Conversations with Dashiell


Me: What’s your favorite vegetable?
Dash: Trucks!

Dash: My heart is so happy.
Me: Why is your heart happy?
Dash: Because I love you.

Me: We eat different things at different times of the year. In the summer we eat watermelon and strawberries and peaches and…
Dash: And quesadillas?

In the bright sun
The sun is looking in my eyes!

Me: You have to always be careful in the car.
Dash: Yes or else you can fall out of the car.

Me: Humidifiers can be dangerous.
Dash: Because they spray fire!

Dash: Usually, at school, I drink coffee.
Me: Oh really? Do you like cream and sugar or just black?
Dash: Just black.

Dash: I had a sweaty morning.

Me: What are you doing?
Dash: I’m just helping me.

While I was away in Sedona
Dash: Where’s mama?
Chris: Sedona.
Dash: Where’s that?
Chris: North.
Dash: Like the North Pole?

Every time we ask him
Me: What should we name our house?
Dash: Lunchbox.

On a windy day
Dash: The trees are dancing!

In monotone
Dash: I’m going to freak out. I am freaking out.

Looking concerned after watching Chris play some intense air guitar to the Top Gun theme
Dash: Are you going to blow up?

Me: What’s your favorite animal, Dashiell?
Dash: Poo poo.
Me: What’s your favorite animal, Cedric?
Cedric: No.

P.S. More Conversations with Dashiell

Breastfeeding at 16 months

Breastfeeding at 16 months | RISING*SHINING

Cedric is 16 months old - a big baby who is really toddler - and he's still nursing. I didn't quite expect to find us here. I nursed Dashiell until he was just shy of 15 months and we were ready to be done; he was a wild kicking animal somehow managing a downward dog pose while still nursing. 

My general goals with breastfeeding Cedric were to first to breastfeed and pump until he was a year old (we also supplemented with formula), then to nurse until he was about 15 months - the same as Dashiell - and then if we were still breastfeeding after that just to see how it goes. We've reached the "see how it goes" phase and I'm both ready and not ready to be done. 

A few days will pass without nursing at all and a couple of times I've thought that we were done for good. But then the weekend comes, when Cedric is around me all day, or Cedric is a bit emotional on a weekday morning and he'll look at me and start to sign "milk" fervently with both hands and say, "nuck," which I take to mean the very appropriate combination of "'nack" for snack and "nurse."

On the weekends Cedric will sometimes nurse many times and clearly it's very much for comfort, turning to me whenever he's upset. I gather up my big baby in my arms and hold him close and rumple his fine hair. He will stop and look up to me with a knowing smile and tap his mouth, reminding me of our rule: no biting.

For a time continuing to nurse felt like too much demand, inconvenience and trying to make a non-nursing bra work and I thought about picking a day to nurse one last time and be done. But more recently Cedric is asking less to nurse and I'm enjoying the cuddles with my baby boy. So for now I'm okay continuing and knowing that the end is surely in sight.

With Dashiell it was so clear that it was time to be done but with Cedric I'm feeling like I might have to make the decision and it feels like a hard one to make, to end this babyish phase and a particular way that we connect. And so I'm 96% sure we'll be done sometime this year but we'll "see how it goes."

Goals - May 2016

Goals - May 2016 | RISING*SHINING

Oh man, just two posts in April?! But that speaks to a "typical April" for Team Wharton when the end of academic year craziness bleeds into the rest of our life. There are always evening events. There is always a deadline. Somehow Chris always ends up traveling.

I'm not sure if I could really say I handled it any better this year; I get stressed and start to globalize (why is the house NEVER clean?! who do I have no time to write EVER?!) even though I know it's just a phase. Chris is traveling this week, which I was having some anxiety about, but I reached out to my mom colleague and got some great tips and I asked for help (which can be hard to do!) and I'm feeling OK about it. I had a great day with the boys on Sunday - I can do this!

Awesome things in April include Dash learning to ride his pedal bike on his own. The other evening, when we got home from work and daycare, we packed up a picnic dinner, loaded Cedric into the bike trailer and rode bikes - three of us! - to the park. I love seeing Dash's pride and independence and thinking of all the family bike adventures that we will go on. And, on a less significant level of awesome, I also made good on my April goal of ordering a summer shirt: I am loving this soft and long tank from LL Bean.

In May the busyness should settle down and we'll coast into our summer and sabbatical schedule (Chris is on sabbatical this fall!). We are so excited. I'm also hoping this month to get back into a groove with my writing, blogging and e-course development. So, welcome, May!

Big things happening in May:

+ Chris travels to Vancouver.

+ Our house gets painted! Although my yellow front door was disapproved by the HOA. Guys! I'm all kinds of emotional about it. Planning to follow up this week and while I do enjoy following the rules I may have to go rogue on this.

+ Girl Next Door Podcast mini retreat. So often Erica and I get together to podcast but we're fitting it into our full lives and we don't have time to make bigger plans for the podcast. We're taking a Saturday this month to do just that; what fun work!

+ Two day creative retreat. I have two reports due on May 9 and the following week I'm taking off two days to work on my own creative projects. It will be such a sweet rewards after ending those projects.

May goals:

+ Find consistent time for blogging. My weekend creative work time has gone by the wayside with recent full weekends but I'm hoping to get back to this. If the fourth goal on this list goes well perhaps I'll get back into a habit of a 4 AM morning here and there.

+ Organize my closet. This is a hold over from last month that I hope to complete this month, including putting away any winterish clothing.

+ Go on a breakfast date with Chris to celebrate the end of the academic year!

+ Hire and work with a sleep coach. Are you tired of hearing about my sleep woes? I'm tired of hearing myself talk about my sleep woes. Also, I'm just tired. Dash is now fairly consistently waking in the middle of the night - sometimes several times - and waking for the day in the early 4 AM hour. It doesn't feel sustainable for Chris and me and it can't be what's best for Dash. I think having an objective, outside opinion, an integrated plan and support to implement that plan will help a lot. Cross your fingers for us and I'll report back on how it goes!

Recurring monthly goals:

+ Exercise three times per week. This has been going well and I've been feeling really fit and healthy.

+ Get up early on Tuesdays for the 4 AM project. Putting this aside for now until we figure out how to get more sleep. I had the idea for working at 4 AM when both our boys started sleeping through the night and until at least 5:30 AM. Since that is no longer the case this hasn't been working well.

+ Publish to RISING*SHINING on Mondays and Wednesdays. Working on getting back to this.

+ Record and produce new episodes of The Girl Next Door Podcast and Matrimoney on schedule. 

Happy May!

The state of dinner affairs

State of dinner affairs | RISING*SHINING

Have I told you about my dinner dream? Not the slumbering kind of dream but the wistful daydream sort of dream. Here it is:

Around 4:30 or 5 pm I make my way into the kitchen. The boys play independently or might even want to help and we make a work station for them at the learning tower. I pull down my recipe binder and flip to a recipe, perhaps an familiar one or something new. I gather ingredients from the pantry and fridge and pour myself a small glass of white wine (nothing too sweet) or open a beer. 

If one of the boys is being my sous chef I turn on music or if I'm cooking alone I turn on a podcast. I spend the next half hour or so chopping, mixing and cooking. The boys set the table with cloth napkins and silverware. I might even have time to whip up a quick dessert as a treat for the family. While dinner simmers or cooks I have time to tidy the kitchen or perhaps to even sit for a minute and read or be with the boys. When dinner is ready I call in the boys and Chris from outside or from their corners of the house. We fill four plates with the same dish and settle into our seats. As we eat we talk about our days or what we're reading lately or interested in and what adventures are coming up. 

That's about where my daydream fades. I love living in this daydream. Cooking from recipes! Eating the same thing! Sitting civilly at the table!

To anyone without small children these might seem like such mundane things that are everyday occurrences. But in our current situation, with two full time working parents and a one-year old and three-year old, they would be monumental achievements. 

The current state of dinner affairs for Team Wharton is this:

We get home by about 5:40 pm from work and daycare. There is usually a request to play outside, which we try to accommodate. One parent is on outside duty and the other is on dinner and lunch processing duty. Because we aim to have the boys in bed by 7 we have to be finished with dinner by about 6:30. So, working backwards, that leaves about 15 or 20 minutes for dinner prep on week nights. So we have to hit the kitchen running and there isn't time for cooking from recipes. Our go-tos are quesadilla varieties, homemade mac and cheese with tuna and peas, grilled cheese and frozen veggies or quick roasted veggies, homemade pizza and quiche.

We usually eat dinner gathered around the kitchen island with Chris and me standing and multi-tasking, Dashiell in his learning tower and Cedric in his high chair. It often feels like a circus with Cedric trying to communicate that he does or does not like something and is impatient for us to figure it out. Cedric is rejecting a lot of food recently and hasn't taken to many vegetables and I feel that I always have a simmering worry about the boys' vegetable consumption.

Dash will get in and out of his tower and might decide he wants something different and we try to navigate his request. We usually offer dinner with cereal as an alternative but sometimes we don't want to have the battle and he does get to have the yogurt he wanted. Real talk.

At the same time we might be trying to finish processing lunch dishes from our packed lunches and preparing lunches for the next day. Some component of dinner always ends up on the floor flung by Cedric. Sometimes Chris and I split a beer but rarely even finish our half beer amidst attending to diner duties. It all feels very far away from my relaxing dinner day dream.

But I'm trying to remember that this, like everything, is a phase. With our youngest under 18 months there is sure to be a lot of rejected and thrown food. And we do fit in as many vegetables as possible - frozen chopped spinach especially is easy to put in quesadillas and smoothies. When I look at Dash's table manners and the range of his palette I'm reminded that we will get there and that it probably isn't that far away - and how I will enjoy that glass of wine when we do!

Goals - April 2016

Goals - April 2016 | RISING*SHINING

I'm writing this with freshly trimmed hair (ahhhhhh) tucked away in the office on Sunday afternoon. I resisted an attempted break-in from two small bandits who banged on the door yelling, "Mama!", and not fooled for a minute of what is behind the locked door. So I'd better be brief.

 I think that I've kept writing every month that summer, like the toddler bandits, is knocking at the door. And yet we are holding it off. Just today the boys and I watched chilly rain from the safety of our garage after a bike ride and dared each other to dart out into the rain and run back. (This is life in the desert; every rain a mysterious and exciting event.)

I still make my side of the bed with a twin-size down quilt every night but by the middle of the night I'm kicking it off. The air conditioner has been running at night for a few weeks. I'm enjoying the long spring evenings and having enough light after we get home on weekdays to be outside with the boys.

Chris and I take turns either watching the boys or being on dinner duty which, honestly, is usually the coveted duty after a work day when you crave a few minutes to yourself before the hubbub of dinner and bedtime. But whenever I end up outside with the boys I'm always glad to be there, and that someone else is making dinner.

Big things happening this month:

+ My family visited! It was great to have my parents and aunt and uncle here and we saw my cousin perform in a touring production of Of Mice and Men in one of the lead rolls (Lennie) and he was so fantastic. 

+ We celebrated Dashiell turning THREE! We visited our neighborhood fire station and then blew bubbles and flew model airplanes in our backyard and ate chocolate cupcakes with sprinkles.

+ Evening commitments for Chris. Including a dinner with Michael Pollan this week!

+ Day date with Chris to celebrate six years of being married! 

April goals:

+ Organize my closet. 

+ Order one or more summer shirts. My spring and summer wardrobe is looking sparse and drab in the shirt department. I'd like to find a couple of shirts that will work in the summer heat and for running around the the boys and that will hold up. I often find that thinner shirts develop small holes where they rub against the buttons on my pants and I'd like something that will hold up for a few years.

+ Schedule a painter to paint our house! We've settled on a painter who will paint our house and the Ladd's next door and we have our colors. Hopefully this will be done within the month!

Recurring monthly goals:

+ Exercise three times per week. I'm happy to be getting back to this goal, hopefully this week. The run of being under the weather continued lately and resulted in some missed workouts.

+ Get up early on Tuesdays for the 4 AM project. This has been especially hard lately with the super early mornings the rest of the week and often Cedric has been waking, randomly, at 4:30 on the days I get up early, which usually sabotages my chance for writing.

+ Publish to RISING*SHINING on Mondays and Wednesdays. This is always my goal but if I miss a day or a week here and there I don't sweat it.

+ Record and produce new episodes of The Girl Next Door Podcast and Matrimoney on schedule. 

Happy (belated) April!