Archive for the ‘ Moving to Los Angeles ’ Category

When Do You Let Girls Wear Nail Polish?

Friday, February 21st, 2014

I don’t think I knew what nail polish was when I was 4. But in this world, Fia knows it all too well. Her friends all wear it on their nails and toes. When friends of ours with older girls come over, they sometimes want to paint her nails. Phil took the stance stronger than I did in the beginning. No way, he said. But now as she gets a little older, I’m torn.

I don’t want to give into peer pressure, but what is really the issue here? We all know kids grow up faster than we did. The whole world moves and grows faster. So where do I make my decisions and pick my battles?

The other day a friend of hers from school gave her a gift: a purse and a package of pretty water-based nail polishes. Fia begged us to let her put them on. Phil was adamant. I was waffling. But he glared at me and said, “United front.” I acquiesced.

As Fia stood there streaming tears, I took her aside, in what I suspect will be one of many “let mama work on him” talks. I just didn’t expect it to happen this young.

“Fia, look at me,” I said, out of Phil’s earshot.

She did as her tiny lip trembled. This is going to be really hard to watch when there are real issues at stake besides blue nail polish.

“Stop asking about it tonight. Let me talk to daddy when you go to sleep.”

She protested a bit, then listened and dropped the subject.

Once she was in bed, I approached Phil.

“How about we just let her have it on special occasions?” I suggested.

He hesitantly agreed.

Fia slept with her purse full of her polishes next to her.

The next morning you can guess what her first question was.

I gleefully whispered, “Yes, you can do it today. But only today. Then it will be on special occasions.”

Her face lit up and she wrapped her little arms around me. “Oh thank you mama.”

We quickly got to the task at hand.

She wanted every color on every nail, so I had to explain to her how it’s done. In the end, we had a blue pinkie and some semi-sparkly pink and peach nails. It was so much lighter than I thought it would be. It was basically like glitter with a hint of color. In retrospect, hardly worth the argument against it.

But what is it about these “girly” things that make some of us hesitate? When do you allow short skirts? Makeup?  Is it that society inundates us with how women can “make” themselves beautiful that make parents like us cringe? We know girls and women face tremendous pressure in this regard. But if you push back too much, then does it backfire? What do you gain?

When I took Fia to school that morning she ran up to her teachers and proudly showed off her nails along with the purse full of polish.   After the ooo-ing and awww-ing subsided, she handed me the purse, picked up her “work” (she’s in Montessori) and went back to being the 4-year old that she is.

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My Preschool Decision With Emmett

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Any preconceived notions I had about raising gender-neutral kids went out the window when I had a boy. While Fia has always been a girl with an adventurous, tomboy spirit, she has also had this soft, ethereal and empathetic way about her. Butterflies land on her. The cat loves her.

Cut to Emmett who any day now is going to fall off this banquette and land on his face. Our first ER visit was last weekend. I’m shocked it took this long.

Em bulldozed into the world with a mischievous twinkle in his eye, a pointy elf-like ear, and a grin that said, “Hey, Mama, you ready for me? Because it’s going to be a wild ride.”

(Pictured here with Phil’s mom)

As he grew, his ear lobe straightened out, but his hair became covered in crazy curls (unlike Phil and I, who have straight hair). And the more the curls came in, the wilder he got. At 5 months we called him Thumper because he would thump his legs up and down in the crib or on the changing table, giggling all the while. My pediatrician declared him the most active child she’s ever seen.

He is also about the happiest child ever and does have a side that will sit still and page through books for 20-30 minutes at a time. I wouldn’t be surprised if he reads by 3. He is also super cuddly and sweet. He’s not a hitter or a grabber. But because he’s more curious than a cat (who only has 9 lives), we are on constant deathwatch.  The other morning I turned my back for 10 seconds to help Fia. Em was gone. I found him standing on top of the toilet tank pounding at the window. Our house is quickly becoming a prison, where we are the guards and he is the inmate trying to outsmart us in his escape.

This is why we decided as soon as he turned two, we would put him in preschool. We asked ourselves what is he going to enjoy more? Being with a sitter twice a week or running errands with me (he crawled into the dryer at Sears last week)–or in a structured, safe environment where he can learn and play with other kids? The answer is obvious. Of course I had the usual mom guilt–for about 3 seconds.

Today is his first day and I think he is as thrilled as we are. The director has been sending me pictures and text updates, “Emmett is doing fabulous. He sat through circle time beautifully, he ate ALL his oatmeal and is loving yard play with his new friends.”

I, too, am doing fabulous. I’m sitting across the street from his preschool catching up on my life, writing, and breathing a big sigh of relief. The boy is happy and safe. And I’m free. In another 2 hours I’ll be ready to grab him back and kiss those curls. Until then, his new friends and teachers can.

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A Must-Read Car Safety Tip For Every Parent

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

You hope it never happens to you–but if God forbid you or whoever is driving your kids were in a car accident, rescue workers wouldn’t know how to identify the children. Adults at least have driver’s licenses, etc. Even if your babies were conscious, a toddler probably wouldn’t know her home address, phone number, etc.

A mom wrote a blog post about putting a sticker on your kids’ car seats that gives basic information. (For some reason, her blog URL won’t come up now.) Basically she said to put your child’s name, birth date, parents’ names, number, pediatrician’s number, and emergency contact information on it. If you have an older child who doesn’t have a car seat but is still too young to have an identification card, put the sticker somewhere obvious in your car.

There is a site–The Ohio Insurance Institute–who made the sticker shown above (called the TIKE emergency info car seat sticker) for people to print out. It’s on their website, along with the following explanation for why they made this sticker:

“In 1995 a six-month-old boy was involved in a head-on traffic collision while riding with a relative. The driver was left unconscious and the boy suffered a life-threatening head injury that required immediate surgery. Police did not know the child’s identity and were only able to trace his parents because an address book was located in the wreckage. Valuable time was lost due to this delay. The boy was airlifted to a nearby hospital for emergency brain surgery.  He has since fully recovered. This sticker is to be placed on the bottom of your child’s car seat to assist emergency personnel in identifying your child should an accident occur which disables the adults in your vehicle.”

It’s such a no-brainer to do this. One of those things where I think, Why didn’t I think of that? Anyway, pass this tip along.

 

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Toddler Question: How Do You Birth A Baby?

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

My good friend Courtney is pregnant. When I was pregnant with Emmett, Fia was only 2 years old, so she didn’t really “get” what it all meant. In fact, the first time Fia came to the hospital and saw Emmett, she looked like she had been hit by a bus. Bewildered would be an understatement.

Now she’s 4 and can actually grasp the concept (perhaps too much) that her best friend Teddy is going to have a sister. The other night we were lying in bed. Here’s how the conversation went:

“Mom, how did the baby get in Courtney’s belly?”

“Well, Courtney and Brian and God (threw that in on the fly) made the baby,” I said.

“Mom, I know that,” Fia replied indignantly. “I mean, how did the baby actually get IN the belly?”

“Um, well, it’s hard to explain,” I stammered.

“Why is it hard to explain?” she persisted.

“It just is,” I said, hoping to change the subject.

“Well then how does the baby get out?”

Oh dear. My brain was being taxed on this one.

“Courtney pushes it out of her belly,” I said matter-of-factly. Then held my breath.

“She pushes it out???” Fia says quizzically. “Where does it come out?”

“Of her stomach,” I replied, knowing this conversation wasn’t getting any easier.

“But there isn’t a hole in her stomach!! Silly Mama,” she says.

At this point baby was put in a corner. As was I.

I had the choice to make something up–like the baby comes out of her bellybutton–or, try harder to change the subject, or explain all about Courtney’s vagina. The latter of which frankly felt a little weird.

I told her it was bedtime and we would talk about it another day. I think she was tired of not getting answers, so she let it go. For now.

I want to be as open as possible with my children. We don’t call her body parts a “lady bit” “minnie” or “vajayjay”. We don’t call Em’s a “willy” or a “wee wee.” We use vagina and penis. At first that felt strange to me. But in researching, they say it’s best to use the clinical name, for various reasons. One is to help prevent your child falling victim to a sexual predator. It indicates to these criminals that your child is comfortable with openly talking about their body parts, including sexual parts.

So when Fia was asking about Courtney’s future baby taking a trip down the canal, it’s not that I didn’t want to use the word vagina. It was more because I suspect it’s a hard-to-imagine concept. I didn’t want her to get freaked out by the power of the vag or start obsessing about how something other than pee could come out of it. Maybe I’m wrong on this. But you tell me. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before the subject comes up again. I need to get my birthing bullet points  in order.

How tall will your little one be? Take our Height Predictor Quiz and find out.

Rosie Pope Solves Your Parenting Dilemmas
Rosie Pope Solves Your Parenting Dilemmas
Rosie Pope Solves Your Parenting Dilemmas

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I Am Dumber Than I Thought

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

I hope my level of bad judgment has hit rock bottom. If it has, then if can only get better from here. It doesn’t get much worse. Unless you’re an elderly lady who buys into scams. If you are, you at least have an excuse: you’re old. Your brain isn’t working the way it is supposed to. The AARP has warnings for you. For me, I wonder if someone gave me a lobotomy in the night. Or fed me a 24-hour mentally incapacitated pill. Here goes:

I bought 33 pounds of meat. From a door-to-door meat salesman. He drove what looked like a 1980 beat-up Datsun pick-up. I wrote him a check for $400.00.

I’ll start the sentence with my main problem: “I was in a hurry.”

It seems I’m always in a hurry. This is where bad decisions happen.

So…I was in a hurry to pick up Fia from school. I was putting Emmett’s shoes on when the doorbell rang. A young kid, probably 25 with baggy jeans and a t-shirt was at my door smiling. He told me he had just delivered meat to my neighbor “Nancy” and he had some left over. He could sell it to me at a really great price.

“You know, like Omaha Steaks, except it’s better.”

(Side note: door-to-door scammers often reference a neighbor named Nancy, Susan or Mark, because there is usually one on every street).

Totally frazzled and frantically looking for my keys, I said, “I don’t have time. I have to go pick up my daughter from school.”

“It will only take a second,” he said and disappeared to his truck (which I hadn’t yet seen or I think–and dear god, I hope–I would have reacted differently).

Next thing I know he is in my living room pulling out cases of burgers, filet mignons, T-bones, 4 types of marinated chicken (8 breasts each, so 32 total), etc. Everything is wrapped tight and stamped. With what, I’m not sure. Just some numbers to probably make it look “official.” The boxes say “VIP Steaks” or something like that. It seemed legit. If you’re a moron.

“We’re moving in a few weeks,” I said. “It doesn’t make sense to buy all this.” Then I added (stupidly), “Though I do have a lot of family coming in for Thanksgiving to feed.” Boom, he had me.  He even offered to find room in my freezer. He said he could stock it in 30 seconds.

How can I be a strong-willed, semi-paranoid, decisive, generally smart (I think) woman and mother and wife and do such an idiotic thing? My only excuse is months of broken sleep (Em is still a wildcard in the night) and a huge house renovation that I’m in charge of. Not to mention the schlepping of Fia five days a week (though Phil takes her to school in the morning), along with the timing of Emmett’s naps which have to be over before I get Fia, blah blah blah. It’s a daily puzzle and a constant race against the nap clock, the school clock, the packing-up-the-rental-house clock, the we-are-soon-moving-and-our-new-house-is-still-a-construction-zone clock. That’s why I haven’t been posting as much lately.

I regularly have 17 things swirling in my brain. I’ll be driving and suddenly words like “POLISHED CHROME FIXTURES!” will come into my head. I have always prided myself on multi-tasking but the daily decisions are killing that talent. I’m not dealing with life or death things either. My kids, thank god, are healthy. We are happy and comfortable. But my brain is clogged. I need a plunger.

Back to me and Meat-Man: I realize there are so many wrongs in this story. I let a complete stranger into my house and my freezer. Phil was working from home in his study above the detached garage. I like to think that I would not have let someone in if I had been home alone with Emmett. But it’s not like Phil would have necessarily heard me if I screamed.

I am paranoid already of the food chain. For god’s sakes, I wrote a blog about how upset I was when I found out I bought tainted berries. I buy organic. My relatives are ranchers in the cattle industry and I have long debated buying directly from them so I know exactly where my meat comes from.  And yet, yet…I let this total stranger/potential axe-murderer in my house????

Me and Meat-Man finished up our money transaction in which he gave me a business card that proclaims him owner of his company. Then he asked me for a tip.

“You’re the owner of the company and you want a tip?” I said.

“I do a lot of driving and I have an almost 2-year old daughter. I’m just trying to make it, ya know.”

He reminded me of a far less polished version of Jesse on Breaking Bad. (Yo.)

Guess what? I gave him $60. Cash. He left; I grabbed Emmett and went to put him in my car. It was then I saw his truck. There was cooler in the back that had S-T-E-A-K stenciled on in red.

As I drove to get Fia I began to curse myself. I picked her up, high-tailed it back home and started to search the Internet. His website was a shell of a site. I could have designed it and I barely know how to turn on a computer. But more worrisome were the many news reports across the country of people getting scammed into buying meat. Bad meat. Unrefrigerated and unregulated meat. The reports went on to say that if you do buy it, make sure you buy from a licensed dealer who drives a refrigerated, well marked truck. I failed on every count.

I think that white Datsun will forever haunt me.

Now his meat may have been perfectly fine. I am pre-judging. But the bottom line is I had a major lapse in judgment.

I frantically called the bank while throwing Panda Puffs to Emmett to keep him occupied. I had already plopped Fia in front of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.

I managed to stop payment on the check–a $30 fee. I could live with the tip money plus this, so $90 lost for a lesson learned.  But then realized, I still have all the meat. F–k. Which meant…. breathe, breathe, mantra, mantra…. I had to go tell Phil. It was better to involve him than find myself turned into cube steak.

I took Fia and Emmett to his office. He was in a meeting with a director.  I had to confess to two very smart men how dumb I was. I profusely apologized for bringing Meat-Man into our lives.

He told me to go call the guy, tell him my husband doesn’t want it, pack it up and leave it on the doorstep. I did as I was told. Mid-way packing, the doorbell rang. Luckily at this point Phil had walked in. I looked at him pleadingly.

He carried the boxes to the door. He was very polite but firm. Meat-Man was frustrated and getting defensive. Then he asked if he could come in and cook us some steaks to prove how good they were. If I could have I would have signaled the slit across the throat gesture to Meat-Man because that, well, um, was never going to happen.

Shamed and embarrassed, I told him this was my entire fault, I was sorry, and that I had also stopped payment on the check.

“I’m going to incur a fee for that, ya know,” he said. (No “Yo”… for anyone who watched Breaking Bad).

Phil didn’t–and still doesn’t–know I tipped him (hopefully he won’t read this).

“Do you want $30?” I asked. I just wanted this over with.

“No,” said Meat-Man. “I want your business.”

Phil stood firm and Meat-Man left.

Phil went back to work with the director.

I went inside and watched Daniel Tiger.

The doorbell rang again.

F–k.

Through the window I saw Meat-Man.

“Yes?” I said, while opening the top of the door (it’s a Dutch door).

“I just called my bank. It’s $35 for the bounced check. I want it.”

Phil was suddenly behind me. I went and got $35. Phil shut the door and walked away, not saying a word to me.

In total, I lost $125.00 and my dignity.  I have a husband who doubts my sanity.  I have no food to feed the flock that is coming for Thanksgiving. And I feel like an imbecile. This is not my finest hour.

I hung this sign on my door. I downloaded a meditation app. I hugged my kids.

I think I might become a vegetarian.

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Meat pic via Shutterstock

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