Tuesday, September 30, 2008

They Grow So Fast...

Last night Lena said her first full sentence: "I want my drink". Today, Oliver deliberately smiled at me, as opposed to the smiles that usually accompany his gas or spit up.

Why can't they stay little?

Friday, September 26, 2008


Today (well, yesterday) our bank, Washington Mutual, died. It was a good bank... so full of life and vigor. It will forever be remembered in my heart as the bank who was there for us at a time when all other banks (in Utah) just sucked.

Goodbye Wamu. You will be missed.

On the upside, hello JP Morgan Chase! We always wished you would make an appearance in Provo. Thank you for making the switch to your company a piece of cake!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Expensive Tastes

I'm a snob. I concede. I always have been. Let me explain:

My parents have always wanted the best for me, but in my younger days I really took that to heart. When we would go out to restaurants I instinctively would pick out the most expensive dish... not because it was the most expensive, mind you, but because I invariably thought it looked the best (and you would have to wonder why it was the most expensive if it wasn't the best, right?). To further illustrate my point, one of my Dad's favorite things to remind me and others of is how, from the age of about 3, when asked if I would like some water I would reply "Only if it's Perrier", or when asked if I wanted some grapes, "Only if they're seedless". Yup, I'm a snob alright. Even now, I can't abide by cheap knock-offs, and, even when shopping for shoes or clothes for my children, I seem to be irresistibly drawn to the most expensive items I can see.

I'm not sure if this is something that comes as a result of me being a snob or if it is something innate that contributes to me being a snob, but I also have a tendency to be incredibly dismissive to people I don't know. I don't mean to, it just happens. People usually think I don't like them, when really I am just socially inadequate.

But I digress. It seems I have passed expensive tastes on to my daughter. Today, while I was tending to Oliver, I noticed that it was unusually quiet on the Lena front. We found Lena rifling through my handbag, and chewing on something that was deep in her mouth. Chewing, I might add, with a very guilty look on her face, which is never a good sign. I was about to reprimand her for getting into my gum again, when I realized I hadn't put any in there. I was trying to figure out what other food she could have possibly found, and how long it had been in there, and if it was now stuck on other things like my sunglasses, when Lena opened her mouth to talk and out popped a little bit of green. Literally. The little punk was chewing on my cash!! She evidently had decided to bypass the seedless grapes and caviar and just eat the money straight - far more efficient.

Luckily we got to it (and took pictures) before she swallowed it. Just as well really - I know we are starving students and everything, but I didn't really want to have to resort to checking my kids diapers for our grocery money!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Gifted Child?

As a new second-time mother, I have found recently that I have developed a new pet-peeve: the doting parent that thinks their kid poops golden bricks. You know the ones... "My child has been holding her own head up since the day they were born", "Our pediatrician says our baby is unusually alert for his age" (apart from anything else, why do adults need pediatricians??), "Our baby started walking/crawling/sitting up at least three months before she was supposed to", "My child started reading at two", "My child knows sign language and can communicate everything she wants to me - and she is only 6 months old!". (From Evan: My child has retractable wings that pop out of its butt and it can fly!)

Ugh. Shut up already!

There was a poll that came out recently on Parenting.com that showed that 70% of parents think their child is in some way gifted. 'Gifted' has become incredibly overused in the parenting lexicon, especially when you consider that only as little as 2% of children deserve the label, according to the real experts. Even if we substitute 'above-average' for the word 'gifted' in that poll, more than half of those parents would statistically still be wrong.

Whats more, there is an increasingly abundant amount of research that suggests that the 'edu-tainment' tools (the flash-cards, the educational DVDs, the brain-building computer games, the baby sign-language stuff...) that are all the rage now have little to no effect on improving a child's intellectual ability. What they do, however, represent is a skillfully crafted marketing campaign designed to dig ever deeper into the pockets of well-meaning parents and intentionally spoiling grandparents.

OK, I admit it... with Lena I was totally insensitive to the pervasive talk of gifted children amongst parents. Heck, I was/am even guilty of it. But with Oliver, seeing how not-so-different he is compared to Lena at the same age, I am beginning to notice, and get irritated by, that whiff (stench?) of elitism.

I, personally, am convinced that the parental bragging that makes me want to vomit on a regular basis is a socially accepted form of narcissism. "My child is a genius. My child is my flesh and blood. I taught him everything he knows. Therefore, I am a genius. Look at me." Or to look at it another way, especially in light of our competitive and result-orientated society, "My child is superior to your child, therefore, I am superior to you". I call it the Transitive Superiority Parenting Complex. TSP for short.

In a similar way, with the number of times I have heard parents say that their child is in the 95th/96th/99th percentile for their height or weight, I am beginning to suspect that either the charts are woefully inaccurate, or all the physically above-average kids live in the Provo-Orem area. Although, I guess if I had been told that my beloved baby was only in the 25th percentile and was, therefore, a runty weed, I wouldn't want to brag about it either.

So, with all of that in mind, here are some pictures of my darling little boy holding up his head.

And he is only one month and one day old! He is so talented!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Beware of the Cat

Today our cat met a dog. And boy was it funny to watch! As some of you may know, when we got our cat about two years ago she was diagnosed with FeLV - basically kitty AIDS... compromised immune system, highly contagious (fortunately only for cats though), and associated with about 2-3 lives instead of nine. As such we were told that she was to be a home body and was not to come into contact with other cats. It was probably a good thing they told us that when she was a tiny cute kitten because we were very diligent in ensuring her safety. If they had have told us that later we might not have cared so much. Ok, at all.

All of this, of course, means that she has rarely come into contact with living things other than our family. (Our neighbors in SD had an outdoor cat that used to come and visit periodically. Kitty thought it was awesome to have a friend she could communicate with from her perch in our front window.) She lives a boring life, but she doesn't know any better, and she is such a chicken that even if she could go outside I don't think she would.

Our friend Justin visited us this morning with his daughter and his dog, Greta. Greta is a dashchund - a hunting dog - and from the moment she was in our apartment you could tell she was trying to sniff out our cat. She went to all of the cats favorite places to hide (behind the curtains, under the couch, in our linen closet) and eventually followed her nose right into our bedroom. All of us humans were in the kitchen when suddenly we saw Greta running from the bedroom into the living room with none other than our usually-sissy-pants cat close on her tail. She was hissing and spitting, fur on end, and arching her back, trying to make herself as big and as intimidating as possible (and succeeding since somehow she ended up taking up the whole hallway). We have never seen our cat so angry... even after Lena has been chasing her and pulling on her tail! It was hilarious! Greta tried to save face by barking a few times, but in her heart of hearts she knew her place... and it wasn't in our bedroom, or anywhere close.

So, we learned a few things: our cat doesn't like to be disturbed from her naps; she has no problem being territorial, as long as she is picking on something that she might hold a size advantage over; and we can't get a puppy until our cat dies/mysteriously disappears.

Tomorrow will probably be a different story, but today we love our guard kitty.