Thursday, April 28, 2011

The tooth fairy stops by

On Tuesday night, the tooth fairy made her maiden voyage to our place. A little sooner than anticipated, since B is only 4. The backstory: Bianca bumped her front teeth ages ago. It wasn't traumatic. No blood, stitches, or ER visits involved. But apparently it doesn't take much to kill a baby her last dental checkup we learned that she has zero cavities, but her front tooth had died as a result of the impact and would PROBABLY have to go. It took months for that probably to change to a definitely, because they wanted to see if the tooth would heal on its own. (Both front upper front teeth were impacted, but one apparently healed itself, and the other didn't. Bizarre!)

So, Tuesday was the big day! I was torn over how to prepare her. I didn't want to freak her out. In the end, it was no big deal: it took all of 15 minutes. A little Motrin, some ice cream, and a visit from the tooth fairy, and she was good as new! And she was SUPER excited to show her friends at school--apparently losing a tooth early is quite the status symbol among the pre-K set. It makes them seem older and more sophisticated (like, you know, 6).


After we got home. I know this face so well...the "I see the camera and I'm not going to smile, mom" face.

There it is! The "after" shot.

This is just a cute photo of her showing off her writing from yesterday. Sans tooth, but you can hardly tell.

It SHOULD be at least another year before the tooth fairy stops by again. Fingers crossed.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Our weekend: Easter eggs, trees, haircuts, and seeds

Busy, busy Easter weekend. Our house lost three massive trees out front (thanks to a professional tree service), Mia lost three inches of hair (thanks to yours truly), and we all gained countless chocolate eggs (thanks to the Easter Bunny. OK--also me). And, because the sun finally peeked through the clouds for an entire day, I got some gardening in.

We went to a huge (and crazy!) egg hunt on Saturday. Bianca with her new buddy, the Easter Bunny. Second only to Santa.

We wanted to get a pic of both girls with the Bunny. But Mia couldn't stop staring at him (she also tried to shove a cookie in his mouth). Luckily, the fake costume mouth prevented the cookie from going in.

Trying some candy--evidently displeased with it.

That's better! Mia was all smiles Sunday morning when she hunted eggs in our rec room. These two photos are a good before and after. I chopped her hair in back on Saturday night in a hasty "Oh my gosh tomorrow's Easter and we'll be taking photos" attempt at grooming. So now, instead of a wispy, feathery baby mullet, she has a cute bob (which got a little shorter than I intended, thanks to a wiggly subject). I won't be giving Vidal Sassoon a run for his money in the haircutting department any time soon. Still, it's pretty cute.

Being a big sister means you get the lion's share of the eggs.

A rare pic of the four of us during Easter dinner at Grandma's. Two girls in candy comas. We had to bribe them to sit still and fake these cheesy grins. I think we should ask for the candy back--we didn't even get smiles with teeth!

COMING SOON: FOOD. A few of my garden starts. One of our raised garden beds is visible outside the window in the background. If the sun would come back, maybe I could actually put it to use!

Soon, I'll post photos of our house sans trees! It's an amazing difference.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Saturday snapshot

Mia hanging out in the waiting room of the portrait studio before her spring photos with Bianca. Probably the best photo we got all morning! For some reason, professional photography sessions turn my normally smiley, relaxed kids into fidgeting, fighting little pouters. So very frustrating. At least I used a Groupon to buy the session, so I didn't waste gazillions of dollars. Just a Saturday morning!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

B goes to school. I get the education.

First day!

Bianca's been begging to go to school since she was 3, and last week, she finally got her wish. She's enrolled in a half-day Montessori nearby. The first week is in the bag, and it was educational all around. She learned some; I think I learned more.

We started school mid-year, and everyone else is already in the swing of things. This means that we have to find out footing quickly and without much assistance. So, for the benefit of my fellow moms, here are my Monday through Friday mommy lessons:

Monday: Learned that her school offers valet drop-off and pick-up service. Best. Thing. Ever! It's so gratifying to just drive up and drop her off without getting out, unbuckling two kids, juggling toddler/lunch/various forms/backpack, walking B to class, then reloading and doing the whole thing again 3 hours later. Bliss!

Tuesday: Critical "aha" moment today! Learned that school actually starts at 9am when the first bell rings, and NOT at 9:05 when the second bell rings. I'd been under the impression that the first bell was merely a warning. Nope. We got to school at 9:02, missed valet drop-off (!!!), and walked into her classroom just as the other kids were settling in. It's amazing how much being two minutes late threw my little routine-oriented kid off her game. Lesson learned.

Wednesday: Learned that B has a new friend named Mia at school: "But not my sister Mia, mom. She has different hair." And that I shouldn't even bother trying to get her to wear anything to school that isn't a dress. It's just not happening.

Thursday: Learned that she isn't eating the organic Bunny Grahams crackers that I pack in her lunch. But she enjoys sharing and trading them with her new friends. Fair enough.

Friday: Learned that even a kid who loves school will beg to stay home once in awhile. As a compromise, I allowed her to wear a princess dress. (Well, the top to a princess outfit, over her regular dress.) It worked--no self-respecting fashionista could resist going to school to show off a look like THAT.

After all of this, I'm wondering what week two has in store for us. I'm sure it will involve more dresses, more snack-sharing, and, I'm hoping, fewer drop-off malfunctions. I may not be a quick study, but I'm learning!

Wednesday: Another day, another dress! I was told that by lunchtime she was wearing her headband as a belt. That's my girl!

Saturday snapshot

Steve walking with the girls at the YMCA (from last Saturday). Our two girls are so different: Mia insists on walking, while B wants to be carried like a princess. Don't worry--even though it looks like she's about to hit her head, she didn't.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The life of a little sister (in 34 seconds)

As a firstborn myself, I admit that I didn't have much empathy for the plight of the little sister, until I had a second daughter of my own. Now, as I watch my poor secondborn toddle through life in the shadow of her scene-stealing big sis, I feel a kinship with little sisters everywhere.

Little sisters, I totally get it now. You have every toy snatched away, every quiet moment interrupted, and every milestone upstaged. Everything you can do, big sister does bigger and better. And she doesn't miss an opportunity to demonstrate this fact to the world. And yet, you keep on trucking, quietly winning people over with charm, dimples, and sheer dogged determination.

This 34-second video shows the dynamic on a very small scale. The life of a little sister: you really, really want to do something (like go down a slide). Your big sister, then all of her friends, nearly fall over themselves trying to get past you so they can do it first. You don't mind; in fact, this jostling is your idea of fun. Anything to feel like a big kid!

After waiting patiently, you finally get your turn. You enjoy it immensely, mostly because for a brief moment you are allowed to do something without being knocked down, pinched, poked, shoved, or steamrolled.

Then you stand perfectly still and look all around to make sure said sister doesn't clothesline you in her excitement to get back to the slide before you do. (Note the crazy jump B throws in at the end--an extra measure to divert any undue attention from Mia.) And the whole scene starts over.

To my three little sisters, Laura, Kendra, and Sarah: what can I say? Without big sisters to stand in their way, little sisters wouldn't be the tenacious, clever, durable creatures they are. You're welcome.

P.S. Sorry for the sideways vid. Making a mental note to work on my phone-video technique.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

You, too, can have a glamorous delivery day!

Most of the time, I’m thrilled to be parenting in the age of the social network. I can ooh and ahh over faraway friends’ baby pics, commiserate with my online mom pals when I’m having a bad day, and get great advice on everything from potty training to pacifiers from experienced moms I know and trust.

But then I saw this news story about how half of new moms are now primping in the delivery room, because they know their birth photos will be all over Facebook within hours. Another article offers “pointers for a glamorous delivery day:” get a blowout, bring lipgloss and mascara, and if necessary, flatiron your hair between contractions (I wish I were kidding about that one).

Of course, celebrities lead the way when it comes to post-partum perfection, putting even more pressure on the rest of us regular moms. Earlier this weekend, celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe debuted her days-old son Skylar, looking as meticulously made-up as a runway model (and just about as thin, too).

Now, I’m all for looking and feeling your best. Every expectant mom deserves unlimited mani/pedis, massages, and as much pampering as she can get, especially in her ninth month, when she feels about as attractive as a beluga whale.

But in the delivery room? Flatironing between contractions? Seriously?

Does living in the social networking era mean that new moms don’t even get a few hours off from the pressure to be glamorous, thin, and camera-ready? Don’t we get a day to revel in the joy of motherhood without worrying about the perfect blowout?

If there were ever a time to let go of the need to be viewed as an object of desire, it’s in the delivery room. (You are desirable--that's how you got knocked up in the first place, remember?) Moms who’ve just given birth are beautiful, period. It doesn’t matter if they’re sporting a designer hospital gown or false eyelashes or whatever else they packed in their delivery-day makeup bag.

And flatironing during labor--come on. Those things get up to 400 degrees. If they came with comprehensive warning labels, I'm pretty sure DO NOT USE WHILE ATTEMPTING TO PUSH OUT A BABY would be warning number one.

I know many people out there will disagree with me, and say that they deserve to feel pretty, that they want to look back on photos of themselves looking gorgeous on this monumental day in their lives.

OK, fine. But I still think it’s sad. If our culture recognized birthing women as the beautiful, powerful, awe-inspiring beings that we are, maybe we wouldn’t feel as much pressure to look like supermodels in the delivery room.

Maybe we’d realize that this special day should be about bringing a new life into the world, not broadcasting a primped, beautified vision of perfection to the world. Maybe we’d view flushed faces and tired eyes and sweaty hair as badges of honor. Because they are.

Maybe it’s not realistic. But, for the sake of new families everywhere, I honestly hope the pressure to be glamorous doesn’t overshadow the real beauty of giving birth.

Me on Mia's birthday. Makeup-free, decidedly untrendy, and happy beyond words.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Ballet beginnings

Bianca's first ballet class today. Adorable and bittersweet (made more so, possibly, by the fact that she starts "real school" on Monday). Is she really this big already?

She did great, and she was ready. I've been wanting to sign her up for ballet since she was 2, but I'm glad I waited until she asked for classes. When I started talking to her about how to behave in ballet class, she came back with "I know! I know! Don't disturb other people!" Think we've had a few of those conversations before? :)