November 30, 2010

A Tough Lesson

We started Jill's blog as a way to share pictures and funny stories with the family and friends who don't get to see her often.  We try to post frequently and capture humorous events.  Of course not everything is included.  Nobody wants to read about hemmroids in pregnancy, or the changing dynamics in your sex life when two becomes three.  Certainly not my Mom or mother-in-law. 

But since blogging is about sharing, I thought it would be balanced to share struggles, mistakes, unanswered questions.  Parenthood is not glamorous.  It's sometimes about screwing up but then recovering gracefully.  That was the case this weekend in Vermont when we had an "incident" between Jill and Rachael, our very wimpy, passive, sweetheart-of-a-dog.

After two days of delicious Thanksgiving fare and birthday frosting, we spent Friday evening in the living room being entertained by Jill.  She was dancing to Chuck's jazz music, clapping her hands and making raspberry noises.  She motioned to the floor to be let loose and visit Rachael, who was camped out on her back with her paws in the air.  Tony and I were sitting directly behind Jill when she reached for Rachael's belly when we should have been in between.  Jill startled Rachael and she jerked forward, pushing Jill backward in the process and skimming the right side of her face.  It was not pretty.  Jill screamed.  Everyone was upset.  Of course Rachael didn't mean to hurt Jill.  They're BFFs.  But it was a very hard and loud lesson that dogs are dogs, not people, and we need to be cautious of their moods, movements, etc. no matter how sweet and good-natured they are.

November 26, 2010

Tis the Season for Holidays and Birthdays

Happy almost first birthday to Jill!
opening presents, she played with the blocks then decided to climb right in and
put her feet up!

Jill and her great-Gram Del
with her professional Black Friday shopping aunties

The Ghost of Thanksgivings Past: late nights at the bar leading to the Hangovers (deserving of a capital H),  following by football games and full Canning family gatherings.  One year I couldn't pull myself out of bed in time to leave with my parents for Manchester, CT.  My Dad told my Aunt Lori, Uncle Jay and rest of the fam that I was in bed with "the Irish flu."  My brother and I made our way there.  It was painful but we knew it was important to our family.  You don't miss holidays.

Years later, dynamics have changed significantly.  Cousins are married and starting families of their own.  Holidays are split between in-laws.  Before Jill, we used to drive all over creation to visit both families.  This year, we're spending a wonderful long weekend at Tony's parents' house in Burlington, VT.  Del, Jill's great-grandmother, is here from Athol and Andrea and Chris are visiting from Maine.  The dinner was delicious: turkey with gravy, stuffing with sausage, roasted veggies, garlic smashed potatoes, soft rolls, salad, apple pie with ice cream (options also included raspberry and pumpkin thanks to Del) and bountiful amounts of white wine.

Jill didn't want to miss out on the Black Friday shopping.  She woke up with a stuffy nose at 4 a.m. and didn't crash for a real nap until 9:30.  Andrea, Kathleen and Chris left around 5 for their annual Christmas shopping tradition.  You couldn't pay me to go shopping today.  Circling the parking lot, fighting the crowds, waiting in line.  Online shopping sounds much more enticing!  But they braved the crowds, stole great deals and didn't get home until after 1.  A bunch of their shopping done and suddenly I was slightly jealous!

Today we celebrated Jill's 1st birthday with the Musantes.  Kathleen picked out Thomas the Train decorations earlier in the week and Tony and I picked up her matching cake from the Shaw's bakery this morning.  Our cart's contents were funny: a themed 1st birthday cake, diapers, organic baby food, all things signifying caring parents.  Then you saw the two 12packs of Blackbeary Wheat and the pack of earplugs to help me stay asleep tonight while sharing a room with Jill.  ... the duality of child rearing, Tone says.

Jill carefully examined her cake frosting before smooshing it between her fingers, examining the texture and sneaking a taste.  No choking.  No puking.  And no allergic reaction on her skin.  A success!  I can't believe she's almost 1!

November 23, 2010

Officially Speaking

  The Girl Who Worked and Juggled Breastfeeding
She hopped on the red line at South Station carrying her purse and a seemingly inconspicuous black tote bag. Totally discreet to the ordinary commuter, but not to a former pumper. I wanted to pat her on the back and say, “You’re doing a great job, Mom!” but I restrained myself. I felt like we were instantly connected. Working and breastfeeding is no small feat.

  The Super Dad
He was jogging up Broadway in Cambridge just after sunrise, controlling the stroller with one day and the labordoodle with the other. He made it look so easy. I turned around to admire this coordination one last time and he was checking his Blackberry. Come on! I can barely walk and text.

  The Possible Donor
Nearly seven years ago, my friend Kate and I joined the hundreds, if not thousands, of people to find a bone marrow donor for a sick child in northern Vermont. Sad to say but I had honestly forgotten about that day until I opened yesterday’s mail. A letter from the National Marrow Donor Program said I am a possible match for someone. Would I still be interested in donating? Chills ran up my spine. Yes, it’s major surgery, but it’s a chance to save someone’s life. I’m in. Sign me up. More screening to follow...
It’s Official
I joined the bloggers’ world yesterday. I’ve come out of my secluded family/friends network and I’m ready to socialize with other bloggers. Maybe even learn some HTML, finally!

  Spreading Holiday Cheer
Thank you to Andrea for this very funny creation!

November 22, 2010

Kick It

Stride Rite?  Stride Wrong.  I had no idea baby shoes could cost so much! 

Our professional parental unit friends (Tim & Hesper) encouraged real shoes.  They helped their daughter, Cadence, with balance and then walking.  Jill is so close to taking off (2 or 3 steps here and there), that it seems like she would benefit from added support.  But $40?  "I could just pick up Nikes," my Mom said from the South Shore Plaza this afternoon.  [And Tim & Hesper didn't know this but parents with children a bit older than yours are your alleys.  They've already gone through it, and it wasn't that long ago.  They still remember clumsy falls, teething cries, finger food challenges, etc.]

This may or may not have lead to the next Monday night commuter discussion between me and Tone: expanding the family.  Tony deemed it not fiscally responsible at this point.  We have family and friends with multiple children and they all just make it work.  That's what families do!  Sara has three; so does Alicen.  Tyla and Anne Marie have twins (AM has another on the way).  Whitey and Mandy have two each and Carah will too in another month or so.  Go Dawe!  Obviously there is no "right" number of children and every family is different.  Tony is the oldest of three.  I have my not-so-little-anymore brother.  Tim is the only solo child I know and he turned out ok for the most part.  So what do you think?  What are the perks to having more than one child?  A pros and cons discussion...

Maybe one of us will win the lottery that we don't play.  I'm not ready right now but I definitely would like Jill to have a playmate, preferably a little sister who can wear these shoes again!

November 21, 2010

Mom's Helper

crop out the Ibuprofen bottle she's shaking and it's a cute pic!

helping Mom sort all my clothes

Do you need this tupperware cover for tomorrow's lunch?

Why is Jill thrilled to be shaking an Ibuprofen bottle in the top picture?
My daughter and I teamed up to annoy Daddy on Sunday.  Tony went out with the guys Saturday night to celebrate Tim's 30th birthday (one of the few last lucky ones).  We "jilled;" I watched most of Julie & Julia (very cute) and went to bed around 10:30.  The cab pulled up to the front of the house around 12:30 and Tony and Tim were safely home.  Rachael barked to alert us.  Oh nope, nevermind; that's not what happened.  I poked my head around the top of the stairs to see Tony, Tim and Ethan, drunk and stinking of cigar smoke, around 1:30. 

So the next day...
I thought I earned brownie points.  Jill and I went for a long walk in the critical early hours of hangover management.  Tim woke up on the couch, said something in not-quite-English and left for home.  Tony didn't function.  I give him credit though.  He made an effort.  We took Jill and Rachael for a long walk.  Tony went back to bed.  Tactfully, Jill and I decided to play across the hallway in her room, with her loudest toys.  The deck awaits a future weekend.

The day after that...
As Tony and I faced the evening commute together (the only pleasant thing about Mondays) we talked about our days.  Tony had come to the realization that heavy drinking nights require 3-day weekends and child care for full recoup time.  Parental hangovers aren't easy!

In other happenings:
We ventured into Davis Square Sunday morning for brunch with a few of my college roommates.  With Phantom Gourmet's Great Ate distinction, I was honestly expecting more out of Johnny D's, but the live jazz and friendly service made up for it.  Jill was thrilled.  She danced to the music and kept herself busy staring at everyone.  Are you going to eat that??  I was really proud of her!

November 19, 2010

The Brave, the Exciting and the Sad

back from my flu shot, it was eassssssy!
making a mess of the recycling pile
The Brave, the Exciting and the Sad; much like the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. And add in the adjective Funny. That about sums up our week.

Dressed in her overalls (hence the nurse calling her jool-ee-in; she must have missed the pink paint splashes), Jill impressed two older kids waiting in line for their flu shots. She didn’t cry. She barely made a noise. She just looked at the nurse like, “What the heck?!” and that was it. We were in and out with our Thomas the Train sticker (preferred over Tinkerbell) faster than the nurse could figure out that Jill was a girl. Sticker selection didn’t help.

The exciting news of the week is that Jess and Scott (my brother and sister-in-law) will hopefully know the sex of their baby on December 10. It’s right around the corner! Jess had originally wanted to keep it a surprise but my brother persuaded her with his “persistence.” I want to say they’re having a boy because it seems like everyone we know has had or is having girls. Either way, Jill will be happy to have a cousin! What’s your prediction?

And what week isn’t complete without a poop story. I mean, honestly. Our lives revolve around poop now. So I’m talking to Tony on the way home from day care last night and I’m telling him about an “incident” from that day. It wasn’t music class with Miss Dianna; it wasn’t Jill eating banana slices on her own (although that was exciting). Nope, one of the babies pooped in the play area and it somehow got everywhere. On the walls, on the carpet, on the some of the toys, including the oversized drum they all love. Babies were evacuated. Blocks and rattles were decontaminated. It sounded like a HazMat scene! So I ask Tony, “Which baby do you think pooped everywhere?” Was it Shannon, he asked (Jill’s partner-in-crime). No. Was it Richard? No. David? No.

“It was your daughter!”

“No way! Ahhhhh!”

Hahaha that was our source of laughter for the evening, at poor Jill’s expense.

Friday morning rolls around. Don’t worry; this doesn’t involve Jill’s bowels. I got out the door early to hit the gym. I’m sitting on the T across from a man in his early 50s wearing a State Police jacket and “Dad” jeans. You know the jeans I’m talking about. They’re too dark, too rigid, with no form to the bum Wranglers. My Dad used to wear them. (His shorts were always too short too, but that’s for another post.) So I thought about my Dad during the relatively quiet and still-dark-outside train ride. I thought about how he would act with Jill, and how he would take her ice fishing and how she would love feeling the worms. They would make quite the pair!  R.I.P. Dad. We miss you xxoo

November 16, 2010

Scent of a Baby

simulated positioning
Cool Ranch Doritos, Fritos, Barbeque Lay's.  Most smells I can handle.  I have a very keen sense of smell, so when a woman sits next to me at Park Street and takes the lid off her tupperware to unleash an aroma of old tuna fish, some sort of spiced rice and (I swear) cat food, I found myself improvising.  Tactfully I - like many others I have to believe - held my breath, fished out (pun intended) my iPod, and pretended to fall asleep on my hand.  I took in the smell of my hand lotion and focused on the Tim McGraw lyrics.  I longed for the sent of baby lotion.  Really, J&J can make anything smell sweet.  Successfully I kept from gagging. 

But then I felt guilty as I watched this woman inhale her dinner like it was the most delicious thing she's ever tasted.  Truth could be that she didn't have much to eat today and that her casserole of sorts was tasty, and nutritious (it could have been).  As the T pulled into North Quincy, she turned to me and asked if this was Quincy Center.  Hang on for two more stops, I told her.  Her tupperware was closed at this point and my reality was left checked. 

November 14, 2010

Sorting Laundry

little homey

laundry helper

who knew the clothes basket could be so entertaining? (she's smiling at Tony through the porch window)

WOW, that was fun!

we got dressed up Sunday night to show Granna Jill's kangaroo costume

We had a great weekend!  Jill was very playful.  She has changed a lot recently.  She now loves to investigate and open doors, cabinets and drawers and pull whatever she can find out then throw it onto the floor.  This is where the "sorting laundry" title came from.  Jill did anything but that on Sunday.  She threw outfits on the floor while I folded them.  Some help!

Sunday night Tony and I went on a date.  Honestly, I can't remember the last time we went to dinner just the two of us. So we headed down the street to one of the few classy joints in Quincy and enjoyed a delicious meal (yes, we got the wings as apps too!) at The Fat Cat.  We were only gone an hour and a 1/2 but it felt like a good break from the norm, a nice switch from the usual routine.  I could get used to that!

November 12, 2010

Girls' Night

Just as I was starting to type the wailing began.  She was squirming around in her bed, crying in her sleep, and farting.  I rubbed Jill's back but she evenually jolted her head upright, hungry and ready for some Mom time.  Tonight was girls' night.  Tony went to his brother-in-law's (aka Uncle Chris) surprise 30th birthday party in Portland, ME after work.  The thought crossed my mind to keep Jill up a little bit longer - 20 minutes even - because she was being so interactive tonight.  We were having a really good time!  But Jill took care of that 3.5 hours later when she woke up.  Extra time with Mommy!  I honestly didn't mind it tonight.  By Friday afternoon, I want to soak up all the time with her that I can.  By Friday afternoon, she is dead to the world and just wants to crash!

Jill's growing up before our eyes.  Her teachers talked to us this week about Jill moving into the infant/toddler room soon.  What?!  My baby is graduating already?  When did this happen?  Jill started napping on a mat this week.  I can't even believe it!

November 7, 2010

Late Nights with Jill Musante

 Rachael standing by patiently for some leftovers
 right off Jill's face
 Jill the fattie looking for another cheeseburger
 tupperware - the best toy! (notice one sock on, one sock off)

I don't know how Jill survived the first 11 months of her life unscathed.  We were checking out at the Hannaford's in Taunton Saturday afternoon when two or three older women offered my first case of unsolicited advice: you should carry spare socks.  And you should leave Hanny's to drive across the street to Shaw's and keep blurting out your crappy advice to rookie Moms.  You always had extra socks with you, didn't you?  Then you must be a better Mom than me!  Jill hates socks.  She rips them off at her earliest opportunity.  So when I buckled her into the grocery cart seat, I was not surprised to see one missing.  Oh well, it's not the end of the world.  She'll live in her one sock.  (This is the baby who stood up thrilled in the evacuation crib during a cold day fire drill at school in her onesie.)

Earlier on Saturday, Jill looked through books, practiced walking and playing pass with pink princess ball at Scott and Jess's house.  Aunt Jess watched Jill while I got my hair highlighted and cut.  I asked Kelley - my hairdresser since middle school - to spice things up.  I'm practically a blonde now.  Tony asked if I went tanning.  A few extra highlights really brighten things up!

Girls' night on Saturday was a great time!  Jess, Tyla and I hung out at Mandy's house and just talked for practically 4 hours (there was a lot to talk about!).  It was really nice to visit with them!  I dreaded Jill waking up early on Sunday due to the time change (and the riesling).  Instead she woke up around 1:15 a.m. (about an hour after I went to sleep) and didn't go back to sleep until almost 3.  She's teething and must be going through a growth spurt.  Friday and Saturday night she sucked down full bottles in the middle of the night.  She's hungry and I'm exhausted.  Tony joked about Friday night calling it "Late Night with Jill Musante."  She was up for awhile but we honestly didn't mind.  She put on a show!  She sat in bed with us smiling, clapping, laughing and yelling at the dog.  She was a riot! 

Jackson and Faith were very gentle with Jill Sunday morning while we visited for a homemade breakfast.  Mandy cooked while the kids played.  They were so interested in Jill.  It was really funny to watch them interact!

Happy Birthday to Jill's Nana on Monday.  We are looking forward to celebrating with Kim very soon during our Thanksgiving trip to Vermont!

* Friday: movie night with Tone
* Saturday: dinner with Jess at my Mom's
* Sunday: game time with Heidi and Houston, a cottage cheese substitute in the lasgana that Tony liked (shhh don't tell him) and the cancellation of Late Night with Jill Musante. Nothing like starting the week off with a full night of sleep!

November 5, 2010

Democracy with Layoffs

It was a big week for Miss Jill! She voted in her first election and her Mom survived layoffs. YEAH for all (although our candidate didn’t win)!

Jill also decided she HATES taking baths. Any suggestions here? I tried warming the water up a little bit, singing, playing with toys. Tony even jumped in with his bathing suit last night! She has always enjoyed bath time. Just this week she decided it’s the worst thing her parents could do to her in the entire world. We obviously don’t love her if we make her take a bath. It’s a tough life, being a baby!