Thursday, April 17, 2014

What She's Doing; What She's Not Doing

Until very recently, if I sang around Genevieve, she would put her hand over my mouth in a very matter-of-fact way until I stopped. If I didn't stop, she would push on my mouth until my spirit was sufficiently broken, then would go back about her business. This meant that I never sang to her as I nursed her or rocked her to sleep LO those many hours for the eighteen months it took her before she finally decided it was acceptable to sleep through the night.

When she was little, I would try every week or so -- This is the week! She'll love it when I sing to her now! -- alas, I got a baby hand to the mouth. After a while I gave up. A stretch of quite a few months went by, and suddenly, she made it known that she wanted to turn off her light by herself at night, and when she did, I sang a little good-night song, and SHE LET ME. I was so high on the good vibrations that as I was about to put her down in her crib, I paused to sing "You Are My Sunshine" TWICE ... AND SHE LET ME. 

It's been a few weeks now, and it seems like she not only tolerates it, but I'm pretty sure she likes it. It's funny how one tiny thing can make her feel like an entirely different kid, but it does.

One thing that is not so different about her is that she still shows no interest in talking. She says mama, dada, wow, whoa, ow, and shoes. She also frantically shouts "O!" every time she sees the letter O, but that's about it. She has made up a few signs -- if she leans her head way over and touches it to her right shoulder, it means "please" (of course) -- but for the most part, she relies on shouting, pointing, and grunting to get her point across, which is just as delightful as it sounds.

The frustration has been compounded by the fact that she is also now very insistent on helping with things. I got my weekly e-mail from Babycenter letting me know that my 20-month-old is probably saying "Me do it!" all the time (not so much); instead, she screams and flails until I discover what she is trying to say she was wants to do and I let her do it (all the while helpfully saying "Say, 'let me help fill my sippy, mama!'").

She's a funny kid. She has a lot of opinions. Heck, she has a lot of advice for all of us -- Quit singing. Don't touch my toys. Give me all your toys. Big sister hair was made to be pulled, so give it up. Hug ME first when you get home, daddy. -- but she's not interested in using words to tell us just yet. Why should she? She lets us know just fine with her grunting, shrieking, and hair pulling. 

One day she'll talk, and I have a feeling she'll never stop. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Teachers Change Lives (Sponsored Post)




I am lucky enough to have been positively influenced by a number of educators over the course of my many years in school. From my first grade teacher who made me feel so very safe at a new school, to my fifth grade teacher who saved novels from the reading enrichment cupboard just for me because she knew how much I'd love them. I'll also never forget the professor in college who encouraged me to go to grad school or the one who invited me to speak at an important conference. 

I've always had people who believed in me. However, the two most important educators in my life, without a doubt, are my mother and father. My mom was my first teacher -- I attended her Nursery School for two years before kindergarten (I had to call her "Mrs. Marcetti"! It was so weird!). I had my dad for a computer technology class my senior year of high school (I called him "Dad," and he always let me raid his snack supply). I loved my time as their student.

But they were so much more than that. They instilled in me a passion for learning. They managed to show me that school is very important and one must always work hard and do their very best, but also that it was a fun place to be, that I should want to be there.

In kindergarten I begged for homework, and in first grade I begged for extra homework. I loved learning and couldn't get enough. In college, I would go to a coffee shop after class and re-write my notes from class ... okay, so maybe I was a bit intense. But I liked it. 

School was far from perfect. I asked to be homeschooled a lot in junior high, but to be fair, one very "kind" girl told everyone I stuffed my bra when I showed up in 7th grade with boobs I didn't have in 6th grade. She convinced people to hand me tissues between every class while people laughed hysterically. That same sweetheart drew a mustache on my picture in the yearbook with the kind note "shave it already." 

If I still loved school despite all the time I spent crying, they really did their job well. They reminded me day after day why school was important and showed me that they never stopped learning themselves, even after they became the teachers. They made me want to show up day after day, even when my stomach was eating itself because I was so worried about running into you-know-who or one of her many friends. They truly taught me the power and importance of learning. 

Teachers across the country are doing innovative things in the classroom every day to reach their students and teach them the same thing. In doing so, I'm sure you know they spend money out-of-pocket every year to supplement their classrooms. Office Depot has partnered with Adopt-A-Classroom -- a nonprofit organization that helps connect donors with teachers to enhance the learning environments of students -- in the hopes of raising awareness about all that teachers do to improve the lives of their students. 

If you'd like an amazing example of what teachers are doing, check out this video of Brian Copes, a pre-engineering teacher whose students make prosthetic limbs out of old car and bike parts, and even help make utility vehicles for people in Honduras:



You can donate to a classroom or register your own classroom by visiting Teachers Change Lives.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Inconvenient Truths

Genevieve is going through something (developmental milestone?) that is causing her to wake up at least once a night again. I am also back to my normal insomnia problems, and on the best of nights, I fall asleep around 12-1 AM. Genevieve wakes up EXACTLY when I finally close my eyes. EVERY NIGHT.


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Some days I spend a bit of time on my couch -- reading stories, snuggling with the girls, taking five minutes at nap time to put my feet up before I get stuff done. Other days, I spend five minutes or less on that couch, and the rest of the time I am running around like a mad woman. BUT, no matter what, WITHOUT FAIL, I am sitting on the couch when our mail carrier walks in front of our huge picture window. In his mind, I live on that couch. I want to change his opinion of me, but I am unwilling to spend an entire day on my feet just so he can't catch me sitting down.


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We have dedicated an entire shelf in one of our kitchen cabinets to broken items that need to be super-glued back together. AN ENTIRE SHELF in a kitchen that is seriously lacking in cupboard space. Something else broke? Put it in the super glue cupboard. That's a problem for Future Veronica.


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Jeremy shoveled a path through the five feet of snow (that stayed in our yard from November until THREE DAYS AGO) from our back door to the girls' playhouse. Cleo thought that was the best place to do her business (even though Jeremy shoveled an area for her, too). Not only do we now have a path of dead yellow grass leading to the playhouse, but Cleo also settled on dropping her deuces right in front of the girls' playhouse door. Now that the snow is gone, she thinks that's her official pooping spot, so it looks like I will have to remember to take a bag with me every time we go outside, or I will be cleaning a lot of little girl shoes this spring and summer. YUCK. 

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Josie has a musical instrument hidden in her room. It's hard to describe. It sounds like a harmonica mixed with an accordion (I KNOW). Anyway, this instrument is hidden in her room somewhere, and when she is supposed to be taking a nap, she takes it out and plays it just loudly enough for me to hear and get all mad (WHAT IF SHE WAKES UP THE BABY?!?!). I choose to ignore it, because if I go in there to tell her to be quiet, it gets her more determined to stay up and skip her nap, but if I ignore her noise, she eventually gets bored and falls asleep. Dang if I forget about that instrument every day once nap time is over and forget to take it out of her room. I only remember when she's playing it again the next day.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I CAN ONLY TAKE SO MUCH

I can't believe it's gotten to this point, but here I am. 

I AM HAVING AN ARGUMENT WITH A TOY. ALOUD. VERY ANGRILY.

Wait, let me preface this by saying two things:

1) We are so lucky to be able to have toys for our children. Many more toys than they would ever realistically need. 

2) I'm sure many (most?) of you have gotten to the point where you want to go all Office Space on one of your kid's toys EVEN IF IT'S ONE OF HIS OR HER FAVORITES because it has pushed you so far over the edge with its level of annoyingness. I know this is not a new phenomenon. I have a few of those toys. 


1120officespace
One day, B. Meowsic Keyboard. One day. 

This is way beyond all that. We have an adorable little pretend vacuum (Aside: Toy companies. Make those tiny vacuums FUNCTIONING VACUUMS. Love, Everyone.) (Second aside: Is that really how you spell vacuum? I've never been able to spell it. Don't you think it needs two Cs in there?) that the girls LOVE. It's very cute. Except for the fact that in between making vacuum noises, it has "funny" little quips. At first I was able to ignore them, but yesterday was just the straw that broke the camel's back.

Vacuum: What a pigsty!

Me: Good one. That one gets me every time. Very funny. My housekeeping skills are subpar. HILARIOUS.

Vacuum: *Cough cough* We must clean up the dust!

Me: Right, it's dusty in here because I never clean. I GET IT. SHUT UP ALREADY.

Vacuum: Whoa! Did a tornado blow through here?

Me: You can go STRAIGHT TO HELL, BUDDY. I TRY MY BEST!! *collapses in a puddle of tears*

Vacuum: *dopey laugh*

It's been a long week, you guys.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Hey, I Tried

I just spent a good deal of time writing a post, and when I sat down to re-read it, thought, Well ... this is stupid. So, instead I will show you our St. Patrick's Day pictures and tell you a funny Josie story.




I forgot about delightful celebratory foods, so I gave them unlimited pickles for lunch (hey, they're green!). You would have thought it was Christmas! I imagine their insides are currently pickling themselves.

As for the the Josie story: For the past few weeks, Josie has been having trouble with naps. She's still tired enough to need a nap, but she's going through something and is having a hard time falling asleep consistently. She either skips her nap then yawns and cries and tells me she's tired for the rest of the day; falls asleep immediately and sleeps for three hours; or plays in her room for the entire naptime, and then falls asleep one minute before I'm going to let her out, sleeps for three hours, then doesn't wake up until dinner time. This is not ideal.

Today when I was putting her down for nap, I tried the usual "You're going to win the sleep race and fall right asleep, right?! I knew it! High five! I'm so proud of you!" but her response was a bit lackluster. Since she didn't seem too into the idea of going to sleep, I explained (as I have many times before) that if she fell right asleep and took a good nap, there would be time for reading and games and fun projects before dinner, but if she monkeyed around, there would be no time for anything fun.

She responded, very seriously, "Oh, wow. Thanks for explaining that to me, mama. I understand now."

I asked her, "So, no monkeying around, right?"

Her response? 

" .... Welllll ... just a little monkeying around. Only a little! Deal?"

Oh, how I love that child.  
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