Monday, November 30, 2009

Another Friendly Stranger

Ada and I were waiting near the checkout counter at Sports Authority last week while Rick was picking out a new fall coat when all of a sudden, Ada made a new friend.

I don't think this happens all that often for most parents as I assume most children are more shy than my social butterfly. Surprisingly, by age two, I've just come to accept this as normal for her.

As I'm watching her run around the checkout area of the store and burn off some energy (better than her diving under clothing racks every three seconds in this merchandise flooded store), there is a man in his late twenties, early thirties at the checkout counter with his girlfriend. He notices Ada and starts dancing to the music over the intercom. It was how I imagine a dance scene in High School Musical the movie would be. Complete with jazz hands and jumping and waving your arms. He was seriously into it. Ada, being the little dancing bug that she is, didn't even know what to make of it so she laid on the ground on her back and threw her legs in the air, to which he responded with "Now shake your legs in the air." It was beyond hilarious. Something tells me this guy is really one of the blue men from Blue Man Group (the theater is only a block from the store we were in) because I think you'd have to be a performer to put on that kind of show at the front of a sporting goods store.

Moral of the story: You never know who your kid will befriend on a random shopping trip. Just keep your eyes open and your spidey sense on high alert for stranger danger.

What? Then who's legs are these?

As we were leaving a local restaurant after brunch yesterday, Ada got a bit confused.

I was trying to hustle us outside since the place was filling up, Ada was getting impatient and unruly, and the woman who was seated next to us was rudely complaining to her friend about how Ada was screaming in her ear. (I hope she doesn't have kids anytime soon.) On the parental scale of a child being bad, Ada was at a 4 or 5 out of 10, with 10 being the worst. If this woman was annoyed by a 4/5, then she shouldn't even be babysitting or walking near playgrounds. Yikes.

So we are shuffling out of the diner to get Ada and the stroller through, my favorite, the double vestibule doors. Before we got to the stroller, which we so obnoxiously parked by the front door and the hostess stand in a semi-out-of-the-way-but-not-really spot, Ada decided she didn't want to stay with me but wanted to run ahead with Daddy. That's all fine until she ran directly up to some random guy standing by the front door and bear hugged his legs, clearly thinking it was Rick. The gig was up when she then looked over at the stroller next to her and saw Rick working to pack all of her toys, sippy cup, and leftovers into the bottom basket. He said the look on her face when she realised, "If you're over there, who's legs am I holding on to?" was priceless.

Thankfully, the guy just laughed it off and quickly moved further into the restaurant to give us a wide berth with which to maneuver the stroller and shuffle Ada out the door. Of course, since Ada was daddy crazed, getting the stroller through those doors and out the front steps fell to me. And luckily, there was a nice gentleman outside with a four-year old shar pei puppy named "Chai" willing to distract and entertain Ada while Rick got the stroller set for our trek back home.

Moral of the story: Kids are unpredictable. If you plan to eat out, try to go during off-peak hours as a courtesy to the restaurant and neighboring patrons. They might not all be in love with how "cute" your kid is. You'll learn what places are "kid friendly" pretty quickly and save the rest for the rare, and often elusive, date night.

The Joy of Strangers

I had a cute older woman today - Ukrainian maybe? - who helped me get Ada back home from our walk. It was the cutest thing (to me anyway - many parents might have freaked out from "stranger danger". I'm of the "it takes a village" camp). Ada wanted out of the stroller so I let her walk when we got about two or three blocks from home. I was bribing her with strawberries along the way to motivate her. She gets insanely frustrated and impatient when she is hungry and just about attacked the strawberry container to acquire some of it's contents. So I gave in -and no, I did not rinse them. Be thankful I took off the green leafy parts. I didn't have anything to dig the stems out with, so she ate them. Just like she tried to eat the rind off the orange wedge sample from the grocery store earlier. She's still learning.

We made it two blocks and then, Ada just stopped walking. She was watching the women around her and this woman was walking by. I was going to encourage Ada to follow her since she was going our direction. She looked a bit like my mom only she was shorter and spoke little English. I'm standing about 5 feet ahead of Ada when this little woman just took off her glove, held it out for Ada's hand -- which Ada accepted gladly-- and we walked the rest of the block to our house. I was laughing all the way. The woman said "What's your name?" to Ada and I replied. She said her name was Marianne. Then she said, glowing with pride, "Grandma, I am Grandma too." And then she motioned to Ada's strong grip. I offered Ada my hand so she cold hold onto us both. The woman said "Good, yes. Hold mommy." and I think she said "wee" as Ada swung between our arms for the last 20 feet of our trip. Too funny. At the crosswalk, I thanked her profusely and we started across the street. Then Ada stopped in the middle of the cross walk and the woman came back to make sure I was okay again - she thought the light wasn't in our favor and we were about to be run over. I thanked her and we made it across. Ada quickly changed focus to our neighbor's dog in front of our building, and I smiled all the way inside.

Getting Ada to cooperate these days has been less than easy. She's learning how to struggle for power, how to assert herself, and how to yell and scream instead of using words to express herself. I keep hoping "this too shall pass". Maybe I'll make that into a carol for the holidays...

Moral of the story: Some strangers are really angels put in our vicinity to give us a little helping hand when we are in need. I'm the type of person who gladly accepts their help, and pays it forward whenever possible.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Terrible Twos, Really?

Ada turns 2 next month. That's all good, fine and dandy, but I think she's starting the terrible twos and I know I didn't sign up for this.

Oh the tantrums!

I'm glad she doesn't throw big, ridiculous tantrums (at least not yet anyway) because the little ones she has while laying on the sidewalk outside of CVS are enough to embarrass me for weeks. Thankfully, most people walk by and offer words of encouragement to me (It's just a phase. This too shall pass.) or look at Ada and tell her to get up. It's the people who point and laugh who really aren't helping the situation, but they are few and far between.

Oh Ada. Dear, sweet, cute little Ada. The tantrums are just the start of it. She's all fun and great until you want her to do something that she clearly doesn't want to do. It just so happens that she doesn't want to do anything for me in the mornings when I'm trying to get her out of the house by 8:30 to go play at Alison's. She won't sit down for a diaper change. Doesn't want to take off her pajamas or put on her clothes. And I must admit, I finally succumbed to bribing her. I did. And I feel awful for it. So I'm calling it "creative parental negotiations".

I irritated something in my back, likely related to herniated disks in my neck, and can't pick Ada up -- or I should say shouldn't pick Ada up. Do you have any idea how hard that makes dealing with an almost-2-year-old? Next to impossible. So here we are, trying to change her diaper and clothes. I lifted her out of her crib since there is no other option for her to get out. But I put her down on the chair and let her shimmy to the floor instead of me bending to the floor. Once we get down to the floor, she wants to play on her singing, magical pink pony. I want to change her diaper. In comes the "creative parental negotiations".

"Ada, come here so mommy can change your diaper."

Ada: Ignores me. Then flashes a devilish smile may way that says "make me".

"Do you want a banana for breakfast?" She LOVES bananas after all.

Ada: Eyes focus on me and she stops rocking on the pony.

"If you come sit down here and let me change your diaper, we'll go get a banana from the kitchen."

Ada: Hesitates. Then comes close, but just out of reach and turns away. Then comes closer and tries to escape just as I catch her and lower her to the ground. She begins to whine.

"Just relax. I'll be done in a few seconds and we'll go get your banana."

Now doesn't that seem like one hell of a lot of work just to get her diaper changed in the morning?

I can see that I have my work cut out for me and am going to need a lot of rest, and much more patience. That, and maybe a few stiff drinks and some really good parenting advice books.

Moral of the story: Two is a double edged sword. She's more independent and can help out, but she's learning what it means to be in control. Get ready, it's going to be a long year.

Ada's Mommy is Crazy

I swear Ada thinks I am nuts. And occasionally I agree with that sentiment.

Somehow, we've acquired a family of little gnat like bugs, almost like fruit flies but not here because of nasty food or fruit. I think they came in on a plant we got from a neighbor, which ended up being a perennial and died about 3 weeks after we brought it inside. Talk about the gift that keeps on giving. They moved in about 3 weeks ago and I am beside myself trying to kill them off or trick them into a bowl of vinegar to die a sweet death.

It's not working.

So here I am, typing at my computer, watching TV, reading a book, eating dinner, or just sitting on the floor putting Ada's shoes on when, all of a sudden, I'll see one of these gnats. Being the heartless assassin that I am, of course, I try to kill it. Many times I fail but occasionally I succeed and follow my tiny victory with a squeal of joy.

But what does this look like from Ada's point of view?

We are eating dinner. Mommy claps her hands violently in front of her. Curses. Then does it again and curses. I start clapping because we must be celebrating something. Why else would mommy clap?

We are sitting on the kitchen floor removing my shoes. Mommy suddenly hits the front of the dishwasher and squeals with glee. Looks like fun. I'll hit the dish washer and squeal too.

Mommy just poked the wall with her finger and smiled. Must be fun. I'll give it a try. Hmmm... not as fun for me but whatever.

What Ada doesn't understand is that I'm not clapping, smacking the dishwasher, or poking a finger at the wall. No. I'm trying to kill these damn little bugs. But she never notices the bugs so, therefore, I must look crazy to her, right? I mean, if someone you knew just started doing things like that randomly and you couldn't see the bugs, you'd think they were crazy. Isn't that a sign of dementia in the elderly?

At least she makes me laugh when I miss the bugs and she starts clapping. And I get joy every time I successfully squash one. Any tips for how to get these annoying little buggers out of my house?

Moral of the story: Even being "crazy" looks like fun to little kids.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ada Fashion Watch

This is one trend you fashionistas won't want to miss...

Grandma DD found some boots for Ada and today was our first time trying them on.

Unfortunately, we didn't have a chance to put on any pants.

Suggested trend of Winter 2009-2010...
sddsesfyuil;kmereddddddddddddddddddddddddd (Which is Ada type for...)

Pajama Top, Diaper Cover and Snow Boots

Moral of the story: Kids can look cute in anything.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sick, Sick, Sick

Today is my 18th day in a row of being sick. Ada's a close second with 16 days. We both have colds and hers is more of a cough than anything else. I finally transformed into the cough phase this last few days. And Rick just succumbed to all of the cooties in our house after being so good for about two weeks. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Yuck.

I took Ada in earlier this week to see a different Dr since ours wasn't in that day, and she said she's fine. Probably allergies and gave her singular. But they gave her a seasonal flu-shot while we were there so it wasn't all for nothing.

Then I went in on Friday afternoon and got a prescription for amoxicillian to help get rid of the green snot that has invaded my body. At least there is hope for me. And I got a seasonal flu-shot while I was there. I also learned that if Ada isn't better Monday, she's going in and likely coming out with a prescription for amoxicillian too. What a mess.

And today we broke down and went to a Chicago Public Health Clinic to get the H1N1 vaccine. Turns out that is almost the only place in the city to get it and boy were the lines long. I will say, they were moving people through quite efficiently and taking good care of everyone. It was quite the experience for us since we got to see a whole different side of the city, and a taste of how diverse our hometown really is. At one point, a woman got on the loudspeaker and asked if anyone speaks (something I've never heard of) . She then went on to explain that is the language spoken in Ethiopia and they were looking for someone to translate the forms for that person. Wow. I'm in a room with someone from Ethiopia.

The whole trip was manageable since we went with a friend and her son and the kids were pretty good. Ada was her friendly self and tough to keep nearby. She just couldn't understand why I wouldn't let her run wild amongst a crowd of about 300 people, all strangers. Hmmmm.... someday that will make sense to her. And I will say, my nurse yesterday was right. The aftermath of the H1N1 hurts less than the seasonal flu-shot. The arm I got the seasonal in still hurts over 24 hours later and the H1N1 doesn't hurt at all.

So today I am thankful for being on the road to recovery, modern medicine to get rid of my green goobers, the Chicago Public Health Clinic and it's supply of both the adult and children's version of the H1N1 shot, and my awesome husband for cleaning the house and running errands while Ada and I napped. I may be sick, but it could be so much worse.

Moral of the story: I guess I'm not such a flu-shot hater after all. I am, however, still a hater of all things cold related (snot, sneezing, cooties, the whole bit).

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Viktor's Blanket

Being in the crafting mood, I just finished this quilt for my brother's new little bambino to be, Viktor. He's due in a week or two. I'm hoping my brother doesn't give me crap about it not being masculine enough, which he will. There is no pink, but there is some purple and a few flowers on it... but that will just put baby Vik in touch with his sensitive side, right? If not, then I have plenty of babies who would adore this blanket and not mind the colors. And I have the fabric picked for a brown and blue version that has no flowers, just haven't cut, sewn or done anything but wash and iron it at this point.
In typical me fashion, this is another quick project. Instead of piecing a whole bunch of tiny fabric bits together, I just made them much bigger so the project went faster. And the back side is similar without the two strips of "quilted" squares cutting out most of the labor, yet still looking nice. This is the second one of these I've done and I'm happy with the result. I know we've gotten a ton of use out of the quilt my friend Heather made for Ada and hope Viktor will get some good use out of this one too.
Moral of the story: Quilts don't have to scream "Grandma made me". And they don't have to take four months to make either. I did this one in under two weeks and I don't consider myself a quilter, or a patient person, but I do have a sewing machine, and Ada helped.

Alternate Halloween Costumes

Sometimes you miss out on the fun in life by being sick. This year, we sacrificed wearing silly Halloween costumes, attending parties and trick or treating in the neighborhood in lieu of getting some rest and attempting to keep our cooties to ourselves.
As we tried to stay entertained, while resting mind you, Ada tried on a few alternate costumes:

Bear's Defensive Tackle (Face it, they could use all the help they can get)

Shrek-earred Assistant Tailor

Dancing, Streaking Toddler... complete with Daddy's Magic Hat

Food Network's Youngest Chef
Moral of the story: Just because you're sick, doesn't mean you can't have any fun, even if it is Halloween.