goes in the front and the other is in the back under all the food?  Who goes under all the food?  The one who acts out the most, or the older one?  Or is it the smaller one because she'll take up less space so I can fit more food?"  But now, after not even two months of shopping trips, I no longer get the shakes at the thought of picking up milk and eggs, and I'm even venturing out to the beach and into Chinatown with the girls on my own.

So, here's a little roundup of the past couple of weeks....

R's first day trip to Cape Cod!  We hit our favorite fried seafood joint on the Cape, Cooke's, and found out that R loves clam chowder as much as her sister!  We went to Cuffy's to get R the requisite Cape Cod hoodie, strolled Main Street in Hyannis, and then hit a few beaches where we played and had a picnic dinner.

E and Baba.  R had no interest in riding the merry-go-round so
we waved from the sidelines.

Seagull Beach, West Yarmouth.
Another of E's hug/stranglehold moves.

Veteran's Park Beach, Hyannis.

Everyone's looking at the camera!  Miracle!

Finally I "bit the bullet" and decided that I should try to lug the girls and all of their gear to the beach on my own.  We headed up to Rockport on a hot, hot day.  I almost passed out carrying a cooler, beach bag, backpack, umbrella, chair, sand toys, and Rosie down to the beach, but we made it, Emmie tagging behind carrying her water bottle.  Needless to say, I went out and bought one of those Beach Buggies the next day.

Front Beach, Rockport.

Feeding little sister a snack.

E insisted that she did not want to fall asleep on the way home.  I was like,
"Yeah, you go ahead and try to stay awake after playing for 3 hours in 90 degree heat."
And with that, I had a blessedly quiet ride home.

We were super excited to celebrate R's first Fourth of July as a US Citizen!  Last year, E loved the fireworks, so much so that we went to see them in several towns.  So we figured we'd give it a try with R on July 3rd.  For whatever reason, NEITHER of them enjoyed the fireworks this year!  E kept asking when they were going to be over, and R just hid her face.  But, we made up for it the next day by playing in the kiddie pool all day and then taking a walk along Boston Harbor and having some treats in the North End.  We skipped the traditional hot dogs and hamburgers in favor of a delicious homemade Chinese dinner--including lo mein!

"Woo hoo!  Look at us!"  All fun and games until the fireworks actually
started and everyone was miserable.

Family 4th photo!
R looks a little bit like she's trying to escape.

The North End.  Look at that little pinkie in the air.

No, they are NOT drinking espresso.   But they would
if I let them.

A hot and happy Fourth of July along Boston Harbor.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

No More Spoons

If the girls didn't take a semi-regular nap (AT THE SAME TIME), I don't know how I could survive the week.  Well, I don't mean survive, as in, survive, I just mean have a house that's almost reasonably clean, have pretty decent meals, be able to hear myself think, and stay sane.  Having two littles who are super active and so close in age is like living with a tornado.  They are constant in a way that I have never known constant before.  At the end of every super packed, whirlwind weekend of doing fun things and catching up on chores and chasing the girls, I always say to P, "Aren't you a little happy to be going to work tomorrow?  Just the tiniest bit?  You can admit it...a teeny weeny bit?"

The drama is at about an 11 on a scale of 1-10 right now.  Yes, yes, I know...we have two girls, what do we expect.  But between the sibling rivalry and the general daily drama, it's sometimes a little "much".  We had a temper tantrum over a hair braid yesterday that was so outrageous that if the A/C hadn't been on and our windows closed, our neighbors certainly would have called the police.  Braid in?  Braid out?  Or in?  Half a braid?  Whatever I have to do to stop the screaming...

The girls are starting to play together a little nicer, which is very sweet to see.  There's still a lot of "MINE!" and all of that going on.  Today I actually heard, "MY Mama!  No, MY Mama!"  Like P said, let's keep in mind that R isn't completely innocent, either, in all of the sibling drama.  Yesterday the girls were sharing an iced milk tea, and when we told R that it was E's turn with the drink, she'd just sit with the straw in her mouth and PRETEND to drink so E couldn't have it.  Sneaky indeed.

I'll admit, it's tough to always stay collected when there's constantly some "issue" going on that has to be mitigated or stopped.  We've both heard ourselves saying the crazy things we both swore we'd never say.  The first time I heard myself say, "Don't touch her" or "Don't touch her car seat" or "Just don't LOOK at her" I understood why my mom used to say that to my sister and me.  It sounds crazy and insane, but you're just trying to get through a 5 minute car ride to CVS all in one piece.  P had a great one this weekend:  "If either of you bite another spoon and break it, there will be NO MORE SPOONS IN THIS HOUSE.  None.  We will all just eat with our hands!"

So, just another day with the girls.  Not looking at each other, wearing braids, and eating with our hands.

Here are some pics of my day with the girls today in Boston...

Shopping for some goodies in Chinatown.

E's got quite a hold on her little sister!

Along Boston Harbor.

Glamour girls.

We rounded out the day with some pastries in the North End.  I
figured we earned it after all of that walking, right?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


You know when the honeymoon ends.  He starts leaving wet towels on the bed, you stop shaving your legs with any regularity.  You hate to see it happen, but it happens nonetheless.  Then, you think maybe it's OK that it happens.  Maybe this means everyone can RELAX a little, let it all hang out, so to speak.

Well, the honeymoon ends in adoption, too.  And Rosie's just did.

Oh, yeah look at me so cute.  But I'm a punk.  Your typical toddler PUNK.
When R first came home, there wasn't much "testing" of boundaries going on.  "Come to dinner!"  She came.  "No!  Stop that!"  She stopped.  "Here's your breakfast."  She ate it all up.  Sure, she'd disobey a little here and there, but nothing major.  Big sis steps in and grabs a toy away?  No problem, R just looks a little dejected and moves on to something else.  Not anymore.

Gradually over the past week, R has started tantruming more.  When the Early Intervention staff asked me today how long her mega-tantrum went on this Sunday, I said, "All day?  Can a tantrum last all day?  Or, maybe not one big tantrum because she had to breathe and eat, but maybe several medium-sized tantrums that sort of melded into one?"

For the past few days, when I put a meal down in front of her, she takes a look at it, takes the bowl off her tray and places it back up on the table, and proclaims, "All done!!!"  So happy with her new words as she points to the cabinet where she knows the dessert is kept.  Eventually, she eats the meal (and sometimes the food off of E's plate, too) but it's on her own terms after she's tried to bargain her way out of it.

When E takes something from her and says, "MINE!", R engages in a ridiculous tennis match of "MINE!  No, MINE!  No, MINE!  No, MINE!" that will go on forever if I don't stop it.

Come to dinner?  "NO!"  Not until she has a temper tantrum and is ready.  Put on your bib?  "NO!" And a meltdown.  Time for nap?  "NO NO NO!"  Screaming fit ensues.

So, what *is* this!?!?!  Who came and switched our relatively docile R for the petulant one?  Well, it's just the end of the honeymoon.  R is settling in, and realizing that if she does something bad, we still love her.  She knows if she refuses a meal, there will still be more food.  In other words, she's being a toddler because that's what she is.  This is what kids do.  They are fussy about food, they think everything is "theirs", they throw tantrums when things don't go their way.  They say "NO" just for the hell of it.

In some odd sick and twisted way, we're happy to see this.  We're happy that R doesn't feel as if she needs to be on her best behavior at all times or we'll stop loving her.  Sure, our house is way more tumultuous now, but what exactly did we EXPECT by having a 2 year old and a 3 year old?  Peace?  Harmony?  Sharing?  No conflict?  Um, no. And if we did, then we should get our heads examined.

The bonus is that at the same time this is happening, R's increased comfort is also allowing her to open up her heart to us little by little.  Looking to us, calling out for me when she gets a boo-boo, running up to me and wrapping herself around my legs, and giving hugs.  So, yes, I think I've sprung another gray hair or two, but this is what should be happening as R continues to graft herself into our family.  She's letting it all hang out.  It's a new challenge, but it's a good thing.