Category Archives: 3

What It’s Really Like

It’s 10am. I’m supposed to be working.

Earlier today, Sweetpea was so distraught that she could not walk. Elle — screaming for her purple baby and Gretchen — losing her mind because she’s in the car seat? I shut the door to the car, looked at George and took a mental break.  It’s quiet, the train whooshes, I can feel gentle rain on my face, a slight breeze.

But wait let’s start in the beginning.

Bike Full O Dogs_Ginza_Mar 2018
Because dogs and things

That’s right, Gretchen is older now so she’s hungry and snacks/eats every 1-2 hours through the night. So at 3:45am I am simply exhausted. I do not get up. I sleep til 5:45am. I order baby food. I see an email from my boss asking if we’re having our “3pm” call….or 4am here (which means a 3:30am wake up). I write and say I slept right through it and that we’d cancelled (we had but it was still on the calendar). That starts my day off wrong. Then I read my boss’ second email and associated question…the distance means no face to face.  I will inevitably spend the entire day reeling with concern. Am I doing a poor job? Did I make a really dumb mistake. Should I write him and apologize? Should I laugh and say how on earth did I miss that (turns out it was a system malfunction!)? I log back into my computer and decide apologizing sounds whiny and annoying so after spending 30 minutes to log in and load email…I opt to close my laptop. Usually children are sleeping when I work so of course Gretchen is trying to stand up on me and Elle…who knows. We have 20 minutes to be out the door. I throw on clothes, evaluate whether to make our daily smoothies and/or coffee. I opt not to and grab a yogurt.

Ginza: Who doesn’t want to go “Running Running” when the street is shutdown!

Fast forward to the rain, the quiet, the train and I start doing the mental checklist…we have three showered children, everyone has shoes, jackets, waters, snacks and activities for the 30 minute drive. George grabs the pump and requisite bottles. Food was just reordered this morning before I got out of bed (thank you for delivering organic/non-gmo infant food). I have the wipes that were requested. I have forgotten the diaper rash cream again and Sweetpea’s boots are simply worn out and I am embarrassed by them.

We get in the car, I debate stopping at the vending machine down the street for warm, canned coffee…opt not to. Validate we have taken out the trash for today, fed and walked the dogs, and that we have money for the tolls on the highway. Not related to each other just part of the morning routine. We start our trek to drop off George and kids for preschool/daycare. I thank George for dressing Elle and taking care of the dogs, the trash and loading the car.

Running Running_Z_Ginza_March 2018
Strollers are for pushing…who sits anymore?!?!?!

Then starts the 30 minute – one hour childcare drop off. Elle is apparently needing an extra long hug before settling in for her second breakfast. I give said hug and savor the moment to remember one day I will be the ugh mom with an eye roll. She settles in with a smile and waves me off.

Sweetpea has a hobble that has continued since Sunday…growing pains? Sprain/break from her fall from her ice skating field trip? I make a mental note to call the doctor after I drop off Gretchen. Sweetpea hobbles off and I’m convinced her injury is somewhere between nothing, growing pains or something. I give her three kisses (cheek, forehead, cheek), tell her I’m proud of her and smile back at her.

Gretchen chooses this morning to be the morning Mom CANNOT leave her. So I go pump, get about half of what I need, frown at the formula and complete the check in process. G has decided she needs to follow me around and crawls a solid 25 ft to be nearby. I bring her over, she watches me finish labeling bottles, sign her fully in, fill out her daily sheet and try to leave. She loses her mind. I sit down with her and try to give her a bottle. Nope. Not today. So I bring her over to her teachers, help her settle in with a toy and then sadly leave. #MomGuilt

I rush out, call the doctor. He’s available in an hour. Darn. I need to start working. I am able to do some admin work for 30 minutes. I go grab Sweetpea. Doc says yes it’s probably growing pains. Ok. Let’s go. I decide we should run by the children’s store to see if they have boots on sale…they do. Fine, throw out those old ones. I drop Sweetpea back at preschool.

About 40 minutes later I’m settling in for work. Please don’t fire me boss man. I’m trying so hard.


If You Give a Toddler a Lollipop

She will stick it in her hair.

That’s the theme of this last week. A calamity of events I’ll say. But you know we did it together and it was AWESOME. Seriously.

My youngest brother is getting married later this month to an amazing lady whom I love. It is important to me that we attend. So naturally four of us, sans George (still on his business trip), piled into a plane and took a quick hop home … ok not so quick. Our first flight was 9 hours.


So I thought I’d reflect on flying solo and general travel with three for a minute. Let’s start at leaving our house…Armed with the standard flying luggage…you know my trusty umbrella stroller, two car seats, one large luggage roller bag with clothes to support 40’F to 80’F weather, activity backpacks and the standard infant necessities I marched the crew to the train. According to Google that should take 3 minutes…it took an hour (lugging all that down two flights of concrete stairs is a challenge). Then fast forward two hours on the train where Elle decided she was done with the train…I think the icing on that cake was the final train station didn’t have an elevator and had four flights of concrete stairs. That took another hour and I hurt myself (hip flexors I think) double wearing and carrying that luggage bag.


We had left the day prior to our flight to ensure no last minute awesomeness. When we arrived at the hotel in high spirits (at 1 am…Hahahaha) our elation was somewhat crumpled when our flight out was cancelled. Okay…so naturally the next day we walked to the local library in the rain because it would rain all day…and enjoyed a good read. That walk to and from the library was full of Sweetpea chatter….jokes, realizations and lessons she needed to teach me, advice on life, and the ever reassurance that I’m a strong Mom and that I can do this. As we traipsed back to our hotel, the moments were not lost on me. I felt I had the biggest smile and warmest heart. What a beautiful moment in time. I will treasure this.


Ok yes another fun fact about travel is sometimes little ladies get a little bit uneasy about new places to sleep. I celebrated the hotel when I saw the pack and play but quickly realized no one, including Gigi, wanted anything to do with it. So I found it immensely entertaining that to fit all four of us in a double (full? I don’t know whatever is one size down from a queen) we all had to sleep cross wise on the bed. I’m just glad that all 5’3” ish of me is around the width of that mattress. The room was the last room available (and in shuttle range of the air terminal)…Elle felt so special snuggled right next to me…except this lovely little lady felt the need to name and point out each body part she knew on all sleeping people: Toe!!!!! Nooooooo (nose)!!!!! Ear!!!!! Her enthusiasm was precious and punctuated with giggles and laughter with Sweetpea. At first, I was irritated and then listened to them and hoped those precious sounds are something I will always remember.



To be honest, I chose a military flight (Space A) for our first adventure because mistakes are bound to happen ie how does one get on or off an airplane with capable four yr old, an infant, a toddler who runs and two car seats (yup…no idea…just realizing that one)…I didn’t think that one through. Not to assume my military sisters and brothers aide….but I did and I will pay the amazing support forward.

So some of the fun:
1. You know with three someone oftentimes needs something. There is hardly a dull moment. BUT….after three hours of Elle’s frustration (the standard crying, yelling, screaming, anger with brief lulls as toys and her gracious neighbor temporarily distracted her) at being in her car seat…she passed out.
2. Right when Elle passed out…Gigi woke up. BUT with three hours til landing — Gigi fell asleep.
3. Right when Gigi fell asleep, Sweetpea had her first melt down on this plane…the warming eye mask I’d brought with us was too hot for her and didn’t fit her head. So a lullaby later, snuggled in an airplane blanket, she fell asleep.
4. I promptly fell asleep…Elle and Gigi in their car seats and Sweetpea…well she had two seats by the window by herself and was now fast asleep with her legs shooting into the isle.
5. I do not think the four of us can fit in the airplane bathroom. Thankfully I had car seats to secure kids in…not sure how I feel about leaving kids for restroom breaks. I’m really not such the fan.
6. Lollipops were genius for take off/landing until I saw Elle matte it in her hair.
7. New toys were great time passers….Sweetpea informed me that her next fidget spinner …well she wants one to light up one “like Cyrus”…her preschool buddy. Peer pressure starts so young…as does consumerism!
8. Filling out customs forms is simply hilarious. “On this flight the flight attendant does not have a pen so please borrow from your neighbor.” That’s funny…or not. Because seriously where did I pack the pen….
9. I was so thankful for some of the games on my tv monitor…that blackjack game kept my brain awake. I just don’t like the idea of falling asleep while holding Gigi. I should be fine but that “should” factor has many endings some of which I want nothing to do with…that’s a horrid thought.


Two to Three Kids!

We welcomed Gigi into our lives a little over a week ago. So far she is the most amazing baby ever.  Just a generally happy little girl.  She sleeps through Sweetpea and Elle’s anti-quiet playtime and generally goes with whatever is going on.  Before having her, 3 didn’t seem to bad. Now we’re a week or so into it all and … as a good friend said…having more children is still introducing a new person to your routine.  So yes things area bit slower, take a little longer, but so far so good.

Zoey_Negishi Park_Sept 2017_3
Elle LOVES Gigi

My only real concern is Elle.  She LOVES baby G.  She seriously thinks Gigi is her real live baby.  Allot of my time is spent protecting Gigi from Elle.  In an effort to make interactions positive, we’re focusing on gentle touches and loving sister…but not LOVING sister.  So lots of watching there.

Sweetpea is an INCREDIBLE help

Sweetpea argues with me to help more.  I don’t want her to feel burdened by siblings or helping but she seriously wants to.  I have to make an effort to not ask her for too much.  She will go and do so much.  I’d rather she still be four.

So that leaves me.  I thought I’d be honest.  Physically, consistent with the past, I’m about 10 lbs from my pre-baby weight.  That will go away soon due to breastfeeding.  I bring this up because the first indication someone sees is physical.  So it looks like everything is great.  The problem is sometimes there is more than physical.  For me, post baby can be a time of difficulty.  I do great on the physical return to myself, it’s the brain part that’s difficult.  I get anxious.  Post Sweetpea I didn’t realize that not everyone experiences anxiety/depression.  So this time, I’m focusing on establishing a routine, doing something every day for me, task management, organization, taking vitamins, getting out of the house in the mornings (when I’m anxious).  Things seem to be progressing better than in the past…which is so good.  I’ll be solo-parenting here soon so the better off I am…I’d really appreciate it.

Three Year Old Thoughts

Somehow Sweetpea is three now! I’m finding a lot of the things I wanted her to internalize…she has.  Which is good! It’s great until she uses the same logic, words, thoughts back to you.   This is great!  So when I’m all piping mad about something, having the where with all to hear her say “Mommy, belly breathe.”….Yes that’s what I want you to do too big girl.  So lead by example Mommy.  Anyhow, I wanted to tack on some new-ish thoughts I have on parenting (in addition to my Two Year Old Words).

1. Options

I like the idea of presenting Sweetpea with options.  Life has options right? — so you should be able to make good decisions based off of the options in front of you.  Well…sometimes you really have to wear your jacket because it’s just cold out and you WILL get sick.  I could go for the she’ll figure out the consequence route but sometimes I really don’t want to give her an option.  So we’ve started instituting “sometimes there are options but sometimes there are none. ” So I tell Sweetpea, if I say “can you” or “would you like to” or any other such open ended statement…you have the option of choosing.  If I tell you “Sweetpea go do X”…there is no option.  You will do X.  Why? Because I told you to.  I will give you three seconds to decide to do X.  If you don’t do X, then……….I’m still working on the then part.  But it usually means things like “you will not get the treat you want.” I’ve started thinking about this no option element because sometimes in life an authority figure will tell you to do something.  You can question it, ask why, but if you want to do something…you pretty much have to do it.

2. Decisions

I really want Sweetpea to make her own decisions.  She should think through her decisions and be proud of them.  I have a problem with indecisiveness.  Make a decision and move forward.  If your decision was a bad one, learn from it.  So in conjunction with the above option route, if you make a decision…either own it or learn from it.  Goodness that sounds harsh.  I want her to make strong decisions.  Thinking through the consequence of your decision is important.  You can make good decisions (that aren’t ours either).  Take pride in your thoughts and be you.

3. Who is in Charge?

This has been a big one over the last six months.  Sweetpea is an independent little lady who likes to tell people what to do and parent other children.  If someone sets a rule, she will ENFORCE it.  We’ve talked about who is in charge…You can ask Sweetpea “Who is in charge?”…She will say “I am in charge of me and Mommy/Daddy are also in charge of me.” (When she’s mad at me she’ll say Daddy…).  So we’ve tried to stress if another friend is doing something they’re not supposed to do…it’s not your job to correct them.  Sometimes when she doesn’t want to follow the “order” mentioned in #1 of this post, I’ll ask her “Sweetpea, who is in charge.” That’s usually when I get “Daddy”…So we talk about it and then we work through the frustration of being told what to do…and she does what she needs to do.

4. Respect

I really think it’s a two way street.  As Sweetpea has become more capable in verbalizing her thoughts and feelings, I feel that giving her room to be herself is imperative.  To me, this means that when she has a thought or something to share, it’s important that she share them and be heard.  However, we’re working on not interrupting.  I…am the worst at that.  It’s extremely rude!  So we say “Excuse me” and wait.  Sometimes this means she says “Excuse me” fifty times to someone who isn’t listening…I think being heard is important (as is standing up for yourself when someone isn’t listening).  Someone can be me, George, a friend…It’s a matter of giving and receiving respect.  We’re all working on this.

5. Compromise and Whining

I REALLY hate whining.  I hate the “pa-leeeeeeeeeaaaaaassssssssseee”.  No.  If you want something and I say yes…well be patient.  This means if I say no, I really have to mean it.  A “no” needs to be reasonable, defensible and logical.  So I have to think through what I say yes or no to.  It takes a minute!  So she’ll work herself up over something and start whining.  I look at her and say “ok let’s start over.”  She’ll raise up on her tip toes, calm down, and say “Mom, it really means a lot to me to have Y.” (It is usually yogurt and after 3-4 servings…you really need to have something else!)  So then I institute a redirection or compromise.  Compromising is a good concept I think but sometimes I think I’ve taken it too far.  I’m still working on what this means.  Basically sometimes we can compromise, but sometimes it’s just not an option.  We’ve really tried to focus on when to compromise and when not to.

7. Name that emotion!

I think being able to describe your emotions is healthy.  So we’ve spent time trying to describe how finishing a puzzle makes us feel, or how stubbing our toe….Maybe I’m wrong but I think when you’re able to relate to your emotions it’s good.  I’d rather her be able to say what is wrong rather than blow up over everything that doesn’t make sense.

8. Hey! You did exactly what I wanted you to do!!

It’s equally important to me that she be able to be proud of herself and accomplish things.  Our struggle of late has been “I can’t I can’t I can’t.”  I’m not sure where it’s coming from.  So I try to sit down next to her and help her solve her problems.  Our latest one has been putting her shoes on.  She’s more than capable of putting them on herself.  So I’ve found that my little lady needs to be shown things (which is completely the opposite of who I was as a child).  So I try to breathe, and help her put on her shoes and then say “SEE!!! You can do hard things can’t you!” Then I ask her how it makes her feel and we go on with our day.  Maybe she just needs the extra attention.

7. TV

This one is difficult for me.  I didn’t have a TV growing up (until the age of 12ish).  I think creativity and activities are important.  I’m trying to work on a sense of balance.  So we’ve come up with the rule of Saturday and Sunday you can watch TV.  Sommmetimes during the week we watch Daniel Tiger as well.  But I think the key is to remember moderation.

8. Screen Time

Another tricky and contentious topic.  At the end of the day, laptops, tablets, phones (and who knows what she’ll have) will be part of her life.  I don’t think she should spend hours with a tablet/phone/whatnot, but I do think that having the opportunity to play here and there with one is probably important too.  If anything I’m worse than she is.  So I need to temper my own screen time.  We’ve invested a few dollars (less than $10) in some aps that seem to be good.  We like Luminosity and Daniel Tiger games so far.  I also downloaded a logic game and a drawing letters game both of which she loves.  So I just try to guide the screen time experience. Balance.

9. Sugar

Something I also struggle with is my own sugar intake…So in an effort to teach balance and moderation, we talk about having 3 sweets a day.  I’m thinking of purchasing a food pyramid and trying to use that to gauge balance.  Maybe that’s over the top but it will help me also follow what she’s eaten in a day.  I more or less count calories for her so I’m on top of whether she will be hungry (read sleep through the night or not) or not.  So in an effort to make sure it’s a balance, I’ve been thinking of getting a poster so she can look at it and try to learn to moderate her own diet.  I figure it’s important to start young.