Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Time to re-solve

Happy New Year everyone! We hope you had as wonderful a holiday as we did, and that you are fired up and ready for 2009 to be the best year ever!

I was thinking about New Year's Resolutions last night and got to thinking that the root of the word "resolution" has to have something to do with the word "resolve." Which made me think that all we really do at New Year's is try to solve again or re-solve some problem we've tried to solve before.

Mine is your classic weight gain. Oops. I did it again. Cookies, cheese, bread...all the regular culprits. (See how I blame those foods and not myself for my weight gain?) Anyway, I know that I'm not going to keep any resolution I make forever, so I'm breaking it down into a more manageable scenario.

For the month of January I vow to eat oatmeal, and only oatmeal for breakfast. This is easier than you might think since Danny has oatmeal quite often. What this also means though is that I cannot augment my oatmeal with a delicious Au Bon Pain Walnut Cranberry Muffin every day as I am wont to do. (I do not think Susanne even knows how often I do this so I'm feeling a little busted now.)

Anyway, if I start my day right I am much more likely to think back to those old tips I learned when I lost a bunch of weight on We.ght And just to keep myself honest I'm going to admit my failures on this blog when they occur. So, if all goes according to my plan you will hear no mention of this resolution again until February 1st or so when I announce that not only did I stick to my resolution, but that I lost 40 or 50 lbs. Okay, that's a little dramatic. Let's say 10.

Onward and upward everyone. Time to re-solve whatever it is that gets you every time. Happy New Year!

P.S. For your viewing pleasure Su took a picture of the Daniel Collection. AKA the parking lot. On the very bright side, he loves them all! -Monica (and Su and Danny)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Reindeer Games!

Apparently when you play too much "All-Star Baby Wrestling" with your toddler, they turn around and do this.

Look at the bright side Rudolph. At least you're playing reindeer games! Merry Christmas everyone! -Monica, Susanne and Daniel

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Walking in a Winter Whaleyland...

My dad once made the offhand comment that he liked whales. You see, he’d always liked soothing music/nature tapes (aka that weird music dad liked) and I think his comment came from liking those sounds.

This revelation was like a Godsend for all of us, his now adult children. For every special day from then on out dad got whale themed something as gifts. Whale tee-shirts, sculptures, posters, photo frames, whistles—you name it, our dad got it. Until the moratorium came.


Turns out that he liked whales, but he didn’t like them that much.

So what made me think of this?

Danny loves trucks. And I know for a fact that a fair number of the gifts that await him for Christmas are trucks (or their equally fun cousins “trains”). And there is a very good reason for this. When people asked what to get him we said “TRUCKS! TRAINS!” (Well, maybe I did this a little more than Susanne.)

Anyway, I’m pretty sure there will be no moratorium on trucks issued by our boy this year. Actually I know he’ll be delighted and that our living room will look something like a miniature parking lot. At a construction site. “Beep, beep, vroom, vroom!” (not as soothing as whale sounds but wonderful sounds nonetheless.)

If my dad were still alive today I know he'd like the sound of that ;-) Monica

Monday, December 22, 2008

Busted! (See previous post)

Seriously. Not two hour after we wrote about Danny's "tree troubles" look what we found. He's a clever boy. A very clever boy. -Monica and Susanne

P.S. He was actually trying to affix one of his favorite toys to it!

Through the eyes of a child...

So my moms brought this amazingly awesome tree (from the outside!) into the house and filled it up with lights and little tiny toys (that they hung from the branches) and shiny stuff!

But they get sort of unhappy if I touch it.

How does that make any sense? I mean if they brought in a huge hot oven or a big old can overflowing with trash it would be easier to understand their worries right?

I mean the only thing meaner would be to decorate only the top half of the tree so I couldn't reach the cool stuff.

On the bright side, they have no idea how well or quickly I can climb. Merry Christmas everyone. I've got a step ladder to construct out of some pretty boxes under the tree! -Danny

Thursday, December 18, 2008

What? I've been nice and naughty like you asked!

Is it just me?

So the Washington Post is my favorite newspaper. I love reading it from cover to cover when time allows, and so believe me when I tell you I would never criticize The Post.

Except for one little thing.

You see they have a "reader rewards program" where you get points called PostPoints which you can use to buy stuff when you accrue enough. Good marketing idea I think.

But take a look at their logo here. Is it just me, or do the little PostPoints guys look like...well...prophylactics (with legs and sort of creepy faces)?



Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Beef Jerky

President Bush when asked about the incident where an Iraqi journalist whipped his shoes at the him (which by the way is a terrible insult in that culture) the president said:

"I thought it was unusual to have a guy throw his shoe at you. But I'm not insulted. I don't hold it against the government. I don't think the Iraqi press corps as a whole is terrible. And so, the guy wanted to get on TV and he did. I don't know what his beef is. But whatever it is I'm sure somebody will hear it.

Did I hear that correctly? "I don't know what his beef is?"

I find this stunning. Gee, whatever kind of beef could the man have? Hmmm....

Talk about disconnected. -Monica

Deep thought

One of Su’s co-workers has an adorable daughter who is about a year older than Danny. For a while there she was rather dazzled by our boy. Her mom would come to work with tales of how Amelia would ask about Danny or burst out into an excited giggle when she’d see pictures of him. So of course we all joke that Amalia is Danny’s girlfriend. (Or that Danny is Amalia’s boyfriend.)

And our neighbors across the street are the proud parents of two little girls, one of whom is just two months younger than Daniel. It’s also easy to tease about how she and Danny, who are now in the same day care every day are little boyfriend and girlfriend.

So here’s my deep thought. Why on some level would it seem unsettling to say that two little boys who are very sweet together are each other’s “boyfriends”? Or that two little girls are “girlfriends”. (Excluding the argument that sometimes the word “girlfriend” means friend.)

I think the examples above with Danny and these two sweet little girls have echoes of future possibility. As in “wouldn’t it be adorable if when they are teenagers they actually fall in love?” There is no sexualization involved in this “matchmaking”. It’s like they are platonic little fountains of possibility.

But to joke in the same way about toddlers of the same gender would undoubtedly for some be disturbing. It would indeed project sexuality into a platonic image. And that fountain of possibility would be terrifying. None of this ““wouldn’t it be adorable if when they are teenagers they actually fall in love?”

I understand that there is institutional homophobia somehow mixed into all of this. Because as a gay person even though I like to think I’m as enlightened as they come, I can’t see myself teasing Danny about having a “boyfriend”.

It’s tough to be gay in this world. Kudos to everyone who has had to the courage to “come out of the closet” with all of these deeply ingrained attitudes to deal with.

Deep thought indeed. -Monica

Monday, December 15, 2008

Loser Takes All!

When it’s time for Danny to “hit the hay” so to speak, Susanne and I pretty much take turns doing it (although she insists that only I have the magic touch so I should do it all the time). Nice try honey ;-)

Anyway, he tends to go down very easily—a nice big drink of water, brush, brush, brush his teeth, a few minute of rocking and he’s down for the count.

But there are some nights when I will admit that we are both so incredibly lazy that we resort to a little game. As Danny happily plays with his books or toys we agree that whoever he touches next has to put him to bed.

It's pretty funny actually. We both keep encouraging him to go “give mama a hug” or we ask “where’s mommy Danny?” He is pretty oblivious to our game and just ambles about babbling and playing. He’ll often walk around coming with inches of one of us, but doesn’t quite make contact. It’s oddly funny to be rooting against a hug from your sweet little guy, but yup, I admit that we sometimes do this (can you every forgive us Daniel?)

The last time we played, our little game ended when I made the mistake of saying “night night Danny?” and he grabbed a sippy cup from the coffee table to bring to me before collapsing in my arms. So I guess I lost. But not really.


Friday, December 12, 2008

A case study in Catastrophic Thinking...

Can I share a little pet peeve? Well, I'm going to anyway.

I hate it when business voice mail messages start out by saying "Please note that our menu options have recently changed".

Gee, Monica, why would that bother you?

What a great question internets.

You see their menu options have not recently changed. They are the same as they were 6 months ago, one year ago, three years ago. They just keep that same message there so you will sit up and pay attention I guess. Or maybe no one knows how to go in and update it to get rid of that part of the message. But still I worry that maybe they really have gone and changed their options again and this causes me angst.

You see, I really do know that the path that I should take for some numbers I call once in a while without having to listen to the whole spiel. For instance for billing at that medical practice I should press, 2# then 5# then 4#. But no. They always warn me that their "options have changed." And on some stupid level I believe them.

So what's the worst that could happen? I guess if I pressed 2# then 5# then 4# I might not get billing. I might get a surgeon's cell phone while he or she were in the midst of surgery and then they'd take the call, because who else would be calling them on this number but someone important? Then they might be upset that it was only me mistakenly reaching them while trying to reach billing and THEN THEY MIGHT ACCIDENTLY LEAVE THEIR CELL PHONE INSIDE OF THAT POOR PATIENT. Because they'd be so flustered and all.

So do you see my dilemma?

To cope with this I actually convince myself that at virtually every office across the globe, someone somewhere really is changing their menu options. So I'd better listen to the whole thing. Just in case.

I know I've not explained myself well yet again. Oh well. Is it Friday yet? -Monica

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Lesson Learned

While I was out of town for work recently I met a really nice guy I'll call Brice who is from Canada. As we chatted at meals etc...he shared with me that he and his long time partner were in the process of adopting an infant. I was so excited for him and while they are anxiously awaiting that call, the are definitely doing everything they can to prepare for this very lucky little boy or girl.

Well, I shared our blog link with Brice and he wrote back that he enjoyed reading it--he sees it as a real honest look at parenting. This made me feel happy, and also inspired me to try and post every once in a while on "The Things Nobody Tells You". TTNTY. Otherwise known as "Who Knew!"

So...for my inaugural post on TTNTY, here goes...

When you remove a, can I say this...soiled diaper (and I mean #2 soiled diaper) from a child, do not, I repeat, DO NOT place the diaper temporarily on the radiator and then forget about it. Especially not in the winter, or for you up there in Canada, not at any time of the year.

The horrific stench that wafts through the warm air is directly proportional to the quantity and dare I say quality of the contents of the diaper.

There you have it. Another "Thing They Don't Tell You". Stay tuned for next week's installment that will most likely be titled "Catfood". Have a great day! -Monica

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Babble, babble

No, this isn't a post about our babbler in chief, otherwise known as Daniel. It's about a fun little free website that I use often called Babel Fish. Maybe you've heard of it? You can paste a sentence or block of language and then choose which language you'd like it to translate to.
Since we sometimes get e-mails from Su's family in Germany and my German is not so good, it's helpful to me. For the most part it's pretty good, but it definitely has some idiosyncracies.

But my favorite part of this whole exercise is reading the first line of the translation. You see, Su's aunts and cousins usually start their e-mails by writing "Liebe Susanne, Liebe Monica" which pretty much means "Dear Susanne and Monica".

But Babel Fish always translates it to say "If Susanne loves, Monica loves."

It's very cute, and always makes me smile.

But hey, is this what they mean by "conditional love"? ;-) Just kidding.

Oh and if they write "Liebe Susanne, Liebe Monica, Liebe Danny", it comes out "If Susanne loves, dear Monica loves Danny." I love this Babel Fish! -Monica

Monday, December 08, 2008


Yes, the word it Atacomb. It rhymes with catacombs.

As we sat in the living room last night, eighteen month old Danny pulled his little kids chair into the center of the room and proceeded to tell us the most amazing story.

We didn't understand a word of it, but the most important part was the word "atacomb". He'd finish each part of his story with it, shouting with gusto and then look at us expectantly.

So I started repeating it back to him with equal vim and he just cracked up. Over and over he’d yell “atacomb” and I’d yell it right back, each time to delightful squeals.

Then much like C*lbert on the C*lbert Report I started shaking my fist in the air while quietly cursing “ataCOOOMB”. Wouldn’t you know it. Danny started shaking his fist right back at me shouting even louder. All three of us were almost falling off of our chairs laughing.

But what does it mean.? What does little Danny think we have so willingly agreed to? I have a feeling we should be very afraid. –Monica

P.S. Apparently this word has sticking power. I said it again at breakfast this morning and he just lit up!

Friday, December 05, 2008


Two reasons to be happy today.

1. Danny's thumb appears to be healing and he's been sucking on it less.

2. I'm not a nag. Turns out I'm a cajoler! Don't you love paradigm shifting?

intransitive verb 1 : to find fault incessantly : complain 2 : to be a persistent source of annoyance or distraction

transitive verb 1 a: to persuade with flattery or gentle urging especially in the face of reluctance : coax b: to obtain from someone by gentle persuasion.

Happy Friday everybody! -M

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Something no baby book talks about

I admit it. When Su and I started talking about becoming moms I approached it like a school project. Get focused on your topic, organize your research and learn as much as humanly possible. We read books, attended child birth classes, read blogs (which I still love to do) and I also tried to soak up as much as I could from friends who were already parents.

It’s all helped me. I think I’m a pretty good and responsible parent and partner and I think I’ve got a handle on just about everything. Except that one thing that the parenting books don’t talk about.

The pain you feel when your child hurts. How could words really describe that anyway? How could watching other parents deal really teach this?

Have you ever heard the phrase “sticks out like a sore thumb”? Sounds pretty benign right? Well it’s not. Danny has always been a thumb sucker. Certainly not all the time, but when he’s sleepy he’ll pop that left thumb in his mouth, rub a soft blanket with his right hand and drift off.

But in the last week or two he’s been sucking it pretty constantly. From everything we’ve read it could be the stress of a new day care setting (the first place didn’t work out and we are now at a better place.) It could be more teething. We are not sure. But we know for a fact that his thumb is raw and red. Skin is actually peeling off of it and it is swollen and painful.

We’ve been using Lanolin (which is what breastfeeding moms use when they have irritation) and at his 18 month check up today I’ll talk to the doctor for more ideas. But here’s the thing.

He sucks his thumb for comfort. I read that for many children the sucking releases endorphins and is very pleasurable. That’s why they do it. It’s a very strong habit. So when he’s awake we try to keep the ointment on it and play games that require him to use his hands so he won’t be tempted to suck, but when it’s time to sleep, he “assumes the position”. And after about 3 seconds of sucking he cries and pulls his thumb out. But then it goes back in. And the pattern repeats itself. It’s awful. We’ve tried to give him a pacifier, encouraged him to suck other fingers, tried to cover his hand, all to no avail. If I try and prevent him from putting his thumb in his mouth he fights it, which in no way contributes to him finally falling asleep. And he’s just too young to make the solid connection between THUMB IN MOUTH = PAIN IN HAND.

So I hold him as he cries and pray that he’ll stop or that the pain will be less the next time he tries to put his thumb in his mouth. And it’s maddening to me that something as seemingly minor as a sore thumb can cause him such pain. I know that many children suffer so much more pain with illnesses and injuries, but that knowledge does not diminish the powerlessness I feel as I try to comfort my sweet boy.

And of course during the night if the thumb goes back in his mouth the cycle starts again.

I know that his thumb will heal. I know lots of things. But I never knew this feeling before. It’s not one I recommend to anyone. -Monica

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

No, you use your spoon mom!

Well at least Danny doesn't seem to mind my nagging. Nor apparently pay the slightest attention to it! -M

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I finally figured something out...

Whoa. It just came to me. I was at my desk going through my e-mail in box and it dawned on me that what I do can be captured in one word.

I nag.

That's what I do. I do it nicely and all of course.

"Could you please..."

"Would it be possible to..."

"If it would be no imposition I'd really appreciate it if..."

Wow. I professionally bug people to get me what they already promised they'd send. And even though I have a specific occupation, I think I could nag in any number of professions.

I once read that if you want to hire people to be your front facing customer service types, you should "hire for the smile and train for everything else". Makes sense to me.

Hmmm..."Hire for the nag and train for everything else." I've got to think about how I feel about this journey of self discovery I'm on. -Monica

For your viewing pleasure. A picture of what else? A nag.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Where did the saying "under the weather" come from?

I mean, aren't we always technically under the weather? Think about it.

Hope you all had a great weekend. Thanksgiving was great fun visiting Danny's grandma, but now we are back and I think I've got the vapors or something. My throat is almost All American--Red, White and, well, at least it's not Blue too. Then I'd be really worried.

As it is, I'm just tired and blah. On the plus side I did stay home from work and with a visit to the docs learned that it's not strep. On the minus side, there is now no known bacteria I can blame for this so I'll stick to the saline solution, tylenol, salt water gargling and Sudafed regime.

Danny and Su are fine though which is good news. Oh no. Looks like I'm too weary to finish this blog pos.............