Monday, December 31, 2007

New Years Eve with Anderson Cooper

CNN was the only channel we could find here on the West coast broadcasting the EST New Year's ball drop in Times Square, New York in real time. None of the 3 broadcast networks bothered. I guess they think we enjoy watching the taped version here in California better than the live version, and Shrek 7 and Dr. Phil would bring in more viewers on New Years here in the 7th largest economy in the world or whatever we are.

But we needed a 9 o'clock New Year.

It was a necessity seeing that we had 3 children of ages 4 and 5 who we wanted to take part in the celebration of year 2008. Despite our best planning, said children either broke down or got hyped up beyond put-downable states just as the EST New Year rang in. Pajama sharing, red vs. gold party crowns and New Year's kisses were all in dispute. At least the 2 year old was asleep--the house might have exploded otherwise.

Some bright spots of 2007: Little Erin, who despite being a home wrecker extraordinaire, has learned to charm the pants off us, even as she nearly sets the house on fire. Katie who never ceases to astound me with profound statements of sensitivity, like last night when she said, as she fell asleep holding her sister's hand "Next time Clara [her friend] comes over, I'm going to tell her that Erin can join the game". The tension between big sisters/little sisters and their friends cannot be underestimated, and the generosity of Katie's statement therefore touched me.

Erin will finally sit down in the bathtub, hallelujah--from ages 1-2 she refused to as I traumatized her one too many times with hair washing. The trauma still happens once a week, but at least she can finally enjoy her bath when it's not hair washing night.

Sleep: we are getting more of it, though still not enough. Erin generally only wakes up once a night between 4:30 and 5:30 AM, coming to our bed to nurse, and Katie has stopped coming up at 6 AM to wiggle me into a caffeinated, toothpicks holding up the eyes, state.

Hopes for the New Year:
  • An end to far-right-wing, religious-fundamentalist, corporate-pirate rule of our country.
  • An end, or at least an end in sight, to a war that's been going on since Katie was two months old.
  • More hope, happiness and love for all of us.
  • May we actually send the Thank You cards for Erin's Birthday.
  • That we provide Katie with an enjoyable 5th birthday party which will not result in us, her parents, filing for divorce.
  • Oops, never mind, we can't get a divorce because we're not married.
  • Exercise more and eat more fruits and vegetables (and convince the children that foods besides pasta can be tasty).
  • Pick the best public Kindergarten for our firstborn.
  • Take more vacations.
  • Do more good things.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Katie's preschool asked for a volunteer to watch Crabby, her classroom's pet hermit crab. Crabby has a comfortable home on our dining-room built-ins in her terrarium, or whatever you call it. Crabby spends most of her time in her little cardboard house. We take her out a couple times a day and spray her with a little water bottle and put her in her water dish. She then has to make her way back to her little house, and on the way, if she's hungry, she can munch on her little hermit crab meal, pellets, cakes which sit in the upside-down crab food jar insert.

So far, it's been mostly Momma who tends to Crabby, though she asked me to do the duties tonight. I asked her if it wasn't true that somehow Katie was supposed to be involved in Crabby's upkeep, and yes, she admits this is true, but it's easy to forget about Crabby until the kids are fast asleep, the cat's been fed and the dishes are done and the latest batch of Christmas presents has been processed. Oh and there's still Thank You cards to send out for Erin's birthday gifts, and a couple more x-mas presents to buy, the house is a wreck and so on.

Poor Momma is quite worried about our ability to keep Crabby alive until it is time to return her to preschool. I try to remind her that Katie's teacher let us know, via a wink and nod, that it would be "OK" if Crabby didn't make it, as she would be relatively easy to replace. Still, it would feel like a failure not to be able to keep such a low-maintenance creature alive for 19 days.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The eerieness of super-helium

Almost 3 years ago, for Katie's second birthday, I bought a boquet of balloons the night before her party, so I would have one less thing to run around doing on the day of her party. That was when I discovered that regular helium doesn't last that long. The balloons were all at eye level the next morning--like sad, wilting flowers--much to my surprise and dismay. Somewhere along the line, we discovered super-helium...or "high-float" helium, as they call it at our local candy/balloon store, "Sweet Dreams". Well, now it is two weeks and counting since Erin's 2nd birthday partyand those balloons are still lingering, ceiling height, around our house (see--the second one always benifits from the trials and tribulations of the first) . But it doesn't seem right--this being one week from Christmas eve and all. It's kind of strange. They've long since lost their appeal to the girls, these super-helium balloons. They've taken on the air of some supernatural phenomenon better to be ignored, or regarded as just another aspect of our home decor.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mommy Ran a 5K!

This was my second annual "Run Wild" post-Turkey day 5K in San Francisco. That's my bud Aimster in the background. This year's was more enjoyable for me though last year's was more of an achievement. Prior to that I don't think I ever ran 3.1 miles in my life, and at my age. This year I was less stressed about it, and was slower by 8 minutes, but the bright spots were that I never got tired and I felt great the rest of the day.

Oh, and, last year's picture sucked! I like this one a lot more. Lucky for me they took two because the other one also sucks. So, yes, this year's was better, much better. (NB I actually remembered to smile, because part of why last year's pic was so yuk was because I looked like I was about to drop dead!)

Next up, hopefully, is the San Francisco Christmas Classic 5K that benefits a women's shelter. Now that's running I can feel good about.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Banjo-tam for Eri!

When I got home from work last night, Emily told me little Eri asked for a Banjo for her birthday. What a request! She will be two on Saturday and a banjo seems a bit of an advanced request for such a little peanut. Then again, she loves the song "Old Susana" and is often commanding me to "go to car and get it" from the CD player, and as noted on the side, Elmo's Country songs features a talking banjo and a real live banjo playing rendition of said classic.

Anyway the idea has been stuck in my head ever since, so during my lunch hour I did some googling to see what I could see, and I learned a smidgen about a variety of banjo like instruments and kids and banjos. My first search was for "banjo for kids" which lead me to this toy banjo which looked just a little too clunky and toy like, and not really that musical. I also came across a Barney Banjo, which thank god is not available anymore. Then I googled for "baby banjo" and that lead me to this page which discusses "backpacking banjos" , "travel banjos" and, bingo, "mandobanjos". Now those look like the right size. But this is for a 2 year old so it's not prudent to spend $579+ for a fine musical instrument. Finally, I came across the amazing "Banjo-tam" on e-bay, and bingo--baby's gettin' a banjo!

What are you thankful for?

This is a placemat that Katie made in preschool. It is a picture of Momma. As she described it, "here's your eyes, your nose, your mouth and your breastes."

It is interesting in that Katie can't even remember nursing now, while Erin, who calls these "no-ni", is quite a little no-ni girl. It seem s that despite the lack of regular contact with them, the no-ni's still appear to be a prominent part of Katie's internal picture of Momma.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Pretend I got flat and died forever

"No, I died more than you and forever and ever."
"OK, I died forever and forever too."
"OK, pretend you saw me hanging from the edge of that rock."
A few more exchanges like this and then the two victims, one five and one four lie dying, writhing and crying on the floor.
Little sister: "Why is she crying?"
Mama: "She's just pretending."
Little sister: "I wanna have a turn too!"
And the game of death and danger continues.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Future Ballerina Astronaut

Future Balerina Astronaut
Originally uploaded by fastkittykat
Katie's preschool went on a field trip yesterday and I was a chaperone. It was fun, yet, not stress free to be in charge of three preschoolers who seem to have a perfected a system of 'divide and conquer' where they split up and go in 3 different directions and challenge you to reassemble them back into a group at regular intervals. It's good for the brain though, keeps you alert.

Katie had her perfunctory turn in the space capsule--she was the last in line due to the activity describe above. She seemed somewhat interested though even I could see how it could be hard to concentrate. One of the other girls I was in charge of skillfully cut in line about halfway up, and the other lost interest after about waiting for five minutes. So, Katie gets points for good manners & patience.

Friday, November 9, 2007

They get into the darndest things

She doesn't need these yet--perhaps she thinks they are streamlined diapers. Before I took this picture the pads were all in the stroller, but she was too fast for me--she got the last one on the floor right as I snapped.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Fairyland and Halloween 2007

We went to Oakland's Fairyland the weekend before Halloween. Katie & Erin loved it. Lots of fake spiderwebs, other kids in costume and fairytale characters dressed up. That's the girls and the pumpkin. Katie in particular was mesmerized--it was hard to drag her away. Notice Erin with the phone. Anyway, after we parted ways with the pumpkin, Katie interjected: "A walking pumpkin--that's disgusting!"