Today I got a massage and a hair cut, and when I returned home, Adam, who was supposed to be working from home, had cleaned the whole house. My daughter may be the princess in this house, but I am the queen!
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Adam was trying to remember the name of this kids’ entertainment performer we saw about 6 months ago at a party.
Adam: What was that guy called? The Great Cucumber? The Great Tortellini?
Me: It was The Great Zucchini.
And then I laughed so hard that Sam got upset because she thought I was crying.
I have no idea how to potty train a child, and I’ve done nothing serious with Sam in that regard yet. I’m not sure why I haven’t read a dozen books on the subject like I normally do in my uptight OCD way. I just can’t seem to take it seriously. I keep thinking it will just happen on it’s own, and if it doesn’t, well, I’ll figure something out. Very unlike me.
Sam has gone on the potty a few times (once while we were on vacation!) but she’s never done it regularly. But preschool is coming quickly and she’s supposed to be using the potty by the time she starts. Yikes! Now I’m getting a little bit scared.
So today I put underwear on her and told her she could wear them for a few hours each morning from now on. (Thank god for princess panties and Sam’s love of everything girlie.) I guess I’m just trying to get her to be aware of when she pees. She knows when a #2 is coming because if I look in her direction she yells at me, DON’T LOOK AT ME, MOMMY! (That’s how I caught the opportunity while on vacation.) But with #1, she has no clue. The few times she’s had an accident on the floor she looks down with surprise and says, PEE! Like, where did that come from? That’s not mine! But I’ll step in it anyway – PUDDLE, YEA!
The diapers we have are so good that she has never been aware of pee at all, from what I can tell. So we’ll try this underwear thing and see how it goes. We’re both clueless and I have no real plan and I dread the mess. Actually, I did have a plan but I already abandoned it. I was going to just leave her in underwear all day. But after she made 3 puddles I gave up and put on the diaper. I mean, I had to take a shower. And what if we want to go somewhere? We’ll start with mornings. Yeah, that’s a good plan.
Wow! What a great vacation we had. We got back yesterday and there’s a ton of laundry and shopping and bill paying to do and the pets are puking all over the house to make us feel bad for leaving them, but I don’t care. I had a real vacation!
The trip started out on a good note when I went shopping for shorts and actually bought a real two-piece swim suit for the first time in many years. I’ve been wearing the mommy suits for a while, and even though I’m still about 15 pounds overweight, I finally felt confident enough to buy something that wouldn’t prompt children to ask me, “Is that a bathing suit or a dress?”
We spent the majority of the time in St. Petersburg, Florida, where Adam’s parents live. They have a beautiful house with a yard and pool like a resort. The weather was actually quite nice for this time of year so we got a lot of good swim time in. The bad part was the mosquitoes. Both Sam and I got chewed up pretty badly. I have a new love for lizards, though. They came out in droves at dusk and did their best to eat up the mosquitoes. I’ve never seen so many lizards, even having grown up in LA. Walking down the sidewalk, you’d see dozens of them scurrying away from you every few yards. Sam was very excited, especially when one got in the house. LOOK, MOMMY. LIZARD! LIZARD IN THE HOUSE! For some reason, a lizard in the house was just about the most exciting thing she had ever seen. Cute.
As always, Adam’s stepmom remembered our favorite foods. There was always a ready supply of pistachio nuts for me, and she made us steak and crab legs for dinner our first night there. (Crab legs are both mine and Adam’s favorite food.) I also got to drive Adam’s dad’s BMW convertible (I think it is the 335i). Sweet!
We took Sam to the beach. It wasn’t her first time, but last time she was only 3 months old, so I guess you could say it was a new experience for her. She was really excited to go since we missed our chance in North Carolina a few weeks ago. After parking our car, we had to walk through a narrow path through the brush to get to the sandy beach. When we came out of the pathway onto the wide open expanse of sand, Sam immediately squatted down and started running the sand through her fingers. If we didn’t make her get up and move along, I think she would have been happy to stay in that one spot, and she probably never would have even cast a glance at the ocean.
As it was, she got to play in the sand and in the water, and she loved it. Adam enjoyed just walking down the shore hand-in-hand with Sam. I think that was one of his images of fatherhood, finally realized. The beach was lovely, with fine, white sand, a lot of shells, and gentle surf, this being the Gulf of Mexico side of Florida. I found it restful to my wound-up psychology to be somewhere where the water is in its proper place – to the West.
Adam and I left Sam with the grandparents for our 2 day “adult” vacation to Sarasota. (If you have kids and haven’t had a vacation from them, you’re missing out on something very important. Call up your parents today and make arrangements!) We’ll definitely be going back to Sarasota – it’s a great place. We stayed at a hotel on Longboat Key, right on the beach facing the Gulf. We slept in, drank Pina Coladas and Mojitos, rented Wave Runners, and just floated around in the ocean. We met a couple of cranky old men and we had a gripe session about the state of the country. They were both self declared die-hard conservatives, but one of them voted for Obama because he wanted “change.” I guess I didn’t really believe that whole phenomenon truly existed until I heard him say it. Even more unbelievable, though, was that one of those crusty guys said we should go back to the gold standard. We speculated on whether the country would collapse into dictatorship or Texas would secede. They were a lot of fun, and one of them took this picture for us.
We ate two excellent dinners at St. Aramand’s Circle, a touristy place for shopping and eating on the next island over, Lido Key. The first night it was Spanish/Cuban food at a place that reminded me of our days in New Orleans. Sea Bass that tasted like lobster, mussels, and a dish of scallops and chorizo left us no room for desert. The next night it was crab legs and stuffed meatloaf, with a slice of real Key Lime pie for dessert. Beautiful food.
We watched TV in the middle of the day and enjoyed not planning out our days around nap-time. We ate whenever we got hungry, which meant that we were able to have dinner at 8:30pm, which seemed positively decadent, after 3 years of dinner at 6:30. The hotel’s outdoor bar had a mascot – an egret crane named Madonna. She was bold and beautiful and we enjoyed ruminating on the diversity of life on this planet while eating crab cakes and watching her walk around with her knees bending backwards and her strange, floating grace. The couple next to us must have overheard us because then we overheard them discussing how interesting it is that man is the only species who tries to destroy himself. While it is true that humans are more capable of self destruction (both individually and as a species) than other animals, the mindset that chooses to focus on that rather than the glory and greatness that the rational mind can achieve is something that I’ll never understand. It’s pathetic.
Sam missed us, but by all reports, she did just fine without us for those 2 days. She also was her usual easygoing self when it came to traveling. She didn’t use many of the travel toys I bought her because she just liked the experience of the airport and the flight. This was the first time that I can say for sure that she knew that we were GOING UP HIGH when we were in the airplane. She saw the ground below and the clouds and she understood. That was cool. I actually enjoy being at the airport with that girl. She makes it all a grand adventure. The escalators, the people movers, the pictures of crabs and turtles on the carpeted floor in the Tampa airport, the airport play areas, the new foods and drinks, the buses and trains that get you around the airport – all of it is just fun when I’m with my daughter. I especially liked it when we entered the airplane and I told her to take a quick look as we passed by the cockpit. The stewardess said, “Go ahead and take a closer look. Charlie’s up there and he won’t mind.” Sam walked right in, looked at the pilot and said, HI CHARLIE.
It was a relaxing trip but we’re still exhausted now that it’s over. But in a good way.
Samantha has her first real tan.
This week I opened a new 529 account for Samantha. For all you new and prospective parents, a 529 is a way to save tax-free for your child’s college costs. I won’t bore you with the details, but I will say that opening a 529 is a no-brainer if you want to start a college fund. There are many investment options, but if you use your state’s program you might be able to deduct your contributions from your state income taxes. We had a Michigan-based 529, but we’re moving to the Virginia plan for obvious reasons.
We’ve put very little money in the fund because we believe Sam should be primarily responsible for her own college costs, if she chooses to go to college. But we have a credit card through this Futuretrust program, which deposits 1% of our spending into the 529. This way, we can help Sam out a bit with no pain at all. When we are financially comfortable, we put a little bit in each month on top of that, and we’ve also received gifts for her that went into the account. All those little bits have added up nicely.
If you want to find out more, try bankrate.com, my go-to web site for everything financial.
We were at the beach and Samantha was playing with sand. She filled up a cup with sand and water, and when it was full she poured out the water, leaving just wet sand in the bottom of the cup. She picked it up, looked inside, and said CHOCOLATE MILK!
So we’re in the car coming back from the beach and I have this really interesting thought. Before Sam was born I would meet little kids and judge them as shy, hyper, curious, sweet, or whatever. But Sam has gone through enough stages that an outside observer would peg her as any one of these things because that is her primary characteristic of the moment. It might only last a week, though.
Before you have kids, you are used to judging a person based on one meeting because adults don’t change too much. But all kids go through these stages where they appear to be a certain way, and it means nothing about their overall character. I had no idea about this before I watched Sam go through it.
Back to the car – I tried to tell Adam about this observation but Sam interrupted me over and over and over again. I didn’t respond to her interruptions (after explaining that I was talking to her dad) but she was just so irritating that I couldn’t talk over her like I normally would. So I waited until she quieted down and started to try to tell Adam again. But he was in the middle of getting confused by GeePee and made a wrong turn. He didn’t say anything so I just kept talking even though he wasn’t listening until I figured it out and asked, “Are you listening?” No, my words were lost again.
Then Sam started whining again. I must have said the first sentence of my thought about a dozen times by then, and I was pissed.
At that moment, I missed my blog terribly. And that’s why there are so many mommy-bloggers.
Since we’re heading to Florida today, I’ll just give you a couple of photos you can look at for at least as long as it takes to read a typical post on this blog. If those eyes don’t capture your soul then, well, then I guess you’re not her mommy. But still, come on! Can you stand the cuteness?
We’re headed to Florida tomorrow, where we’ll be visiting Adam’s parents. Adam and I are taking a side trip to Longboat Key in Sarasota over the weekend, while Sam stays with her grandparents. It promises to be an exciting trip, so hopefully I won’t be blogging too much for the next week.
Today is packing day, but I haven’t started yet. I’m still finishing up the laundry that I started yesterday (always do laundry 2 days before a trip), and I had to go to Target to buy shorts for me (I only had one pair!) and to Walmart for travel toys for Sam. I got the best thing: a magnet board. It’s an ice cream store scene and it has magnets in the shape of ice cream cones, bananas, cherries, and the like. Sam already plays pretend ice cream store games, so that should be a hit. Of course, I got a sticker book with Barbies too. Finally, I got a miniature My Little Pony toy. You can’t even tell that it’s a pony, it’s just some misshapen “cute” creature (with wings?). But if my instincts are right, Sam will love it. It’s always a kick to pick out toys for her.
We got a new couch at Ikea a couple of weeks ago. It’s the first major furniture purchase we’ve made since we moved into our home in Michigan in 2003, when we got a bed and a dining room set. Those purchases cost as much as a small car, so we quickly ran out of money!
We’ve been surviving on hand-me-downs and my old Ikea stuff from 1997 ever since. Furniture just seems so expensive that we put off buying new things until we absolutely have to. I still miss my old, ugly green Ikea chair-and-a-half, with matching ottoman. Adam and I sat on it together every single night in front of the TV until we had to literally duct-tape it together, just like Martin Crane. I learned to breastfeed Sam in it. In this hilarious video from when Sam was about 5 months old, she is lying on the ottoman, which is covered with a blanket to hide the duct-tape:
The new couch is promising. It works well in our living room. I like the way it separates my desk area from the rest of the room. It has a removable, microfiber slip cover that can be washed in my washing machine. We bought two covers – the sand color you see here, and the purple you see in the pillows. There’s already a ball-point pen stain on it that I’m not so sure will come out in the wash. But that just means that we’re breaking it in. I hope we’ll love it as much as that ugly old green furniture.