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April 28, 2008

Bambi vs Bratz

Tammy, if you're out there, after you said that your daughter loves Toy Story I went out and rented it for Mads. One more Fantasia viewing and I was going to lose my mind. Anyways, it was a hit, so thank you! Well, the popcorn was the big draw, as usual. But she’s been talking about dinosaurs, sharks and cowboys ever since, so I think she liked it. Oh, and Mr. Potato Head, which took a while to figure out because it sounds kind of like “Mido-Papo-Ted” when she says it.

Admittedly, there aren’t really any female characters, with the exception of Little Bo Peep who is kind of trampy, throwing herself at every toy with a plastic bulge between his legs. Thankfully she restrains herself from shoving her cleavage at the Etch-a-Sketch. It’s kind of sad when you can’t even trust your kid to a Disney movie. I don’t want poor Mads ending up on a therapist’s couch 20 years from now tracing all of her troubles back to the obvious self-esteem issues of poor, enslaved, dependent Cinderella.


But I have to say, pseudo-misogyny and all, I’ll take Bambi over the Bratz dolls any day. I realize that Barbie has some questionable attributes, but at least she has the good sense to mask them under the guise of an all-American image. She may have spent too much time in the backseat of Ken’s hot rod when I was growing up, but she did have a career (sometimes) and clothes that covered her (for the most part). The Bratz wear more make-up than they do clothes, and come accessorized with boom boxes and thigh high boots. And then there are the Bratz Babyz: Newborns with weaves and barely there onesies and bottles of formula (or is that expressed breast milk?) on giant chains around their necks. Don’t even get me started on them.

As a mom, I try to never say never because so many of the things I used to say never to I now do (like feed my 2-year-old Goldfish and turkey dogs while she watches her third episode of The Wiggles that day). But I will go on record as saying that there will never be Bratz in our house. That’s one I’ll go to battle over.

Dora is looking better and better. She’s bilingual, she can read a map, she heaves around a backpack full of all sorts of crap all day long so you know she’s got decent upper body strength. As far as role models go, I guess we could do worse.


April 28, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

April 24, 2008

Disney's dark side

FantasiaI’m going to take a day off from complaining about Maddie’s early risings. Not because they’ve stopped - they haven’t. But I’m now trying to pretend it’s not happening. When all else fails – curtains, sound machines, bedtime manipulation, begging, bribery - you can always count on good old denial.

So we’ve started a fun new family tradition: Movie night!

Every Saturday after Maddie’s dinner (which these days consists of three pieces of pasta, a bite of chicken, five peas and a whole lot of ketchup), we make a bowl of popcorn, turn off the lights, and get comfy on the couch to watch a movie. The popcorn is key to this activity. Without the popcorn, she would probably be turning the light on and off a hundred times and yelling at us to get “Up!” But give the kid a bowl of popcorn and she is content.

We’ve been having movie night for the past few weeks, but we’re still on the same flick – Fantasia – because she’s obsessed. It really is a great movie, I remember watching it endlessly with my grandma when I was a kid. But somehow seeing it as an adult is a slightly more disturbing experience.

If you’ve seen it, you’ll remember the part where Mickey Mouse and his friend the animated broom are carting buckets of water from the well down into the basement. I’m assuming it is the basement of some castle since Mickey seems to be a magician’s apprentice. I’m not entirely sure, Walt was a little sketchy on the details.

Anyways, Mads is loving Mickey and we’re telling her, “Oh look, there’s Mickey’s friend Mr. Broom! What a good friend he is, see him helping Mickey? What a nice broom. Mickey loves Mr. Broom, see Mads?”

Here’s where things take a surprising and pretty brutal turn. “And now look, Mickey is…. Wait... Mickey! What are you doing, Mickey! For the love of god, stop!” As Mickey picks up an axe and retreats to the shadows to viciously hack poor Mr. Broom into splinters as the music reaches a crescendo. WTF, Mickey? It's like Hitchcock meets Disney. Try explaining that to a 2-year-old.

Thankfully Mads doesn’t ask for an explanation, the fact that Mickey is a savage axe murderer doesn't seem to phase her. But F and I have been left traumatized. I’m afraid Disneyland will never be quite the same.


April 24, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

April 22, 2008

Just an update...

Today she woke up 2.5 hours early. Awesome.

I might seriously consider running away if only I had the energy to pack. Or to run.

I've heard from a few of you going through similarly painful sleep problems these days. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one up at the crack of dawn with a wailing kid, mounting frustration, and a strong pot of coffee. I'll be thinking of you all tomorrow! Good luck, comrades.

April 22, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 21, 2008

Disturbing on so many levels...

I don't think I will be the only one who is slightly horrified by this new kids' book. Then again, maybe I'm just crazy. Maybe happiness really is a great rack, which might explain my cruddy mood today.

Actually, I think it has more to do with Maddie's developing sleep disorder than it does with the old B cup bras in the dresser. I had a minor break down over it last night after she woke up 2 hours early and napped 1 hour less. It's been a while since I've actually cried from sheer frustration. Serenity now.

Part of the problem is that she insists on launching her loveys over the side of the crib, and then goes into a panic when she can't get them back. Note the plural. A few months ago she discovered her back-up lovey in the laundry basket and just about lost her mind. TWO? TWO! It was like she'd reached the Holy Land. Anyways, she now has to have both at all times.

Last night we had a long discussion about why both blankets need to stay in bed...

Me: "Where were the blankets today, Maddie?"
Her: "Floor!"
Me: "Who put them on the floor?"
Her: "Mavvie!" (she calls herself Mavvie for some reason)
Me: "Maddie, blankets need to stay in bed, right? When blankets are on the floor Maddie gets sad and cries."
Her: "Oh yeah. Cry." (Insert fake crying noise and suitably pathetic face here)
Me: "So blankets stay in bed. Where do blankets stay?"
Her: "Bed!"
Me: "That's right, bed! So where will blankets be tomorrow?"
Her: "Floor!"



April 21, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 18, 2008

The soothing sounds of marital strife

Babynoise I’m sitting in the dark, just me and the glow of my computer. It’s 6:45am and Maddie is sleeping. I hope.

She has been waking up early these days, as I bitched and moaned about a couple of weeks ago. Some moms go with the flow when it comes to these things, but not me. I am a problem solver, which is a nice way of saying I am a control freak. So I ran right out and got a dark curtain and a sound machine.

Poor girl, she’s found the whole thing entirely confusing. I don’t know who decided that the sound of a roaring waterfall by your bed is somehow soothing, but to a 2-year-old it’s just plain freaky. She seems used to it already, but for the first few nights she kept pointing at the new curtain and saying, “Noisy window!” I pretended it was totally normal to hear water rushing through your bedroom in the evenings and she looked at me like I had gone mental. So yeah, pretty much our normal routine.

The sound machine has caused other unexpected problems in our home, however. F is entirely against it, convinced that being in close proximity to white noise each night is going to cause permanent hearing loss. If only you could see how hard I’m rolling my eyes right now. Unfortunately, he has seen it, which hasn’t really helped matters.

So we’ve been battling over the stupid thing for the past week or so, him quoting audiometric standards and regulations and me rebutting with links from Yahoo! Answers on decibels and such things. If it’s on the internet it’s gotta be true, right? I think we’ve settled on a compromise: He puts her to bed with the sound machine on low, and then an hour later I pretend to go to the washroom during a commercial break but sneak into her room and secretly turn it up. Everyone’s happy.

Speaking of happy, I hope you all watched The Office last night… Jim & Pam! Jam! Sigh. It’s the little things that make me delirious with joy.


April 18, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 15, 2008

Dear Moms: You're doing great!

A_4 Early this morning I saw a woman getting off of the bus - purse on one shoulder, diaper bag on the other, and a 2-year-old in a sling happily sucking on a sippy cup. I wanted to give her a standing ovation. The crazy part is, I'll bet that is just her regular morning routine. I'll bet she wakes at the crack of dawn and rarely thinks a thing about all of the effort it takes just to start her day. And I'll bet that not so long ago she slept till 9am on the weekends and spent her mornings lingering over coffee and a to-do list that involved nothing more pressing than picking up the drycleaning. Okay, now I'm talking about me. How times change.

I wish that I had given her a standing ovation, come to think of it. Isn't that what's missing in our lives, us moms? A pat on the back, a gold star - hell, I'd settle for a thumbs up. Sure, there is thanks to be found in the smiles and the belly giggles, in the drawings taped to the fridge and the bedtime hugs. But sometimes I wish this job came with report cards: "Carolyn is a wonderful addition to motherhood. Keep up the good work!"

And I only have one baby! Some of you have two, three, five! Those who work full time, who stay at home, who do it all on their own: Every day is full of minor miracles that go unnoticed.

So, to the mom who managed to clean the house, to the one who broke the binky addiction, to the one who survived CIO; to the mom who stuck with breastfeeding, to the one who made the hard decision to give it up, to the one who got her kids off to school fed and (almost) on time; to the mom who rises with the sun to get her baby to daycare, to the one who didn't sink into a puddle of mortification as her toddler kicked and screamed on the dirty grocery store floor: Gold stars all around!

Some days it feels like we accomplish nothing at all, but really just getting everyone to bed in one piece is something of an achievement. Keep up the good work girls, I'm proud of us all.


April 15, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

April 11, 2008

Counting my blessings: Volume 1

I haven’t exactly been Little Miss Sunshine lately, have I? Well, you’ll be happy to hear that’s all about to change. I’m going to take a page out of Oprah’s magazine and count my blessings – starting today. Prepare yourselves for an onslaught of joy and a battering of positivity.

SunshineSo, here goes…

  • Maddie has started singing. We’ve been pretending that she’s been singing for a year or so, but now she is actually singing. Discernible tunes: Ring Around the Rosy, Baa Baa Black Sheep, and of course the entire Wiggles songbook. Neither F nor I could find a tune with a good map and a flashlight, so I am hoping for her sake that musical talent skips a generation.
  • It’s supposed to be 20 degrees this weekend! Which, for you Southerners, means around 68 degrees, I think. I don’t know how this is going to happen, seeing as it’s currently pouring rain and freezing, but I have faith. I’ve got my bikini all laid out, ready to do some yard work and heavy lifting in full view of the neighbours. Time to tan those stretch marks, baby!
  • The other day when Maddie was going down for her nap, kicking and crying in sleepy protest, she said out of the blue, “Wu-voo Mommy, wu-voo Daddy.” That just breaks my heart, but in a good way. In the way where it suddenly and unexpectedly fills so much that it burst into a million shiny little pieces.
  • There are finally new episodes of The Office! That makes my world a little bit brighter. Sad? Sure. Pathetic? Maybe. But I’m okay with it. If for some reason you don’t watch The Office – maybe you are trapped under heavy furniture or haven’t yet mastered the remote control – you must start. Watch this. Good times.

Okay, I’m spent. I’m all happied out. I think I will try to make this a regular exercise. Don’t worry, you won’t find me dancing barefoot through fields of flowers any time soon. But we (okay, I) spend a lot of time obsessing over what is going wrong, I guess it never hurts to take a minute to remember all we have to be thankful for. That Oprah ain’t a billionaire for nothing.


April 11, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 08, 2008

Parenting 101: I love this

If you are a parent, or are soon to be a parent, or have plans Parentingto maybe one day be a parent, or even if you don't ever want to be a parent and want some reassurance on that decision, read this. It's a do-it-yourself tutorial, Parenting 101 you might call it. Hysterical. And actually, pretty accurate. I could have used it!

I remember when F and I first had Maddie, we would often look at each other in a sleep-deprived, head-pounding, confidence-deflated fog and say, "No one ever told us about this." Looking back, I think I was just as well prepared to be an astronaut as I was a mother. Parenthood has a crazy learning curve.

Before I completely terrify those of you with first babies on the way, the good news is that I did learn. Or, am learning, I suppose. It turns out there are things in me I didn't even know existed: Patience (well, sometimes), intense multi-tasking, the ability to be up close and personal with poop every day for years without wretching. And of course endless stores of love. Try as I might, I am fairly certain I will never master calculus or balance a chemistry equation (damn you, Science 9!), but by the time this journey is up I will be a great mom. I hope.

Right now we're smack dab in the middle of Lesson 6. And you know, she does sound amazingly like Fran Drescher.


April 8, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 07, 2008

Every village needs an idiot

First of all, did anyone catch the “pregnant man” on Oprah the other day? If not, here is part one of the interview. I generally take a neutral stance when it comes to Oprah, but honestly, what was she thinking devoting a show to this? Did she run out of free stuff to give away? Is Maury off the air? It hardly seems a pressing or even all that interesting issue.

But it did pretty much confirm the fact that just about everyone in the world is pregnant or ttc (fertility shorthand for “trying to conceive”). Except for me. I’ve been feeling the pressure lately to get started on baby number two, but I’m still not ready to succumb. Then again, this time last year I would have bet you a pony that there would never be a baby number two and now I am entertaining the idea, so I guess I’ve made some sort of progress.

Maddie turned 2 last week, and that seems to have signaled the start of the next reproductive cycle because suddenly everyone is asking me about it. “When’s the next baby?” I hear it daily from family, friends, friends of friends, the girl who works at the recycling depot down the road. Okay, I’m exaggerating. But if she knew that I have a 2-year-old at home and a still unoccupied womb she would have probably asked me, too.

Don't get me wrong, I am fully behind the whole “It takes a village” concept of childrearing; I just think that some people take it a bit too far. Some people have packed up their things and moved to the village even though they really weren’t invited; even though I don’t even know who the hell they are. These are the people who, despite being virtual strangers, can't seem to stop themselves from offering their .02 on every parenting decision that comes along. Questions and kindly offered words of wisdom are one thing, but it is the over-the-top doomsday prophesies that make me crazy. According to the unwanted villagers, raising Mads as an only child is simply not an option. Apparently she would be destined to grow up cruel and selfish and would never, ever learn how to share her Barbies. The horror.

I love being a mom. Revision: I love being Maddie's mom. Maybe next week I'll awake in a maternal frenzy and decide that I want a whole slew of kids: A soccer team, a summer camp, a small country. I'll be the slightly jigglier and far poorer Angelina Jolie. But for today I think I'll just stick with the one I've got.


April 7, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 03, 2008



The big reunion is tomorrow morning on the Today Show... Come on, who's excited?

Now what did I do with my NKOTB scrapbook?? Eek!

April 3, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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"Having a two-year-old is like having a blender that you don't have the top for." ~Jerry Seinfeld.

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