April 28, 2005

Sometimes even Mommy reads the Communist Manifesto

Part of being a parent is have to read the same books over and over and over and over…

But the joy you see on you child’s face as she sees Clifford, Elmer, or Foo Foo do their thing again and again makes it all worth while.

But every now and then it’s nice to relieve the monotony by “enhancing” the story. Livening it up just a bit. Sometimes Cifford is rescuing Emily-Elizabeth from terrorists, sometimes little bunny Foo-Foo is giving the field mice a lift down the road, sometimes Elmer is just being ostracized because he’s different – and different is bad (insert evil grin here).

Whatever the enhancement, what’s the harm as long as Leina enjoys the story, right? Well, Chrissie has “caught” me doing this on several occasions and she always gives me a stern look and hints that “maybe Leina likes Mommy to read more than Daddy ‘cause Mommy reads the story right...” I think Leina prefers Mommy to read because all day long Mommy plays subliminal messages saying, “Daddy reads like a wienie… only let Mommy read to you… Daddy reads yucky!”

I’ll be investigating this phenomenon as soon as I stop feeling compelled to do the dishes, fold the laundry and constantly tell my wife what a wonderful person she is…

So the other day I was not at all astonished when Leina picked up Clifford looked at me scornfully, headed straight for Mommy saying, “READ” and I suddenly felt compelled to go wash the dishes. But imagine my surprise (and delight) when, as I walked in to the kitchen, I heard Mommy saying, “Clifford the Big Red Communist has thrown off the shackles of his capitalist oppressors and is heading for the motherland…”

I must confess a big smile crossed my face and I thought, “ah, sometimes even Mommy likes to read the Communist Manifesto.”

Posted by Kevin at 11:44 AM | Comments (0)

April 27, 2005

Sesame Street Rocks!

I barely remember watching Sesame Street ™ as a toddler, I really have more memories of watching it as a teenager and thinking, “who makes these boring shows?” As a young lad into the Transformers™, GI Joe™, and anything that when “wiz-bang” I always thought Sesame Street was “dumb.” But now as a parent (though not necessarily considered a grown-up by the Wife) I have a new appreciation for the Street. Not only is the show educational, funny, cute and so enthralling to toddlers you can clean your whole kitchen in one show, but it rocks too!

Chrissie’s wonderful friend Jeanie (Beanie) gave Leina the Songs from the Street last Christmas and the two of us (Leina and I) have been rocking out to it ever since. It is the best set of CDs. My favorite disc is the 90s one in which Steven Tyler sings Trash with Oscar the Grouch, and the Spin Doctors sing Two Princes with Elmo, Zoe, and Telly and the Dixie Chicks cover Sing.

Leina is almost as enthusiastic about this album as her dad is. Chrissie couldn’t figure out what she meant when she kept asking for, “Ernie-Burt Music!” until I explained we’d been listening, non-stop, in the car for the last few weeks. So now when Leina asks for the songs Chrissie just says, “that’s Daddies’ music, only he can play it and only in the car.” Sneaky Mommy. But that’s ok with me. I could listen to Hootie sing Hold My Hand with Elmo all day long.

Songs from the Street Box Set Cover

Posted by Kevin at 11:55 AM | Comments (1)

April 25, 2005

Hard Life

I'm exhausted.

Munchie has been down for a week with the Daniel virus. Fever of 103+, vomitting, stuffed nose, and no appetite. Every day I chant to myself, "tomorrow will be better" as I attempt to hold down my screaming, flailing child and stuff medicine down her throat. And each day, no improvement. So it was no surprise really, when she woke every 45 minutes last night to wail out a pitiful ......


Of course, there's nothing I can do except lie there in bed hoping she'll fall back asleep which she does only to wake again with the same complaint. Kevin managed to sleep through the softer cries. Maybe it's because she's calling for "mommy" that I can't tune it out. Anyway, this morning both Leina and I were a total and complete wreck. But the good news is that her fever is gone! Yes, that's right, she appears to have finally turned the corner. I'm so relieved I could cry. She's asleep now and I'm about to follow suit.

These baby germs, I tell you, are deadly.

Posted by Chrissie at 02:01 PM | Comments (2)

April 20, 2005

All Gone

My house in empty. Rooms that once held sleeping babies have reverted to mere storage units. My kitchen cubbards are full of dishes and there are more than enough forks to go around. Even the dishwasher sits idle, waiting for a load.

Unc-a Dan and Auntie Suzy are back home and Tutu and Papa are in LA leaving Leina and I to our own devices. While they were all here, it was chaos. Eating in shifts, shuttling kids to and from parks and stores, trying to nurse the sick one and keep the other two entertained with different toys. Chaos. But it was also wonderful.

Yesterday, as Kevin and I sat down to a very quiet and docile dinner, I told him that I understand now the benefit of having a big family. There's a kind of chaotic love that only manifests itself when you have siblings and cousins and aunts and grandpas running around under the same roof together. As my due date approaches, Kevin and I had begun to wonder if maybe we've messed up a good thing. Leina is so happy and easy. Adding another girl to the mix will mean disrupting our lives and well oiled routine. But after this family visit, we realized that sure, it's tough to have siblings, but there is also something magical about family that outweights all other burdens. So bring on the little sister!

Leina adored her cousins. Daniel was sick the whole time and pretty much stayed on the sofa with a parent and some kleenex but Leina still found him fascinating. She'd go up to say "hi" and ask how he was doing. At one point she told him to "wait" while she went to get something to make him "feel better." She rummaged around in the other room and returned carrying Daniel's favorite stuffed animal, Spot.

Sammy was a ball of fire. He ran about, babbling in his big baby voice, and showing Leina all kinds of neat tricks she didn't think about before. Like climbing up on her kid table, playing with sticks, and pounding on the sliding glass door with various objects. One thing we quickly realized is that Leina is quite the bossy boiler (to quote Thomas) and she adored mothering Sammy. She would direct him where to sit, or run after him to make sure he had his hat on outside. She did pretty well with sharing but there were the unavoidable pulling matches which I thought here pretty darn cute. Usually, Sammy would win and toward the end he'd learn to grab and run. Of course, Leina's running commentary helped. Once, Leina watched Sammy playing with some plastic worms. She must have decided she wanted to play with them too because suddenly she announced, to no one in particular, "Weina gwab it" and then she proceeded to do just that. Adorable.

Leina also adored Unc-a Dan. She would lie her head on his lap and rub his leg with unfettered affection. Auntie Suzy was the song lady who could amaze Leina with a song for just about every situation. Papa retained his title of "silly" and Tutu introduced her to her latest favorite book, The Hungry Catapiller. I can't even count how many catapillers I have drawn to date but I will soon pass my previous Frosty record at this rate.

Yes, bringing our whole family together was a recipe for disaster that turned into a resounding success. Don't know when it will happen again, but I sure am grateful that everyone took the time and hassle to come and visit. And, as Leina asked me this morning after seeing no one downstairs to greet her, "back soon?" To which I could honestly reply, "I sure hope so."

Posted by Chrissie at 04:09 PM | Comments (0)

April 07, 2005


Leina woke up from her nap yesterday and settled into the rocking chair with Elmo and a book. It's this lift the flap farm animal book that she loves and she spent the next few minutes opening flaps and showing Elmo all the animals.

She reached the page all about shapes and started naming them. Circle, triangle, square. I consider these the "primary" shapes - sort of like red, blue, and yellow. You know, the basics. She then lifted up the picture of the watermellon and looked inside. She thought a moment and then said....


I was over-joyed! An oval! This was big stuff! I gave her a big hug and beamed at her while she sat, watching me.

"Mommy," Leina began thoughfully, "duckies pull."

She sat there, her thought voiced, and watched me with her big blue eyes.

"Ummmm," I began and looked down at her book. I didn't see any ducks or pulling going on so I responded with the answer most favored by mothers of toddlers. "Uh huh, sweetie."

Leina was unimpressed. She tried again. "No mommy, duckies pull oval..... silly duckies." I swear she let out a ruefull chuckle and shook her head after this comment and proceeded to flip to a new page. I was still a step or two behind my small daughter and then the clouds parted and it hit me. In one of her Baby Einstein videos about shapes, two duckies pull on a circle to make it an oval. Yes, that's right, an oval. I was stunned.

As she continued to rock and baby talk to Elmo, I leaned in close and whispered, "honey... you had me at oval."

Posted by Chrissie at 05:23 PM | Comments (0)

April 06, 2005

Poor Dada

Poor Kevin. He's having a rough week.

For the last month, Kev has been on swing shift. This means his quality Leina time has come in the mornings. He gets her from her crib and watches a little PBS with her, then has a little breakfast and relaxes on the sofa while she wakes up. Leina is such fun in the morning. She's energetic and happy and a real charmer. So even though swing is hard, it does have it's perks.

But this week, Kevin returned to normal working hours. Now, he only has a few minutes with Leina in the morning before he heads to work. The bulk of his Leina time falls in the evening when he gets home. And let me tell you, he's out of shape.

On Monday, he came home and I set them up in the living room while I went into the kitchen to try and clean up after dinner. I was just starting to load the dishwasher when I felt something pulling at my leg saying, "up mamma, up!" Sure enough, there was munchkin. I shooed her back to Kevin but a few moments later she was back. This time with a book asking me to "weed it." Again, I firmly directed her back to the living room with the instructions that "dada do it." The next time she returned, I decided to investigate. I went over and spied Kevin, lying on his back in the middle of the living room. His eyes were closed and in between big yawns he was vaguely patting the ground next to him mumbling, "come play by daddy Leina....(yawn)...come play nappy with daddy..."

Yeah, that looked like a bundle of laughs. No wonder my small child was begging me to rescue her from daddy "play time."

Then, last night, I noticed a disturbing trend. I left Kevin to get Leina into her PJ's while I went to scrub the toilets. (Trying to scrub toilets with Leina around is like trying to roll up a ball of yarn infront of a kitten. Impossible.)

I finished up and noticed it was very, very quiet in the house. Curious, I walked over to Leina's room. I looked inside and found Kevin lying on his back, napping on the floor. Leina was no where in sight. I checked the crib, behind the chair, and in the closet. Nothing.

"Hey, Kev, where's Leina?" I asked.

"Huh? What?" Kevin mumbled and lifted his head to look at me.

I decided further questioning to be futile and instead began searching for the child. I found her standing in our room in the dark looking quite lost and confused. Apparently watching daddy nap and lost it's luster and she had wandered off in search of something a tad more adventurous. Once located, I placed child and father on the bed. Kevin launched right into a game of "daddy sleeping" and I quickly realized that the adjustment period from swing to days might be a tad longer than I thought.

Poor Kevin. I think he's going to need some time to slowly build himself back up to night time play. After a long day at work and a good meal, he's ready for an evening doze on the sofa. Leina, however, is coming off of her afternoon nap and ready for some serious playing. We'll see how tonight goes. Hopefully, Kevin will be up for more than playing "tuck in daddy on the sofa" because I have laundry to fold and Leina's favorite game is take-the-folded-clothes-out-of-the-basket-as-soon-as-mom-puts-them-in. Yup, she's a wild one!

Posted by Chrissie at 02:37 PM | Comments (0)

April 03, 2005

Nightly Battles

Every night at bed time is a battle in our house, but it's not what you are thinking. Oh no, Leina heads off to bed like a little angel and talks herself to sleep while snuggling with Elmo. No, it's her little sister who is putting up a fight.

Every night, baby sister and I duke it out. Every night, I toss and turn until the wee hours of the morning because this unborn child I am carrying is a horrible sleeper. This does not bode well.

For those not familiar with the "joys" of pregnancy, one thing your OB will tell you is that you have to change your sleeping habits. You can not longer sleep on your belly (but this is a no-brainer really). More importantly, as you progress in your pregnancy, you are no longer allowed to sleep on your back. I guess the weight of the kid, et al, is so great that it will squish your organs and cut off circulation to your lower extremities. I don't know about the organ squishing but I can vouch for the circulation cut off. After about 15 minutes on my back, I begin to loose feeling in my legs and toes. It isn't very pleasant.

So as a fat pregnant woman, I am stuck with sleeping on either my right or left side. No big deal really, I've always been a side sleeper. But the problem isn't me, the problem is the kid. She *hates* to be smushed. When I roll onto my side she erupts with violence. Kicking, punching, hitting, pinching, and even (I believe) biting me in her unborn fury. She goes "open loop" when I lie on my side. And so, there I am, trying to fall asleep while a mini tasmanian devil lets loose on my innards. After 20 minutes or so I cave and roll onto my back. The small black belt in my belly immediately subsides her protest and drifts off into calm sleep. 20 minutes later, I've lost feeling below my knees and my bladder is near bursting from the pressure of the sumo wrestler in my belly so I roll to my other side. This, of course, is like ringing the bell between boxing rounds and my mini-Ali leaps from her fetal stool into action attacking me with a fury only the unborn possess.

And so it goes. Side. Punches. Back. Numbness. Side. Punches. Back. Numbess. Eventually, around 2am, I'm so exhausted that even being mauled from inside no longer keeps me awake and I fall into a fitful doze. I can't remember the last time I fell asleep without being pummled. It's some freaky form of maternal abuse that has yet to be recognized by the legal system.

Kevin, in his infinate compassion, has forbidden me from lying too close to his back. He says feeling the baby kicking in my belly keeps him up. Heaven forbid!

So here I am, tired and ready to sleep, but knowing that ahead of me lies a battle I simply cannot win. I figure this is not a good sign. Baby sister isn't even born and already she's kicking my belly. Literally! Ack!

Posted by Chrissie at 10:22 PM | Comments (0)