Thursday, December 31, 2009


The scene: Walking down the bread aisle in our local Target. Luca runs her hand down the shelf, touching each loaf as we pass.

Me: "Luca, please don't touch all those loaves of bread."
Luca: "Baby JESUS, Mama!"


The scene: In the lingerie section of Target, me looking at the clearance rack for jammie pants.

Luca (behind me): "Mama, I think you need DIS!"
Me (not turning to look): "What is it sweets?"
Luca: "A BOOBIE holder!"
Me (turning to see her holding up a beige 42HH bra - btw, who even know Target SOLD that size??): "Hahahahahaa!"


The scene: Luca uses her potty, stands, than turns to me.

Luca: "It's a poo poo Mama!"
Me: " Oh that's just a little one, Luca."
Luca: "It hasta grow up still, Mama!"

Monday, December 28, 2009


There's so much I could post about wonderful and fun and lovely it was. How all the presents were torn open and breakfast and coffee served before the sun even lifted its sleepy face above the horizon. How Luca and Rohan wore matching footie jammies and I wanted to snuzzle and nuzzle the warm sweet backs of their necks all morning. How our families spoiled the kids beyond belief or, really, necessity...and how Christmas is not about necessity, thank goodness.

I could write about the brother in law who finally proposed to his beloved. The joy of helping give a Christmas to 7 families in the Valley that would not have had one otherwise, thanks to generous friends and strangers and a job that allows me such luxury of being reminded how truly fortunate I am.

I could write about how it went too fast, and how I wish there'd been more time to savor it. How I am so excited already for next year when Luca can teach her little brother all about Santa and maybe he will get the chance to actually open at least one of his own gifts before she gets to it. How I wish it had been colder, and I wish I'd had more time off and I think this year's tree was the best we've had yet.

But instead, I give you these. And a wish that your Christmas was as Merry as mine!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

She Reminds Me of Her Dad

My husband is notorious for being unable to keep a secret. It works in my favor, usually. Except in cases like naming our children, when I would prefer to keep the name top secret until the baby is born to avoid hearing everyone's opinions, but he is running out telling everyone our 5 favorite names the second we discuss them. Gotta love his enthusiasm, I suppose.

This week and next he's playing stay at home Daddy as he's a teacher and his school gets a 2 week break for the holidays. I called him yesterday afternoon as I was headed for my car to come home, and he informed me they had gone shopping that day and bought a few things for me for Christmas. My first thought was mild panic, as I have to work all week and we had agreed to only do stocking stuffers and not actual gifts, so instantly I realized that *I* now needed to go get *him* something as well. And just where was I going to find time to do that??

My second thought was that I hoped he hadn't bought me boots, since I've been telling him for weeks that all I want for Christmas is some black knee-high boots. And being the practical person I am, I realized there was not much chance I was getting those as a gift, so I'd taken it upon myself to buy some online just that morning.

My THIRD and most excited thought was, "YAY! A surprise!!!" I love surprises. Genuinely, completely, 110% love being surprised. I really didn't care if all he bought me was some chapstick or a coffee mug...I just like the anticipation of getting something unexpected.

So when I got home, I walked in the door and Luca, bright eyed and amped up, came running over to me all squiggles and mischeif. It seems she inherited the inability to secret-keep from her Dad, because immediately she began to tell me something about how they bought me a 'box' of some sort. I couldn't understand all she was saying because it was being said in toddler talk, and I didn't WANT to understand it because I knew it would ruin the surprise for me, so I quickly said to her, "Oh, honey! I don't think you're supposed to tell me what you bought!"

"But Mama we got you a mumbletoddlertalk BOX!"
"Oh no, sweetie! I think it's supposed to be a SURPRISE! A SECRET between you and Daddy!"
"No, Mama. NO! We got you a shmisherblahblahtoddlertalk BOX!"
(laughing now at her persistence) "Ok sweetie. But I don't think you should be telling Mommy this. I think you and Daddy bought something for Mommy for Christmas, so it's supposed to be YOUR secret until then."

I managed to distract her for a minute, and then looked over and noticed a bag on the floor next to a new outdoor rug. Pointing to the rug, I asked Darrick if he'd bought that while he was out shopping. He turned to look and realized the bag contained something else for me, and said, "Oh shoot, you didn't see that did you?"

"Nope." I replied.
"Dat? Dat's your PANTS Mama! We got you PANTS!"
"Oh, Honey, I think that was supposed to be a secret too!" I replied.

Suddenly, her lower lip began to tremble, her eyes began to fill with tears, and she sobbed, "No MAMA!"

"Sweetie, it's ok," I assured her. "Mama's not mad, but I think that you are supposed to keep what you bought Mommy a secret."

And then she came running, head hanging low, little body wracked with sobs, and fell into my lap. I rubbed her back and told he it was ok and Mommy wasn't mad at her.

"But I just wanna tellllllllll you," she sobbed through fat tears, "We got you paaaaaanttttttttttttts!"

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Ho Ho Holy Hell.

Santa is scary. So says Luca, who's been talking about him obsessively for weeks. It started when we were shopping and there was a Santa wandering through the store. She heard his "Ho Ho HO!" several aisles away and excitedly agreed that she DID want to go see him...until HE saw her. As soon as Santa was within locking-eyes distance, she froze up, clung desperately to my shoulder and buried her face in my hair. I tried to encourage her to just look at him, to which she responded, "No, Mama. I don't wanna. Santa is scary!"

That was the first weekend of December. Now, she's seen Santa several times since then (in pictures, on TV, etc) and she likes him in theory, but as soon as we suggested that maybe we should go see him and tell him what we want for Christmas, she would freeze up and insist, "I don't like Santa, Mama. He's scary."

Never one to be easily deterred, I spent several weeks laying the groundwork for a Santa picture. We'd talk about how nice he must be. We'd laugh at his silly fat belly and big white beard. We watched movies where Santa is a nice jolly man. We got everyone around us to testify to Santa's fabulousness. (An aside: we adults never fail to amuse me. Every time I'd talk about Luca's Santa fear around her, every adult within earshot chimed in with these head-nodding, warm-voiced stories of how Santa was very nice indeed and not someone to be feared. Without fail.)

So today I dressed the kids and headed to the mall to meet some friends. After some shopping, I took Luca and a napping Rohan down to wait in line. In the line she was happy, even excited. We talked about how nice Santa was, what she might want to say to him, and how brave she was being.

And then we were next in line. Despite the assurance from the 3 boys in line behind us that Santa is SO VERY NICE INDEED, she froze. She literally would not get within 10 feet of Santa. Rohana was sleeping in his stroller, so originally I'd hoped to get a picture of her alone, then wake him and get some of him alone and them together. Not so much. Instead I unloaded Rohan and got him up on Santa's knee first, while I worked to calm Luca. Rohan was perfectly fine with...even amused by...Santa.

Seeing that, I hoped Luca would mellow out, but it was not to be. I had to scootch Santa over and squeeze in next to him, then pry Luca off my shoulder and spin her so she was facing forward. She was near panic mode at this point, so I ordered her, "Just look straight ahead at the camera. Don't look at Santa."

In the end, she warmed up enough that when he asked what she wanted for Christmas she managed to ask for 'a fishy fish', AND she was able to tell him Rohan wants a ball.

Of course, once this was all over and we were leaving Santa's workshop, she was skipping and smiling and bravely telling me how she had asked for a fishy fish and now Santa HAD to bring her one.

Guess I know what's going to be under the tree for Luca this year!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

This weekend.

We went to a Secret Santa party for kids. And though it was only the tag on her gift and not her ACTUAL gift, Luca cannot stop playing with this:

We learned that blueberries really ARE a food Rohan can't have. I fed him 3 little bites of blueberry pancake on Saturday morning, and 5 minutes later his arm was swollen and his skin was blotchy. This was our first experience with 'flushing', which is pretty common in Masto kids when they have a reaction. It was pretty scary, but over quickly and it didn't seem to bug him much.

photo courtesy

We stayed up too late on both Friday and Saturday. But when you have this sweet smile keeping you up, it's easier to deal with:

Rohan found the chalkboard. Perhaps he'll grow up to be the next Picasso? very least poo in interesting colors after eating the chalk.

Luca showed me her baby Elmo, who she now calls "Momo", which is a nickname Darrick coined for Rohan. And she told me, "I hafta be nice to Momo. Cuz Mamas are nice." When I asked if she loved her baby, she said, "Yeah. And Mama loves me SO MUCH. To the moon and the sky!" Love that girl.

And I had a glimpse of the future. Hers (in heels and accessories) and his (flirting with cute girls when Em and Isaac came into town and brought Zoe to visit).

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Impossible Dream.

Last night, I picked the kids up from daycare just before 5. Usually when I pick them up at that time, Rohan is a lost cause. He's hungry. He's sleepy. He does not want to sit in his carseat, thankyouverymuchmama! But last night I threw caution and, some may argue, common sense, to the wind and took the kids straight from daycare to the grocery store.

Oh yeah. Grocery shopping with a nap-ready 8 month old. I would have waited until a more convenient time to go if it weren't for the fact that the contents of our fridge and pantry together consisted of: pasta but no sauce, frozen meat but no veggies, a splash of milk, 2 eggs, enough leftover mashed potatoes for 1 person, butter, 1/2 a handful of Triscuits and Honey Nut Cheerios. So, I steeled my resolve and decided to go for it. Worst case, I figured, he would freak and I would run to the deli, grab a rotisserie chicken, pass through produce for a veggie to cook, and run out.

Much to my surprise, Rohan seemed enamored with the lights above, the people around, and the cart below. Because he spent the whole hour I was there cooing, screeching in excitement, and laughing.

Can I just take a second here to point out that I did, indeed, say I was there an hour. I cannot be the only person out there who enjoys grocery shopping, can I? There is something cathartic and min-numbingly brilliant about those brightly lit aisles full of foods, many of them things I've never even tried before. I could spend a LOT longer than an hour grocery shopping, escaping into menu-planning in my head, grabbing new things to try and admiring the fancy cheeses and variety of ice cream flavors. It's a mildly less enjoyable task when you have a toddler and a ticking time bom---er, sweet angelic baby boy?---along for the ride. But it's enjoyable none the less.

But I digress. In this instance I knew I was lucky that Luca was happily helping me pick out foods while Rohan giggled in the cart. And the cherry on top of this whole experience was after we'd checked out and were on our way to the car but stopped at the in-store coffee shop first. As I was ordering I could sense Rohan was getting restless, and I soothed him and kissed his nose. I turned back to the woman behind the register, heretofor to be known by my only as The Goddess of Customer Service, and she asked me, "Is he usually pretty laid back like that?"

I have to say, I didn't know how to answer this question. You see, my sweet little boy is almost 9 months old and this was the first time in his brief whirlwind of a life that someone has used 'laid back' as a descriptor for him. And I felt like this woman was a saint, truly, as though I owed her a debt of gratitude for using such a kind adjective to describe my son's demeanor.

If you've read my blog or you know me in person, you probably know that Rohan's had his ups and downs. He's a tempermental soul, though I don't like that word for him because I feel like it always has a negative connotation. And his personality is not bad...not by a long shot. But he does have his ups and downs, and he's quick to shift from one to the other and back. He's also very verbal, so you KNOW when the switch has occured. When Rohan is happy, his whole face is light and bright and animated. His smile is all you see, along with the twinkling blue eyes. And when he's NOT happy...well there is no doubt in the frustrated pouting lips, furrowed brow, and angry yelling. When he was a baby I didn't have words to accurately discuss his temperment, so I lied to myself (and, you know, everyone else) about it. I didn't want to admit my kid could sometimes be a total asshole, and I was in denial about the fact that it may never pass.

So, to have a complete stranger refer to my baby as 'laid back', during his witching hour when, instead of letting him sleep, I'd lugged him through a grocery store for an hour? And realizing that this baby we have now...the crawling, pulling up on furniture, laughing and screeching and babbling baby boy? He's not the boy of 8 months ago...or 5 months ago...or even 2 months ago. He's becoming more mellow and adventurous and happy. More...dare I say?...laid back. And I call that dreaming the impossible dream.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Oh Christmas Tree!

These are not the Christmas trees of my youth. THOSE trees were so full and lush they could hold all the crafts and kitsch created by 4 kids (handprint ornaments, cardboard picture-in-the-middle ornaments, paper chains, popcorn chains, candy canes made to look like reindeer....). THESE trees are, well, victims of years of drought conditions it seems. It took my brother and husband nearly 3 hours to find 2 trees for us to take home. Nevermind that my mom had hers in the back of the truck within 10 minutes.

So even though our tree is drier than I'd like...and even though it's not making my house smell like pine as much as I'd remembered from childhood...and even though it's kind of crooked and there's a gap in the branches...we love it! The day was fun, our tree has character, and Christmas has landed in our house!


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