Tuesday, March 27, 2007

B-E Aggressive, and weekend happenings

Chloe has developed a new aggressiveness in the past couple of weeks. This kind of shatters my idea that she and I are kindred spirits in disposition and temperament. I, for example, have never growled and dive-bombed my head, with all 7 sharp teeth bared, after the hand of someone trying a bite of my food. I am not so earnest in my desire for 3rd or 4th helpings of my dinner that I screech and bang the table.

Maybe this is all tied to moving into a new room at school, where obviously they don't have enough food to go around. Survival of the fittest, or something like that.

We enjoyed our trip to Nashville this past weekend, to celebrate my grandfather's 75th and Mimi's (why should I publicize Mimi's age?) birthdays. Chloe spent lots of time looking cute for all the relatives, but I know her true nature.

Connor, meanwhile spent the time perfecting his crane kick:

I spent the time taking super-zoomed pictures of the animals at the Nashville Zoo:

And engaged in deadly-serious bouts of Nintendo Wii with Bwana:

Friday, March 23, 2007

It's Not Possessive!

So earlier this year I vowed to post more, in the form of lists. Then Chip didn't like my list about a TV show, and my momentum was lost. (It's probably best to leave the list-making to the professionals anyway.)

But some days I just don't want to tell you treacly stories about how cute my kids are. Today is one of those days. So here is a short list of my strongest, most irrational pet peeves.

1. Men who condescendingly refer to their wives as "the boss" and talk about how much trouble they're going to be in if they do so-and-so (have a beer with their friends, watch the game rather than going to a couples dinner party, etc.). If your wife is so petty, and your interests are so conflicting, then why did you marry her? If you know she's going to get mad, why are you doing it anyway? And if you don't mean any of it, then why are you driving me crazy! Ugh!

2. When anyone touches my knees.

3. Men who have longish, manicured fingernails. (I'm talking about you, Sayid.) For some reason I can't control, I have an intense negative reaction to this. So if you're one of these men, I apologize for the involuntary shudder you saw when we first met.

4. Misuse of apostrophes. I'm no grammar perfectionist, but this is my pet peeve of all pet peeves. If you are making a word possessive, you need an apostrophe. If you're making it plural, you DO NOT. For example: We had a perfectly lovely meal at Bari a few weeks ago, right up until they handed us their newsletter. Apparently they now have Martini Monday's! That's right, $5 martini's on Monday nights this month. I want to know- how did "nights" get spared in this massacre? Fortunately the food was good enough that I can overlook this. And it didn't hurt that those martini's were strong, either.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

(More) Birthday Girl

On Saturday we had family over to watch Chloe eat cake and open presents. She dressed the part of diva, but her behavior was angelic.

Although we didn't really discuss it, we were all secretly wondering how Connor would handle a gathering where the attention was so clearly focused on someone else. To our collective surprise, he didn't seem to care at all. He was just excited about seeing everyone and sweetly stayed in the background so that our girl could enjoy her day.

Then Sunday he gave her one last present- her first fat lip.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Happy Birthday Baby Girl

Dear Chloe,

Today you turned one. Part of me can't believe that a whole year has passed since the day we first met. The other part of me looks into your eyes and feels like I've known you my whole life.

Before you came along, I had a feeling I might only raise boys. And I was fine with that- I had heard boys were easier, I knew I would relate to them pretty well, and I was enjoying Connor. As long as my second baby was healthy, I didn't care what you were. But then they told me you were a girl. I asked the lady again and again if she was sure. She thought I kept asking her to double-check because I was disappointed. On the contrary- I just want to be certain before I gave myself over the excitement of having a girl. And I was truly excited. I never knew how much I wanted you until that day. Or maybe I did, and I was scared to admit it in case it didn't happen. (After all, as soon as I knew I was pregnant I told your dad that I wanted to name you Chloe.)

Then you came into the world, and I was able to fall in love with you, not just the idea of you. I love how you have curly hair like me, and blue eyes like your dad. I love how excited you are when you eat. I love the way no one makes you laugh as hard as your big brother. I love watching you figure things out, like how to get a spoonful of food into your mouth. I love how you put your socks against your feet and look at me expectantly, waiting to be praised for remembering where they go. I love when you sing in your soft little voice. And I love how your hand feels when you reach out and touch me.

I also cherish every minute that you love me most, because one day you'll be a teenager and you won't. But I'll remind you that you used to look longingly at me when I left you at daycare, that you used to rely on me above all others to meet your needs, that you used to reach for me when anyone else held you. And I'll patiently wait on you to grow up a little and realize that you still rely on me, that I still live to meet your needs. You're my little girl, and I love you. And I always will.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Picky Picky

Connor is a picky eater. This is not surprising, considering he comes from a long line of picky eaters. My father lived his whole life without ever trying peanut butter because he didn't like the way it smalled. My mom thought my grandmother had been a bit of an enabler, and vowed not to indulge her own children in the same way when it came to food. But my brother and I were no match for her, and soon she was waiting an extra 10 minutes for special-order fast food, because pulling the pickles off of a pre-made McDonald's hamburger wasn't good enough for me and my brother- no, when we said we wanted it "plain," we meant PLAIN. We grew up picky. We've gotten better in adulthood, no doubt from our time working in restaurants, but we are probably still more finicky than most.

So now it's my turn. I, too, idealistically approached feeding my child. Breast milk only! Then organic foods! And then ethnic foods! Mmmmmmmmm! Connor would eat stuff I shoved in his mouth, but he was never very enthusiastic about it. Cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, and cheese quesadillas, with a side of fruit (in light syrup) soon became the norm. Hummus, refried beans, scrambled eggs, and any other form of protein he had accepted as a baby were soon abandoned by the toddler. I eventually got protein in him in the form of Tyson Southern-style chicken nuggets. And an occasional slice of pepperoni, if he's in the mood for pizza. But five nights out of seven, he has chicken nuggets and fruit, and maybe a piece of cheese or a starch.

I tried to avoid this. I made sure to offer him foods over and over, once I heard you might have to offer a food 16 times before your kids would be willing to eat it. (Eventually I realized it would be more prudent to teach him to say "no thank you" rather than throwing the offending food on the floor.) A year or so ago, I read that you should offer your child the same thing you're eating ONLY, not to give him a separate meal. Just make sure there is something on the menu that you know he'll eat. So I planned a week's worth of menus that the whole family could enjoy. Ha! I'm not exaggerating when I say it was one of the hardest weeks of my life. Every night was a struggle, sometimes turning into a full-on fight. Every night Connor and I cried. That was when I decided that Connor was just going to be picky. He wins. It's not worth it to me to fight that battle. Chip is good with this too, although occasionally he starts to worry that Connor will never eat anything. I just remind him that I was a picky kid once, and I turned out okay. I also try to explain that I know how Connor feels, that I remember how strongly I didn't want whatever food was being pushed at me. So despite rare situations where Chip aggressively pushes new foods at Connor, on the whole are happy to follow our kid's lead.

Since we gave up, things have been fine. I feed Connor what he'll eat. He continues to grow, to not get sick often, to thrive. Every night I tell him what I'm having for dinner and offer some to him. Every night he says, "No thank you." And if he lives his whole life having never tried Reese's Pieces because he "doesn't like peanut butter," I will just have to respect that decision.

Monday, March 12, 2007


Weekend quotes:

Chloe! Get down from there! Somebody get her off of that.

There's Uncle Shannon!

Just spit the blood in the sink, Connor

Hey Chip, I'm still at Babies R Us. I just made eye contact with some guys who were shoplifting at Bed Bath and Beyond, so I left. But I can't get in my car because their getaway car is parked right next to mine! The engine is running, there's a guy in the backseat, and they left the doors open on my side so I can't get in. Nah, there's no reason to tell anyone- I'll just walk around until they get done robbing BB&B. It probably won't take that long.

Don't you want to put some makeup on before we go see Senor Dreamy?

Let's go outside and play!

Give Aunt Carrie a big hug!

Mommy, you need to wash your car.

She just used the spoon to put food in her mouth! Oops- and her hair.

I can't get over how big that baby's eyes are!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Unbearable Lightness of Spring

I am not necessarily conscious of a lull in my mental health, but I can assure you that I, along with my brood, will be in a much better mood in the coming weeks. This will be directly attributable to two things-- warmer temperatures, and more daylight. To the boneheads in Congress, congrats on actually passing something that I support whole-heartedly-- daylight savings kicking in at an earlier date. (Of course, this presents a problem for computers across the country on a level not seen since Y2K, but that's a different story.) The warmer temps allow much more activity outside, which is the only thing that keeps Connor (and consequently, Steph and me) sane. The longer daylight hours allow our weekdays to consist of something other than working, driving home, eating dinner, and watching TV.

So here's what prompted all this-- our first bloom popped up this morning:

We also get to eat fresh herbs again:

We will all toast the time change this weekend with a nice Martini. Ok, AppleJuice-tini for the kids.

(Lack of) Progress Report

Despite the protests from my logical brain, I have been unable to stop myself of late from comparing my children's progress to the progress of other children. Let me tell ya- things aren't looking too good for the next generation of Miller-Chockleys.

First off, Connor. This year in the Koala (three-year-old) Room, they are learning letters. Connor has learned to recognize most letters, but the sound they make escapes him. I'm sure it's hard to remember that an "A" makes the sound "aaaay". But certainly "Doc" does not start with a "T"! There are Toucans at his school who know that! I expected him to be reading by age three, not cutting out a picture of a car to add to his "T" homework sheet! Reading might sound like a tall order, until you realize that family legend has it my brother and I both learned to read at age three. So Connor's only got a few more months to get hooked on phonics- otherwise we'll have to turn our attention to athletics, the only college scholarship he will one day have a chance of receiving.

And then there's Chloe. Poor Princess Chloe, who can't be bothered to a) use her legs for anything other than kicking while I change her diaper, or b) use her mouth and tongue for anything other than processing food to be swallowed for digestion. Chloe will be one in a week. When her brother turned one, he had already mastered walking, deemed it too ordinary, and had begun running everywhere. Running after a "ball" or "mama" or "dada," or any of the other words he knew how to speak on the occasion of his first anniversary of life. Chloe prefers to remain mute, unless you count clicking your tongue as a form of communication. Which I think they do in some African nations, but somehow I don't think she's that advanced. Her other form of communication is to shriek at the top of her lungs, which usually deafens me as I am inevitably carrying her, putting her mouth and my ear in close proximity. I have spent a good deal of her first year telling her how smart and strong she is, but I think it's time to give up on that and start focusing on her looks. Perhaps one day she will be able to point and grunt towards a diploma, convincing a college recruiter that the pretty girl wants to go to school. Then he can carry her to her first class.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Happy Anniversary

Chip and I still celebrate our "dating" anniversary, mainly because it gives us an excuse to go out for a nice dinner. Lately this has backfired, as the nice dinner is used to celebrate Valentine's and the anniversary, all rolled into one. Some things were a lot more fun before having children!

I wonder if Chip would have put the moves on me thirteen years ago if he had known that in 2007 he'd be spending our anniversary cleaning up puke and spending the day with a sick, whiny, clinging baby. Those kids in the picture didn't know what they were getting into! But I sure am glad we got into it together. Happy anniversary!