Monday, February 28, 2011

L.A Day

PThere are certain things that make me feel L.A. Yesterday morning I hit pilates while the air was crisp. That made me feel L.A. After my workout I went to Trader Joe's in search of milk and Panna Cotta. I was pained to discover that the tasty dessert had been discontinued. We are going to make our own. The instructions seem quite simple. The challenge will be locating good cream. The panna cotta is only as good as the cream.

My dinner goal is homemade pizza. I want to let TR design the pizza she wants. (I made the crust and have the toppings ready). It may get messy but she loves to cook. When i make cupcakes she breaks the eggs and that goes well.

I realized some time ago that she knows the days of the week. She may not know the names but she knows the routine. She knows when the nanny is coming and she knows which days are our chillax days.

I am wondering if she knows the time. YYesterday I told her what the days plan was, my list had dinner second. She told me it was to early for dinnertime. It was 2pm. I asked her what she knew about a time for dinner.

Saturday I drove her to gymnastics. We were running a few minutes late and as we were driving she told me to make the car run. Then she said "go faster". Last week when her daddy was driving, she told me that daddy makes the car run. So she either knew we were late or she likes a heavy pedal foot.

Since we are currently denied entry into playschool paradise, i am ramping up my playbased home efforts.
I am not going to turn home into school but stuff like making pizza is a good math; cooking and science lesson. Maybe i will have her help set the table.

I will go to the park and see if the kids do dramatic play. TR does it at home. She stands on the headboad and jumps in the river (mattress). Dramatic play with other kids develop language skills and of course the more words and experiences a child knows/is exposed to the better reader (re: comprehension) the child is.

If necessay I will get stuff together to enhance the dramatic play.

QT had his party Friday. It was long enough to eat pizza, sing happy birthday, get gifts and eat cupcakes. The rain came and the party became a play date at a nearby home.

I really love the park and the nanny circle. (Though we may have to get a new nanny) I'm still amazed that we happened to move into the neighborhood that would fit our parenting style. Its amazing because we did not have kiddies when we moved here.

I wonder what we would do if we lived in the bay. I have been to the park that has similar demographics as our neighborhood. The kids didn't know each other and they didn't know how to engage when TR tried to play with them.

We saw an open house in a cute westside 'hood. It was only $570k. That would be a bit more than rent before all the extras. The house was only 2bdrms but it was nice and gave me hope.

The house was closer in miles to the kids future school but it would take longer because we'd be in traffic. Did I tell ya'll it took me nearly two hours in traffic to make a drive that takes 15 minutes at non commute times?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

the wait

Can you believe we've been waitlisted for nursery school?

I decided not to apply to the Bay Area school. I realized that I didn't want TR to go to school until she is 4/5. She can apply to the school in the Bay at that age. The top L.A. schools are such that you need to start at birth. So we would have sent her at 2/3 here because private school entry requires it.

So our wait list most likely means she will be admittted to the school at kindergarten. So now we have two more years to play (perhaps). If they take us for the fall, we will enroll for a few days a week.

I discussed this with my mom a few weeks ago. She thinks we should delay school until kindergarten. TR is learning the things kids learn in nursery school and preschool and she has the park where she gets to socialize and have rules of play. She thinks its nice when kids can delay having to get up and out each morning.

A mom at the gym told me her twin sons had been going to daycare since 3 months of age. Now they are in kindrergarten and hate having to get up early. I told her TR can sleep in but chooses to be up at the crack of dawn.
Clearly children will just go against whatever the program is.

TR used to get up later and the nanny could make breakfast. Now she is up and demanding food and when the nanny arrives she is either eating or finished. On Friday the kids had eaten and were napping by 9 a.m. They had gotten up at 5 that morning. The nanny arrived and asked what she was supposed to do. There was nothing.

So i am going to put our Museum membership to work. If TR won't be in nursery school I get 2 more years to do the things that kids who aren't at school do. I am on it. QT and TR will be hanging tough together and with me.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

make the time

I am going to take the time today and do it. I admit fear has been a major reason why i have been slow to make it happen.

I am going to my pilates class where my butt, thighs, arms and abs will be kicked and toned. I can't continue this untoned, flabby way of life.

I don't want to be like Kyle on RHOBH and wearing a moomoo at the pool.

The good thing about my pilates class is once i spend the money i will go. I refuse to waste my dollars.

My morning will begin with class and I will figure out how to make it happen 3 days a week after this. I shall be amongst the other bloggers who are being fit. I freely admit that vanity leads me but I live in L.A., people treat the unfit poorly.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Party Time

QT was scheduled to have a party at the park this Friday. Rain is forecast so it probably will not happen. Life is tough for a winter baby, even one in L.A. where rain is rare.

My birthday is in the colder months but the sun always seems to come out and warm things up for me.

TR is invited to a birthday party on Saturday. Which reminds me that she needs to do gymnastics before Saturday. I am looking forward to the party. I have yet to do a kids party with brown people. The birthday girl takes gymnastics with TR.

Gymnastics has turned out to be a good place to meet brown parents. We were the only brown people at the baby gym. The locations are both on the westside so I don't know why their is a difference.

I look forward to starting QT at the gymnastics school. We can do TR's class and his parent and me class at the same time. I think additional family members get discounts.

We got a new fridge delivered while TR was napping. When she woke up she asked me how i made that happen. She wanted to know what I did with the refridge- a- ra-tor. She told me she did not like it and she wanted white. She was with us when we picked it out but I guess we never explained what was going on.

When we painted I showed her the colors and let her help me paint the samples on the walls I wanted them to go on. When I do that she is prepared. I will have to remember not to keep her in the loop,

I think about this type of stuff as it relates to moving. I never moved as a child. I just imagine its rough on a young child. Hopefully we will only move once while they are very young. Once they get out of 6th grade then I will feel better about changing what and who they are familiar with.

My mother moved a lot as a kid and lived between two cities. Her moving as a child is why she never wanted us to have to move as children. She wanted us to grow up with the same kids we started school with. I figure that type of stuff matters if you do not have it, so I want my kids to have it even if they don't appreciate it.

me me me

QT got his first hair cut yesterday. We went to a kiddie salon. The barber's chair was a jeep. He cried from the time she put the smock on until he got out of the jeep. He sat still though. Since its winter he still has a bit of hair. The woman just trimmed the length off.

TR's hair is growing a lot and I am debating a visit to a salon for her. There is a natural salon that does children's hair but I forgot the name. I guess i will have to get friendly with google or just go to my stylist. I realize I have to take care of her hair so it has a great start.

I would love to put it in a style that can last a week but she gets sand in her hair most days and it needs regular washing. Last night she told me she had ants in her booty. I did not see ant. This morning I realized she was saying sand. She doesn't pronounce "s" most of the time. I feel so awful when that happens. Fret not readers, she took a bath and was free from sand in her booty but it hurts my heart when she is telling me stuff and i don't immediately pay attention.

I realize that QT might require more hair maintena!nce and expense than TR. And people call boys are low maintenance. I think not!

The nanny is off today, so the kids and I are eating breakfast and then on our way to the museum. Then maybe the park. Then naptime. QT has started going to the park and he naps with the fierceness when he gets home.

In other exciting things i gave him a drink with a straw a few weeks ago and after some trial and error he drank. Now that he is one, my goal is to make the shift to whole milk and take back ownership of my breasts. He gave up the paci at a few months old. My milk jugs have been his paci and its my goal to do a fast weening. It was easy with TR. She spent the summer with my mother and had no choice but to adapt.

TR refused to get dressed so that slowed my resolve. We may make it out today, maybe not. The kids are dressed but. I am rearranging furniture. We shall play it by ear.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Intro

This weekend I had to introduce myself. The person who went before me listed her professional accomplishments. I thought her list was impressive and Hollywood. I pondered rattling off my resume but I chose to go with mother of two. I think that is impressive. Raising kids and maintaining sanity is a challenge.

I acknowledge that prior to spouse and kids, I never defined or introduced myself via career or profession. Law is what I do not who I am. I am a mommy. I find value and reward in motherhood. I help people in my work and I make money doing it, but the money just helps me offer extras to the children.

School admission letters go out this week. I know she will enjoy the L.A. school and so will we! I am so ready to get our acceptance letter so we can jump and scream and plan. It occurred to me that if she does not get in and we get in to the Oakland school, we will have a little less than 5 months to relocate. Moving is easy, finding a place to live will be the challenge. That and having a client base.

The Oakland school is the same cost as the L.a. school but Oakland does not offer financial aide. I think it is more expensive to live in the Bay. But whatev, it will all work out plus if we are in the bay when TR asks to go to her mama's house, it will be a short drive.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

play!

I have started a facebook group called, play?! It has daily updates with either play ideas and associated development, brief posts on benefits of play and i hope the future includes discussions. Mr A will be posting on physical development. The group is geared toward the early education in the age ranges of 0-1st grade.

Check it out on your fb at play?!

This should work Play?!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Week

We've had a full week.

The A family hit up Bosso Nova in West Hollywood. It was fabulous. I love that area but we were there a little late because we started seeing the gay men doing their evening shirtless runs. The party/clubbing was starting.

I noticed a Louboutin (sp) store across from the restaurant. I don't wear the shoes but I plan to go in there and look and see what the fuss is about.

Sunday after church, we attempted to check out open houses. The kids were breaking down so we went home. Once we arrived they played and played and played some more. Next time they will work on our schedule.

The nanny flaked on Monday, so we adjusted our V-Day plans and took the kids shopping.

The nanny called today and requested the day off because it was raining too hard. I'm guessing the fact that I work at home and hang out at the park makes her think I don't need reliable child care. I do need it but since I spend a week or two in the bay pretty often I figure we're well suited.

When we were in Oakland a couple of weeks ago I forgot to call and tell her. I called her and she told me she could not come. I think she is having morning sickness but she has not disclosed anything to me.

We wanted to go to the Skirball but Mr A said he wasn't a fan of taking the nanny and having 3 adults and 2 kids. When she called in today, I figured it worked well.

So we hit the Skirball and had a great time. Today we only visited Noah's Ark. We have a museum membership with Reciprocal privileges so we'll go again and view the other exhibits.

Every thing in the Ark was hands on for the kids. Its a great place.

I notice Jewish museums are big on children's museums with hands on and make-believe exhibits. I also notice that most of the play-based schools in L.A. are Jewish. I figure they are on to something. I'm on it too.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Words With Kids

I was reading how family dinner helps children become better readers. It has a bigger impact than story time.

My mom and my mom's cousin (both educators) advised me when TR was born to have a language rich environment. They said if i put her on a blanket to say the texture, the color, etc. If we are taking a walk discuss the environment. Point out the trees, flowers, birds, etc.
Now we take walks and TR points to trees, the sky, she discusses her love of flowers. She likes to spot the moon and stars. It's amazing how much babies receive and recall.

Families that have dinner conversation turn out better readers. Of course the type of conversation counts but I am assuming my blog readers aren't hood and lacking expanded vocabularies. I don't need to get into details with people who grasp appropriateness of conversation.

Here is a little PDF I googled.Family Dinner

I met with a client last week and her teenage child with behavior problems qualified for speech services. She said his speech was fine. We reviewed the IEP and the pathologist said he lacked the ability to express himself. The mom said he expressed himself well.

The boy showed up and was discussing some problem he had and used the phrase, "wompdy, womp, womp". I despised when such phrasing gained popularity. I have always considered it hood but maybe it's that people lack an ability to verbalize thoughts. I saw the Yada, Yada, Yada, Seinfield episode but I imagine such lingo is limited to more social situations.

If this kid was saying that type of stuff to an assessor then he likely lacks exposure to language.

I certainly would like my kids to be able to code switch but there is a section of my people who are trapped with emotion they cannot express. Back to play, this kid is young enough to be victim of high stakes testing and it's impact on early childhood education. I am discovering that removing play from young children is creating a generation of young adults unable to self-regulate and who have behavioral problems including ADD. Madness.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

weekend time

We are home and the children are napping. I pondered going to a kid friendly place but i realized I don't want to deal with weekend crowds. Its calmer on weekdays. Its also nice weather today so i expect the crowds to be out in force.
A benefit of working for myself is being able to do things on weekdays.

We were "invited" to a baby shower but its all the way in CPT. My kids must be exhausted because they have been down since we left gymnastics. Its terrible of me to dred driving 20 miles but it is what it is. I wanted to take the kids but i did not want to take tired children.

Gymnastics is turning out to be a good opportunity to meet similiar age brown kids who live on the Westside.

The bulk of TR's daily playmates are white so its nice to have her interact with little brown kids. She's been invited to a birthday party for one of the kids at gymnastics.

I am noticing that a lot of the parents are a bit older. They seem to be 40* with 3 year olds. I thought i was old. I do understand the reasoning. You can choose to be better off financially and have kids older or have them younger and still be building. Or you can move to cheaper regions and have kids young. I know people who make that choice be cause they do not see the possibility of owning a home and offering their kids they things they want to.

I think kids inspire people to work harder. Having a kid changed my entire work ethic and increased my hunger for success. My success is not for me now. Its for my kiddies. I have a reason and purpose to make lots of money. I need to send my mom a love token for encouraging me to finish law school. I am sure i would have a business had i not finished but law is a great launching pad. I can finance my aspirations and still have time to pursue personal and
Different professional goals.

I need to reflect on what i was posting about. I was trying to post on weekday v weekend amd got off track.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Jinxes

My day of leisure turned into a day of work. I blame myself. I usually keep my plans to myself and keep my energy good.

But its okay because I made that money. I might be out of shape but I can afford to buy clothes to hide the fat.

that mom

So today i will be that L.A. mom with a nanny. I'm on my way to meet a client and then i am on my way to pilates. Its a tough life but someone has to live it. The nanny is giving the kids their breakfast and i am loungin in bed.

I know some mommies feel they get extra points for not having free time. I am sorta that woman but i am trying to leave martrydom behind. I have not been going to pilates because in my head, the nanny should only be utilized if i am working. But i am realizing that's a bit dumb.

Its a dumb as people who use daycare thinking they are somehow more noble than peopke who use nannies, or people who use family thinking they are better than people who use daycare. Only SAHM's are with their kids so all high horses can fall back.

QT just looks at bottles because he has spent all but a week of his infancy drinking milk straight from the breast. Do i think that makes me better than a mom who uses formula? Nope. As long as folks feed the baby.

Anyway, now that my baby is nearly one its time for me to inch my way back into the world. I can't do that with this jiggle in my thighs. Plus we're going to Brazil this summer. I will not be outshined by a hot brazilian booty.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

race to nowhere

PI am hoping to view "Race to Nowhere" soon. This movie is about the pressure students are under in a culture of educational achievement. Its focus is on middle and higher income families who overschedule their children and force 24/7 lives on them.

I expect the current generation to raise their children differently. They will probably let their kids play amd not plan their life from womb to tomb. I read an article today about parents redshirting their boys and having them start kindergarten at 6. Since kinder is the new first grade they want their sons , who tend to mature after girls and lag in the development of certain skill, to have an age advantage.

It bugs me the way school is impacting so much of culture. I do not get what is going on. Have parents forgotten that kids are people. I hope to never be the parent who punishes my child over grades or school achievement. This is why I want to foster a love of learning in my kids.

I want them to enjoy learning for the value of knowledge not to produce a grade and avoid punishment. I loved to learn as a kid. The school we are applying to doesn't give grades until upper school. They provide progress reports that describe what the child is doing and they have meetings to discuss.

I am all for academic rigor but everyone needs down time. In other things all these crazed parents present a business opportunity that i've tried to get Mr A to look into. The idea actually came from my mother but it makes sense.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Brotha, Brutha

I went to criminal court today. I am quite sure that blacks and browns are not the only people committing crimes in Alameda County. A morning in court makes me believe that blacks and browns are the only ones being charged and taken to court.

My client is a young black man. He came into contact with the po-po because his car was parked at an "odd angle" at a gas station.

I don't buy that because 1) his car is too big to be parked odd at a gas station, 2)when did odd rise to probable cause to stop a person? 3) the officer did a check on his plates and waited for back up so he saw my client getting gas.

The gas station is nearly on the same lot as the city's police station. I plan to ask the cop if crime is high at the police station.

I tell ya. Don't sleep on accusations that the criminal justice system wants black men.

I won't get into the illegal search and police report full of lies and a handwritten by the cop and signed by my client, who was given the statement and told to sign.
He wasn't given the option to read it or make corrections.

Black men know better than to antagonize police in cities that want to stay white. It's better to acquiese than to be shot down. Heck this police department recently shot a woman who was unconscience so, being agreeable doesn't matter.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Stand

Yesterday, QT decided to stand up. We were with family and we all cheered. He loved it!

TR decided to walk at a family reunion. Clearly my children like to time things to get the most applause.

I love to see QT crawl. I call him ANT because he likes to crawl with things in his hands. He moves things around. His little booty just looks adorable to me as he moves across a room. He moves his little cars, water bottles, blocks, anything.

One day he put a toy in his mouth and carried it around that way. I'm not clear on why he needs to transport his toys, but I admire his ant like work ethic.

I realize how similarly children develop and while my kids literally do the exact same stuff/develop at similar ages, there are lots of things that make each kid unique and enjoyable to watch.

Today QT was at the kitchen door trying to shut it. My mom put a book in the back so he couldn't shut the door and hurt his fingers. He tried to shut the door and could not. He checked it out, saw the book and crawled to the book and tried to remove the book.

I can tell QT likes to investigate how things operate. He likes to take things apart and see the inside. He might be the kid who does better in a more structured school. I'm already trying to figure out if a play-based school would fit him. We shall see.

Right now, TR is having me stir and eat imaginary yogurt. She should be napping. QT is off with Mr A. One of his Oakland friends is a football coach and has a student who is going to West Point. Mr A and QT went to talk West Point with the boy.

Imagination

I love witnessing my babies grow and develop and imagine.

QT is at the age where anything and everything is a telephone. He puts an object to his ear, says hi, has a pretend conversation and hands the phone to me.

This weekend TR took a cup, put a small ball on the rim and offered me an ice cream cone. Yesterday, or was it Sunday? she had me wrap a blanket over her back and she said she was a butterfly. She moved the blanket around and told me to look at her wings. Then she asked me to clap my wings with her.

The imaginations of children is a joy. I am wondering why I didn't go into Early Childhood Education. I could run a school or parent.

My love of and belief of the joys and importance of play is why I am near obsessed with TR going to a play based, developmentally appropriate school. I require a school that implements the principles, not one that just calls itself that.

I just think its torture to sit a 4 and 5 year old down at a desk and have an adult lecture them and then give worksheets. Then "play" time is teacher directed. I want my kiddies to have the ability to organize a kickball game in 30 seconds without teacher/adult assistance. Those skills are necessary if they are going to be leaders of anything in the future.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Ark

Noah's Ark at the Skirball

Inside a floor-to-ceiling wooden ark, filled to the rafters with whimsical animals, you and your family will play, build, climb, explore, make music, make friends, and more. Conduct a storm, help construct the ark, and bask in the glow of a beautiful rainbow. Mingle with hundreds of fancifully handcrafted animals—from cuddly companions to life-sized puppets—all crafted from recycled materials and everyday objects, including bottle caps, bicycle parts, baseball mitts, croquet balls, mop heads, and rear-view mirrors.

Unique to the Noah's Ark experience are impromptu "happenings," surprise interactions, and drop-in activities. While visiting the galleries, meet a puppet, or create a take-home art project. Then round out your visit by experiencing the outdoor rainbow mist in the arroyo park just outside the galleries.


That is the plan for Friday. We shall see how it works out.

We've decided to get a family museum membership. It will be cheaper because of the reciprocation agreements. I'm thinking we'll join Zimmer since its close to home.

I want to visit Kids Space, which will be $40 bucks for the 4 of us. If we take 3 family trips we will break even. 3 museum trips will be easy. I just need to find out exactly how reciprocation works and the restrictions.

Many of these places have weekday morning programs. As a mother who works from home I know the need is great. It's nice to have child centered places to take your children and yourself during the day.

The timing of much of the stuff excludes working moms and dads. As a work at home mom I often have to ignore work to take advantage of programs. I am fortunate to have that flexibility. I guess stuff is geared toward families who can afford to drop 40 and 50 bucks on
admission and $200 on a 4 week toddler gardening class on one income.

But such is life in a big city. There are many options and those options cost.

Note: Admission to Skirball is free each Thursday. It's harder to get tickets to see Noah's Ark on the free day.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

much better

I imagine some would look at my life and wonder if I am cursed. Despite the tragedies that apparently are the norm
Of my existence I think my family and myself are blessed. It is a complicated theory I have but I am sure of it. I do pray and hope for some years of consistent sunshine because these rains are heavy.

After reading just a few chapters of Home Comforts, I have created a home journal and have put things on a schedule. It is working out quite well. Routine makes day to day life run smooth.

I have finally gotten my personal paperwork organized and my work paperwork. It feels great. My desk has been cleared of the pile and its all ordered and handled. I organized things in a way that is good for my brain and how I process.

We decided to put panties on TR. The first day she had to change clothes 3 times, day 2 she changed once and day 3 was total success. She has been mostly potty trained for months but I was not willing to take the diaper off. I decided to go for it. Next up- QT.

I filed our taxes on the last day of January. I typically file one year or more late. This year I got it in as soon as my 1099's arrived. Now I want my refund! We are seeking financial aide for nursery school so the taxes are necessary.

While I was wasting time online I opened an email from the state bar. I realized, after reading, that bar dues were due that same date. I just made it at 4:56. I did not want to be penalized financially if I was late. Nxt year I will mark my calndar so I am not unaware of time/deadlines.

Mr A and I switched to Verizon. The plan was to drastically reduce our home phone service and pay more for Verizon ad its great network. When I called to cancel the home phone they slashed the bill in 1/2 for the same plan. These phone providers are extortionist!

There is more.......I am too sleepy to focus.