Torts & Tots

Motherhood. Lawyer-dom. And maybe a few nice recipes.

Archive for October 2012

The Scoop on CCS.

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Our baby CCS is changing rapidly as she straddles the line between baby and kid.  She is filled to the brim with personality, and it seems like it spills out wherever she goes.  We are working on teaching her animal sounds as she is trying to talk more and more.  She has quack down (“kak”) and is shakey on the others.  Jerrod quizzes her in the tub, and it feels like she’s guessing.  “Claire, what does the cow say?”  “Baaaa?”  When she does happen upon a correct answer and we respond with “yaaaaaaay,” she starts clapping for herself – a gentle reminder that applause is preferred.  She is developing a devilish streak (in a very angelic way, of course).  Often, as I reach for her to change her diaper, fish some forbidden item out of her mouth, or put her down for her nap, she goes tearing out of the room, running down the hall with her hands thrown in the air and most likely gleefully laughing by the time I catch up.  When our entire family is in the car, she likes to softly call her dad when she gets bored, so we will hear faint, whispered strains of “da da da da da” as we go down the road.  In case you have been wondering about the plight of Claire and Kitty (forefront of your mind, I’m sure), Kitty is still number one in her heart.  She persists in demonstrating her love for Kitty with bites to his face and full-body tackles.  And, we now are the proud owners of four Kitties – an upstairs, bedtime Kitty (lovingly referred to as Dirty Kitty since his face has been bitten the most); a downstairs Kitty for playtime; and two Kitties in reserve for a rainy day.  Mealtime can be an adventure with Claire.  She mostly eats what is presented but will shake her head “no” and try to clear her tray violently with her hands when offended by the offering.  She is aware that she is not the only kid that gets my attention and is honing her skills to lure me away from Avery – sitting on Avery when Avery is in my lap and coming up behind me and hugging my back and patting me lovingly when I am reading to Avery.  Last but not least, one of my personal favorites, when we go to retrieve Claire from her bed, she always greets us with the biggest, cheesiest, “hiiiiiiiiiiii.”  So that is CCS in a nutshell – cheeky, chatty, and of course, still slightly chubby.

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October 29, 2012 at 8:35 am

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The Blah Syndrome.

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Sometimes I feel like being at home with kids all day can be an emotional roller coaster.  I know I’m not the only one that feels this way because today two of the blogs in my blog roll (which is admittedly mommy-centric) express the same emotion, see below for links.  It’s easy to spin into a tunnel of “why me.”  Over the weekend, a friend and I were discussing that it is difficult to explain the isolated part of motherhood to others.  Honestly, this part doesn’t apply to me as much these days because attending to AJS’ schedule forces us out and about.  But we still have our moments.  The moments when I cannot fathom taking my grabby toddler and my inquisitive four-year-old to the store filled with breakables.  Or the moments when I wish I could just make one phone call without chubby hands pressing buttons.  The moments when I cancel lunch plans with friends because I know a storm’s-a-brewin’ with my kids.  And those moments lead to the days solidly inside the house.  Just me and them.  And sometimes, even when we are out of the house, it can still feel lonely – being on the receiving end of the “your life’s a mess” looks, enviously watching people have adult conversations, struggling to have enough hands to make it from the car to the restaurant (Chik Fil-A’s a restaurant, right?). 

But, truthfully, it’s a little hard to feel too sorry for myself for very long.  First and foremost, intellectually I know that any pity I feel for myself is truly self-indulgent as my “problems” are only a matter of perception.  Objectively, I have nothing to be sad about, ever, even on the craziest of days.  Beyond that, my children make it difficult to stay in a funk for long.  They are walking, talking melancholy busters.  For example, Avery on the way into school, in the most high-pitched, yet sweet, voice says “hi” to everyone she sees.  Our trip across the parking lot sounds like this “Hi Julia.  Hi Chris.  Hi Anna’s Mom.  Hi Liam.”  And as I drop her off “Hi Mrs. Richard.”  This week, as I take her out of her car seat, she tells me “drive carefully Mom.”  On our way home, Claire in the backseat has started saying “weeeeeee” as we round the corners.  Rolling down the snack aisle at the grocery store, Claire points at cracker boxes and says “cracka” with relish.  How can I be moody when their personalities are bubbling over each second of every day?  On the way to school this morning, Avery, as she watched the clouds, told me “the blue ones are the mans and the yellow ones are the girls.”  My children turn me into a pile of smiling mush.  If I try to start my day out churlish and surly, I end it feeling lucky, self-congratulatory and smug. 

To read different people’s perspective on the same situation, click here: http://taza-and-husband.blogspot.com/2012/10/why-thank-you.html and http://www.thedaybookblog.com/2012/10/blerg.html.

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October 23, 2012 at 9:56 am

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Traveling Light.

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This weekend, I went on a girls’ weekend of sorts.  Really, every weekend in my life is a “girls’ weekend,” but is the little girls variety.  My typical girls weekend consists of chocolate chip pancakes, visits to the book store, and multiple readings of “Moo Moo, Who Are You?” (page-turner).  This past weekend, my girls weekend consisted of heading to South Carolina for one of my favorite friend’s wedding.  A weekend without children is not lost on me.  I spend very little time away from children on a day-to-day basis, much less entire weekends sans children.  Even the airport seemed shiny and new.  As I strolled through the airport with only a medium-sized purse on my shoulder, I was struck by the contrast to the travels-with-children me.  The last time I went to the airport, I had a stroller, a purse, a diaper bag, and a baby strapped to my chest.

The weekend was spent much the way you would imagine – copious amounts of laughter, catching-up, delicious food, and cocktails.  And, yes, even a bit of dancing.  There are certain friends that you don’t have to see very often (in this case, it had been years for a few of us), and you can still walk in and open up the friendship right where you left off.  There is something comforting about coming home to a group of friends that knew you when you were figuring out who you where.  This was the last wedding of this particular group of friends.  There is always something poignant about watching someone walk down the aisle, to a new chapter of her life, and remembering all the conversations and relationships of past that led to this point – the “I’m not sure how to make this relationship work” and the “I don’t know when my life will be ready for this.”   And then the best conversation of all occurs when the new guy walks in – the “I think he’s the one.”  There is also something poignant about stepping into your former self again for the weekend and realizing that this girl isn’t dead – she’s just buried beneath layers of children and children paraphernalia.

Cheers to my friend and her sweet new husband!  And cheers to my sweet friends who I never can get enough of.  We’re going to have to think up new excuses to get together because the weddings are officially over.

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October 22, 2012 at 9:20 am

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The Grass Is Always Greener (And Has Less Kid Stuff) . . .

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Before we had kids, I often found myself longing for the day when “it would be a good time” to have kids.  Jerrod and I were married for six years before we had Avery.  The waiting was partially due to the fact that I was only 22 when we got married and partially due to wanting to have our ducks all in row before having kids.  We were very deliberate. 

Now that we have our long-awaited family, we often find ourselves daydreaming about all the stuff we would do if we didn’t have kids – trips we would take, sleep to be had, etc.  Yes, we are persnickety ones.  As I was perusing the pantry today, I found myself thinking about how our kids have invaded every aspect of our lives, both physically and emotionally.  The evidence was staring me in the face.  Our pantry used to be a barren wasteland, only containing the usual staples and maybe a box of wheat thins.  Now, our pantry is busting at the seams with the all necessities for a happy childhood – graham crackers, ritz crackers, bunny crackers, bunny graham crackers (is it any wonder Claire can say cracker?), and of course, four kinds of peanut butter (white chocolate, dark chocolate, regular and cinnamon spice, thank you very much).  We frequently bemoan the fact that kid toys are everywhere.  Just from where I am currently sitting, I can see a tub full of princess dolls, a sack full of accessories for Cinderella’s castle, and assorted toys strung about the coffee table.

But when I really stop and think about it, I like it.  I like all of it.  I like glancing over and seeing Claire’s Fisher Price playhouse in the living room.  I like finding a solitary, tiny shoe tucked into the recesses of my closet.  And why wouldn’t I like having four different kinds of peanut butter in the pantry?  The fact of the matter is that when we had time to do all that great stuff – take vacations, etc. – we weren’t maximizing that time.  We lived in a world that, looking back upon it, consisted of sleep, work, eat, repeat.  That’s not to say we didn’t take joy in it and in each other.  But life with children is filled with joyful moments, even the mundane.  You are forced to smile.  You are forced to let things go.  You are forced to feel.  You are forced to think about other people besides yourself.  And you are forced to have a greater appreciation for all the things you had in abundance before you had kids.  A night out can be savored.  Sleeping past 7:00 a.m. feels luxurious.   A meal without a toddler’s chubby hand in your water-glass seems indulgent.  In summary, all the accoutrements that come along with children and that clutter up my house are sweet reminders of how they have changed my life for the better.  Truth be told, I think to myself almost everyday “what will I do when I don’t have a chubby baby to squeeze?”  

But, to be clear, if you want to come watch my kids on Saturday, I would still love to sleep in.

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October 16, 2012 at 9:12 am

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B Is For Boomer.

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Oh, how our lives have changed.  For the first six years of our marriage, attending the OU-TX football game was a priority.  I think we were there six out of six years.  Since the birth of one AJS, OU-TX has slipped down our priority list.  Instead of attending the game, I now must settle for dressing my children in all things crimson and cream.  Although I am a Texas girl at heart (state of, not university of), one week out of each year, I devote myself to besmirching Texas’ good name.  To be totally honest, I only quietly think bad thoughts about UT because I am afraid of somehow jinxing our football fate.  After a thoroughly enjoyable win over Texas on Saturday, I am starting this week off with a “Boomer Sooner” to you, friends!  And apologies to the many, many Texas fans in my family.  Although, I apologize only with the expectation that you know it’s fake, not heartfelt, and in name only.

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October 15, 2012 at 11:01 am

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Anatomy Of A Mustache Bash.

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For those of you keeping track, Avery’s actual birthday was a few weeks ago.  Yet, we just had her party this weekend.  We had a party planned and ready to go when the stomach bug tragically struck our AJS.  She has been not-so-patiently waiting for her party ever since and has been refusing to acknowledge that she turned four.  Apparently, she could not shut the door on three until she had cake and danced with her friends.

This weekend, the long-awaited party happened.  You might have been expecting something more princess-y, but our pretty princess had a mustache-themed party in honor of her favorite band, Spaghetti Eddie, who was on-site for the big day.  She did, however, request a princess cake (request, denied).  I was a little worried that, after all the build-up, the party might not meet a certain tiny girl’s expectations.  Fortunately, the party delivered, and then some.  She was so excited when her friends started to arrive that all she could do was run around and militantly chant “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” (we’ve been obsessively watching Mary Poppins lately).  The band struck up some tunes shortly after, and she danced the night away, followed by the long-anticipated cake.   

One of my favorite things about Avery is her ability to embrace the moment, and embrace the moment she did.  It was rather painful for me, too, when we had to cancel Avery’s party, but seeing the huge smile plastered on her face as she was surrounded by her favorite people completely erased all memories of party attempt #1.  Welcome to the big 0-4, Avery Jane.  You make our lives sparklier, pinker and happily more chaotic.  We can’t wait to see the adventures you will take us on this year!

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October 7, 2012 at 8:06 pm

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I Hate Pants.

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In case you’re worried, I have not quit wearing pants.  I find that pants help me to be embraced by society.  However, I have discovered that pants are making me face certain truths I am not ready to face.  I have been doing a good job lately of convincing myself that Claire is but a wee baby.  Although she is thinning out, she’s still squishy when I squeeze her.   Babies are squishy, right?   She does a lot of jibber-jabbering.  Exactly like a baby.  Warm weather had really been helping me out on the self-deception front.  All summer, I have been dressing Claire in bubbles and shorty dresses with bloomers.  Little did I know that summer clothing has been my enabler.  She looks like such a precious, chubby baby in bubbles and shorty dresses.  But today, chillier weather demanded pants.  Without giving it much thought, I dug through the hand-me-downs and pulled out pants and a t-shirt for Claire.  The results are devastating.  My little nugget looks like such a little girl when wearing pants.  Stupid pants.  Don’t worry – I will find new ways to enable my denial that Claire is growing up.  I’m thinking jumpers and overalls.

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October 4, 2012 at 2:34 pm

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