Monthly Archives: November 2011

Yet Another Reason Crayola Rocks

I have always loved everything Crayola. I still get excited just looking at the yellow and green box. It seems so full of fun and possibilities. A crayon is so much more than a crayon–it’s a train or a monster or a pony. And a marker? It’s an underwater adventure or a snowy day or a siege on a castle. But as a parent, there are new things I appreciate in the genius that is Crayola.

First, washable markers and crayons. What my mom wouldn’t give to have those bad boys transported back in time. I’m pretty sure the first time I saw my mom’s head spin around out was when she realized my latest masterpiece had bled through the construction paper, leaving a connect-the-dots version on her butcher block kitchen table. You can still see some of the marks 30 years later.

But today, I realized something else totally awesome about Crayola–markers can be trilingual. Sorry the picture’s not better; I clearly have done a number on my camera phone:

I’m not sure how I missed this before. Maybe it’s new? Or maybe I didn’t have kids the last time I really worked in the marker medium. But either way, I’m loving it now. Maybe teaching my kid colors in three languages just got a little easier.

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Things That Make You Give Thanks

A couple weeks ago I started a Thanksgiving project where every day in November I write down one thing for which I am thankful. The idea is to force myself to slow down and remember that good things happen every day despite the scrambling and stresses that usually steal my focus.

I was a little late in posting my first week’s homework, so I’m trying to be a little more punctual this week. So, here’s what I’m thankful for during week 2 of November:

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The Art of Double Talk

My plan had always been to raise my son bilingual–French and English. I was going to handle the French (along with my mom, Mimi) and dad and everyone else would take care of the English. What I never factored in was an equal parts adorable and fantastic Salvadoran nanny.

After I pulled the trigger on hiring our nanny, one of her big initial questions was whether it was okay if she spoke Spanish to our son. I am very open to other cultures and super supportive of anything that would enrich my son in that respect, so I don’t think she even finished her sentence without saying, “Yes!” Selfishly, I also figured it would be a decent way for me to dust some of the cobwebs off of my high school Spanish.

I have zero regrets about my decision, but the results (so far) have been surprising to say the very least. Surprising is a lame word to use, but it’s hard to find a word that can capture the full range of amazement, excitement, joy, and even a little heartbreak that I’ve felt as our son has started to develop his language skills in earnest.

Baby’s first word–other than mom-mom-mom, which I don’t attribute to any specific language–was gato. Yup, Spanish for cat. There are a couple of weird things about that. First, I had thought for sure his first word would’ve been in French. After all, baby spends about three afternoons a week on average with the nanny and the rest of the time he’s parler-ing with me. Second, our cats don’t really hang out with us. Mostly because of the large dog we have added to our family. Most of the time they like to hang out in their lair in the basement, choosing to be little more than an occasional meow from the stairwell. So, how gato came out of his little mouth, I don’t know.

It made me a little sad. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy, too. Baby’s first words are baby’s first words! But somehow it felt a little like I had failed–and we hadn’t even really started yet. As stupid as it sounds, I wondered if my child loved his nanny more, if he had more fun with her, and if she was a better teacher than I was turning out to be.

Fortunately I was redeemed (and the dog, too) not too long afterward when the wee one decided that his second word would be chien. I felt like we were back in the game.

It’s a silly way to look at it. I’m just happy that our kid is learning. And I’m thrilled that he’s truly becoming multilingual. True, he’s likely going to be totally confused for awhile. And I might be, too. I’m hearing the French and the Spanish, but if he’s trying to say something in English, I’m not hearing it. I thought for a minute the other day he was trying to say “thank you,” but it wasn’t clear enough to be sure. So who knows when the English will kick in.

So, as our son rounds the corner to the 18-month mark, here’s a tally of his first words:


Filed under bilingual baby, child development, daily life, foreign language

Taking (Chicken) Stock of My Life

I love to cook. But I haven’t done a lot of it lately because I find cooking for one to be pretty depressing. (One more reason that my kid’s non-eating habits are all the more frustrating.) Most of the time my meals are eaten standing up at the kitchen counter as I’m wiping it down and only about half the time do they actually require utensils.

But last weekend, something got into me and I roasted a whole, 3.5-pound chicken. I even went through the trouble of stuffing it with a homemade cornbread and green onion mixture and roasting it with a wonderful veggie medley consisting of leeks, turnips, carrots, parsnips, and brussel sprouts. It’s been four days and despite my dog and my picking constantly at the bird, there’s still a carcass in my fridge, so I think it’s pretty much confirmed that my roast was indeed a completely ridiculous endeavor for one.

But roasting that chicken so got me in the Thanksgiving mood. In particular, I kept thinking about a Facebook post from one of my friends. Her daughter had made one of those hand-print turkeys that every kid makes at some point (or 10) in their lives. And there was a list of numbers from 1 to 30, where every day in November my friend was going to record something that her daughter was thankful for. No. 1 on the list was that her daughter was thankful for the turkey she made. (Hilarious.)

I have a tendency to often see more of the negative than positive in life, so I started to think that maybe I should keep a list of all the things I’m thankful for this month. So, my first week of November looked something like this:

Of course, I am thankful every day for my son. That’s a no brainer. He is truly more of a gift than I ever imagined he would be. But my challenge is to be a little more open to the other good that exists in my daily life. So, I’m giving myself a couple freebies the first week just to get me going.

But it’s funny how positive thoughts beget positive thoughts. No. 3 on my list, for example, was a pleasant surprise. But the scope of the job and the time frame to complete it left me feeling a lot like I wished I had more time to put together a better package. But fortunately No. 5 happened to me and I got some more information and felt much better. A couple days later and I got another run at putting my skills to work (No. 7 on the list), which was the perfect way to cap off the week.

Maybe there really is something to that power of positive thinking. That might be something to be thankful for.


Filed under daily life

What Parents Care About

I’m on this new parents google-groups, list-share thing for my neighborhood. A mom that I know through the gym had recommended I join, and I did. It’s been interesting, to say the least. Sometimes I totally get hooked into cool stuff for kids that’s going on in the neighborhood; other times, I’m like, “Whaaaaaat?” So, if you ever wanted to know if other parents were thinking the same things as you, here’s a sampling of what’s going through parents’ heads in my ‘hood, as told through e-mail subject lines:

  • Grass-fed beef share (I’m sorry, but this one just makes me crack up)
  • Programming at Bloombars for the little ones
  • Class recommendations for Mondays
  • The second Mount Pleasant puppet hour
  • Formula coupons and bottles
  • Cancelled playdates
  • Cancelled playdates
  • News from CPSC –Recall
  • Toddler-friendly Trick or Treat
  • Holistic Moms DC Nov Mtg
  • Holiday House-share?
  • Nanny share feeler
  • Does anyone know a good pediatric dentist in the area?
  • ISO: My Brest Friend
  • Playdate on Tuesday this week
  • Home contractor
  • Yu Ying PCS (public charter school for all those who need translation)
  • Bed Bath & Beyond or Buy Buy Baby coupon
  • Looking for a snowsuit to buy
  • Also looking for a sitter rec
  • Sitter rec?
  • New changing pad to give away
  • Canceling Sunday’s parent brunch
  • Nursery furniture?
  • Parent brunch next Sunday
  • Rad Dad book release event
  • Excellent nanny available starting mid-October
  • Miss Amy’s Music Makers
  • ISO: Potty
  • Itsy Bitsy Yoga

Yup, this is my life. 🙂



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