Tuesday, August 30, 2011

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Proud Mommyhood Moment: Potty Success

Cati has increasingly been showing signs of readiness for potty training. She lets us know when she pees or poops, God forbid we try to use the bathroom without her, she understands the process of using the bathroom (she tries to shove toilet paper between my legs!), and if you tell her you are going to the bathroom she grabs her diaper, squats, and then grunts like she's pooping. If I sit her on the toilet, she pretends to push and then reaches over for toilet paper to wipe herself. With all this I thought it a good idea to get her a little toilet.
Yesterday was the first day with the toilet in the house. At first, Cati thought it was a toy and tried to climb in and on it. I positioned her toilet across from ours and repeatedly told her it was for "pee pee" and "poh poh." She would sit on it and do her grunting thing. I took it one step forward and let her roam around without her diaper. She repeatedly sat on the toilet but didn't do anything. Alex gave her a bath and after that he dried her and let her roam around naked while he got her pjs together. Then this happened:

Cati ran (she doesn't walk anywhere) to the bathroom, shut the door (too bad she doesn't respect our need for privacy), peed on her toilet, apparently wiped herself with her hand, and then went up to Alex to show him her wet hand. Seeing that her hand was wet, Alex smelled her hand and said, "her hand smells like pee." I jumped into action and went to the bathroom to check her toilet. Sure enough, there was pee on the toilet. Only a little made it into the actual bowl and the seat and outside of the toilet were wet, but the point is that sat on the toilet to pee.

I was so proud! I was smiling and praising Cati with words and kisses. I was so impressed that she actually got what the toilet seat was there for and was able to make the connection the same day we brought the toilet seat home. I was literally beaming and spent the rest of the night in a fantastic mood.

Then this morning, just for fun, I tried leaving Cati without a diaper. We went to the family room to have breakfast and Cati peed on herself. She was so confused! I kept telling her to tell me if she had to pee but she was so distracted by playing that I think she forgot about the toilet and didn't realize she didn't have a diaper on. We came upstairs (where our bathroom is) after that and I left her bottom naked until we got dressed for the day. As soon as she saw the toilet she went for it and even brought in a few toys to keep her company in the bathroom.

Then she did the next impressive thing: she pooped next to the toilet! I know it might seem silly to be impressed by that, but I have read that some kids have issues with pooping in the toilet so I took it as a good sign that she was at least able to poop next to the toilet.

My goal in buying the toilet was just getting Cati used to having it around. I had no expectations of her doing anything and approached this as a fun experiment. I refuse to push Cati to do something she's not developmentally ready for, but because she was showing signs I thought it was a good idea to get a toilet so that she could begin making the association. I was so happy and thrilled when she peed in the toilet by herself (mentally and physically) because it was validation: I am reading my daughter right! I do understand her!

I don't even care if she is potty trained now or in six months. She is the leader with this and everything will move at her pace. However, I will encourage her since she is so interested in the bathroom (just like I would encourage her with dance classes since she loves music and dancing so much) and I will continue praising her whenever she uses the toilet. At the end of the day, I'm just proud that I was able to read her cues effectively enough to lead her to a new place in development. Go me!

Update: I just checked the toilet and Cati peed in the actual bowl! She must have done it after I gave her a bath and let her roam around while I got her things together. (1) I feel bad because I didn't praise her and (2) I feel bad because she didn't wash her hands before going to sleep!

Monday, August 29, 2011

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This Week in Mommyhood

The big thing last week was Cati's babysitting experience. I think that pretty much summed up what last week meant and why it was such a big week in the growth and development of our family. The beginning of the  week was spent building up to Wednesday and the end of the week was spent reeling from Thursday. Those two nights away from the mommy routine made me really appreciate my time with Cati and she has gotten showered with even more love lately.

Here are the other fun developments from last week:

Dog lover. I don't think I could ever fully express Cati's love for dogs. She adores them. Her latest obsession is the little dog my mother-in-law bought her as a gift from the babysitter (our attempt at getting Cati to like the babysitter). This dog is literally by her side as long as we are by the house.IMG_9630

Slowest teether. I really do think my child is the slowest teether on the planet. She has four molars and one front-bottom tooth coming in and you can see them but they refuse to break through. I wish I could go into her mouth and massage them out but Cati won't let me.

Mimic Machine.
It's so interesting what words Cati will pick up. As a general statement she loves to mimic anything Alex says. As a result, she now says bye bye, woah, woo hoo, and yay.

Excuse Me. Manners are something that I am having fun teaching Cati. Who knew? Cati can't say excuse me but she covers her mouth as if to say "excuse me" after she burps. Seeing her do that makes it seem like the burp just escaped.

There is already one huge mommyhood development this week but I'll wait to share it tomorrow. I promise you it's a huge development!

Friday, August 26, 2011

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A Lesson in Adaptability

Why is it that we become so rigid as adults? So incapable of handling change? Sure, some of us are better at handling change, but I would think most of us struggle with change. As you know, I started school this week. I wasn't nervous about starting school but I was nervous about how starting school was going to change things for and with Cati. Would she resent me because I left her? Would she act out? Would she not eat? Would she spend the entire time with the babysitter crying? Would she have trouble falling asleep at night? Staying asleep?
The simple reality was that she adapted just fine. I was worried for nothing. It was me who had trouble with the change.

Wednesday was a trial day. My mother-in-law got out of work early and was the buffer. She was here and so was the babysitter and both of them watched Cati. I said goodbye and no one shed a tear. The babysitter fed Cati dinner, they all went for a walk, and then the babysitter left and my mother-in-law did the bedtime routine. I left that day, sad but not anxious because my mother-in-law was here. Even then, I left the house with a packed dinner and one of Cati's forks instead of an adult fork.
Thursday was the real test. That was the day it was just Cati and the babysitter. For the first time ever, Cati would be left with someone who was not family or a close friend. I said my goodbyes and all emotional hell broke lose. Cati cried and called out mama multiple times. I heard her cry mama when I closed the door to the house and walked to my car. I also cried on that walk to the car and I had to give myself an imaginary slap and a pep talk to knock me out of my downward spiral. Who shows up to their first class with red, puffy eyes? Especially a class about counseling and the importance of speaking about things that are bothering you?

Strangely enough, I wasn't even worried about her being alone with the babysitter, I was more guilt-ridden because I was the source of her pain. Go figure. All this time I was worried about her being with a stranger and the reality was that I was more affected by Cati being sad because of ME.

Anyway, I get to class and spend the first half of the class looking at my phone and wishing time to speed up so I could call home and check up on Cati. I call home and find out that Cati not only ate all her dinner, but also didn't spend too much time crying after I left. In fact, I think I cried longer than she did! Cati had a fun time with the babysitter and adjusted just fine. It took her all of five minutes to adapt to not having me around. It took me two hours to adapt to not being around. After that phone call, a weight was lifted and I went back into class ready and willing to give it my 100%.

So the moral of the story is that I just don't give Cati enough credit. I don't give her secure attachment to me enough credit. I will never, ever leave her and I would never, ever leave her in bad hands. She knows this much better than I think she does. She knows this better than I know it myself.

Now the next moment for adaptation is Cati starting school. I know she will be fine and I hope I will be too. Alex is convinced I will be a sobbing mess that first day. I hope I learned enough this week to prevent that from happening. Although starting school comes with a different set of emotions: when did my baby get old enough for preschool?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

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Cookies 'n Cream Ice Cream

Oreo Ice Cream
Today is my first class. I'm feeling a mixture of excitement, nervousness, and dread. Dread mostly because Cati doesn't want to nap today and I'm afraid that's going to sap all my energy and make me a blob of a person in the classroom. Not what I want for a first impression!

To celebrate going back to school and to give me a little sugar pick-me-up before I leave, I present you with this lovely recipe for Cookies n Cream Ice Cream. I love making ice cream from scratch, but my complaint is always the same: it's too sweet. On it's own, the vanilla ice cream was too sweet for me, but, surprisingly enough, once the Oreos where mixed in the ice cream tasted less sweet. I also always feel like I'm cheating on my favorite store-bought ice cream when I make ice cream at home. Anyone else feel that way?

The next time I make this ice cream I will be reducing the sugar. I also won't cut the Oreos into as small of chunks as I did because the 3 minutes in the maker were enough to literally crush the cookies to little bits. 

Cookies 'n Cream Ice Cream
Source: Sweet Tooth who adapted from Baked Bree

1-1/2 cups whole milk
1-1/8 cups sugar
3 cups heavy cream
1 tbsp vanilla
15 Oreos, crushed

Make sure your ice cream maker is in the freezer for at least 24 hours before starting this recipe.

Stir the milk and sugar together in a medium-sized bowl until the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Mix in the cream and vanilla. Pour the mixture into the ice cream machine and let it run for the manufacturer's recommended time. Add the oreos in about 3 minutes before the time is up.

Put the ice cream in the freezer to firm up completely.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

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52 {Books} in 52: Tuck Everlasting

Oh yikes. I am behind on my book goal. I'm halfway to my 52-books-in-2011 goal, I'm behind on writing about the books I've read on here, and I don't know if it's possible to read 26 more books in four months with me starting the student thing this week. What do you think?

Anyway, in between reading books I check out from the library I'm trying to read the books I currently own. There are close to 40 books that I have bought at one point or another or inherited with the intention to read. The first book on that list was Tuck Everlasting by Nadine Babbitt. I didn't really know what the book was about prior to reading it but I was curious as to it being considered a children's story. Is this a book Cati will have to read one day?

The book is meant for older kids (9-12 according to Amazon) and it's the story of ten-year-old Winnie and her introduction to the fountain-of-youth-drinking Tuck family. Winnie's meeting of the family is happenstance but that chance encounter leads to very serious events: a kidnapping, a murder, and a prison break. In between it all you see Winnie mature from a sheltered little girl afraid to leave the confines of her home to a girl willing to risk her life for strangers because she understands the pros and cons to immortality. The book ends with the revelation of Winnie's choice: does she choose to live a regular life or an immortal one?

Some of the issues did seem a little too adult for a children's book, but then again that may just be a reflection of my discomfort in the prospect of talking about death with children and my inability to conceive what 12 year-old Cati understands and thinks about the world. Regardless, the book is good and sweet and the thought of having deep conversations about life with Cati excites me.

Here's what I've read for my 52 {Books} in 52 challenge:

1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
2. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
3. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
4. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
5. Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace by Ayelet Waldman
6. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
7. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
8.  Misery Loves Cabernet by Kim Gruenenfelder
9.  The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
10. Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler
11. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
12. Best Day of Someone Else's Life by Kerry Reichs
13. The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson
14. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Steig Larsson
15. Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
16. The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf
17. Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson
18. Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang by Chelsea Handler
19.  The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
20.  Bossypants by Tina Fey
21. Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris
22. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

Sunday, August 21, 2011

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This Week in Mommyhood

Cati had her 18-month appointment this week and she is "growing by the book" according to her doctor. She is currently 24 lbs and 32" tall. The weight was one of the things I was concerned about because she hadn't been eating much with all the teething, but the doctor reassured me by telling me she is growing fine and that I should continue doing what I have been doing.

The way feeding looks around here has changed quite a bit since Cati hit 15 months. She started refusing vegetables and mealtime turned into a battle. I gave up on the high chair and I stopped pushing foods on her. If she didn't want vegetables then I didn't give them to her. If she didn't want meat or chicken then she didn't have to eat them. I started setting up little bowls with different foods and I let her feed herself what she wanted when she wanted. It was hard adjusting to this because she was such a good eater and I had more control over what and how much she ate. Parenthood is all about losing control and ever since I cut us both some slack, mealtime has been much more enjoyable. While I wanted Cati to have a well-rounded diet, my goal always was to have her eat what we eat and ever since I eased up Cati has been doing just that. Today, for example, we had burgers for lunch and tacos for dinner and Cati ate what we ate. She'll come to like things the older she gets or she'll like things we hate, like the olives she had with dinner yesterday. I don't want her to have bad memories of us forcing food on her and I would prefer her to have a positive relationship with food and openness to new foods and she won't have that if mealtimes are always a battle where her voice is drowned out because we are making her eat things she doesn't like.

Here are the fun developments from this week:

Thank You, Unprompted. The girl is finally getting manners! I always say "gracias" whenever Cati gets something and sometimes she'll actually repeat it back, but this week she actually started saying it all by herself. Now, if only she could be consistent!

Changing Tastebuds. How many of you have tried polyvisol? I personally think that stuff is disgusting. Cati used to think it was disgusting too and she would gag every time I gave it to her. Somewhere along the line though, that changed and now she loves the stuff. She will actually go to the kitchen, say "ahm ahm" and point until I give it to her. Then she'll get mad when I don't give her anymore.

Big Girl Sleeper. This has been, by far, the most impressive thing that's happened this week: Cati will ask to be put in her crib when she's tired and ready to sleep. I thought it was a fluke the first time she did it because I couldn't believe she'd actually want to go in her crib to nap, but when I put her in her crib after she went up to her crib and pointed inside, she fell asleep without any fussing. Toward the end of the bedtime routine she'll start asking for her "wau wau" (her lovey bunny) because she's ready to go to sleep. It's so amazing. For as much as I want to call her my baby, she's not a baby anymore and little things like this are reminders of how much she is growing.

I start school this week, Cati gets to meet a new babysitter, and Alex starts a new rotation. Here's hoping for success on all fronts as our family adjusts to a new routine and a new normal.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

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This Is Not A Mistake

I have been repeating those words to myself all night. The source of my doubts and the need for the repetition of that mantra is fear. Fear and a sense of helplessness and a smidgen of anger.

I start school next week. I was so excited about starting this new journey, about focusing on myself, and feeling like there is more of me to give beyond my mothering role. I wasn't nervous about spending two nights away from Cati. The truth is I was looking forward to it; two nights a week without the delicate dance of feeding a finicky eater dinner, without giving baths, and without putting a baby to sleep. I could literally feel the old me creep back into my bones. I was nervous about opening up my home and giving the precious task of caring for my child to someone who will, initially, be a complete stranger to our family. As morbid as it sounds, I wasn't even worried about what a sitter and Cati would do in their time together, I was more worried about a sitter doing something horrible to my child. Obviously, that's what recommendations and referrals are for, but I feel like nowadays you just don't know and you have to operate on a healthy serving of faith.

Initially my plan was to have a sitter fill the gap between me leaving for school and Alex or my mother-in-law getting to the house. With that plan, it would be either dada or Abuela doing the bedtime stuff. I was comfortable with that. Then it was pointed out that there would be nights when dada or Abuela wouldn't be able to do the bedtime stuff because either Alex would be on call or get home too late or it would be Abuela's busy time at work and she would also have to work late. That is the moment I lost it. Cue sobbing and the resulting red and puffy eyes. Something about the bedtime routine is so intimate to me; it's something only those who truly love Cati should be allowed to do. It just seems weird to have an outsider do it.

On top of that, it's the unpredictability that gets me. Abuela is predictable with her work schedule; Alex is not. Every day is different for him and every rotation is different for him. I'm already dreading the rotation where he works nights. How do you tell someone they might have to put your kid to sleep because you don't know if your husband is going to make it home at a decent hour? Or would it just be easier to say, "Hey, I need you to stay until I get out of class tonight so do you mind keeping what will certainly be a cranky child up past her bedtime so that I can put her to sleep when I get home?"

This leads to a bigger issue for me: not being able to count on Alex. Yes, his job has given me the wonderful opportunity of staying home with Cati for the past 18 months of her life, but his job has also taken a lot. It's not an even trade. His job rules him, he doesn't rule it. It's not so much the hospital itself, but the nature of his program. You have sick days but you don't use them. You don't ask to leave early. You don't ask to come in late. God forbid you do any of these because if you do, you will be the laughing stock of the entire program: "Did you hear so-and-so called in sick? He can't handle it! Ha ha!" The only time off you are allowed is your designated vacation and, even then, you can't really disconnect. You have dictations to catch up on, online lectures to view, text messages to respond to, the list goes on.

Then comes the inevitable, "but you knew what you were getting into." Did I? Single Me knew what I was getting into. Mother Me had no clue because there was no way I could understand the cocktail of emotions that come with motherhood and loving another person with the very essence of your being. I could handle the schedule, the unpredictability before Cati was around because it was just me I had to worry about. Once Cati arrived the game changed. I needed, wanted, and wished for Alex's presence. I grew to resent his job. Ask Alex how many times I've refused to go to work-related events on the grounds of "they have you enough, why should you give them more of your time?" and he'll tell you he's lost count. My expectation was that the demands on him would lessen just a bit because he added "father" to the list. The reality is that the demands on him stayed the same because it doesn't matter what you have going on outside the hospital walls; it was just my disappointment that things stayed the same that grew. The reality that he would never be able to take Cati to the doctor if something came up or that he would never be part of a PTA hit. I would always and forever be the "available" parent; the one who would drop whatever she had for her kids' sake. That's how the equation of parenthood worked out for us. Most days that's fine by me because I really do appreciate how things have worked out for us, but on days like today where I am doubting going back to school, even if it is just for a couple of hours, I hate feeling angry at him for something like his career; the career that has been generous enough to bring us back to Miami, allow me to stay at home with our daughter, and allow me to take my time figuring out "what I want to do when I grow up."

I feel angry at myself for being angry and sad at the fact that, at this precise moment, there is nothing Alex can say to comfort me. I'm angry at myself for feeling selfish about going back to school and wanting more out of life than just being a mother. Angry at myself for being afraid of something that might not even be an issue. Mostly, I am angry at myself for being a ball of contradictions: I want to go back to school to feel accomplished as a person but at the same time I'm scared of failing Cati as the "available parent" because I can't be there for her while I'm at school.

I know everything will work out. I know that once I get used to having a new person caring for Cati and once I see how comfortable Cati is with this new person, all my fears will melt away. Giving Cati a bath and putting her to bed will seem natural and like what it's meant to be: an extension of their time together; time that allows me to go back to school so that I can feel like a better person which will help me feel like a better mother. It's just the fear of the unknown and the prospect of change that makes the steady unsteady.

This is a moment to learn from. How can I teach Cati that fear should never be a reason for not acting if it's fear that's making me second guess an act that will lead to better things for our family? See? More contradiction! I need to be an example and teach her that there will always be fear and it should be faced instead of avoided. I bet a month from now I will look back and laugh at my foolishness and 15 years from now when Cati is old enough to get things, she'll be proud that her mom acknowledged her fear, voiced it, and didn't let it stop her from moving forward. And if she doesn't get it then, then she will get it if and when she has children of her own. 

So after all that, I repeat for one final time going back to school is not a mistake. Being scared is the only mistake here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

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Cookie Carnival: Sweet Banana Peanut Butter Cookies

Sweet Banana Peanut Butter Cookies
Today my oven was happy with me. Today Cati put on my oven gloves, touched the oven, and said "ahmm ahmm ahmm." Today I went back to my baking basics and baked cookies. I baked cookies that I knew would be crowd pleasers in my house because Alex loves peanut butter cookies and I love every combination of peanut butter and bananas.
Sweet Banana Peanut Butter Cookies
The cookies themselves were soft and chewy and had such a beautiful golden color. Cati and I munched on a couple of cookies before I got to filling them. For the filling, I kept everything the same except changing the ingredients to 1 banana, 1/4 cup cream cheese, and 1/4 cup peanut butter. I did this because I only wanted to fill half of the cookies but I actually had enough filling for nine out of the 12 cookies. You can't even taste the rum in the filling and once you eat the whole cookie sandwich, all you taste is the deliciousness of that banana-peanut butter combination.

As a random side note, we got Cati's backpack a few days ago and it is the cutest thing ever (Pottery Barn clearance, woo hoo!)! She wants absolutely nothing to do with it but I hope she grows to like it because I am dying to get a picture of her carrying it. I'm actually really excited about her starting school and meanwhile Alex is shedding tears. Ironic, huh?

For more on baking with Cookie Carnival head over to our lovely host's blog, Tami's Kitchen Table Talk.

Sweet Banana Peanut Butter Cookies
Source: Anna Olson on Food Network
Yields 12 cookie sandwiches

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoons golden brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon rum
pinch cinnamon
2 bananas, sliced
1/2 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

For cookies, preheat oven to 350° F. Cream together butter and sugars until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Stir in peanut butter. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Add to peanut butter mixture and blend in. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet and crisscross mark them with a floured fork. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, until cookies just start to colour around the edges.

For filling, in sauté pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add sugars and increase heat to medium-high. Stir until melted and bubbling. Add rum (watch out for flames). Add cinnamon. Stir in bananas to coat, set aside.

Cream together cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth. Mash bananas and add to cream cheese mixture until smooth. Chill for 20 minutes.

To assemble, fill between 2 peanut butter cookies to make sandwiches. Repeat with remaining cookies.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

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These Weeks In Mommyhood

First of all, happy 18 months Cati! I can't believe my baby girl is a year and a half already. Time sure has flown by and each day Cati looks more and more like a little girl and less and less like a baby. I can't believe that tomorrow we will wake up and be officially closer to two than one.

Just when things were starting to feel better around here, things kind of got worse. At first, Cati got a cold. She was all congestion and runny nose. That went away but came back a few days later mixed in with fever. A wrestled check of her mouth revealed two molars coming in and a possible third tooth showing up next to her bottom two teeth. I think her "colds" were really related to teething. Either way, what I've had on my hands the past two weeks is one temperamental and sensitive toddler. On top of it all, Cati has cut down her midday naps to an hour if I'm lucky. So not only is she a temperamental, sensitive teething baby but she is also a temperamental, sensitive, tired teething baby. I'm trying to be as nurturing and comforting as possible but I'm tired too; Alex has been on home call which is more of a curse than a blessing because his pager goes off multiple times every single night and it takes me at least an hour to get back to sleep after all is said and done. I want these teeth to finally break through so I can have my happy baby back and I want one night of really good, uninterrupted sleep.

Here are the other fun developments from the past two weeks:

Little Elephant. Alex taught Cati all about elephants on his week off. Cati now knows to put her hand to her mouth like the elephant's trunk and to make a blowing noise. It's so cute. Even cuter is when she puts her hand up to our mouths so that we can be the elephants.

Sock Hater. Cati knows what she likes and she will make sure we know it too. Right now she does not like socks when she goes to sleep at night. If we put socks on her she will take them off, throw them out of her crib, and then go to sleep.

Beep Beep. A few weeks back I joked with Alex that Cati would respond with "beep beep" like a pager when I asked her what daddy sounded like. This week she did just that. Almost. Alex was in another part of the house when his pager went off. Hearing the "beep beep" Cati immediately said "dada." I thought it was funny while Alex thought it was sad that his daughter was probably the only toddler familiar enough with the sound of a pager to associate it with her father.

Hugs For All. This is the flipside to all the crankiness: Cati now gives hugs spontaneously and on demand. My favorite is when she hugs me and then plants a sweet kiss on my lips.

Here's hoping for a happier and more rested baby this week.

Friday, August 5, 2011

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Random Friday Night Thoughts

My posting has been so bad. I apologize for that. There are a million excuses and none of them are good enough because the simple reality is that blogging has moved to the bottom spot in the list of things I need to do to keep life moving forward. As it is, I am able to write now because I have a boost of energy that comes compliments of Alex being on vacation and us switching off on caring for Cati earlier today. Did you know that napping feels extra good when you don't have a toddler waking you up?

Anyway, here are my random Friday thoughts to make us all feel like I don't only ever talk about Cati:

The Hunger Games! I've never been as fanatical about books as I am about The Hunger Games series. I think everyone should read them starting yesterday. I can't wait for the movie to come out next year and I am sucking up all the pictures from the set like it's the only thing I know how to do. I wore my mockingjay shirt this week and someone knew exactly what it meant and it made my day.

Movies. I've taken a little break from reading books because my brain hurts too much at the end of the day. Instead, I've been watching the most hilariously entertaining movies. I saw "Easy A" and "Friends with Benefits" this week and both movies are fantastic. I have a big girl crush on Emma Stone now and I get nonstop giggles when I think of Woody Harrelson's character in "Friends with Benefits" (extra perk: he's also Haymitch in The Hunger Games!).

Choco Taco. Have you ever had this ice cream treat? If I could do a cartwheel I think I would have done one at the store today when a box of those suckers was buy one get one free.

The Nonexistence of a Kitchen. The kitchen has become the place where you get food but not the place where I make it. The only person in this house who is guaranteed a cooked meal made by me is Cati. Lucky girl. I'm in a cooking and baking funk and I just don't feel inspired. How sucky.

Leaks. Did you know that leaks have a mind of their own? I swear the leak gods have a special place in their hearts for our house because we are always battling some kind of leak. Last week it was the roof and this week it's the bathroom. I wish I had magical powers so that I could make it stop leaking. That or a plumber that comes when he says he's coming.

Yes, Teacher. Home-girl here is going back to school! I am finally registered and I am so looking forward to going back to school and feeling that sensation of being accomplished at something other than mommyhood (although to be honest, I'm kind of failing at that with the hitting that doesn't stop). I feel like the biggest dork feeling excited about carrying around my big, bulky backpack again.

It's Not You Miami, It's Me. Remember how excited I was about moving back to Miami? About being close to family and friends? Well, the honeymoon period is over. Alex has been in a I-Hate-Miami funk for the longest time and it finally hit me. What we were both in love with was the idea of what Miami used to be for us. The reality of what Miami has been for us is so different. I used to consider myself a proud Miami girl but I realized that the four years in Boston really changed me. That or what my new friend Jeannette said is true: you only get the best of the best out of people when you live far away because the time you do get with one another is so limited that you don't want to waste it with the bad. We've only been back two years but it feels like so much longer because it's been a very jam packed and emotionally charged two years.

Speaking of Boston...I cannot wait to go back in September for my friend's wedding! It's going to be so weird going back as a visitor. It's also going to be weird going without Cati. I'm looking forward to sleeping in and staying out late! Oh and not having to share my meals with another person!

True Blood. Do any of you watch? What do you think of this season? I've read all the books so my opinion of this season is based on the books, but it just seems like things are moving so slow and it's so disjointed. Also, Sookie and Eric hooking up is kind of disappointing; I just don't feel the passion. And while it's neither here nor there, I am disappointed that Alcide isn't getting rid of his clothes more often.

I think that's all that's going on in my head tonight that is not baby-related. Writing this post felt good because it reminded me that my brain is capable of doing more than being fine tuned to Cati's station. I hope you all have a great weekend!

Monday, August 1, 2011

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This Week in Mommyhood

I'm so glad last week is over, but at the same time I can't get over the fact that it is now August and I'm two weeks shy of having an 18-month old! When does the growing stop?? I'm just kidding; I love the growing because each day brings me a new aspect of Cati's personality to appreciate. Despite all that's going on in the world and all the sadness in it, she is my reminder to stay present and to enjoy the moment. For being as small as she is and not understanding the complexities of being a person, she also has the ability to remind me of the bigger picture and that, at the end of the day, I'm ok with failing at everything else in my life as long as I don't fail her as a mother.

Here are the fund developments from this past week:

Animal Lover.  Cati loves animals. She really, truly adores them. She doesn't pay attention to us when we try to teach her new words, but, oh boy, does she pay attention to us when we are introducing her to a new animal and the noise it makes.  Last week she learned what a seal was, what noise it makes, and even how a seal claps its flippers together. She is a walking animal house and I love to test her on them. (I'm so mad at myself for forgetting to ask her about the pig! I love hearing her snort!)

Harmonica Player. Cati's aunt-grandmother (grandfather's sister) gave her a harmonica a few weeks back. Cati didn't really get it until this past week and now instead of handing me the harmonica to make music, she takes it and blows into it until a noise comes out. I wish I could bottle up that face of satisfaction she makes because it warms my heart.

Bathing Baby. In general, Cati is becoming more and more active with the everyday things that are done to her. She helps when I'm dressing her and last week she started helping with bathtime. If you give her a cup she will pour water on herself and, if you ask her, she will even pour water on her head!

Two Words? I think Cati may be starting to put words together. She is a little babbler and says words I understand in the middle of words I don't but when she says words I do understand they sound like an unrelated group of words. Kind of like the day she woke up from her nap and said, "wau wau, dada, ball!" Last week, however, she started saying something that sounded like "mama no" or "mama look" or "mama knee." I don't know what she's saying but she's definitely talking to me about something.

Perla Love. Cati is very obviously obsessed with Perla. God forbid, we are anywhere in the house without Perla because Cati will flip out. She's recently got into trying to pick up Perla. Perla hates it but Cati thinks it's the funnest thing.

Another week is gone and another week to look forward to. Here's hoping for another week of surviving mommyhood while surviving life in general.