Lessons from Grace…

  1.  Love is a battlefied. I insisted that I would not have one of those obviously child-inhabited homes.  Grace would have her room, even a playroom…but the toys would stay there.  I did a pretty good job of keeping that promise for most of the first two years.  Besides furniture like baby swings and cribs, none of Grace’s toys had a “home” outside her rooms, they were allowed out for visits during the day but always went back at nap time and bed time and both her room and playroom were cleaned and organized on a nightly basis.  Nowadays the house looks like a minefield of miscellaneous toys and the sad, disembodied fragments of Mr. Potato Heads and I have even arranged her entire animal collection on the empty shelves of the bookcase.

    2.  Interior Design.  I am a minimalist, if it were up to me there would be no knick-knacks of any kind around the house. Tammy, on the other hand, is a bit of a pack-rat and much more sentimental than I am so we have a few trinkets around the house. Grace however, has her own unique style…call it “elephant chic.” Her elephants travel around the house, making temporary (from days to weeks) appearances as accent pieces. For a long time, the elephants were all lined up facing the phone because one day when Grace was playing with them near the phone, one of their tusks bumped a button on the machine and started replaying messages. Grace knew the elephant had triggered the talking machine, but she thought only the elephant was capable of this magic so she only pushed the buttons with the elephants. Perhaps in recognition of the special relationship between elephant and answering machine, the elephants — all five or six of them were placed on the nightstand in a neat half-moon facing the machine. Today they are living on the opposite nightstand, where they adorn the Time Capsule, modem, and alarm clock.


  2. There is such a thing as too many stuffed animals.  I never thought I’d say this, and I’m sure that Tammy is getting a deep sense of “I told you so” delight in reading this.  They’re everywhere.  

    4.There is no such thing as too many stuffed animals.  Of course this hasn’t stopped me from getting more, I got a polar bear, polar bear from Kohl’s last weekend (she didn’t have one!) and I fully expect that we’ll have to rent a U-Haul trailer to transport the swag we’ll get in Disneyland — (they’re precious memories!)

    5.The Dinner Dilemma.  There appears to be some twisted, sadistic relationship between the amount of time I spend on the meal and how much Grace ruins the dining experience.  She seems determined to break my culinary spirit and eating with her lately has been like having dinner with the love-child of Anthony Bourdain and Caillou. 

    6.Who is my enemy?  If you read me often enough you’ve got a sense of the people, or type of people that tend to peeve me…but there is no one, no one on this planet I hate more…than Caillou.  He’s evil.  I don’t care that he has alopecia, that’s no excuse for being such a huge whiner.  I used to like him, because Grace has always had the hots for him and she did learn a lot of vocabulary from him…but lately that “vocabulary” has been become pretty dominated by Caillou’s “no’s” and “I don’t want to’s.”  And then PBS went and changed the broadcast times so now I can’t avoid him because I never know when he’s going to show up.  I have only used the parental controls on my t.v. once, to block FoxNews….but now I think Caillou’s days are numbered.

    7.Never leave anything out, anywhere, nothing is safe.  Grace climbed over the gate to the kitchen and retrieved my wallet from the counter.  I didn’t realize this until I caught a glimpse of my ATM card on the floor next to a Mr. Potato Head ear.  The rest of the contents were on the couch.  Fortunately I retrieved everything before she realized that she could stick things behind the magnetic board in her playroom (which she discovered later in the day — we’ve already lost a picture behind it, I figure it will be like a “time capsule”…when we move someday and take the board off the wall all kinds of memories will tumble out of it.)

    8.New Food Groups:  chapstick and baby toothpaste.

    9.The diaper genie is a black hole that eats plastic Teletubbies…and shoes.

    10. When you go out to buy something for yourself, you will come home with three Disney videos and a board book.  And when you plan a date night for 6:00pm on Friday, they will vomit at 5:45.

    11. Children are wonderfully convenient excuses to buy toys for yourself. I don’t need to tell you how much Grace’s life would be enriched by a Wii…or that Hope would benefit greatly from a Wii Fit.  I think they should get one for Christmas.  Grace really loves Brother Bear, she should get a totem when we go to California Adventure.  Grace moves too fast for the old digital camera, if we ever want another picture of her, we’re going to have to get a new camera with better zoom.  Grace wants ice cream, we should go to Cold Stone.  Grace shouldn’t have to drag her bean bag all over the house, we should just have beanbags in every room of the house.  Jersey fabric furniture really isn’t best for kids, faux leather furniture could be wiped down with disinfectant…it’s much more sanitary.  I don’t want the kids listening to commercials in the car, we need satellite radio.  

    12.  What is that smell?  Seriously, what is it and where is it coming from?

    13.  Elmo is fine, but Grover is the greatest furry monster ever.

    14.  Someone really needs to make children’s Benadryl taste better, we’d use it much more often if it did.

    15.  What is awesome?  Balloons, ice cubes, ketchup, ranch dressing, butterflies, frogs, goldfish crackers, chocolate milk, mermaids, bubbles, the moon.

    16.  Sunglasses work just as well upside down as right side up you elitist snob. And toddler bed-head is fabulous so if you happen to see my child looking unkempt — it’s a deliberate style choice, I like the crazy baby look.  If you see me looking unkempt, it’s because I totally forgot I had hair this morning…or the brush is missing.

    17.  A bit about dogs: First–talking dogs rule!  Clifford – Martha ’08!  Second, if you’re dog won’t let you brush his teeth, rent yourself a two-year-old, let the kid use their toothbrush and toothpaste and remember that  dogs prefer to have toothbrushing action alternate between dog and toddler within the same brushing session.  Also, your dog is starving — don’t you ever feed that poor thing?  

    18.  The glass is always half-full.  For instance, yesterday we had a Born Free marathon.  We used to skip past the first scene where the man-eating lion kills a woman by a river (you don’t see it, there’s just suspenseful music, a shot of the lion charging, a shot of a woman screaming, and then a shot of blood in the water.)  Then one time Grace saw the film from the beginning and now she knows she’s being short-changed if we skip it.  So the movie starts (for the third or fourth time) and Grace comes running in to the kitchen…  “Mama! Mama! Mama!  The papa lion’s getting in trouble with the mom!”

    19.  Nap time is sacred.

    20.  Seriously, what is that smell?

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