Wednesday, March 31, 2010

She keeps me entertained!

Ms. Mischief has been taking her job very seriously as of late!

Last Sunday, we went out with the grandparents. I had a snack and a Danimal (smoothie) in my purse, along with everything else that is always in there. As we were eating lunch at a restaurant, I felt like I was smelling something familiar. Danimal, I finally realized. Made no sense because she was not drinking one. I figured I should look in my purse, just in case, but, most likely, it's just me imagining things, I thought. I wish!

My purse was a royal mess! The Danimal bottle was in there, a hole on it. Its content had spilled all over the wipes, the snack bowl, my keys, comb, wallet. To top it off, my mother decided that I should take a biscuit home for Ari to enjoy later. So there were biscuit crums all over everything.

It gets better! When I grab my jacket, I realize there is Danimal all over it. As I'm looking at it, I get smoothie on my pants!

I can't make this crap up!

Why did she need to put the smoothie back in my purse after opening it, anyways?!

The next day, Monday, I was making homemade waffles for lunch. Usually, I put each ingredient away after I use it. Helps with the clean-up process and keeps things away from Amor Chiquito. I forgot one thing, though...

As I am about to put the first waffle in, Amor Chiquito comes over and tells me that she is cleaning the floor with a baby wipe. I'm thinking "she has great intentions, how sweet"! I thank her and tell her to stay away because the waffle maker is hot. But I smell something...! Vanella!

Amor Chiquito took the bottle of vanella and used it to clean the dining room floor and her little kitchen! Hey, my kitchen and dining room might be sticky, but they sure smell good!

As I am typing this, at my mother's place, I hear someone knocking on the door and Ari saying "who is it?" Next thing I know, the door was open. I didn't know she could reach that high! Cool, but scary! My baby is less and less of a baby every day! Actually, who am I kidding? I don't have a baby anymore. That feels strange!

Sometimes, the solution is in front of you and you just don't see it.

You know how every now and then you realize what is really going on, but it was obvious all along? That’s what happened to me two nights ago.

For the past few weeks, after sleeping for five to seven hours at a time, Amor Chiquito has been waking up many times. I was getting one to two-hour chunks of sleep at a time. To top it off, when she woke me up around 4 or 5:00 a.m., it took me at least an hour to fall back asleep. It has been hard, really hard. I don’t handle sleep deprivation well. I was showing multiple symptoms of depression. It made no sense. I kept thinking “Everything is fine. Everyone is healthy. The bills get paid. My husband is awesome. My kid is happy… What is it? Why do I feel like this?” And, of course, I was wondering “What the hell is going on? What am I doing wrong? What changed? Why are we going through this again? Didn’t we go through this for long enough? We’ve dealt with this almost her entire life. The break was welcomed appreciated, and great while it lasted.”

Each and every night, I kept waking up because I was hot. I figured it was just me. The thermostat was set at 65 degrees. Geeky Entrepreneur was sleeping comfortably, with two blankets up to his shoulders. Amor Chiquito kept kicking the blankets off of her. I didn’t think anything of it. What kid keeps the blankets on her/him, I thought?

Finally, it dunned on me. She might be hot. And, I am way too hot, so I will open the window. She slept great for the rest of the night. That was two nights ago. Last night, I opened the window and she slept straight through until 6:30 a.m. She woke up at 6:30, nursed, and went back to sleep for another two hours.

I feel like a new woman today. I feel like a moron, but a happy one! I know I am very lucky that this is the hardest thing the three of us are dealing with. I did forget that a few times, particularly at 5:00 a.m. when I had only gotten three hours of interrupted sleep, I admit.

Moral of the story: when your child is not sleeping well, think about the simple, common causes: hot, cold, hungry, diaper, teeth. Also, think of things that might not be directly related, but that might affect sleep patterns, such physical activity, what the child ate before bed, if you are a breastfeeding mommy, what you are eating, is the child sick but asymptomatic? Another suggestion: create a list and keep it somewhere easy to find at 3:00 a.m. That way, when the cute little person can’t sleep, you simply go down the list, rather than trying to think.

I am sure there are more things to keep in mind. If you think of something, feel free to add it to my list.

Shh, I didn’t say this, but she napped at a reasonable time today and I am cautiously optimistic that I might be able to get her back on schedule! It’s the little things! Geeky Entrepreneur and I would be happy if she goes down before 10 p.m. I swear we do try!

Duty calls...!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Toddler-Friendly Activities

I just put together a list of activities we do with Ari. Sometimes, I get tired of doing the same thing every day and I can’t think of what else to do. This way, I can pull up my list on the PDA and, hopefully, I won’t get bored. Yes, I am the one getting bored; she is fine, very happy and entertained, in fact. I have ADD. It is not a joke! It’s true and it drives me nuts. Soon enough, she will have a longer attention span than me!

So, here is the list:

(I was running the spellchecker… It wanted to change “playdoh” to “playboy”!



Trains (Yes, I am teaching her to be boyish, anyone want to yell at me for it?! Oh, wait, my family does not read my blog!)

Playing doctor

Dressing the doll (the clothing items are magnets)

Assembling Ernie (She just did it all on her own for the first time today!)

Playing with the baby doll (See, I don’t mind her doing “girl” things!

Play feed

The chasing game (She chases me while she makes monster noises.)

Jumping (She jumps off her stool, over and over again.)

Toy house (Our tenants have one on the yard and mom has said Ari is welcomed to use it.)

Slide (Tenants have one of those too!)

Finger paint (We've had some for a few months. I should try it.)

There is Barney and Elmo, of course. We save that for those mornings when we are struggling to stay awake or for when ADD mom must jump on the computer (like right now)!

These are for those days when I am feeling more adventurous or for Daddy:

Park (There is one across the street practically. I don’t like going to the park because she can be out of sight (mommy has very limited vision) very fast.).

Bubbles (Mommy can’t blow bubbles to save her life! Probably the bad eyes again!)

Merry-go-round (Have I mentioned that being visually impaired is annoying sometimes?! I want to drive her to the merry-go-round, damn it!)

What do you do with your toddler? What did you do as a child? What would you add to my list?

"Uno dess Jai?"

Amor Chiquito has recently gotten into dresses. It’s all her; I probably wear a dress three times a year. She says that dresses are for dancing! Not sure where she got that idea from…

Check this out: Daddy told me to get her dresses! What? Yes, I was shocked! Baby has Daddy wrapped around her little finger, yes she does!

Off we went last Friday to get her a few dresses. We were at the fitting room. She was very excited. She was looking at herself in the mirror, jumping, spinning, putting her arms out. She looked like she was about to try to fly! Silly kid! She began singing her latest version of the happy song: “happy, happy, teh-too (thank you), happy, the-too, happy…”! It was a precious, priceless, video-worthy moment! Too bad Daddy missed it.

Amor Chiquito left the store wearing one of her new dresses! She wore it for the rest of the day. After her bath, she wanted to wear it again. She wore it to bed. I guess clean pajamas is not a requirement for Daddy?!

Saturday morning, she finally took it off, only to wear another one! What an obsession!

Later on, Amor Chiquito said “uno dress Mama (grandma), dress Ari, uno dress Jai?”

Jai is her three-year-old male cousin! Innocence… Innocence is beautiful! I love witnessing those moments!

My brother, Jai’s dad, would not have been nearly as thrilled when she said that… Oh well!

Hey, she is learning about sharing!

"Ah, umm, umm, ah, umm, faffo (waffle), toast..."

Amor Chiquito is working on improving a very important skill: her ability to feed me BS! She is thriving, let me tell you!

The title of this post is what Amor Chiquito said to me tonight when I was getting her ready for bed. We had gone through the routine. She had nursed. She was in bed. I was reading on my PDA, waiting for Amor Chiquito to go to sleep. I was getting hopeful. She had been quiet and had not moved in a while. Suddenly, she sat up. She came over and lied down on my chest. She sat up again and fed me the BS quoted above!

Each and every night, it’s the same thing… She is hungry. She wants milk. She needs to pee. The latest is that her back and feet are itching! The itching is believable, to an extent. She has a little rash on her back. But there is nothing whatsoever on her feet! Furthermore, she never complained about her feet all day!

Kid, you are an excellent bullshitter! You make your parents proud! You got that from your daddy, clearly! Your mommy never ever does any of that. As a matter of fact, your mommy didn’t tell your daddy that chocolate would make her cramps go away! Nope, I didn’t do that earlier today! Me? Never!

We are a very silly family. We have a blast saying ridiculous things to each other! My husband has talking stuffed monkeys. They even have Facebook pages! It’s all his fault! As my mother-in-law puts it: that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

"Hold you, Da-ee" and "I want puhpo hohse."

Amor Chiquito is doing and saying so many cute things lately. I need to write them down before I forget!

She does not fully understand the concept of “you and “I.” Sometimes, it seems like she gets it, but, other times, she says things like “hold you, Da-ee.”

I love when she says “hold you, Da-ee”! It sounds so sweet! She loves being held by her “Da-ee”! She loves being on his shoulders, being held up-side-down, you name it…! They have a game where he holds her, she climbs over his shoulders, and, next thing you know, she is on his back up-side-down. Scares the crap out of me, but they love it and he manages to do it safely. Once she is on his back, he pretends he can’t find her for about five minutes, looks everywhere… You should see her huge smile the entire time. Eventually, she says “aqui (here) Da-ee” and he “finds” her!

Back to “hold you.” I get the impression Amor Chiquito thinks “hold you” is one word. She says things like “It heavy. Hold you it please.”

We had brought Amor Chiquito to a merry-go-round six months ago, but she did not get into it. Today, she got to try one of those small merry-go-rounds at a shopping plaza, the type you put 75 cents in and it goes for a few minutes. She loved it! She was smiling, laughing, saying “horse, neigh. Three horse. Purple horse, yeyow horse, white horse…”!

A few hours later, Amor Chiquito said “I want purple horse.” We’ll be going back soon, I am sure!

She is continuing to say small sentences more and more often. I wonder where she is at in regards to expressive language development. I will get a better idea tomorrow; the early intervention person is coming in. I know she is doing just fine as far as receptive language, well, when she feels like it! When she does not feel like it, you might think her hearing is a bit off!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The little things make me smile.

Amor Chiquito just came over and the following happened:

She said “eat Ari pie-appo (pineapple). Eat toast.

She climbed on the couch and kissed me on the cheek.

She put her arms around me, her face against mine.

As soon as her face was touching mine, she burped!

She got very excited and said: Ari burped!

I tried to get her to say "excuse me." No go!

She makes me smile. And, she makes her Daddy proud!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Language Development Update

I feel like we have been witnessing a language explosion lately. It’s kind of cool!

Amor Chiquito is saying three and four-word sentences now. She has so many words. Amor Chiquito is trying to say words that are hard for her to say, whereas, before, she simply would not try as often.

Several people have told me that they understand her words so much better now. They understand most of her words.

She had a wipe. She said: “I clean wall.”

Daddy was talking to his mother and Amor Chiquito said: “I talk Nana please.”

Her c’s and k’s come out as t’s.

Her l’s come out as y’s. For example, she says “yight” for light and “yot” for locked.

She is making progress with the r. R’s are always a hard one for kids, one of the last ones they master.

Amor Chiquito is most definitely not re-qualifying for early intervention services in May. She will be 32 months old and she needs a 30% delay. She would need to be at 22 months. She was at 21 months last November, so there is no way. We do believe that she still has a delay. We will be getting suggestions from the early intervention team and we will be on our own after that.

I do not know if this was the right decision, but I recently decided to mostly speak English to her for the time being. My thought is that she will need English if/when she goes to preschool. She can learn more Spanish later, when she is older and able to differentiate between the two languages.

I have discussed the research on bilingual homes and language development with the early intervention team and they tell me that there is no definite answer on what the best way to deal with language at a bilingual home is. Hopefully I did and am doing the right thing. We’ll see. For what it is worth, her language is really taking off lately. Coincidence? No clue.

Someone, please, make her understand that there is simply no way she is having ice cream for breakfast!

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Diva Cup, anyone?

Guys, if you don’t want to hear about female products (and why would you?), this is not the post for you! You’ve been warned!

The Reluctant Crunchy Mama is getting crunchier and crunchier!

We use cloth diapers, but, for some reason, cloth pads... No... Just no... No good reason, just, no!

I recently read some blog posts by women who use the Diva Cup. I looked it up online and it has excellent reviews. I decided to give it a shot.

Read up on what it is here:

Mine arrived today. I’ll tell you if I like it or not in a few weeks!

Do you have anything to say about it, good or bad? Any tips?

Adoption Update

I have continued my search for adoption agencies. I have read websites and talked to at least seven agencies. There are two that I really like. The next step would be to find a way to somehow do a background check, if you will, on those agencies.

One of the agencies I like is in MA, in the Boston area. The other agency has four offices throughout the U.S. The office closest to us is in NC. In the end, we would be doing some traveling regardless of which agency we go with. We would be flying to wherever the birth mom is so we can meet her and so we can get the baby when he/she is discharged from the hospital.

Something interesting I learned this week… I was aware of this, to an extent, but learned much more about it recently. The race of the baby you would like to adopt affects the waiting period and even the cost of the adoption process. The Boston agency told me that if we were willing to adopt an African-American child, we might very well be matched with an expectant mom in three months or so. If we want a 100% Caucasian child, we might end up waiting for 18 months.

There are African-American moms out there who would like to place their babies up for adoption, but people do not want to adopt them. Same goes for children with special needs or children of parents with certain medical conditions. So, so sad. Many agencies are willing to give the adoptive family a grant or a lower fee if the family adopts a “difficult to place” child.

We already have every race covered, except Asian! If Ari marries an Asian person, we’ll have it all! In theory, there is a small amount of African-American in me (Puertorican = Spaniard, African and Indian). Geeky Entrepreneur is Portuguese, Italian, English, Scottish, and who knows what else! See what I’m saying?!

If the right mom was to reach out to us and she happens to be African-American… So what!

My biggest problem would be learning how to deal with curly hair! Not doing so good with Ari’s hair yet, given the fact she gives me five seconds to do her hair! But we can figure it out! People with curly hair, I might be reaching out to you in a few years!

I am sure we would get questions, some polite ones and some not-so-polite, about being a transracial family, or whatever they call it these days. I believe we could do a good job handling those situations because I have 27 years of experience dealing with ignorant people. My visual impairment is fairly obvious. My eyes move a lot. People always make comments as if I can’t hear them. The smarter and more polite ones ask me directly. I am always happy to answer their questions, so long as they do not address me as if I am this poor little thing that can’t accomplish anything in life due to my visual impairment.

That reminds me… I have mentioned my visual impairment to most of the agencies I have talked to. Believe it or not, there are plenty of people out there who can’t even begin to imagine how I got through college and how I parent my two-year-old. Clearly, someone must be with me 24/7, doing it all for me. Thus far, there are two things I have a hard time doing: clipping her nails and using medicine droppers.

Anyways… I wanted to hear the reactions of the people I spoke to at the adoption agencies. So far so good. Should we move forward some day, I hope the birth moms feel the same way. I hope that, if they are concerned, hearing about how my daughter has been with me each and every day and is safe and thriving will make them feel comfortable. Whoever does not can screw off, seriously! Oops, did I just type that?!

Back to adoption. As I said above, I have two favorite agencies right now. The fees are similar. They range from $21 to $26 thousand. If the adoption tax credit remains as is, we would get about half of our money back. The trick is saving that much money!

So, where are we in regards to adopting? We have had several conversations, including a lengthy one. We decided that the following needs to happen for us to feel comfortable adopting:

Our income needs to be a bit higher or we need to wait until we are done taking care of some debt.

I need to sort out some health issues. I am making progress! I have a vitamin D deficiency and that was really affecting my day-to-day life. I am 99% certain I have ADD, believe it or not!

I need a better support structure/network. I have two people who can give me a hand: my mother and my husband. Geeky Entrepreneur is the only one earning money, so he’s unavailable from nine to six, unless someone is sick. My poor mother… She does so much for us. Sometimes, she does classic grandma things, but, overall, I am very grateful. She is the reason why I finished my degree and will be getting my diploma in May, finally! She even makes it possible for us to go on dates every now and then! My mommy rocks!

Lastly, I need Amor Chiquito to get over her booby obsession! Sorry, I don’t know how else to put it! The kid still falls asleep with a hand on my chest! It’s because I let her, I know! We are getting five to seven hours of uninterrupted sleep, so we are making progress. One step at a time! For now, I am enjoying this “I am a new woman” feeling!

So much to think about when considering if we want our family to grow or remain as is, whether it is via pregnancy or adoption. Please feel free to share any thoughts or suggestions. Leave comments or email me privately, whatever feels more comfortable to you.

Geeky Entrepreneur is humming the Elmo song! One of those “you know you are a parent when…” moments!

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Amor Chiquito turns three in September. We are considering preschool. As a first-time parent, I have a lot of questions. And, as someone who over-analyzes the heck out of everything, I am considering many variables!

If you have been there or will be there soon, tell me what you are thinking!

Preschool, yes or no?

What type of preschool – public school system, private preschool, Montessori Children’s House, etc.?

When you are evaluating a potential school, what questions do you ask?

Short or long day, say 2.5 hours or a full school day?

Are you doing anything to prepare your child for the transition?

What are you expecting from preschool? What do you think it will do for your child?

What advantages do you see? What disadvantages?

What other questions/things to think about should I add to my list?

I will tell you about what I have learned thus far in another post.

Oh, by the way, holy crap, time flies! My baby… My baby is no longer a baby! “My baby” might be going to school in September!

And the problem with that is???

Amor Chiquito likes things that are, stereotypically, considered to be “girl” or “boy” things. She loves shoe shopping and dressing up. She also loves trains and her daddy’s ties.

Our air bed popped last week. We just bought a twin-size guest bed rather than buying yet another air bed. I figured it would be fun to let Amor Chiquito pick out a set of sheets for the new bed.

There we were, at Target, my mother, Amor Chiquito and I, looking at twin-size sheets. Amor Chiquito picked out Thomas and Friends sheets. The hell with Dora and the Disney Princesses! That’s my girl!

I have been looked at and addressed as though I am incredibly weird because I get my daughter “boy” things. As you might have noticed, I can be very opinionated about many things, so this has sparked various interesting conversations!

For starters, why the hell is it wrong for her to sleep on “boy” sheets?

What is wrong with sleeping on blue sheets?!

What is wrong with liking anything and everything, regardless of its color or whether females or males tend to like that thing?

What is wrong with liking something that typically boys like to use?

My daughter is more than welcomed to play with dolls or trucks. It’s her choice.

She is surrounded by each and every color there is. We are not a pink-only home. Actually, I almost never buy anything pink because the grandmas buy pink everything!

Amor Chiquito can help us cook or shovel, do laundry or take the trash out.

Who said only women cook and only men shovel? Maybe at your house, but, here, we each do both! And, you know what, I am proud of her. If I may say so, I am proud of my husband and myself because, clearly, we are doing a good job teaching her that there is no such thing as “boy” or “girl” things. Trust me, it can be quite the battle when grandmas get involved!

Monday, March 1, 2010

A not-PC baby story...

Ari had gas. In a very dramatic manner, she said "Ari fart. Me, me, me!" You could hear the pride in her voice, as if she had accomplished a wonderful thing.

God help me! What the hell did I do wrong?!

For some reason, that word always drove me nuts. She likes to use it. Furthermore, she thinks it is funny when someone burps or has gas.

As I posted on Facebook the other day, I am parenting a two-year-old female, not a 12-year-old male. Why, just why?!