Friday, December 23, 2011

Fess Up??

I went to NYC for business again. It was a great trip - I saw some shows, had lots of meetings and took care of some needed auditions for the season. I packed my trip with so many things that I was running around the city at a dizzying pace. I kind of forgot that I'm nearly 8 months pregnant. 8 months pregnant you ask?!? Yeah - that seems to be the concensus with my friends and collegues too. I seem to have forgotten to tell anyone that we are expecting a new addition in February. How did I forget to tell anyone? Did I do it on purpose? Or did I seriously just get too busy with Izz, Daniel and work? Gotta tell you -- I really don't know. But, now, here's the quandary: do I announce it? Like on Facebook? That seems awfully public and weird. Do I keep it quiet for the important people in my life? In this new world of social media, I'm just not sure what one does when they have big news to tell but they don't necessarily want everyone to know.. just most people. Suggestions?

Monday, December 5, 2011

The art of putting your toddler to sleep

So, at least once a week - Daniel falls asleep while putting Izz in bed. After our bedtime ritual (teeth brushing, cuddling, etc) He will read her stories, then say our collective goodnights to all our relatives, then he'll sit in the chair while she lies in bed. The idea is to sit there for 5 minutes and leave her to fall asleep on her own.


That's how it's supposed to work.

At least once a week my amazing husband will fall asleep before Izz does. I know this because all of a sudden I hear snoring (really really loud snoring) eminating from Izz's bedroom. He snores so loudly that it keeps her up. So, I have to go in there and wake him up.. which disturbs the whole process. So, he starts again - 5 minutes of sitting there -- and he falls asleep AGAIN. This can go on for an hour until I kick him out of the room, which make Izz cry.. so, I sit there for 5 minutes - but, it's not the same thing.

I would be angry and frustrated - but, it's so damn cute and totally hilarious.

I read to her tonight, tucked her in, sat for 5 minutes -- and I'm out writing this blog while she falls asleep on her own. But, I have to tell you - I wouldn't trade those nights when I hear loud snoring coming from her room for anything. They remind me of how active a participant my husband is in our child's rearing and how adorable he can be ...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Costco is...


You go inside and you really and truly start to think -- hmmm... I could totally get 30 kiwis.. and my family of 3 could eat them in a week.. and if we don't.. then I'll learn all kinds of kiwi recipes and maybe even make kiwi jam. 

And then you walk outside and you think... hmmm...  I walked all around that big store... I totally earned a churro, and maybe soda, and maybe I should just have a hot dog.... those ice cream parfaits look pretty good..

Friday, November 11, 2011


We went to Israel... more on that later....

We came back from Israel - and my almost potty trained daughter now refuses to sit on the potty.  She can put on her own clothing.. but, the kid who sat on the potty and peed like a champ is now not interested in being potty trained at all.  I thought I was the greatest parent in the world - that my kid would be super easy to get out of diapers.. but, alas.. she's more complicated than previously expected.

not my kid - but, you get the picture

Her pre-school teacher has recommended the weekend boot camp.  Basically, you strip her down from the waist and in a weekend she learns.  Hmmmm... was thinking of trying it this weekend, but, my husband threatened to divorce me.  I have tech next week - and he's going to be at home with Izz most night.  I think the prospect of urine and feces loose around the house is too much for him alone.  I see his point. 

I was never really all that rushed to see her potty trained.  Having to stop everything because your toddler needs to use the bathroom is not all that exciting.  Imagine standing in line at Target and BAM - you have to rush to the closest bathroom.. yup.. I'm ok with diapers for now.  But, I do think she is ready. so:
Think we are just going to have to wait until after Thanksgiving.  

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Y Quirks.

We are no longer Daddy and Mommy - well, we are - but, only when she isn't really thinking about it. When she's really trying to wrap her mind around our names, we are MOM and DAD. (actually we are My Mom and My Dad -- there is a lot of possession here). And our poor dog Petey is now PETE. The Y's have dropped from all our names.

Poor dog - not only did he lose only child status when Isabella was born, now he's lost his name. She's adamant about it too.

"Izz, his name is Petey".

"No, Mommy... Pete... Pete"

Thursday, October 6, 2011

sense of humor

I never really thought to myself that my toddler could already be developing a sense of humor. I mean, I know she loves to laugh, and she loves to tickle us and have a good time -- but, make jokes? Real jokes? When does your comedic self come out? Izz has always been funny. She'll make a funny face to try and make us laugh.. but recently she's actually bordering on stand up comedy.

Tonight -- we are at a restaurant and she points to a Halloween decoration and says, "a Mummy"! -- and then turns to me and smiles... then points again and says "Mommy that's MY Mummy"... and giggles.

ok folks - I'm counting on Izz to grow up and be an Engineer... or am I fooling myself and my little girl is going to be doing the stand up circuit.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Bad Mother - the West Coast Edition

I read Laura's post and just chuckled... she hit it right on the nail in so many ways. Thankfully, I don't have that day care provider who asks me probing questions and makes me feel like crap. But, I still have the guilt of the long pre-school day.

Our pre-school is amazing. They were really terrific in helping Izz adjust and they are super supportive. I did do my research when picking a preschool, so, I know its good, but, also - in all honesty - also picked this one because it's open until 6pm and because it's close to our house. I had no idea it was a "feeder" school (if you don't know what that means - good for you -- I've just learned the term and it's quite the eye opener). Anyway, the 6pm part is very important because if you look around for a preschool around here you won't find that many open that late (in fact, when looking in La Jolla so Izz could be closer to my work - I found NONE!). Most of the ones near here are open until 12pm.. and if you are lucky, they have after care until 3pm (yes, that's right until 3pm!). ummm... so, how is a working parent supposed to do this? Well, as I've learned... you do it by having a Nanny as well as taking your kid to preschool. It's true! The lovely lady that I thought was little _____ (no need to share names)'s grandmother is actually her Nanny.. and the reason she goes to pre-school is to help her socialize.

Which brings me to the guilt factor. A good percentage of the kids at Izz's preschool only go half day or half day for half a week. Which means, that come 12pm, her class size goes down by a 1/4 and by 3pm by a 1/2! When Daniel picks her up at 5:30pm -- her classroom has usually merged with the other 2 year old classroom AND the 3 year old classroom.. and there are only 8 kids left.

Kind of makes you feel like crap that your kid is one of the last ones left. I start to have images of that Mormon commercial with the kid left alone on the bleachers because his parents forgot to pick him up, so a nice mother takes pity on him and she and her kids sit with him to wait. Sigh.....

I drop Izz at preschool and Daniel picks her up... so, I am constantly calling him and pushing him to try and pick her up earlier... to please please not let her be one of the last group.

Thankfully, Izz seems unfazed by this. In fact, Daniel has had to wait when he picks her up in the afternoon, because he sometimes arrives during the late afternoon story time, and she doesn't want to leave not knowing what is going to happen in the story.

but, her Mother still feels guilty.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Fashion Sense.

I think know my toddler has more fashion sense than I do.   Yesterday morning, she pulled on her socks - and I folded them over.  "NO, Mommy" she said and kept them long. Then she proceeded to pull on the brand new boots that I had gotten for winter over the socks.  They looked adorable on with her dress.   The boots are too big, so I was not thinking of them at all - but, clearly she was.   We had to compromise on other shoes, because the boots were, in fact, too big... but, what a lesson in letting your kids figure out their own style.  I usually let her pick out stuff from a choice of 2-3 outfits -- and so far, she's surprised me with some inventive and really fun outfits. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bad Mother

Can i just say that i really can't take the GUILT that gets thrown at you when you pick up kids from daycare. I realize now that it wasn't the lady at the other daycare because i'm getting the same crap from this lady -- who i like a whole lot more -- but still, she had the nerve to ask me what i fed Molly this morning. At pick-up she told me that Molly's poop was black. I asked her if it was very loose or very hard, and she said it was normal, but just black. And I'm like, lady - I have one kid and I've seen every color poop already - how is it that you haven't?? Should i really be alarmed by black poop? What - you think i fed her black licorice for breakfast? But she looked at me like
A) It was the weirdest thing she ever saw and

B) clearly i did something to cause it

So we move on from poop, and she tells me how Molly isn't eating as well as she used to. And i remind her that she's teething now so it's probably that. So that seemed to satisfy. So she tries to find another topic she can nail me on. She tells me about Molly's diaper rash, which keeps coming back, but which, of course i know about - and she tells me "it really hurts her." I tell her we just got new medicine that should hopefully work. But i swear, i feel like I'm on trial defending myself to this lady. As if i don't care or know about her diaper rash! I know that girl's butt better than anyone, trust me.

Uch - is it just that there's no way to ask about this stuff without making it seem like we suck as parents? Or am i just letting my working mom guilt take over? I don't know, i swear there's a way to ask these things without making it seem like I'm a shitty mom.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

and we begin...

Friday Izz finally began pre-school.. in my mind anyway.

She got out of the car without complaining and I never heard "no pre-school". She walked in and showed her blanky and horse to her teachers.. They asked her if she wanted a snack. She said yes, and left my side without a peep. I signed her in, gave her a kiss and walked out. My heart was not broken.. my daughter finally started pre-school!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


I asked Izz if she wanted to wear a dress today.  "Yes" she said.  She got a choice between two comfortable cotton dresses that I like.  She picked one out, and when I put it on her she said, "I'm a pretty Princess."

HUH?? When did that happen? Izz has never seen a princess movie, she doesn't show much interest in dolls -- so, when did she become a pretty princess?   I was kind of hoping my little girl would skip that stage.


more on pre-school later.

Monday, September 12, 2011

When did my 2 year old turn into a 2 year old?

I don't know if it's because she's more tired at pre-school or because she hates pre-school and blames me or just because she's finally figured out that she's supposed to give us a hard time because she's 2.

Tonight was the second night of huge upset over one of our bedtime rituals. Two nights ago it was because she wanted to stay sitting on the potty... 20 minutes of this (not kidding) later, I finally said ENOUGH.. and tried everything in the book to move to the next part of bedtime. If she had her way.. bedtime would have lasted 3 hours.

Tonight it involved putting on a diaper/pull up after bath time. HUGE meltdown. I attribute this one to being exhausted... but, man.. she gave me the run around. I tried EVERY parenting trick, discipline tactic.. and even a time out (1 minute long) -- and in the end.. I had to force her to put them on. Her meltdown turned into my meltdown. Not my finest hour.

Daniel had all kinds of advice at the end -- I put up my hand and said No. Because really, do you want your spouse to give you advice on what they would have done after you've gone through something like that? NOOOO..... you just want to curl up in a corner and hope tomorrow comes quickly. Maybe tomorrow night he should try bedtime. Of course, tomorrow will be the night she's amazing... or maybe I WAS right -- and she blames me because I'm the one that drops her off at pre-school -- and she really does have it in for me.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Preschool... the parenting lesson

I thought my well adjusted, amazing little girl would have a great time starting pre-school. Boy was I wrong.

The first day, I went in with her and stayed a bit, she sucked her thumb but, she was interested in the teachers and the play dough.  So, she walked over and started working on play dough and I left.   I called the school and the secretary said she was doing great -- and when we picked her up, she was playing with some other kids. When she saw us though, she got very emotional and started crying and wanted to be held. I think the emotions of the day caught up with her. 

The second day, she did not want to even walk through the fence.  She was so tentative and it took a lot of coxing to get her through the door.  Finally, I told her I would read her a book inside - and she followed me. When I got inside, I went to read her a book, but, it was clear that my presence was upsetting to the other 2 year olds who also missed their Mommy's.  One of them, Lily, started crying. The teacher came over, and started reading to Izz -- and then walked her over to the play dough to get it out.  Isabella's big eyes filled with tears and she stuck her fingers into her mouth. I offered her blanky and she took it, clutching it -- and held onto my leg. Honestly, at that moment, I would have just picked her up and taken her home with me... but, I knew that she would be fine once I left.  My heart broke as I walked away.... when I called the school to check in the secretary said that she was doing great.  When Daniel picked her up, her teachers said that she was a joy all day. 

Third day, she didn't want to leave the car at all.  The teacher could see us because they were outside playing -- and she waved at Izz and Izz waved back and smiled. So, clearly she likes them .. but, still she did not want to get out.  Finally, I said - how about I walk in and we go see Miss Holly together.  She said "ok" very tentatively and got out of the car and followed me (clutching her blanky).  We walked in, and Terri scooped her up and took her to play.  She started to cry... and Holly (Miss Holly) waved at me to go.   So, I left.  Again - broken heart.

This morning, she got out of the car willingly, but, wouldn't walk through the doors of the pre-school. I coaxed her for over 20 minutes and she was just so upset (not crying, just really tentative) that she wouldn't budge. I tried everything, being stern, being caring, joking, incentives and nothing worked. Finally, the door opened because the teacher was taking the kids outside. They walked past us, and Holly came over and tried to get her to go play. Finally, I noticed (again) the kids starting to get a little upset that a Mommy was there - so, I told Izz, "I'm going sweetie, I'll see you in a few hours" and walked away. Holly picked her up and she started crying. When I called later, Miss Terri got on the phone and said, "I think the long goodbye's are worse." ... I know I know I know. I'm doing the exact opposite of what I'm supposed to do. But, my little girl is having a hard time transitioning, and clearly... so am I.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Milestone madness

Lately, I've been panicking about Molly, who just turned 14 months, being "behind" her peers - late to walk, late to talk -- according to the "norms." How do you keep yourself from obsessing about this stuff and worrying there's something wrong -- or my favorite, that I'VE somehow done something wrong to stunt her development?? I know, it doesn't help to compare kids, and Einstein didn't talk till he was 3, blah blah. I just want her to be ok....and love her and accept her for whoever she is. But, I'm still working on that in myself!! Wow. More and more I have come to understand that you REALLY can't understand being a parent until you are one -- it's a huge challenge and i think has the potential to bring out your best and worst - but more than anything it can help you become a better person yourself as you work to help this little person become themselves...

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Molly is having her first sleepover at my parents tonight!! Tim and I went on a date and saw Crazy, Stupid Love which is SO much more awesome than you might expect -- very very smart and real and funny. And now it's so VERY weird to be home and she's not here and we miss her SO SO SO much. But it's also kind of exciting, like to know that we could stay out all night or scream at the top of our lungs if we wanted to!! (wish i could say that's what we were doing, if you know what i mean, but instead we were home by 10 and now we're watching tennis in our jammies and going to bed -- which is nice too)...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Something in her voice

I'm still at work.  Previews... 

Just called home to check how dinner and bedtime were going.  Izz had just come out of the bath and was sitting on the potty.  Daniel put her on the phone and there was something in her voice that sounded tentative.  I asked him if he heard it too -- "yeah", he said, "she was a little cranky tonight."  I wondered if it was because I've had to work the last two nights... and he said, "I think she senses that big changes are coming."

Could that be? Next Tuesday she starts pre-school.  We've gone twice in the last two weeks.  Both times she's warmed up to it, but, initially she was very very shy.   I wonder if she senses that she is going to leave the only day care she has ever known and try something new.  

Sometimes I really wonder what's inside my little toddler's head.  I want to know so I can wrap my arms around her and reassure her that everything is going to be ok. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Living so far away ...

I'm sitting at the Jet Blue terminal having breakfast. I can't believe what a luxury this is. I gave myself plenty of time to get here and catch my flight back to San Diego - and it took less than half an hour to get here (last time I made this trip, it took an hour and a half). So, I have two hours to kill. First I went to Borders (so sad they are going out of business) then I came here to the sit down restaurant and got myself a proper breakfast. I can't remember the last time I actually sat down to eat a real meal at an airport. I'm always turned off by the high prices.. but, today I was given the luxury of more time, and therefore, I'm taking the luxury of a lovely breakfast and some time to type here.

As I was sitting eating my food and sipping my coffee... my back twinged a bit and memories of the beginning of the week came flooding back. The beginning of a painful week.

A week ago Saturday I was helping Izz out of her car seat and I felt a sharp pain in my lower back. It hurt a bit, but then calmed down for a while. By the evening though, it was starting to get worse and worse - no combination of stretching, yoga, tylenol helped it. By the next day I could barely walk. We had a planned a lazy day at home with some house cleaning thrown in (oh goodness, we needed it), and I couldn't pick up anything or even move much at all (even sitting hurt). I took enough pain medication to make it to the dress rehearsal or our current show - but, didn't make it through the first act. I was in so much pain, that Linda and Gabe had to get my car and walk me to it. They offered to drive me home - but, I waved them off. As I neared our house, I realized that I would need to call Daniel to come get me and help me out of the car.. I was in that much pain.

I made it inside the house and just lay down on the floor. We called the nurse hotline in an effort for them to schedule me an appointment with my doctor first thing the next morning. Instead they told me to go to the emergency room.... and that's when I realized -- We Can't!

I never really considered going... I was in pain - but, the idea of sitting in an emergency room for hours when I could barely move off the ground seemed like too much pain to exert on me just then. But, we also couldn't go because Daniel would have to take me, and Izz was upstairs sleeping. Which meant that we would have to wake her and then drag her with us to the emergency room where she would be up and cranky for hours on end. The other possibility was calling a friend - but, who do you know well enough in a town where you are just making friends to come and sit with your kid at 1am??

I really missed having family close by right then. When you are incapacitated and you just need your Mom (or your husband could really use his Mom), it really hits you smack in the face how far away you are from family.

When Laura (sister in law) needs family close by -- they drive over from Brooklyn. Her parents help babysit and can be there in an emergency. When my brother needs to drop of the kids, he can with my parents. And not only the actual physical help that family close by lends you, but the emotional reassurance that they are close by IF you were to need them.

In NYC I had lived there long enough to form relationships with friends that were like family bonds. When I was running a 104 fever in the middle of the night - my friend Courtney came down from Harlem (I was living in Hells Kitchen) to accompany me to the emergency room. When we got there, she was my advocate, since I was so sick, I wasn't making my sense. That's Family!

So, as I sit here heading "home" to San Diego, I can't help but wonder how much of a "home" it is when you feel you don't really have a safety net of family there to support you if you really need it.

I think if we are going to call San Diego our base for the next few years -- some work needs to be put into cultivating some friends that we can really count on.. friends that can also count on us. Because in the end, home isn't really home unless you feel totally comfortable there.

P.S. Back is much better. PT helped quite a bit.. and even though it still hurts -- I can move. hallelujah!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tech is not conducive for parenting

My job involves Tech... otherwise known as technical rehearsals. This is when all the elements of the show come together; lights, costumes, sound, the sets, the musicians and the actors on stage.

Tech usually starts at noon and ends between 10pm and midnight - depending on the span of that days rehearsal.

I really need to be here for some of the time, to make sure everything is going ok. Most of the time, I need to stick around until the note session at the end of the night.

In my professional life, I've always loved tech. It thrills me to see everything coming together. It's a stressful time, but, also kind of magical.

The problem now is that a) I'm a parent now, with a daughter that wakes up around 7am. b) I'm not part of the creative teams here...

So -- I miss my daugther, and in the morning when she wakes up (and me) .. i'm a little groggy and not the greatest person to play games or really enjoy her. Also, because I'm not on the creative team.. I really miss directing while I'm here. I feel like something has been cut away from me and I just have an empty space. I love producing.. usually.. but, during tech, I miss that excitement you get when you see what you've worked on so hard and have always had in your head up on stage.

I wish I could do both - or to be more blunt, all three: be an involved parent, a director and a producer. But, how do you juggle all three? Even if I could direct, I'm not sure I could really do all three -- I don't think there are enough hours. It's that balance thing again... I feel like it's not actually achievable.

Man -- this is really making me not like tech at all.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Her Mother's Daughter...

It's so odd the things that you discover about your child -- things that you KNOW are nature and not nurture.

For example - Izz is kind of a dare devil. She likes to climb up, fly in her Daddy's arms, and ride rides (no matter how fast, circular, or bumpy).  We first got a glimpse of this when I took her on the kiddie roller coaster at the county fair last year ... and this past weekend we got a chance to go to Sea World (for free, thank goodness) and she had a field day on the Sesame Street Place rides.   Daniel couldn't get on them (he had a bad tea-cup experience as a child.. and can't stand those rides), so, I went on with her.  I'm the perfect choice since I love a good rollercoaster.. but, three in a row was even too much for me.  "More" is all Izz said.   Yup, we went home from the hospital with the right kid. 
On the way home - her Daddy gave her a personal ride... she squeeled all the way to the car.

Daddy's rides are always the best

Saturday, June 25, 2011

You can't always have your way!

By the title -- I actually mean myself.

When Izz was a baby, we would just plop her into the carseat and go on our way. She was totally portable. When she got older, we were able to divert her attention and still be on our way. But, now that she's a full fledged 2 year old - she has opinions (and now that she can talk pretty well - she can express those opinions pretty loudly).. and often they don't match ours. Of course, we are the parents.. so, if it's important -- we do get our way. But, sometimes (like today) - we should possibly listen to her.

Today we went to swimming class, and then a few hours at the zoo. She started her nap in the car, and then we transferred to the crib. When she woke up, I thought, "cool! She has woken up in time for us to go to the theatre and participate in the tech dinner." But, she woke up grumpy, because her nap was too short. She didn't want to get dressed, put on shoes, walk out the house. We finally got her going - but, truly.. we should have just stayed at home and let her chill and eaten dinner in a more quiet environment. It was already a big day for her.

When we got to the dinner, she was really cross. She didn't want us to eat, she didn't want to eat - and we really only got her to sit when we offered her cheesecake (which we called Ice Cream - cause she doesn't know what cheesecake is - and really.. what's the difference?). We also (in our infinite wisdom) took the dog with us.. so, you can imagine how enjoyable this dinner was. After about 45 minutes, she became herself and we were back on track. BUT - did we really need to be there? Nope. Did we put our own wants in front of her needs. Yes.

I realize we'll be learning this lesson over and over as she gets older.

When you are a parent - You can't always have your way!

This picture is old - she's only 12 months old here -
but, it's the only I have of her crying.  After one crying picture,
you never take another!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Marriage - here and there.

Congratulations New York... you've just voted to let human beings marry each other.

Truly, I'm thrilled it passed in New York. But, I can't help but be a little peeved at the United States as a whole. Why is it up to the more liberal states to pass this law when it really should be a federal law!

Why are Daniel and I allowed to get married, when Bea and Gretchen cannot? They have a beautiful little toddler like we do-- and they have been together for 10 years longer than we have. Yet, these two educated, consenting adults until today were not allowed to get married.

Why is marriage so important? Well.. com'on.. you know all the reasons: There's the whole legal thing, the whole property right thing, the rights issues, the parenting issues.. etc etc etc.. You all know the drill.

But, for me - it goes deeper. It's a human right. Human beings should be allowed to marry another consenting adult human being. No matter what sex.

I thought we were over that whole - one person is allowed more human rights than another crap.

And to that - I say: Congratulations New York! Now... let's get the Supreme Court and the White House on board.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

FIRST BLOOD: The One Year Old Check Up....

Terrified about getting through this....But something tells me this blood drawing is going to be harder on us than on them.....they will be scared and it will sting for a second, but we will be right there to hold them and tell them we love them and that it's ok, and it will be over in a second. And then we can scoop them up after, hold them, dry their tears, and make it all ok again -- that's our job.

BUT we will have to try and hold back our urge to smack the nurse's hand away and not say -- "GET away from my baby!!!!!" It is SO hard to watch them in pain, it's insane. When Molly bumps her head and she looks at me like "What just happened to me? And why didn't you stop it??" -- uch it kills me inside a little. But they recover SO quickly it's a blessing. As for us, we might need a little more comforting till we feel better.

We are parents of 1 year olds now - we can take it!!!!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Why I'm glad the Internet wasn't around when I was a kid

When I was a kid, I was the victim of bullying.  It started in Peru, where I was a target because I was Jewish and very awkward.  I remember slander on the blackboards and having to pay other girls to be my friend with stickers and American candy.

I was thrilled to move to the United States; there I would make friends and escape being ridiculed.   When I got here, I was the perfect target again -- this time because I was awkward, didn't understand American customs and because I barely spoke English.  I would ride my bike home, throw myself on the bed and cry.  There were moments, when I seriously wondered if it might be better to just end it all.  Thankfully, I stuck it out. Junior High School was 100 % better.  More friends, still teasing, but, I was able to escape it.. and as I learned to adapt (and learned how to get rid of my accent) in this country, I became less of a target.  High School was again 100% better - and I grew confident in my ability to make friends (good ones that I could call when I had problems - friends that last a lifetime).. and even though I was heavy.... I stopped being teased for my weight.   College, again better, and I have to tell you that life since just keeps getting more exciting, challenging and yes, better.

But, when I think back to that little girl who moved to the United States in elementary School -- I am so very grateful that the internet was not around!  These days, a kid can't escape bullying by just going home and throwing themselves on their bed -- between Facebook, Twitter, Texting, cell phones, etc...  bullying has taken on a whole new level of gruesomeness.  How are kids to find a safe place when they are bombarded from every angle?  I really don't know... But, I do hope that as adults who got a taste of what they are going through (because truly -- I can't even imagine the degree of bullying that is now possible), we keep our eyes open and stay diligent around the kids in our lives.

My hope is also that those same kids who see themselves attacked by bullies on the internet also turn to the internet to find comfort.  The "It gets better" campaign that Dan Savage started is a perfect example.  It was started as a reaction to the frightening rate of suicide among gay teenagers who were bullied - yet, it truly applies to anyone who is suffering at the hands of stupid stupid people that get their jollies out of making others suffer.

The first time I heard about this campaign, I immediately went on YouTube and looked up some of the videos and wept. The theatre community (did you know that there are gays in theater? Gasp!) has come out in droves in support as well with videos and monetary help to the Trevor Project, and now that Google has done a commercial -- I'm never going to be able to watch TV without crying again.

So, today I say -- It gets better..  thank you Dan Savage and thank you Google.

(warning: you'll need a hanky).

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How NPR and Blue's Clues changed my life

Not actually my child

I think it was a combination of the stress of Tim - my partner - being away for a week and this amazing report I heard on NPR about parenting. The report was partly inspired by that new anti-Tiger-Mom parenting book by Bryan Caplan that's been getting a lot of attention - the one with the tagline “Why Being a Great Parent is Less Work and More Fun than you Think.”

From what I've heard, the book is directed towards all the Type-A overachieving parents who obsess over educational toys and organic food and run their kids back and forth from violin practice to conversational French lessons....and the message to them is -- CHILL OUT!!

The thinking is that all this running around and over-scheduling, while intended to enlighten and enrich our children and help them grow into culturally sensitive little geniuses, ACTUALLY tends to make both kids and parents exhausted, stressed out and occasionally miserable.
But according to this book, even FURTHER reason to chill is that apparently, not only is all this stress no fun, but there is evidence which shows that all these trips to the museum and horseback riding lessons have NO major influence on how our kids turn out.

How can that be?

Well, on the NPR report, a pair of economists (who also happened to be parents) conducted a study on predictors for children's success as adults, and they found that -- get this -- parent's education, personalities, and income levels actually had very LITTLE proven influence on kids’ future successes. They looked at twins raised in different homes and adoption research, and it seems that genetics is much stronger influence than upbringing. In fact, the only major factors in childhood that were shown to have significant impact on children’s futures were these 3 things: 1 - smoking, 2 – drugs/drinking and 3- no, not organic veggies - LOVE.

As a Type-A overachiever myself and also a new mom, this message really hit me. My daughter is not even a year old, and I have already spent an unspeakable amount of time obsessing over types of plastic in baby items. And I shop at 3 different markets to find the right organic teething biscuits. And I never let her play with my phone or watch any TV for fear of radiation or brain damage. And I buy books about trucks and give her toy hammers and screwdrivers to play with in an attempt to endorse gender equality. I mean, I'm ALREADY exhausted and fairly convinced I’ve done irreparable harm by accidentally saying the F-word in front of her and letting her eat non-organic pizza that one time. And it's only just begun. I may have scoffed at the Tiger Mom's insanity, but I've already had it in mind that it's important that she learn to play an instrument and I would really like her to learn to speak a little French -- oh, and play chess of course. Not that I can do any of those things!

And WHEN exactly will she be a kid?

And if all of it turns out to be mostly irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, WHY do it? Because becoming a glorified and underpaid event planner/chauffeur is what I had in mind when I decided to have kids?? Because it will make my children so happy?? What about spending time together as a family? What about watching a silly movie with no educational value? What about going out for fatty non-soy ice cream just because?

THESE are the kinds of things that make parents AND kids happy and the things that they'll likely remember.

Also not my children

The message is: stop spending so much energy trying to mold children into perfect human beings and start having fun. Because if you ARE the type of parent spending time and money on jujitsu and ballet lessons, then more than likely, you are ALREADY a parent who loves and cares for your kids!! And the good news is -- it turns out that that's all they need!! We don't have to work as hard as we think. And some of that hard work could be set aside for a little more FUN!

SO-- after thinking about all of this -- and after almost a week of full-time work and temporarily single motherhood – I was facing yet another afternoon outing with the baby that I needed to pack up for and I was feeling overwhelmed at the inevitable stress of simultaneously taking care of my daughter and getting us ready….And so -- inspired and relieved by this new information, I did something I said I’d never do. I turned on the TV and plopped her down in front of it. I found an episode of Blue's Clues and lo and behold, she was riveted. I was able to leave the room. I was able to pee by myself. I was able to pack up her food and diaper bag. I was able to get her clothes on and clean her face without her having a fit! I even wrote a few emails and wiped up the mess from breakfast. And I got us ready without feeling like an insane person.

And it felt GREAT.

Did one half-hour of basically educational children's television rot her brain and give her attention deficit disorder? Would one half-hour like that EVERY DAY cause irreparable damage? I really don't think so. And what it did do was give Mommy the chance to collect herself and take a breath – and thanks to NPR, NOT feel guilty about it.

Look, don't get me wrong. I don’t think the point is to say "screw it" to all our parenting values. I’m not going to start giving my daughter Froot Loops anytime soon, or skipping bedtime stories for cartoons, or buying non-organic milk (let's not get crazy!) I plan to still make sure she does her homework and doesn't spend her life on Facebook. And I will even put her in a few classes before I'm done.

But when she gets old enough, she can choose a class she likes… and if there's an extracurricular activity she really is NOT enjoying, she doesn't have to do it. If playing the piano 2 hours a day is something she HATES, and it's not proven to make her any smarter really -- despite what Tiger Mom's brainwashed children say -- then she won't have to do it.

What's the point if we aren't having fun? We all want our kids to grow up to be successful, sensitive, and smart people, but apparently, we are already doing a lot for them on that score, simply by being stable, healthy and conscientious people who love our children and treat them with love and respect -- something that a lot of children in this world sadly grow up sorely lacking.

So, my new motto is to have fun and cut down on the obsessing -- at least until a new study comes out that says that fun leads to low test scores....

This one's mine : )

Monday, June 13, 2011

I'm angry at myself and my husband

A few months ago I instituted another part to bedtime -- snuggling. My sister-in-law Kaye does it with her kids right before they go to bed. They curl up in one of the kids beds after story time, and they just snuggle in close and cuddle. Since Izzie is still in a crib, I can't really snuggle with her in the bed -- so, I hold her in my arms and we just say goodnight to our families and cuddle together with her blankey..

And now my husband has ruined it!

He liked the idea of snuggling.. so, he started doing it BEFORE brushing of teeth and story time.. and he did it in our bed! Izzie curls up with him in our bed, then they brush teeth, read stories, and then cuddle again in the chair. This seems totally counter-intuitive! The whole point of snuggling is to have that last moment cuddle before you slip off into dreamland.

My toddler loves his way of doing it. And I am really pissed by that! It was MY idea, he stole it and now she likes it better.... I've tried skipping it.. and she demands it, "SNUGGLE SNUGGLE" and runs off into our bedroom with her blankey. I've tried doing it last, right before sleeping -- but, she loves it so much that it causes strife between us rather than that sweet moment I was hoping for. Seriously.. why did he have to change things?? If you are going to steal the idea, at least do it right!

For the last 3 days Izzie has had a fever -- and I've gotten little to no sleep because she wakes up feverish. So, I'm sleep deprived AND worried that my little girl has something wrong with her (pediatrician says not to worry until a fever has run it's course for 4 days) AND since she has a fever, we can't take her to day care.. and since we live in San Diego, we don't have family that can come over and take care of her while we go to work AND I had to go to work today, couldn't switch my meetings -- so, Daniel took off work, but, what are we going to do tomorrow... I digress...

So, bedtime is going really well - and we are having a good time. I pick her up to snuggle on the chair -- and she pulls away and heads to the door, "SNUGGLE" she demands, she wants to go to our room. I try to reason with her -- but, she's 2! And I lose it. Mind you... I never raise my voice.. I am one of those Mom's who keeps her cool 95% of the time. I can, with all confidence, tell you I'm really good at that. But, I yelled... I was really upset. OVER SNUGGLING? Who am I? Why? I can't explain it -- someone else took over my body! It's ridiculous! I took her into our room and just held her ... she curled into me (after she stopped crying because i never raise my voice) .. I told her I was sorry.. and she patted my cheek. Do you think she forgave me?

Seriously, I feel awful. And I think I really need to get a little perspective here. It's snuggling for goodness sakes...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Tony Awards

I'm sitting here watching the Tony Awards. I've stayed away from all media (Facebook, Twitter, the NY Times website, google) for the last 3 hours so that I can try and see the show in blissful ignorance. I did have a slip up - and I just saw that Normal Heart will be winning for Best Play - but, I knew that would happen.. so, it's fine.

The point here is that I feel totally separated from that world right now.. and it SUCKS! I'm not in NYC, I'm not working on a Broadway show... I'm not in NYC. Why? I know I know I know -- this is my choice. I have a great and steady job in Theatre (a rarity if you know anything about theatre) working for and with amazing artists (many of which are were in the Beacon Theatre tonight). Yet, I can't lie... I'm jealous and I'm feeling really discombobulated right now. Working on a Broadway show is exhilarating, it really --- there is nothing like walking into a stage door and knowing that you were a part of what's on stage.

It probably doesn't help that Izzie has a high fever (and no other symptoms), so, I'm worried about her and I don't have any family or really close friends here. And... and... I do have a good life here.. I have started to make friends, I started running, we are starting the adoption process (which, if I were still freelancing in NYC, we probably couldn't do because I would have a crazy schedule).. I work at a great world renowned theatre where I have gotten to meet amazing artists and gotten to do really spectacular work. But, dammit -- I miss it. I really do. And... I feel awful for feeling this way.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Adopting: A calling or why am I putting my family through this?

When I was about 6 years old, I met my first adopted child. If you saw the about me section - you'd know that I grew up in Lima, Peru - and to be frank, adoption is just not something you talk about (it wasn't until I was an adult that my mother told me my best friend growing up had also been adopted!). So, I met this little girl who was adopted by friends of my parents -- and it all just clicked for me.

There are very few things I know for sure: I know I married a great guy, I know I love my daughter more than I've ever loved anyone, I know that following a career in theatre was going to be tough - but, I'm glad I stuck it out, and I always knew I would adopt. When Daniel and I were dating we discussed it and he was enthusiastic about the whole thing.

About a year ago, we attended our first orientation session to adopt through the county - and to be honest, we got a little spooked by how hard the process is. We are already stretched thin, and putting something else on our plates -- or someone else, who will come with a great deal of baggage, who won't just be happy to be loved and included, but, who will probably fight us and test us, well... all of that seemed like too much to take on. Yet, since that orientation, something has been gnawing at me... something really eating me up inside. At around my birthday I just knew that if we didn't start this now - I wouldn't be able to live with myself. For the first time in my life, I felt a calling to something. I'm not a religious person, but, I can tell you -- this is probably what they feel like when they are moved to do something totally crazy because you know in your bones that a) it's the right thing to do and b) now is the time to do it. So, I felt a calling... a honest to goodness calling to go for it. Daniel and I talked about it -- and he told me that he would prefer if we waited until Izzie was older, but, if I really felt like this was this was the time - then he was on board (see -- I knew I married a great guy).

So, what are the steps? Holy Cow!!! There are a LOT of steps to being an adoptive parent. We first went to see a counselor to talk through our options -- she said international adoption would be between 27-45k.... since we aren't looking to adopt a baby, and we don't have that kind of money - we decided to go back to that orientation session and see if we could stomach all the steps. Well, surprise surprise - the second time didn't seem so bad... but, it's still a lot of steps... first you have to become a foster parent, and then you can be considered an adoptive parent (after 2 more classes)... so, here are the basic steps (believe me, it's more complicated than even this):

1. 3 hour orientation
2. All the adults in the household have to get fingerprinted within 5 days of the orientation
3. You have to put down references and those people need to fill out a questionnaire and send it back within 20 days. (Thankfully, I have lovely people in my life that filled it out and sent it back on time).
4. You have to get a physical, and blood work, and a TB test - then have your doctor mail in the paperwork. (The TB test is no big deal - unless you bruise easily.. which I guess I do.  I'm sporting a douzy)

5. You have to fill out a REALLY long questionnaire that asks you about your life, your childhood, your beliefs, your marriage, everything.
6. You have to schedule a home visit with a Social worker after they have been assigned. For that home visit your place needs to be:
     a) child proofed
     b) there needs to be a room for the child -- even if you are months away from getting that child -- they still need a room that is solely a child's room. We live in a 3 bedroom townhouse, so, that means our office/guest room will now become a child's room.
7. After the home visit you have to take care of the things the social worker noted and then get another home visit (and this has to all happen within 4 months of the initial orientation).
8. you have to take First Aid and CPR training
9. you have to take 27 hours of Pride classes(these are parenting classes that will teach you how to be a parent to a child who comes from a broken home) -- I start mine in July. The classes come in 3 or 6 hour chunks and you have 1 year from orientation to take them all.
10. If you are hoping to adopt - you have to take 2 more classes.
11. another visit from the social worker where you discuss your hopes and dreams for this child.
12. and then you begin....

This whole process will probably take more than a year - and then after we meet our child another 18 months (if we are lucky) more after that.

We can barely get ourselves to bed on time -- why do we think this is such a good idea? Because it's a calling I guess. Seriously, I have no good reason to attempt this craziness than to say that I've always known that I wanted to be the mother of an adopted child. I realize it's going to be the hardest thing I we will ever have to do -- but, I also know that it's the right thing for us. And I can't exactly explain to you why... I guess that's what a calling is all about.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

NPR is bad for your health

I'm just going to say it -- I like talk radio. There... done... I don't know who the current hot singers are -- and I don't really think I can name a Lady Gaga song.

But, I am starting to understand why people listen to music on their way to work and not NPR like I do. Ever since I had a child - the world is looking meaner and meaner. Have you noticed that? I got a little boost to my outlook when Obama was elected - but, that was a blip, and everything since then just gives me anxiety. I feel things more deeply, I think about the crappy stuff a lot more and (I'll just admit it) I cry at the site people fighting for their right to be human.

Today, I learned about how hot it is in the East Coast, how horrible the fires are in Arizona, and how the whole mid-west has been flooded. Our politicians are a joke. Medicare will be defunct by 2024 (right about the time I'll need it) and so will Social Security. Also, the economy has stalled again, unemployment is not going down, Syria/Yemen/Libya are killing their own people as they try to protest for democracy, and everywhere else is going to hell. By the time I get to work my heart is racing, my stomach is in knots and I've picked at my cuticles so badly my fingers are bleeding. Yup, it's that bad (please note the title of this blog).

What kind of world did I bring a child into? Now I understand why mothers I know tell me they a) never listen to the news or b) don't listen to the news or watch the evening broadcast right before going to bed. It's like that rule about coffee -- don't drink it after 3pm or you'll never sleep. Seriously? Do we have to treat the news like it's a caffeinated drink? At 6pm when I'm driving home -- will the news about Anthony Weiner and the Rancher who had to leave his favorite cow and her brand new calf behind to escape from the Arizona fires keep me up all night?

What am I going to listen to on my way to work? Maybe I should give the oldies station a shot - at least after 3pm.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Grateful Parent

Growing up my father traveled a lot.. and by that I mean A LOT! There were times when I wouldn't seem him for more than a few days and he'd be off again. I thought he was very cool to be traveling... and I also thought he was living a very cosmopolitan life getting to travel as much as he did. At home, my mother and I never really got a groove going. She tried - I just didn't think she was very cool and honestly, as a teenager, I didn't really give her a chance. My father would come back with a trinket from a far off place, and maybe some toiletries (or slippers or a robe) and I would shower him with admiration.

I now seem to be that cool parent - the one who travels. But, I don't feel very cosmopolitan or cool, in fact, I kind of feel like a lech for leaving my poor husband to be a single parent. He's always known that this would be part of the bargain, but, it doesn't stop me from feeling guilty and wondering -- did my father feel guilty all those times?

I've also started to get really paranoid every time before I fly. I sit with Izz and hold her and kiss her and hope she remembers me if something goes wrong. I start to imagine the worst case scenario -- and I dread getting on the plane. I also worry that she will resent me in later years, that the attachment she feels for me now will wane and she'll grow angry at my career for keeping me away rather than admire me for being able to have a family and a career.

My whole life I've loved flying, maybe because I always thought that it made me more like my father... now, I'm starting to be afraid. Maybe, in the end, all his traveling wasn't that glamorous after all.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Try It? Or ... be careful what you wish for.

Being a Mom on the heavier side - I'm very sensitive to what Izzie eats.  I want to make sure she has a good relationship with food, and that she eats good foods.  Daniel and I also don't want to force her to eat, or clean up her plate if she isn't hungry.  We just want her to at least "try it" -- and if she doesn't like something, she can put it down.

We find ourselves saying "just try it" often... and I guess Izzie has been listening because she does take a quick taste, and sometimes she keeps eating, and sometimes she makes a face and puts it down.  Good job Mom and Dad!  Except....

Now, when Izzie is eating something, no matter how messy, how sticky, she'll hold it up to one of us and say "try it?".  Oh no... what do we do?  We can't not try something she's offering to us -- that would make us hypocrites, right??  How can we ask her to try things if we won't.   ARGH!!!! PARENTING!!!

Perfect example -- this morning she had breakfast. She didn't eat all her oatmeal, so of course, a half hour later she was a bit hungry.  She took a piece of cheese, but, Petey stole it... so, she headed back to the fridge and picked out some yogurt.  I sat her down in her high chair and gave her a spoon.  Instead of using the spoon (which she knows how to use very very well) she dipped her fingers in the yogurt.  Must have felt great on her little fingers, because she dunked her whole hand in there and started scooping out yogurt to eat.  Fine with me -- she can have fun with food as long as it's not in public.  Well... then she holds out her chubby little fingers and says, "Try it?"... Oh gross! No..... 

I think these exchanges are the reason why Izzie's new word is "ewww"....  yup.. she's really been listening!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Why Husbands Don't Get it.

Confession: I hired a cleaning person!  ... and I'm not ashamed of it... until now.

Here's the story: We actually do a pretty good job of cleaning up after ourselves.  Daniel is much better at stacking things in corners than actually lifting up the toaster oven and wiping down the counter under it, but, I I digress....   We are actually ok at keeping the place looking civilized. We vacuum, our couch pillows are fluffed and our beds are usually made.  It's just that gunk accumulates, and dust gets into corners I don't always clean under.. and really, with a full time job, a child, a dog and a husband -- I don't always want to clean. SO, I found a coupon and I hired someone.

Here is where the title of this post comes in.  The reason I hired someone NOW and not in a few weeks is because Thursday my in-laws came to visit.  My mother in law travels with her yellow cleaning gloves (you know the ones -- the ones that you wash dishes with to spare your hands -- the ones I don't use because I bite my nails anyway from being stressed all the time, so who cares if my hands are spared?) and is a cleaning machine.  She's especially good in the kitchen... she DOES lift the toaster oven, she does get that gross stuff off in between the cooking range and the tile.  She's that good.

SO -- I hired someone to come the day my in-laws were coming into town.  I confess: I wanted my mother-in-law to think I had cleaned! Yup... I'm not ashamed... I wanted her to think that I had done all the cleaning.. and that I was a super Mom and Wife.. that her first born son was in good hands and that her grandbaby was living in a dust free home.  So, this lovely woman named Betty Jo came and spent three hours cleaning.. and she did a wonderful job! The place hasn't looked that good in ages.  I was so excited!!!  

Hubby went off to get his parents at the airport, I put Izz in bed -- and positioned myself on the couch to look relaxed as they entered our home.   They walk in -- and immediately my mother-in-law says "ohhh, it does look clean."  Ummm... why is she saying that?  I look at my beaming husband (he's excited his parents are visiting from NYC) and try to figure out why my mother-in-law's first words involve cleaning. 

I brush it off... and show them around, hugs, kisses and off to bed.  As I get under the covers.. I ask my husband -- "did you tell your parents about the cleaning woman?"  He looks at me, blinks and says, "Yeah. I told them we hired someone and they were here right before I picked them up."  WHAT WHAT WHAT?!?  Are you kidding me?!!!   Did he not read the husband manual? Did he not understand?  "Was I not supposed to tell them?" he asks me as he leans in for a kiss.    I pull away -- look at him hard...  yup. he's clueless..  I sigh...

Husbands Just Don't Get it.

You Call This Balance?!?!

My sister-in-law Laura and I have been exchanging emails recently.  She's in the same boat I am -- she works, full time, and really likes her job.   Yet, she's pulled in so many directions.  Home with her daughter, work with her clients, friends, social activism, alone time -- the experts call this BALANCE.  I call this FREE FALL!

So, I thought I'd start to post... clear my head.. get things down on paper screen the cybercloud.

The little girl above is my two year old Izzie. She's why I feel conflicted most of the time.  If it weren't for her, I would be fully invested in my career... if it weren't for her, I would be happy just being a Theatre Producer/Director.  If it weren't for her, I wouldn't have actually considered the virtues of staying home (although, that's impossible for us financially). I wouldn't get anxiety attacks about the news and what I'm leaving for her in the future.  I wouldn't want to be better than I am. 

Basically, she's the reason I sometimes feel like I'm in a free fall and I  have no idea where I'm we are going to land.