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This apple fell far from her tree.

In fourth grade, I had a conversation on the bus on the way to school. We were talking about bad words. One kid asked me “Do you know what the VERY WORST of the bad words is?” I said I knew…but when they sought confirmation I couldn’t come up with anything shocking enough to even rattle them.

Finally, one kid announced “The WORST bad word is f**k.”

“Huh?…that’s not even a word.” I huffed. It didn’t even sound bad. It sounded like nonsense to me.

*        *         *         *       *

This weekend, I was trying to back out of the tiny single lane alleyway that leads to our garage. Yet again, some jerk blocked it with his car, and left the vehicle unmanned, so there wasn’t even anyone to scream at.

I started yelling in the car about “THAT F****G VAN!” Steam, pouring from my enraged ears.

A tiny voice piped up from the backseat, “What’s the f*****g van?”

*       *        *       *       *

My parents got me through to 4th grade without me even hearing the f-bomb. And here I’ve got my 3 year old dropping it.

#ParentingFail.

0

Sometimes, even just for a brief little tiny moment, I feel like I’ve got it together.

It takes somewhere around 2 hours for me to get everything together and get out the door in the morning. This looks like an immense amount of time written down, but it makes sense, considering it involves: getting myself showered, dressed & makeup on, packing lunch for me & Mr. Beez, making breakfast for me & Baby Beez, sometimes throwing dinner in the crockpot, getting the birds fed and watered, getting Baby Beez dressed and wrangled and OMG KID STOP TAKING EVERYTHING APART AND WHINING AND SCREAMING. So yeah, a lot happens in those two hours.

For pretty much every weekday morning since Thanksgiving, those two hours have consisted of alternating whining, yowling and shrieking from Baby Beez. I throw in an exasperated plea to tell me WHAT on earth is so terrible, because I’ll probably fix it for you if you just tell me WHAT is so terrible, but that always goes unheeded. This morning set off pretty much the same way with the toddler drama.

Then I made it to work and in the course of the day I felt pretty proud of myself. I was focused, I was gettin’ stuff DONE. I even had to make a run out to pack up our birds and take them to be boarded for the next 10 days, or as I like to call it “Deliver them to Oh-How-I-Wish-It-Were-Summer Camp.” Tomorrow starts a construction project in the house that involves stuff getting smashed and drilled and sprayed, and the featherbeasts cannot be here for that. I expected that getting the birds into their respective carriers would be the Trauma of the Century for our little Ricky, but he ended up behaving very nicely, not biting me, and even sitting on my hand for a minute and pretending that he does not hate me.

I bite.

I bite.

Even with that detour this afternoon, I got back to the office and I was killin’ it. Mr. Beez had an evening obligation tonight, so it was just Baby Beez and me. When I picked her up from daycare, the teacher announced “She didn’t nap today.”

Great.

I was bracing myself for an evening to mirror our morning. In the car ride home, Baby Beez asked for Cinnamon Toast Crunch & Scrambled Eggs for dinner. Sure kid, that’s fine. I won’t be winning any child nutrition prizes tonight, but that’s a dinner I can handle making, especially if it will keep her happy. Since I’m the “fun parent” (i.e. the idiot responsible for encouraging all that whining), I even let her watch her current Disney favorite (Hercules) at the table while she ate.

And she ate everything. And didn’t whine. And after eating, she played a little bit. And then I said it was time for a bath. And she went upstairs. And took a bath. Without whining. And then I said it’s time to brush your teeth. And we brushed teeth. Without whining. And then it was time to get in bed, and we read a Llama Llama book. All without whining. And I gave her a kiss and she closed her eyes and snuggled under the blanket.

And I went downstairs and ran a couple miles on the treadmill. And it felt good. Then I stretched and drank some water. And now I am writing all this down. And for once in recent memory, I feel just the tiniest tiniest bit like I’m not treading water. Like I’ve made it a couple paddles forward, and I’m going to be OK.

Now I will go upstairs and read my book.

0

Good Morning

Hello. It is Saturday Morning. Well, afternoon technically. It’s 12:05. So far I have survived Baby Beez’ ballet class, got a little coffee, and got a little work done. None of this has been easy. Baby Beez is in the “Fighting about Every Darn Thing” phase which involves a lot of screaming and flailing. Plus she’s aggressively cuddly, meaning that she throws elbows and knees in a crazed race to climb into and monopolize my lap. That makes it very hard for me to any work. I got so unbelievably frustrated and irritated that I was yelling too, and had to hide up in the bedroom to get my work done.

I hate being so angry in response to her WANTING to be close to me. I know that the time for her cuddles is limited. And I never want her to feel like I am pushing her aside to get work done. But sometimes I just need a darn hour to revise a Complaint, and she just needs to WAIT one darn hour (watch Tangled again for goodness sake!) and she’ll get all the cuddles she wants. I am thankful for Mr. Beez running interference today. I try to be patient. But try is not always the same as succeed. And when I don’t do as well as I would wish, I’m glad he is there to help out.

So the remainder of today involves holiday parties and writing briefs. I have two very big filings at the end of the year, which is unusual because December is usually a slow month for litigation. Truth be told, I would rather work hard and bank the hours now, and have a little more room to breathe in the warmer months. Winter is not my thing and I don’t mind spending the hours in the warm indoors takin’ care of business.

I’ve been looking forward to the release of the BlogHer Food agenda, ever since BlogHer announced that the conference will take place in Miami this year.  It was released earlier this week, and after much thinking and talking with Mr. Beez and thinking some more, I have decided I am not going to go this year.  This year’s conference has a much more commercial focus than last year. Most of the sessions are tailored towards brand/blogger relations, and people who want to turn their food blogging into a career, whether through a book or company or what have you.  It focuses a lot more on the cooking side of food blogging, and has nothing on the restaurant/food enthusiast side of blogging.  This is not a criticism in the least. The conference provides a totally valuable forum for a huge number of people. It’s just not the right emphasis or approach for my interests, so I decided that my time would be better spent just picking my own weekend to visit Miami at another time. I was considering buying my ticket earlier, but now I’m glad that I held off, because I think the event would not be the right fit for me. Big Summer Potluck is still TOTALLY in the cards, and now that I see that Big Traveling Potluck is only a bit of a drive from my Mom’s house, that too is a possibility….gotta choose FAST though, because tickets go on sale Monday!

During the last few weeks I have gone a little crazy with Amazon purchases (lots of sales!), so I’ve got the following books locked and loaded: The Goldfinch (Donna Tartt). And the Mountains Echoed (Khaled Hosseini), Burial Rites (Hannah Kent), Orange is the New Black (Piper Kerman), Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card), Books 2-5 of the Song of Ice And Fire (aka Game of Thrones) (George R.R. Martin). I am also 2% into Infinite Jest (David Foster Wallace), but I can only hope to get that read by the end of my life, forget the end of this year.
What do yinz guys have on your nightstands?

2

Imaginary Mean Mom

In my imaginary world where I’m perfect at everything, I am a mean mom.  Not gratuitously cruel, just very strict. And as a result, my child behaves impeccably.

In the real world, I’m a pushover. I never in a million years thought I’d turn out to be a pushover parent.  In those years before-child, I had a sharp tongue, quick to judge any parent who showed the slightest inclination to cave to the whining of their offspring.

Then life happened. A life in which I am quite literally paid to fight with people all day. All very long day as a matter of fact. And by the time I get home, for the love of Pete I just don’t want to fight with people any more, can we just let it go?

And consequently, I let my kid get away with a lot of nonsense. I feel like a lame parent about it, but we’re talking about me letting her slide for jumping on the couch when her dad’s not looking or letting her eat noodles with her fingers, it’s not like I’m letting her smoke crack in the closet.

Then, of course, Tuesday happened.

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Baby Beez was in quite a pathetic sickly state when I picked her up from daycare Monday. She was actually laying on the floor, moaning. She didn’t have a fever, but she clearly did not feel well. And then we went through Monday night. She kept me up almost all night, alternating between coughing her head off, whining to come into bed with me, me caving and saying “fine, just climb in my bed” and then after 20 minutes of her spinning around in the sheets like a whirling dervish, I snap “GO BACK TO YOUR BED, I NEED SOME REST.”

I kept the sicky child home on Tuesday.  She spent the morning resting calmly. As the day wore on, she was clearly feeling better, because she went from resting on the couch to climbing on the ceiling.  Before bedtime, I spent an hour with her playing “scaring simulator,” which involved putting a stuffed animal on the recliner, and then we snuck up and ROARED. Six hundred times.

Then it was bedtime, and she roared her terrible roars and showed her terrible claws and gnashed her terrible teeth. But I tossed her in the bed and said “SLEEP” because I was desperate to get some exercise in. And I went downstairs and plugged my earphones in my ears and hopped on the treadmill and jogged jogged jogged and then…..there is Baby Beez. Downstairs. Coloring at her easel. Because naturally, what else would she be doing when she didn’t feel like sleeping?

I feel like if Regulator Daddy were home she wouldn’t have dared sneak out of bed. But he’s not. And so she’s under the supervision of a sucker. And you know what I did…of course I said “Hey kid, I’ve got 20 minutes left in this workout. So enjoy the time while you’ve got it.”

SERIOUSLY, WHO DOES THAT.

Once my workout was over, I hauled her back upstairs, put her back in bed. And a few moments later, the door creaked open. I scolded her to get back in bed. She started the whining about “But I want yoooo” and dear lord I wanted to take a shower and I needed just one minute away from whining and I stirred up a deep roar of “GET. BACK. IN. YOUR. BED. NOW. AND. GO. TO. SLEEP.”

And that room was silent the rest of the night. I need to try this enforcer stuff more often.

1

A Big Bed for a Big Girl

I feel like we’ve been in potty training limbo forever. Probably because I first started getting worried about getting Baby Beez potty trained when she turned 2.  She then turned 3 this past September. Still not potty trained.  I’ve been assured that she’s still in the “average” range in terms of age of potty training. But she’s at that point where we can tell she is physically capable of using the potty, it’s just tipping the scale on the motivation.

We’ve tried putting her in undies a few times, with mixed results. We’ve bribed her with chocolate, with mixed results. Following the advice of multiple people I’ve vented to in the last few weeks, we’re going “cold turkey.”  This weekend we announced “no more diapers.” All underwear, all the time. And she’s had a few accidents, but generally it’s been OK.

Even though she’s 3, Baby Beez has still been in a crib. Mostly because it’s easier to keep her in one place, instead of giving her free reign to walk about.  We then realized that if we expect her to get out of bed and use the potty, she has to actually be able to get out of her bed.  It was time to put the crib away and go shopping.

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We let Baby Beez pick out her own bed.  As much as I hate princesses, I decided that if she wanted princesses, she could have princesses. Or better yet, maybe she would not want princesses? There were plenty of options: Sofia the First, Minnie Mouse, Elmo, Jake & the Neverland Pirates, but when she saw the Monsters University bed, her mind was firmly made up: Mike and Sully it must be.  A fine choice.

I’m not much for nostalgia.  Seeing Baby Beez get bigger does not make me sad. It makes me excited and happy. She was cute and squishy as a baby, but I love being ale to do things with her and talk with her. As she gets bigger, we are able to do more and more together. I get excited for all the future milestones.  Still, it is strange to compare her now to pictures of her as a tiny thing. To think how there was a time when all she could do was cry and grunt, and now she can announce “I’M GOING TO BE A SCARER!”

On the topic of my big girl, we went to the library this week. Baby Beez wanted “Pirate Books.” Baby Beez asked the librarian politely for assistance, and the librarian returned with a nice big stack.  We sat down on the reading cushions and cracked open a book.  I asked her “Would you like me to read a book to you?”  She replied, “No. You read it yourself.”  Smartypants.

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And like her father, she loves the computer.

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But back to the crib.

Goodbye, Crib.

Goodbye, Crib.


It is strange to watch these baby things go obsolete. We do not plan for a second, and now we have this perfectly lovely crib, a kind gift from all the grandparents, and have no idea what to do with it.  Cribs are such a symbol of a new baby, so many parents want to get their own new crib for their first baby and hand it down to subsequent ones.  Although I have many friends who are having babies right now, a crib is not the first on their list of hand-me-down wishes.  I would like to see it go to someone who will use it, and will likely send some emails to various women’s resource organizations, to find a new mom who can use it well.

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So here she is, my big girl, snuggled up in her big girl bed.  This morning, she woke up so proud. She didn’t wet the bed, she went right to the potty and used the potty. All like a big girl.  She’s our big girl.