Tragic Sandwich

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Archive for the category “Parenting”

Sand Pail List, Revisited

Sand and Toys

In May, I created my “Sand Pail List” of things I wanted to accomplish this summer. How’d we do? Let’s take a look:

Going to the park
We did go to local playgrounds, but not nearly as often as I’d intended–except for when we were in Santa Barbara. We went to a lot of playgrounds in Santa Barbara.

Summer concerts
Not one. Turns out that the ones held in my friend’s town are on Sunday nights, which didn’t work for us, and we never investigated the ones closer to home. Maybe next year.

Going to the beach
We got to the beach three times this summer, and are going again once Baguette gets her cast off. Labor Day may be over, but southern California’s summer is not.

Swimming lessons
Happening right now! Well, not right now. But we’ve enrolled Baguette in the current session at our local Y, because you cannot keep her out of the water. (Me, either.)

Cooking
Err . . . I’ve done a little, but certainly not as much as I meant to. And I still haven’t gotten back to that farmers’ market.

Well, there’s always fall. What should I call that one–maybe Leaf Bag List? I wonder if that works in the land of no fall colors.

Photo by ~W~, via Flickr.

Splish, Splash: Pools I Have Known

Sunset pool at ucla

I love being in the water. Love it. I once announced that I was pretty sure I could live in the shower in my parents’ guest bathroom.

But pools are better.

When I was a kid in southern California, we had some kind of above-ground pool that my dad almost never assembled. I remember playing in it, but not very many times.

Then we moved across the country. I’m sure someone had a pool in their back yard, but I don’t remember any. Instead, you joined a pool. There were wait-lists. It helped to know a member. After a year we joined one–although it turned out not to be the one most of my friends from school belonged to–and for years we spent lots of time during the summer at the pool.

The year I was eight, I was on the swim team for that pool. We would compete at other area pools against their swim teams. No one had Power Bars back then; between heats, you’d eat powdered Jello mix for energy. Lemon or lime was best. (Do not substitute a Twinkie. A Twinkie will hold you back. Even though it seems like a Twinkie is mostly air, experience suggests that it must really be Dark Matter.) I competed in the 25-free and 25-back. How did I do? Pretty much every time, I’d get third in free and first in back. Was that 25 meters or 25 yards? I don’t remember. I just know that if I could swim backstroke, I could beat everyone else.

Winters were wintery, but that didn’t keep me out of the water. How? Indoor pools. For several winters I would sign up for Winter Swim. I’ve always been good at swimming; whenever the instructor wanted someone to demonstrate a technique we’d just learned, he or she would ask me to show everyone.

Full disclosure: I have never been good at flip turns. Thus my success in 25-free and 25-back. I guarantee you I would not have won in 50-back, much less in 50-free. I was probably never asked to demonstrate a flip turn in either direction.

My other main memory of Winter Swim is a round of bullying that, unlike others, I was unable to deflect or derail. I carpooled with two boys from my elementary school who took it upon themselves to torment me. I have uncertain memories of them spitting in my hair during the car ride home. I loved swimming. I hated the ride to and from.

(I also hated my sweatsuit, which was some horrible 1970s attempt at–microfleece, maybe?–it was sort of fuzzy and when it pilled I wound up with little red fuzzy bits stuck to me, because it is impossible to truly dry off after Winter Swim. Even the locker room is humid.)

We moved to Texas. And, oddly, this is where I stopped swimming. Or not so oddly, if you think about it. We joined a pool that was within walking distance of our home, which meant that our mother wasn’t inclined to drive us. (Although I maintain that “walking distance” in a South Texas summer is about the distance from the front door to the car door.) Also, I was in high school, which meant that the pool and swimsuits seemed fraught with . . . well, fraught with something. I’m not sure I could have articulated it even then, but I stopped being willing to run around in a swimsuit, even at the pool.

In college, we’d go to the pool–but only to sunbathe. This, by the way, is a terrible plan for a redhead, particularly in an era when SPF 10 was considered to be a lot of sun protection.

Years and years and years later, I married Mr. Sandwich. We drove from our wedding in San Antonio to Los Angeles, and on one of the days before we left for our honeymoon in Hawaii, we went back to that college pool. I swam the length of it (this one I know–50 meters), clung to the side gasping, and then swam back. And while I was done for that day, I later spent many evenings in that pool training for triathlons.

Also, I am still lousy at flip turns, so it’s a good thing that when I compete, it’s in the open water with a noticeable lack of walls.

Now we live in the San Fernando Valley. When we moved there, I said, “I don’t need a pool–I don’t want one, too hard to maintain–but I do need air conditioning.” We have air conditioning, and I will admit that now that I’ve experienced a few Valley summers, I could also do with a pool.

Fortunately, we live within an easy drive of one of the city pools. It’s been closed for several years due to maintenance issues, but they finally repaired it and re-opened it this summer. While I am sorry that it’s now closed for the season, I’m glad we were able to go several times–and at $2.50 an entry ($2.00 with a library card, for whatever reason), I think it’s a much better deal than building, filling, and maintaining one in our back yard.

You know who else loves the pool? Baguette.

It must be genetic.

Photo by samk, via Flickr.

Happy Labor Day

Remember this ad?

I know this raises a lot of questions about free trade and protectionism, and a lot of these topics can get ugly. But I do think it’s pretty easy to relate to people who work hard and want to keep their jobs. It can be tough out there.

Baby’s First Cast

This morning, Baguette could stand briefly, but still wasn’t willing to take a step. So our pediatrician said that he wanted us to take her to an orthopedist. The only catch was that he didn’t think that we’d get in to see someone within our network on the afternoon of a Friday before a 3-day weekend. He therefore provided a referral to “the only guy in West L.A. you’ll be able to see today–but he doesn’t take your insurance.”

Another exam, more xrays, and $315 later, and what did we learn?

Baguette has a hairline fracture in her left tibia.

She also starts swim lessons tomorrow. Fortunately, this cast can go in the water. And next week she can go to day care. And the week after that, the cast will come off.

I’ll tell you what–I’m glad we went to the out-of-network guy. I’m glad we didn’t say, “Well, let’s see how she does over the weekend.” Because if we’d gone to someone else on Tuesday or Wednesday and then discovered that we’d left a broken bone untreated for a week? I can’t imagine. But it wouldn’t feel good.

Baby’s First X-Ray

Radiation Sign

So last night Baguette went into our bedroom, and a little later we heard a slappy thump followed by tears. She was sitting on the floor at the foot of our bed, and sobbing. I picked her up and cradled her and sang to her, and she kept sobbing for at least 15 more minutes. We examined her carefully and couldn’t find any bumps, bruising, or swelling, but she was clearly unhappy and uncomfortable. I was able to coax her to sleep, but she was restless and needed soothing all night.

Until 3:40 a.m., when she was wide awake. After some failed efforts at getting her to fall back asleep, we all got up to watch Sesame Street. She snuggled on the couch with Mr. Sandwich and smiled a bit, but was nowhere near her usual levels of enthusiasm.

She’s home for a few days anyhow, because her day care is closed for some teacher in-service time, and the plan was for Mr. Sandwich to stay home with her (he has more vacation time). So I went to work and called to see how they were doing.

At that point, Mr. Sandwich described it as “a sick, lazy day” with lots of Sesame Street. But later he took her out to play with her water table, and realized that Baguette hadn’t just been relaxing on the couch–she couldn’t stand up on her own.

So he called me and the pediatrician’s office, where we met a couple of hours later. Now, Baguette does not love going to the doctor’s office. She’s had relatively few visits, so she associates the doctor with shots and that weird stomach-poking thing. She wails incessantly at the top of her lungs, both at the nurse and at the doctor. It’s really, really hard to calm her down afterward; there is no calming her down during. But the doctor managed to examine her, and decided that he ought to send her to radiology.

And it turns out she feels exactly the same way about x-ray machines. While she was very–uncharacteristically–sedate in the waiting room, she screamed and screamed the entire time she was on the table to be x-rayed.

The results were normal, so no fracture–good news. And while the screaming was heartbreaking, it completely wore her out, and she fell asleep in my arms before we even got the update from the radiologist. She stayed asleep the entire way home and for several hours afterward.

So it’s likely to be a long night. Tomorrow, her pediatrician may provide another referral–this time to an orthopedist. And we suspect that we have a 2-year-old with a sprained ankle, particularly because now we can see some minor swelling. But she’s also smiling for the first time all day, and that’s an amazing relief.

Photo by microwavedboy, via Flickr.

Why Our House Is a Disaster – Weekday Edition

caution tape

We’re refinancing, and on a recent Friday, we had a visit from an appraiser. The house was not even remotely clean, although I did set my alarm for 5 a.m. so that I’d have time to at least straighten up the living room (read: put things in stacks). Instead, I was so exhausted that I just kept hitting the snooze button. Sorry, appraiser.

Mr. Sandwich and I are constantly evaluating the way we spend our time, particularly on weeknights, so that we can finish everything we need to and be ready for the next morning, while still getting Baguette to bed. What does that look like right now?

5:30 a.m.

Get up, wash face and brush teeth, unload dishwasher, wash any dishes in sink and put in drain rack to dry, give dog her medicine, open dog door, take one egg out of the refrigerator, put skillet on burner (which is not yet turned on). If it’s a day when we send lunch for Baguette, prep thermos with hot water.

5:48 a.m.
Finish bathroom routine. Shower if I’m lucky.

5:53 a.m.
Go back to bed to keep Baguette from rolling out; Mr. Sandwich gets up, gets dressed, and leaves for work.

6:20 a.m.
Get up, counting on Baguette to not roll out; get dressed, pull her pre-selected clothes/socks/shoes off of the shelf, get diaper and wipes and put them with her clothes, scramble and cook egg, heat up food to go in thermos, put egg in portable container, put food in thermos, assemble her lunch bag, put her breakfast in her tote bag along with anything else needed that day (set out the night before). Put yogurt and granola in my lunch bag if set up the night before; otherwise plan to buy breakfast at work. Feed dog. Make sure back door is locked, cabinets are latched, stove is off, and refrigator is closed.

6:40 a.m.
Unplug anything that has been charging overnight and put in handbag. Go back to bedroom and change Baguette’s diaper. Put her pajamas in the hamper and dress her for the day. Comb her hair. After she lies back down, sit her up and comb her hair again.

6:50 a.m.
Make Baguette stand up and walk to front door. Pet dog goodbye. Pick up bags, lock door, coax Baguette down steps, put her and bags in car.

6:55 a.m.
Arrive at day care. Get Baguette and her bags out of car, sign her in, drop off tuition or hot lunch money or other paperwork as needed, and walk her to classroom.

7:02 a.m. If I’m lucky.
Leave day care. Drive to bus stop. Park car, run across street, hope to catch bus. If I do, hope to get seat. If I don’t, drive to work. It’s an hour either way.

8:05 a.m.
Enter building. Buy breakfast and coffee, or just coffee if I managed to pack my own breakfast (lunch is even less likely). Go upstairs and work.

5:00 p.m. Unless I have to work late.
Leave building. Walk to bus stop. Catch bus home.*

6:00 p.m. Unless traffic is worse than usual.
Exit bus. Get in car and drive home.

6:07 p.m.
Arrive home. Pet dog hello. Change clothes. Put away any dishes in drain rack. Pour milk into straw cups for evening and next day.

6:12 p.m.
Mr. Sandwich brings Baguette home. Feed Baguette as much fruit and/or Goldfish as she will eat.

6:25 p.m.
Take Baguette and dog for walk around the block (1/2-mile distance). Discuss day. Encourage Baguette to walk, but carry her for intermittent stretches. Let her run back and forth when the impulse strikes her.

7:10 p.m.
Return home. Pull together some semblance of dinner for Baguette while Mr. Sandwich helps her play with the hose (it’s hot out). Start her bath.

7:20 p.m.
Change Baguette’s wet clothes and feed her.

7:50 p.m.
Mr. Sandwich gives Baguette her bath. Set out her pajamas and nighttime diaper, take dog out, feed dog, close dog door, wash dishes from her dinner, empty her lunch bag and clean containers, straw cups, and thermos, probably wash the skillet from that morning.

8:05 p.m.
Dry Baguette off, put her in nighttime diaper and pajamas, let her watch Sesame Street. Continue to prep for next day, gathering any paperwork or materials needed for day care. Eat tortilla with peanut butter (if lucky).

9:10 p.m.

Go to bed. All of us, because otherwise Baguette won’t. (Note: That’s “go to bed,” not “go to sleep.” There’s no telling how long that could take.)

What’s missing from this picture?

*This is when Mr. Sandwich does as much laundry as humanly possible in 50 minutes. Neither one of us has time to fold it or put it away.

Photo by skyloader, via Flickr.

Can a Toddler Be an Introvert?

Untitled

Recently, Baguette’s teachers asked to meet with us. Apparently she falls asleep throughout the day, and she doesn’t interact with children or her teachers the way they’re accustomed to seeing.

Her sleep is an issue, and we know that. And we’re working on it.

But apparently she’d often rather read a book with Bestie or by herself than trade toys with the other children. And she ignores her teacher when told that it’s time for a diaper change. (Which is strange, because at home she’s so cooperative about diaper changes. [/sarcasm])

What we see is that she holds back a little when first encountering someone–even Mr. Sandwich’s parents, who she sees regularly–but warms up when allowed to do so on her own terms. When Mr. Sandwich picks Baguette up from day care, she and Bestie want to dance and play and spin together. On playdates with one or two other children, she both plays with them and gets territorial with toys, just like they do.

And even in large groups in noisy settings, like birthday parties at indoor playgrounds, she has a great time running from the ball pit to the trampoline to the tiny basketball backboard. It’s not like she’s cowering in a corner. She’s just doing what makes her happy, without the need for constant companionship in her choices.

Also worth noting: when she moved from the toddler room to the two-year-old room, she went from a class of 8 to a class of more than 20, in a much larger setting (and by that I mean that I think our entire house might fit into her new classroom).

I know I’m on the cusp of introvert and extrovert. I can be very outgoing when I choose, but I also really, really like staying home with a book.

So when can we get a sense of whether Baguette leans toward the introverted side of the scale? Because her behavior doesn’t seem to require evaluation–I just think she leans toward smaller groups and smaller settings.

Don’t get me wrong. I do want to know about real problems, and I want to address them as soon as possible. But I don’t see “likes smaller groups” as a problem. It’s just a little different from what they’re used to seeing. And “different” isn’t a problem.

Photo by GenkiGenki, via Flickr.

What I Want to Tell Every New Parent

Meagan Francis of The Happiest Mom has asked me to contribute a guest post to her wonderful blog! I’m writing about what I’ve learned as a new(ish) mother:

To paraphrase Olympia Dukakis’s Rose Castorini from Moonstruck, “What I don’t know about parenting is a lot.”

Baguette was born in April 2010. Mr. Sandwich and I brought her home two days later, and as we opened the front door, I thought, “Why did they let me bring her home? I have no idea what to do.”

To read the rest of the post, visit The Happiest Mom.

Santa Barbara Sojourn

Santa Barbara – what’s not to love?

Every girl needs a jaunty hat. Even if it’s her mother’s.

Exhibits were made to be climbed.

Whee!

A girl after my own heart–when I was trying online dating, my full add title was “Mary Jane Watson Seeks Peter Parker; No Green Goblins Need Apply.”

Time for a run (so, also a girl after her Daddy’s own heart).

BEACCCHHHH!

Photo by Mr. Sandwich

Giraffes enjoy being hand-fed romaine lettuce, and Baguette enjoys hand-feeding romaine lettuce to giraffes. Win-win!

Who needs a straw cup?

Never go in against a Sicilian donkey when grooming is on the line!

Baguette’s first time on the carousel. Mommy’s first time not riding a horse.

Finally! The beach!

We are not sure when the beach became so important to her life. This is her third trip ever.

5 Things I Found While I Was Looking Around

Five

“Smell Like a Monster” on YouTube

Thank you, Sesame Street! (And thank you, too, Wandering Scientist!)

Chicken, Mozzarella, and Asparagus Pasta on The Coterie Blog

Yum. Just, yum.

23 Fun Summer Bucket List Activities for Families on Parenting Squad

If August finds you running out of ideas for what to do with your kids, here are some more.

Cats in Sinks

You really shouldn’t need more explanation than that.

Calm

Perfect for the crazy days.

Photo by super-structure, via Flickr.

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