Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Things I'm Learning in Jamaica

1. That you can chew pure sugar cane and it will pour sugary sweetness into your mouth. But you only chew it...no swallowing. This is thanks to our bus driver (we were the only ones on the bus from the airport to our resort in Negril) who pulled over to buy some for us to try when my husband asked what it was the people were selling on the corner.

2. That my daughter, who has always been a great sleeper and early riser right along with my husband, may be turning to the dark side and becoming a night person like me! She started out getting up early, but these last two nights she has suddenly been finding excuse after excuse to stay up late...wanting to read books and listen to music. Hilariously, she has also figured out that telling us "I'm stinky!" or "I go poopy!" sometimes warrants a diaper check and has used this to get out of bed. She's also tried this when she's done with dinner and ready to go do something else, but after the second time she pulled this trick, we figured out that she KNOWS this will make us act and so now we are ignoring this excuse LOL!

3. That if there is something on the buffet line called the "Bubble and Squeak," it's essentially a potato pancake. No idea why it is called this interesting name.

4. That a man walking by on the beach will offer to sell you marijuana right in front of your two-year-old daughter. This happened to my husband when he took our daughter for an early morning stroll on the beach. He refused the man's offer, of course.

5. That it's a good thing you brought enough swimsuits for you and your daughter to wear a different one practically every day because it's so humid the wet ones you hang up will never dry out.

6. That upgrading your room to concierge level is awesome because you have a mini fridge in the room stocked with Cokes, Diet Cokes, Sprite, water, juice, ginger ale, and Jamaican beer, and it's refilled every day...and it's all included-no extra charge.

7. That maybe planning a trip to the Caribbean in September/hurricane season wasn't the best idea, now that Tropical Depression 16 aka soon-to-be Tropical Storm Nicole has been dumping loads of rain directly on Jamaica for 20 hours, even though it's 200 miles away from the "center" of the storm and not even ON the projected storm path. Move on storm!

8. That you should've taken your family portraits on the beach the first day, since now it may rain for the rest of your time here. So much for the Christmas card picture...

9. That champagne flavored with peach and blackberry schnapps is kind of delish.

10. That your daughter is going to be a terror at concerts in her teens, considering she spent all evening trying to bum rush the stage during Bert and Ernie's Island Adventure Stage Show! I felt like security trying to get her off the stairs to the stage--she couldn't understand why she couldn't go up there to be with her Sesame Street pals. Thank goodness the gang all came down into the audience at the end of the show and danced with all the little kids and she got hugs from everyone and danced with Ernie!

11. That Arnold Schwarzenegger had reason to be frustrated in Kindergarten Cop when he had to keep explaining to the one kid, "IT'S NOT A TOOM-AH!" I've spent all day the last several days telling my daughter, "IT'S NOT BROKEN!" as she declares EVERYTHING-the TV, the phone, my iPod, the computer, a closed door, you name it-"IT'S BWOKEN!" if it does not appear to be doing what she thinks it's supposed to/wants it to do!

12. That generally, when a resort throws a talent show and the guests are supposed to provide the talent, it should be called Beaches Guests Don't Got Talent. One kid did a cheer no one could hear, one clogged, one sang Don't Stop Believing by Journey and forgot the words halfway through (luckily for her, everyone from Generation X sang along FOR her-poor thing)...two adults sang a semi-nice version of I Can't Help Falling in Love With You, and a guy did a drum solo with the band. I'd say it was a toss up between the duet and the drummer, but we didn't stay to see who was declared the most talented of the talent-less.

13. That I cannot go without sunblock for two hours. Evidence: the sunburn I got on my shoulders on our first morning here. I have no excuse...even though it was overcast, I should know better. Have used 90 SPF ever since...well, until the rain started, anyway.

14. That my kid, like her father, is not going to be prone to sunburn--she's just going to turn beautifully brown. Lucky!! Using 90 SPF on her too.

15. That even when you have internet access in Jamaica, abc.com and hulu.com will not let you watch episodes of Castle online since you are "outside the United States and its territories." Seriously?!

16. That the Jamaican people, while generally lovely and friendly, all seem to suffer the same deficiency: giving incomplete instructions. We took our daughter to play in the toddler pool at the kids' camp and decided to leave her there for a bit since she was having fun. The nannies told us to bring them a change of clothes and diapers for her. We walk to room, obtain said items, and return to camp. Then, they tell us they also need us to bring our own wipes, causing a return trip to our room. At the airport, one customs person told me I could put my daughter on my customs/immigration form. Another told me she had to have her own form, but I only needed to fill out the front top section. A third told me I had to fill in the whole thing, both sides, top and bottom. @^#&$*@!

17. That I'm not the thinnest mama here rocking the bikini (a couple of anorexic looking moms have me wondering how they ever produced a baby from their skinny bods!), but I'm definitely fine to do so. Others not so much.

18. That one upside to staying at a family resort is NO NAKED PEOPLE. When we went to Sandals (a couples resort) just down the beach four years ago, we had some people going topless and we kayaked by the Hedonism resort and got the full frontal from another guy who seemed to be waving us over ("Paddle faster!" I said to my hubby.) I'm not against nakedness per se (good nakedness), but the kind of people who generally go naked at these resorts? NOT THE KIND YOU EVER WANT TO SEE NAKED. It's never the hot people, just the delusionally uninhibited.

I'm sure I've learned more in these past few days, but I should sign off for now. I have a hot breakfast date with my husband, daughter, and the Sesame Street gang. Anyone know a good "Stop Raining" Dance?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Random Wednesday Thoughts

I go to Jamaica in 10 days. Only things standing between me and Jamaica at this point? One major project at work that has to be completed, the bikini wax I have scheduled for Saturday which is absolutely essential for spending a week in a bikini, and packing.

And it would be great to lose like five pounds between now and then, but since I'm not, I'm still going to rock my bikinis and rock them proudly for two reasons: (a) I don't know anyone in Jamaica so who cares what they think of my slight mommy pooch, and (b) We are going to Beaches, which is a family resort, so who cares what a bunch of little kids and Elmo and Big Bird think of me in a bikini? I actually ordered a new bikini from Victoria's Secret recently and, upon trying it on, worried that the bottom might be a smidge small. I mean, it covered everything, which is key, but I still felt a LEETLE nekkid in it. (Nekkid=naked and up to no good LOL!) I asked my husband what he thought and he replied: "It's not too small. You look good." Love my husband!

When I daydream about our Jamaica trip, it's all sunshine and Bob Marley songs and relaxing under palm trees. Which is how our last trip to Jamaica, four child-free years ago, was. I imagine this time is going to be more of the chasing-after-my-toddler-while-trying-to-keep-my boobs-and-butt-covered variety, with a Sesame Street soundtrack and no time for palm trees, but that's OK. My husband and I considered going to Jamaica and leaving our daughter with my parents, the grandparentals. But we like taking her places with us and seeing her have new experiences in new countries and cultures. And she loves Elmo and the gang, so I think it's going to be fun for all of us. And if I really need to relax under a palm tree, I can put her in the little Sesame Street day camp for a few hours LOL.

So this past weekend, my mother-in-law [MIL] was in town visiting us from Toronto. (See? Not a smooth transition--this is going to be a very random post.) The good part of her visit was that it was only three days. Oh, and I did enjoy shopping for shoes and sunglasses with her for two hours. That was actually really fun. But three days is about my limit.

My MIL is a nice person, but she analyzes everything everyone is doing to the point that she doesn't really enjoy anything. We took her out to eat at a nice restaurant in a nearby small town Saturday and we were sitting on the patio overlooking the river, enjoying the breeze and the food, and she was analyzing everyone's meal to determine whose was the healthiest option (my mother, the Nana's, which kind of upset her because she thought when she ordered hers it would be the healthiest) and whose was the worst (my husband's--chopped steak smothered in queso-yum) and sharing facts about the little town we were in from the brochure on our table. On the way home that night, she commented on how excited my parents were to see my daughter and how much she could tell they enjoyed playing with her, and all I could think was, yes, that's because they are her GRANDPARENTS and that's how most grandparents are! (She's not...she loves my daughter, but she's mostly focused on herself and what she wants--I attribute this to the fact that she's been divorced and living alone for about 30 years.)

The most trying thing about my MIL though is that she considers herself an expert on everything. She once explained to me what an oil change WAS and why she got them done. (Um, hello...I've been driving for 20 years...I think I grasp what an oil change is LOL!) She crossed the room to get her reading glasses this weekend to analyze the nutritious facts on the Graduates toddler meals we occasionally (read: regularly) feed our daughter and then lectured us on preservatives (even though the meals don't have any!) and fiber intake and sodium. Gah.

On the same infamous drive home Saturday night, she informed me that my daughter's swim coach was a lesbian, a fact she determined by observing my daughter's class for 15 minutes that morning. OK, to be fair, first she ASKED me if she was a lesbian. I replied that I didn't know, but that she was a good teacher and was very sweet with my daughter and the other babies. THEN she informed me that she was. "She had that weird tattoo of a pinup girl on her arm--she's a lesbian," she informed me. Then, she proceeded to explain for 10 hellish minutes how some lesbians have short hair, but some don't and she works with a lot of gay people, so SHE KNOWS. Meanwhile, I sat there praying for her to shut up with all of her stupid comments about gay people!

For me, when I first met my daughter's swim coach, I was a little puzzled as to why she would want a tattoo of a pinup girl in a red 50s-style bikini tattooed on her arm, but that's because I'm not a tattoo person. I didn't consider whether it meant she was gay or not, because I just don't care. I went to a small liberal arts university. I have gay friends. I don't have issues with that. I just don't like tattoos. I thought about it for all of about three seconds before she opened her mouth to start class and was just a very sweet early-20s girl who is amazingly patient and has fun while teaching my daughter and the other babies in her class. And that's ALL I care about. So I was especially irritated because I hadn't realized my MIL had some sort of issues with the gays she knows so much about LOL, and because HELLO--she was supposed to be watching her granddaughter swim! Not analyzing everything as usual. Sigh.

Anyhoo, let's just say I'm glad she lives in Canada and I only see her once or twice a year. How much was I over her visit by the time we put her on the plane? Well, despite my recent post about margaritas, I am a very infrequent drinker, maybe having one drink every few weeks or sometimes months. After we dropped her at the airport on Sunday and went home and put our daughter down for a nap, I opened a bottle of wine, drank three-fourths of it, and took a big nap myself!

Jamaica can't come fast enough.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Kids' Birthday Parties: Yay or Nay?

I just threw my daughter a party for her 2nd birthday. It was a Western Backyardigans Birthday Bonanza. My daughter loves, loves, loves the Backyardigans and we live in Texas, so I wanted to combine them with a cowgirl/cowboy theme.

The cake--I did not make this myself

The Birthday Girl in her boots, ready to go!

We rented out a local western-themed indoor playplace with a bouncy house, slide, swings, and party room, and had the whole place for two hours. (My daughter spent most of the party in the bouncy house with the exception of coming out to eat LOL.) We decorated the partyroom in western/Backyardigans birthday decor and played a few of the Backyardigans' western-themed episodes in the party room while everyone was eating.

The party room before--my mother, the Nana, sewed all the gingham tablecloths

Party decor--my mother bought the little hats to put on the Backyardigan Beanie Babies LOL

We served pizza, cake, and ice cream cups, plus juice boxes for the kids and soda or water for the adults. Every kid left the party with either a pink or blue cowboy hat and a little gift bag of Backyardigans goodies, plus a CD I burned of my daughter's favorite songs. Our party guests included 12 kids, about half of them from my daughter's classes at day school and half of them children of my close girlfriends, plus the birthday girl, and 14 adults, including the parents of all of those children, my husband and me, and my parents, aka the grandparentals.

My daughter and two friends in the bouncy house

Guests swinging
 
The kiddie zip line

Dressing up like a cowboy!

Everyone eating in the party room

Now lucky for me, I didn't have to do all of this by myself. My mother, aka the Nana, is a party planner extraordinaire. She totally missed her calling and should do party planning professionally; she is incredibly good at it.

Of course, she's had lots of practice. She planned themed birthday parties for me every year from when I turned one till my sweet 16. I had a Mickey Mouse party and a Snow White party and a Cinderella party and a Strawberry Shortcake party, plus a McDonald's party, a skating party, a putt-putt golf party, and on and on. She did everything from renting a village hall for my 4th birthday when we were living in England, to pitching a tent in our backyard for a camp out party for my 9th birthday, to renting a country club pool/outdoor volleyball area for my sweet 16. (One of my gifts at my sweet 16 was a photo album she put together for me with pictures from every one of my birthday parties!)
 
The Nana should do this professionally--
you should see how beautiful my bridal tea, rehearsal dinner,
and later baby shower turned out!

Now, my parents are not and never have been rich by any stretch of the imagination, but my mother has always tried to make my birthdays special with whatever she had. And when I asked her about why she did that, she talked to me about her own birthdays. My mother grew up poor in Alabama, one of 10 children. For her birthday, my grandma usually made a cake from scratch for them to eat at dinner, which was delicious, but was divided among all those kids. Depending on money, my mom might have gotten one present, like a doll, but more than likely, she got something she needed, like a new pair of shoes. That was really it. So making my parties a real event, something beautiful and special, made her really happy. She kind of re-lived her childhood dreams vicariously through them!

So, with this kind of childhood birthday experience, of course, I think throwing a fun birthday party for my daughter is important and something you just DO. I've never questioned that I will throw my daughter some sort of party or gathering every year until she turns 16. (As if the Nana would let me NOT throw my daughter a birthday party if I felt differently LOL.)

If I hadn't planned to throw a party, the Nana definitely would've!

A friend questioned me about it though a few months ago, not really understanding why I was throwing a party for my daughter--who was I going to invite after all? Which I thought was a weird question.

Now for some background...this friend is one of my best mom friends and her daughter is three months older than mine. Her daughter's birthday falls in the same week as her husband's birthday. So last year, when her daughter turned one, they had a luau party for her husband and his best friend whose birthday is also in the same week, and just had an extra cake for her daughter, but it wasn't really her party per se. I didn't see anything wrong with that...it was actually really cute because my friend's husband got a Hawaiian shirt to wear at the party that had a matching dress for their daughter, so it was tres adorable! Everyone at the party was an adult though, except her daughter, our daughter, and one or two other older children that came with their parents.

When my friend's daughter's 2nd birthday rolled around a few months ago, I kind of expected her to throw her daughter a little party, but once again, we were invited to an adult party for the two guys, with an extra cake for the little birthday girl turning two. We RSVPed, and then my daughter and I were having dinner with the friend and her daughter and my other mom friend and her son, and my other mom friend asked me what I was doing for my daughter's birthday in three months. I had just reserved the playplace, so I mentioned we were renting that and having the party there.

And that's when my friend started asking me questions. Why was I throwing my daughter a party? Her main issue seemed to be, who would I possibly invite? Which was odd, because she, her husband, and her daughter all came to the 1st birthday ballerina-themed party I threw at my house for my daughter last year, so it wasn't like she hadn't already seen one of my parties in action. Well, I said, I'm inviting all the folks that came to the party last year (my parents, a few of my girlfriends, and their children), plus some of my daughter's friends from school (and their parents, of course).
 
Last year's 1st birthday party for my daughter--theme was ballerinas.
The doll at left was mine as a child and the Nana made the cover that turned the highchair into one big tutu!

My daughter's outfit for her 1st birthday--she wasn't quite walking yet!

And this seemed to be her main issue. She was surprised my daughter has "friends." Now granted, my daughter's two and they mostly parallel play still at this point, but she has been going to her day school with a certain group of children for the last 20 months. She sees these babies all day, every day, four days a week. They play and sing and read and eat and go potty together LOL. In my mind, they're friends! And my friend considers her daughter, who we only see every few weeks on playdates, my daughter's friend, so why wouldn't her classmates who she sees every day be her friends?!

My daughter's friend from school--he's actually the first little boy to hold hands with her
when they were mere babies in the nursery (daughter is wearing new outfit due to a poop incident LOL)

I just thought it was weird...her daughter has been in daycare since she was 10 weeks old, longer than my daughter has, so I was surprised she didn't consider any of the kids in her daycare class her daughter's friends, or know any of their parents. (I only invited kids who I know pretty well and whose parents I've at least chatted with a few times in passing--some I know better than others.)

This is my friend's little boy who does not go to school with my daughter,
but goes in for a hug everytime he sees her! He's my favorite potential future son-in-law LOL!

I don't know if she was just feeling insecure/competitive because she wasn't having a separate party for her daughter, and was using that as an excuse, or if she really thinks her daughter has no friends. I think it would be sad to think my daughter was in school all day and wasn't friends with any of those kids! Recently, I talked to my daughter about the concept of best friends and asked her if she had a best friend. Usually, she'll only parrot back the name of anyone I say, so I specifically did not name anyone...just asked the question and let it lie there. She thought for a minute and then said the name of a little girl who was invited to the party from her class! I asked again if she had a best friend and she repeated the little girl's name, so I was very excited to think she considers that little girl her best friend.

The little girl my daughter named as her friend

Anyway, so all this got me thinking...what do most people think about little kid birthday parties: yay or nay? Do you think it's a waste because your child really doesn't have "friends" at such a young age or are you, like me, all into hosting a party? I think that, like my mother before me, I am living vicariously through my daughter's parties too. :)

Glam-O-Mommy and daughter, enjoying pizza

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Break the Funk: Ask Glam-O-Mommy

Glam-O-Readers, I've been in a bit of a funk this past week. Not sure if it's a post-baby's birthday letdown or pre-mother-in-law's visit meltdown (Cannot. Keep. House. Clean. EEK) or if it's a I'm-Working-on-Two-High-Level-and-Highly-Annoying-Projects-at-Work-That-Will-Never-End breakdown, or just the fact that I haven't had a vacation since February and Jamaica is still 20 days away.

The funk has extended to my blog. I keep starting posts, getting a few paragraphs in, and then setting them aside, unsure if I want to declare my thoughts and feelings on a variety of topics...just at a bit of a loss as to what to say.

So, I'm looking to you for ideas...what do you WANT to know about me? Or any thoughts/positions/opinions I have on anything related to motherhood or anything else? I reserve the right to not answer certain questions, as I'm obviously protecting my privacy a little bit here, but other than that, ask away. I'm generally an open book in real life, and am curious what you want to know about me, based on what you've already read/seen here.

Post your questions in the comments...and I'll post a response blog answering the questions soon!

Come on...you know you want to ask me something! Here's your chance. :)