Monday, February 28, 2011

Budding Photographer

Today I had a good day. I work afternoons on Mondays and our school had an unexpected visit from our area superintendent. This guy is quite intimidating and holds very high standards for his middle schools in our district. But today I found out that our middle school won a national magnet school award that I applied for back in the fall. It was a grueling application process that included getting the area superintendent and the district superintendent signatures. In my school district we have over 100,000 students in K-12, getting anything from the superintendent is like asking to meet with His Holiness. I did it though. It was quite stressful but I mailed the application off in November.
Our school was the only middle school in Maryland (and one of 3 schools in MD) to win this award for 2011.

This is a big deal. Our school is not "successful" in the eyes of my district or really in our community. This award can help change all of those negative perceptions that surround us. So I am excited / thrilled / overwhelmed.

But I am also a little sad. I knew that being pregnant meant that I was going to have to make a decision about the future of my career. I knew there was a strong possibility I would not return to work the next fall and take a child-rearing sabbatical. This award symbolizes all of my time and energy in running this magnet program for the last 4 years and it earning a national award is my swan song. I will write more about the decision not to return to work later but for now I celebrate this achievement but mourn what I am giving up.

Enough about me. I am only your mother after all. You have been treating me like I am disposable lately. However, I need to remember that this is a sign of true comfort and faith in your family. You know for absolute fact that no matter how you treat me I will be there to love you. I am there in the morning and night, I am there at meals and playtime. I am there even when you are being crabby/ bratty / melt down mode. You seem to take advantage of this security sometimes. Your manners and behavior are wonderful with others but with me... well we are "working on it." It's funny that you are so tiny but understand relationships so well. You must sense that your parents just love you for everything you are, no matter what, but other people have behavioral expectations that rely on 'wanting' to be around you. Or in other words, you know we can't escape your behavior but others can if it's annoying.

Ok onto you... our budding photographer. We got a new camera and now allow you to use our smaller digital camera for fun. You LOVE to take pictures. I shouldn't be surprised, you are related to your father. I didn't think much about the photos while you were snapping shots. Then as I looked through the pictures I got this weird sense that I am seeing your world, on your level and I found it too precious not to share. Of course, it goes back to that 'mother thing' where everything you "accomplish" is always going to be appreciated and cheered on by me.
I think the photos speak well about your favorite household member: Stan.

If you do have a successful photography career someday I can say I was the first one to publish some of your work.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Chuck Arrived and then he became Teddy

On President's Day (2-21-2011) Aunt Katie went into labor and hours later your cousin "Chuck" was born at about 2pm PST in Stanford's Hospital. Chuck would later be named Theodore James and nicknamed Teddy.

We finally got to meet Teddy (sort of) last night over Skype. We prepared with a bath and your favorite purple pajamas. You have been playing alot with your baby dolls. We had high hopes that your first meeting with Teddy would be met with interest and excitement.

You did have interest in Teddy and talking to Aunt Katie and Uncle Kevin but soon you were engrossed in your toys and showing them off over Skype. You even read one of your books to Teddy. Really read it. Ok you looked at the pictures and named what was on the page but that is all the book says anyway!

You eventaully became cranky enough for bed but not before you kissed everyone in California goodnight including Owie!!!

Last night was only the first of many get-togethers with your new cousin. One day soon, the two of you will be chasing each other around (in real life, not cyberspace!) and bringing so much joy to our families.

Welcome to the family Teddy. It's good to have you here!
Aunt Meghan

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Firehouse Birthday

Today we went to a birthday party at a firehouse. Your friend Amirah was turning 4. It was a grand old time. We took a tour of the firehouse and got to see all the equipment and trucks and boats! I never knew some firehouses had "dive teams" and you got to meet a real firefighter.

You drank a strange but delicious blue juice that made you go nuts. You ate the sprinkles, then the icing, then the cupcake.

I loved seeing you being a part of your "group" as most of the kids at the party go to Ms.Patti's for daycare. You were quite the attentive listener and participant in the tour although you were one of the youngest.

Hugging the birthday girl.

Sometimes you seem so much older than you are. You are so aware of your surroundings and you seem to 'just know' what to do. It's a fine line between toddler behavior and a maturity well beyond your years.

I was exhausted after the party. The blue juice and cupcake kept you going until the dramatic crash and burn this evening. However before the explosion, I was able to capture this one-in-a-million photo of your head through a bubble. Weird, funny and fascinating all in one. Sort of like you.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Chocolate for Dinner

Life has been... dull. Well maybe not dull but more like ho hum. We go through our routines and deal with small issues as they arise.

Like the Valentine's Day candy. Nonna sent you a small bag of assorted chocolates for Valentine's Day. You were allowed to have one candy after dinner. You quickly picked up on this routine and insisted on having your chocolate with dinner. Your father and I being "good parents" insisted that you eat your dinner first and then the piece of candy. Cue the whimpers, teary eyes and quiet sobs which quickly turned into an all out tantrum. Oh we held our ground. No matter how you pleaded with your "Open it!" or "Candy, please? PLEASE?!?!" Or your high pitched whines. You refused to eat. You cried through dinner. We would model good behavior for you: "Oh Daddy's all done his dinner! He gets a candy! Hooray!" You would watch, not impressed. I tried bargaining with you: "Ok Nora, eat these three bites of chicken and those five green beans with two sips of milk and you can have your candy." I would be met with a firm "NO!"
We were poised to send you to bed with no dinner. Our good parenting thought process, "she will learn!" But in a surprising (or not so surprising twist) you won. You were given the candy with dinner.

This battle raged for awhile. Parents can't give their children candy before dinner! They have to EARN their dessert by eating healthily. So how did you win? After my umteenth NO to your pleas. You lower your head and say in the most pathetic voice: "Nora bad?" Then more forcefully, "Nora BAD!"

My heart shattered and with tears in my eyes, I turned to your father and said, "I can't take this. I'm giving her the candy." He rolled his eyes. However in another twist of parenting 101, you ate your candy and then ate your entire dinner: all the green beans, most of the chicken, milk and potatoes.

I have to remember you are not even 2 years old yet. I think sometimes we expect more out of you than what you can handle. You did not grasp the concept of earning dessert. You do not understand the difference between bad behavior and being a bad person. As I was opening the candy, you were excitedly squealing, I tried to explain that you are not bad. Sometimes we do bad behaviors but that does not mean that you are somehow less than. All you cared about was eating 1 piece of candy we promised.

You are still small and the world is a confusing place, especially when your parents are preventing you from doing something for no good reason. When your little sister comes, we are going to expect alot out of you since you are older and more capable. But I have to keep it in perspective. You are just learning about our culture and society and I need to remember that you are still my baby too.

Daddy and Jessica think you just know how to manipulate me and that you have a uncanny ability to get what you want.

But Daddy has been able to get his Lego fix lately with a new-to-us box of Lego Duplos. There have been many elaborate structures built.

You love to participate in Mommy's prenatal workout DVD. You say "watch kicking?" when you want us to put it on.

I also got a workout ball that you are in love with. We bounce on it with Yoda. Frequently.

We play hairdresser with Becca.

Ho-huming through our days is not that bad. Kinda nice actually.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Your Sister

Our dearest Nora,

You are going to have a little sister. She already has all her bones and organs. She waves her hands and arms. She kicks her legs. She does not like to roll over. She grows bigger and stronger everyday. Right now she lives in my belly. You think babies are in everyone's bellies. We play with baby dolls alot. You are very good to your babies. You feed and cover them with a blanket and take them on walks in the stroller. You say hi to your sister in my tummy.

You have no clue what's going on.

In July, reality will hit. Your sister will come home and live with us. Permanently. We will feed her and change her and cover her with blankets and take her on walks. No amount of play will prepare you for the shock and despair you are sure to feel.


You will have a sister. A sister to share your secrets with, to share your memories with, to share your life with. Sure a brother would also do these same things... but not as deeply as your sister will. Having a sister will be my greatest gift to you and her. There are endless examples in literature, pop culture and real life of the bond that sisters create... Little Women, the Bennett sisters in Pride and Prejudice. Heck all of Jane Austen's novels pretty much celebrate the wonder of sisterhood. The Kardashians, although not my favorite. We have the Bertling and Jernander sisters in Wisconsin and the Todd sisters in Homer. My own sisters too.

Before you pull this blog entry up in 14 years to shove in my face, I know it won't be all rainbows and sunshine. I did grow up in a house with three sisters. Oh I know too well the dramatics and anger that will transpire. However, just as one day you will return to me from your wild teenage years, you will one day realize the unique and inseparable bond that you have with your sister.

For now, she remains a mystery to us. Who she will be, what her personality will be like. We have some inklings of what is to come. I was deathly ill for three months, then at 14 weeks when the sickness weaned the doctor couldn't find her heartbeat. Two scary hours later, there she was asleep facing my spine so her little heart was undetectable. Last week, we went for the big ultrasound where she slept the entire time. I had to go back this week where the same thing happened. She doesn't roll over or flip when poked or proded. All the tricks in the world won't get her to do anything but wave at us. So next week, I go again for a 5th ultrasound (you only had 3 routine ones) since she won't show anyone her spine. Her heart is perfect, her brain shows no problems, all her limbs work. We are not worried.

I have come to the conclusion with all these "issues" that your sister will either be a slug or a diva. I am hoping for a slug.