Thursday, November 28, 2013

PSA: Just do it


NOTE TO SELF (for gloomy days where everything feels especially arduous):

Yesterday was decidedly, stubbornly a dull, monochromatic, life-sucking grey. And since I’m a creature of the Sun, grey days and I? We’re not buds. Hell, we’re not even frenemies. On days like that, especially when it’s wintry outside, the cold feels chillier, the lifeless, barren trees more ominous, and running seems a lot harder.

On days like that, I don’t even want to leave the house, let alone purposefully get outside just to run. I waited for the sun to appear all morning, but by 3:30, when the light was threatening to disappear altogether, I forced myself into my big-girl pants (and ColdGear shirt, softshell thermal jacket, headband, hat, windproof gloves, socks, and shoes – yes, it’s a frickin’ ordeal) and forced myself again to get outside in freezing temperatures.

After a few minutes, however, it didn’t feel so bad. I tricked myself into going out there by saying that I would only do a slow three miles, just to get it done, and then reward myself with hot tea and a hot shower. But by mile 3, my body was already used to the elements, and honestly, it really wasn’t that bad. So I completed the hour of running that I had initially planned for the day, and man, did it feel good at the end! The hot shower felt especially blissful and sweet.

Moral of the story? The dreading is often a lot worse than the doing itself. Once you’re in the middle of it, you just might surprise yourself and realize it’s not as bad as you’d envisioned. And the accomplishment is always far more rewarding, knowing you didn’t want to in the first place but did it anyway. (As Dora says, “You did it, you did it, you did it, Hooray!” Hey, I’m a mom to preschoolers, what did you expect? Nietzsche?)

I know this isn’t news to you, but it has to be said: Sometimes, actually, most of the time, it’s all in your head. So go ahead, whatever it is that you’re dreading? Just do it. I’m pretty sure you’ll be glad you did.


“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” - Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche.

p.s. This Just-Do-It PSA is intended for those with good intentions only. If you have evil intentions, please ignore this post. In fact, I urge you, don’t do it. Don’t kill, steal, lie, cheat, rob, light things on fire, talk with your mouth full. Got it? OK, good.

p.p.s. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Remember, if you want to work off that turkey (or its vegetarian equivalent and stuffing and sweet potatoes and cornbread and green beans and pie) the next day – say it with me - just do it.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The day she turned five

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Little Miss turned five on November 13. I used to be on top of things, and I’d have something written and ready the night before so a “Happy Birthday!” post would be published the day of her very special day. Except I’m not that person anymore. This blog is still suffering from a backlog, so here’s the belated post, many days late but with no less love.

On her birthday, a little over a week ago on Wednesday, Little Miss asked to skip preschool. We said yes and even offered her her choice of museums as a treat. She picked the Adler Planetarium (good choice) but after waking to Christmas in November in the morning, Little Miss Homebody decided to – surprise surprise – stay home to play with her presents and craft instead.

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In her new Ariel, her favorite princess, nightgown that her grandparents sent her in the mail, which she wore all week.

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I had to pull a craft out of my ass that morning because I so was not prepared for that request. Here, they’re making Fall trees.

It was understandable that she didn’t want to leave the house. I wouldn’t have that much patience to wait to get back to my gifts either, let alone an eager five-year-old with her haul. (OMG. She’s five years old! FIVE!)


Naturally, a day – no, a week – all about Little Miss was her little slice of heaven as it involved nearly everything she loves, like Dim Sum (Chinese brunch), princess-y toys, the entire collection of the Magic Tree House books, new PJ’s for her favorite Pajama Days at home, and a lovely Afternoon Tea, or High Tea, as we call it in Malaysia. 

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Going for the most chocolatey-looking thing they could see first. Of course.

When the tower of sugar arrived, the girls could scarcely contain themselves, We had to swat their little fingers off like flies, trying to quickly grab a picture or two (and I think that’s all we got) before they descended on the treats like locusts. My Guy and I had to convince them to eat at least two sandwiches, which were thankfully presented in cute, mini shapes so they were an easier sell, before they downed the pastries.

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My favorite picture of my favorite people in the world from the evening.

We also did a lot of “no, no, please be careful” and “no, no, please don’t touch that", wincing every time the two-year-old’s fingers grabbed, touched, pointed at a delicate Victorian plate or decor. The bull in the china shop has nothing on my kids in this elegant pastry shop. Seriously.

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Sometimes I have to force myself to remember, “the mom stays in the picture.”

In the end, much sugar was consumed and no plates or cups were broken in the making of this birthday girl’s dream come true. And Little Miss felt like a little lady with a teacup to her mouth and her pinky in the air, just as she had hoped. Then she told us she didn’t like the herbal apricot tea.

We expected that as we’d omitted the sugar in her tea. Can you blame us?

That evening, at bedtime, she wrote in her Happy Journal – a gift from me for her fifth birthday – the three things that made her happy that day, and the entry looked like this. (Yes, yes, I know. A journal is supposed to be private, but maybe she wouldn’t mind sharing just this one time? After all, this is the girl who told everyone – including strangers – my age every chance she had. You know what they say about payback…)

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Nothing earth-shattering, really. But these were the things that made my five-year-old happy that day. And on her birthday, that’s all that matters right?


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Next up, The Birthday Party. Wait till you see what she wrote in her journal about that! Oh right, no more revealing secrets. Bad mommy. Bad, bad mommy.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Blogging backlog

We are both spacing out in the car when I look back at Pickle, who meets my gaze and simply says, “I don’t want to be a bluebird, mommy.”

I have no idea what she means.

We haven’t been talking for a few minutes, and even in our conversations before this, there was no mention of birds, blue or otherwise. Sometimes I wonder what goes on in her head.

It’s our weekly trip to the grocery store, and things are starting to feel pretty normal again. Since my last post here, which was just before Halloween, nearly three weeks ago (gasp!), things went a little crazy, and I didn’t think I could ever catch up. I’m still not there yet, in fact, but not being here, not writing, is also making me a little stabby, so here I am.

Let’s start with Halloween.


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After weeks of anticipation (costumes! bucket load of candy! strangers with candy! strangers giving away their candy! eating strangers’ candy! candy for breakfast! candy for lunch! candy for dinner! squee!) it rained heavily that day. It was the only day that rained that week. 

My daughters, also known as the Witch and her Black Kitty for the day, went to school with their costumes in a bag for their little Halloween party, but by the time we picked them up at the end of the day for trick-or-treating, Pickle had already soiled hers. Diarrhea, apparently.

Of course.

Little Miss braved the elements to go trick-or-treating with her daddy, because, come on, what could possibly come between a four-year-old and her candy? I stayed home with Pickle, who seemed a little out of sorts, but then something magical happened. The rain finally stopped.

And since I found Little Miss’ old Ladybug costume, I couldn’t just keep Pickle from the festivities so I called My Guy, who came back for us, and we managed to hit a few more houses before it started pouring on us again. By then they already had enough candy to last them till Easter, so we called it a night and made our way to a neighbors’ Halloween party, and a great time was had by all. At least it was a happy ending to a shitty day. Hah!

Oh, did I mention My Guy and I went in costume too? We went as characters from…drum roll please…Star Trek! I know, what a big surprise. Because of the wet, chaotic day, we hardly took pictures of ourselves, sadly, so here’s the few we managed.

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I think My Guy was just as excited about his costume than the girls were about theirs. Probably even more so since he was the first one to dress up that day – this was 9am!

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We practiced at home: “Trick or treat!”

And that’s about all the pictures we have from Halloween, which is too bad since it’s the first time that all four of us were in costume. Maybe we’ll have a little picture do-over in December. Or January. That’s just how we roll these days. Ever so slooooowly.

There’s more that happened since then, but I recently started to convince myself to try a new blogging style. I used to think that I could just save up all my words for an infrequent post to save time as I always seemed to be behind on something, but then it became so arduous because there’s often too much to say, too many pictures to share, and the thought of it would overwhelm me, and suddenly it all seemed too difficult and I couldn’t even begin anymore, let alone finish a post. 

This time, I’m going to try the opposite. Write less with each blog, but post more often. Perhaps then I won’t be overcome by anxiety that I never have enough time to write.  I just need to do it in smaller, more manageable chunks.

So here you have it: Chunk One.

Done. Exhale. Toddler’s still napping, and I can even move on to the next task on my list.

Wow. I like this already.