Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Little Miss Preschool

Here she is, ladies and gentleman, contestant #1 . . .

little Mimi "Firecracker" Darby.

And now she's performing her talent -- sitting criss-cross applesauce. Whoa, and I don't think anyone was ready for this . . . she's invented a new way to sit in circle time. She calls it the "Butterfly."

Now for the interview portion of the contest. Mimi Darby, how old are you?
Uh oh, she seems to be struggling a bit with the question. Let's see if she'll make it through this one.

She's counting her fingers and trying again.
But wait! She's suddenly broken into her rendition of "Itsy Bitsy Spider!" I don't think anyone expected that move. She's wowed the judges with this one, folks!

Now let's have a rundown of how she has done so far:
-She only asked Mommy to stay with her one time but then quickly ran away when she discovered some puzzles.
-Mimi might be in the running for the Miss Hospitality award as she made it a point to ask everyone what they were wearing or playing with.
-There might be a penalty because she was put in time-out once for not sitting quietly and flailing her legs during circle time (AKA, kicking her new friends), BUT the judges are still deliberating since she claims she was only trying to show everyone a new dance.
-When Mommy and Mack arrived in her classroom, she immediately took us to the carpet to show us how one is to behave during Show and Tell, which will definitely give her extra points for showmanship.

The judges have finally tallied their scores, and the winner for the First Day of Preschooler who Had Absolutely So Much Fun That She Couldn't Stop Talking about It Until We Got Home and Then Took the Best Nap Ever goes to . . .


And her Mommy couldn't be prouder :)

Monday, September 5, 2011


I completely surprise myself sometimes with the decisions I make. For example, I love tuna melts now. My mom always made tuna salad sandwiches for me as a child which consisted of canned tuna, mayonnaise, boiled eggs, mayonnaise, pickles, and, you guessed it, more mayonnaise. And I loved them but then got burned out. Now I love it once again. Just not with so much mayo. Also, I am a stay-at-home mom. Never thought I would enjoy it, BUT I'm about to have a phone convo with a dear friend who has just pronounced herself a "high-maintenance, self-centered diva" and fully plan to convert her to selfless wannabe mom. Becoming a mom was absolutely the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I'm on a mission to convert the world of women. Also, I no longer rock heels. Nope. They just don't work at the park or while making PB&J sandwiches in the kitchen. I wear flip flops and tennis shoes and flat boots (albeit very cool flat boots).

And speaking of shoes, Clint and I made a trip to Nordstrom's (Clint is so going to make fun of me -- yes, I know it is called "Nordstrom." He thinks adding the " 's" to a business is like saying "Walmart's") this morning while dear, sweet Lacy watched our babies -- that is, after I jogged an entire mile with her this morning. Yet again, completely surprising myself. I hate running, but I just might let her talk me into running a Thanksgiving 5K with her. Anyway, my first thought when we decided to shop was that my children need Fall jackets and new shoes because shopping for myself is the last thing that comes to mind these days.

Okay, I must digress for just a moment. I recently saw a segment on the Today show where a stylist recommended getting rid of 75% of the contents of a closet. No, I didn't stutter -- 75%. So, I attempted and maybe got rid of 50%, and, holy moley, it really is easier for me to find something to wear. Not that I'm crazy about the contents of my closet, and I think I can still get rid of a lot more. For those of you who for some reason are still holding on to clothes from college and you know that you wouldn't give that cheetah print furry jacket to even your worst enemy, puh-lease for your own sake, get rid of it. Especially if you've been pregnant for the last 4 years like I have and you don't buy new clothes for almost a year at a time, then I KNOW you have some junk in your closet.

Okay, back to kiddos and shoes and surprises. I always assumed my children would wear Keds. I wore Keds, my parents wore Keds, and all of my friends in the South put their children in Keds -- boys and girls -- because they match absolutely everything. They go with play clothes and smocked dresses and John-Johns, so why not? I'll tell you why not. Because white shoes are an absolute nightmare. I'm trying my best to never buy anything white for Mack Darby again because he is magnetically attracted to any type of water, mud puddle, or food. And Mimi isn't much different. I was absolutely drooling at the awesome shoe selection at Nordstrom (can you say Prada ballet flats for $225 for toddlers? No, thank you), and Clint and I finally made some decisions. I am declaring my children officially the coolest kids in the world simply because of these shoes:

Yes, electric blue and orange Adidas for Mack and silver sparkle Toms for Mimi. And Mimi starts preschool tomorrow, and I am quite shocked I do not have a smocked outfit laid out for her. Nope, the above is a possibility or maybe a tutu. She hasn't quite made up her mind yet.

Speaking of Mimi, I wanted to give an update on the nap situation. I decided to NOT do away with them. Girlfriend needs them, and I am going to try to put up the fight as long as I can. I've gotten a few awesome suggestions, and I plan on trying them out a little over the next week to see if anything works. I'm still a little concerned about giving her melatonin just because the word "hormone" throws up a red flag for me, but I know many pediatricians are recommending it. Not completely crossing it off my list yet. Right now she's sound asleep in the den floor, and I'm trying to get used to the idea that she just doesn't love a forced, scheduled nap -- she prefers to sleep when she's tired. Which I guess does make sense. Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading my blog and sympathizing and letting me know I'm not the only mom who is dealing with the same issue. I mainly started this blog because of peer pressure from a dear friend, and I'm not sure I've thanked her yet. It has not only helped me let my far-away family know what's going on with my children, but it has also allowed me to vent and get awesome feedback from some of you -- people I've known forever and some I don't really know at all. I loved that I attended a wedding in Clint's home town this past spring, and several people I have only met a couple of times gave me comments and suggestions about things they had read on my blog. Too sweet. Tears.

So anyway, I think Mack surprised himself a little this week with discovering the slide.
On your mark . . .

Get set . . .

We FINALLY took the kids to a beach on Lake Michigan. We've lived here over a year, and I'm not sure why this didn't happen until yesterday. We literally got in the car just to drive to a different neighborhood to grab lunch and ended up in Evanston, which I am in love with. If, and this is a HUGE "if," we ever move to the 'burbs, I think I will choose Evanston. And, yes, my children loved the beach. Mimi ran and rolled around and made sand angels, and little Mack begged for us to take him to the water so he could feel the cold waves hitting his toes. So excited about our trip to 30A later this week I can't stand it.
And this is soooo random, but I've also surprised myself with cooking this year. I don't like to prepare food, and I absolutely despise cleaning it up . . . but I do love to eat it! If you have a reservation booked at Hotel Darby, just know that the chef serves these for breakfast . . .
. . .banana pancakes . . . mmmmmmmmm.

Yesterday we had a Darby family banana pancake and James Brown breakfast. And because I'm a four-year-old, I like mine with walnuts and chocolate chips.
It's a strange family tradition of mine to also put a dab of peanut butter on your plate while eating pancakes, but it grosses my hubs out so I refrained. But I think it might have improved my quality of life if I had.

You have to put the chocolate chips on immediately after taking the pancakes off the stove so they'll get all gooey and melty. And bacon is a must. Are you drooling . . . because you should be.

Just because they were on my camera . . . my two favorite guys. And I once thought boys were gross . . . see, I'm full of surprises today.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


I must write about this moment before I forget it. It's nothing unusual, but I want to remember this little time at night that I share with Mack. Sometimes I will try to think back to specific sweet moments with Mimi, and I realize that most of the moments I remember are those that I photographed. Fearful that one day I will not be able to pull up a true memory of the way my children were without that moment being one I captured with a photograph, I am grateful we decided to splurge on a quality camera last summer. But this blog is also helping me with those memories, so here is one that I want to make sure I record.

Tonight I went through my normal "night-night" routine with Mack of giving him some milk and putting him to bed. I have become selfish with this time and rarely ask Clint to help with this, and tonight was no different. Sometimes after drinking his milk, Mack will squirm and wiggle and arch his back and point toward his crib. I'm happy on those nights that he makes it so easy for me to let him go, but I'm so sad that he doesn't want to allow me to hold him longer. Tonight he allowed me to hang on a few more minutes.

After finishing his milk, he handed his Toy Story sippy cup to me, gave me a quick look, and then nuzzled his fuzzy blonde head in my shoulder. He made a few little grunts and sighs and then quickly threw back his big noggin and almost gave me a nice head-butt if I hadn't been ready to move out of the way. He giggled and then threw back his head again for me to catch . . . and then forward . . . and then back again until he giggled so much he could barely catch his breath. With his little soft hands placed on both of my cheeks he intensely stared into my eyes, and then as soon as he spotted what he was looking for he turned my head to the left and began to inspect. You see, he is absolutely obsessed with the pearl earrings I wear every day. Clint gave them to me a couple of years ago for my birthday, and I love that Mack hunts for them every night. He pointed at it and twisted it and then without warning he placed his hands on my face again and quickly twisted my head to the other side to search for the other one. While he was doing this he began rubbing my cheek and sang "aaaahhhh," and as I was about to completely turn to a pile of goo from all this sweetness he put his face about 1/2 inch away from mine, turned up the corners of his sweet little mouth to grin, and then . . .

BUUUURRRPPPPP . . . right in my face.

And then he belted out his biggest belly laugh of the day. Sigh. And, yes, this is the special time I want to remember. My little Bubby's silly sense of humor . . .

Thursday, September 1, 2011

To Nap or Not to Nap . . .

. . . that is the question.

It is 9:00 at night, and for the first time in about 6 months both of my children are asleep . . . but this has come at a cost: almost losing my sanity.

Mack has absolutely no problem falling asleep. I need to run some errands in the middle of the day, and he'll take a short morning nap and an afternoon one. We have things to do in the morning, so he has no issue waiting until after lunch and taking a long afternoon nap. Around 6:30-7:00 at night he gets a little fussy and will even point up the stairs, which means, "Take me to my crib, please." All I need to do is give him a little milk, turn out the light, and put him in his crib.

At this age Mimi wasn't much different. She easily transitioned to one nap and even slept on a mat when she changed day cares at 12 months old. Around 18 months it took a little longer to get her down for a nap on the weekends, but she still quickly fell asleep at night. Around 2-years-old it took a little longer to get her settled for a nap, but still it was nothing to complain about. BUT since she was 2 1/2 and moved to a big bed, I have been very close to losing my mind. She began rebelling at both naptime and bedtime, and I tried every trick I knew. The "Supernanny take them back to bed and not say anything" routine. On the show this one solves the problem in a couple of nights. We tried it for a couple of months, and we were taking her back to bed until 11:30 some nights. We tried to take away a toy each time she got up (she sleeps with about 20 of her favorite stuffed animals), and we tried to reward her with one when she stayed in bed. We've been turning off the lights and television and giving her milk and a boring story. We've discussed how we need our rest because we have a "big day" planned for the following morning. I've shortened her naps to just an hour in the afternoon, but she wakes up extremely fussy and still won't go to bed any earlier at night. It's been suggested to just lock the door and let her cry it out, but they are French doors with no lock. Baby gates wouldn't work either because of the way the doors open out into the den. Sigh . . .

I talked with a pediatrician about this issue, and she suggested all of the above. When I told her how all of those methods have failed -- my kid's too damn smart and we're too damn stupid -- she said, "Why don't you just lie down with her until she falls asleep. She will eventually grow out of this, and that's some really sweet time you'll never have again." She was right, and so that is what we have been doing. It has definitely kept her in the bed . . . but it has also kept us in her bed. I'm usually so exhausted that I probably fall asleep before she does and then stumble up to bed around 2:00 AM. Clint does the same but usually stays there all night because he's such a heavy sleeper.

If you're paying attention you'll notice that this leaves absolutely no time for Clint and me to hang out. As soon as he gets home from work and changes into casual clothes, it's normally time to put Mack to bed, eat dinner, and then clean the kitchen. We might spend a little bit of time discussing bills, his job, my day with the kids, or talking with family on Skype, and then it is time to begin the bedtime ritual with Mimi. The only way Clint and I ever have a real conversation is when we get a sitter, and that ain't cheap. I would absolutely love to have a night to sit on the couch and watch and episode of Friday Night Lights with him and no children climbing on me, but that hasn't been possible. I also talk with other moms who have side hobbies, and I ask when in the world they have time. They all respond, "During naptime and after they go to bed." Naptime is the only time I have to clean the house and take care of other business, so I am so ready to have that "after bedtime" time that everyone seems to love. I know people who have all their children in bed by 8:00, which gives them a solid 2 1/2 hours to do whatever it is they want to do. For the record, I hate you.

Something had to give, so today I conducted an experiment. There would be no nap for Mimi. We had to run errands this morning, so I put Mack down for his one long nap after lunch. Normally Mimi plays in the den while I eat and clean up their lunch and then together (at least I try to get her to help) we clean up the den before her nap. Today I let her continue playing quietly while I unloaded the dishwasher and began working on laundry. I thought maybe this was going to be a great idea because she can entertain herself pretty well. Around the time we normally go to her room for a nap, I brought a couple of books to the den and decided this would begin her new "quiet time." She was nice and calm during the books, and then something happened. I think it was her second wind because she suddenly had a surge of energy and began squealing and jumping around the room. I returned a couple of phone calls (I usually don't talk on the phone during this time because I'm afraid I'll wake up Mimi) and she yelled and screamed and whined the entire time I was trying to have a conversation. I took her to her room and pulled out some of her favorite toys and explained that she would have "quiet time" in her room instead of a nap today. She didn't like this idea and wanted me to stay with her and play. I told her Mommy really needed a few minutes by herself to regroup and fold laundry, but that was out of the question for her. She ran to the den and threw all the clothes in the air and acted like a crazy hyena, and I swear I thought I was going to jump out of the window. I put the laundry away and moved her to her room again, and this worked for just a little while. Not long after this Mack woke up, and I was so happy because that meant I could get my crazy self out of this house.

We went on a walk and to the park, and, my gosh, I should have never taken that child out in public. She was okay for a little while, but she kept taking buckets of water from the splash pad and dumping it in the dirt to make mud, and she ran away from me screaming when I tried to wash the mud off her legs. She pestered the ice cream man and cried for both me and him to give her some Bugs Bunny popsicles. And I can't even bear to write about the show she put on when I tried to get her in the stroller. Let's just say my back will be hurting for a long, long time. When we got home and I began running the bathwater, she ran away from both Clint and me and fussed and whined, and Clint's first question was, "Has she had a nap today?"

But at 8:15 when I told her we needed to get ready for bed, Mimi responded with, "Okay, Mommy," and there was no drama. No kicking or screaming or running away or flailing of her arms and legs. We brushed her teeth, used the potty, read a book, and turned out the lights. I still stayed in her room until she was asleep, but this whole process was over by 8:45.

I guess now I need to pick my poison. To make her nap or to not make her nap . . . how do I know when it's time to drop the nap? Will the crazy 5:00-7:00 drama continue if she doesn't nap, or will she get adjusted? For the last few months I (and sometimes Clint) have spent almost 2 to 3 hours of each day trying to get her to fall asleep at naptime and bedtime, and I have to find a way to put an end to this.

Today one of my friends I was attempting to have a conversation with on the phone through all the fussing and whining told me that a pediatrician recommended giving her sleepless child melatonin, which is a naturally-occurring hormone that helps regulate sleep cycles. Anyone know anything about this or used it with your children?

Since I have just a little time before I crash, I think I need to pull up Netflix and catch up on the Dillon Panthers . . .