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Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Simplest of Sentiments

The simplest of sentiments are sometimes the things that have the most impact on us; they are the things that make us stop and remember just how grateful we are for all we're blessed with.

Today is the last day of Hanukkah. It has been 8 days of festive celebrating, learning, anticipation, and joy. The majority of my joy has come from watching The Mad Hatter and her contagious excitement over every song we've listened to, each candle we've lit, and each latke we've eaten.

Her pride when I, her mommy, went to her preschool to spend the morning reading a book, serving potato latkes and applesauce, and helping the children make a Hanukkah craft to take home with them. As the teacher put on a Hanukkah song where each child had a chance to enter the center of the circle and spin like a dreidel - giving MH the honor of being the first "dreidel".

My pride when people asked her if she'd been a good girl this year for Santa Claus and she quite simply replied "I don't celebrate Christmas, so Santa doesn't come to my house. I celebrate Hanukkah and we light a menorah!".

And the presents. 8 nights of them from Daddy and I, along with many others from very generous grandparents, an uncle who dotes on MH as if she were his own, and various other friends and family members.

Growing up, the tradition was that when Dad got home from work, we lit the menorah, opened a gift, and ate dinner. After dinner, we'd spend some time playing with our new toy, spinning the dreidel, and spending time together as a family.

Since the MH is just a little more than a month away from turning 4 and she'd never eat dinner if we let her open a gift beforehand, we've had to reverse our own family tradition a bit for now.

However, one tradition has not changed, and hopefully it never will.

Every year during Hanukkah, my Mom makes it a point to get our family together for a Hanukkah gathering. Some of my fondest childhood memories revolve around this tradition, and I'm sure if you ask my brother or my two first cousins, they'd tell you the same.

Our family wasn't (as I learned only as I got older) the norm. We celebrated every holiday with both sets of grandparents and my cousins' grandparents. My brother and I literally grew up thinking we had three sets of grandparents. Our family was not huge, but it was everything, and we knew it.

At these Hanukkah gatherings, the amount of gifts were insane. Since there were only four grandchildren, the adults took it upon themselves to dote on us most generously. There would be piles of gifts, and one of the adults calling out children's names until we each had an enormous pile in front of us. There were huge black garbage bags of wrapping paper hauled out of the way by my father. There was tons of excitement, tearing into toys, and sharing with each other.

There was a colossal amount of love.

Fast forward to today, when there is a new generation of children. For almost four years, MH was the only grandchild - the star of the show! And this past year, we were blessed with the addition of a new cousin, the son of my cousin and her husband.

Little C will be one in just a month, and he adores his big cousin MH. The feeling is definitely mutual. At yesterday's family Hanukkah celebration, they were both the stars of the show.

My cousin and I chatted about how we were immediately transported back to our youths when we looked at the amount of gifts set out for our little ones. It was like deja vu as envelopes of Hanukkah gelt (money) from our grandmother were passed out to everyone, as each of our children accumulated more gifts than they could manage, and as my father, once again, hauled away bagfuls of wrapping paper. It was us watching ourselves all over again, only this time through our children's eyes, which is by far better than any tangible gift I could ever receive.

Our celebration lasted all afternoon and into the evening.

Last night, as MH and I were snuggling after her bath, I asked her what her favorite part of the day was. Without hesitation, she answered "My favorite part of the day was helping Mimi (her great-grandmother) give everyone their gift."

As I sat and tried to silently process the simplicity of her statement, in wonderment that her sentiment did not include a thing about all the presents she received, she continued.

"Actually, Mom, I had a few favorite parts. One was when we lit all the candles, and my other favorite part was that I got to sit next to Sweetheart while we were eating dinner."

She didn't see, but I had tears in my eyes.

There are times when I lose my patience with her because she asks a million questions and no answer is enough. There are times when I want to go nuts because she can be so demanding. There are times when I am not as grateful for being a mom as I should be.

And then there are times like this, when the world just seems to stop. When all the things that make up being a mom all fall into place and perspective and as a parent you stand in awe.

MH, at 3 years, 10 months, and 20 days, you have more perspective than most people our my age. Your personality is magnetic, your love of life infectious, and your displays of love and affection immeasurable.

As a first-time Mom, I often second-guess myself, doubt myself, and worry whether I'm getting this "gig" right. I'm pretty sure it just comes along with the territory. But at times like this when I have a rare moment to sit down and reflect, it's easier to see the big picture a bit more clearly. And I'd have to say that based on what we've seen in this last year, and especially this holiday season, Daddy and I must be doing something right.

We love you so much, and could not ask for a sweeter, more caring, or beautiful little girl. Our wish for you is that it is a very long time before the little bubble of innocence and purity that surrounds you is touched by the true reality of life.

To call you "special" would not do you justice, and there are no words that could ever express the amount of love we have for you.

Monday, December 22, 2008

It's Beginning to Feel A Lot Like Hanukkah!

Dreidels, and menorahs, and dancing . . . oh my!

video

We're definitely feeling the Hanukkah spirit around here!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Lesson Learned

There once was a mommy who knew she needed to purchase new snowpants for her little girl.

She'd browse quickly if she was out shopping (which was not too often, as free time comes at a premium and shopping with the little girl didn't usually qualify as fun).

The snowpants she came across were never in the correct size, seemed inadequate for extended play in the snow, or weren't the right color.

So, the mommy continued to look whenever she had the opportunity, but looked at the mission as more of a side dish than a main entree. I think this mommy secretly believed that if she didn't give it enough thought, it might just never snow.

What do you know?

Along came a huge snowstorm.

As the world majority of RI was preparing by stocking up on extra milk and bread, the mommy started to get nervous, remembering the lack of those pants.

Forget milk and bread. With a preschooler at home, the mommy had plenty of each.

But the pants.

She started calling every store she could think of to see if they had snowpants - even if they were two sizes too big. Surely, this would be the first year her little girl would be begging to play in all that freezing white goodness at its first sight.

The mommy even sent the daddy (trying to get home from work before the storm set in) in pursuit of the pants, trusting him to bring home whatever might possibly work even if they were a boy's size 8.

Unfortunately, even in this economy, all the other mommies and daddies seem to have planned better than this mommy.

Not one store had snowpants.

The mommy felt like they were laughing at her every time she hung up the phone.

The mommy hung her head in despair.

By this point, the preschooler had heard the whole frantic exchange and had now started asking questions. More questions than usual, which caused a bit of added stress for the mommy.

In one last attempt before deciding if necessary she'd dress the little girl in 10 layers of clothing so she could warmly and dryly play in the snow, the mommy decided to try calling her next door neighbor, who had two older girls of her own.

The mommy then decided to try to focus on other things, until she saw her neighbor's SUV pull into the cul-de-sac.

When the phone rang just minutes later, and the mommy saw the caller ID, her heart dropped. Surely, her last attempt had failed.

But what?

The neighbor had no idea how, but had a pair of size 4T snowpants (in hot pink). They were not packed away in some obscure place (as they would in this mommy's house) and her girls were on there way over to deliver them!

The doorbell rang as the mommy was singing her neighbor's praises.

Crisis averted.

Lesson learned.

This year, the mommy might just be buying snowpants on clearance (if they ever come back in stock) and putting them away for next year when she will undoubtedly be unable to locate them and induce yet another crisis.

The best moment for the mommy?

This morning the little girl was running around the house excitedly chattering about all of the snow (somewhere around 10-12").

She quickly spotted her "new" outdoor gear in the kitchen and said "Mommy, I'm so proud of you for finding me snowpants!"

Luckily (as this comment was made at approximately 7AM) she didn't ask to try them out!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

And it goes, just as fast as it comes!

As I was just posting about a fabulous bloggy giveaway at Fabulous K Creative Blog Designs, I realized that my last blog post was last Monday!

And here I was getting all smug about getting some of my blog "mojo" back.

And it's been a week.

Alas, life has once again gotten in the way . . . the excitement and busyness of the holidays, the errands, the visiting . . .

Worry not!

This brain is swirling with plenty of things to share with all of you who are still with me!

Bloggy Makeover Giveaway!

I just stumbled upon this blog, and it is FABULOUS!

And guess what?

In the holiday spirit, they are giving away a free blog makeover!!!

Go visit, and YOU TOO can enter to win!!!

Check out Fabulous K Creative Blog designs at the link below:

http://fabulouskcreative.blogspot.com/2008/12/fabulous-blog-makeover-giveaway.html

Good luck to you . . . and to me!


Monday, December 8, 2008

Not Me Monday

In reading a couple of my "daily blog fixes", I came across a blog carnival that sounded fun, interesting, and freeing.

Welcome to Not Me Monday, where you will find a list of things I most certainly did not do in the past week or so (wink, wink)! Hey - this might be cheaper than therapy!


I did not spend far too much money this weekend on things I didn't necessarily need, but were far too good of a deal to pass up.

I did not bribe MH with everything under the sun to get her to let me administer her Flonase.

I did not purchase any more Hanukkah gifts for MH, when she so clearly has enough gifts for the next three Hanukkahs.

I did not tell my non-stop chatterbox (at 4:00AM this morning) that she could watch Madagascar in my bed but she was not allowed to talk to me.

When she did talk to me, I did not laugh to myself because even at that early hour she is so darned adorable.

I did not experience so much stress from a situation that I was brought to tears and beginning to question my own integrity, ethics, and morals.

I did not eat far too much chocolate out of MH's ever-ready Halloween pumpkin.

I did not indulge in one too many eggnog lattes from Starbucks or caramel lattes from DD.

I did not cancel physical therapy in order to spend some quality time with MH.

I did not brew a pot of coffee at 4:30AM today when it became apparent that morning had begun in our household.

I did not manage to score some hilarious video footage of the MH that I will most likely use as blog fodder sometime this week.

I did not waste enjoy hours of time playing word games on Facebook.

I did not decide that this post probably isn't very exciting, and that for next week's Not Me Monday, I will probably keep track of things that would be more fun and/or interesting for others to read about. Nope, not me!

What didn't you do this week?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

How to administer nasal spray to a preschooler.

So I've told you all how my poor little girl was diagnosed with pretty severe seasonal allergies. At least now we have some reason for the fact that every night she sounds like she might hack up a piece of lung (sorry for those with weak tummies, I am one of you).

On top of it all, it seems she's got a nasty cold that is exacerbating all the coughing. And of course, lying down makes it all worse (according to her pediatrician, she is "drowning in postnasal drip" - sorry for yet another icky visual but I can't get it out of my head, so I feel the need to share with anyone else who might be able to commisserate. Even a little.)

Anyways, after a thorough exam from said pediatrician (who MH publicly declared her love for at about a 10+ decibel upon entering the waiting room, causing fits of hysteria from everyone within earshot, which I'm not entirely unconvinced was the entire practice), I was given instructions to administer OTC Claritin or Zyrtec once a day, and told that she could highly benefit from a prescription nasal spray.

Pediatrician: How does she do with things being put up her nose?
Me: (wanting to say, how do you do with things being put up your nose, but refraining because I love our pediatrician): Well, she's not always the easiest to give meds to . . . I am guessing she might not handle it too well. BUT, she is obsessed with you, so maybe if you give her a pep talk . . .
Ped: Well, let's see how she does with the Flu Mist, and we'll go from there.

You have never seen anyone like MH when it comes to getting shots. The pediatrician left the room to get the flu "shot", and when she returned, MH proclaimed "I'm all ready! Look at my sleeve, it's all rolled up!".

I am proud of her enthusiasm. Last year, we prepped her by having her come along while my mom and I got our flu shots, and letting her ask as many questions as she wanted. Knowing she was scheduled for hers a week later, we really capitalized on the fact that we were getting this shot so we'd stay healthy, blahddy, blah blah.

For one of the few times in my career as a mom, it worked. Like a charm. That shot came at her, and she was ready - dare I even say, looking forward to getting it. She didn't flinch at all - in fact, she was more concerned about getting to pick her 3 stickers and a lollipop.

So, here we are this year, pulling the bait-and-switch AND using it as a test to see how she might respond to something up the nose on a daily basis.

She did okay. I wouldn't say she loved it (who would?), but anything for Dr. L.

So again, I capitalized on her love for Dr. L and told her the whole way home about how Dr. L was giving us some medicine that was going to help her feel a whole lot better, and it was going to be kind of like what Dr. L did at the office. In fact, Daddy, MH, and I could all do our nose medicine at the same time (poor thing - Daddy has awful allergies and Mommy has big-time sinus issues, it was inevitable). The family that sprays together, stays together.

I praised her for being so brave at the doctor's office.

I buttered her up more than Paula Deen butters, well, anything.

All was fine and good in theory until it was showtime. Then the curtain came crashing down. I honestly can't say I blame her, but I would like her to feel better and get a good night's sleep sometime this decade.

So, four nights in, I feel like an absolute pro, and I've got some advice for you on the best way to administer nasal spray to your not-so-cooperative preschooler.

1. Slice up some limes.
2. Grab a salt shaker.
3. Line up 3 shots of tequila.
4. Lick, slam, suck 1 of these shots.
5. Approach your child with trepidation. And bribery (we're still working with candy corn).
6. Try to reason with said child as s/he backs away from you and gives you every excuse under the sun for why you need to wait a few minutes (be careful - if they're smart enough, they'll say they want Daddy to do it, and then pull the same following routine with him, and you'll go back and forth, therefore doubling the time this job will take. This knowledge is quite useful once you know what you're up against).
7. Take some deep breaths and try some more.
8. Leave room and bang head on wall for 20 seconds.
9. Come back in and try to do a bit more reasoning. Get so close that you actually spray, but your child jerks back and the spray goes into his/her eye, causing complete and utter meltdown.
10. Try to explain that if s/he hadn't moved, this wouldn't have happened. Feel guilty that you don't even feel bad because it's true and you've already been at this little "game" for at least 10 minutes.
12. Leave hubby in the room to deal with the sobbing and overly-dramatic (and most-likely overtired) child while you go lick, slam, and suck another.
13. Come back and tell your child that if they don't want their medicine, it's fine, you'll just let the doctor know they didn't want to take it and feel better. Experience another fit of hysterics, this time with your child begging for you to spray the stuff up their nose.
14. Calm child down, explain again that this will take 2 seconds, but they can not move. Explain that this is the fourth night in a row you've done this and they're getting better each time! Why is this time any different?
15. Give child boo-boo bunny (actually a stuffed dog, but hey, s/he named it) to hold, pray s/he doesn't move (which will happen a few more times out of pure reflex), aim, shoot, fire. 3 times in the right nostril because s/he keeps moving back every time you spray, leaving the medication on her cheek instead of in her nose).
16. Try not to laugh at his/her interpretation of "okay, take a nice deep breath in! PERFECT!!!", praise WILDLY, and know you will go through the same exact routine tomorrow night.
17. Pray silently that as your child gets older, they don't ever enjoy things going up their nose, and secretly feel completely guilty because this is definitely not fun for anyone and you know you would freak if someone was doing this to you.
18. Leave hubby to read stories and snuggle while you go lick, slam, and suck down tequila shot number 3.
19. Stumble back into room, tell child how proud you are, give huge kiss and hug goodnight, and amble to your own bedroom to promptly fall into bed from sheer exhaustion.
20. Take a silent oath to yourself that tomorrow night is Daddy's turn, and you'll be happy to play bartender.

If anyone has easier instructions (come on, I just know there is some doctor or nurse reading this blog!), please feel free to share! Otherwise, I urge you to use mine - they seem to be working out just fabulously for all of us!

Overheard . . .

This morning after 2 hours of lovely non-stop chatter in bed, MH decided to get up and do some "cleaning".

This cleaning consisted of her tying one of her good jackets around her waist and telling me "Mommy, I need this so I can clean your house.".

Petrified at the idea that she might ruin her jacket (while scratching my head in wonder at why she would need a jacket tied around her waist to clean, and why this isn't the first time I've seen and heard her about to do this), I told her to find Daddy and ask him for a rag to clean with.

She spent the last half hour or so puttering around and swinging that rag around.

And doing things like swiping my new glasses off my nightstand with the swinging rag.

She "finished" our bedroom and went off on her way to do the rest of the house.

When she came back and told us she was done, Daddy decided to pay her for her hard work and gave her a dollar for her piggy bank.

Her first response?

"No Daddy, I want money."

Daddy explained that this was money, it was a dollar bill, which was way better than coins.

Her response?

"Daddy, next time I want TWO dollars."

Daddy found it funny preposterous.

I challenge him to find a cheaper cleaning lady.

Jibber Jabber, Acorns Falling

My dad recently left a comment on one of my posts saying that the acorn doesn't fall far from the tree.

While that could be interpreted in so many ways, this morning I'm going with the fact that MH is very much like me.

But, this morning I'm going to classify her as "acorn on steroids".

I am a talker.

In elementary school, I used to get in trouble for talking too much.

One year, one a scale of E(excellent), G(good), S(satisfactory), N(needs improvement), yours truly received an N in "self-control".

Needless to say, Mommy's Mommy and Daddy weren't all that thrilled.

Back then.

My gift of gab has proved most valuable in all areas of my life - not limited to my jobs, social life, and most importantly, communication skills .

However.

For as much as I have to say, the Mad Hatter has me beat hands-down on a daily basis.

From the second she opens her eyes in the morning until the second they actually close (which is normally a while after we leave her room for the third time in an evening), she never stops.

Side note: some of the bedtime conversations with herself have us rolling on the floor in hysterics.

Sure, she's a great conversationalist.

I don't know anyone else who could cover both her icky cough and Mommy fabulous new shoes in 30 seconds.

But, some days I could use a break.

Just a tiny one.

Some days, it would be nice if she could understand that Mommy and Daddy are not morning people, and we need a little time before we're ready to launch right into a thought-provoking debate on the latest installment of War and Peace (ok, to be fair, she is never boring, full of humor, and very bright).

Some days, it would be nice if she let one of us complete a sentence or thought.

Some days, it would be fabulous if she didn't think excuse me gave her the right to bust into any conversation around her, especially one between her daddy and I.

Most days, I am reminded of how lucky we are to have such a chatty little munchkin. One who makes friends easily, adjusts well to new situations, and never hesitates to bring smile to the face of anyone around her.

I see children who are painfully shy, who cling to their parents, who I fear are not living life to the fullest because they can't break out of their shell, and am thankful that this is one worry I can eliminate from the millions that entered my brain the second I became a mom.

So, while we still need to get through those elementary school years and pray she can do a better job on the behavioral side of the report card than her mommy did, nothing would make me happier than for her to stay exactly who she is right now - a vibrant, outgoing, and energetic little girl who has much to offer the world (even though at her current age what she has to say doesn't always make sense to the rest of that world).

Yes, the MH is definitely a combination of her mommy and daddy, but there is no doubt that the talking is about 150% mommy.

Dad, thanks for making me think about acorns this morning.

Medical advice from a preschooler.

I must preface this post by saying that it is 12:02AM and The Mad Hatter just went to bed (after an hour-long dramatic affair involving mommy trying to administering Flonase (more on this later), getting into our jammies, reading stories, finishing milk, and going through our snuggle routine.

We are not horrible parents, which I think my readers would agree with.

MH has been suffering from what was just diagnosed as horrible seasonal allergies, on top of being plagued with a horrible cough and cold.

For the first time in a long time, she napped this afternoon. For about 4 hours. We took it.

And so, knowing that bedtime would not come early, we took the opportunity to have a family date night - complete with dinner at Panera (you've never seen someone eat Broccoli Cheddar soup till you've watched the Mad Hatter go at a crock), some unplanned yet unbelieveable bargain finds at the as-I-type liquidating Linens 'N Things, and finally, a trip to Borders so Mommy could browse while Daddy could bribe.

We had a fabulous night.

Yet I digress, I was talking about medical advice from an almost 4 year old.

Lately, MH has been pushing it a bit by screaming for one of us shortly after we leave her room.
She's all underhandedly adorable and manipulative about justifying our frustated return to her room with an "I love you" or "I just wanted to tell you, You're the Best!".

Tonight she yelled for Daddy, who is downstairs doing some laundry (yet another reason why I love him so).

I went back in and asked what she needed. The following conversation ensued:

Me: (slighly stern) What is it MH? It's very late and you should be sleeping. Daddy is doing laundry right now.
MH: I just wanted to tell daddy about something, but you can give him the message. I need you to do something, okay Mommy?
Me: (slightly wanting to giggle, slightly annoyed): What do you need me to do?
MH: Daddy has a boo-boo on his elbow (editor's note: severely dry skin), so I need you to get him some of the good stuff to make it feel better.
Me: (supressing laughter) OK, I'll make sure to take care of it. Love you.
MH: Mommy, you need to get him the good stuff, and you need to get it at Target.
Me: OK, will do. Love you.
MH: Mommy, I need you to take care of it for me and I need you to do it tomorrow morning, okay?
Me: Okay.

Late bedtime in this house does not equal the late wakeup it did during the earlier years. I'm wondering if at 7AM, I'll be getting pulled out of bed to get ready for that run to Target.

Did I mention that earlier this evening she told me she'd had a nightmare last night but was a brave girl and stayed in her room?

When I asked her what the nightmare was about, she told me she dreamt her elbows hurt.

The girl's got elbows on the brain.

And now, she's given me one more excuse to visit Target.

Add one more to the many reasons I love my little doctor princess.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Wondering where I've been?

I'll sum it up for you briefly.

My poor little MH has had a sniffly nose and cough on and off since September. I assumed it was a transition to preschool until the cough got much worse over the past couple of weeks.

Worse as in, she hacks up a lung coughs all night long.

DH was concerned that it might be allergies, and since he suffers from them and I have sinus issues myself, I called the pediatrician and off we went.

Allergies? Check.

Medical solutions? Check.

Comment (to me) from the pediatrician upon getting a 5 minute (no stops for breathing) discertation from the Mad Hatter about everything from her cough and sniffles to Mommy's new shoes:

"Wow! How do you get anything done?"

There you go. I've been desperately trying to piece together a blog post - the ideas are all up there swirling around in what I like to call my brain, but alas holidays, under-the-weather child, under-the-weather me, visiting sick family members, and the like keep me away.

I'm still here, promise (threat?).