Sunday, May 28, 2017

Clara as Big Sister.

It turns out that an unintended perk (consequence) of having two children is that the older one (Clara) is constantly teaching the littler one (Freya) to do things.

Positive examples are:

Clara has taught Freya to count to eleven.  Super cool.  Clara is currently hard at work teaching Freya the ABC's. 

Freya is also the most polite 21-month old in town because Clara has shown by example and Freya says: "No Thanks!" in place of "No!" and says "Thank-you" when handed something or helped out in some way.

Showing Freya some technology.
But Clara also encourages Freya's natural daredevil instincts.  At the playground I had been avoiding showing Freya how to climb up to the high, twisty slide meant for big kids.  Enter Clara - and all of a sudden the two sisters are whooping it up going down the big kid slide.

Come on, Freya!
First time, together. 
Second time, alone.

This has lead to early introductions to the chain-ladder climbing apparatus and the big kid swings.  (Thanks a lot, Clara.)

But in reality, despite my fears that my 21-month old has no fear, it's amazing to watch the 2 sisters love each other so much and want to be with each other.  Freya wants nothing more than to catch up to her big sister, and Clara is eager to help her try.

How to ride a motorcycle.

Big kid swings.

video


Just the other day I was leaving for work and Freya was upset.  She was worriedly crying but instead of walking over to me for a hug, she went over to her sister, took hold of her hand, and said: I love you, Clara.

She loves you right back, Freya. 


Saturday, April 29, 2017

Lousy.

And there I was sitting on the couch next to Clara.  It was 7:45 am on a Tuesday morning and I had miraculously gotten everything done five minutes early.  Five minutes before leaving with my two kids on the 20 minute walk to Clara's school.  I wish I had been late.  I wish I hadn't sat down.

There was innocent Clara - sitting beside me - coat on, backpack on. She told me something - I can't remember what - and I looked over at Clara.  She was in profile...and as I looked at her - a bug crawled out of her braid - winked at me - and disappeared back into her hair.

Silently I collapsed inside.  I split into three personalities - first - the freaked-out mom - screaming inside my head: "LICE!  LICE! AHHHHHHHHH!"

Then there was the calm, cool., collected mom: "Lice - I can handle this. Nothing a little trip to CVS and hours of combing a crying four-year old's hair won't cure."

And lastly - the insane, unhinged mom - "What can I do here?  Maybe jump out this window?  Shave all of our heads?  Set every item Clara's head has touched in the last week on fire?"

I cycle  through these different personalities for about thiry seconds and settled on a manageable combination of Calm, Cool, and Freaked-Out Mom.

Lice are truly disgusting and I only remember the one time I had them as a kid from the perspective of a kid, who didn't have to do any of the actual work associated with getting rid of lice.

So, metaphorical sleeves rolled up, I walked the kids to CVS - purchased lice shampoo - enough for all three of us lovely ladies and Gerald, and marched home.

Total Spent: 53.00

I had the girls strip down to their undies or diapers and slathered lice-killing shampoo in their hair - and then mine.  Spent the next ten minutes trying to distract Freya from wiping her head on the couch and then bathed Clara, Freya, and then myself.

Kids dried off for a bit and I stripped all beds - took all sheets, blankets and pillows as well as Clara's recently worn clothes and hats and got them ready for the wash.

Got kids sort of dressed and put five loads of laundry in to wash - on hot.

Total spent: 7.50

Went back upstairs.  Slathered conditioner in Clara's hair and began combing with the lovely lice comb.  After each comb through her hair I wiped the comb off on some paper towel.   I tried not to notice that some of the black specks were still moving.  20 minutes later...

I combed Freya's hair - no lice.

Then I took a deep breath and combed out my hair.  Luckily, I was able to keep from going totally insane because I too, was free of lice.

Bathe in turns - Clara, Freya, Me.

Get dressed - turn over wash downstairs.  5 more loads.

Total Spent: 7.50

Waiting for prescription lice shampoo - won't be at pharmacy until 4:30.

Condition and comb through Clara's hair for second time.  Half as many lice.   Good sign.  Still shuddering.  While doing this Freya pours a liter of seltzer on the couch.  

Make a late afternoon appointment for a lice-check at Clara's doctor.  She won't be allowed to return to school without clearance from her doctor.

Bathe Clara again.  Over the day I condition and comb and bathe Clara 2 more times. No lice.

Collect 5 loads of laundry and start folding.  Somewhere in here the kids eat lunch and Freya naps.

3:00 - I get a car to take us to the doctor - I can't bear the idea of walking in the rain after the day I've had.  

Car to and from Doctor: 13.56

Get to doctor - sign in - Clara is cleared. Doc says to use prescription shampoo in a few days to make sure nothing was missed.  Pay co-pay.

Total Spent: 25.00

Got to pharmacy near my house - a coupon bring the cost of the prescription shampoo down from 50.00 to 10 dollars.   

Total Spent: 10.00

Get home.  Make dinner, Clean up. Put kids to bed, all the while scratching my head worrying about phantom lice.

So, thank you, little winking louse, for irrevocably altering the trajectory of my day.  Thank you for reminding us that the tiniest thing can change the course of our lives.  I hope you're enjoying lice heaven.

Grand Total: 116.56.

And thank you to Clara - who totally kept it together and never cried once. 

That blanket got washed too.

Post-shampoo relaxing.




Saturday, March 11, 2017

San Juan or BUST!


When your best friend surprises you with a trip to Puerto Rico, what would your reaction be? Mine was astonishment coupled with excitement and then the whole wait! - kids, family, work...can I? should I? And then I went to tell my husband and his reaction was: "Are your bags packed yet?"

So the next time your best friend surprises you with a trip to Puerto Rice your immediate response is: "Yes.  My bags are already packed."

And then my bags really were packed and there I was at JFK Airport with Lauren at 8 a.m. sipping celebratory mimosas on the advent of our travel.

There is a lot I could say about San Juan. It's beautiful - the ocean, the architecture, the blue-cobbled streets. The food is delicious - ceviche, mofongo, empanada...And the drinks...oh, the drinks. But my enduring memory of this vacation is Lauren.  Getting to spend uninterrupted time with one of my most favorite people in the world was the biggest gift, and best vacation I could ask for. And what can I say - we have a lot of fun together. So thank you Lauren. It was the experience of a lifetime. 

On the plane to San Juan.
Windy walk.
Mojito meets Sangria.
Windy.
Somewhere in Old San Juan.
Place with amazing empanadas.
How we felt about being caught out in the rain.
Ont the plane back to New York City.






Sunday, January 22, 2017

Hope.

Friday January 20, 2017 Americans witnessed the handing of the baton off from President Barack Obama to President...Donald Trump.  I didn't witness the inauguration.  I did not what to see the beginning of this bleak new chapter in American history. I read the transcript of President Trump's speech and died a little bit more inside.

My friend Anna had the idea weeks ago that friends should gather at her house, eat and drink, and "not watch" this changeover from a pretty great 8 years to its successor - a shadowy future. So Gerald and I packed up the kids and came over armed with wine, whiskey and appetizers.  Other kids and parents showed up. All of the kids were slightly haywire with the late start - curfew comes early for the under-4 set. But we ate delicious spaghetti and meatballs, and drank wine and talked while our kids stampeded through Anna and Anthony's apartment in a blizzard of toys and laughter. I was too busy spending time with friends to take pictures but I do wish I had one shot of the happy mayhem that was wreaked by 10 children under the age of 4.

My husband and I  left Anna's house slightly tipsy with a full bellies and two overtired, happy kids.  I also left feeling happier than I had when I arrived. I was filled with more hope than I have had since election night. Spending good time with good people makes me know that the fight isn't over.  It has only just begun.

Saturday dawned.  I had the honor of watching the Women's March in New York City.  I watched as the first protesters came up Fifth Avenue and I cried  - overwhelmed by the thousands of good people that have taken up the challenge to resist this presidency and to fight the myriad rights and freedoms that are soon to come under attack. I watched as the numbers swelled and over-ran the barricades - a wall of people from building to building marched down the avenue that is occupied by the most expensive retail stores in New York. A man standing beside me climbed up on a streetlight and said: This is what the Other 99% looks like." And he is right.  "Who wants a picture of this?  Who wants a picture of Democracy?" He offered to take the phones people passed up to him and photograph his bird's eye view.  Many took him up on it. The sea of people was energized and positive and healing. 

I've heard it said that New Yorkers live in a bubble.  We do. It is a rainbow bubble filled with everything and everyone you can imagine - we live on top of each other, and we bump elbows on the subway, and we witness millions of different dreams coming true or failing spectacularly every day.  We do all this living together - regardless of and because of our myriad differences and similarities.

Everybody should live in this bubble. Seriously.  If you lived with a million - or even a few thousand -  amazing, dynamic, and DIFFERENT people you're eyes might be opened up a little more. With the beginning of the Trump presidency I felt the bubble of my idealism pop.  Maybe over the next 4 years we can build one big bubble that we can all live in.


Saturday, December 17, 2016

Christmas Rolls Around Again.

Today my  almost 16 month old apparently said: "It's Christmas time" while at home with her Dad and Clara.  She adds this to her recent repertoire of words that include: Blue, Yellow, Duck, Moo, and Hello.  With Clara in full on Santa-Christmas-Fever mode, I am hardly surprised that Freya is jumping on the Christmas-enthusiasm train.

Flashback to a couple of weeks ago, when Freya and Clara met Santa.  Their mutual enthusiasm for Santa  vanished when presented with the Real Deal - smiles were replaced instantly with steely-eyed glares that seemed to say: "We'd like to see you try something, Santa-man.  We can take you."  I don't know if the sisters discussed their plan of attack beforehand but they clearly were borrowing from last year's intimidation strategy - Don't let Santa see you smile.  

2015
2016
Clara isn't too big on posed photography.  Take this case in point - picture day at school came and went.  This is the photo I took of her before we went to said picture day.  

Clara - candid, happy - cute.
Just try to tell Clara to smile or do something specific in a photo.  Good luck.  Here are the photos I got back from picture day.  First - the portrait.  Same abstract background from my childhood.  I would like to know who matted down Clara's hair before hand - maybe Clara?  Who knows.  And that smile - what a lovely smile - somewhere between - "You told me to smile - I'm smiling." and "I'm just pretending to like you."


And for the grand finale, Clara's class photo.  Top row, center - just where her parents were always placed as the tallest kids in the class.  It's nice to see some things never change. I present to you, Clara, not looking at the photographer with her eyes closed. My one consolation is at least she's not the only one.  4 year-olds, man.



So with that, kick back, relax, and enjoy this holiday season. I know my kids are.