I Always Feel Like... Somebody's Watching Me!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Getting Nebby at the Grocery Store

It seems only appropriate that I ramp up my usage of Pittsburgh slang (Pittsburghese) as a tribute to my city of birth. I love all of the weird words and pronunciations that Pittsburghers are unashamed to use and therefore mispronounce. I'm only hoping that Buffalo has a little bit of that same character. Unless it comes from Canada, eh?

 When I get my buggy/cart at Giantiggle/ Giant Eagle, I get nebby/nosy.

This might be one of the top reasons I love grocery shopping. I could spend hours looking at new products and reading labels. However, I also love to see what YOU are buying. No one's buggy is safe. I watch what moms or dads get suckered into buying for their kids. I see how little produce most people have. I shudder at the beef jerkies, frozen pizzas, Captain Crunch, value packs of Mountain Dew, bologna, you name it.

Am I judgemental? A little bit. It's not that I don't eat those foods on occasion. You know I'm hungry when I've put Oreo's and Entenmann's in my own cart. Everyone is entitled to their food choices; but sometimes the link between what's in the cart and how unhealthy the person pushing it looks... well, it can be pretty obvious. The worst is when you can tell that the hyper 8 year old shopping with mom has picked out every item.

LUNCHABLES. Those are disgusting. And I ate them growing up! I also had full calorie Pepsi, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, Blennd (anyone remember that super sweet lemonade mixer?), Klondikes, Tang, Sunny D and countless other nutrient-devoid items. If I passed my parents in the supermarket in 1986, I would have judged them too. :) But we also ate many, many homemade meals with fresh, healthy ingredients. I learned about foods we take for granted (bread, jelly, popsicles) by preparing them at home.

It's all about the balance of good and bad; and it is really lacking. So many people have "Diet" products right next to the Hormel Mac & Cheese and donuts.

I once saw my neighbor in my local Giant Eagle and was so excited to see what she was buying! This particular neighbor lived in the run-down condemned dump that is behind my house. Surely enough, she was buying the grossest stuff for her kids. I think they were having Cheetos and scrapple with gravy on top for dinner that night.

As a disclaimer, I know that we have the freedom to buy whatever foods we want. Sometimes our choices are dictated by finances (I've been there) or lack of initiative on a weekday night (been there too!). But I still like to get nebby. As personal as our food choices are, we have to parade them around the grocery store for an hour before we can get to the privacy of our homes to stuff our faces!

 C'mon, admit it- you do it too!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

One less thing to pack

 Our move is becoming official, with dates and everything. Gregory found a great rental house in Buffalo which will be "ours" the second week of February. Our big moving day for furniture and truck rental is tentatively set for the week after that. The renter for our Pittsburgh house will move in shortly after we get this place cleaned out.

 My nights in this house are numbered! Needless to say, I've been packing like a mo-fo. But with packing comes sorting and cleaning and a huge pile for the thrift store. We've downsized on toys, clothes, cookware, papers, children (ha! that would be terrible), etc. It feels good to pack in an organized way so that we aren't loading and unloading things we don't need anymore.

 But the packing just goes on and ON! And at a very slow pace since any progress I make is usually interrupted by a new mess to clean up, meal to feed or diaper to change. Today was a challenging one.
Jackson grabbed a martini glass from the counter before I could wrap it... and when I told him, "No."... he threw it on the floor.

While packing a box upstairs, Jackson "decorates" the rug and tv with a woodcraft marker.  

 Both Jackson and I needed some time-outs and quiet, resting moments in our rooms to get back to normal. Maybe he feels the anxiety and strangeness of packing up all of our belongings and moving far, far away. But I'll think positively... a broken glass is one less thing to pack. The wet vac cleaned up the marker; I caught it before it dried.

 Someday this neverending move will be over.... right?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My big little man

Teeth are coming soon - lots of drool and chewing.
Oh, Elliot - how are you six months old already? No really - what happened? How is this possible? I'll say it just as almost every other parent has said before me: it goes by REALLY fast. More so with each child. Maybe I'm just too busy with everyone together to notice time flying by me. With a move and family separation and preschool and potential potty-training with Jackson AND the rest of my life, Elliot is growing up very quickly.

At his most recent check-up, he weighed in at 18 pounds. Good boy! He has delicious rolls on chub on his arms and legs, cankles, knuckles and on his tummy of course. When I change his clothes, I can see the little rings around his body from his rolls folding over on themselves. He is measuring mid-range for his weight, but probably in the 90th percentile for his length. And his head, I'm happy to say, is within normal range! That couldn't be said for my other son. :)

His first time facing out in the Bjorn.

 I am still almost exclusively breastfeeding with a cup of rice cereal and veggies every once in awhile. He even went on a bottle strike for a few weeks, which is something neither Ayla or Jackson ever did. I have been with Elliot a lot more at this age that I was with his older brother and sister. In both cases, I was back at work at least 30 hours a week when they were three months old and they were very comfortable with drinking out of bottles. Elliot did well for awhile - but then figured out he had a choice and would go on a hunger strike until I came home. I think the strike is over because he's gulped down a couple of bottles from Gregory recently.Thank goodness, because while I love that little man, I love my freedom without worrying I'm leaving a hungry baby behind.

 Elliot is happy, giggly and yummy to cuddle with. It's rare to see him in a really bad mood and I'm truly enjoying the "baby stage" with him. I'm appreciating how simple it is to solve the "problems" of a dirty diaper, hunger or sleepiness when comparing it to the behavioral duties and dramas of Ayla and Jackson.

 He is sitting up well with help; but has not successfully rolled over yet. Maybe 18 pounds of baby fat is hard to control? Elliot loves his bouncy exersaucer and was giggling hysterically the other night while I helped him stand up on my lap.
With his cousin Noella at Christmas - it was both their 1st!

Falling asleep cuddling with Aunt Evie
So happy when he wakes up!

 There's just something about him, he's so damn lovable. He smiles at everyone and not once has either Ayla or Jackson shown any sort of ill-will towards him. They would murder each other over a crayon, but come running to comfort Elliot when he is crying. All of these things will change, I'm sure, but the world around Elliot at six months is a pretty happy place.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

You've got your hands full!

When walking in the grocery store, when driving my minivan through the Wendy's drive-through, when picking Ayla up from school, when answering the door to the chinese food delivery guy, when I'm trying to put my own shoes on....

This is the sentence I hear most, "You've got your hands full."

It seems to be the way other people know how to relate to a Mom carrying and caring for three small children at once. I get smiles and looks of understanding from people; also looks of horror. But for some reason, these are the words that almost 99% of the people I pass by seem to choose.

"You've got your hands full."

What does that mean? First of all, is that even polite? Polite or not: It is true. My hands (and my brain, my to-do lists, my priorities, my worries) ARE full. The only thing that isn't full in my life is free time and the bank account. It might be the only thing to say to a woman who has two kids in the atrocious car cart at the grocery store and a baby strapped into the Baby Bjorn on her chest. But why those particular words?

 What about, "God Bless You" or "Holy Hell, what are you doing?". Or, "Can I offer my babysitting services?" :) I wonder if people might be thinking something else before they revert to a non-judgemental, non-commital phrase like that. It's like trying to make conversation at a funeral. These are words that just come out of our mouths when we can't really articulate what we are really feeling about a given situation.

  I was talking to a woman in the pediatrician's office the other day, which of course, is my new hang out. She said the same thing: people mostly say, "You've got your hands full." when they see her anywhere with her kids. And they say it to us whether we have one, two or three kids with us at the same. I laugh at people that say it when I only have one. One baby! HA! That's nothing.

So, what does it mean? Why are just my hands full? Do they really want to tell me that I look incredibly brave or incredibly irresponsible? Are they remembering their own time as parents with young children (which one older man did say to me, which was very sweet)? Or are they suddenly appreciating the ease at which they will encounter the check-out line at the grocery store?

Whatever the message is - I'll keep my hands full with my rowdy, knock knock joke telling and drooling crew. Because I have to AND because I love them.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Knock-Knock Update

The jokes keep coming!

Gregory taught Ayla and Jackson this joke yesterday:

"Knock, knock..."
"Who's there?"
"Impatient cow..."


Get it? The cow is impatient. But now so are cats, dogs, "neenos", babies, binkies, cars, bunnies, houses, butts, shoes, etc. I heard a knock-knock joke for nearly every item we passed in the grocery store today. Eggs were funny. Broccoli was funny. Hot dogs were funny. But there was a clear winner....

Ayla: "Knock, knock..."
Me (and Jackson): "Who's there?"
Ayla: "Impatient toilet paper..."
Me: "Impatient toil....."
Ayla: "FLUSH!"

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Knock Knock Jokes

 Ayla and Jackson have discovered knock-knock jokes. Actually, they've discovered how to start a knock-knock joke.Then they just start naming their favorite toys and whatever else might been within eye shot.

 Tonight at dinner I was bombarded with jokes; so much knock-knocking that Ayla didn't eat her pizza and I was ready to run screaming out into the yard.

I tried to explain with the classic annoyance of saying:

"Knock, knock".
"Who's there?"
"Banana who?" over and over until I said, "Orange you glad I didn't say banana?"

Ayla just stared at me like I was the biggest moron on the planet. She thought it was much funnier to keep answering my "Who's there?" with cup, butt, pizza, Barbie, piano, shoe, etc. and leaving it at that.

Jackson's favorite is to say, "Neeno!" (which is code for light saber) and when I ask "Neeno who?" it's of course, "Neeno neeno!" Who else would it be?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

In Gratitude

Ahhhh, the start of a new year.

I would certainly like to package up the troubles of 2010 and leave them behind. This past year has been stressful, eye-opening, painful but also full of laughter, incredible baby joy and truly amazing friends and family.

Apparently this is the time in my life that I'm going to experience change and more change. Changes that I expected and changes that I'm not too pleased with. Change that makes me feel out of control and change that I can take part in. Change in myself and change in the people around me. Growing toddlers, growing babies, growing me.

So I'm taking the first day of this new year to be grateful above all other emotions. I'm grateful that I'm healthy and that my family is healthy. I am grateful for sound words of advice when sometimes I couldn't see anything sane around me! I am grateful for my friends and family here in Pittsburgh that have stood by me - babysitting three crazy children, keeping me company on busy weekday nights, sharing bottles of wine, sharing my frustrations, accompanying me to the grocery store, giving me a break to get my hair cut; it goes on and on.

The past couple of months with Gregory out of town, I have leaned heavily on all of you and I am so deeply appreciative. I am in gratitude. I hope I get the opportunity to do the same for you.

 And all this time, knowing that I was soon to leave Pittsburgh and all of it's citizens behind, I didn't expect that I would become so much more attached! It's an understatement to say I'm hella scared to move away from the circle of support we've been lucky enough to have here - but I'm jumping into the waters of change before I have enough time to think about it!

To Buffalo? Here we go. With heaps and heaps of gratitude for the amazing, loyal people in my life.