On the nightstand: Your 3 year old: Friend or Enemy?

Thursday, February 24, 2011



In the precious few days I have left with my daughter as the only kiddo in the Sweazy clan, I'm sad that they typically play out like this:

Hrumph. I don't WANT to sit next to Mommy.

I don't LIKE Mommy.

More grunting sounds. Hands on hips. Back is turned.

Now, with extra sobbing. I DON'T WANT MOMMY! I DON'T KNOW HOW TO USE MANNERS! I WANTED THE PINK CUP AND NOT THE PINK LID. DADDY YOU MAKE MY CEREAL! MOMMY GO AWAY!

Or, my favorite. We accidentally make eye contact and she just screams, my mere presence such an offense that she emotionally can't handle spooning cereal into her mouth if I am within twenty feet.

Some mornings I take it in stride. Some mornings I cry into my tea, my poor husband fantasizing about an executive job that requires lots and lots of travel.

After nearly three months of this daily cold shoulder, I finally sought some reinforcements, namely Dr. Louise Bates Ames' Your Three Year Old: Friend or Enemy. The subtitle alone went a long way to making me feel that there's some method to apply to this madness. The book is part of a series that spans from birth to the teen years and was the culmination of years of research at the Gesell Institute of Human Development.

The fact that the book was written over thirty years ago didn't phase me. In fact, I was comforted by the fact that what Harlow and I are experiencing is well-researched phenomenon (read: it's not my fault my child thinks I'm a hellbeast!). To whit:

First of all, accept the fact at this age (3 1/2) the child's big emotional struggle is with his mother. She is the one who matters supremely to him. [Therefore] she is the one he needs to conquer. Almost any young child is at his best but also his worst with his own mother. Never more so than now.


Their sage advice on how to handle one of parenting's most challenging ages?

Get a babysitter.

Seriously.

You will if at all possible enlist the services of a good babysitter for as much of the time as possible.


And because Dt. Ames senses that I'm still blinking in confusion:

This advice may seem like the all-time cop out. It remains our best advice.


Years of research and observation of the wily three and a half year old has yielded this: Kid is batshit crazy. Mom is out of luck and out of her league, so hunker down until it passes. Maybe put on a movie until it does.

Today's matinee: Shrek 4

Lucian

Monday, February 21, 2011

So who WAS that crazy chick who hijacked my blog last week?

I'm happy to report that management has had her sacked and the appropriate measures are being taken to help her chill the F out.

It's tricky this week as Harlow is out of school for parent/teacher conferences and it's pretty much fallen to me and my 70 lb belly to get this place packed up for our big move this week. But the simple acts of being outside in our freak 75 degree weekend, seeing my husband over the entire weekend and finding a peaceful resolution to our fence drama with the neighbors has gone a long way to make me feel less like an out of control spinning top and now just a heavily pregnant lady who can solely focus on that.

And moving.

But that's actually really, really exciting.

In the meantime, Hi cute baby!

A little sneak from my session with Lucian last week.

upside down

What to expect when you're not expecting this

Thursday, February 17, 2011

As I was frantically throwing together contents for a makeshift hospital bag last night, my second contraction searing across the front of my belly, a number of things came to mind. I'll list them here in no particular order.

1. Hell to the no. This. IS NOT. Happening.
2. Was it Caleb's car accident today (he's fine), his overall health (not so much), Harlow's screaming fit that culminated in her peeing all over herself in the car, or our protracted city hall battle with our entire neighborhood over a fence the reason I maybe in labor 2 months early?
3. Can we legally have a baby when I don't even have my maternity clothes from Harlow out of storage?
4. Seriously, this is not happening.
5. What the hell is wrong with me? There are pregnant women in battlezones who go to full term, right. Man up... woman!
6. Why are medical terms so inherently gross? Mucous plug? Bloody show? And I'm pretty sure that the m.p. is supposed to be uh, still plugged in right now. Not in my toilet.
7. Can the movers pack up our apartment? Cause I haven't really gotten around to that step yet.
8. OMFG this can't be happening.
9. The kid doesn't have single diaper, a onesie, a blanket. A carseat! Where the hell are my nursing bras?
10. We're technically safe at week 32. But this means the kid will be in the NICU. Because I couldn't handle my stress, will my kid suffer long term learning/health disabilities? Google sure thinks so.
11. I fantasize about about kicking the next person who says pregnant women should avoid the internet.
12. Will my milk come in?
13. Why is my back hurting and now my front? Is this really it or just from the half-sleeve of girl scout cookies I consumed today?
14. Man, this sure will seem funny a long, long, really really long time from now.
15. How many times have I said the word diarrhea to my husband in the past hour?
16. Could there be a less dignified experience?
17. So maybe this isn't really happening.

Very happy to report that the evening ended with me asleep in bed, not semi conscious in the hospital, giving birth to a kid hellbent on being an Aquarius. Will spend the weekend letting go, being the spoon, breathing deep, and making sure my hospital bag is stocked with trashy magazines. And girl scout cookies. You know, just in case the whole letting go thing doesn't take.

Valentine

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day, y'all. Even my toilet paper is getting into the spirit.

valentine

Trolleying

Sunday, February 13, 2011

As our days of being downtown dwellers are rapidly coming to an end (huzzah!!), Harlow and I took advantage of the unseasonably warm Saturday (read: extreme cabin fever) and rode the riverloop trolley. While I won't miss loft living, I will miss the gorgeous sunsets on display just outside our window.

Trolley bridge

Trolley

Another bridge

Pretty bridge

You can hold the ocean

Saturday, February 12, 2011

park

I was all set to write this maudlin recap of just how lousy I feel as a human being, how I kicked off my Saturday night by sobbing into the crappy turkey sandwich I was making for dinner when I followed someone's email link to this site and spent the next 30 minutes laughing so hard that I was afraid I might break the baby. I'm sure it won't be nearly as hilarious tomorrow, but good lord I need to laugh like that.

This afternoon Harlow and I were taping up some more awful crafts, this makeshift paperdoll beachhouse complete with floaties and buckets, when she handed me a piece of paper slashed with blue marker. "You can hold the ocean, mom" she told me before scampering off to find more tape. I sat staring at it, feeling like I was doing just that.

Unfortunately I'm now familiar enough with the signs to know I'm one of the estimated 13% of women (who admit it) who suffer from prenatal depression. Yes, apparently it's not enough to sink into the mire after the baby comes. I'm already there. I was like this when I was pregnant with Harlow, so I take some comfort in at least understanding I'm hardwired to feel this way. It doesn't help that the past few months have piled on enough stress and material to keep my blog (and therapist) busy for the next several years. So if you see my hardworking hubby, give him a hug. Or a beer. Poor thing is married to the mayor of Crazytown.

Me? I'm determined to keep off the meds. For now. Fortunately, Damn You Auto Correct updates almost daily.

Snowed in

Thursday, February 10, 2011

smile

I picked up these buddhist meditation cds the other day, ones that specifically focus on letting go of hangups in difficult times.

Of the myriad topics it addresses and the tools it imparts, I am still left struggling with one important question today.

How am I supposed to make shitty crafts for 10 hours without any tape?

Harlow and I are snowed in today after a rogue storm coated the south with about 3 inches. Not much to make a snowman but plenty to make the roads a skating rink from here to the outer reaches of the burbs. Nothing brings out my parenting insecurities than an impromptu day long vacation where doing the obvious - like going outside and playing in the snow - ranks on the child's wishlist around "getting hair washed" and "playing one activity for more than 2 minutes."

The default activity in past snow days has always been crafting. And this is the problem. I'm not a crafter. My crafts and the ones my daughter produce could easily be confused for one another. And where my husband delights in the Seussian-instructions (cut out the zebra - no, not that one, the zebra cat that is married to the Farmer. WHERE DID HIS SHIELD GO???) I cringe as I get bossed around, derided for my not following instructions and belittled as if my 3 1/2 year old has suddenly become the batshit crazy, manic-depressive film producer I worked for right out of college.

But honestly, I am going to try to put my newfound meditation skills to work and just let it go. Try to be present in the moment of making doomed game spinners with spiral bound notebook paper and tape and Valentines with space monsters and a self portrait that looks like, well, a space monster. I hope in between all the yelling and ordering around and aborted drawings, she will at least have the memory of me showing up. And then distracting her with homemade cookies and a Disney movie.

Whitney & Todd Get Married

Monday, February 7, 2011

I get why Todd wanted to marry Whitney, because I think I fell in love with her myself after our first meeting. It was truly a pleasure to get to know them as a couple and capture their wintry wonderland of a wedding. Here are some faves from the day. Congrats, you guys!

*Boy in mirror and dessert table shots by the incomparable Chip Chockley

lace

bride

mirror

bride

outside

outside

reception

dance

hands

reception

reception

reception

Skirt!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hey y'all,

I wish that I could say that I'm just having a bad week. Unfortunately I'm experiencing one of the most difficult in recent memory, and my posting will continue to be a bit spotty while my family battens down the hatches to weather this most recent storm. My apologies for being so vague. My pregnancy is healthy, and I am focused on it remaining so. I'm hoping I will be able to elaborate more in the coming weeks.

In the meantime....

I'm in this month's local issue of Skirt! Thanks to Grace and Karen ( my lovely client bride), they interviewed me as part of their superfun fashionista blog Memstyle. And thanks to some alchemy of camera, position and luck, I somehow don't look pregnant in this photo, even though it was taken 2 weeks ago!

Thanks to Skirt and Grace and Karen of Memstyle for featuring me. And thanks to Rachel Zoe whom it appears I am trying to ape by pairing various stripes and layers to achieve some kind of preggohobochicness.

That's trademarked.

skirt