Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Funnies to pass the time

I found this on Metrodad's blog. Pretty funny. Here are the highlights. Have one of your own to share?

What an adorable little newborn baby! = Holy shit, your kid is ugly!

I don't remember what life was like before the baby. = I used to have no life.

That's so great your child loves Chicken McNuggets. = Why don't you just feed your kid out of the dumpster?

Maybe we'll do a playdate next weekend? = Dude, can you please watch my kid next Saturday so I can get some free time to myself? I'm begging you!

We're so tired by the end of the day. = We haven't had sex in ages!

She has your ears. = Man, that kid looks NOTHING like you. Are you sure you're really the father? I think you seriously need to consider taking a paternity test.

We're not sure when we're having another one. = We're not sure we even WANT another kid. The one we have right now is totally kicking our asses! How the hell do people have more than one kid?

Wow, it looks like they're really hitting it off. = Crap, our kids seem to really like each other. Does this mean that you and I will have to spend time together? I sure hope not.

He sure does have a lot of energy! = Your kid is a hyperactive monster! He must drive you completely insane. I pity you.

Your outfit looks so comfortable. = Grungy sweatpants, a food-stained t-shirt, ponytail in a baseball cap? You look like shit, woman! Have you completely given up on personal hygiene already?

It must be so great having a nanny to help out. = How come you have a nanny when you don't even work?

It's nice that he has such a good appetite. = Your kid is a gluttonous slob who eats like a trucker. Never in my entire life have I ever seen anyone inhale a pizza so quickly. No wonder he looks like a sumo wrestler!

We missed the pitter patter of little feet. = The damn vasectomy didn't work!

Parenting was so much different when I was your age. = We didn't complain like you do. Stop whining. I worked 2 jobs, had 4 kids, and never had anyone to help me out. EVER!

That's such a cute age. = I remember when my kids used to like me. Wait until they get older and hate your guts.

Looks like you could fit a whole soccer team in that car! = Since you have a minivan, can you drive my kids to the soccer game next week?

The school wasn't really a good fit for her. = She got kicked out.

Your daughter looks like a little China doll. = Your daughter is Asian.

I love your daughter's curly locks. = Your daughter is Black.

Your daughter has such a beautiful skintone. = Your daughter is Latino.

She's so exotic looking. = Your daughter is mixed-race.

Global perspective

For the past few weeks Lucas has had homework. Most of the time, it's a fun activity for us to do together over the weekend. Once I heard him say to Kevin, "I have so much homework!" Each week focuses on a different continent. The assignment is to cut out pictures, make a collage about that continent, and make a presentation to class during circle time.

North America and South America were pretty easy with the Sunset and cooking magazines we had around the house. Here is his first assignment of North America.

You can kind of see in the bottom right corner that he wrote "Lucas". He also usually embellishes it with stamps or stickers.

We missed Asia since he was sick that week. Europe was a piece of cake. Africa proved to be challenging. We bought $10 of magazines at the bookstore to do the assignment.

I asked him what he was going to say in the presentation. He pointed to the pictures and said, "This is an African beach. These are two camels walking through the desert in Africa. This is an African lady working in the fields."

Whatever they talk about in school is sinking in on some level with Lucas. How do I know?

1) I was telling Lucas a story on the way to school yesterday, which included the "highest moutain ever, a million miles tall". He surprised me by asking, "Is it taller than Mount Fuji?". He informed me that Mt. Fuji was a beautiful mountain in Japan and his teacher Nobu showed them pictures in class.

2) On the way home from school yesterday, Lucas asked for a scary story. I made one up about witches coming to Radiator Springs and how the cars had to load up the witches on boats to get them to Antartica to break the spell.

Lucas stopped me and said, "They don't even need to get in a boat Mommy. You know that North America and South America are connected? And then, South America and Antarctica are so close that they can swim." Okay, so maybe you can't swim from one to the other, but I thought it was pretty darn close for a boy of his age. I asked him, "How close is South America to Antarctica?" Lucas said, "I don't really know, but they're very close. I guess I can explain it to you with the globe at home, okay mommy? Can you wait until then?"

3) Last night as Lucas was falling asleep he was singing a song to himself. Something like this, "North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and don't forget Australia, and don't forget Antarctica, and don't forget Chile" (his other teacher is from Chile).

It's nice to know that he's learning that the world extends beyond our confines of the East Bay.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Feeling the creaks

For those of you not familiar with the book "Uncle Elephant", by Arnold Lobel, you should pick up a copy. The book has the sweetest stories about a boy elephant who lives with his uncle for a while. The stories provide reminders to take time to enjoy the simple things in life and to look at the world through a child's perspective. It's a classic.

One of the stories is called, "Uncle Elephant Feels the Creaks", about getting older, which brings me to the whole point of this post. I had a whole week of feeling the creaks.

Last weekend I went to SF to walk with my good friend Karen. We walked all over SF that morning, the same morning as the Bay to Breakers run. Though we didn't walk along the route, we saw signs of the Bay to Breakers everywhere. Young people were drinking alcohol and carousing about at 8:30 in the morning. We saw many groups of toga-toting party animals making their way to the route.

Karen and I were roommates in college and reminisced about the old days. Then we walked by my old apartment on Nob Hill. This was my first apartment after college. It's an amazing 3.5 bedroom apartment with 2 fireplaces and a washer/dryer in the unit. I rented it out with three friends from Stanford at the obscenely low rent of $1400 (my share was $425 for my own room). Now you can't even get a one-bedroom for $1400. We asked someone to take a photo of us in front of the apartment building.

Compare the above photo with the one below, Karen and I are in both. Not hard to guess which one is me is it? The one below was taken in 1992. For me 20 pounds ago, for the group, eight kids later. What a difference 15 years makes!Later in the week, we celebrated my birthday. Kevin and I met up with friends at Le Cheval for a birthday dinner. It was nice to see my friends in one place, but gosh, I felt old.Lastly, we celebrated with my family on Saturday night. It was a nice way to top off the birthday festivities.

Having a kid is another reminder of how old I really am. I can't chase him around on my hands and knees on the hardwood floor and it's hard to keep up with him on the playground. Then the other day Lucas said to me, "Mommy I'm pretty good at soccer. I think I was probably better than you were even before you got old." Ouch! Way to pour salt on the wound.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Another bathroom breakthrough (aka - one more entry that will embarrass Lucas when he gets older)

If you have been a loyal reader, you may remember the great poop breakthrough last summer. Well, Kevin was "on duty" again tonight with yet another breakthrough, again, of the poopy nature.

We haven't been pushing the wiping issue, in fact, I have never once asked him to wipe and he hasn't asked either. So we are pretty much at the beck and call of our reigning king, with commands like "Will somebody wipe me?!", or "Wipe my butt!", or most frequently, "I'm all done!"

Tonight Kevin used the same, shall we say, low-maintenance parenting style, that he used with pooping in the toilet, with wiping.

Basically Lucas called out, "I'm all done", but when Kevin checked, he wasn't all done. So Kevin left the bathroom. When Lucas called out "I'm all done again," Kevin waited a couple minutes. Then Lucas said, "I wiped my own bottom."

Kevin went to do an inspection and one more wipe, "for extra measure". And indeed, Lucas did a clean wipe, without even getting any on his hands.

Yay Lucas!

If you still haven't had enough on this topic, read below.

Lately I've been wondering about the whole wiping thing and when kids can do it on their own. For a few laughs, here are some comments and bits of advice from Berkeley Parents Network.

The advice and comments are very explicit, and also, just like poop and little kids, all over the place:

- The 9-Step process, beginning with, "First: lean forward with your feet touching the floor. Don't lean back - it smushes all over the bum and makes a big mess," and including, "Make a ''pad'' - you really have to show them how to wad or fold or however you do it. He was making a hard little ball of toilet paper so I had to show him how to make it into a loose pad."
- I'd say he wipes himself about 80% of the time. I don't insist on that other 20%, and figure that by the time he's six he'll be doing it all by himself.
- I once talked with a mother of four about this, and she said she thinks that kids aren't really good at it until they are about nine. (Maybe she was exagerating?)
- My son will be able to change his poo-ing times to make sure he goes at home (not at school) and yours may too. So, it might not be a worry
- Encourage the child to wipe themselves and let them know that you will check them and do any final bits that need doing. Gradually, you'll find that you need to do less and less ''clean up''. I assume your child is in school. Ask the teacher how she copes when away from her ''personal groomer'' - you!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Yep, he's Asian

Even though everyone comments on how much Lucas looks like Kevin, and yes, they do look a lot alike, he is still very much 1/2 Korean.

How do I know? Here are a couple proof points:

1) He still eats, by the spoonful, these little dried anchovies, which my mom buys for him at the Korean grocery store.2) Lucas loves all other Korean food too. He will even drink the watery remains left at the bottom of a bowl of kimchi.

3) Lucas came out to the backyard today like this. Need I say more?

My new best friend

You know how sometimes you meet someone and you know you're going to be friends. There's no rhyme or reason really, maybe it's the way the person says hi, the initial conversation, or you find a unique bond. Like, "Yes, I love to read books about monkeys who turn into people too!"

Well, I walked into the store, and it was like we knew each other immediately. I could tell, "Wow, we're going to be best friends." So I plopped down my debit card and we walked out of the store together.

My new friend is so intuitive, he knows what I want to do and what my limitations are. Like he automatically knew that I don't like to read manuals, and guess what, there's not really a manual here, just a friendly little quick start guide. It's so refreshing not to have to wade through pages and pages to find out how to turn the thing on/off.

And my new best friend plays well with my other good friend, my computer. There were no awkward introductions, trying to find ways for them to get along. They got along famously and I didn't have to intervene to try and make conversation, like "Well, you both like people with brown eyes (me), don't you?".

I am so excited about my new best friend. I can't wait to take him in the car and we can really go. I'm so excited to get rid of the last of my CDs.

Life is so good with my new best friend.

BTW, I'm not a total newbie to digital music. I've had iTunes on my computer for a while, and actually had an old MP3 player back in the late 90s that looked something like this.

Talk about unfriendly! We weren't compatible at all. We never understood eachother. I think he ended up at my friend's garage sale. He was a dick!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Another one bites the dust

Today I quit yet another job, to start a new job.

I've had a lot of jobs. Why have I switched so much? I guess there are a couple reasons: I get bored easily and I'm somewhat of an opportunist when it comes to work.

It started when I was at an ad agency, I'd been there for two years. Then one of my former clients called me and asked me to work as her assistant brand manager at an educational software company, I wasn't sure if I should take it. I felt I should be loyal to the ad agency.

Then my former boss gave me some advice, "This is a great opportunity. You need to look out for yourself, because you're the only one really looking out for your best interests." So I left the world of advertising and started in on my marketing career. Thanks Elizabeth!

Oh, the places I've been! Here''s a quick rundown post-college:

Law office
Dean Witter (now Morgan Stanley)
DMB&B Advertising (now defunct)
Knowledge Adventure
Team in Training
Providian (now part of Washington Mutual)
Osborne/McGraw-Hill (now just the SCORE centers)
The Learning Company (now part of Riverdeep)
Riverdeep (formerly The Learning Company)
Kodak Gallery (formerly Ofoto)
See Jane Run

What am I doing now? Well, I'll spend more time volunteering with Potentia Foundation and also working for a new start-up, which so far, is still top-secret. But soon...

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Words to live by

We were playing cars the other day. Lucas made his car fly. I asked if I (my car) could fly too. Then he said:

"If you can climb a mountain, you can do anything, even fly."

Maybe one day I'll walk into someone's office and that quote will be on one of those motivational posters you see once in a while.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Career aspirations

Lucas and I spent a considerable amount of time in the backyard today since it was his day home to recuperate from the flu, before starting back at school tomorrow.

I spent most of the time weeding. Something I just started to enjoy, I guess since our yard has been redone and the amount of weeds is not so overwhelming.

Anyway, Lucas was out there helping me. First we had to hammer some of these stakes in the ground, to keep the watering hoses in the ground. Lucas insisted on hammering. He kept saying, "I'm your hammer helper. Don't worry if you have any hammer work, just ask me, I'm you're hammer helper." I couldn't help but think of Hamburger Helper, but that's besides the point.

After we completed our hammering project, he helped me with the weeding and also pruning back our prolific potato vine.

Lucas would ask me frequently to come and inspect his handiwork, to show me how much he had cut from the potato vine, or how well he swept the deck. I would nod in approval and say, "Wow, it looks so clean now!" He would say, "I'm a good cleaner." I'd tell him thanks for helping and he would say, "Yep, I'm a good helper, look at how clean everything looks."

Then Lucas said something that will make my mom's heart sink, "I don't want to be a doctor any more, I want to be a house helper."

Me: What's a house helper? You mean someone who cleans other people's houses?
Lucas: No, just your house. When I get to be a big grown up, you can call me if you need help cleaning your house, or hammering.
Me: That would be nice. But you could be a doctor too and then just help me out when you have time.
Lucas: No, I'll just be a house helper.

Packaging review

When I worked at places where we sold things on shelves, like LeapFrog and Knowledge Adventure, we would have packaging reviews. Basically, everyone and their mother would cram into a conference room where we everyone would express their opinions about the box, clamshell, book cover, or what have you.

Here are some recent case studies, done independently of course, on new packaging I've encountered.

Case study #1: Wateroos

I just discovered these the other day at Monterey Market. I think they are the best thing since sliced bread and then some. I bought them because Lucas has been at home with a fever and I was trying to find something that he would drink that wasn't too acidic (he also has canker sores).

I thought it was apple juice, but on closer inspection saw that it's apple flavored water, which to him, passes as apple juice. So you get the same response as you would if you busted out some apple juice (which is rare in our house), but without the guilt of all that sugar.

Since Lucas revealed himself to be such a juice monger at birthday parties, I always started to wonder why companies didn't package water in more kid-appealing ways. Now I'll have to think of something else to make my millions.

Though the packaging achieves the goal of making a kid (or 36-year old marketing gal) think this is apple juice, I think the packaging could use a little work. I mean, what the heck is so appealing about this creepy turtle with oversized eyes (the "oo" in Wateroo), hovering over the barrel of apples? And don't they know they're competing with Scooby-Doo, Transformers and the X-Men?

Case study #2: See photo below. What do you think came in this package: The fancy folding box, the foot owner's manual, personalized letter and marketing collateral? (Photo doesn't even show the package it was mailed in.)
One pair of Thorlo Socks for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk. Yes, just one pair of socks.

(You may be wondering, "Is this another plug for donations to Sunny's 3-day walk to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation?" No, but I'll take the donations.

I received an email from the good folks at 3-Day that Thorlo was offering a free pair of socks to all Komen walkers. I signed up and about a week later got a rather large cardboard box from Thorlo.

I was astounded, and actually, quite horrified, that so much packaging and collateral was all for one pair of socks. Granted these are the best socks I think I've ever owned - so cushiony. But all this for one pair of socks? I know it's free for Komen, they're not paying money to Thorlo for this. But if I were Komen, I would say to Thorlo, "Thanks for giving our participants the free socks. But can you guys simplify the packaging, maybe just a pink ribbon around the socks and one piece of paper with the marketing messages? Maybe take the $1.00+ you spent (read: wasted) in packaging and just donate it to us."
Where was the CFO when this packaging got approved?

Monday, May 07, 2007

Parenting moments

Since Lucas joined us in July of 2003, we've had so many moments where we stop and think, "This is what being a parent is all about." Of course, you have the great moments:

- Holding Lucas for the first time
- Watching him eat his first peach and loving it right away
- Watching him ride a bike for the first time
- Listening to him tell me a story he made up
- Hearing his friends at school say excitedly, "It's Lucas!", when he walks in the door

Then there are the "other" moments:
- Giving Lucas his first bath at 3 weeks old, without Kevin there. Realizing he had pooped in the baby bathtub and realizing that I was the one who had to deal with it.
- Calling 911 when Lucas had a fever, only to be asked in the living room by the 3 paramedics if we had given him Tylenol to lower his temperature. ("Uh no, we didn't do that. Sorry guys, guess you can go home now.")
- A solid hour of resisting everything as I try to get him out of bed, dressed, teeth brushed, fed and out the door for school.

Yep, we had one of those "other" moments on Saturday.

We were on a playdate with Lindsey and Miles. We had met them at their house and scootered to downtown Berkeley for some ice cream.

The way there and eating the ice cream went fine, of course. But the way home we ran into some issues. Suffice it to say, I carried and dragged Lucas (kicking, crying and screaming the whole way) with one arm, and a scooter in the other, for about a mile.

By the time we got back to our house, I was in tears too.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Move over Spidey, there's a new superhero in town!

On the car ride home today, Lucas was telling me about the Knights of America. I thought it was some new brand of superhero.

But once he started talking more about them, how they were the first people who lived in North America, I realized he was talking about Native Americans.

What matters to Lucas

As we sat down to dinner on Monday, Lucas said, "Mommy, we have to say prayer." I said, "Okay." Lucas put his hand gently on mine and said in a quiet voice, "prayer". Then he said, "Thank you mommy for talking with my teacher. I like that. And thank you for playing birds with me today."

I said, "Thank you for playing birds with me. And thanks for being such a wonderful son. Daddy and I were so proud to talk with your teacher about you." This made him smile.

Then on Tuesday night, he said "prayer" again. Then he added, "Thank you for saying 'thank you' when I helped you put away the dishes."

What a sweetie!