Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My three cents…

I’ve been reading a lot of blogs and e-mails these past few weeks and months about the election, the economy, the war and other less volatile subjects (like cute kids and puppies.)

Anyway, it seems to me that there are so many people out there who write brilliant things, that there is really nothing I could say would matter. But I want to say something. So here goes.

I don’t hear too many people talking about how our current president has failed us. He has failed us. I could have predicted this 8 years ago. But I didn’t have a blog then.

If Sarah P*lin were a man named Steve P*lin and he were a 44 year old with her exact same set of circumstances (including limited executive experience, banned from talking to the media and zero foreign policy experience) I think there would still be calls for him to step down. The person is just a weak candidate period.

Everyone is mad at Wall Street, but I’m pretty ticked at the predatory lenders—hucksters who convinced people it would be perfectly fine to buy that big house. Imagine the billions of dollars of profits that were reaped by those real estate professionals from closing costs alone? Are people just gullible? I think wishful.

Were they stupid to believe they could simply refinance that ARM balloon payment before the fifth year of their mortgage? I think they were dreamers and in retrospect would have been better off going with that offer to buy the Brooklyn Bridge. Yes, the buyers have responsibility for what they did and what they signed. But there were some seriously greedy people behind what we see today.

My final thought? The Republican presidential nominee couldn’t run a laundromat.

Can I say that?

Monday, September 29, 2008


So I called to set up a doctor’s appointment for our little guy. When he’s 18 months old he’ll need another check up and I needed to get on our pediatrician’s calendar.

The receptionist I spoke to couldn’t find his record. I repeated his name and birth date and she was still stumped. So she repeated back to me what I’d told her twice already.

Suddenly I felt so stupid. Of course she couldn’t find him. Remember how when I legally adopted him 10 months ago we changed his last name to mine? Apparently I forgot that and twice called him by Su's last name which he'd had at birth.

Poor little Donny. I hope he’s sweet to me when the rest of the brain cells fade away. -Monica

Friday, September 26, 2008

Oh gosh..we're stepping on cracks!

Danny and his buddy Bailey contemplate what this could mean for any one of their moms ;-)

P.S. Do you think they called each other before this play date to see what the other one was going to wear?


Wanna know what can scare the bujezus out of you? When a transformer with three cylinders like the one shown here blows. Like the one 30 feet from our house did last night at around 8:45.

One neighbor later said that it sounded like a bomb had gone off. Su and I were watching TV in the basement and both the sound and the vibration we felt made us both jump up. The power went out in the same instant as the boom and as we raced upstairs I thought I saw lightening lighting up our neighbor's back yard. Turned out that a hot wire had fallen down and set his car on fire. The tires were burning (although we didn't know that until later when we saw the smoke). We of course immediately called 911.

There was no lightening--we still don't know what caused this. We grabbed Danny and went across the street to a neighbor's house (who had kindly shown up at our door with an umbrella telling us to come with her--thanks Taj.) But even after the fire department came the small explosions continued spewing more sparks. They got the car fire out and gave the all clear. As we got to our front porch, it blew again. That was enough for us. We called friends who live about 1/2 mile away and stayed with them last night. They didn't have power either, but the possibility of fire seemed much less there.

This morning I saw the burned wheels on our neighbor's car. There were about 5 wires down in the alley that Pepco is coming to take care of. They couldn't possibly be live still right? I didn't try to touch them to find out.

So how did our young son handle being whisked out of his crib in the dark of night? Very calmly. Susanne was very calm. Me? I was umm...less calm. Two out of three ain't bad right? -Monica

Thursday, September 25, 2008


When a friend e-mailed me yesterday that John McCain was “suspending” his campaign I had a moment of joy where I thought it was like when Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee “suspended” theirs. That was the word they both used—suspended--when they packed up their bags and bowed out. For one sweet magical moment I imagined that Obama would just win by default or something.

But that was wishful thinking. McCain’s not quitting, he just wants a time out. Well guess what Senator McCain? You don’t get time outs when you run for the highest office in the land. It’s not like a football game. But I guess you thought it was, and because of your fear of getting decimated in the debate, you tried to call an audible. It's made you look more "muddled" than "maverick" at least to me.

This all being said, I wouldn’t mind putting him in a time out on the steps of the Capitol right about now. What’s the rule? One minute for each year of age?


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

That kind of mom...

The other day I let Danny eat some of my cake and as he was making a fine mess of himself, a friend said to me "oh, you're a Montessori mom." Since I wasn't quite sure what she meant, I looked it up and learned that:

"Montessori emphasizes learning through all five senses, not just through listening, watching, or reading."
Oh. Then I guess I am a Montessori mom. Last night while Danny was eating supper I gave him a whole juicy plum and he delighted in gnawing it while spinning it around in both hands, and basically ended the meal covered from head to toe with sticky fruit. We both thought it was great fun. (Yes, right into the bathtub he went.)

Susanne? She's not so much a Montessori mom. As I understand it, the whole experiential thing seems a bit, well, messy.

So what's the opposite of a Montessori mom? Inquiring minds want to know. ;-)


Monday, September 22, 2008

Doth sayeth me...

I think many of our dear readers already know this lovely quote on motherhood…

Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~Elizabeth Stone

So lovely and so true. But, if I may now amend it just a little…

Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your wallet go walking around outside of your purse. ~Monica

I thought of this the other day when we had to send a check for $15.00 to our pediatrician’s office so they could fill out a form with Danny’s vaccination records. Had to be signed by the doc too or we’d have done it ourselves.

But at least for now the little guy is still totally worth it ;-)


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Chopped Liver

Our friend Jenni wrote a funny post a week or so ago about how little Oscar now only has eyes for his dad. She titled the post "Daddy Worship", and I think she really hit the nail on the head about how sucky it is to experience, (I'll paraphrase for her here):

"her baby, who once lived for her, breathed for her, was nourished by her, took his very life blood from her, now forsake her for his dad."

Well, as you may recall, Danny's got two moms so we should not have this same situations. Well...
I'm no dad, but let's just say that Danny has been engaging in a similar form or worship called "Mommy love!"

As in me. Monica. Mommy. NOT mama. At first I thought Susanne was imagining things. "He does not favor me, are you kidding?" But you know what? He not only sort of does, he totally does (for now at least.)

Yesterday she left to catch a bus to work while Danny and I were still home and I swear to you if he could have talked he would have said "see ya". Short and snappy like that.

But when I left first this morning you would have thought that the stock market had crashed or something. Crocodile tears of the highest magnitude. Hmmm...maybe my stock market analogy is too close to home.

I'm sure this will pass, but that doesn't make it any more fun for Susanne. Sure, a part of me loves that he wants me all the time. But Bubby, come on now. She's not chopped liver you know. -M

P.S. By the way, I know that my time will come. Kids.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"You're too little"

I thought it twice. "You're too little". "You're too little". Then I said it out loud before my brain kicked in and I slammed on the brakes and pulled over to the shoulder.

As I jumped out, someone in a gold car who was surprised by my sudden stop leaned on the horn glaring at me. I didn't care. I didn't care that I'd left my bag in the front seat. Danny was already at Jenni's so I didn't have to worry about leaving him alone but I think I would have. You see, I didn't care about anything else in that moment, except for the fact that a little boy who looked to be about two years old was in serious danger of being hit by a car.

The road that we take to drive back and forth from Jenni's is very busy. Two lanes of traffic in one direction, a median, and then two lanes going in the opposite direction. The speed limit is probably 35 but most people go faster.

The little boy was holding a broom and was on the street, on the shoulder where cars sometimes park, but not yet in front of the oncoming traffic. He was wearing a red shirt and blue shorts and had dark hair. There was no adult in sight, and I remember he was just sort of watching the cars whiz on by while swinging the broom around.

This story has a happy ending. By the time I'd taken two steps back toward him I saw a woman racing down from one of the houses and she grabbed him in a tight hug. I can't imagine how she must have felt when she realized he was there. One car had stopped right were the boy was, and put on hazard lights. Thank God he hadn't darted out past it. You know how impatient drivers seem to get ticked off and zoom around cars that stop for reasons they can't understand.

I hadn't gotten very far but I was glad I stopped. And yes I cried. I wish I'd stopped sooner. Wished my brain had reacted to the first thought I had that this boy was too little to be out there all by himself. But mostly I'm just grateful that he's okay. So very grateful. -Monica

And they called it trucky love...

When Danny's at Jenni's house most days of the week he and little Oscar have several fun ride on toys that they scoot around on. But we didn't have any, and hadn't really thought about getting one. Until this weekend that is. In the first picture above Danny looked pretty pitiful trying to ride his little toy dump truck.

Wanting to put him out of his misery but not wanting to practice conspicuous consumerism, we stopped first at a local thrift store in search of something a little bigger and well, movable. The pickings were pretty slim that particular day so we headed to Target. As you can see, Danny approves very much of his new front loader.

This boy is seriously into trucks. Any drive now involves multiple announcements that a truck or bus is in the vicinity. The announcement goes something like this..."uck, uck" while pointing gleefully and wildly out the window. I gotta tell you, I never noticed so many trucks out there in my whole life. Or balloons or flags now that I think of it...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Awe done!

I bet you thought this meant “all done!” Such as in, “all finished” or “all set” right?

Not to Danny. We’ve been working on getting him to let us know that he's done eating in ways other than furtively (or so he thinks) tossing his food off the side of the table.

So lately when asked “all done?” he “says” something that might be construed as “all done”.

But apparently to him it means “quick, hurry up and shove more food in my mouth before they take it away!”

This boy can bring a smile to even the crabbiest mom. And that's a good thing. -Monica

Monday, September 15, 2008

Rainy Days and Mondays

On a scale of 1-10, I'd have to say that today I feel like a -2.

But Danny is actually back to his normal happy self after not feeling well for a few days last week. So I guess I'll amend my assessment above to say that I feel like a -1.

Some days are better than others. -Monica

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Little Boy Blue

A week ago Danny had his 15 month check up and got his scheduled MMR (that's measles, mumps and rubella) shot. The doctor warned that some kids get sick about 7-10 days after the shot. I filed that away for future reference.

Then two nights ago while giving Danny his bath, he reached for a razor that was near the shampoo (we feel terrible about that) and before I could get it out of his hand he'd hurt his thumb. You know how paper cuts can really sting? He got a little slice right in the bend of his left thumb. The thumb he sucks on to go to sleep at night. His self-soothing "drug" of choice.

Poor baby! It didn't bleed a lot, but it definitely bled. Su and I got a band aid on it which seemed to make our poor baby feel better (he stopped crying at least) but he was completely baffled by why his favorite thumb wouldn't bend. And he didn't like that one bit. When I put him to bed an hour or so later I decided to remove the bandage because I'd read they can be choking hazards. He sucked on it and cried himself to sleep. Which made me feel like crying myself to sleep.

It seemed to be better by the morning so with another band aid in place we sent him along to Jenni's. But the poor boy was not himself. She called early in the afternoon explaining how unusually cranky he was, and how he'd sat on the floor staring at a toy for a long time and then just burst into tears. It's really unusual for him to be so inconsolable. When I arrived to get him after this conversation he was so happy to see me but it was not a good day.

This morning--more of the same. I'm got permission to work from home so he is sound asleep in his crib. We are pretty convinced that his discomfort is what the doctor predicted about the shots, and I'm hopeful that this only lasts a short while longer. The infant Tylenol we gave him is hopefully helping him rest comfortably now.

I am a proponent of vaccinations for children. As a health worker overseas I administered plenty, and I know something about how they work to help the babies form defenses against real attacks later by those pathogens. I just hate to see him feeling miserable now. But I'd REALLY hate much worse to see him with measles, mumps or rubella.

When I was a Peace Corps Volunteer working with my local health center and helping teams of U.S. surgeons who would come to do surgeries in Guatemala I saw kids with infections and illnesses that broke my heart. You never want to see a 7 year old with major burns suffer with a psuedemonas infection (also known as a blue-green algae infection) --trust me you'll never be the same again.

So, I'm trying to keep Danny's few days of mishaps and crankiness in perspective.

Counting our blessings. -Monica

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Bet you are more familiar with terms like sexism and racism than you are with "lookism". But it’s a real phenomenon.

As commentator John Stossel once wrote in an ABC News article on lookism:

“We like to think of America as a meritocracy. A lot of us think we value people because of what they accomplish, or their character, or generosity, or intelligence — that's what we thought mattered, but are we just putting blinders on?

More often than not it seems qualities other than skill, intelligence or character pay off. Here's an example. Anna Kournikova is ranked 37th in women's tennis, and has never won a major singles championship. So, why is it that Kournikova makes millions more dollars from endorsements than players ranked higher?

So why do I bring this up? This year’s presidential race. Note that I didn’t say the “vice-presidential race.” There is no such thing. But when John McCain added Sarah Palin to the Republican ticket I think it’s safe to say that there are some voters out there who absolutely “fell in love" with her regardless of what her policies, thoughts or experiences are. And they may well vote for the Republicans because of it.
Senator McCain had defended his decision to choose the undeniably very attractive Palin as his running mate based on all kinds of things like her maverick personality, her intelligence, and her ability to “shake up” the status quo.
But you see there are a few more people—men and women, out there who would have probably fit that bill. For example, Linda Lingle would been a great choice. She’s the current governor of Hawaii (pictured here).

But that didn’t happen now did it.

Is the Republican party ready to have its vice presidentail nominee be one “72 year old” heartbeat away from the presidency? I find that hard to believe. (Well that's assuming that the potential new VP would actually be allowed to lead or would just be a puppet--but that's for another blog post.)

Before Palin's election as the governor of Alaska 20 months ago, her resume was so thin that it would have been tossed out of the running for just about any senior executive position in government, industry or academia before interviews were even granted. By the way, attending six colleges in six years is not only a bit uncommon, it’s really makes you wonder what in the heck was always going wrong.

So, we now have a situation where all the Democrats I know think that the Republican ticket is just awful, and all the Republicans I know think it is incredibly awesome.

But i
t’s all those people who don’t quite know yet what they think that I worry about. I just ask with all seriousness that all who fall into this category take a moment to stop and check whether lookism is causing you to not see what is in front of your own eyes. Think about why you have that “falling in love” feeling. Could it be just an “ism”?.

Maybe. But like racism and sexism, this is something that can be understood. And once that’s done, we really can see people through different lenses. Just something to think about. -Monica

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Please, please, please SNL?

I don't believe that neither Tina Fey nor Amy Poehler are regulars on Saturday Night Live anymore.

But they have to come back don't you agree? No one can skewer politicians (and politicians' spouses) like the cast of Saturday Night Live!

This would so be worth staying up past your bedtime. Don't you think? -Monica

Monday, September 08, 2008

Sunshine Day

On Friday I celebrated my 48th birthday (can you believe it!) It was great fun as Su made my favorite kind of cake (Red Velvet with cream cheese frosting) and about a dozen or so neighbors came by to celebrate.

Forty-eight. It’s so weird to me that I’m 48. When I was a kid, that was older than old. Some might argue that it still is.

One hundred years ago the life expectancy in the U.S. for men was 47.9 years and for women 50.7 years. By the end of the century those numbers changed to 73.6 for men and 79.4 for women. (This from the National Vital Statistics System.) That’s quite remarkable.

So my great-grandparents were very near the end of their lives when they were 48 whereas I’m the mother of a one year old. Amazing. I guess this is good news for those of us who are self-described late bloomers ;-)

On the morning of my special day, as a treat, Susanne took charge of all things “Danny” including feeding him breakfast, cleaning up, making aromatic diaper changes—all things that made it possible for me to just lay on the couch with my cup of coffee and read the newspaper in its entirety before going to work. We usually share these duties, and they don’t really lend themselves to relaxed reading.

So as I lay there on the couch, happy as a clam, I commented to Susanne that in a way, my luxurious birthday break was, in effect, just like my life used to be before we had Danny.

That was a pretty intriguing thought, but an even better thought was the fact that I would not trade my life today with anyone for anything.

And that ladies and gentlemen is the best birthday present one could ever ask for. Right sunny son of mine?


Saturday, September 06, 2008

Our sweet Jewish grandmother boy...

After a rainy day stuck in the house we were happy to go to a fun dinner hosted by Su's former co-worker Sarah and her boyfriend Jake. We had a lovely time (well except for a few Danny "love" bites--the boy is still a biter) when at one point either Su or I called Danny our favorite nickname "Bubby".

Jake thought that was awesome. As he and Sarah are both Jewish, he asked us if we knew that Bubby was what grandmothers were often called in Yiddish. Hmmm...

"I've heard of Babushka for grandmother" I volunteered.

"Well, the nickname often used for Babushka is Bubby" he volunteered right back.

We all looked at Danny, and he applauded.

Gotta love our Lutheran, former Catholic (oh wait that was me), Jewish Grandmother son!


P.S. Sarah and Jake. Thanks! Dinner was wonderful! -Monica (Su and whats-his-name!)

Friday, September 05, 2008

Some you win and some you lose...

I meant to mention that when we took Danny to that Nationals game this week, on the subway ride there, he smiled at the Philadelphia fans crowded around us, and proceeded to raise his left hand in the shape of the letter "L" up to his forehead.

It was indeed a hilarious moment (at least for us, and in the defense of the Phillies's fans they were very understanding.)

Can't wait to see when he'll try that again. There are so many excellent targets here in DC! Have a great day everybody. -Monica

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Not cool

I'm not sure why this irked me so much, but I was very annoyed last night that the little 4 month old son of the Republican vice-presidential candidate was brought to the 9:30 pm event. All I could think about was how this poor little guy was like a prop for the cameras in what was clearly a VERY LOUD venue. By the way, I'd feel this same way if the infant was the child of a male candidate as well.

I talked about this earlier today with a friend and she speculated that if they hadn't brought the baby, they could have been accused of being ashamed of him or something. I don't know about that one. Who wouldn't have understood if the candidate had said something like "at this late hour our youngest is snuggled away..."--something to that effect.

I think having a young son myself I am a bit hyper aware of things that don't seem very kid-friendly. I really don't know if the baby will be flying around on the campaign trail, but if so I really hope there is some way to build in some kind of routine.

And, is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that just about everyone except the child's father seems to be holding him most of the time. What's that all about?

Just my 2 cents. -Monica

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks...

Danny as seen in September 2007 and again in September 2008. Both games were against the Phillies and the Nationals won both games.

Just look at that cute boy. I've said it before and I'll say it again--what a difference a year makes huh? -Monica

P.S. He's finally stopped bawling every time the crowd roars. Halleluia!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Didn’t see that one coming…

Remember Family Ties? That ‘80s sitcom with liberal parents and spunky son Alex P. Keaton played brilliantly by Michael J. Fox? For those who don’t know, much to his parents’ chagrin, the boy worshiped Ronald Reagan.

Well, on Friday, Danny and I were in the car listening to the radio as Sen. McCain introduced his pick for Vice-President. As governor Palin spoke, every time the partisan crowd clapped and cheered, little Alex P.--er--Danny H., in the back seat joined in with extremely enthusiastic clapping AND hooting.

Oh dear. Now I’m afraid to flip through the TV channels now lest I come across a NASCAR race. Just breathe Monica. Just breathe.


P.S. Is it just me, or were there others who had never heard of the governor of Alaska before last Friday?