Navigating the sticky, jam-covered road of life.  

Friday, January 30, 2009

Top Chef Wannabes

I didn't just drink the kool-aid, now I'm making it and serving it to others.  Montessori is simply the best thing that has happened to my kids, and I couldn't imagine a better way to educate them.  I don't have nearly enough time to describe the amazing things that Sunshine does in her classroom.  But it's not just Sunshine.  It's totally rubbing off on Ladybug.  

Now I'm lucky enough to have two great helpers in the kitchen.  And no, that's not sarcastic.  Well, not really.  Sunshine cooks and empties the dishwasher and Ladybug has been watching, closely.  She's actually tall enough to open the dishwasher.  And now all my perpetually helpful kid wants to do is empty the silverware.  The only thing she hasn't learned yet is how to tell whether or not the dishes are still dirty.  All it takes is two minutes in the bathroom for her to have emptied the silverware bucket.  Lately I've found more dirty silverware in the drawer than I care to remember.  

Still I have no desire to staunch their unfailing need to help with everything that I do in the kitchen.  God willing, it will last through their teen years.  I'm alright with dirty dishes put back as if they were clean and a lot of spilled milk.  I just want them to love being in the kitchen. 

I have lovely memories of trying to sneak into my grandmother's kitchen when my aunts were cooking.  I would try to steal a seat in the corner and hope that no one would notice me and kick me out.  A little was learned about cooking, and I heard far more than my share of family gossip.  But now it's my mom, sisters and me in the kitchen, with an occasional aunt or cousin thrown in for good measure.  Well at least when we visit.  The laughing is endless, and the arguments are riotous.  

I'm trying to be different with the girls in the kitchen; not the disciplinarian I am in the rest of the house.  Good Lord, that's hard for a control freak like myself.  But you have to be creative in the kitchen.  Actually, Sunshine made her first risotto several weeks ago.  She did everything from dicing the vegetables to constantly stirring the rice.  It was fabulous, and she ate four bowls of it.  And last night, she made the homemade applesauce. Ladybug is jealous.  She wants to do more.  I know it's hard for her to see her big sister do things she can't.  But soon she'll be making pizzas with the rest of us.  

Thursday, January 29, 2009

It's a Jungle Out There

As I've said before, I have a comfort zone within which I travel here in the sprawling town of Atlanta.  This comfort zone absolutely does not include interstates.  We're fortunate enough to live in a part of town where I can find almost anything I need using neighborhood streets.  

Southern hospitality pretty much stops the moment you start seeing signs for Atlanta.  Going 70-75 in a 55 will result in someone flying around you, on the right, while most likely flipping you the bird.  And for those of you who are polite enough to signal your intent to change lanes by using your blinker, don't bother.  That will be met with the other person actually speeding up so as to prevent you from going anywhere.  Oh, and a note to city planners everywhere.  Sixteen lane highways should NEVER wind anywhere.  Those lovely, tight S-curves around Courtland Street and Grady Hospital are death traps.  

So needless to say, I hate driving on the interstates here.  But yesterday I sucked it up.  I strapped my Ladybug into her car seat and headed up the Connector to pick Sunshine up from her play date.  It was raining, which I hoped would slow people down a tad bit.  Wrong.  I still cringe when I think about how fast people here fly down a rain-soaked highway.  I only saw two spin outs though.  And the massive accident that closed all eight lanes of I-75S was south of my exit.  

Driving on the roads here forces me to confront my worst nightmare on an almost daily basis:  that my children will perish in a car accident.  It's not specific to Atlanta.  But the drivers here are exponentially more aggressive.  It's made the whole play date situation difficult for me.  It's hard for me to let someone else drive my child around.  I'm starting to let go a little, and  I haven't requested a status report when they arrive at their destination.  But it doesn't stop me from worrying.   God help me when it is my child actually driving the car.  I can't even begin to imagine the ulcer that will result from that milestone.  

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I've been in denial for the last six months.  Every week that Todd works insane hours, I tell myself that it's only a busy cycle.  It will be better in a week or two.  But tonight it hit me that it will never get better.  I guess the only surprising thing is that it took me 6 months to realize that.  

So because I'm a little worn out, Ladybug is still sick, and I'm feeling about as creative as a lump of clay, a photo thread is about all I can muster the strength for.  


Every time we go to the zoo the kids love to "order ice cream" at the Naked Mole Rat playground.   Sunshine always asks for chocolate.  

I love that the girls still love holding each other's hands.  

The pink chalk residue is still all over the floor.  But it was worth it to watch them coloring together.  

Love you all!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Behold The Manipulative Mind of My Four Year Old

Sunshine had a friend over for a bit on Saturday while Ladybug was getting some much needed rest.  The play date was not going well.  Sunshine was furious that I had unceremoniously placed her in timeout and proceeded to throw a massive tantrum.  I carefully warned her that I would be very upset if she woke Ladybug up.  Then I left to walk her little friend home.  Todd filled me in on what happened later.

Apparently Ladybug woke up right after I left.  Sunshine wandered over to Todd and said, "Mommy doesn't need to know who woke Ladybug up.  And if you tell her, I will be very upset with you."

I think we're just a little worried about this.  It's not like she's been studying Game Theory, and I know that kids are master manipulators.  But seriously, this is pure deception.  And what else does she think that Mommy doesn't need to know?  

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's baaaaaaaack.

I knew it was back.  Just when we thought things were getting better; it started again.  The rising temperature, the spastic coughing, the overwhelming need to be suction-cupped to my side.  Then finally, the awful wheezing.  I dragged my poor little Ladybug back to the doctor again this morning.    Two more rip-roaring ear infections, a still-sore throat, bronchitis-induced asthma, and many prescriptions later, we left.  

Ladybug has been great about it.  She'll cheerfully slurp down any orange or grape flavored medicine.  She even says thank you after I wipe her nose.  She's been such a trooper.  Until I brought the nebulizer back out.  Now she's no stranger to the gas-spewing fish mask.  We spent almost two months attached to it last year after a nasty bout of RSV.  Unfortunately she can't remember that far back.  

It was so much easier when she was an infant.  She would curl up in my arms, and I would place the mask over her face.  She'd usually fall asleep within minutes, lulled by the hum of the machine.  Not so anymore.  She fought that thing tooth and nail.  And I have the scratches on my arms to prove it.  She wanted nothing to do with being in my arms if it involved having that thing on her face.  It was so difficult to hold her rigid, squirming, scratching body.  I felt awful having to contain her that way.  After about 10 minutes of screaming, her body completely relaxed and she gave into it.  Staring into her sad eyes, I felt even worse.  She seemed broken.  I know it will get easier.  She'll get used to it in no time, but these next few treatments won't be pretty.

So once again my house has devolved into chaos.  Cause NOTHING happens when there's a sick kid.  I've got tons of emails to flip through, mountains of laundry to fold (though don't I always?), and dust bunnies in my corners that are approaching the size of actual rabbits.  We had a play date today, so it's even worse than normal.  Who knew three 4-year olds could do so much damage?  Thank goodness for Magic Erasers.  I probably should have cancelled, but it was actually a great diversion.  Let me concentrate a bit on Ladybug.  

Well, I can hear the whistling from downstairs, so I'm guessing it's time for another go with the nebulizer.  Wish my little one luck!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

This Momentous Day

Whatever your politics, whatever your beliefs, this was a momentous day.  I am proud to live in a country that can so peacefully hand over power.  This in and of itself is rare.  I am proud that my children will grow up during a time where someone's color doesn't preclude them from attaining the highest office in the land.  

Congratulations, President Obama.  May you face the many coming challenges with grace and wisdom.  

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Princess Sunshine

We've just returned from what must be our 6th princess party this year.  It's sweet, watching 15 4-, 5-, and 6-year olds dress in their finest royal regalia, pronouncing each other Princess of the Fairies.  They run around the birthday girl's house, trailing wands, feather boas, tiaras, and plastic high heeled shoes.  It's amazing we haven't made more visits to the ER as a result of those silly high heeled shoes.  

Now that Sunshine has reached a certain age my presence is no longer required at these parties.  I walk her in, make sure she's found the birthday girl and the bathroom, and say my goodbyes.  I return, usually within two hours, to collect my (sugar-crazed) beautiful princess and make sure she says Goodbye, Thank you and Happy Birthday.  It is then that the wrestling match commences.  

Extricating this child, or any child for that matter, from a birthday party without incident is damn near close to impossible.  But, Mommy, I want to stay.  I'm having so much fun, she'll scream.  Please, Please, PLEASE don't make me leave.  They have balloons here, and juice, and candy, and cake.  And Mommy, can I PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE live here?  And if I'm really lucky, she's putting on this show while lying prostrate on the ground. 

I am getting close to perfecting the quiet "We Must Leave Now, and DO NOT Embarrass Me" speech that is meant to let my daughter know that I am in no joking mood and she had better come quietly.  I say this because today, my daughter left absolutely without incident.  She very politely asked if she could wait until the birthday girl opened her gift, and then we left.  It was completely magical.    

I couldn't help but notice that one of the girls at the party wasn't dressed in a princess costume.  She stood out amidst the sea of pink polyester and tulle, wearing a pair of black pants and a grey shirt that had a dog on it.  A dog with a rhinestone tiara.  I had to laugh.  That girl's got spunk.  I'm not sure I could ever convince Sunshine that a sparkly rhinestone tiara on a dog was princess worthy, but I've got to try.  She's coming over for a play date next week.    But for now, I give you Sunshine...

One of the two beautiful princesses of the Poole House.  

Friday, January 16, 2009

I admit it... It takes a Village.

I secretly scorned all those people espousing the virtues of having a village available to help you raise your children.  I laughed.  I could raise my children all by myself.  That's why I had them.  To, you know, raise them.  I absolutely detest help.  Just ask my wonderful husband.  I am the Queen of  I Can Do It All By Myself.  Except for home repairs.  I don't do home repairs.  At least not the messy stuff.  

Now, I'm about to do something that I never (well, hardly ever) do.  I'm going to say that I am wrong, and damn it, I WANT A VILLAGE.  I desperately need one uninterrupted block of time a week without my children and someone I trust to care for them.  Someone who will reliably show up at the appointed time to whisk my beloved children off for an adventure that is solely their own.  An adventure that it seems like I haven't been up for these days.  

So, ladies and gentlemen, I'm going to the nunnery.  Well, I guess there isn't a nunnery around here.  But there is Agnes Scott.  So that's where I'm heading.  And I'm not leaving until I find me a babysitter.  

Goings on this week

I think this week has been one that I'd rather not repeat.  Ladybug has been plagued by a nasty combination of fever, virus, and ear infection that is still raging.  She feels miserable, and all she wants to do is be held.  By Mommy.  Hence the sparse posting.  Having a very sick child suction cupped to my side combined with the jealousy of her big sister has had a draining effect on any creativity I might have had.  I could vent all day about "baby slop" as Sunshine calls it, but you don't really want to hear about that.  And I'm a little tired of living it.  

She is feeling a little better today though. She wants to actually move around a little on her own.  The only problem is that her balance is still way, way off.  She's bumping into everything and falling over.  So she's crying, a lot.  It's heartbreaking to see so many  huge tears pouring down the cheeks of a child who never really cries.  

So now I get to deal with the aftermath of our lovely week.  Luckily today is a special day. Sunshine has a play date after school, at someone else's house.  So I'm a free woman.  Well, as free as a woman can be with a little one alternately suction cupped to her side or falling down and crying.  But I don't have to pick up Sunshine from school, and I know she will have a fabulous afternoon with her friend.  And what's even better... I don't have to think of a way to get Sunshine off the playground on this super cold day.  Cause you know kids NEVER feel cold when the opportunity to swing arises.  I can put Ladybug down for a nap when she actually needs to get down for a nap, and perhaps get some work done.  

Adjusting to working from home has been difficult.  I am mystified by people who do it.  Sunshine has been balking about what this whole work from home thing means for her.  The disappointment when I pull out the computer is palpable.  We have a deal where we'll work on two activities together, and then she gets to work by herself while I work by myself.  I'm reluctant to rely on television babysitting.  We've finally gotten her to the point where she doesn't ask to watch television.  And I like that.  

Come to think of it, a timer might help.  Perhaps if Sunshine knew that a ringer would bring her Mommy back to her world of Candy Land and Go Fish, she might be more willing to allow me some quiet time to work.  Sadly though, the ringer would probably only mean that it's time to make dinner.  Just not enough time in the day, is there?    

Well, folks.  Stay warm today.  It's cold out there.  Even in Georgia.  

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Let's Go Surfing Now..

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a counter surfer.  Just when I thought we'd only have to tackle this issue with our dog, our littlest one starts taking lessons.  Sunshine never had an issue with this.  Our counter tops in Richmond were out of her reach, even with chairs.  So now I get to tell myself, over and over, "NO MORE KNIVES ON THE COUNTERS."  

There is some payback though.  She hasn't yet figured out how to get down without falling.  So she's stuck there, calling to get down, until I think she's had enough.  

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Pediatrician Chronicles: Visit One

After my last disastrous visit to the girls' pediatrician, I decided it was time to find a new one.  I asked around, got some recommendations, and made an appointment.  We showed up about 15 minutes early, filled out the paper work, and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Then we saw a nurse, got a weight/height check, a room, and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  And did I mention that we waited?  

How long is too long to wait for a pediatrician?  All told, we waited for 1 hour, 40 minutes.  Call me crazy, but I think that's excessive.  Granted, she was good with Ladybug.  Gentle, calming, cracked a few jokes.  She even introduced herself to me when she walked in the room.  And introducing yourself before you examine my child earns you major brownie points.  I didn't even have to pay for parking.  

But it's hard to entertain a kid, first in a waiting room, and then in an exam room.  I'm reluctant to let them eat, because what if the previous occupant had a kick ass case of the stomach flu?  I live in fear of the stomach flu.   The two times that my family has come into intimate contact with the stomach flu were the only two times that I've actually prayed to die.  There are only so many games you can play with a 19 month old in an exam room.  Especially a 19 month old with the attention span of a fruit fly.  And I'm fairly well prepared.  

So bottom line:  I'll give her one more chance.  We've got another appointment on Friday.  But until then, I'm curious.  How long would you wait?  Is it worth it for a good pediatrician? 

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The times that try my soul

Being married to an attorney isn't easy.  In the beginning, I wasn't always fair.  I didn't necessarily understand the long hours.  If you go into work at 6 am, you should be able to go home at 4.  Right?  That's what I did.  I was (more than) a little hurt when he wanted to go out for drinks with people after work.  I think I was probably lonely.  I don't carry around my  "bag" with me anymore, but I do think most of our fights that first year were about work.  You know the bag, right?  It's the place where you tuck every argument, fight, and nasty comment in order to pull it out in the middle of the next argument.  

It took me a long time to realize that I was making this so much harder on him.    I had the power to help him, or hurt him, and I was hurting him.  The realization that he didn't want to be at work was a major one.  It hit me like a ton of bricks.  Maybe it took having children to make me realize that.  He wanted, more than anything, to be home with us.  Todd works because he has to.  We are where he wants to be.  Huge difference.  

After that, I just let it go.  Told him that we love him, we miss him, and we'd be here when he got home.  And I've got to tell you, it's made life SO much easier.  Now it doesn't mean he works fewer hours.  Quite the contrary, I'm afraid he probably works more hours now than he ever did before.  But I know that every hour he's at work is another hour he'd rather be here.  Whatever it is he has to face at work, at least he knows that he won't come home to an irate wife.  Well, most of the time.  

That being said, these last few weeks have been really hard on me.  It was Christmas, and all I wanted to do was be with my husband and children.  It took a lot for me not to beg him to come home before dinner on Christmas Eve.  I realized today, that we've not had a family dinner together this year.  We do what we can.  Sometimes we have breakfast together (it is the most important meal of the day, after all), and sometimes we drive up and meet him for lunch.  But because we're trying to save like crazy that doesn't happen too often.  I know these 18-20 hour days are awfully hard on him.  I can't bring myself to make it harder.  So, dear readers, I'm venting to you.  

To the (SLAVE DRIVERS) lovely people who (TREAT MY HUSBAND LIKE A MULE) employ my husband:

I know we've become accustomed to crazy things like a roof over our heads, and food on our table.  Trust me, I want that to continue.  But do you realize that you are (SUCKING THE LIFE OUT OF HIM) making it difficult for him to have a life outside of work?  I would like you to know that he leaves (AT THE BUTT CRACK OF DAWN) early in the morning, and comes home well after his girls have gone to bed.  And then, dear (SLAVE DRIVERS) employers, he often works at the kitchen table for several more hours.  I know you would be far happier if he just moved into the office.  After all, his chair is quite comfortable.  However, that just doesn't seem right when you leave work at much closer to 4 pm everyday.   

I also think that perhaps you could benefit from a lesson on managing.  Someone told me, a long time ago, that you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.  Now I don't always subscribe to this theory, but my husband does.  Just once, please say "thank you." Try it out sometime.  It might flow a lot easier than you think it will.  I know it's a gateway word.  It could lead to saying things like please, have a great day, great job.  But none of these are four letter words.  And your employees might actually appreciate them (WHILE YOU BEAT THEM WITH WHIPS).  

OK.  Rant over.  I had to get it out of my system before the Annual Firm Dinner tomorrow night.  I'm much less likely to snipe now.  I know Todd appreciates it.  

Thanks for all your hard work, honey.  

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Again she makes my heart melt.

Sunshine painted this beautiful picture for me the other day.  I'm not quite sure what exactly she was trying to paint...

But I do know exactly what she was trying to say at the bottom of the painting.  

She wrote "mome."  (Phonetically "mommy")  Her first cursive word.  And it was MOME.  I don't think I could be more proud.  

Monday, January 5, 2009

Daddy, Look What I Can Do...

During our trip to Virginia we had several opportunities to try out the facilities at various fast food establishments and gas stations.  I use the term "facilities" loosely.  I have a huge phobia concerning nasty, germy bathrooms that having small children has forced me to confront on a near daily basis.  Gas stations are the lowest of the low.  At home I have a comfortable area within which I travel.  At any point within this area, I know of several relatively clean restrooms available for use.  When we travel, all bets are off.  

At one particularly delightful location that had just one stall, I wasn't about to actually sit on the toilet.  I didn't want my kiddo to either, so I introduced her to the concept of "hover peeing."  (I know it's never talked about... but EVERYONE does it.)  She's no where near tall enough to do it on her own, and it required a good amount of upper body strength for me to hold her over it.   

That was almost a week ago, and I didn't think much about it until last night.  Todd had the girls for the evening while I went out to dinner with a girlfriend.  Apparently while he was getting Ladybug undressed for bathtime, Sunshine decided she was going to hover pee all by herself.  Of course, it didn't really work well.  Todd was a little unhappy that I'd shared my little coping technique with her because, of course, he got stuck with clean up duty.  

I realized that I probably should have been a little more specific, explicitly telling her that she wasn't big enough to do it on her own.  Kind of like the warning tags on hair dryers that tell you not to dry your hair while in the shower.  

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Epic Milk Battle Continues...

Ladybug:  Cup please, Mommy.  Gesticulated wildly at her half-full cup of lemonade.
Mommy:  Sure, kiddo.  Handed cup to Ladybug.
Ladybug:  Took one sip of lemonade.  Sour look upon her face.  Tossed cup to floor.
Mommy:  Would you like some milk?  
Ladybug:  Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  Milk, Mommy.
Mommy:  Poured cup of milk and gave to the extremely excited little girl 
Ladybug:  Took one sip.  Screamed shrilly, and tossed cup to floor.  CUP PLEASE MOMMY, she yelled.
Mommy:  Handed her the full cup of milk.  Here you go, kiddo.
Ladybug:  Tossed cup to floor.  CUP PLEASE, MOMMY, she yelled.

Repeated cycle every few minutes for the next 90 minutes.  

Finally the most determined look came over her face.  She stood on her tiptoes and grabbed the cup off the table.  And drank the entire thing.  Score.  

Mommy 1:  Ladybug 0

Though I still have no idea what she actually wanted in that cup.  

Friday, January 2, 2009

Christmas Magic

Yes, a shameless photo post.  I couldn't resist!  

Waiting oh so patiently for Daddy to see if Santa really came.  (Read - getting the DVD recorder ready.)

Sunshine was absolutely thrilled that the reindeer ate the carrots that she carefully peeled.  

Seeing that magic in their eyes was priceless.    

Her first car.  Sniff.  

Nothing like a nap after an early Christmas morning.  

Non Incautus Futuri

I think most close family and friends probably realize that we have never been happier to say good bye to a year than we are now.  It's had more than it's share of challenges, though we've probably been luckier than most.  Still, I now finally understand what it means to welcome the new year.  

We've got so many plans for the new year.  Not resolutions, but plans.  But before we can really accomplish anything, I need to get a hold of my daily life.  Sounds simple, right?  For me, not so much.   I'm perpetually behind on laundry.  The house always seems to be in a state of total chaos.  And sometimes I barely know what day it is.  

But this year HAS to be different.  We had a great start yesterday.  All the Christmas decorations were carefully packed up and taken down to the basement.  Now if you know us, you would know that the Christmas decorations might be boxed up, but it would take us 2-3 weeks to actually bring them down into the basement.  Heck, one year we kept our tree up until March.  We were thinking about decorating it for Easter.  

I've been on a total tear today:  packing up toys for the toy rotation, washing and folding laundry, grocery shopping, putting away the china from a party we had in November.  The kids think I'm nuts, and they're getting quite protective of their toys.  Sunshine has been quietly hiding toys her toys in the hopes that I won't see them and they won't make it into the rotation.  Ladybug has been running around the playroom clutching as many toys as she can fit in her arms.  Keep in mind these are toys the kids haven't played with in months.  

So... now that I'm getting my house in order; I need to get my life in order.  I need to start looking beyond the next event/weekend/milestone.  Not unmindful of the future.  That's my new motto.  

Now if only I could figure out how to do that....