Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Such is my life lately:

(all in Spanish on my end, but for brevity's sake, I'm writing in English)

Me: Hey Max, let's put your clothes on to go to Mimi's house.

Max: Nope!

Me: (feigning surprise) You don't want to go to Mimi's house?

Max: Nope!

Me: (more fake surprise) You don't want to play with XX, XX and XX (friends)?

Max: Nope!

Me: Too bad, you still have to put your clothes on and go.

Max: Nope!

10 to 30 minutes and lots of squiggling around later:

Me: Ok, let's go!

Max: Nope!

Me: Ok, you stay. Bye!

Max: Nope!

(I make for the door)

Max: Mami!

Me: Yes?

Max: Quiero casa Mimi.

Me: You want to go to Mimi's house? Ok.

Max: Nope!

10 minutes and many similar exchanges later, we make it to Mimi's

Later in the day, we get home.

Me: Max, let's go for a walk!

Max: Nope!

Me: You want to stay here and play instead?

Max: Nope!

Me: So what do you want?

Max: Walk!

Me: Ok, let's go walk.

Max: Nope!

Me: Ok. No walk.

(I busy myself with the mail)

Max: MAMI!!!!! (crying begins)

Me: What, baby?

Max: Walk! Quiero walk!

Me: You want to walk?

Max: Yup! (miracle)

Me: Ok, let's go.

Max: (melts into jelly-like mass on the floor) NNNNOOOOOO!

Me: That's enough. If you want to walk, take my hand right now. If not, go play with your toys.

Max: Walk, Mami. Vamos. (takes my hand)

Me: Great, let's go!

(he's excited and skipping as we get started on our walk)

Me: How fun! Max, are you having fun?

Max: Nope!

The thing with this is, he's so friggin' cheerful about it. These are enthusiastic, smiling "Nope!"s I'm getting. He has his whinny, tantrumy moments and can get extremely annoying with this "nope", "yup" back-and-forth of his, but overall, he's so happy and smiling and laughing about it, that for now, Ben and I mainly laugh at it. Oh, he drives us crazy, he really does. He is frequently exasperating and as stubborn as Ben and I each are; he is defiant and saucy, bossy and demanding.

Still, it's too funny to be troublesome. He is too cute, with his new words and the sweet, wondering tone of his voice, to be anything but dear and precious to us. His "thanks" and "gracias" and "bless you" and "cool" and "sorry!" are all too polite and heart-breaking coming from that tiny body for us to do little more than share secret smiles, smiles tinged with sadness, for the wonderful baby who is all too quickly becoming a boy.

The thing that keeps me from minding these annoyances too much is the knowledge that time and growth will give me annoyances and problems far greater, far more complicated, than "nope!". I trust he will grow into a wonderful boy, but for now, I want to hold on to my baby.

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Posted by Tere @ 2/26/2008   | | | links to this post

Monday, February 25, 2008

This Blog Rocks, But I'm Sending You Elsewhere Today

Hello, my house is a raging mess. Someone please come pick my mess up, for I cannot be bothered with it.

Actually, someone's coming to clean on Wednesday, so you know what that means: I'm busy cleaning my house for the cleaning lady. Can't have her knowing how disorganized we really are!

So while I'm busy being a proper lady of the house over here, you go enjoy these things:

Name That Baby!

The lovely GreenerMIAMI is due with her first child (a boy!) in April, and she's holding a baby-naming contest, with real prizes and everything! Check it out and send her your submission!

I Rule Coffee

Or something like that. I'm not where I want to be in my coffee education, but I think I've developed quite a taste for it. So honestly, my review of the Senseo coffee system is based on some actual, real knowledge. I know. I'm good for something, after all.

Or Get Semi-Free Things Instead

O.k., so say you don't care for my thoughts on the coffee machine (which, I can't fathom how, but whatev). I have some coupons for the Senseo machine, and you should totally take me up on my offer and try to get one. Because times are tough, they're getting tougher, but no one should be deprived of coffee.

Ice Ice Baby

Who did we see at Ren Fest this weekend? Vanilla Ice, of course! Here he is with my dear Balou, picture taken by yours truly.

Sweet, Sweet Revenge

I thought Sarah Silverman's video with Matt Damon was awesome, but Jimmy Kimmel's revenge is the most fantastic thing ever. Love love love it.


Posted by Tere @ 2/25/2008   | | | links to this post

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Sky Isn't Visible From Here

My parents messed up a lot throughout my childhood. Don't they all? With all the good they did, there was also a lot of bad. And while there is a lot that effed me up and a lot that I will always be dealing with and getting over, I think that damage on me was minimal.

Even now that I'm a mother and am dealing with so much stuff that having a kid has brought to the surface, I don't judge my parents, particularly my mother, too harshly. I go back a lot to the thought that for all that was bad, a lot was good; or, at least, a lot really was done with the best of intentions - which doesn't lessen how messed up I am about some things, but at least eases the sting a bit. My parents, whatever their faults and mistakes, made choices that placed our health, education and general well-being as the highest priorities in our home.

My point is, despite whatever issues I have, it's really hard for me to imagine parents who are unable or unwilling to truly place their kids first. So as I read Felicia Sullivan's The Sky Isn't Visible From Here, her memoir recounting her relationship with her drug-addicted mother, who disappeared from here life about ten years ago, it was really, really hard for me to believe that this was a true story.

I'm morbidly fascinated with true crime stories, so I'm no stranger to the horrors adults, including parents, can inflict on children. But in this case, what struck me, what haunts me days after putting the book down, is how thin the line between love and indifference, between abuse and protection, seemed to be in Sullivan's life.

Continue reading...


Posted by Tere @ 2/21/2008   | | | links to this post

Sunday, February 17, 2008

In Search of Perfection

Where, o where, is the strapless bra of my dreams? One that doesn't slip down and end up at my ribs; one that doesn't squeeze my boobs at the top; one that doesn't dig into my sides; one that has some padding to boost my meager girls?

I have so many lovely tank tops with straps too thin for regular bras. But my post-pregnancy boobs, they could benefit from a bra, to be polite about it.

O sweet bra, I will pay a decent amount of money (but less than $50) for you. Are you out there? Do you exist? Or am I to spend all my summers in pretty tops and crappy, uncomfortable bras?

Say it isn't so.

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Posted by Tere @ 2/17/2008   | | | links to this post

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Be Mine Forever

Long before I got pregnant with Max, I used to plan the ways I'd one day tell you we were going to have a baby. I wanted to do something unique, something kinda crazy. I had so many ideas and could never decide which was the best, the absolutely most memorable, way to share such awesome news with you.

But you remember what I did when I found out I was pregnant, right? There was no elaborate, brilliant announcement, just me bursting out of the bathroom one Thursday afternoon after work, waving a stick in the air, a stick I shoved in your face as I yelled, "Does that say what I think it says??"

We knew at that time that we were open to the idea of a baby, but we weren't purposely trying to make one. "One more year," we kept saying. So we were surprised, but thrilled. The unknown was not really frightening to us, not really beyond usual worries about the baby's health. It was easy to be brave and excited.

There are days when that day feels like it was just yesterday, and others where it feels like it was a lifetime ago. I look at where we stand now, at the threshold of making a monumental decision, and wonder at the differences between then and now. We didn't decide then, the decision was made for us and we were able to go with it - easily. Now, circumstances are different and we must plan and make arrangements and consider everything we didn't have the chance to consider before: time, money, our relationship.

Our relationship - it's not what it was in the beginning, what it was five years ago. I've been so in awe of us lately. Not because we're a perfect couple (ha!), or because our relationship is always a smooth ride; just because it's so obvious to me that we've grown. We've grown up and grown together, and that, at the very least, makes us want to keep this going even when times are hard.

And then I look at our boy, and I feel - even if it's just for a minute - that not only can we do this, but that on the whole, it's going to be great. Because that boy has brought us closer and made us a family. He's brought out the best in each of us. I look at that quirkiness, that sweetness, and the way you help foster that in him, and I feel more complete and at peace than I ever dreamed I could feel.

We don't "do" Valentine's Day - it's a b.s. holiday as far as we're concerned. But it's as good a day as any to tell you not just that I love you, but that today, like almost 10 years ago, like almost seven years ago, like four years ago, I choose you.

I will always choose you.

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Posted by Tere @ 2/14/2008   | | | links to this post

Monday, February 11, 2008

Wherein We Succumb to the Lure of a Tourist Trap, Even Though We Are Not Tourists

We went to Miami Seaquarium yesterday.

This is very out of character for us, as we tend to view places like this as tourist traps that charge way too much money for what they offer, and/or as just another place to be annoyed by slow or obnoxious or annoying people, and/or as just too shiny and fake for us; so we basically leave it to others to enjoy but avoid it ourselves.

But given our son's love of animals, and given the fact that we adore our son and don't want to taint him with our bitterness, we decided to take advantage of the Miami Seaquarium's special offer and see if he would enjoy the park.

We had a lovely morning, but getting there was a nightmare. I'm still not sure why (there was no accident or special event), but traffic from both US 1 and S. Bayshore Drive (around the Science Museum)to the toll was horrifically backed-up. At 9 a.m. On a Sunday. It took us AN HOUR to reach the toll. For those of you unfamiliar with the area, it's a span of about six or seven blocks. AN HOUR.

What a clusterf**k. It totally soured my mood, especially since there was no reason for it, beyond the fact that at some point, it all whittles down to one lane. Seriously, the City of Miami needs to get their shit together on this one and do something about it.

Once we got past the toll, it was a breeze. We were still early enough to enjoy the park before it got too busy, so that cheered me up considerably.

I hadn't been to the Seaquarium in years. I can't even remember the last time I went, but I'm guessing it was prior to 1987. Walking in, I have to admit that I was totally delighted. The park had this totally retro and quaint feel towards it. It was a lot smaller and simpler than I remembered, but I personally loved that it wasn't all flashy and huge. Even the layout and landscaping looked like something out of 1975. Loved it!

I can't believe it, but it's true. It wasn't that bad.

We went right for the big dolphin tank, where Max was captivated by the "doll-fants". He would shriek with excitement whenever one swam by.

Then we went to the top floor of this tank, where the dolphins do their acrobatic show. Basically, everyone stands at the railing and they do simple tricks. Then they get all fancy with these incredible flips, which my son was quite impressed with.

And those fancy flips, of course, result in much splashing, which had Max squealing like crazy. I thought the kid was going to have some kind of attack. Not that you can tell by this picture. Just trust me on that.

All in all, we had a good time. We didn't catch all the shows (but we did catch two Nile crocodiles hissing and lunging at each other), so it'll be nice to take Max back to explore the rest of it.

And I'll save my bitterness for another tourist trap.

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Posted by Tere @ 2/11/2008   | | | links to this post

Saturday, February 09, 2008

The Great Baby Debate of 2008

What's up with the way some topics become important all of a sudden? One minute you're fine, living the life you're accustomed to, and the next, ZAP! IMPORTANT TOPIC takes front and center and consumes everything else.

The pondering and debating over baby #2 hasn't gone quite that far yet, but it's where we're headed. I can tell. It became obvious when Ben told our usual server at the local diner (when she asked us about having another child; and, by the way, don't you love how people ask that question apropos of absolutely nothing?), "We're in negotiations."

We are? Last I checked, I was not even sure I wanted this baby. And yet here we are, in negotiations. I know why he said that - because he is thinking more openly about this idea, and I keep bringing this non-existent kid up. I've caught myself saying "when" instead of "if". I've been surprised to snap myself out of a reverie, only to realize I'd been girding myself for some aspect of having a newborn I just don't like, because if I feel as prepared as possible for something, I'm more apt to just soldier through without hating it too much.

So we are in negotiations. But right now, negotiations are limited to one of us saying, "What are we going to do about another baby?" and the other replying, "I have no clue." Which is a step up from, "What are we going to do about another baby?" - "UGH. UGH. UGH."

Sigh. This is a tough one for me. I ultimately want to have more than one child, and I'd like there to not be too many years between my kids. But the newborn stage was so incredibly hard for both of us. And the jump from one to two is probably going to be really friggin' big and exhausting. And it's just now that life has settled into a nice rhythm. And I have a lot of crap I need to resolve and make my peace with before I become more of a mother and less old Tere.

Right now, there are as many pro's as there are con's. I feel inside that this is the year to really get a grip on this stuff and decide what we want to do, because it just seems wrong to dive in without really thinking about it simply because "we should" or because I'm yearning to be pregnant and adorable once again.

But to know that negotiations are officially open makes me feel like the decision has been made, and all that's really pending is for us to really accept the inevitable.

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Posted by Tere @ 2/09/2008   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Other Side of 30 (or, Aiming for Grace)

I've been 30 for six whole months now, and damn, I'm so much wiser now. There's so much stuff I now know that I didn't know before 30.

Mainly, that it's true that you need to up the moisturizing. I mean, in the last six months I've gone from looking 20 to looking 23, and I'm worried that it's all closing in on me and soon I'll look my actual age.

I now have more than two or three gray hairs (like, 1/4 of my head or something), and I'm noticing tiny, tiny lines around the eyes. Also, I wasn't kidding about the moisturizer. Hello, dry skin from hell.

Seriously, what is it about turning 30 that, even when you have a positive, non-doom and gloom, life-is-over attitude about it, makes all these signs of aging come out all at once? Lines, dryness, gray hair, extra (unwanted) hair, harder-to-reduce flab - it's all there.

And yet, I feel better at 30 than I did at 20. The main difference? I'm happy. I have a greater confidence in myself, even as I battle periodic bouts of self-doubt. Or maybe it's that I'm closer to accepting myself as is, to being slightly more forgiving of myself. I'm not sure. I just know that I trust myself more now; that I look in the mirror and, despite a general "no one finds me pretty anymore" feeling I've had since giving birth, I like what I see.

So it's up to me now to start liking these lines and changes. I've also been thinking a lot lately about how I want to further define my personal style, how I want to embrace that "style" despite the fact that it's not really all that stylish, and how I want to fully accept the trappings and tastes of the woman I've become. And with that comes aging, as it's the road I'm on and a factor that will more and more play into the choices I make, both on deep and superficial levels.

When it comes to how I dress and how I look, how I carry myself, I'm trying to be more in tune with my likes and dislikes and filling my life with the former and ridding it of the latter. I'm trying to find some grace and a surer step.

And with 30, I'm thinking more about aging and how nice it'd be if I can do it gracefully. Not ever having done a single thing gracefully in my life, I'm not sure it's gonna happen. But it's worth a shot.

p.s. I've long been a faithful applier of moisturizer, but now, now I have to slather my neck too. Suddenly, chicken neck is a very real possibility.

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Posted by Tere @ 2/05/2008   | | | links to this post

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Words, Words, Words

I'm beginning to think I'm a regular, boring person after all. I have this strong urge to write and it's not that words and ideas aren't coming to me, it's that they're all so boring that I myself have no attention span for any of it.

Oh wait, aren't all blogs, especially mommy blogs, full of boring crap?

I was thinking the other day that I go through these spurts where I have SO MUCH to write about and get out and process and analyze and seek advice on, and then it's like I burn out and just have no interest in writing. Life marches on and it seems that I'm caught in this thing where I'm too busy living to stop and think, much less write, about any of it all. Or when I feel like taking a moment to put it all in writing, it's too much of a blur to capture it all in any meaningful way.

But hell, I'm here.

I'm here with an almost-two-and-a-half-year-old who pulls some new trick out every single day. I don't stop being amazed when he utters a new word, strings a sentence together, or communicates a concept I had no idea kids that age could get.

Mainly, it's the words that amaze me. He's doing that thing where he repeats everything you tell him, testing new words out, repeating them over and over until he's comfortable with them. There is a questioning tone in his voice when he first tries a word out, but as he grows more accustomed to the word, it becomes less questioning and more imperative.

He has an impressive level of enthusiasm over his new words, most of which he shouts out, his excitement so acute sometimes that his voice is squeaky, high-pitched, the words almost choked out of his toothy mouth.

And there is, too, the repetitiveness of the words. As he learns a new word or phrase, he asks me, over and over again, about it: "Mami, squeaky in the gooey geyser?", "Mami, choo choo train se fue?", "Mami, Mia hace pee-pee?", "Mami, vamos casa Abuela?"

The boy does not shut up. Whether it's repeating the same question or phrase over and over again, or repeating what he hears on his cartoons, or singing - it is an almost constant stream of chatter on his end.

And I love it. I love every syllable, every lisp, every shriek, every discovery. This motherhood thing keeps opening my eyes in new ways. So that even the boring is ultimately wonderful to me.

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Posted by Tere @ 2/03/2008   | | | links to this post