Friday, August 26, 2011

Comes With Age. (I guess?)

Two and a half this month and although Lily has always been a particularly independent child, she has become even more so. Tantrums fill the air after Cybil style comments like this:
I want them
I don't want them
No I want THEM!!!
No I don't want them
Mama I waaaaaaannnnnnttt them
NO I don't want them.

OK. Whew. Cold pancakes now going in garbage after sitting untouched for an hour, igniting tantrum #1 for the day at 9:15am.

Exhausting. I think this is about being 2.5? Control of ones actions and the need to assert oneself? I will hope that this ends in six months if not sooner. But it ominously reeks of adolescence and I'm definitely not accepting that it's beginning now.

No thanks.

Oh. And does taking a little chair over to the front door and undoing two Medeco locks and letting oneself out into the hall fall under the same assert-my-independence category?

Not.... cool.

I also clearly recollect my mom laying out my outfits the night before school. Can still see the the plaid dress with white turtleneck there on the rocker, its outline bathed in moonlight. But Lily, not yet in school now picks out her own outfits most days. And I am not to help her.

Go in da other room.

OK Pumpkin, just call me if you'd like some help.

OK. She says definitively, with distracted excitement, focused determination.

She's pretty good. Color matching a bit off, things sometimes inside out, but generally, maybe I should regard this as my teen toddler making mornings easier? Lies them out on the floor first, after multiple selections are reviewed and makes her selection.

Perhaps Alan is trying to assist from above. To lighten the load? Maybe that's why she briefly went for the heavy knit Yankee sweater this morning with the outside air already in the mid to high 70s... We were successful in diverting her attention and she then came out with a perfect, slightly large, woven hand-me-down shift dress (for a four year old, but we're looking ahead, right?)and she donned it skillfully with only distanced supervision from her Granny who subtly assisted with a mis-routed arm.

The dressing I can take, the front door exits and tantrums I can do without.
But maybe those are next on Alan's list.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

City Mouse/Country Mouse.

We got out of town.
Lily, James (invisible friend) and I.
The plane ride to Ca. is a long one, and Lily, as only Lily seems to be able to do, remained amped and awake the entire flight until the pilot announced the descent. Then she crashed hard, as though sleeping potion induced, to my relieved but frustrated consternation at this travel pattern she has mastered.

5.5 hours.

My mother and mother-in-law have now witnessed this "flying style" first hand.
They think it's amusing.

But touch down had me elated and Northern Ca. immediately restores my spirit.
Was sooo nice.
Too quick, ever busy, but we got some fresh air.
More hand-me-downs.
And love.
From cousins and grandparents and aunties and a loving uncle and friends. Her NY Granny and BebeO came with us for part of the time so Lily got to show them around her garden, and we were able to share with them some Left Coast Family Hang Time. Was very, very nice. Lily, very much like her Grandpa, enjoys having the entire family together. So she was ecstatic to have so many friends and family join us for a kick-off dinner.

We also relished in lots of outdoor quiet.
So nice to relax under the stillness of the sun, warm rays, no noise but distant leaf blowers or rustling leaves. The sounds of birds taking flight from their perches. Barking dogs. Pool sweep random spouts of water.
Ahhh, suburbs....

We breakfasted outside and Lily unintentionally shared her waffle with a Blue-Jay.
It was a bit unsettling for her but we thought maybe it was a Mama Bird who flew off to her nest to share with her family so then Lily didn't feel so violated.
She was finished anyway. She-who-has-entered-a-hopefully-short-term-era-of-tantrums is protective of her belongings, even if not using them - but she took the waffle abduction in stride, and busied herself with watering the patio and it's plants instead.

We also had sleepovers with her cousins and that was the icing on the cake. We drove with her Uncle Dave (Unca Dave!! Unca Dave!!) to pick them up at camp - so Lily toured their classrooms and delighted in their playgrounds. Pre-school begins next month so it was a taste of the New World for her to see a school up close. Addison and Simone scaled structures and swung from monkey bars while Lily scrambled up and down curly slides, lounged on "the moon" (a tunnel), washed her hands and opened/closed doors in multiple playhouses.

She trailed them with excitement and awe.

We also ventured to Santa Cruz for some beach and rides and fries, and perhaps the best part, for me, was turning around in the front see to see them all asleep in their car seats. Family frozen in rest mode, as we curved past redwoods, and cruised alongside dry, brown, rolling hills crowned with stately oaks.
Beautiful in so many ways.

When we returned to NYC, Lily greeted the closets and crib and made sure our apartment was in order. Like her dad, she doesn't like to be far from home for too long.

Trying to balance a California/New York state of mind.

Will channel husband and daughter.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Some days. (All I Want)

Some days are much better than others.
Today is not one of THOSE.
In fact this week, this month, feels pretty shitty much of the time.
Just does.
I am lonelier than I have ever been.
I am finding it hard to breathe in such a small space for me and my two and a half year old. And the options seem... in far away places with no job prospects.


The hope has been, post Alan,to move to Brooklyn - mainly for a few more trees, quieter streets, and a family community that isn't suburbs but isn't city either. But the neighborhoods that are established are exhorbitently priced and I'm not sure I like the choices so much anymore.
I grew up in the suburbs.
And while I don't want that necessarily for Lily, nor myself, I would like a happy medium. Some more trees on the streets, a bit more breathing room, fewer car alarms, less trash, exhaust, and did I say breathing room?

Breathing Room.

Feels good just to look at the words.
I don't want an apartment with amazing city views. Honestly? That image makes me contract (OK, I'd take Central Park). I would like green branches outside our windows. I don't want a roof deck with a view of an industrial waterfront, I don't want to have to march up four floors, I don't want windows looking onto brick walls and stairwells, the thought of a massive apartment complex gives me claustrophobia.

I want neighborhood. A garden. Sunlight. Space. A non closet size room for Lily. Love for myself. A stimulating job. Closet space. A breeze through the window. A kitchen with a large counter-top.
And a washer & dryer.

I can dream.

When Alan and I were planning together we contemplated life in towns on the Hudson River. And Brooklyn. And Jersey. With him - we could have afforded a home in those areas and as a family,as a FAMILY of three or perhaps more, we might have been more isolated but we'd have neighborhood friends and the comfort of our own company. We wouldn't have needed so much at our doorstep. But as an only parent with a toddler I think those areas wouldn't be a wise move.
More isolation. More loneliness.

So the world seems to be shrinking, rather than expanding. And I'm not happy about it. Today, at least.
Though two friends just lifted my spirits up tremendously in different ways.
I need a neighborhood of sorts that we can immerse ourselves in, so there is contact with other life - sounds extreme, but that's how I feel.
That's what I need.
What I'd like.
What I crave.
I have always been OK with doing things on my own, that, I actually enjoy. But because I am a "lone" parent I need human contact.
Not colonnades in suburbia.

And there is SO much I do love about NYC. It is wildly stimulating and gushes with life - even with the grime and AC drips. There is a clip in a Sesame Street episode where an artist constructs an animal out of plastic bags, attaches it limply to a subway sidewalk vent and it comes alive with hot air (click to see) as the underworld passes by.
That is what I do love about this place.

Unexpected beauty, unconventional creativity.

Maybe it's not all so bad. Just had to vent. Get it out.
Yell from the mountain top. Sometimes I feel like that deflated bear.

So then I think of Lily.
The quickest fix of all.