what’s normal, anyway?

so if there’s one thing that i’ve learned as a parent, it’s that normal is very loosely defined. drinking a gallon of milk every 4 days? normal by me. not sleeping through the night at age 2.5? normal by me. 24 pounds by age three? normal by me.

but one thing that i don’t know how to place on the scale of normalcy is tae’s recent obsession with me coming back.

every day, 20, 30, 40 times a day: “why mommy come back for tae at school?”

i get variations too: “why mommy cat come back for tae cat at school?” “why mommy dog come back for tae dog at school?” “why mommy turtle come back for tae turtle at school?” “why mommy rabbit come back for tae rabbit at school?”

is this normal?

and now, not only does she ask me, but we are re-enacting the whole process. we do pretend morning good-byes, and pretend re-enactment reunions. and now, we also do the same thing, with our roles reversed! tae will tell me, “you’re the tae, and i’m the mommy.” and will proceed to do everything i do in the morning, and then tell me that she is going to work, and walk away from me (being tae, acting sad, missing my mommy) with a straight face. and then she comes back. and asks me why she came back.

i know that going to school is a huge deal in her life – she’s never gone to day care or spent time with non-family members like that before. but part of me wonders if this is normal i-just-started-school behavior or if this is reflective of other things going on in our lives.

what’s your take? normal or not? should i be worried? or taking on different strategies?

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running away

somehow, my life, my time, seems to be running away from me. i can never catch up it seems, with the laundry, with new blog posts, with new blog posts i should write, with the groceries, with everything.

i am eternally behind.

i meant to post a recap of our trip to nyc this weekend, and about the apia spoken word summit which rocked our socks. i meant to post a thoughtful response to daddy in a strange land’s post about race in the blogosphere. i mean to do a lot of things.

tae has stopped napping at school, which means that she conks out in the car on the drive home. unless i pump her full of food before we leave, she’ll often wake up around midnightish asking for juice and smoothies and peel cheese. that she goes to be at 6:30pm may seem to be a blessing, but when you run out of smoothies and your daughter drinks about 3 of them daily, things can get a little out of control. when you miss spending time with your baby and it seems like her teachers get to see more of her than you do.

tae’s most frequent line of questioning goes something like this these days:

T: why mommy come back for tae at school?
M: because i’m your mommy, and i always come back.
T: why?
M: because we’re family.
T: i feel sad.
M: why?
T: because i miss my mommy.
M: why do you miss your mommy?
T: because i love my mommy. why tae hugging mommy?
M: because tae loves mommy and mommy loves tae.
T: why mommy and tae love each other?
M: because we’re family.

sometimes i can’t believe that i’m having this conversation with my baby, with my daughter. i don’t want my time to runaway from me, lest i miss one precious moment of this.

a big day

so, today was big day. tae totally rocked her first day of school.

when i got to the school to pick her up, everyone was outside playing. she saw me, and exclaimed, “mommy came back!” she came to say hello to me through the fence, and then by the time i made it into the playground, she was off running around and playing. the other kids there were more excited to see me than she was. they were climbing on me asking me questions and stuff. tae was off playing with one of the older kids in her class. she seemed like she was balancing playing on her own (which she tends to do when otehr kids are around) and making some new friends.

i got to catch up with her teacher. tae didn’t nap. she didn’t seem to eat much. but, she tried the potty. she played and sang during circle time. she had lots to talk about when we finally got home. she tried singing me some new songs she learned. she told me about painting and doing a project with glue and peppers? and sprinkles? something. clearly, she had a good time.

i’m happy because i know this is the right thing for her. a little part of me was sad that she didn’t jump into my arms when i came back. but i’m also just glad that the whole experience wasn’t as painful as i expected. (thanks in part to all the love and support *i* received today.)

and, after that big adventure, we’re off on the next one.

we’re in brooklyn for the next two days hanging out with tae’s great grandma(s). tae conked out on the way down and woke up right as we were approaching the city. we looked at the nyc sky line together. we both enjoyed the lights and the view. she kept asking m where we were going. she’s so easy going – we go all over together, and she’s always game for something new.

we ❤ adventures

There’s no stupid question

Tae is about to start “school.” I’m supposed to pack her lunches. I have no idea what I should pack for her. We don’t really eat sandwiches. She’s allergic to peanuts and nuts. I don’t do meat in my house. She’s a picky eater – she could probably eat slices of cheese for lunch, but I don’t want to look like a delinquent parent and just pack her cheese. And well, I’m too lazy to make any fancy honglien-type bento lunches.

Does anyone have suggestions about what a two year old might like for her first school lunch?

feelings

i have no idea how to deal with toddlers and feelings. i’ve been trying to talk to tae more about feeling sad or feeling happy. she’s responded by saying things like, “tae looks sad” when she’s crying. but, i guess it makes sense that her first association with feelings are the facial expressions that sometimes go along with feelings.

yesterday morning though, she was clinging before i left for work. she was pretending to cry.

“tae looks sad,” she says.
“why are you feeling sad?” i ask.
“because tae is crying,” she says.
“why are you crying, tae?” i ask.
“tae is crying because mommy is going to work,” she responds.

big. pit. in. stomach.

school starting monday. i think i’ll be crying because tae is going to school. sniff.

Birth Order and IQ

I recently re-read an old NY Times article which claimed that eldest children have higher IQs.

The study found an average of a 3 point difference in IQ, when other factors relating to IQ were factored out (stuff like the parents’ educational attainment, family size, etc.). The study was done in Norway, based on IQs of men born between 1967 and 1976, measured when they were 18 or 19 years old. They even compared first borns with children who were second born but became the eldest after a death in the family. These “eldests” still had higher IQs.

I’m not Norwegian. I wasn’t born between 1967 and 1976. I’m not male.

I will admit, I’m an eldest. I have one little sister, and I’m pretty sure she has a higher IQ than me (if SAT scores are any predictor). Yes, I had the benefit of having my mother’s sole undivided attention for the first 3 years of my life. Yes, I remember teaching my little sister multiplication right after I learned it in third grade. (So ironic that she’s a mathematician.) Did that make me smarter? Maybe, maybe not. But guess what? I’m happy with my life, high IQ or not. Doesn’t that count for anything any more?

I’m pretty sure that when I have more children, yes, they will get treated differently than my first born. I can imagine being slightly less paranoid with my subsequent children. But, I don’t think I’ll give them any less attention or stimulation or love. Yes, my older children will probably get to help out with the younger ones. But will that give them higher IQ scores? Does it matter? Maybe I don’t want to raise cautious children (typically, eldest children). Maybe I want to raise risk-takers (typically, younger children).

How do you think this plays out in your family?

california adventure, part I

so, our adventure *to* california was an adventure, as usual. tae has horrible luck flying. traveling together, we have been stranded in texas overnight. we have been rebooked on planes leaving from LAX instead of our preferred smaller southern california airport. i’ve never had such bad luck with flying as i have had flying solo with tae. oh well.

but, tae was such a trooper through the trip. she knows when i’m being serious that she needs to stay by me and be helpful. she enjoyed watching the planes taking off and “driving like a car” at the airport and was excited to go “up up on a plane to dallas.” she managed to enjoy running around logan airport for 3 hours while we waited for our plane to get fixed. she slept for half of the first leg, and then sat patiently during the second leg when we were in the seats where the engine is right outside the window. she told me that the airplane was “too loud to hear little eisteins,” but she managed to do just fine on the flight even though by the end of it, we had been on the road for 12 hours. grrr.

i rented a pt cruiser. because i am on vacation and i had a choice at the rental lot, and i’d rather drive an interesting hearse-like car than a boring sedan. BUT, the pt cruiser isn’t even wide enough to hold our stroller flat in the trunk. oh well. tae’s enjoying the “rental car.”

sunday, tae was up at 5am. so by the time we visited her grandparents at 9:30am, we had done a lot.

i have a running list in my head of things that i should/will inevitably do while i am in california, and we’ve managed to cross many of these off the list already.

* we went to jamba juice. and tae remembered that they have little kid-sized cups and refused to drink out of my gronw-up sized cup. so, she remembers jamba juice from over a year ago. huh.
* we went to my favorite outdoor fake-downtown mall. it was perfect weather out. that and bonding with grandparents over shopping. great afternoon.
* we ate fish tacos. well, i ate fish tacos, and tae ate chips and a quesadilla. (i’m still kinda hoping to visit wahoos.)

i’m not sad about leaving california where everything is a chain. we drove by our old apartment, and there is now a starbucks 3 blocks away. the old run-down downtown is being rebirthed into a trendy condo kind of place. i’m not really sad about missing out on that.

i’m not sad about leaving california where i saw 2 accidents because it was misting raining this morning.

but, i am a little sad to be so far away from the people who helped to support me through my pregnancy, who were there when tae started walking, and who made a lasting impact on who i am today.