Wednesday, October 12, 2011

conversations with my three year old

 This is Sadira Gabrielle.  Less than a month before she turns four.

This kid of mine.

I say that while shaking my head in bewilderment.

When she was a baby, everything about her fascinated me. I was a new mom, and everything was new and fresh.  One day she was a tiny baby, then the next thing you know she could hold her head up.  Then she could smile.  Then she could babble.  Then she could cruise.  Then she was a walker.  Everything happened so quickly.  One thing right after another during that first year.  

Then she turned one and the talking started....and it never stopped.

I remember telling a friend that Sadie would be the kid that comes home from school and doesn't. stop. talking.  "Mommy? Guess what I did in school today?  I painted.  With red and purple. You know those are your favorite colors? Aren't they? Mommy? Oh, and guess what else?  I got my picture taken. And it was so pretty! And we played in the playground, and then we read a book, wanna know what book we read? Mommy?  Are you listening? Mama? Did you hear what I said?"

And boy oh boy, was I correct!

Most of the time I love that my child talks non-stop.  I love hearing the things that she thinks about, and her observations about the world.  Sometimes, however, I have to remind her to sllloooow dooowwnn and take a breather.  And still some other times I have to tell her to BE QUIET, just for a few minutes, because my brain so desperately needs just a moment of silence.

But the majority of the time, her comments crack me up.  Take this past weekend, for example.  A popular song came on the radio, and she starts singing along, with her eyes closed, arms stretched out, "This ones for you and meee! Living out our dreeeaammmss!! We're all, right where we should beeee!!! Oh Mommy, I'm in love with this song!! I open my eyyyyeeees! [cue her to open her eyes]  And now, all I want to a sky full of liiiiiggghhhtteeerrsss!!! For serious, Mommy I'm IN LOVE with this song."

"Really Sade?"

"Oh yes. For serious. Totally.  I've been singing it in my heart all day long." [She goes back to singing along.]

For serious.  I love when she says that.  Don't know where she heard it, but it's so funny to me.  And anytime she says it, she's so...well, SERIOUS about it. 

For serious. She made me giggle.  Man, I love my kid.  She's so damn cool.

Now it's one thing to be caught off guard by the stuff that Sadie says...but I never really thought that I'd be almost four years into this parenting thing and still be shocked and surprised by the things that come out of my child's mouth.  I thought I'd get used to it, "oh that's just Sadie, she's got a LOT TO SAY!"  And I certainly never thought I'd be unprepared for any of her questions.

I've tried to mentally prep myself for the questions that Sadira will ask one day.  There are the obvious ones, "where do babies come from?" and "What happens when people die?"  But then there are also the ones specific to our family, "Mommy, why aren't you and Daddy married?" or "Why doesn't Daddy live in our house with us?"  I've tried to prep myself for what I will say when Sadie asks about these things.  I decided long ago that I wouldn't shy away from questions from her.  It's not my style to answer a question by saying, "we'll talk about that when you get a little bit older."  I challenge myself to find an age appropriate way to explain things to her.  I want her to always feel comfortable asking me anything, and to know that I'll be respectful enough of her question that I'll do my best to answer it.

But ya know, sometimes it gets tricky.

Especially when my kid asks questions that I wouldn't expect to be asked at her age...even from my kid.  Like when she asked about 9-11.

She did.  Last month she point blank looked at me and said, "Mommy, what's up with September 11th?"

For serious.

Uhhhhh....what? How do you explain September 11th to a three year old?  It's pretty hard to understand for most grown ups. How do you explain unexplainable acts of terrorism to a child?  I had no idea.  I wasn't prepared.  Fortunately it was seconds away from her naptime.  I could buy a tiny bit of time to gather my thoughts.

I did what any rational person in my position would do.  I consulted Facebook.  I had a two hour nap span to figure out what the heck I was gonna say to this kid.  Here's what I got:


Lots of good advice, huh?  I really appreciated everyone weighing in. Really really appreciated it.

Cause sure enough, the minute she woke up she remembered.  "Mama, are you gonna tell me about September 11th now?"  There was no reason to ask how she heard about was the 10th anniversary this year and everywhere we turned we saw the twin towers...on TV, on the newspaper, on the magazine covers in the grocery store line.

"Sure Sade, what do you want to know about it?"

"What's up with it?"

(I knew there were two things I was NOT going to talk about...planes and tall buildings.  Specifically planes flying into tall buildings.  She's only three after all.)

I took Mary's suggestion, "Well, can you tell Mama what you know about September 11th?"

She didn't miss a beat, "I know there were planes that flew into the buildings."

Gulp. I wasn't prepared for that.

"Sadie, what country do we live in?"


"That right, we live in America.  Sadie, do you know what freedom means?"

"No."  (I wasn't expecting that she did.)

"It means that you can be friends with whomever you want to be friends with.  And you can be whatever you want to be when you grow up.  And you can..."

"I can wear whatever pretty clothes I want to wear?"

"Yes, you can."

"And I can play with whatever toys I want to play with, even if they're boy toys?"

"Yes, freedom means all of those things Sade.  And in America we have freedom, isn't that cool?"


"But some people don't like that we have freedom in America."

"Why not?

"Cause they just do things differently in their country."

"Is that why they flew the airplanes into those buildings?"   


"Well, yes that's part of it, Sade.  They did a really really bad thing to America, just cause they don't like the way we do things."

"And they did that on September 11th?"
"Yes, Sadie, they did."

"In New York and Washington?

"Yes, Sadie, that's where it happened.  I know you like to visit both of those places too."

"Mommy...that's not nice that they did that."

"It's not.  And that's why it's kind of a big deal.  Cause they did a really un-kind thing.  And it made many people really sad..."  [I knew I needed to address the plane thing...even though I didn't want to]  "But you know Sadie, you know how when we go to the airport, we have to go through security?  You know that section where we have to take our shoes off and walk through the screeners like a big girl?"

"Yeah Mommy, I walk through by myself cause I'm big. You don't have to carry me anymore."

"I know, you're so big now.  Well, I want to make sure you know that the reason we do that is to make sure that everyone on the airplane is safe.  We have to walk through the screeners to make sure no mean people end up on the plane.  Everyone on the airplane is safe that way.  So you never have to worry about anything happening to us when you're on the airplane with Mommy, okay?  Mommy would never take you anywhere unsafe.  You know that, right?"

"That's right Mommy, no one's flying my airplane into a building!"  (Oh geez..)

"But Sadie, most important, I want you to know that there are so many people who work very hard to keep us safe.  Soldiers, and police officers, and firefighters...they all work very hard to make sure we're safe and so no one can ever hurt America like that again.  And on September 11th, its really important that we remember to say thank you to them for keep us safe, okay?  That's what I really want you to know about September be thankful for all of those people protecting us, okay?"

"Kay Ma."

And that was it. 

I've learned with this kid just to give it to her straight.  If I try to beat around the bush or say something to appease her without REALLY answering her question, she won't let up.  It's best for me to just talk to her until she gets it, and then be done.

I don't even know if what I told her was "right," or enough, or too much....I don't know.  But I know that the conversation we had, though difficult, felt right.  And that's good enough for me.

But something I had to remember while we had this conversation was that her experience with 9/11 will be completely different from my experience with 9/11.  She will never have that visceral reaction to the day that those of us who lived through it have.  She'll never be able to tell the story of what she was doing when she heard the news, or where she was.  To her it will be something she learns about in school.  It will be a Memorial Day of sorts, another event in American history.  She won't experience the horror that we all experienced on that day.  I compare it to my experience with Pearl Harbor--it was something I read about, and learned about in school, but until 9/11, I never experienced that type of terror firsthand.  Never in my lifetime.

I pray that she never knows that feeling.  I hope that she gets to live her life blissfully unaware of what it feels like to fear that your country is under attack.

I know there are so many other children exactly her age in other countries around the world who will not have that luxury.

I think it's also important to add that I don't think the proper way for her to learn about September 11th is by watching the events of that day replay on TV over and over and over again.  It's actually one thing I really don't like---how every year in the beginning of September we see that footage over and over again.  We watch those buildings crumble before our eyes over and over again.  Every year I can't help but think about all those families who lost a loved one.  And how every time they see that footage on TV, they are re-living the moment that their loved one lost their life.  I can't even imagine if it was my mom, or my dad, or my sister in those planes or in those buildings on September 1th.  And to watch that moment replay every year on the anniversary of that day.

I really think there is some way that we can remember that day and all the lives lost, and memorialize all of those heroes without constantly showing footage of the planes hitting the buildings.  Or the buildings tumbling to the ground.  Or the "jumpers" leaping to their death.  Or the people in the streets running for their lives.  It almost seems like it's replayed for the shock evoke those horrible feelings again.

I think we owe it to the families of the 2,977 people who lost their lives that day.

And one day I'll probably show her the pictures I have of her mom and her Godfather, my dear friend Nick J and I, both of us barely 20 years old, running all over New York City in August 2001, blissfully unaware that the next time we visited NYC it would be during the "post 9/11" era and that magical skyline would be forever changed.

Nick and I.  August 2001.  This photo was sitting in a frame on top of my TV in my dorm as I watched the events of the day unfold.  I watched the skyline change before my eyes and kept thinking, "how this be?  We were just there?"

I'll continue to raise my girl as metropolitan as I can, to love all of the amazing things those cities offer us, and to take advantage of our close proximity as much as possible.  And I'll try my best to answer her toughest of questions, even if I don't have my parenting manual handy.

But I still would've preferred for her to ask the sex question.  At least I've prepped for that.

For serious.
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Thursday, October 6, 2011

georgia on my mind

15. Check out Lindsey's basement person. ;) - DONE!

So back in August I just happened to be in Atlanta.  And my friend Steph of Tijuana fame just happened to be there too.  And our friend Lindsey just happens to live just outside of Atlanta.  So we just happened to hang out. :)

I will confess that adding this item to my list was my own lame attempt to invite myself to Lindsey's house.  Because she's awwwweee-ssommmmee!!  And I looooovveee heer!!  And I just so happened to be in Atlanta last year as well and wasn't able to make a visit work, due to scheduling conflicts.  So it had to happen this year.  If it's on the list I have to make it happen, right?  And she and her hubs had been working on this basement remodel for quite some time, so it deserves an out of town visitor, correct?

We had an awesome time.  We hung out, ate some food, drank wine, ate more food, talked, had a snack, played with her girls, ate a post-snack snack....ya know, the norm.

I realized when I got home that I had taken lots of pictures!

I had a cute group shot:

An extra cheesy pic of Liberty and me:

A fun pic of Lindz and I and our matching Coach bags:

A cute shot of Steph and I getting our toes did:

I managed to steal a shot of me and Miss Rory Scout, same age as Sadira:

I had a shot of our memorable meal at the Homestead:

I even managed to capture pic of lovely downtown Adairsville!

And it wasn't until I got home that I realized....

I didn't take one dang photo of that basement remodel.

The whole "point" of my visit! ;-)

So I stole these from Lindsey...I don't think she'll mind.  Even if my shameless invite to view the basement was just a ploy to visit, we DID actually spend some QT down there. 

Pretty huh?  The Carsons did a great job. :)

There's one story I cannot forget to write about.  It's one of those stories that was so funny during the day, but not memorable enough to remember in the long term.  So I gotta jot it down to keep it in the memory bank.

After our Coach excursion we were perusing through the outlets and came across a discount shoe store.  Lindsey wanted to check out something, and me with my addiction to shoes instantly started foaming at the mouth.  There wasn't a single thing I needed in that store, and I had just shelled out $120 that I wasn't planning on spending on a purse I didn't need, so I knew I had to watch myself and not buy any shoes.

But just cause you're on a diet doesn't mean you can't check out the menu, right? ;-)

So I tried on this absolutely amazing pair of black peep toe heels.  They had a ruched, gather of ruffle on the front, just before the peep toe and they were absolutely stunning.  And when I tried them on they fit perfectly, despite my flintstone feet.  I was enjoying my Cinderella-esque moment by strutting around the store and checking them out in the mirror, knowing full well that it wasn't necessary for me to buy them, so I might as well enjoy every little second I had with those gems before I left the store.

These bad mama-jamas were at least 4 inches tall, and with me being 5'9 barefoot they easily put me at drag queen status, but I didn't care.  They were magnificent.  And apparently I was (somewhat loudly) remarking about how amazing they were, and talking about how I would, "wear the HELL outta these shoes!" while Steph and Lindsey looked at me like I was psychotic (they didn't share my love of impractical footwear).  At some point a sales lady, an older lady, a little on the plump side with full make-up, coiffed and shellac-ed hair, walked by me and started fueling my fire.

"Honey," she said with a heavy Southern accent, "I'd wear those everywhere.  I work here part-time, and I'd even wear them in here. That's how fabulous they are."

I agreed with her, mentioned how easy these particular shoes could go from the office to out on the town (not that I do much of that anymore since having a child, but ya know, I might find a REASON to with these amazing stilettos!)

She continued, "I don't even care that they're too tall to wear to work and be on my feet all day.  I'd tell everyone, 'I don't care if I look like a hooker! I look good!'"

Now you have to keep in mind, this lady's accent was thick, and she was the furthest thing from a hooker I'd ever seen.  But she was HEE-LARIOUS!  I can still hear her voice and the way her words drawled out..."Ahh don't cay-yer if ah look like a huuu-ker! Ahh look guuu-uudd!"

I wanted to pack her up in my suitcase and bring her home, just to give me a pep talk each morning.

I knew it wasn't in my budget to get them, especially after my most recent unexpected splurge, so I gave her some excuse about maybe coming back later after we had had a chance to check out all the other shops.

As Lindsey was checking out we were standing in line and Lindsey was explaining how everyone in the South has compound first you're not Kristy, you're Kristy-Lynn.  You're not Brittany, you're Brittany-Anne.  Anyway, my favorite sales lady did not disappoint when we asked her name at the register.

"Ha!" she laughed, "well, it's actually a funny story..." (I knew this was gonna be good.  When someone tells you it's a funny story when you ask them a simple question, you know it's gonna be good.)

"My full first name is actually GAY-ANN."  She said it just like that, with emphasis on the Gay part.  Like, "isn't that so funny? GAY-ANN?  What were my parents thinking, setting me up for getting teased later in life?" 

I loved me some Gay-Ann.

A few hours later, after a pedicure, we stopped in the grocery store to pick up alcohol (I bought wine in individual little boxes with a spout, sippy-cup style!) and I hear someones drawl-y voice booming from behind me, "Hey there, weren't you supposed to stop back in my store and buy a pair of shoes??!"

It was Gay-Ann. She found us!

Thank you, Gay-Ann, you Southern Belle you.  I'll probably never see you again in my life, but the 15 minutes we shared together talking about shoes and hookers will go down in infamy!!

Later on we went to dinner.  A quick note about our dinner at the Homestead Restaurant.  We initially had plans to go somewhere else.  A place that came very highly recommended with a disclaimer---"don't let the outward appearance deter you from going inside."

Apparently the place looks like a shack.  If you blink you may miss it.  There's not even a sign.  Supposedly the owner of the joint also lives there.  And the bathroom in the restaurant is HER personal in, there is her shower and Pert Plus hanging out in the corner when you go in to use the ladies room.

Swear to you, this is how Lindsey's friend described it!  Steph and I (who are clearly always up for an adventure and a good story) thought this was just fabulous and we were counting down the hours until our glorious meal.  Until, that is, when we called and were told they were ALL BOOKED UP FOR THE NIGHT.


How can this be?

We even called back several times, even using the lame excuse, "but we came all the way from our of state to dine at your restaurant!" but to no avail.  They were packed solid and couldn't accommodate us.  And since we only had one night available in our schedule, we  had to make other plans.

Which brought us to the good 'ol Homestead, complete with a salad bar, all you can eat cornbread and pinto bean bar that comes with every entree!  A steal!

So off we trotted to the Homestead. And let me tell was all I wanted it to be and more.  It was BYOB, so of course Steph brought the Moet and Chandon to celebrate the occasion, and despite the fact that our little corner of the restaurant was a little bit dark (call it mood lighting, I suppose), our waitress had a southern twang so thick I could barely understand what she was saying, and the busboy was sporting a T-shirt reminding me that Jesus died for me (don't get me wrong, I'm totally down with JC, it was just surprising to be reminded of the crucifixion while I was slurping down my pintos), I was able to get huge portion of stuffed flounder (so huge, I took the majority of my meal home), with two sidess and the amazing salad bar/pinto bean bar/cornbread deal all for the bargain basement price of $15.

Yes, where I come from, that's a steal.

Our night was supposed to be capped off with some karaoke, which just happens to be one of the items on Lindsey's 30 Before 30 list.  But after a day of shopping, pedicures, a run-in with Gay-Ann, and stuffing ourselves silly for cheap, we were done.  I don't think I could've karaoke'd if someone rolled me up on the stage.  So we went home, drank more wine, and stayed up into the wee hours chatting. 

I forgot to take a picture of the basement.
We didn't make it to our first choice restaurant to see the Pert Plus bathroom.
We didn't even make it to karaoke.

But our day was perfect. ♥

Thank you Steph for being the Thelma to my Louise, this time on the East Coast.  And thank you Lindsey for hosting us in your home so graciously with your beautiful girls and sweet hubby, Chris.

And speaking of that particular hubby, Chris, the very next day Mr. Carson himself took us out to knock off another item on my list...but that one deserves a blog post all of it own, so I'll have to slap a "To Be Continued" on this mofo...
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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"it's been a long time, since you came around. it's been a long time, but i'm back in town..."



Remember me?

{I swear I'm wearing clothes in that photo, promise promise promise.}


Sorry I've been a slacker.

I really haven't been a slacker, I've actually been crazy busy, but I have been a blogger slacker. 

Blogger, it's been awhile.

My apologies.

I guess while I realized that some people read my blog (it's always funny when I mention something and someone says, "oh yeah! I read about that on your blog!"), I didn't really think anyone would notice if I was gone for a bit.  

But they did!

I'm not gonna lie, it's nice to be missed. :-)

I've actually been surprised by the number of people who've said to me, "Hey! When are you gonna write a blog post, it's been awhile!"  So here you go.  To all of the 4 or so people who read my ramblings, it's time to fill you in.

Sadira and I had a busy second half of the summer.  Here's the short list:
  1. I visited Lindsey in Atlanta, I saw her basement remodel. (#15)
  2. While there, I learned to shoot a gun. (#20) {Okay, sidebar, when I went back to proofread this post, I had typed "fun" instead of "gun."  See that Lindsey?!  Maybe my perspective's changing...Guns can be fun, y'all!  HA!}
  3. I did another "touristy" thing in my city, and saw the Grand Prix speed through Baltimore. (#21)
  4. I purged my shoe closet. Yes, it made me cry. (#25)
  5. I've been working on my list of "Prudent Advice" for Sadira. (#26)
  6. I have learned the difference between knitting and crocheting (kinda).  Still need to learn how to actually DO one. (#30)
  7. I walked the Susan G. Komen 3 Day. All 60 freakin' miles. (#2)
  8. We've kept on giving, at least once a month.  It's part of us, and we love doing it. (#10)
  9. We've gotten ourselves one step closer to making it to Disney World (SIGH...I am NOT a Disney fan, but Sadira is...)  (#14).
  10. I've finally hung those Roman shades that I bought in 2006. (#17).

Okay that last one's not true.

I haven't hung them.  But I did find them and bring them out of hiding, with the intent of hanging them.  So we're getting there, right?

Some other awesome things we've gotten to do...
  1. Sadie started pre-school.
  2. Sadie started ballet.
  3. Sadie started soccer.
  4. We made it through a hurricane and an earthquake, all in the same week.
  5. I got to attend a Ravens' game in a swanky Sky Box for the first time.
  6. I went to my very first NHL game - the Caps! And they won. :-)
  7. I treated myself to an indulgence, a delicious new Coach purse...and my friend bought a matching one, so we're twinsies. ;-) 
  8. This is not the first time that #7 has happened, it's actually happened twice, with two separate friends.  Yes, we are adults and not tweens.  And yes, both times we thought it was cute that we matched. #dontcareifitsafashionfauxpas.

I've also had some pretty mind blowing conversations with my soon-to-be 4 year old.  Conversations that I really didn't think we'd have at this age, but we have.  She's intiated, and I had to figure out had to respond. The two most recent things she's asked about were September 11th, and breast cancer.  

I don't know if I responded the "correct" way, or even if how I answered her questions made sense to her, but I intend on blogging about these things, because these are moments in our life that one day I'll forget.  And one day I want her to read and understand how her little mind worked when she was three years old.  It fascinates me, and I want her to know when she's older what an interesting amazing little person she was when she was little.

So that's our update. 

I'll try to be better.
I promise not to be so sparse. 
And I'm gonna get those damn Roman shades hung before my next birthday.

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