Friday, February 29, 2008

Taking the good with the bad

All week, I've been planning to write this deep post about the trials and triumphs of Jayla being in full-time childcare since she was 16 weeks old. But, it has become clear to me that I am never going to finish that post and it's holding me back from other ground-breaking writing that I could be doing.

So, the gist of that post was going to be that the worst thing about childcare is that you never know what your child is learning. Think: That awful song from last summer about being suicidal. I can't bring myself to look up the actual name or artist of that song because I hate it that much. But, if you've heard it, you know what I'm talking about and you know that no 2-year-old should be singing it.

But, the best thing about childcare has been that I never know what she's learning. Jayla never ceases to amaze me. It started with the small things like drinking out of a cup and feeding herself with a spoon. Things that I never showed her how to do - she just came home one day knowing. And then it was her ABC's and counting to 10 and then 20 and knowing her days of the week and every color that you can throw her way and then, potty-training (we're officially done with that and really, the school did 85.6% of the work!) and most recently she knows her right from her left and can count to 10 in Spanish. I obviously taught her none of this because I don't even know my right from my left!

So, I guess all of that is just to say that having her in full-time childcare has been an overwhelmingly positive experience for our family, despite the occasional trials. And I'm pretty sure that I shouldn't have done it any differently for her.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Half Birthdays

I have two dear friends whose birthdays flank mine. The three of us were born on February 22, February 23, and February 24 of the same year. And since we’ve known each other our entire lives, birthday time has always been fun for us. It was so much fun that in middle school, we used to celebrate our half birthdays. And yes, on August 22, August 23, and August 24, we wished each other a “Happy Half Birthday”.

Those of you playing along at home know that Jayla was born on August 24 (AKA Sara’s half birthday!). I am convinced that she did that to spite me because I thought it would be cool to share a birthday with my child. August 24 is exactly 26 weeks after my birthday which means it is exactly as far away from my birthday as you can possibly get (except during leap year, I guess). But, now that I know Jayla, I understand that it is just in her nature to do things her own way.

However, since I continue to make a big deal out of my birthday, I must also acknowledge that my sweet little baby celebrated her half birthday yesterday. She is officially 2.5 going on 25 now. In honor of that milestone, I present three years of Jayla’s half birthdays in pictures (actually taken on my birthday each year but, you know - close enough...):

Jayla at 6 months -

Jayla at 18 months -

Jayla at 30 months -

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Mama, in Video

Jayla and I made this video Friday evening after we got home. She had sung the song to me in the car after an in depth conversation about how good the birthday cake was going to be. And you'll notice that she is only slightly confused as to whether the Backyardigans theme song or the Happy Birthday song is more appropriate. The whole thing cracks me up. Enjoy!

Happy Birthday Mama on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


My birthday is on Saturday. I'll be 29. For some reason, that sounds just a little older than I think I should be. In my head, I'm not a day over 24 or something young like that. Several things, however, have happened in the past week or so that lead me to believe that maybe I am getting just a little bit older:

  1. For my birthday, I'm going to someone else's birthday party. Only old people celebrate someone else's birthday on their own birthday.
  2. My child said, "Mama is going to be 29".
  3. Last week I had a conversation with my mom in which she went on and on about how LONG she'd been married and 30 years (in March) was such a long time...yada, yada...I explained to her that I have been with my parents all but 11 months of that time. She giggled and said, "I guess I'm calling you old, huh?" Yes, my mom called me old.
  4. I had to renew my TX driver's license which, when I got it at age 22, I distinctly remember thinking that it would never expire because 2008 was SO FAR AWAY and I was going to be SO OLD by then (my new license expires in 2014 - on my 35th bithday - something tells me that'll go by faster than I think).
  5. In Subway the other day, the guy making my pizza (I'm so excited that the Subway closest to my building on campus sells pizza!) looked at me like I was crazy when I was telling him all about how it doesn't seem like it's already been 10 years since Jared's massive weight loss. He actually said, "But that was like, what, 1998 or something?" Umm, yeah.

Anyway, I'm kind of excited about my birthday because Jayla and I have plans to buy a birthday cake and wear party hats! She's been talking about it for weeks...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Will Dance for Candy!

Ms. Crystal, Jayla's dance teacher, left a message on my cell phone the morning after last week's incident. I, of course, did not get the message until 5 days later but, the general gist was that she wanted to help if she could. She was wondering if something was scaring Jayla because she had gone from seemingly loving dance to absolutely wanting nothing to do with it. Ms. Crystal suggested an "incentive system" if I thought it would help. I, of course, was willing to try. And really this isn't totally about my own desires because it is also largely about my money that I have already invested in this.

Yesterday was dance day again for Jayla. I started working on her before school by simply giving her a run down of the schedule for the day. She is generally curious about whether she is going to school or church or wherever on any given day. So, yesterday morning I told her that she was going to school and then she was going to dance. I tried be very non-chalant, no big deal, "I didn't notice that tantrum last week" about mentioning dance.

Later in the morning, we were talking about dance again and I asked her if she was going to dance pretty? She replied, "No - I'm going to sit in the car!" with a big grin on her face. I ignored her comment and told her that she needed to dance and then we could come home and eat some more of her Valentine's candy. She said, "okay".

I got a little nervous once I picked her up from school, though, because in the car, she kept saying she wanted to go "to Jayla's house, not to dance". Again, I was still trying to play it cool and just told her that Ms. Crystal wanted to see her. I asked her if she wanted to see Ms. Crystal. She said that she did. So, I kept going with that and sparked an entire conversation about Ms. Crystal that got her mind off of talking about going home.

When we got to the dance studio, we were still talking about Ms. Crystal and Jayla cooperatively got out of the car, came into the studio, and waved cheerfully at anyone in her path. We got her clothes changed while singing a song that I made up (about bears not having to use the potty). Then she talked to Ms. Crystal who promised her a lollipop if she was a good girl.

Jayla was so excited to dance after that. And she did really, really well. She listened to the teacher, she participated fully, and it did my heart good. She seemed to enjoy it as much as she did back in the stoneage when she begged me to dance (November 2007). And don't think that the first thing she said after Ms. Crystal dismissed the class wasn't "Where's my candy?". I don't know if it was the candy or just the fickle nature of a 2.5-year-old but, whatever it was - we got over the first hurdle. Hopefully, we are on the road to enjoying dance classes again.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


The weather was irresistably beautiful today, so Jayla and I went out for a walk. We ended up stopping by some friends' house. These friends are the same age as my husband and I - except they have four children. A 13-year-old, a 12-year-old, an 11-year-old, and an 8-month old! And guess what - yep - she's pregnant again. Last year when we found out they were pregnant, we had run into them in Target and I just kept kidding with them about how close they were to being empty nesters and how they had reset all of their time by getting pregnant again. Well, with this fifth child, my husband said, "Well, they were way ahead of us, then started all over again and have now lapped us."

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!!

We hope that you were also blessed today with an opportunity to spill juice down the front of your L-O-V-E shirt while wearing multi-colored, heart-covered pants!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Crushed Dreams of an Aspiring Stage Mother

Jayla threw the worst tantrum of her life this evening. She absolutely did not want to go to her dance class. She cried, screamed, wailed, fought, kicked, went limp, etc. for a full 30 minutes over this. She did not want to put on her pretty dance clothes. She did not want to dance with "her friends". She did not want to see Ms. Crystal. She did not want to do her crab walks, her frog jumps, or her log rolls. There was pretty much no reason compelling enough that would even give me a chance at prying her hands off the straps of her car seat. And the whole time I was trying to convince her, she kept yelling, "Start the car, mama! Start the car!". She was serious, ya'll.

So, I had to call in back-up: Daddy! We talked on the phone for a few minutes so that I could give him the scoop. He then came directly from work to the dance studio parking lot. He was determined to at least get her into the building. But, once he saw her determination, I think he had a slight change of heart. I had never seen her so adamant about something. And he didn't have the heart to try to force anything on her either. I eventually broke down because if you know me and how I feel about dance, then you know that my child had basically ripped out my heart and destroyed it. Plus, I have wanted to be a stage mother for my entire adult life and I was seeing my dream crash and burn before my eyes.

We never convinced her to dance tonight. Mama cried a bit, we came home, then mama sulked for a while. However, the rational part of me is fully aware that for a 2.5 year old to decide that she doesn’t want to dance one night is not her way of rejecting me. In fact, she showed genuine concern when she saw my emotions. It also doesn’t mean that she will not want to dance tomorrow or when she’s 3 or whenever. Neither does it mean that I will never be a stage mother. But, it does mean that I need to decide whether or not to keep her enrolled in the class because, seriously, when you are on a graduate assistant salary, there are better things to do with money than pay $50/month to be abused outside of a dance studio.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Streak Over!

I had been wanting to post something about how well Jayla has done with using the bathroom this week. I was going to say something about how she hadn't peed in her pants or in a pull-up since last Sunday. I wanted to brag about how she had gone 5 days straight with no accident. Imagine how pleased I was when I went to pick her up from school today and she walked out of the classroom having taken a large dump in her underwear that no one but me seemed to notice. It was truly glamorous. I know - God just wants to keep me humble...

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Where does she get this stuff?!?!?

Last night, I said something about Jayla being a girl. She replied, "I'm not a girl, I'm a lady!" I asked her who told her that and she just giggled hysterically.

This morning on the way to school, we were sitting at a stop light and she says, "Mama, I don't want to go to school. I want to go shopping!" Again, what!?!? The word shopping is never used in our house because no one that lives here likes to do it. Except Jayla, apparently. I told her that we could go shopping this weekend, though I doubt she has any clue what we had just negotiated on.

This post was not about pink eye. You're welcome.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Remember how I told ya'll that I was tired? I found a little proof of that on my camera over the weekend. Daddy apparently took this when he came home from work on Day 2 of the Pink Eye Era. There is no telling what Jayla had gotten into before he arrived. She looks only a little suspicious, don't you think?

And the next time I post, I promise that it will be about something other than bacterial infections of my child's ocular region.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Day 5: Less Pink, More White!

One thing that I didn't mention on Day 4 is that we had gotten a new antibiotic prescription for Jayla's eyes because, clearly, the prescription that we got on Day 1 was not helping the situation! One day on the new meds and we woke up to this on Day 5:

What a difference a day makes! This is Jayla happily ready to go to school yesterday. I was a little sad to see her go, actually. But, everyone was so happy to see her when she got there. It feels good to get back to normal and most importantly, we can keep our playdate that we have planned for tomorrow. I'm certain that I'm more excited about that than Jayla is...