Auld Lang Syne

When I was younger, I thought it would be fun to go to a big, blowout New Year’s Eve party.

I never did. I’m totally fine with that.

First of all, I didn’t want to go by myself; I wanted to go to that kind of party with a boyfriend. And I almost never had a boyfriend, which limited my opportunities. (I did once go to First Night in Manhattan with a friend, her husband, and her brother, but I’m not even sure that was a set-up; I think we just all wanted to go to First Night.)

So what have been my favorite New Year’s Eve celebrations?

Growing up, we would have dinner at a Chinese restaurant and then see some blockbuster or other. That was always good.

One year–I can’t remember whether I was dating Mr. Sandwich yet–another friend invited me to a party at her brother’s Manhattan apartment (different friend, different brother, same Manhattan). But it was supposed to snow, and my block was always last to be plowed, and at the last minute I canceled because I wasn’t sure I’d get home. Instead, I spent New Year’s Eve curled up on my couch, watching movies I can no longer recall and eating either Chinese food or pizza. The details don’t matter, because what I do remember is that it was a great evening.

When we were dating, Mr. Sandwich and I spent one New Year’s Eve with his friends, starting at Cheesecake Factory and moving to one friend’s nearby apartment; we spent others playing board games with some of my friends.

The year we moved into our house, we hosted a party at which I learned that if I’m going to drink, I really need to eat dinner. Or at least lunch. But that lesson didn’t make itself clear until after everyone else had gone home, so the party itself was a lot of fun.

Since then, we tend to stay home, safe from the drunk drivers of the world. Last year, Bestie and her parents came over for dinner (we planned to start early, to reduce their odds of being menaced by drunk drivers on their return). A good time was had by all, including Wicket–although the hat placed on her head spoke more to her tolerance than to her awareness of the passage of time.

This year, we have planned absolutely nothing. It’s been a busy couple of weeks, with lots of events filled with people who want to see Baguette. She’s done really well with it, but she needs plenty of downtime. We all do. So we have no plans, and I think it’s going to be another great evening.

So to all, near and far–may you have a Happy New Year. And those good wishes aren’t just from me. They’re also from Wicket.

small dog wearing Happy New Year hat and leis

Your Mileage May Vary

This morning, when I took Baguette to daycare, she was excited to be there. She opened the door to the classroom without being prompted, and she ran up to a group of girls and started playing with the same toys they were using.

(This is HUGE. Six months ago, she would have retreated to the corner with a book. Now she chooses to play with the other kids.)

She picked up a toy ice cream cone and said, “Ice cream!” One of the other girls said, “Don’t eat it!”

I said, “Oh, it’s okay. I think she knows the difference between the toy and real ice cream.”

The girl said, “Sometimes babies put things in their mouth.”

Every child in that room is 3 or 4.

I said, “Well, she isn’t a baby.”

“Yes, she is. She can’t talk.”

One of the other little girls–we’ll call her Daisy–who has been in the same room as Baguette since they were both infants, said, “She can’t do anything.”

Baguette dropped the cone and headed for the bookshelf, where she selected Can You Tell Me How to Get to Sesame Street. It’s the book she’s most likely to pick up at school. I think I know why; it’s because no one in that book would be mean to her, with the possible exception of Oscar.

Daisy said, “Well, she knows Hebrew.”

I said, “She knows Hebrew?”

Daisy said, “Uh huh.”

I answered, “She’s still learning some things, but she’ll learn faster if you’re nice to her.”

Bestie came over to the bookshelf to hang out with Baguette, and gave her a one-armed hug.

Parenting is harder than being in your 40s.

Best Saturday Ever (So Far)

Yesterday Baguette started taking swim classes again, and then we had lunch at Carl’s Jr. with Bestie and her family, in what has become something of a Saturday tradition. (It used to be McDonald’s, but we all got tired of McDonald’s, and their “we’re a coffee house” rebranding means that they don’t have booths, which we really need to corral two bubbly little girls, and for crying out loud, why don’t fast food places have changing stations?)

After we eat, we go outside to the tiny strip of grass behind the parking lot and let the girls run around. They have a playdate, energy gets burned off, and then we go our separate ways for naptime.

Baguette is nap-resistant (as I may have mentioned), and yesterday she only slept for an hour before coming out to the living room. But it turned out that the pool and the playing really had worn her out, and she fell back asleep with us–and stayed that way for almost another two hours.

That meant that I spent Saturday afternoon with my daughter snuggled up against me under a blanket and the dog in her bed next to us, while Mr. Sandwich and I stretched out from opposite ends of the couch and watched several–several!–back episodes of Cougar Town.

Later on, there was a massive meltdown (purple snow pants were both essential and intolerable). But that doesn’t take away from the fact that when all of us were cosy and curled up together as a family, I had everything I’ve ever wanted in life. all in one place, all at the same time. It was the best, most magical Saturday afternoon I’ve ever had.

This morning Baguette wanted to ride her tricycle, and let me tell you, helping a little girl in robot pajamas and pink owl rainboots steer around the block on a Radio Flyer trike? Makes for a pretty good Sunday morning, too.

Radio Flyer & Tricycle

Photo by mollypop, via Flickr. Creative Commons.

Three Day Weekend

Mr. Sandwich and I each have jobs that give us Veterans Day off, and Baguette’s day care is closed on Veterans Day, so we had a three-day weekend. One day per family member! Except Wicket. No extra day for Wicket. She’d just sleep through it, anyhow.

So what did we do with this glorious time?

We ran a lot of errands. Mr. Sandwich went on a bike ride. I took Baguette to her swim class, and we met Bestie and Family for lunch at McDonald’s (Hey, Mickey D’s, why no more Chicken Selects? They were the only thing I was really willing to eat there.). Wicket went to the groomer. I made two batches of chicken stock in the crock pot, as well as two loaves of pumpkin bread, minus the pumpkin (an oversight, but not a fatal one, it turns out).

Oh, and there was this.

Blood drive for Hurricane Sandy relief

Good luck, New Jersey. I wish there were more I could do.

Confidence and Communication

Backside My Fair Lady - In Stereo 1959

I’ve written a bit about Baguette’s school, and their concerns about how she interacts with her classmates. Here are some of our observations:

1) She does get wary around unfamiliar people and large groups.

2) She is overjoyed to play with Bestie, and she warms up quickly to unfamiliar children. Shoot, when we went to Santa Barbara, we’d get to a playground and the first thing she’d do was hug some little girl she’d never seen before.

3) She is not as articulate as her classmates. We knew this was the case with Bestie, but Bestie is a little older and has always been very verbal–the two of them really can’t be compared. Now, though, we’re seeing a difference between her and classmates who are several months younger.

4) Her vocabulary is booming. She repeats things we say, and things she hears from Sesame Street.

5) Her enunciation is not very clear at all.

The result of this is that she lacks confidence in large groups. So she talks up a storm at home, but is largely silent at school. And it’s getting in the way of her toilet training, because while she is telling people that she needs to go to the bathroom, she’s not doing it with words–and apparently her teachers are unable to recognize that.

We wanted to let her develop at her own pace, and gave her until 2-1/2. But it’s clear that the pace is too slow for her own satisfaction, and she’s getting frustrated by the discrepancy between her desire to communicate and her ability to do so.

So we’ve started to explore speech therapy. We have a referral from her doctor, but we couldn’t get an appointment until late January–by which time we’ll have changed insurance providers, making that referral useless. Plus, January. And there are programs available through the public school system, but she isn’t eligible to participate until she turns three.

The next option is a private program, for which we’d pay out of pocket. Not cheap, not cheap at all. But this is a Big Deal, and we save for Big Deal expenses.

We’re gearing up for intensive research. Because we want to give our daughter opportunities. Not the moon. Just the usual stuff. Like self-expression.

Photo by Piano Piano! via Flickr.

Can a Toddler Be an Introvert?


Recently, Baguette’s teachers asked to meet with us. Apparently she falls asleep throughout the day, and she doesn’t interact with children or her teachers the way they’re accustomed to seeing.

Her sleep is an issue, and we know that. And we’re working on it.

But apparently she’d often rather read a book with Bestie or by herself than trade toys with the other children. And she ignores her teacher when told that it’s time for a diaper change. (Which is strange, because at home she’s so cooperative about diaper changes. [/sarcasm])

What we see is that she holds back a little when first encountering someone–even Mr. Sandwich’s parents, who she sees regularly–but warms up when allowed to do so on her own terms. When Mr. Sandwich picks Baguette up from day care, she and Bestie want to dance and play and spin together. On playdates with one or two other children, she both plays with them and gets territorial with toys, just like they do.

And even in large groups in noisy settings, like birthday parties at indoor playgrounds, she has a great time running from the ball pit to the trampoline to the tiny basketball backboard. It’s not like she’s cowering in a corner. She’s just doing what makes her happy, without the need for constant companionship in her choices.

Also worth noting: when she moved from the toddler room to the two-year-old room, she went from a class of 8 to a class of more than 20, in a much larger setting (and by that I mean that I think our entire house might fit into her new classroom).

I know I’m on the cusp of introvert and extrovert. I can be very outgoing when I choose, but I also really, really like staying home with a book.

So when can we get a sense of whether Baguette leans toward the introverted side of the scale? Because her behavior doesn’t seem to require evaluation–I just think she leans toward smaller groups and smaller settings.

Don’t get me wrong. I do want to know about real problems, and I want to address them as soon as possible. But I don’t see “likes smaller groups” as a problem. It’s just a little different from what they’re used to seeing. And “different” isn’t a problem.

Photo by GenkiGenki, via Flickr.

Missing Out on Muffins

Cinnamon & sugar pumpkin mini muffins
This morning, from 7:30 to 9, Baguette’s school had an early Mother’s Day muffin breakfast for the children and their mothers. I wasn’t there, because I have to be at work at 8, with an hour-long commute beforehand.

The result is I missed out on spending a little more time with her, but it’s not all bad news. Her best friend (who may require a nickname on this blog at some point–but for now we’ll call her Bestie) was willing to share her own mother, so the three of them ate muffins together.

So I still get to know that Baguette dunks her muffins in apple juice.

Photo by isthisREALLYmylife?, via Flickr.