Friday, January 29, 2010

God has welcomed his sweet angel, tonight


Please pray for our family's friend, Wendy and her family, who tonight lost their precious daughter/sister, Heather to Ewing's sarcoma. This beautiful girl had the strength of a thousand men, and she handled her illness with the grace and strength of no human I've ever seen before. Praise to Wendy for her unbreakable faith in God, and their family's creed to FROG..Fully Rely On God. May Jesus hold Heather in his arms tonight and the angels sing their glory to this precious Child of God. My God's healing hands be placed on Wendy, Meach, Hannah, and their family as they face the road ahead.

May they never stop fighting to rid the world of cancer, for no child should have to suffer from this disease.

Dear friends, please hug your precious ones a little tighter today, and love them in the name of Heather Miller. God bless you, Heather Feather.

Changing Angles

Books, Web sites, countless talks with other mothers. That has been my life for a while, trying to figure out how to handle a strong-willed child. Claire is, without a doubt, my true soulmate and love of my life. But Claire's behavior is challenging. And I have always been quick to admit to anyone who hasn't already figured it out, that I was not born to be a mother. It is a skill I continue to practice. In other words, I don't have that innate motherly instinct. I am a Type A, and I'm not used to little people.

Well, probably thanks to my mother's frequent wishes of "I hope one day you have a child who acts just like you!" in her fits of exasperation over my latest antics, I was blessed with a beautiful, stubborn, brilliant, obstinate child. I have been struggling as of late with two things especially...picking her up at daycare at night, and getting her ready in the morning.

With regard to her behavior, I need to reign it in, because we have what Dr. Phil calls, "the tail wagging the dog." Claire is running the show, and that is not acceptable. So I decided to reclaim my position as ringleader. First of all, let it be known that I am not morally opposed to spanking. But spanking does not work on Claire. It feeds her aggression and she hits back. That is not the effect I want, obviously. Second, time outs are fine, but there is no way, no how that child will sit for two minutes in a chair. She is just too hyperactive, and while I love Supernanny (Jo Frost), I refuse to put her back into the chair for four hours until she completes her two-minute timeout. So I have tried and am still evaluating two things. I give her a timeout in her booster seat. I put her in, lock the tray down, and turn the TV off and I ignore her. At first she doesn't seem fazed, then about two minutes later she is pissed and trying to get out. Then she calms down. I try to explain to her why I put her there, but I'm not sure how effective that is. So this is still an experiment.

Second, I do believe the method that continues to work best with Claire is diversion. I stop the bad activity and divert her to something else. Or I just stop the bad activity and that is that...e.g., she wouldn't lay down to get her pajamas on and was running around in her bedroom and wouldn't cooperate, so I put her in her crib without pajama pants and shut the light out w/no bedtime stories or songs. I need to nip it in the bud because she needs boundaries more so than even the average child in my opinion.

Getting her out of daycare at night has become a nightmare. I'm thrilled she likes it there, but I wish she'd be ready to go home when I got there. She runs around the entire daycare while I run after her (you can only imagine what this scene looks like), and most nights I grab her by the hand and literally drag her out the door. She is screaming and falls to her knees and I'm dragging her along the floor, with all the parents looking at us like, ha, she has no control over her child. This has reduced me to tears on more than one occasion. She just has a tough time with transitioning I think. The past few days I just keep trying to steer her toward the door, repeating that I have an apple/pear/banana/whatever in the car waiting for her, and I'll grab her hand just long enough to pull her in the right direction. It's still a lot of work, but I'm just trying to be patient.

On a happy note, I love discovering all the new things she can do almost every day. She now says "please" and "thank you" in the correct context at the appropriate times. It is really just precious. She nods when she says please, because I will nod in approval when she says it and she thinks that's how you say please, by nodding at the same time...ha. I love how when she wants something, she puts her hand out and grabs mine and says "Come-ma." I love that in the mornings she will go turn the TV off and get her coat when it's time to go. She will get me my coat and my shoes. She wants to do EVERYTHING herself. She does a little ballet dance at home adorable. This morning she brought her dad a diaper and the wipes so he could change her. In the morning when it's time to go, she names all her friends at school: "Kai, Kate (Katelyn), Mahk (Mark), Mason, Bwooky (Brooke), Binka (Bianca)." She doesn't cry when I leave in the morning. She goes in and sits right down at the little table for her breakfast. "Bye, Mommy, see you layer!(later)" She "cooks" in her pots and pans and brings her daddy and I plates with hamburgers and sandwiches. She puts the food in her play microwave and blows on it to "cool it off" when it's done. She pours tea and we sit and enjoy ourselves. For as challenging as this new age has been, it has been even more rewarding.

My prayer has been and always will be that Claire grows up to be happy, healthy, secure, and good-hearted. And as I grow as a mother, I will continue to work toward that wish.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Port Discovery Revisited

Oh, the joy! The joy! Swimming in a sea of plastic balls...the joy of it all!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Night, night

"Claire, do you want to read your book?"


"Who are all these people on this page, Claire?"

"Cookie, Elmo, Dawn (Prairie Dawn), Buht (Bert), Uhnie (Ernie), Big Buhd, Uhsca (Oscar), Honkie (Honkers)...THEE End!"

"Very good, Claire! Do you want to read this one now?"


"What are those?"

"Potties! (Hippopotumus)"

"What else?"

"MONKEYS! Lions..ROAR! Seals. Behs (bears). Nakes (snakes)THEE End!."

"OK, let's sing before bed. Do you want to sing a song?"


"Sing with Mommy..Twinkle, twinkle...."

"Kinkle, kinkle, little stah. Diamond in 'ky. What you ah!"

"Yay, Claire! One more...Patty cake, patty cake..."

"Bakes can. Wolllllllll it. Paaaaaaat it. Mark...B! Put oven baby and ME!"

"What a good job, Claire! I loved your song! OK, let's get in bed with blankie and binky."


"Here's your juice, babe (water). Give Mommy hug. Give Mommy kiss. Do you love Mommy?"


"Good, because Mommy loves you so much. Nighty night, Claire."

"Nigh nigh."

Friday, January 15, 2010

When Art Becomes Filth

Wow. I consider myself very open-minded when it comes to books and especially. Netflix has been a huge blessing because I have access to many independent films I could have never found through traditional venues such as Blockbuster.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman is at the top of my list when it comes to actors. So I usually throw a film of his in my queue frequently. Claire is with her daddy this evening, so I just put in Happiness.

This is disgusting. I'm not going to put on this blog part of this plot; I simply can't believe that this film was made and won awards. I think I'm more sensitive now that I'm a mom. I'm just very disappointed in what people found acceptable to portray in a film.

Last week, however, I did watch one I found really high quality. It was an Italian film called Incantato. Hopefully, my future selections will be more along the lines of that film in quality and content.

On a book-related note, I'm reading a book called The Street Gang, which is an account of the entire origins of Sesame Street. Its incarnation is incredible, and I'm really enjoying the story.

And that's all that's fit to print for this evening. Have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mary Lou Retton? You ain't nothin'!

Claire has officially been enrolled in her first gymnastics class! I had originally wanted to wait until she was 3 to start, and in the meantime, I had intended on going back to My Gym to keep her active. Then I was poking around the internet last night and was researching U.S. Gymnastics Association certified gyms. There is one right by the JumpZone (site of her birthday party) in Reisterstown called United Gymnastix. The class for her age sounds very similar to the My Gym class (and surprisingly less expensive). It is a parent/tot class every Saturday morning at 9 am. It runs 8 weeks. After that, she can advance to their next level of classes and so on. The girl does straddles and splits daily, rolls somersaults around the living room, and hangs upside-down on the couch and flips her legs over her head. I'm thinking she's a natural. We almost didn't get a spot, but there was one left. (Really? Wait listed for a 2-year-old gymnastics class?) We start on February 13. I have to ask if she should wear a little leotard..haha! That will be beyond cute!

If nothing else, we can expend some of that boundless, seemingly infinite energy!! Yay!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Foot in Mouth...or Hand in Pocket?

Usually it's me sticking my foot in my mouth. What do you call that when you do it online?

I very casually typed a status update for Facebook..."Contemplating an I nuts?" OK, totally never expected the influx of comments that came in shortly after I typed that. This is not something I was really putting a ton of thought into yet...just throwing a few ideas around in my head. In-Sung is probably reading this open-mouthed, as every time we talk and she mentions school, I adamantly declare how much I LOATHE school and am glad I got my bachelor's and got the heck out. So my Facebook statement was in total contradiction of what I normally say. As usual!!!

That brings me to a few of the thoughts that are swimming in my head (and there are so many they start banging into one another). I'm impatient. I know, huge revelation, right? Well, I feel like I started a career that I am totally unfamiliar with. I was strictly an English major. The most business experience I had in school was a 100-level management class and another marketing class. So for the past almost five years, I've been in the investment management industry, and it becomes clearer by the day how little I know about investment management. It's also clear how lost I am in my role as a marketing assistant. The RFP writing process comes easily. The whole marketing thing...strategizing, developing, etc...not so much.

So what do I do to become better educated? That's when I started thinking about pursuing further studies. Towson and University of Baltimore have joined together to offer an online MBA program. So that's what I was exploring when I threw that statement out there last night...apparently very prematurely! But I'm a pretty rash person, and I need to remember (1) how much I hate school; (2) that I am beyond limited in the financial means department; and (3) have a child who deserves my full attention. Ay, there's the rub.

So between now and when I may actually make this big life decision, I'm going to ask my boss for some recommended reading to perhaps better acquaint myself with some of the language and processes I deal with day to day.

I'm also going to stick with lighter status updates on Facebook!

To end this on a positive, if not positively gorgeous note...the poor child is getting tired of standing in front of the door for her daily photograph. Mommy can't help it.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Heinz Queen

Claire is currently trying to suck ketchup through her straw. That is so my child.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


They give you a little cup of cream cheese with your bagel at Au Bon Pain. I'm done with the bagel, and I'm now eating the excess cream cheese straight out of the cup.

The lady in front of me on the train this morning smelled like she poured four gallons of Baby Magic all over herself. Granted, that's not the worst smell I've ever encountered on the train, but it still was making me gag.

My two bosses are in Illinois today doing a finals presentation for our Mid Cap Growth fund. I did the proposal :-) Granted, a proposal itself never wins the business, but it does get your foot in, so I'm happy about that. Fingers crossed!

Meanwhile, at casa de Crazy, my child is getting out of control. Or as Dr. Phil says, the tail is wagging the dog. So I've set out to get that dynamic turned around. I am not surprised by what a strong-willed child she is; however, it doesn't make it any easier. So last night I started the time outs which had before never been successful. I have resorted to putting her into her booster seat where she is restrained and letting her sit for a few minutes. At first she didn't care. She was just talking and singing to herself. Then she was mad. I wouldn't engage her, but simply told her that she had to sit there because she threw her food. We'll see if this makes any difference. Getting her out of daycare yesterday was again difficult, but I just got a strong hold of her hand and basically dragged her out. That's always fun...that and the looks I get from the other parents. Oh wellsa.

On a happier note, Christmas has come in January for Claire. With the help of gift cards, I was able to get her a few gifts, and she is loving her doctor kit and play microwave. I spent most of last night getting my blood pressure checked. We also learned "night" in sign language last night on Sprout. She has added this to the other signs she already knows (her favorite is "more").

Hmm..what else? I've been doing good at keeping relatively calm (one of my New Year's "aspirations), and I did get my living room cleaned. I hung a string of lifelike butterflies from one end of Claire's ceiling to the middle of the room, far enough from the vent that they weren't a fire hazard but close enough that they blow in the breeze when the heat is on. She loves looking at them.

Did good on day one of my water drinking campaign. 32 oz. Not so good since then. Not worried...will get back on the horse.

Contemplating taking Claire back to My Gym on Saturday mornings and still planning on starting her in a gymnastics class later this year when she turns 3. Wanting to proceed with another one of my New Year's aspirations...spending "days off" visiting with friends instead of sitting around my house, and vowing to go home to parents at least once every other month.

Just finished alternating coffee and orange juice. Now going to update a plethora of investment databases. Life is good on this Thursday in January.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Observation #1: There is no reasoning with a two-year-old. Really.

Blank-et is in the wash...the thing was just nasty...I can never get it away from the girl. Finally I insisted and made her drop it in the washer. Sigh. The only deterrent is to let her watch The Wiggles. Have you seen The Wiggles? Do you realize how obnoxious these weirdos are? She loves them.

Observation #2: Claire loves Gala apples.

Better than Red Delicious. She doesn't like them cut up. She likes them whole. When she's had enough, she lets it drop wherever she may be. This is why I find gross rotten apples in my car often.

Observation #3: Maintaining a well-kept living room bites.

Every toy must constantly be put away. I spend all day just picking up, picking up. Is this how normal people live? You know, the ones who don't live in filth? I suppose. I do love my wide open (albeit in need of a deep cleaning) living room floor.

Observation #4: When you actually ASK Claire if she wants her diaper change, she will always tell you, "No." This is why I must drag her onto the ground and turn into a WWF wrestler every two to three hours to get her changed, which I will be doing in a minute when I finish this post. Please, send positive thoughts my way. I need them.

Observation #5: My daughter is a stunner. Proof? Check her out...

Friday, January 1, 2010

Sparkling Fresh

That is how I'm thinking of this new year.

Resolutions? Nope, don't make them.

Aspirations? Many.

But I just want to think of this one day, untainted, bursting at the seams with possibility, calling my name to jump with both feet out of tumultuous 2009 and into a blank slate of 2010, ready for me to give it a go.

So today, just for today, I will begin simply by cleaning my living room. Making it a room where Claire and I can sit and play and grow her already beautiful imagination. Today I see me clearing a space of chaos into one that brings peace to my heart.

Tomorrow? Nope, not thinking about that one yet. Just TODAY.

Happy New Year, and happy today :-)