Monday, February 21, 2011

Norah's Favorite Things

Sometimes I forget that this place is not just for venting. I also want to preserve the good memories of this age, because I will clearly be repressing a lot of memories (sleepless nights, ear infections, explosive... well, you know), and who knows how repression really works. I don't want to lose something adorable. So here's a list of Norah's favorite things as of now, at two years and two months.

1. Bear Bear, blanket.
2. Books: Big Cat, Big Hat, Sharing Time, and Goodnight Farm.
3. TV: Dora the Explorer, Wonder Pets, and The Cat in the Hat.
4. Pretending Ryan and I are her cats, and we crawl around and meow and get into mischief she she can scold us ("No eat that, Kitty! That's yucky!").
5. Playing house/zoo animals.
6. Owls.
7. Songs: Sugarland's "Stuck Like Glue," Black Eyed Peas, "I Gotta Feelin," and "Where is Thumbkin?"
8. Food: fish sticks dipped in applesauce, noodles, and happy days (sweets).
9. Playing nest (we construct a nest out of a large blanket and pretend we're either birds or we catch birds flying around the living room).
10. The moon.
11. First swear: "Goddamn it." (Heh heh- it was Ryan, not me)
12. Jumping in her crib.
13. Washing hands and brushing teeth (specially with her new Scooby-Do brush).
14. Play-doh.
15. Art projects.
16. Hide-and-seek (her version of it, anyway).
17. Minta (her friend, Samantha).
18. Bath paints, bath crayons.
19. Catching snowflakes on her tongue.
20. Her family.

That's all for now! I'm sure there's much more. She loves life.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Signs You're Getting Old

  • You watch Rent and think, "Get a job, you lazy bastards." 
  • Your child goes to bed early and you're excited because you either get to A) finish washing that load of dishes B) watch a TV show in primetime, or C) also go to bed. 
  • You hear Lady Gaga's newest release and think, "Madonna really shouldn't mess with her classic hits."
  • You tsk-tsk your neighbor for rolling in at 10 pm with their car stereo blasting. And it probably woke you up.
  • You see another grey hair and don't even bother yanking it out.
  • You catch part of The Breakfast Club on TBS and now you kind of relate to the principal. Those entitled little brats don't know what it means to have a hard life. Except Judd Nelson's character.
  • You are blasting "The Banana Song" in your Subaru Outback and you don't even think to be embarrassed. And you're singing along, too. 
  • Your big weekend activity? Shopping at Target. And maybe stopping by Playland afterwards, if Target wasn't too draining.
  • You can't sit on the floor with the kid for long periods of time. And then when you go to get up, you need to brace yourself against something and you audibly groan. 
  • You buy shoes based on comfort and versatility.
  • Same with bras.
  • You have a night out and a sitter willing to stay late, but instead of dinner or a movie or cocktails, you really just want to hide somewhere and nap.
  • You start thinking song lyrics are inappropriate and start questioning freedom of speech. 
  • You wonder what the hell happened to My Little Ponies and Barbie and Strawberry Shortcake. They look weird as hell.
  • You start regretting that tattoo on your foot. 
  • You think, hey, my music collection is still pretty hip. The 90s weren't that long ago. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Everyone labels people. You may think you're a good person, but if you see a 30-something male wearing skinny jeans, you think "Hipster." If you see an elderly person shopping for toys and candy, you think "Grandparent." If you see a kid stealing toys from other kids on the playground and pushing and hitting, you think "Bully." And you might even think "Assholes" about the kid's parents.

And you may even label your own kid. If you're like me, the labels for your kids are "Go-getter," "Brain," "Beauty," and "Perfect." So when someone labels your kid in a different manner, you stop.

I went to pick up Norah from school the other day, and as I picked up her daily report card, I noticed it again read that she'd not eaten her lunch.

"Norah, no lunch today?"

She didn't answer, and instead showed me the toy she had been playing with. I stooped down and inspected it with her.

The teach responded, "Yeah, she's kind of a... picky eater."

I just looked at her. My daughter? A picky eater? My brain fought to answer politely.

"She kind of goes through phases. We're working on it," I smiled tightly.

I gathered up the kid and her stuff and we headed out. But my mind kept replaying it over and over.

"She's kind of a... picky eater." (echo: eater... eater... eater...)

Now, I know full well that Norah is selective in what she eats. Der. I feed her occasionally. I am very aware of it, especially since she used to eat anything given to her: beans, broccoli, artichoke, squash, books, crayons, anything. Then she slowly began refusing food. First it was broccoli. I vividly remember her pinching a piece with her thumb and forefinger, removing it from her plate, and saying, "Blech." I was surprised.

"Honey. It's just broccoli."


Then other foods were rejected. Her menu options were getting slimmer and slimmer. I didn't want to foster this behavior and started reading websites and going through a couple of my go-to books, Toddler 411 and A Guide to the Toddler Years. They recommended to keep offering. I kept offering, while also including one item I knew (hoped) she still liked, but the rejected food remained untouched.

Now the only vegetables that I can get in her are canned peas (yes, canned) and sweet corn, if you can even count that as a vegetable. Meat? Fish sticks. (Not that I care about the meat aspect, but the protein is important.) Thankfully she still likes a few fruits, and of course she eats starches like rice and noodles, like every other toddler.

So why was I startled at the label "Picky Eater?"

"Picky Eater" conjures up images of a spoiled brat. A delicate little flower. A willful child. And parents who kowtow to every urge or whim of their child. This is not my child and this is not me. Norah is very happy and spirited. She tries new things all the time, without fear or even hesitancy. She's tough, not delicate. And, yes, I joke about my little perfect angel being a little perfect angel, but I'm not delusional. I joke about our house rules, but we're not permissive people who don't impose boundaries on our child. And I don't want people to think these negative generalizations about us based on one small aspect of our lives. The label "Picky Eater" grates at my nerves because it seems to attack our very essence.

Labels are tough. You can't help but label. I think it's in our DNA, to help us survive.

Caveperson: "Ug. That animal has pointy teeth and is looking at me. Must run away now."

But I think next time I see a kid push Norah out of the way so he can go down the slide first, instead of automatically thinking "Little Jerk," maybe I'll just take it at face value. The kid wants to slide really bad and at this particular moment, isn't thinking about taking turns. There's no other explanation for skinny jeans on men, though. Hipsters.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

House Rules

We haven't really done any kind of disciplining yet. From all the books and websites I've read about the subject, it appears that the average recommended age for beginning discipline is 2. Norah's 2. But I honestly don't think she'd get the whole concept of a time out.

But it's not as if we have marshall law here. We have pretty strict house rules. Here they are. They are not in order and are subject to change.

1. We don't eat floor food.
2. No Michael Jackson music while Daddy's home.
3. Only food, nuks, and toothbrushes in the mouth.
4. No jumping on the couch while brushing teeth.
5. Three toothpaste refills, max.
6. Mittens must be worn if snow is handled.
7. Magic word usage enforced.
8. We do not play piano with our butts.
9. Bubbles are an outside activity.
10. No throwing toys. Except balls. And paper airplanes.
11. No hitting, kicking, biting, etc.
12. Clothes must be worn outside the house.
13. No Caillou.
14. Crayons, paint, ink, and other media belongs on paper.
15. Mommy is not allowed to cut hair.