Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Thursday, November 13, 2014

2.5 year check and colds

So they're both sick. Carolina has bronchitis and a stomach bug while Mel has a stomach bug and nasal congestion. (Mommy gets to take stool samples to a lab and everything!)

So much for coming back from vacation!

Here are their measurements after Mel's 2.5 year checkup:

Carolina:  34lbs and 42"
Mel: 26.5lbs and 36"

Monday, November 10, 2014

Our trip to Vallarta, a glossary

From Mel's mouth:

Tía Gaby = Andres
Scarecrow = headlights at night
Apple Juice = ocean waves

Where chupon? Popped? Up in da sky? With da family? Mouse took it? (Last one was Carolina's suggestion that he adopted.)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Theories on where the chupon went

Mel's ideas:
"Pop. Up in the sky?"
"Went with the family"

Carolina's idea:
"A mouse took it into its hole". 

Mel's comment about Carolina's idea:
"Mouse took ina hole? With the family?"

Yup. I found it. But it's gone now. So far minimal crying. And just went to bed. Wasn't upset after nap. 

So, it's over!

Chupon no Más?

We're at the hotel on vacation, and we may have just given up the chupon by accident. I can't find it. For real. He accepts it "popped. Went up in the sky." Like a balloon. And is willing to take his nap anyway. So...

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Naps on vacation

When we travel, I have one requirement: my kid naps. I don't mean we're out and about and here's a stroller, good luck. I mean, here's a crib or bed, here's your blanket, see you in two hours kind of nap. Bedtime is a little more flexible, but not naptime. 

When we travel, I'm faced very strongly with quiet opposition and polite questioning as to why I insist. Why I'm not more flexible. Why I'm different. Why I'm overprotective. 

I'll tell you why, because today, instead of me hoping Mel falls asleep, eventually, at the beach, I brought him up to the room. He objected, yes. But after a bath to get off the sand, and before I finished reading the third (very short) story, he fell asleep. He never does this at home. 

He is tired. 
He NEEDS a nap. 
He is happier after a nap. 
I will not budge. 

Because, I know that when a kid is tired, he/she needs sleep. Not like it's a nice idea, but a need. And when naps are no more. When he's "too old for a nap", then we can drag him around the world with us. All day long. For the rest of his life with us. 

Naps are only the first handful (or less) of years. It's when they grow, when their brains develop, when language jumps happen. Sleep makes a quickly developing body function healthily. 

But really, I only ask one other person to agree with me: my husband. He's come around. So, good. 

(But why do I feel like an outcast? Why do I want others to accept my choice? I don't know. I only know I'm actually right with this.)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Monopoly, a 5 year old winner

First time ever playing Monopoly, she whooped us. Note the two hotels at Boardwalk and Park Place and all my money and property in front of her. Whooped us!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Put on his own shoes

Backwards, 'natch, but he put them both on. Completely unassisted. Hooray!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The truth about what they eat

This Times article inspired this rant. 

From The New York Times:
What if You Just Hate Making Dinner?

You know, I actually do like to cook. I like to cook for my husband, and me. My kids? Who are picky and finicky? I like to rotate them on a them-approved cycle of food THEY WILL EAT WITHOUT CRYING. It is the same weekly. It is frustrating, and embarrassing at family functions where everyone eats everything and so do their kids, or so the adults say. But no. I wish defrosting Them-approved food was easier. If Carolina would just eat something with potato, if Ismael would just eat pizza, I could defrost to my heart's content knowing they won't be "malnutritioned" and I've got something to serve other than the same 4-5 things: toast with margarine, toast with peanut butter, chicken nuggets, fish sticks, pasta with butter, beef tenderloin (only for Carolina), pizza (only Carolina), and a very limited smattering of fruit and veg. 

But that's how it is. 

I go with no crying in lieu of exciting. 

I'm exhausted now just thinking about this. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

What's singing?

In the car today with Mel, I turn on the radio and the classical music station is on. He asks me, "Who singin?" I was a little confused since no one was singing and said, "Singing? No one is singing."
He then asks, "What dat?"
And I figured out he meant the piano in the song. So I told him, "Piano. It's a piano playing." He then tells me, "Pa-ano singin!"

I really like that. 

And while waiting for Carolina to come out of school, he suddenly sees her teacher come to the door and starts yelling and jumping (with joy) "Ma Rigiz! Ma Rigiz!!"  ("Mrs. Rodríguez"). 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Read her first book on her own

One of the "Bob" books from scholastic. She read the entire thing on her own, with only some encouragement to sound out a handful of words she wasn't sure about. That's my girl!!
October 2, 2014

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

This morning when they woke up...

I walked in to wake them at 7, but they were both mostly awake. 

Before I could say, "Good morning!", Ismael jumped up in his crib and yelled, "Olaf!" While pointing at the Olaf poster on the wall we had just put up the night before. Carolina, nearly simultaneously, says, "Super Carolina, Super Carolina, my sister, Super Carolina has a teddy bear named, Fluffy."

And then I realized Ismael had peed out of his diaper and soaked the sheets. Again. 

And scene.

Friday, September 26, 2014

How he says "yes"

Mel's acknowledgment of the affirmative went from months of "ok" to "sh-yah". So it's like living with Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Early Halloween

There's no school today for Rosh Hashanah and so, this afternoon, the kids are excited about the soon-to-arrive Halloween costumes. They are walking around the living room with bags, yelling, "Trick Or Treat" and then picking up small toys and such and asking me to put them in their bags and say, "Happy Halloween."

Mel has picked out his pumpkin shirt to wear and matching socks. 

Happy Halloween, a month early, indeed. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Mel's talking quickly

All morning, he's been super chatty. Carolina as usual, was very chatty on the walk to school. Usually he's quiet on the way home, but today, he was "wha dat?" about everything. Every sound and thing he could point at. 

I'm usually great at translating what he's saying but his sentences are longer and faster and I'm not catching everything. Case in point with this short conversation earlier:

Him: chewcheew owlbort

Me: (puzzled look)

Him: chewchew owlbort

Chew chew owl-bort

Me: Again but more slowly. 

Him: Chew-chew awl bort

Me: Oh! Choo Choo! All aboard!

And scene.

Monday, September 8, 2014

First day of Kindergarten

Carolina was very excited to go to school at her new school today. We all brought her to school and her brother and I walked to pick her up. She was all smiles both times. 

At the end of school she told me, "Mommy, it was great. I did art!" Then she told me all about a new song they sang, art work they did, playing outside at recess (only big kids get recess, she said), eating lunch in the gym, and how third graders told her and other kindergarteners they couldn't use a twisty slide. "Third grade boys are silly."

She also never asked, or missed the direction, where the bathroom is (so she held it and we rushed home), and missed having a nap. When she and some other kids told Mrs Rodriguez they used to have a nap at school (because they were all tired, she said) the teacher laughed and said they were silly. 

So, my princess fell asleep just before 7.30 tonight. Poor kid. 

She's so excited to start taking the bus tomorrow!

Thursday, September 4, 2014


And so it beings... Mel isn't taking C's pushiness any more and has started to, actually, push back. Occasionally, I've notice in the past two weeks, there has been pushing or light hitting back and forth. 

So, when they both need a break, Mel goes in his crib and C is in my room. Everyone back to your corners, now come out fighting!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

More pee pee in the potty

Potty training was basically abandoned as Mel was too scared to actually go and would get easily distracted with his sister being home all the time this summer. 

Tonight, however, he had a dry diaper before bathtime and had to go after getting into the bath. He hates to pee in the tub and had no choice, by his own decision, but to go in the potty. He was very nervous but he went while holding himself with his hand, trying to hold it back. But he went!

Proud. Hooray!

School starts next week and we'll start training anew then. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Our favorite peanut butter balls

Originally posted April 2014


1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup flax seed meal
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Add oats, flax seed meal, and mini chocolate chips to a large bowl. Stir to combine.
Add peanut butter, honey, and vanilla extract. Using a wooden soon or rubber spatula, stir until thoroughly combined. The mixture will be very thick.
Shape the mixture into tablespoon-sized balls. Transfer the balls to an airtight container, separating each layer with wax paper. Store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

I recommend this recipe, it's easy and my son loves it. I only use 1 cup of oats instead of 1.5 cups, and I use an entire jar of Smucker's Natural peanut butter as well as 1/2 cup of honey (instead of 1/4 cup). I like the Smucker's Natural because the oil softens up the oats a little, which helps bind them so they're not so dry.

A horrible face was the reaction when I showed my preschooler the "cookie" I made with peanut butter and chocolate chips. Normally, she loves both these ingredients but apparently they must be kept separate.

"They're not cookies. Cookies are flat and crumbly."
Do you want some sprinkles?
"No! That'll make it worse!"


The beach and a family trip

We took the kids to the beach last week. They were well behaved and traveled the three hours in the car very well.

 I'm always pleasantly surprised how they can go so long with limited entertainment from us. Now, of course, Mel takes a nap but usually that's only about an hour and only while we're at full speed on the highway. If there's traffic and we have to stop or slow down, he's likely to wake up.

They stayed up until about 9pm each night and Mel was able to handle it best. My little Carolina is, as from day one, unable to adjust to disappointment while tired. 

She didn't nap at all this summer but clearly could use a nap. I didn't force her but tried at the beginning to encourage it. I gave up after a few days because there's no nap in kindergarten, so I didn't see the point in encouraging it over the summer. She is, however, always crying and whining when she doesn't get what she wants. She improved a small amount but she does drive me up a wall with it. I try to remember she needs a hug in those moments but it's taxing. 

They both felt very comfortable at the beach and had a lot of fun. The following weekend we went to Maryland to visit the family. The kids really liked playing with their cousins. It was good to see everyone. 

5 year check-up

Originally published May 2014

3' 4" /101.6cm (8%)
33lbs /15Kg (7%)

And healthy. Great vision and hearing. 

Two shots and blood work -- almost no crying!!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Friday, August 1, 2014

Funny things said today

At bathtime:

Mel: chupon!
Me: ok, let's empty the bath and get your chupon. 
Mel: no! Too busy!
Me: um, ok. *shrug*

At lunchtime:
C: I got syrup on my shirt. See?
Me: But I told you to be careful. 
C: I WAS careful, my pancakes weren't careful. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Cacahuates japonés

"Carolina, do you want some nuts?"
"No, mommy, I don't like nuts."
"I only like Spanish nuts."
"Spanish nuts? Oh, do you mean, cachuates japones?"
"Yes, those are good. I don't like those New Jersey nuts. They're not very good."

...and scene!

Monday, June 2, 2014

My first baby just turned 5

Carolina, Elise & Kermina -- three birthday girls!

Carolina and her little brother.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

This week's news

Mel's longest conversation just happened yesterday with his papa:

"Don't tickle me! Tickle Carolina" but it sounded more like "Dohn tih-kle me! Tih-kel Keena!"

He's become much more talkative by putting more and more words together to make sentences. It's like he turned two and a few days later woke up and just starting speaking in short sentences!

In other news, he's getting over a bad sinus infection, the antibiotics worked a charm. And Carolina just finished with an odd virus that gave her a daily fever but no other symptoms. She's finally better today after missing a week of school.

The little man is a talker at night. He will be in there, as he is now, talking to (the ceiling maybe?) and laughing. Carolina is already asleep. Gratefully, she can ignore him. The only problem is *I* can't ignore him. He's so loud and is up for, sometimes, hours. I think I need to get him on a toddler treadmill so he wears himself out more before bedtime.

Finally, Mel's recent obsession is helicopters, or 'cop-pop-ters' as he calls them. He loves them. More than airplanes. The past weekend was Memorial Day weekend and the fleet was in for Fleet Week in NYC. Every day while they were here, there were between two and five copters flying over/across Fort Lee en route from NYC to somewhere west of here. He LOVED it. We'd started to be on 'helicopter watch' at the park every day and then this happened. It was like little boy christmas for him. So we bought him a Fisher Price helicopter. Man, does he love that thing.

Boys are so different than girls.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Happy birthday to our baby

A baby no longer.  

Does Mel like cookies?

   If you're wondering "Does Mel like cookies?", let me answer that with a description:

He heard me getting a chocolate chip cookie for his sister, and saw me walking toward the dinner table. He then, took his plate from his high-chair and pushed it to the main table. Used a napkin to clean his hands. Moved his Sippy cup to the main table. Took the food he was chewing OUT OF HIS MOUTH, and put it on the table. Then he started clapping when I reached the table. 

So, yes, he likes cookies. A little.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Her first visit to the new school

Carolina had to go to a screening test this morning with her new school's nurse, and one of the Kindergarten teachers.

She was very apprehensive but didn't cry before we got there. Once she saw other kids going into the school, she was happy to identify them as 'big kids' and was curious to go in. I went with her into the nurse's office where she gave Carolina an eye exam, hearing exam, weighed and measured her. Then I had to sit in the hallway while a teacher and she went into another room. I was glad she was willing to go with the teacher alone since she was very afraid to go with the nurse alone when we first got there. I guess the nurse warmed her up to being in the new place.

When she came out, she was very happy. She was told she was very smart and got a Cinderella sticker. She was proud!

We went back to the car (again in the pouring rain), and asked her what they talked about. She would only tell me, after I asked a number of "wrong" questions, that the teacher asked her to write something on paper, some shapes, and there was "the biggest trophy I ever saw. And it was golden!"

Well, of course, because it was 'golden' it was amazing. She wanted to know all about trophies and how you can get one. I explained that the children at the school must probably compete in sports or academics, or both, and be very good at it. I continued to explain that, "In a competition for a sport or academics, like spelling, math, art, or writing, if you are the best, you win. And sometimes when you win you get a trophy."

That did it for her. She wanted one of those trophies and decided that she was going to have a sports day at the park and make a trophy on paper, invite friends and whoever won would get the trophy on paper. Then we had to figure out who she should invite.

In the midst of all this, she started to cry very loudly. It turned out she accidentally ripped her sticker and was very upset with herself ("it's not an accident. it was on purpose!") and disappointed. I suggested a few options for how we could fix it, but that wasn't good enough. So I told her that she sounded very disappointed and frustrated. That calmed her down a bit and then I just let her cry it out. She stopped just before we got to her school. By the time I walked her to her classroom, she was ready to go in.

Her biggest concern before getting to school was missing lunch. I assured her she didn't miss lunchtime, and that seemed to be okay.

All in all I think it went well. It certainly didn't make her more afraid of the place. When we go back in June for her orientation, I'm hoping she meets at least one other kid she likes and we can have them play over the summer. I found out from the school nurse that there are 'a bunch of kids from your building in this year's class', so we'll see who those kids are and hopefully they are nice kids.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

All the words he knows

Just for posterity, this is a list of all the words (that I can think of) that Mel knows with little or no prompting. The ones starred are ones that other people, besides me, can identify easily:

1.     Tree*
2.     Water
3.     Doggie*
4.     Cat*
5.     Flower*
6.     Ball*
7.     Boat
8.     Cookie*
9.     Pasta*
10.   Chicken
11.   Chocolate
12.   Apple*
13.   Strawberry
14.   Grape
15.   Pancake
16.   Cereal*
17.   Milk*
18.   Juice
19.   Star*
20.   Owl*
21.   Cow
22.   Horse
23.   Pig
24.   Baby*
25.   Look at that!
26.   That's it!
27.   Chupon* (Spanish)
28.   Zapatos (Spanish)
29.   Agua (Spanish)
30.   Shoes*
31.   Boots*
32.   Backpack
33.   Jump rope
34.   Umbrella
35.   Fish*
36.   Shell
37.   Flag
38.   Pencil*
39.   Crayon
40.   Cups*
41.   Garbage
42.   Thomas
43.   George
44.   Cheese*
45.   Jacket*
46.   Sweater
47.   Me*
48.   Mine
49.   All done
50.   Blue*
51.   Green
52.   Pink
53.   Mickey
54.   Goofy
55.   Monkey
56.   Crab
57.   Pillow
58.   Blanket*
59.   Toothbrush
60.   Up*
61.   Sit down
62.   Carry
63.   On
64.   Book*
65.   Tissue
66.   Rabbit
67.   Bunny*
68.   Percy
69.   Car*
70.   Stroller
71.  Ciao (Italian)
72. Sky*
73. Blue balloon
74. Kitty*
75. Feet*
76. Socks*
77. Pants
78. Fingers
79. Head*
80. Cheeks*
81. More*
82. Cream*
83. Lotion
84. Bath
85. Bed*
86. Diaper
87. Wacala* (Spanish)
88. Where go? /Where it go?
89. Calliou*
90. Pooh*
91. Eye*
92. Pear
93. One
94. Two*
95. Three
96. Four
97. Six*
98. Toca* (Spanish)
99. Yes*
100. Sí* (Spanish)

Friday, April 25, 2014

The evolution of a name

First he called her, "Na!" Then "Na Na!" then "Na-nee". And now he calls her "Kee-nah".

She likes this name least but I've reassured her that it'll change into her real name soon enough. 

Speaking of names, we've started to call him Mel and I've started to introduce him that way. It's easier and causes less surprise than his given name. Poor Carolina is still being called "Carolina" and not "Caroleena". It makes sense as we are here and spelled out that's how an American would say it but she doesn't seem to mind correcting people. For that I'm grateful she can speak up for herself. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

In translation

The baby's speech is getting clearer and clearer, but there are some things that he likes that he uses other words or phrases to tell us what he wants.

"Achoo" means he wants to watch Frosty the Snowman
Clapping his hands, when we're reading, means he wants to read the issue of Babybug magazine where they have a song about Clapping Your Hands.
"Happy" either means he wants to listen to the song "Happy" (Pharrell Williams) or sing Happy Birthday.
"Eh-mo" means he wants to watch Sesame Street.
"Cookie" while we're changing his diaper means he wants a diaper with Cookie Monster on it to either look at or put on. (If he says this any other time, he just wants a cookie. That's pretty much all the time.)
"Beh-beh" means he wants to go to bed or sit in a bed.
"Babies", means he wants to play with other kids. Usually in the building's playroom or at the "pak" (park). It can also mean he wants to go to his music class with the other kids, or as I tell him, "music with the babies".
"Choo choo" -- still means anything to do with Thomas or a train, or both if there's more than one option for train-related things.
"Kidz" means he wants to watch a DVD that has songs for kids and shows videos of children playing outside and singing along.

In other news, Carolina has been having a tough time in school. She's been stressed all weekend. Homework in particular threw her into a tizzy since Mrs. Robins was going to have to check it when she went to school this morning. Apparently "mistakes aren't nice", so we had a meltdown at a restaurant on Saturday since she made a mistake while drawing with crayons at the table and she was worried that she made a mistake. I had to explain that mistakes are fine in our house, and I'm in charge at home, not her teachers. I don't know what they told her at school, but good lord it made for a stressful weekend at times for us at home.

I told her I'd look for a painting class for her after school once a week since she needs a break and loves to draw.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Things the baby can do, or likes

He recognizes the color blue and says "boo".

He recognizes stars and says "Stah". 

He puts books away after he's used them, and helps to clean up his toys. 

When I go to Starbucks, he now know it is the place with cake pops (thanks to his sister), and when I walk in, he says, "Cookie!" And then tells me, repeatedly, "Coffeeee coffeee". 

He sits by himself and "reads". He likes it when Carolina "reads" to him. He has his favorite books. They change but it's mostly Potty, Good Night Thomas, I Love You Through and Through, Peekaboo Bunny, Tigger, and anything with Blue's Clues or Mickey. "Bickey!!!!"

Monday, February 24, 2014

Things are improving

Fewer and farther between are the tantrums coming from Miss Carolina. They don't last as long either. Seems about three weeks ago there was a small change and it's picking up momentum. 

About the same time, maybe two weeks prior, her brother started his "terrible twos", whereby he lets us know in his terms what he prefers and wants-- and when!

Gratefully, as we just got through almost two years of whining and crying, we know this (A) isn't that bad, (B) is necessary, and (C) will eventually end. 

Looking forward to a better-than-expected Springtime! 

Lord, I'm sick of the snow and cold this winter. So harsh! Polar Vortex can kick it elsewhere. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Delicious food my #1 won't eat

In honor of my daughter's picky eating, I'll be occasionally posting recipes of food I make that we think she MAY be willing to try but either won't or doesn't like it. And in the end, she cries about it. Here's today's attempt. 

Michele's Creamy Spicy Mac 'N Cheese 

Takes about an hour, including prep. Serves 4-6. (Anything can be swapped for less fattening versions, and seasoning can be changed for other seasonings or omitted. For example, 2c low fat milk and soy sauce instead of whole milk/cream or Worcestershire sauce.)

2c pasta (elbows or lumachine)
1c whole milk 
1c heavy cream
4tbsp butter + a bit to rub on casserole dish
1/4c flour
4 shakes Worcestershire sauce (1/4tsp)
4 shakes mustard powder (1/4tsp)
10 shakes of salt (1/2 tsp)
4 turns of pepper (1/4tsp)
8oz white sharp cheddar (save 1/2 to 3/4 cup for topping)
Garlic clove, cut in half
Couple of shakes Cayenne & Paprika  (1/4tsp each)
Bread crumbs (1/2 c)

Rub garlic on inside of casserole dish
Rub butter on inside of casserole dish

Cook pasta. 

In large pot, about 3-4 qts:
Melt butter
Add flour, salt, pepper, mustard stir with whisk
Add Worcestershire. Whisk until smooth and bubbly. 

Add milk & cream. Whisk constantly until boil. Boil 1 minute. 

Add all cheese except 1/2c reserved for topping. Stir until melted. 
Add pasta to pot. Mix cheese into macaroni.

Put mixture in casserole dish. 

Mix remaining cheese with paprika, bread crumbs, and cayenne. Toss with hands until cheese is coated with seasonings.  Put evenly on top of mixture in casserole dish. 

Cook 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Uncovered. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Things they say

There are some new things that the baby says that are cute or funny. So here's a small sample:

Bappos (Zapatos, "shoes" in Spanish)
Banket (Blanket)
Dow (Ciao, "bye" in Italian)
Ahket (Jacket)
Poon (Spoon)
Cookie (Cookie)
Cookie (Anything he wants to eat that is tasty to him, not necessarily a cookie.)
Ah-dos (Adios, "good bye" in Spanish)
Olah (Hola, "hello" in Spanish)
Punkin (Pumpkin)

And here's a little story I got from Carolina the other day in the car on the way home from school:
"Carolina, I just saw Joseph and his mommy."
"Big Jofus or little Jofus?"
"I think it was big Joseph."
"Big Jofus and little Jofus are friends. Big Jofus hugged little Jofus and he laughed."
"Do you like big Joseph?"
"No he's only friends with little Jofus."
"Ok. Do you like little Joseph?"
"Yes, he's so cute. He's little."
"You know his name is 'Joe-suf' not 'Jo-fus'."
"I know that."
"Can you say 'Joe-suf'?"
"I did. That's his name. Jofus."

I love it.