Monday, March 12, 2012

Last answers post!

Okay! Last entry. This one's long, but I wanted to get 'em all done before I petered out. Thank you guys again for all the fun questions -- I loved reading each one and trying to make sense of my answers. Hope it worked okay for ya'll!

We'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming (like how I cut my hair off) tomorrow.

What are your biggest inspirations? Like books, movies, art, history, etc... I always like hearing about what inspires people...
Judy Blume and Lois Lowry are major heroes. Their young adult stuff was/is huge in my life and I pretty much just worship at their altars/want to be them when I grow up. Oh, and P.D. James. She's amazing! In her 90's and still writing incredibly complex and cerebral mysteries. I want to be her.

I think Rebecca is one of the most perfect books ever written. Same with Franny and Zooey. I'm a big reader and though it's slowed down quite a bit with Harper in my life, I still try to read as much as I can. This weekend I read A Visit from the Goon Squad (thank you, KPG!) and loved it -- for being a great story and for inspiring me to write more than just my random snippets. I need a schedule.

Feeling Good has gotten me out of the depressive cycles I tend toward for 15 years. Would be my one book on a desert island. Radical Acceptance (and other Buddhist books) shifted my life view immensely and got me through last year.

Oh, so books mostly.

Also modern dance -- watching it, doing it -- and oh oh did anyone ever see Frontier House on PBS? That's something that inspired me to try and live simpler -- I think of it often. We just watched Being Elmo -- pretty much cried during the whole thing and it made me...wanna do stuff.

Do you make dinner and have sit-down family dinners every night? If yes, how do you make dinner with toddler toddling? And how does dinner work? (do you have adult conversations while HJ eats or work with her throughout dinner to get her to eat her veggies etc...)

I cook 3-4 times a week, usually enough so that we can eat the same meal two nights in a row. We do takeout 1-2 times a week. Dinner making usually takes a lot of steps and she'll "help" with different parts. I'll set her up with something in the playroom (that connects with the kitchen) and put some music on and go back and forth between the two. If she's not buying that, she often stands on a stool at the counter and does little tasks that make a small mess, but keep her away from the stove and knives. I'm always having to check that she's not about to topple off, but that's only happened once... cc walks in the door starving, so I try and have dinner almost ready when he comes home, otherwise I'd wait to cook while they were doing bath as it goes a lot faster!

On weekdays, I serve her dinner first. It's just easier to make sure she's all fed earlier than later, so once he comes home (usually around 6:30) they can focus on quality time and then bedtime (she's usually asleep by 7:30). Most of her meals, she sits in her blue chair and I sit in my red chair and we look out the window and chat. On weekends, we're more likely to do dinner together, but it's hardly formal. She'll sit and focus on her eating till she's done (if she's hungry, which is always a wild card!), but then she wants down and I'm okay with that.

While we're eating, cc and I will chat with each other and/or ask her questions about her day. Inevitably, there's "sit on your bum, Jones" and then "no! Baby kneeling!" which interrupts our super sophisticated convos on swim lessons and such. I work really hard at keeping food/meals a zero battle zone. I offer her different foods and will urge her to try one, but I don't ever push it; I won't ever have a "finish your plate" rule. I think it's important to teach/guide good table manners and work on sitting (longer and longer as they get older), but that's as strict as I get in the dining room! It's just not a battle that's important in my heart.

In general, I'm proud of what Harper eats, but not always where/how she eats it. But we'll get there!

Do you want Harper to learn how to play an instrument? Will you start her playing on one and if so at what age? Or would you wait to see if she asks about it? (I know you two do music class but not sure exactly what that entails!) Or maybe dance?

Yes! I would love for her to learn an instrument. Unless she has a strong preference otherwise (which I can totally see -- she already wakes up asking for specific shirts, ahem) I'd go with the piano. And then I'll roughly follow how my mom did it with me -- which was I was required to do three years of lessons and after that, it was my decision. (I quit and I hate that I quit. Sigh.) I think I started in second grade, but maybe it was third. I'll probably start her around 5 or 6.

I'd love if she did dance, too! Girl loves to groove, so...

What has been the most surprising thing you've found so far about being a Mom?
I can't handle Law and Order: SVU anymore. I miss you Ice-T! I basically like warmhearted sitcoms now. Uncool. I just cannot watch anything having to do with children being harmed or sick or sad.

Also, dudes kind of love cute moms with babies. Who knew?

Also, I ended up being so ... unmilitant about breastfeeding. It was the right choice for me, but I couldn't care less if someone chooses formula. That surprised me.

That I can enjoy cleaning up her spaces because it feels nurturing. That the little tasks of taking care of her feel important.

What are you most looking forward to experiencing with Harper as she grows up?

I can't wait to sit and read through my favorite book series together -- like the Little House books. Her picking something from my big pile of cookbooks she wants to make and baking it together. I think just sharing/re-living all the cozy things I still think back on from childhood and coming up with some of our own.

Did she go throught the bitting and hitting phase ? Mine is 18 months and is doing these things out of nowhere.... It is driving me craaaazzyyy and I am having a hard time disciplining her ? Please any suggestions are REALLY welcomed !

Oh dear, I'm hardly an expert on this one. Only very recently (the past couple weeks?) has Harps started experimenting with physical stuff. (At least on the general public -- she's always beating me up.) 

What I'm doing right now is: The first time she pushes (she's a pusher), I pull her aside (if we're in public) and ask her to look at me. Then I say (very clearly/firmly) "If you push again, we will ____" which will depend. If we're out, I will take her away from the fun thing she's doing for a set period of time. (Usually just a minute.) If we're at home, up to her room with me outside the door. When the one minute is up, I explain why and back we go.

If she pushed and I just pulled her away, it wouldn't give her a chance to modify her behavior and if I didn't follow through, she would know I wasn't serious. Also, per my Mom's advice, I try to stay neutral and quick with the whole thing so I don't give her too much attention (even if it's negative). For awhile, I was picking her up and kind of cuddling her while I explained in a lovey voice why pushing isn't good. Uh, that was basically making her want to push more. Again -- no expert and we're currently working on it so we'll see. Good luck!!

Can you foresee you and Clay attending organized sports with Harper as the "star" athlete? What sport might it be? Would Amy or Clay be the coach or assistant coach?

Sure, I can definitely see Jones being an athlete. She's a fast runner and crazy good with a soccer ball -- has been able to kick/dribble one around a field since she was 18 months. Being outside always puts her in a good mood and she sleeps like a rock after a busy day at the park. So I'm in! I can see soccer (we are in New England now, after all) or maybe tennis? I wish I knew how to play. I will...probably not be the coach. (Run! Uh...pick a flower! I mean, run!) cc would be a great coach and I'd probably die from the cuteness of all that.

Are you a feminist?


What type of pets do you want someday? 

 I WANT A DOG NOW. I mean -- I'm very interested in acquiring a cute puppy thing! I want a French bulldog.
How often are you going to visit NYC?

Often! So excited you'll be there, Cal! 

What is your idea of an ideal "girls night" with friends?

Ooo. I think dinner in a cozy booth at a low key place (you know, like Chili's. Kidding. No I'm not.) where we can all talk and eat chocolate volcanoes and stuff. And then a movie that boys will never go see. Or a musical? Can we go to a musical together? Oh and I also want a pedicure. And some shopping on a cute street with cute stores with hot chocolates in our hands.

Did you have any "a ha" moments at turning 30... how do you feel?

I haven't really given it a thought since it happened (all of a month ago - ha). So I think that's a good thing? I felt angsty and then I felt a rush of "Oh! I'm in all this with my other ladies" kind of like when I became a mom. And then someone asked me if I was Harper's babysitter and I'm vain and that made me feel good, too. Heh.

Did you watch Oprah's special on Hasidic Jews? It's sooo interesting. 

I haven't! But adding it to my list.

When you go back to work someday (if you do) what would you want to do?

Talked about this earlier, with my back and forth struggles on what's right for me. But for today, I'd like a few half days of copy editing in a laidback creative environment with peeps that don't take themselves too seriously and can catch me up on all the cool stuff I'm behind on. Where I can wear leggings for pants and bring my Frenchie and there's free tea.

What is your favorite museum in NYC? 

I haven't been to enough of them (especially the smaller ones) to answer this! I'm dying to take Harps to see the dinosaurs at the Museum of Natural History.

If you could only eat one ethnicity of food for the rest of your life, which would you pick?


What has been your favorite place to live?

Okay, quick answer: San Francisco.

But I really do miss them all in different ways. (Is that a Mitt Romney answer?) I wish I could do a timeshare thing, where I spent a couple weeks in each place every year. My tiny Beacon Hill studio with the red couch next to the tiny store where I bought many pints of Ben & Jerrys, riding around through the SF fog on our red Vespa and buying lavender and olive bread at the Ferry Building, walking out my Denver house barefoot and meeting Manj and Naveen at the playground nextdoor while I had cornbread in the oven. Le sigh. Memmmmmmmories.

How have your priorities shifted since you had a kiddo?

Uh...It's all about Harper now?

But to the future mamas who think that sounds terrible: What I mean is, she really is the first thing/last thing I think of everyday. When I want to buy something cute, it's usually for her. I get genuinely excited about a new sippy cup arriving in the mail or her swim lessons starting. I've always got a constant meter going in my head of her day and measure its success by: How much fun did she have/how well did she eat/how well did she sleep/did she get outside enough/did we play enough? Yada yada. That sounds borderline insane, but it's true.

I also like to have a cleaner and better organized house now -- because I know it makes our days calmer and her play more focused. I thought I'd be all "Who cares about the house!" but now I care more.

I can totally see how people let themselves go go go after having kids, because it really does fill me up to see her doing well. It was hard to focus on anything but her at first, but now I think I'm getting pretty good at giving cc quality time and lovin' as well as myself. I really do see that focusing on all of us makes the whole unit stronger.

Would your pre-mama and post-mama selves recognize each other?

Yeah. I don't think I'm much different, tho maybe that's just denial? I like to think I'm a little softer/kinder. Things don't get under my skin as much as they did. In the early baby days (first 6 months or so), I didn't feel much like me, but that's largely resolved itself. The truth is, I feel a lot comfier in my skin now. I always wanted to be a mom and then when it happened, I really did feel like something clicked. It's like I fit in now.

I would not believe how early I wake up now and how I'm mostly used to it.

I'm probably crabbier/shorter now, tho I think in a weird way that's a healthy thing -- I'm a lot more out there with my feelings. I just don't have the time for long, drawn out showdowns anymore.
What's your "death row dinner"? said another [less morbid] way, if you had to choose one meal to eat, what would it be? 

A grilled cheese with tomato. (Made with lots of butter, American cheese, and high quality white bread.) McDonald's fries on the side, plenty of ketchup. Sour pickle. Side of slaw (from Johnson's). A really carbonated fountain Coke. And a coffee Fribble from Friendly's. 

If someone gave you $1,000 to spend entirely on yourself, what would you buy? 

Wee! Expensive red leather ballet flats. A bunch of stuff from LUSH and Kiehl's. A few Etsy splurges to decorate Harper's room. A pair of Earnest Sewn jeans. All the Beatles albums on CD. 10-class yoga card. And a massage.

If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Ah! Gimme Shelter by the Stones.

Why did you become a vegetarian? Is HJ a veg too?

I explain it here. I do not feel comfortable calling myself a vegetarian at this point, as I've eaten a bunch of meat in restaurants the past couple months. I don't ever eat/cook meat at home and when I'm not traveling, my consumption is very low. I also almost always think "why'd I eat that?" afterward. But still -- I ate a cheeseburger on the Florida trip, so...

However, cc is quite dedicated to the cause and only rarely eats meat, even when we're out. I'm impressed!

And yep, at home HJ is veggie. When we're out, I'll occasionally order her a hot dog, which she'll gobble down. But other than weird nitrite-ridden beef occasionally, she doesn't eat meat. I'll continue to keep things meat-free at home and explain to her (as she gets older) why, but if she wants to eat meat it's totally her decision. Again, I never want to make food a battle in her/our life.

I forgot i wanted to ask you about Harper reading! Did you teach her to read? Did she teach herself? How!?

Sweet potato fries (in the words of Phil Dunphy), Harps definitely isn't reading yet. I'm sorry if I gave that impression! She's got some solid literacy skillz (has known all 26 uppercase and lowercase letters for months, knows all the letter sounds and likes to figure out what letters different words begin with, and can sight-read a few words), but no no no. Not reading. Guessing she'll be on the early side, tho? But who knows with these things, of course. 

What do you think HJ will be like at 10 years of age?

Busy! I think she'll have a lot of after-school activities that I'll constantly be shuttling her around to. Think she'll be pretty sassy/spunky and stay up much too late reading books under the covers. And she'll love shoes.


  1. no 'Hunger Games'?

  2. I just read Visit From The Goon Squad and am trying to pull a Ubi book club together but apparently everyone else who read it hated it! I loved it but I think we come from a generation who grew up reading Less Than Zero-ish vapid narcissistic personalities and we can associate with them even if we arent them. Wa!

    1. Hated it! Wow! My mom loved it, so I'm not sure we can blame it entirely on generational things... or maybe she's just a weirdo? But there are all these old school characters, too, struggling to adjust in the new world. You'd think there'd be something for everyone. Ah well. *fist bump*

  3. Gimme Shelter (!!!) is heaven.

    I think answers were my favorite, and they definitely make me think about what I want in life, which is good except that it makes me antsy to get out of some of the things in my current life.

  4. Just watched Being Elmo on Netflix this past weekend, and loved it so so so much. How does one know what they want to do and what they're good at in high school? That guy has mad talent. But the whole father/daughter relationship made me sad. Reminded me of some CEO stories I've read recently (Wallmart, FedEx), who've both said something along the lines of "I did it all wrong" with the focusing on the business and not the family thing. Total tangent, sorry.

    1. No, I agree -- it was tough to watch how that relationship was affected. I think that added to the poignancy of the whole thing for me. He created this amazing thing, but sacrificed so much to make it happen.

      And YES it blew my mind that he was on a PBS show in HIGH school. What the?!

  5. LOL, your death row dinner sounds like what we ate all through high school.... sigh. haha.

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  8. kelsey weaver10:15 PM

    Franny and Zooey... my one and only, favorite book. love watching you & your family grow maloof.:)


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