Thursday, May 26, 2011


I'm currently looking to add to my tiny list of "approved" babysitters for Elle. By "approved," I mean "I will only check my phone a hundred times per hour when I leave her with you, rather than a few hundred times an hour and then come home far ahead of schedule in a sheer frenzied panic."

I currently have two sitters. The woman who watches her while I'm at work will occasionally do nighttime gigs. I trust her completely, but I kind of like the idea that Elle will know more people than just Mama and her sitter. Also, Elle's weekday sitter, while wonderful, likes her TV. I'd really like someone who doesn't even think to turn it on, thanks.

I have a second sitter for every couple of weeks when I go to rehearsal. B is terrific-- incredibly good with kids, extremely intelligent, and has an air of calm competency about her. If I could afford to hire her as a full-time nanny for Elle, I'd do it in a heartbeat. B can sit occasionally on other nights as well, but she has a couple of other jobs (and a social life-- she's young and totally adorable) so is not always available.

So I've put out the word and talked to the first young woman tonight. I'm talking to at least one more next week.

I'm a big believer in gut instinct. With both Elle's weekday sitter and with B, I knew pretty quickly that I could trust them. I didn't know exactly how they'd interact with Elle, but I at least had a sense that they weren't ax-murdering ped0philes or anything.

The young woman I talked to tonight was intelligent and seemed kind, but something about how she interacted with Elle just didn't sit quite right. I don't mean that in an ax-murdering ped0phile way, of course. Just... Maybe she's not quite as comfortable with kids Elle's age as she thinks she is, or maybe it's been a while since she's worked with them so young. I don't know. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I'm going to listen to the part of me that thinks something's not what I want it to be.

I'll keep talking to people. Every time I ignore my gut, I regret it.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Everyone out there has information to share with you on what your baby should be doing at any given time. All the baby websites, all the blogs, all the books. Your baby should be doing this now, or that now.

And there's a subtle (and often not-so-subtle) competition that goes on between moms. "Oh, my (NAME) did (ACTIVITY) when he was (AT LEAST SEVERAL MONTHS YOUNGER THAN YOUR BABY IS)." I even see this on blogs.

I freely admit that I let myself get sucked into all of this. And even when the website/blogger/mom is just stating a fact, not comparing, I find myself anxiously looking at Elle and thinking "Well, X baby did X at nine months, and you're ten, and you still don't do X. Why not?"

I need to stop.

It's not fair to Elle. Elle is a good-natured, alert, friendly, inquisitive, healthy baby-- who happens to be on the late side, so far, for nearly all of her milestones. Not so late that her ped is worried something's wrong, but as a friend said, "When there's a curve, someone's got to be on the back side of it."

Elle's on the back side of the curve.

This doesn't mean she's going to grow up to a bright future of asking "Would you like fries with that?" until she retires. It means she's a late bloomer, physically. (I should note that I'm not the least bit worried about her verbal development. For those readers who know me in real life, you're not at all surprised by that.) I was a late bloomer as well, so she's taking after me, poor muffin.

I need to take a breath, and not worry about what other babies are doing. They're doing their own thing, and probably their mothers worry about milestones too. Worry is the price of motherhood, I think.

I'm blessed with a fantastic little girl, who will do things in her own way and in her own time, and she'll get there like everyone else. That needs to be my mantra.


Complete non-sequitur: I seem to have chipped one of my front teeth, and I've no idea how. It's not a big chip, but big enough that it's rough on my tongue or my lip, which of course means I can't stop feeling my tooth.

I so love going to the dentist. Oh, well.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Holidays, weddings, and chicken

I bought a little two-quart Crock Pot. Tonight when I came home, I had chicken in a red sauce with onions, potatoes and mushrooms waiting for me. Total prep time, including peeling/slicing the taters and onions: less than ten minutes.

As Elle starts eating more and more people food, this is going to be very handy. You can throw almost anything in there with enough liquid, and you have dinner. The only stuff you have to watch out for is veggies. Most meat, though, is fine. And the two quart size is perfect-- two big entrees, or one big, one small, and one lunch.


It was a lovely first Mother's Day here at casa Plus One. Well, once you got past the 6 a.m. screaming bloody murder wakeup, that is. (She never wakes up crying. Seriously, never, and Mother's Day it was zero to OMG SOMEONE IS KILLING MEEEEEE.)

One heck of a way to wake up the morning after I actually went out and didn't get to bed until v. late.

The rest of the day-- weather was nice, so we took a walk. Later, dinner with a friend. I do like that she takes two naps, but at the same time you're really bound by that schedule. And I'm not one of those "oh, it doesn't matter if s/he takes a nap!" kinds of people-- I do not mess with her naps any more. I do not mess with bedtime, either, although I have about a 20 minute window I'll play with if needed.

Cardinal rule: You Do Not Mess With Baby's Sleep Patterns, For If You Do, You Will Regret It.

Funny moment of the day: at dinner, in the middle of it, Elle decided it was important to share with me her babbly happy opinion on... something. Not sure what. But I have nothing to worry about in terms of her lungs and her ability to project, because the entire restaurant, I think, clearly heard her pronouncement, and she looked quite pleased with her bellowing self-- so pleased that she followed it up with another announcement. Possibly two.

The fact that the adults at the table were laughing hysterically probably didn't motivate her to turn down the volume...

This past weekend, then, Elle went to her first wedding. Just to the ceremony, and this was of course with full permission from the happy couple-- I never assume my little bundle of joy is anyone else's! She was very good and the photographer got a ton of pictures of her-- can't wait to see them. Elle was flirting shamelessly with the photographer, which helped. That's my girl.

The morning after the wedding, unlike Mother's Day, Miss Elle slept until 6:45. Heaven, heaven, heaven.


We are teething, big time, and in the middle of trying to get more of her bedtime bottle into her tonight I realized she was just plumb exhausted, and it was time to get her to bed. She may wake up in the middle of the night starving, but sleep at that point was more important than anything else.

It's a lot of work, getting big.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there. And the moms-to-be, and the godmothers, and anyone who acts in a mom-ish way to someone. You are all important and loved.

It is the hardest job I have ever had, and the stakes are higher than I ever imagined. I wouldn't trade a moment of it.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Never Forget

This past weekend was Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Yom HaShoah. I read several blogs by Jewish bloggers (what? I'm Episcopalian, but I can't be interested in other faiths?) who wrote eloquently of what this means to them.

Through the readings I ended up on the Yad Vashem site-- a thorough and utterly heartbreaking site that seeks to name each victim of the Holocaust, and collects photos and other archive information.

The photos are overwhelming. So many stories, most of them terrible. As I was paging through one section, I stopped short at a photo of a young child-- perhaps three years old or so-- standing amidst a group of people in a field. The child looks like a little girl (it can be hard to tell at that age) and she's looking at the camera with large, dark, direct eyes and a very serious expression.

Elle could look just like that little girl in a couple of years.

People tell you that once you have kids you can't watch the news any more, especially when the stories have to do with children. They're right. And it's not like I didn't already know that countless children died in the Holocaust. But this photo, with her eyes so much like my daughter's, just brought it home that much harder.

I suppose it is a blessing that I cannot possibly wrap my mind around how anyone could slaughter six million people and, apparently, think it was just fine to do so. So many people did so many things to contribute to these deaths-- from actually pulling the trigger or pouring the crystals, to simply watching as they walked towards the gas chambers. All are guilty. Every death was a horrific crime.

But someone took a picture of that little dark-eyed girl, probably moments before she trustingly put her little hand into someone else's and was escorted to her death. Someone took a picture, and did nothing to save her. And she was only one of thousands upon thousands of children.

Sars wrote today about Bin Laden's death, about how he should have to face those he killed, about how perhaps he does go to heaven but it's not his heaven; he's only there to have to listen to the victims of 9/11 telling him about their deaths.

Monsters should have to face what they've done, if there is any justice.

So for the person who took the picture of that little girl, then let her die? Perhaps his Hell will be having to hold the chubby, warm, slightly sticky hand of his own beloved child and walk that child into a gas chamber. Over and over and over again, for all eternity.

Never forget.