Saturday, February 28, 2009

stormy days

We have finally got our much needed rain here in the bay area, but along with it we seem to have brought thunderous toddler mood swings. The atmosphere in the house is much like the weather in Kauai; if you don't like it, wait five minutes and it will dramatically change. Come to think of it, a trip to Kauai would be most welcome right now, especially if the resort had a babysitter.

Geekygirl is a child who needs her breakfast in order to become human, and since her morning moods have particularly unpredictable this week, actually getting breakfast into her has been a challenge. There was the morning when instead of asking her what she wanted, I filled her cereal bowl with her usual cocktail of cheerios, cornflakes and mini shredded wheats. I figured that since she always eats the same thing I may as well save a bit of time. But having this usual ritual of cereal choice so cruelly taken away, she burst into floods of tears and refused to eat. She finally agreed to consume her ereal as long as she was sitting n my lap. But this was not OK with Geekybaby, who also wanted this prime position.

Geekybaby has mastered bipedalism, and with his new found skill can toddle far and wide. Along with this skill of independence has come a new clinginess. It's as if his little legs carry him away from mummy almost without his control, then he suddenly sees how far away he is and comes barreling back too fast for his abilities, so desperate is his need to be back with me.

Geekygirl, a preschooler now, is learning to write her name. She is delighted with this skill, and I am very impressed that at three she can make a passable effort at writing. I was less thrilled when I found her autograph markered onto our living room wall this morning. Geekybaby has also developed a new passion for marker pens, and is no longer fooled by the old 'bait and switch' tactic of replacing one unsuitable object with another of my choosing.

Our weekly grocery run, usually a pleasant family outing turned into a scene from "Supernanny" (the part before supernanny arrives). Geekygirl, adorable and helpful shopper for the first part of the trip, tried to climb out of the cart at the checkout. As he lifted her out, Geekydaddy noticed something dripping onto the reusable grocery bags we had on the bottom of the cart (green citizens that we are). Was it a leaking milk carton? A squashed juice box or an overripe grape? No, we realized in horror. It was pee. Geekydaddy opened the box of tissues we had in the cart wile I chased the pee soaked manic child through the throngs of shoppers, and carried her out kicking and screaming to the mixed looks of amusement, disgust and I hope a little sympathy on the faces of my fellow shoppers.

The plan for lunch was to go to our favourite taqueria, so I put Geekygirl in a pull up and we headed out. Storm over and back to adorableness again, Geekygirl chattered along the street, matching letters and sounds to everything we encountered. The quesadillas were wonderful, the beer even better. The taqueria has beautiful murals on the walls. Geekygirl looked at them in delight, "Mummy, someone drew on the walls in here, but we don't draw on walls?".

Time to hide the marker pens, I think!

Friday, February 20, 2009

How Geekymummy got her boobs back

Almost 4 years have gone by during which my body has been through pregnancy, nursing, another pregnancy, and more nursing. Before they fulfilled their mammalian destiny, I had always thought of my boobs as no more than attractive accessories, subtle embellishments to elegant outfits.

OK, who am I kidding, they were adornments to be flaunted to their greatest advantage in wonderbras and teeny T shirts. Then along came the babies and I realized what marvelous but bizarre organs they truly were. Source of nourishment and comfort to my babies, and cause of such mixed emotions in me; pride (how productive I am, how well my baby is growing) angst (am I making enough milk, do I have thrush in my nipples, am I leaking everywhere, am I making enough milk?) and embarrassment (ever accidentally sprayed a fellow customer at starbucks with your breastmilk?)

In the very back of my underwear draw sit delicate flimsy brassieres from those long ago times. At the front of my underwear drawer sit washed out heavy duty nursing bras that have now, apparently, served their time.

Geekybaby has decided that he is ready to quit nursing. Ever since he tasted his first real food he has become less and less interested, until at last, he squirmed away from my embrace as I attempted his bedtime feed, and reached instead for the books on the nightstand. "I want bedtime stories, Mum, not breastmilk" he seems to be saying.

I, however, don't feel ready, and I am sad to break this bond with my baby. I nursed Geekygirl 'til she was 14 months old, stopping when I got pregnant with Geekybaby. I had intended to nurse him at least this long, or longer, blithely assuming that he would continue to want this source of motherly goodness for as long as it was available. I had always thought that quitting would be my decision, and that it would be hard for him, not hard for me. This is a bittersweet milestone that I didn't see coming. A reminder to slow down, enjoy each moment, because kids grow up too fast.

But there is a shiny side to this coin, my voracious middle of the night nurser now sleeps right through the night. As my body is no longer grabbing every last nutrient to turn into milk the spring is returning to my step, and the bags are retreating from under my eyes. Could it be that my body is finally my own again? It has been so long as a host or food supply to another being that I can hardly recall how that feels. Boobs, you have done a truly marvelous job, and I think it is time for you to retire in style and return to your original calling of looking cute under tight sweaters. You've been through quite a lot in the intervening years though, so may need a tiny little bit of help. I hear the lingerie department at Bloomingdales calling!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Happy Birthday little handsome!

Today our Geekybaby turns 1 year old. You arrived ten days late, I was staring to think you would never arrive, but you were worth the wait. Sweet and mellow from the day you were born, you take life in your stride. Your motto seems to be "if in doubt, smile". A big strong baby, you have grown into a plump and sturdy almost toddler. You have taken your first unsteady steps, but prefer to speed crawl. You can say mama, bye bye, uh oh, and dog, and are so thrilled by your communication skills. You complete our family so perfectly. Happy birthday, sweet baby.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy Birthday to my sweet girl

Geekygirl turned three on Friday. My tiny baby has grown into a little girl, so sweet and precious I can hardly believe she came from geekydaddy and I. Sometimes it seems the years have just flown by, and that it was only yesterday we brought you home, a tiny bundle. Yet other times it is hard to believe you are only three years old, such a big personality you have become.

Happy birthday, darling girl

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Thankyou, Nordstrom

I want to take this opportunity to say thanks to the kind sales assistants in the shoe department at Nordstrom. maybe it is a sign of the weak economy, you are desperate for any kind of customer. Even a customer with two small children, one of whom is testing the springiness of all of your elegant 'shoe trying' on furniture. You smiled indulgently as I explained that the couches in the store were for sitting on and lying on, not jumping on. And that, well, OK, marching on them was an acceptable compromise. You laughed as I informed my daughter that she could not take shoes from the displays, but that she could try on the shoes I had selected. You smiled as my almost walking baby used your displays as support, and perhaps you didn't even notice him drooling on the strappy sandals.

You indulged me when I gave up browsing since I had to keep the sofa bouncer in my peripheral vision like a gazelle watching for a lion, and said, "bring me everything you have in black, closed toe, high heeled shoes", and then did not laugh as I attempted to walk in stripper style patent leather 6 inch stilletos with platform soles. Well, they looked cute in the box. My three year old daughter looked more elegant walking in these horrors than I did.

You kindly pointed out the one pair of shoes that was elegant on the outside, but soft and cushy inside, correctly assuming I would be grateful, not insulted by the implication that I can use all the comfort life can throw at me.

I bought the shoes, Geekydaddy also found a pair (not high heeled, I hasten to add) and since Geekygirl was still in good spirits, we popped up to the kids floor and got her a new pair of crocs to boot. So thank you kinds people of Nordstroms, your kindness to a frazzled family was rewarded with our purchases. We will return!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


We made the great mistake back over thanksgiving of watching "Finding Nemo" with geekygirl. I had seen the movie before and recalled it being a cute story about fish. Which it is. Apart from the sharks, the whales, and the deep sea creature with the huge snapping jaws. Geekygirl was terrified of the movie, and this has begotten a wariness about TV in general. She is happy watching the things she knows and likes, her Elmo ABC, her Charlie and Lola, but is suspicious of anything new, in case a seemingly pleasant scene suddenly erupts into sharp jawed violence.

This made our 'superbowl party' experience a stressful one for Geekygirl. We were with some friends, who happen to have the hugest high definition TV you have ever seen. The kids and I were in and out of the TV room, but we watched a few commercials. And that is when the trouble began. If you watched the superbowl you will recall a commercial from pedigree about adopting a dog. In the commercial various unsuitable animals, ostriches, wild boars etc are shown as unsatisfactory pets. In one scene a guy throws a frisbee to a water buffalo. The water buffalo, understandably, does not run to catch it as a dog might, but stands there (quite huge on this monster of a TV) as the frisbee slaps into his wet bovine nose.

Geekgirl stood open mouthed and horrified, and retreated to a corner of the room behind the couch.

"Mummy, what did those people do to the cow?" she asked

"It is just pretend on TV" I explained. "They were pretending he was a dog and threw him a frisbee".

"But Mummy, how does the cow feel? I think that hurt his feelings" She was close to tears.

You can't argue with that really, so I conceded that it wasn't nice to throw the frisbee at the cow, and yes he probably was a bit upset. But that he would be OK. And it was just pretend.

It seems humor at the expense of innocent animals is not appreciated in Geekygirls world. I will have to remind her of this the next time she tries to wake the cat by pulling on his tail.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

helter skelter

What a week. I made it home from the conference, getting up at 4.00am on an unbelievably frigid Canadian morning to get the earliest flight out of Calgary back to SF. I When I walked into the house Geekygirl was all smiles. Geekybaby looked at me curiously, and when I took him into my arms he leaned back to study my face, then reached out and gently touched it, and broke out into his huge beam. I could see him thinking "It's you, lovely person. I'm so glad to see you again. I'd just got so fond of you, and then you vanished!"

Geekygirl is of course able to use words to express the same emotions, and was indeed so thrilled to see me. I was just so happy to walk back into our home. Geekygirl is able to express more complex emotions too, of course. We have a little exchange we perform where she shouts "Mummy" and I reply "Geekygirl" (well using her actual name) and she retorts "I LOVE you". Then I say "I love YOU". In the car on the way home from daycare last Monday I heard a variation on this:

"Mummy" she says. I respond as usual.
"I DON'T love you". She says.
I say "I'm sad to hear that sweetie, I love you".

Then I hear "Mummy";
I reply with her name again and she says "I don't LIKE you".
I pause and reply "Why don't you like me sweetie?"
And she says ephatically "I don't like when you go on business trips."

In the week since we returned, I was instantly swept up in preparing for an event at work where we had a bunch of local high school kids come to the company to hear from us about career options in Biotech. It was a great day, actually, but a lot of work to prepare. Then ironically, the very next day I was informed that our company was having a layoff. I was not directly affected, but my direct report, someone I have worked with for a long time and am very fond of, was. So for the first time I had to be the harbinger of that sad news. This happened on Friday.

On top of all this, although Geekybaby has finally and miraculously started to sleep a solid twelve hours at night, Geekygirl, my deep sleeper, has started to get up in the night and come into our room. She says that she is scared, and it seems that the 'monsters' that twitch and peek from the lighted windows of the houses she can glimpse across the street have returned with a vengeance. No doubt mummy being gone for a week has stirred some feelings of insecurity. At breakfast on Saturday, talking about fears in the middle of the night we established this.

"Mummy, I am scared that when I wake up you won't be there. It scares me when you go away, because I love you so much."

I can only hope that this wonderful ability to express her feelings will stay with her. And since I don't want to make false promises, all I can hope is that she will come to learn that Mummy might go away every once in a while, but that she will always, always come back. With presents.