About Me

I have something to say... But a blog let's me spew until I figure out what it is.

Monday, February 21, 2011

When Did We Get "Old"?

First off, let me start with asking those out there that are older than me not to marginalize this entry. I know that there are plenty of friends and family members who are going to read this entry and roll their eyes because they have 10-30 years on me but I would ask that you suspend time for a moment, lock your eyeballs to the screen and resist the eye-rolling temptation.

Many of my facebook friends are turning 30 - and I will be joining the 30-something club in 3 months.

There is a portion of me that looks back on the last ten years and thinks "wow - that didn't go by too quickly. Cool." I look back on my freshman year of college, my marriage, Olivia's arrival, and a few jobs along the way with admiration and happiness and think: "Cool".

When you break it down, your twenties bring with them SO much growth and development. We move from being insecure teenages to competent adults. You figure out WHO you are, even if it's only to realize that (mostly) you are exactly who you were in High School with more experience under your belt... at least that's what happened to me. I spent my college years mostly trying to reidentify myself only to realize that I was really quite happy as who I was in HS personality-wise.

But every once in a while I get an email from friends who sign their emails "Mr and Mrs So-and-so" and I realize... "this is it"... we are getting married and having kids and buying houses and paying bills like grown-ups.

The early twenty-something inside me screams "but wait! We were just going through college orientation a few days ago!"... but the reality is - it was 10 years ago.

Don't get me wrong - I love the freedom that comes with being an adult. I love making "adult money" and living like a grown-up - but there is still a big portion of me that realizes this is it. There is no going to prom again, no doing HS musicals again, no staying out till three in the morning with friends at the diner, there's no pep band games (and learning how to play an instrument by watching the kid next to me), there's no last-minute midnight trips to NYC, there's no taking last-minute vacations.

It isn't so much that I am not happy about all these things - there is a lot more peace and quiet in life at this age (even with a two year old ... I am no longer running around like a chicken with its head cut off - overcommitted up to my eyeballs) but it's a little bit of mourning.

And yes, we are "young at heart" but it doesn't turn the clock back. It doesn't give you the chance to take all the wisdom you have gained over the past ten years and allow you to go to Rutgers University a second time - enjoy it as much as you did the first time AND pass all your classes with flying colors becuase you are responsible enough now.

It is, indeed, Olivia's turn - and I will encourage her to partake of everything in life and be sure to soak it all in becuase it goes so quickly - but I will not live vicariously through her because that's not what parents are here for.

So happy birthday to all my friends out there - welcome to the "married with kids" club! I will be forming a support group - signups start now.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The vocabulary of a nearly-two-year-old...

What fascinates me most about the 22-month-old vocabulary of my daughter is the remarkable way that she can, somehow, take a very small set of words and translate it into many meanings. This week's entry is an ode to her limited word bank and endless interpretations:

"Pug-ah": I couldn't tell you why or how, but somehow my daughter has established that JACKET is pronounced "Pug-ah". She can put a question mark at the end of it ("Pug-ah?") and in doing so she is asking "Can I have this jacket?". By putting an exclamation point at the end of it, she is saying "TAKE OFF THIS JACKET!" We have no idea where she got "pug-ah" from. It started with her yanking on her zipper and proclaiming "pug-ah!". When we didn't figure it out fast enough, she proceeded to hit herself in the chest where the zipper was, then pull at the zipper again before sweetly asking "Pug-ah?" So, as best we can figure, she means "jacket".

"Puppy": This is an obvious one. Puppy means the two dogs we have running around the house. Sometimes said with her ear tucked to her shoulder, when she drags it out she is saying "awwwww puppy.....". When she is excited to see them, she yells (loudly)"PUPPY!!!" and when she wholly entertained by them, "PUPPYYYY!!!!" is preceded by the most ear-splitting, blood-curtling scream you could imagine.

"Cocks": Yes. Cocks. This is how Olivia says socks. She knows that there is an "S" sound in there somewhere but doesn't know how we are doing it. Inevitably, her experimentation with this word is in the "cks" part where she sometimes connects her soft palate and tries to say "cks" the way that Jeff Dunham spells Achmed the Dead Terrorists name: "A-c----chhhhhhhhhhh.....", so what comes out is "cocccchhhhhhhhhs". Still not accurate. Still not appropriate in mixed company. Still not something I would want her yelling in a mall.

"Cager": This is "Cracker". While she can pronounce the "ck" in "sock" ("cock") it is somehow elusive in "Cracker". This is something that she says from the moment she gets downstairs, an repeats like a skipping record until I go into the pantry and get her a graham cracker. "Cager" can be used to describe animal crackers, ritz crackers, graham crackers, or saltines. Most of the time she puts a question mark at the end: "Can I have a cracker"; other times he states it "You will give me a cracker.... now."

"Bup": This is a new one. My daughter is obsessed with dipping food into sauces. Mostly, she will dip anything - and I do mean ANYTHING - into ketchup. Let me tell you, there is a certain gag-factor to most of the things she dips into ketchup because, truly, there are no limits. Greenbeans, animal crackers, bread, chicken, sausage, fries, hotdogs, beef, pasta, saltines, ham, cheese. Usually the way this will go is tha she will sit in her high chair, have a half a bite of something, and then decide that she will not eat one more bite until she can dip it in something. Quizzically, she will look up form her food, push her pointer finger on to her plate, and pronounce: "Bup?". What's that, Olivia? You want "DIPPP"... at this point she will stick her tongue out just in front her of her lower lip and say: "Bup!"

"Bat": "Olivia, you want a BATH?" Olivia: BAT!!!! Us: "Ok - get Piggy. Get Nuk! Com'mon" Olivia: runs around the room searching for Piggy. "PIGGY!!!" runs around the room searching for Nuk. "GUCK!" and then proceeds to run as fast as she can to her bedroom where she throws Piggy into her crib and then starts pulling her clothes off (putting them in the hamper!) and then grabs her towel "COW" and running into the bathroom.

"Gacky": Jackie - our oldest dog.

"Beah": Bear - Erica's (her daycare provider) dog

"Baidy": Bailey - our younger dog.

"Meeeeow": Caighlyn, our cat.

"Hep": "Help". This can be done either "Hep?" - as in "can you please help me?" or "Hep!" as in "I want to help you!"

"Pee": Please. She learned the sign for "please", too, but rather than taking her hand in small circles on her chest, she will take her hand and brush her finger tips from the center of her chest toward her armpit and the same time that she begs for something "Pee? Pee? Pee? Pee?"

"PeePee/PooPoo": ANYTHING in her diaper. It's actually kinda nice that she alerts us when she is messy... let's us know what we are walking into.

"Yea": "Yes" - as in "no, Olivia, we aren't going to take off our pants and diaper in the middle of the room" - "yea. yea." *head nods repeatedly*

"Ni Ni": "Night night" and one of my favorites. For the first time, Olivia is starting to put together little sentences. The other night, while she was in the tub getting her bath, I said "Ok, Bebo. I love you. Night Night Bebo" - and my daughter sweetly looked up, naked and wet, and said "Ni Ni Mama". I about died. Well, I nearly jumped in the tub with her to hug her and kiss her... then I about died. She uses "Ni Ni" when she is tired and wants a nap or if she is ready for bed.

"Pooosh": "Push" - this means that she wants to turn the tv on or off. Usually, right before bedtime or when we first get into her play room - "Poooosh".

"Bu-EEEE": code for "bunny". She will make "Bu-EEEE" dance in her carseat while she listens to the radio in the car and will proclaim "BU-EEE" she she drops him by accident.

Among her "perfect" words: Mama, Daddy, Bebo (her nickname) and Juice.

But there is NOTHING more endearing than "PIGGY". A gift from Josh's Aunt Janice, Piggy is Olivia's companion item. She travels everywhere with Piggy. She sleeps with Piggy. She rubs piggy's ears when she is tired. She eats with him, travels with him and takes him EVERYWHERE. The word "Piggy" has been used in probably 30 different tones. She says it sadly and pouts (its heartbreaking) - "Piggggggy" :(, she says it happily and with joy "PIGGY!", she says it with love "Piiiiiiigggggyyyyy", she says it as though Piggy broke her heart in a little tiny voice - "p.i.g.g.y."... Piggy has brought Olivia comfort and stability when she has felt nervous and unsure. Piggy has let us see the range of emotions our daughter has to offer in her very young life and we are already wondering what we will need to do to keep Piggy in shape for as long as Piggy has a place in Olivia's heart... but piggy will always hold a place in ours - he has been there for Olivia when we couldn't be and has seen all of Olivia's adventures. One day she will run off without him and leave her little-girl life behind, but we will hold on to Piggy as a reminder of this amazing chapter - the chapter in which our daughter rarely pronounced anything correctly but entertained us for hours and expressed every emotion she had using only a handful of words; a time when first started enjoying communicating with our very happy little girl.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Dream a Little Dream

When I was 21, I came to a crossroads.

I had managed to negotiate a $12 an hour salary at a Salon and Spa in Bridgewater, NJ and was thinking I was hot shit. This was, after all, the biggest salary I had ever managed to score for myself. (For those with an interest: Kinsley's Market - $4.75 p/h, Burger King - $5.15 p/h, NYSE Specialist firm - about $11.00 p/h, NYC Temp - $10-12 p/h, Salon Receptionist - $9.00 p/h, Starbucks Shift Lead - $9.50ish an hour, Salon MANAGER - $12 p/h).

The crossroads of which I speak was this: Do I go back to school and finish my education or do I take the money while its being offered. I took the money. Afterall, many of my friends were graduating school at that time and were going on to do - well - nothing. They were having a hard time finding work and having an even harder time finding work in the fields for which they went to school.

So, off I went into the land of responsibility.

Eight years later I don't regret it. I have been able to put together a diverse little resume I am pretty proud of. I have a great career (at least I think so) and "it's all good".

But, in the moments where I daydream - if money were no object, there are definately careers/businesses I would have gone into if I had been given the opportunity. So, this blog entry is my little ode to the things I wish I had done, or, perhaps, aim to accomplish before the end of my days.

1) Salon Owner. Back in my Salon Management days I fell in love with hair and with the salon industry. It was my plan to go to cosmetology school and I had already secured a job as an assistant at an AWESOME Salon in Chester, NJ. In my mind's eye, I can see every single detail of the salon I would own and I have learned enough, at this point, to feel that I could confidently run that business successfully. Still thinking of a name, though. Any ideas?

And for the record: It would, of course, be in NJ.

2) Bridal Salon. When I was planning my wedding, the hardest part of the planning was running all over town to try and find the right vendor for me. I used to have this rediculously incredible vision of a Bridal Salon. Think of Kleinfeld's Bridal ("Say Yes to the Dress") - now imagine if there was a consierge service at the salon offering excellent, highly recommended vendors. Everything from hair and makeup, Wedding Planners, photographers, DJs and Limos. All of it. The consierge's job would be to find the best of the best in NJ (even up-and-commers!) and negotiate a mutually benificial arrangement for referrals/bookings. This person would personally vet each and every vendor that the salon recommended. Just like a consierge at a 5-Star Hotel.

And, of course, there would be the dresses. It's a hard sales-driven business, but I just LOVE them. I can't help it.

3) Wedding Planner. (Are you noticing a trend here?) It has become glaringly obvious to me that event planning and project management is a skill that does not easily come to some people. It happens to be a very big strength of mine. There is nothing better than taking someone's vision (and their budget) and translating their wedding day into a reality. YES, it isn't a perfect job. YES, it comes with its challenges. YES, it comes with crazy people and NO, you cannot convince everyone that your taste is the end-all-be-all of how to decorate a wedding. During my wedding planning, I had the fortune to act as planner, hair dresser, makeup artist, photographer, singer, decorator and contractor at about 50 different weddings in NJ... it. was. awesome. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

All in all, I realize that these dreams of mine are completely achievable - it's just a matter of planning and execution. But, it's fun to share....