Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Blogs from The Modern Parents

So since I've felt an identity crisis in trying to blog in two places at once, I am cutting and pasting my entries from The Modern Parents here (blog patrol, I hope this is legit since I am declaring the double posting!) in reverse chronological order:

Why 2 Year Old's Don't Chew Gum (or Shouldn't) Print E-mail
Monday, 02 February 2009 08:57

Silas, thanks to his grandparents, has discovered gum. Gumballs. Sticks of gum. Squares of gum. Gum.
The first few times he tried it, he chewed chewed chewed chewed chewed swallowed his teeny little piece before I even had the chance to ask him how he liked it. Then upon threat of being cut off from gum all together because of too much swallowing, Silas started spitting his gum in trashcans, smearing it on paper, or handing his little slobbery pieces to me.

Yesterday, Ben handed a piece of gum back to Silas in the backseat (he has learned to chew longer). About 10 minutes later:
Silas, where's your gum?
I don't know.
Is it in your mouth?
No, it isn't.
Did you swallow it?
No, I didn't.
Did you spit it out?
Yes, I think I did.
Where did you spit it?
I don't know.
Did you spit it into the car?
I'm not sure.
Did you spit it in your hand?
I don't think so.
Did you throw it on the floor??
I don't know. I spit it out.
I don't really know, Dada.

As soon as we parked, Ben got out of the car and lifted Silas out like a stiff little statue:
Don't move, Silas.
Ben frisked him. Shook out his clothes. Looked on all sides of the new booster seat. The seat of the car. The floor of the car.
Where did you put your gum, Silas?
I don't know.

An hour later, we got back in the car. As I situated Silas in his booster, he kept squirming and pulling on the back of his shorts:
What's the problem Silas?
What is?
My leg.
I looked at the leg of his shorts and didn't see anything, so I felt inside for something that was poking him.
And there was something. Something pasting a patch of his shorts to his leg. There was sticky mashed gum in the leg of his shorts.
And it may be there forever. And only tonight -- a full night and day later -- did the gum start to come off his skin...
Inauguration: A Part though Apart Print E-mail
Monday, 02 February 2009 08:51
Being from Washington, I've always taken Inaugurations for granted. They happen in January. In the cold. There is no election-like result. There is a crowd on the Mall. A slow parade. A train of armored cars. A swearing in. The President-elect & First Lady venture out to wave to crowds for brief moments. And then people go home.

Though this election made history, I somehow overlooked the fact that Inauguration would too. All I'd thought about was traveling alone with two babies, braving jet lag 3 weeks after just readjusting to California time, managing napless babies in the below freezing weather downtown, owning no winter coat, and schlepping back across the country alone again two days later.

But the week before Inauguration, it finally hit me -- millions in DC, Obama taking office, history in action -- INAUGURATION!! And I couldn't believe I was staying home. My high school friends plotted their walk for miles downtown to brave the masses and witness the day. My family dug out ski clothes to bundle up and watch the parade perched from a terrace a block from the White House. And I -- well I had no plans, not even with my husband who was going to be traveling. I gazed and gazed at the $700 tickets on Expedia...

Tuesday morning arrived. Still half heart-sick, I flipped on Washington rather than Diego (to Silas's dismay) and settled on the living room floor. Immediately, as I watched people crowd the Mall with gusto and the former Presidents file in, Silas started singing "Old McDonald", 3 inches away from my ear. I strained to hear Vice President Biden take his oath as Eden yelled and Silas pulled away toys. And as Silas squirmed and wriggled, trying to get comfortable on my lap, I watched President Obama take his oath, a standing testimony of such possibility and hope.

As I sat there listening to Obama speak about working to the bones for the future generations, I tried to tell Silas what a day this is, that dreams have come true, that Obama is our president. And it dawned on me as Silas nodded and rolled around the floor that I was sitting with two little drops of the next generation. And as we cheered with maracas and jingle bells, I realized that though I would have loved to be bundled up walking through the city sharing the thrilling morning, this moment in the living room, struggling to hear the television between shushings and scoldings, laughing at the absurdity of the commotion, I, like so many Americans gathered around televisions and radios, computers and car stereos, with tears in my eyes, was a part of it.
Our Family's New Year's Journal Print E-mail
Thursday, 08 January 2009 21:29
Before we got married, Ben and I met with Cary and Andrew, an older couple who mentored us. I know we talked about money, faith, families, expectations and lots of other stuff, but I don't remember that well. What I most remember is Cary's telling us about their family's New Year's book -- we started our own that year, and it's one of my favorite traditions.

The first week of every January (if not New Year's day), Ben and I sit down with our New Year's Journal and calendar and together recap the past year. We break our entry into categories and use mostly bullet points. Our categories: Trips, Visits, Highs and Lows, Family news, People (whom we socialized with),Trends (world news; TV shows we watch; music; the latest technology; gas, milk, house etc. prices; fashion), Books we read, Goals for next year. And this year we added height and weight (for Silas and Eden).

I love that our kids will have such a vivid glimpse into our years before they were born. And I love that we have a book that holds the sketch story of our years together. I hope when we're 80, we have a shelf of New Year's Journals for our kids and grandkids to page through.
Snow Day
Print E-mail
Wednesday, 07 January 2009 08:22
No snow in DC this Christmas, though we had practically promised Silas he'd see some. This morning, bleary and jet-lagged back in California, we woke in the semi-dark to cold foggy rain -- snow in the mountains? And after omelets and coffee with friends, we packed a bag full of sweatshirts and started to drive" to the mountains" (wherever that was exactly). As we pulled onto the freeway, Ben busily typed things like ""where to go for snow in Orange County" in his blackberry, and with a little GPS suction-cupped to the windshield, we headed northeast, following a winding orange line on the screen.

An hour later we winded our way up a piny mountain, glimpsing patchy snow above us. At the top of the road, we pulled over and piled out. With no mittens, boots, or coats, but wearing lots of sweatshirts, hats, and running shoes, we slipped our way to the icy snow. Silas started running.

Getting a sled never occurred to us, but standing at the foot of a towering hill, nothing would have been better. Magically we found a big plastic storage bin lid someone had tossed -- it was perfect! As we took turns bumping down the snow between jutting rocks, Silas squealed and squealed, his little pink face shining with the thrill of his first icy snow.

When the cold had sunk into our clothes (which didn't take long), we got back in the car and drove down to a little snack hut run by a big man who yelled at all his customers and got hot chocolates. I hadn't had a cup of Swiss Miss -- half powdery mix and half water -- for so many years. The second I tasted it, I was 8 years old, standing at the edge of the ice skating rink in my pink and green coat, my blades wobbling on the rubber mat, watching the Zamboni.

And though Silas was overloaded with grandparent cookie-candy-chocolate-lucky charm love all vacation, I felt so happy, standing on the dirty packed snow, watching him teeter along the ice with his cup tipped to his mouth, practically blocking his sight, that he was here in the cold, sipping swiss miss.

I Am, “That Mom” Print E-mail
Sunday, 21 December 2008 16:00
We've done a lot of shopping lately with Christmas around the corner. This week Silas and I were in a paper store where the walls are lined with racks of colorful handmade papers, and there are breakable vases and Christmas ornaments high and low. Silas knows this store well and to the dismay of the people working there, usually goes right to the shelves of loose pens, plucks them from their cubbyholes and plays "the matching game." He really is quite good at putting the pens back where they belong, so I always leave him quietly to play.

The day we were there, I was preparing to teach an art class so I had to focus on purchasing. After a while, I noticed Silas drift to another area of the store, but didn't pay much attention. It wasn't until I heard a sales woman saying, "come out of there!" that I tuned in to see Silas thrashing around inside a bin of $90 jumbo stuffed bears. Rather than whisking him out, scolding him, and marching out of the store, I vaguely shooed him out of the box and asked him to come stand near-ish me while I kept shopping (which meant he climbed right back in). In that flash I realized that I am that mother -! The mother who lets her child go wild in the store and ignores him -! The mother whom I would have shot a horrified look at and judged for her lack of control and discipline -! The mother I would have seen and pledged never to be -! As the realization dawned, I began to think over the evidence:

*We have been to H&M a few times recently and I've taken to letting Silas zip around the store on one of the wheeling stools the sales associates use for stocking high shelves. I know from past experiences that they do NOT like this, but he loves it, and he's occupied.... So I give him free reign catching sight of him whizzing by like a tiny robot, until I finally hear a sales clerk tell him to stop and ask where his mother is. I reclaim him and send him tunneling under the racks of clothes and listen as strangers yelp as he pops out at their feet...

*Last night, however, was an all time low. We were back in H&M. The stool had been huffily reclaimed by a sales associate and Silas and I were in the jewelry department -- the best and worst department for a child. As I was filling my stroller with various scarves and earrings, Silas, who was now wearing a headband he's found, was kneeling on the floor rattling all the long strings of beads together. To be honest, I hadn't even really tuned in to what he was doing, I just knew nothing was being broken, when I heard a sales associate (of course) come over and scold him, snatching the headband and necklaces. What did I do? As soon as I saw that Silas was safe and unfazed, I casually TURNED AROUND and PRETENDED I DIDN'T KNOW HIM!!!

And that was precisely the moment I was positive beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I indeed have become that mother. (And you know what? My Christmas shopping is done! And Silas never broke the U-break-it-U-buy-it rule).

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