Swim Day

Helen’s playschool is having a Swim Day Party today (in a wading pool), to celebrate the end of summer for all the kids going off to preschool and kindergarten in the coming weeks. Helen is one of the kids that will be leaving, not because I’m unhappy with the playschool, but because we think she needs the routine that a preschool environment would give her. The looseness of the schedule where she is now quite obviously stresses her out, poor thing.

She will be going to a Montessori preschool, because we feel that the self-led aspect of their philosophy will be very good for her. I’ve spoken to pediatricians and several teachers that are good with her agegroup, and they all concur that she will probably do well and enjoy the new school.

When I took her there in February, just to let her run around and see what it was like, she had a BLAST. We were there for over an hour, and when I finally took her home, it was because it was lunchtime and I was going to have to nurse Alice (who was starting to get a little restless). I literally had to drag her out, kicking and screaming. And as we were strapping her into the carseat, she was yelling to the director of the school, “I’M COMING BACK AFTER NAP!”

That’s a very good sign, coming from timid little Helen. She was very stimulated there. I just hope she doesn’t completely freak out when we take her there and leave her on August 8.

Alice starts at the playschool this coming Monday, so she and Helen will overlap there for a week.

Brought to you by Helen

Here is a little window into how stay-at-home moms are paid.

Yesterday morning, after Helen woke me up at 6:30, I called my mom back (she calls my cell phone sometime after 6:30 every morning, to see if I’m up so we can go walking before it gets hot. This is an arrangement we have so that she doesn’t wake us if we’re still sleeping — the phone is downstairs in the kitchen and disturbs NO one if we’re sleeping, since the ringer isn’t all that loud), and Mom came over and kidnapped Helen to take her blueberry picking again. They came back with the blueberries, and then went over to Mom’s house for a while, and I picked Helen up at 10:20 on the way to Alice’s photography appointment.

Helen saw me as I got out of the car, and came RUNNING down the sidewalk, arms outstretched. “MOMMMMMMYYYYYYYY!” And then she attacked me with kisses. 🙂

I strapped her into her carseat and we drove away from Grama, waving and blowing kisses, and Helen said, “Mommy, I MISSED you today!”

I love my job. Hardest job I have ever had in my life, with overly demanding bosses that are close to impossible to please, but WOW. Moments like yesterday morning make it all worth it.

And then last night, while I was waiting for the water aerobics class to start, I sat next to a woman that lives on my mom’s street. She just retired after 25 years in Occupational Medicine (she’s a family practicioner that worked in industry, and goes on medical missions for 4 months to Navajo reservations… I used to babysit for her sometimes). She asked me what I was doing these days, and I told her. She said, “You know, I’ve been keeping my grandbaby most days recently. And I know now that I really missed out on a lot while my kids were growing up because I was so…. liberated…. I felt like I needed to work, in order to prove my worth. I didn’t need to work. I know that now. I missed too much.”

Like I said, I love my job. I’m glad that I knew when I was 20 years old and all that MCAT paperwork was stacked up in front of me that I didn’t want to miss out on the mundane things in my kids’ lives. And I am a lucky, lucky woman for having a husband that agrees with this philosophy.

(Confession: Even though she drives me up the wall sometimes, I missed Helen yesterday morning, too.)

Say Cheese

Today were Alice’s 1-year portraits at the professional photographer. These people are crazy expensive, but the pictures they get are VERY good.

Well, Alice was NOT in the mood. Her appointment was at 10:30. So at 10:10, after she’d been asleep for almost 2 hours this morning (much longer than her usual naps are), I went downstairs and started making noise. So she didn’t get to wake up naturally. Possible Cause of Alice Angst #1.

After I got her up, combed her hair, dressed her in playclothes, and got her in the car, there wasn’t time for a snack. She wasn’t fussy, so I didn’t worry about it. But I didn’t want her to have a mouthful of cracker mess when we got there, so I didn’t give her anything to eat. And she didn’t ask for juice. Possible Cause of Alice Angst #2.

Then, once we were in the studio and they were trying to get her to smile for pictures, she kept making this weird face. It’s kind of a fake smile, and she gets a little squinty. She made it every time she looked at Cherry, the photographer’s assistant. Cherry said that kids this age don’t typically know how to fake smile, so we couldn’t decide what it was. I think I know, though — Alice doesn’t like it when the flash goes off. She’s already associating Cherry with the flash, so if she looks at Cherry, she does a facial flinch, hence the face. Pretty funny, really. Possible Cause of Alice Angst #3.

So I got to try to make Alice smile. I pulled out every trick in the book, except for the two that ALWAYS work (because they also have immediate consequences if she’s not able to have what I mention): “Cracker” and “Come get me!” The first one is obvious — the path to Alice’s heart is through her stomach. The second one is a game we play to get Alice to chase us around the house, and she thinks it’s hilarious. Today, she wanted to walk. Cherry says that’s another tough thing for newly-mobile kids getting photos — they get MAD when they’re held in one place. Possible Cause of Alice Angst #4.

So. I think a combination of all four contributed to Alice’s mood, but I think he did get some good ones. Just not a motherlode. I’ll go back in 2 weeks to see the proofs, and I’ll report then.

Fried Green Tomatoes

Yankees reading this site: go away. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Our neighbors have a vegetable garden, and their crop of tomatoes this year is impressive. Two weekends in a row now, we have been gifted with a shirt-full of tomatoes. I mentioned that I like fried green tomatoes and this last batch was all BIG green ones.

So, last night, I looked up a recipe for Fried Green Tomatoes, invited my mother over, and we had Fried Green Tomatoes and BLTs (using tomatoes that have turned red since last weekend). It was heavenly. Tip: (and I don’t remember where I heard or read this, but it’s true) to minimize the amount of breading that comes off during the frying process, bread the tomatoes and then let them rest for about an hour in the fridge before you actually fry them.


Might actually have Fried Green Tomatoes again for lunch today. I know, it’s crazy. I love being Southern sometimes. Yum.