Friday, June 26, 2009

Oh Penny

I love this blog for any number of reasons. It's read by at least two people who aren't family, making me way more popular than I am in my real life. It's a great way to publicly admit embarrassing moments without revealing them to any more than two people. And because it's a collection of thoughts, I find it infinitely better than the random brain farts people (including me) are posting on Facebook.

In fact, what I love most are the diary-like qualities. For instance, Penelope, at this moment, is almost unbearable. She would disagree with ice cream and puppies if I thought it was something she should have. And speaking of puppies, she's trying to convince us that Fife would be better off with a new family so she can have her very own, totally cute, girlie-girl puppy.

She's just rotten. I know. I'm a horrible parent for saying that, but it's almost completely true.

So I went looking back on the blog and found a similar entry for my dear, lovely, well-behaved, 5-year-old Carolyn. It's not very detailed, as my summer posts usually don't contain the details of the bored-out-of-my-mind winter rants, but I sort of remember a time when maybe spanking didn't sound as horrible as I first thought.

Turns out, 3 can equal 2. It's slightly different. I think 2 is so maddening because it's so random and irrational. But 3 is very rational. It just also happens to be evil, sometimes.

But it ends. And something new begins. And then that ends and something new follows. Turns out, children are great for the ADD stricken among us.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Could somebody lend me a copy of proper parent-to-parent behavior

Because as much as I enjoy feeling like a jackass, and believe me, I've had plenty of practice, I find some behavior among parents baffling.

You're probably wondering what I'm talking about. That's fair. I'm not all that great at explaining myself or communicating with other humans.

This mom from Carolyn's swimming just gave the girls about a half dozen princess dresses, complete with crowns, wands and oh-so-many shoes. I have never seen the girls go so bananas from a set of toys. They disappear for hours (not exaggerating, or maybe just a little) to dress up as a fairy or a disney princess or (Julia, you'll love this per our happily ever after discussion) a tiny blushing bride.

I know moms like to clean out their closets, but this was such a wonderful hand-me-down I wanted to show my utter appreciation. So I got a $10 gift certificate for ice cream.

And here is where everything went wrong. She seemed offended by the gesture. My intention was to show how much we really liked it, not to make somebody feel bad. And now I feel bad. Wrong and bad.

It figures that as soon as the girls reached an age where I stopped feeling incompetent at all times, I would make up that feeling in other areas of my life. Inability to have normal conversations or act appropriately around other moms — check. Feelings of complete loserdom — check. Suddenly worried I'm turning my girls into social pariahs — check, check (because there are two of them).

Not being able to eat ice cream or clean up the constant flow of princess dresses off the floor without feeling like a jackass. That's right... check.

Friday, June 19, 2009

A vacation to remember

Nothing is quite as much fun as flying on Southwest with a 5-year-old after you learn that a) you have about the last boarding pass available and b) only families with children 4 and under get to pre-board. Oh Southwest, this is the moment (the one where I thought Carolyn and I would be sitting in different aisles of the same 5 hour plane ride... stress level rising, rising...) I began to hate you.

So really, the only annoying experience on this trip with Carolyn to San Francisco was the plane. Oh, and the trolley car, which was overpriced, crowded, dropped us off four blocks from the Wharf and completely frightening to children.

But why mention these inconveniences (other than that's sort of what I do) when we did so many great things. It actually would be boring to list them here, but I'll try anyway. We hiked a redwood forest. We ate in a super cool pub. We sat on the beach of the ocean and took a zillion pictures in front of Golden Gate Bridge. We ate in a garden. Carolyn sustained for a full day solely on a diet of ice cream and an eclair I thought was made my Alice Waters. We watched lovely young (mostly gay) couples frolic in the Mission District. We had famous Berkeley pizza. We went to Chinatown. We saw sea lions. We walked in a rose garden.

Carolyn was just fantastic. What a wonderful age to travel with a child. She's into everything, and even when she wasn't, she never broke down or had a tantrum (expect for when she cried after she got off that god-damned trolley car). If she was pissed or bored, she'd just pout and tune out the constant conversation of Julia and I, who talked and talked and talked. Then we talked some more and never ran out of things to say.

It was just about the best trip ever. Half because it was California. Half because of Carolyn. Half because of Julia and about a tenth because we drank and ate freely. These are completely accurate percentages, and you can trust that because I'm taking an entry-level stat class at a community college.

It has always been my intention to do this same trip with Penelope the summer before she starts kindergarten. And it's a good thing, because she's suddenly taken a strong interest in the San Francisco landmarks. I just hope Julia (check out her travel blog, which hasn't gotten much action lately but gives great descriptions of what it's like to travel in Eastern Europe) is there when this time comes around. There's a good chance she could be in Moscow, and while I'm all for world travel, I'm not prepared to take a small child to Russia.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

California teaser

Here are just a few photos of our trip. I'll write more later, but for now, the pool is beckoning.

Here's my favorite pic of Carolyn and Julia. They're standing in front of some bridge.

Carolyn and the sea lions at Fisherman's Wharf. They are smelly, and noisy, but oh so entertaining.
Chris and Julia on some vintage city bus. Much better than that evil trolley car. Much, much better.
Carolyn climbs her very first tree at Golden Gate Park while Julia and I drink beer. OK. It was mostly me.
This was Carolyn's expression for the entire time we were at the ocean. Pure glee.

Carolyn takes this awesome picture at Muir Woods among the redwood trees. Pictures just cannot convey what they were like, but they were fantastic.
Carolyn and mom on a fallen redwood.
Now, to the pool.

Craziness all around

It has been just a crazy couple of weeks.

I drove my grandpa to Michigan two weekends ago and took the train home the next day. While there, I caught up with some friends, a few I hadn't seen in almost five years.

Then there was Carolyn's first swim meet. We just got her ribbons today. She got two fourths and two fifths. But really, it was just a victory getting to the other end of the pool. Despite my nailbiting on the sidelines (which kind of reminded me of my own childhood, watching horses approach the finish line and I sort of wanted to snap my fingers the way old men in fidoras do, but I held back), Carolyn just loved it. The swimming. The three thousand kids. The cheering. Everything.

And finally, but not lastly, there was a five-day trip to California. Carolyn and I had the very bestest of times with Aunt Julia, but I'll write more on that later (this is not your only shout out Julie ; ). For now, enjoy this team picture of Carolyn.

Friday, June 05, 2009

It's summer. That's why

Why I don't blog more often. In case you ever wondered how long it takes a 3-year-old to say Grace, it's 19 seconds. And here it is from the most pious 3-year-old I know.

Penny is actually turning out to be the house clown. She says the funniest stuff. Things that sort of sound right, but that make it pretty obvious that she doesn't know the meaning of the words. I'd give an example but I just can't think of one right this second. Anyway, we're always laughing at these little Penny-isms. Steve theorized second children often become the clowns because they have a much bigger vocabulary, having an older sibling, but not the language skills to put everything together. This garners laughter. This garners more ridiculous sayings. Pretty soon she's shaking her naked butt at us in a brand new version of the butt dance.

It's a vicious circle.

Carolyn just lost her first tooth. It's exciting and sad all at the same time. I was not expecting this to happen so early. I also wasn't expecting the tooth fairy to pay $5, but I guess that's the going rate. Here she is today, minus one baby tooth.