Friday, September 27, 2013

Would You Like Some Cheese With That Whine?

Claire has never been a crier.  And when she does cry, it means she's hungry.  She gets that from her dad and I, we are terrible at being hungry, which makes it easy to know what to do.

But lately, she has started whining.  When she doesn't get her way IMMEDIATELY she whines and plops her butt on the ground.  It's like a tantrum except more annoying.  And I hear her in the middle of the night, when she wakes up and is looking for her paci or her bottle or what have you.  She whines.  And it's grating.  Why is she doing this to me?

I am also starting her back at daycare.  And no, it's not because she is whiny, it's just time.  DP is itching to get back out of the house and even though he'll still need to find a job, at least he can do that without having to scramble for childcare to go on interviews or submit applications around town.  Plus Claire has been exhibiting signs that she's ready.  She is a monster, sure, but she'll sit quietly on my lap while I read a whole book to her.  She loves to sing songs and will sing along or listen intently when I sing nursery rhymes.  Also she loves when I teach her things and will proudly show off her tummy or point to your nose or put dirty clothes in the hamper (that one's for my benefit) and will even eat properly sitting down in a chair like an actual human child is supposed to.  I think being in a more structured learning environment will be good for her.  Plus sometimes I wonder if I'm teaching her enough or if I should be doing more.  Like when I didn't know I should put her on the floor so she could try to roll over?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Shameless Brag

My daughter is a strong and talented athlete.  She started pulling herself up to standing almost as soon as she crawled, and was full-on walking by 10 months.  People still comment on how great of a walker she is to which DP always replies smugly, "Oh she's been walking forever," and then people think he's an asshole.  (Which he is, but that's not why.)  Anyway our neighbour's baby was born 2 weeks after Claire, and he just sat there like a lump on a log until after he turned 1.  Like our neighbor was always having to carry him around everywhere.

This weekend I took all the kids to the playground where Claire usually just wanders around picking up small rocks to store in her cheeks like a chipmunk.  Ok so she's not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but back to her athletic ability. 

I already have to keep a sharp eye on her because of that, but with my 3 nieces/nephew there, it was hard.  Plus this time there were a couple of other kids there, and their parents who only want to ask me dumb questions.
"No, I don't have 4 kids."
"No, I don't live here."
"No, I can't babysit for you on Thursday."

So being distracted by the 3 kids I brought with me plus the 2 sets of parents and their own children who wanted to make conversation, I hadn't processed that Claire had climbed the steps up on the play structure.  I was standing right there and I watched her do it, but it just didn't "click" right away.  Anyway, I noticed when she got to the top so I didn't say anything, just walked around to the opening in the railing and continued to watch her.  And wouldn't you know, my baby crawled across the landing and positioned herself at the top of the slide, then slid down.  She landed on her butt with a thud.  She looked rather shocked but I sill kept quiet and eyed her to see if she would cry, she's still a baby you know.  Then she got right up, toddled over to the bottom of the steps, climbed all the way up to the slide and slid down again.  She did this about 5 times.  The other parents were so impressed!  And then I got to be proud since their kids read books AND play instruments, and I totally know they saw me tackle Claire to the ground earlier when I pulled 4 little rocks out of her mouth.  I wanted to get video so bad but I had to stand really close to her and keep my hands available just in case.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Adventures in Babysitting

My parents went away for a week so I volunteered to spend the weekend at their apartment and be available for their grandkids.  I think it's important that, with everything they have gone through in the past year since their mom left, they have their weekend routine in tact and are able to count on the familiar.  Then they spent the whole weekend treating me like a guest in their home whose main purpose was making quesadillas at whim.  So basically NOT how you are supposed to treat a guest.

But let me interject my tale to talk about my parents for a brief moment.  They have gone on a week vacation to a small beach town in Washington State for some rest and relaxation.  What the actual f*ck?  My dad is retired, you'd think he gets all the R&R he needs at the apartment (which I've always said, is like a resort in itself) and as for my mom, well she works in Sunny San Diego so there's that. 

Anyway, so DP picked up the kids from school on Friday and kept them until I got off work.  I made Hamburger Helper for dinner because I had some ground beef and I thought kids liked that crap, but even the baby wouldn't touch it.  They went home having had ice cream and chocolate milk for dinner.
Veka 0; kids 1

On Saturday morning they got dropped off and I told them if they were good, we could have a sleepover.  I picked up Fiori to join us and wised up on the meal planning, so I took them to Walmart and let them pick out their own dinner.  But first I had to get Claire some new shoes and you would think I was torturing these kids with the amount of complaining they did.  So I promised them candy if they shut the hell up.
Veka 0; kids 2

They wanted Kid Cuisines.  If you thought Hamburger Helper was bad, you should see these kid-version microwave dinners.  But I knew they'd eat it so whatever, then we head to the wine aisle.  I'm pushing a cart with a baby, kid food, and candy, and have 3 kids trailing me, when I hear one of them ask loudly, "Aunty, you need MORE wine?!  You had SO MUCH last night!" followed by another one kindly answering for me, "Yeah, Aunty says we are turning her into AN ALCOHOLIC!"  People turned to stare.
Veka 0; kids 3

They actually played quite nicely together so I said they could sleep over and we'll make a bed in the living room.  This was at 5pm, and by 7 I realized I CLEARLY jumped the gun.  By that time, each one of them had already cried once.
Veka 0; kids 4

Dale came over, and Rishi, and we drank all the things.
Veka 1; kids 4

But then the dads left and we were stuck there by ourselves watching Teen Beach Movie.
Veka 1; kids 5

Thank goodness Sunday was football day because they got up, had breakfast, played at the playground, and the baby went down for a nap, all before the first game came on.  We actually had a pretty nice day so I considered it a victory.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Crib Adjustments

Last week DP had walked into Claire's room after her naptime, and she was standing in her crib with one leg up on the railing.  I guess it was time to drop her mattress?

Well this, plus the fact that she had done so well sleeping in the big-girl bed, I decided I might as well convert her crib at the same time.  So I removed one side of the crib and dropped the bedspring, and when I left to go retrieve a new sheet for the mattress, I came back to find Claire finishing up where I left off.

I kicked her out because she wasn't really helping, and, probably wasn't all that safe for her to be playing with my tools and screws and whatnot.  So then she decided to just supervise instead.  She can be quite critical when it comes to her stuff.

When I was finished, I put the mattress on and had Claire try out her newly renovated bed for me.  I wanted to see how easily she could get up and down, as well as if she would actually lay down or just try to escape.


I ended up putting the open side of the crib against the wall so she couldn't use it anyway.  She's still a baby afterall.  But of course not without a photoshoot of her modeling her new digs.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Mommy Wars

Stay-at-home vs. Career moms
Formula vs. "breast is best"
Med-free labour vs. an epidural

They say the best moms don't have kids, and I'm starting to realize exactly what that means.  Before having Claire, I could probably tell you the best way to raise your children and exactly what I would do in every given situation.  What a joke!

The most important thing I've learned since becoming a mother is to never, ever, ever judge another mother.  Solidarity sisters!  We are all doing the best we can for our families.  I'm in a FB group chat with 3 other moms, and the four of us couldn't be more different as far as how we approached labour and are now raising our children.  But I tell you what, they are the best supporters of what I'm doing and I try to reciprocate as best as I can.  You don't know how many words of advice or personal anecdotes are followed by the words, "...and that's what works best for us," because nobody wants to come off like a know-it-all.  It's sweet and funny and I love it.  Moms in real life need to be more like this.  Don't tell me I should have breastfed my daughter for a year when I got 2.5 months of mat leave after she was born.  Or that I should be pumping when I work 10 hour days.  I would be pumping 3 times, that's one and a half hours of pumping at my job!  And it's not that I feel guilty, because I don't, and I don't even feel guilty for not feeling guilty, because we're all just doing the best we can.
Tangent:  This is why I hate the "welfare recipients should be denied junk food/beer/cigarettes/whatever" debate.  First of all, junk food is way cheaper than organic apples you sanctimonious freakshow.  I see you judging what's in her cart.  And secondly, everyone deserves a treat.  The other day I was at the gas station and I had a $5 bill.  So I got the biggest coffee they had and put the remaining 2ish dollars onto pump #6.  As I was walking out, carrying my barefoot baby, an obvious day-labouring gentleman approached me and shoved some single dollars in my hand.  He said, "Hey, I've been there."  We locked eyes and I knew he knew what I knew that he knew.  Sometimes things we want trump the things we need because it's the only way we are going to get through that day.  So think about that next time you scoff at the mother of 6 buying Cheetos with her welfare card.  You don't know that she bought all her veggies at the farmer's market or that it's the only thing her kid will eat, or that she just wants to eat some Cheetos that particular day.  Namaste!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Fridays With Gramps

My parents babysit Claire on Fridays, and I don't know who enjoys it more.  Sporadically throughout the day I get e-mails of pictures like this... (Captions are my dad's.)

At the park
At the aquarium at Silverton

Playing with Gigi
Showing off

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Claire And Hives

She woke up from her nap with a rash over the left side of her body.  I knew it was hives because I've had them before, and they were kind of disappearing then reappearing.  So I skipped GOTR yesterday and took Claire to her doctor.  She had no idea what was going on, she wasn't itching or anything, but I just wanted to be sure.

At the pediatrician, they have a "sick" side and a "well" side in the waiting room, so we waited like lepers in the less desirable part of the room.  They had a mural of the ocean painted on the floor and some boat type bench built into the wall with a stack of toys, so I went in there and called Claire over.  Well she started walking toward me and then stopped when she got to the part of the floor that looked like water on the shore.  She just wouldn't walk into the painted ocean! It was the most bizarre thing I've seen her do. When I finally coaxed her across, she acted like "what's the big deal?"

Then she got called into the back, weighed (20lbs.) and set up in a room, where promptly Claire poos then starts acting like a monster. Typical Claire.

Of course I was right about it being hives and the pedi gave Claire a half teaspoon of Benedryl.  The hives were gone by the time we got to the car.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Beat It

My girl has rhythm!  Check out her sweet moves while listening to a band performance.  She even has the sway down pat.  So proud. So, so proud.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Is it Fall Yet?

So it finally cooled down in the Valley (thanks the crazy thunderstoms we have had in the past month) and so I took the baby swimming with the kids in the actual daytime.  Claire was so cute - I would throw her in the air and catch her in the pool, and she would scream and laugh in delight.  She's so much fun.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

San Gennaro Feast

Every six months, there is a huge Italian festival here in Vegas called San Gennaro.  It's seriously huge.  Like a week of food, carnival rides and games, drinks, and music.  DP loves this festival and couldn't wait to take Claire this time.  His favourite part is that they have chocolate covered everything.  It only costs $7 to get in and then we usually share a bunch of stuff.  For some reason I have never Italian food there, and this time was no different, we had a gyro and funnel cake.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

GOTR Spirit

My niece went into third grade this year.  I had been waiting for this for a long time, since it's the first season she is eligible for Girls on the Run.  I also decided to coach because I needed to go through this with her, just had to.  GOTRLV is my baby, and she's my baby, and you know, I'm a helicopter aunty. (I hover.) 

I was absent for her first day because I had a planned a trip before committing to coach and didn't make it back in time.  Apparently this was the worst thing I could have done ever because she had a complete melt-down going to her first lesson.  Her dad told me she was so distraught, poor thing, and she already has issues with anxiety, but I knew that she was the perfect candidate for GOTR and I forced her to go anyway.

Turned out, she loved it!  On the first day they all picked nicknames and hers is Great Gigi.  She picked one for me since I was absent, Vacation Viveca, so I could tell there were no hard feelings there.  Yeah right.

Day 1
Well yesterday was the first practice I got to attend and coach.  The girls are so sweet and funny and nobody groaned about having to run.  We talked about unplugging the negative cord and plugging in the "Girls on the Run" cord, to which the girls all seemed receptive.  Gigi is one of the best runners so of course I was beaming with pride!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

My Daughter's Eyes

It really is fun seeing things thru Claire's perspective.  Granted, she can't speak yet so it's not like I know exactly what she's thinking, but I'm a pretty good reader of baby faces, especially hers, and can get a pretty decent idea. 

I don't mean things like seeing her experience the sea lions at Pier 39, that was purely for my benefit, but more of the little things.  (But hey, here's a cute picture of Claire checking out the sea lions at Pier 39 anyway!)

What I'm talking about though, is more about her emotions.  Bewilderment during her first "run" at 7 weeks, when she felt the wind for the first time.  Or the sheer joy when she's playing in her crib after a nap.  And when people are walking towards her from far away, you can pinpoint the exact instance she recognizes their face.  The best is when it's her dad or her grand-parents.  Or the kids, she feels such intense emotions for her cousins and it's written all over her face.  I have never seen love like that, so pure and unconditional.  So raw.  She can be so expressive and I can know what she's feeling, without a single word being spoken.  It's refreshing.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

San Francisco

This weekend, Claire went on her first vacation to San Francisco.  It's my favourite city in the whole entire world, so I was also excited to take her to the wharf and some of my usual spots around town.  I have been there numerous times with my parents growing up and it holds a very special place in our hearts.  Throughout our dating years, I ended up getting DP wrapped up in how awesome San Fran is so we've had some really great trips and good memories of that place.  Actually getting to take my kid there was an emotional time for me.

The 49ers are moving to a new stadium so I really wanted to take her to visit legendary Candlestick Park, and what better opportunity than the first game of the season and when the Niners played the Packers?  Dale and I had game tickets, so my mom and dad came along for the weekend to babysit Claire while we went to the game.  We got to the stadium hours early so we could tailgate.


There were outfit changes, drinking, eating, photo ops, and plenty of fun had by all before the game even started.  The 49ers won, which I feel needs to be said, so the rest of the weekend was kind of a bust for DP, but he was a good sport.

On Monday, our flight left later than my mom (who flew out at the crack of dawn to back to work in San Diego) and my dad who just went home, so we took the baby to Union Square for a walk up Powell Street and some awesome samosas.  Claire was a good sport and trekked along with us all over the city via BART and the poor thing conked right out as soon as we got home.