Monday, March 25, 2013

She's a biter

It's horrifying to find out your kid is a biter.  Annie comes from such gentle stock (ok, fine, perhaps not me, but Matt) and we were both quiet and good kids, so I'm not sure how she has become so willful and headstrong (and dare I say defiant?). Last week Annie's teacher took me aside at pick-up and told me she's had a biting episode each of the last four days.  "We're working on her words, because she bites when she gets frustrated," Tiffany said.  "I told her mouths were for eating, not biting.  I gave her a strong 'no!' and she just got up, walked across the room, and gave me a smug look that seemed to say, 'You don't say 'no' to me!'"  Upon hearing this I was tickled.  My firecracker.  Of course we were concerned, but the rest of the week there were no remaining biting episodes and I chalked it up to a toddler hiccup.  A little fun story to tell about my sweet, charming kid.  But today Tiffany said Annie had bitten again, and I was to sign an incident report.  The victim also receives their own report, which is horrifying to me as I feel ashamed and embarrassed for my little girl, even though I know she's not malicious, she just doesn't have the vocabulary to say say, "No, I was playing with that!" when her classmate grabbed her toy.  I went home and cried and told Matt, "What if the other family is very upset?  What if they want to know who the biter is?  (It's all anonymous.)  What if their kid was really hurt?"  It hurt knowing my child was getting an aggressive rep.  It hurt knowing that the other toddlers - as they become more conscious of these things - may learn to avoid her.

Annie doesn't bite at home - why would she? - there are no other babies grabbing toys or pushing.  She is an only child who, generally, gets what she wants.  Matt and I decided we needed to start being more firm with our discipline.  Throw your food on the floor?  You're done with dinner.  Want to "play" (e.g. bang) on my computer?  No longer.  She hates sitting with us and reading, but in teaching her to be more verbal, to learn how to start expressing herself rather than grunting, we decided we absolutely will make her sit and read with us each night.  We're not talking 30 minutes here - maybe 10!  But tonight she threw a tantrum that lasted until bedtime.

I read that biting is relatively common, and upwards of 1 in 4 kids will bite at some time.  I read that it is not a future predictor of behavior and it should pass.  But here's the thing - Annie just turned 16-months-old - girlfriend isn't getting a big vocabulary anytime soon!  And, I swear, that girl is getting sly.  She has a wild streak.  Last night at the grocery store she took things from the cart and dropped them on the floor.  I yelled at her - firmly and clearly - and each time she gave me this look that said, "Yeah?  What are ya gonna do about it?" I have a 16-month-old going on 16; lord help me.

One word: TROUBLE.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Mexican getaway

Matt and I were in Tulum, Mexico last week.  This was our first big trip since our Honeymoon almost five years ago.  We agreed on Mexico because I wanted tropical, and he wanted ruins.  The boy is obsessed with those damn Mayans, I tell you. 

Tulum is about two hours south of Cancun and an hour south of the big all-inclusives  “This place reminds me of Vegas,” Matt noted as we drove by the entrances of these mammoth hotels.  Big fountains, ostentatious fences and winding drives into their grounds.  Not that that’s bad, but we wanted small.  

Tulum is a funny mix: almost everyone here is white, either from America or Europe.  It’s half well-off tourists and half hippie enclave.  Everything is open air, and Christmas lights strewn in the trees and fresh fish, ceviche and good fruit.  The ocean water is teal and a few dogs, all belonging to the seemingly year-around transplants who run the dive shops and restaurants (and all beautiful, sinewy Europeans with long hair or dreads) - scamper on the beach, dodging the waves.  Our small hotel was literally on the beach and we fell asleep each night listening to the waves.

I’ve spied several topless woman (with great, small perky breasts...I mean, I would go topless too if mine looked like that) and a older, very pale man in a tiniest sliver of a g-string.  “That’s got to be a dare, right?” Matt said.  I replied that no, he’s just European.  “Don’t be so uncultured, Matt,” I added, although secretly thinking, “My god that is a sight...but I have to give it to him.”

And with that, here are some photos of our trip:

The beautiful view from our balcony.  

We're so used to getting up at 6:30 due to Annie, so we just kept the blinds open and rose with the sun every morning.  Gorgeous.

Every morning we ate breakfast on the beach.  This is Lorenzo taking our photograph.

We ate several of our lunches on our balcony and just picked up goodies from the local grocery store.  Here I am ogling the varieties of peppers.

Our Mexican rental car.  Note there is no clock, radio, or CD player.  The fingerprints are me pushing on it saying, "It has to be here somewhere!"  Sadly, no mariachi music for us on our drive down to Tulum.

Our hotel room. Very white.  Very austere.  Very peaceful.

Matt went scuba diving in a cenote, which is a water hole formed by an above ground portion of an underground river.  There is a complex maze of rivers, caves, and cenotes in the Yucatan.  We went swimming in one as well (photos later).

On the road to our hotel.  

Mexican bakery.  You KNOW I got my baked goods on!

I took a photo of this because I thought it would be Matt's last healthy hours on the trip.  He asked for a aqua fresca (flavored water) and asked if it was purified.  The waiter said "si" but with a glint in his eye.  Totally thought he was playin' us.  Anyway, Matt didn't get sick, so I guess that's good.
(Prices are in pesos, and the exchange rate is about 12 pesos/US dollar.  That's one cheap taco!)

We had a game throughout vacation calling "Lizard Spotting" (ingenius titling, I know).  Here I am with a bucket full 'o' lizards!

Visiting some Mayan ruins in Tulum on the beach. 

I'm smiling, but I'm already getting sick of these darn ruins.  Once you see one ruin, you've seen 'em all (don't tell that to the Mayans).

Then we went ziplining over a lagoon.

Take a look at this here action shot.

Now take a look at Matt in these photos...

Lounging back....


Almost zen....

Then there's me hanging on for my life.  Schreeching.

We fit in a little canoing.

Here's Matt jumping into a cenote.

Another view.

Here is Matt being suave (aka doing a flip).
Our guide - Raphael - said, "This one's good for the Facebook, no?"
Well said, Raphael.  Well said.  We'll have to upload this bad boy.

The next part of our little adventre was an underground cave tour!  It was pitch black
(these photos are taken with a flashlight and camera with a flash).

Making our way through the cave....doggy paddle style, yo.

Hands down, my favorite photo of the trip.  Bwhahaha.

Lunch on the balcony.

Matt and his lady friend.

I asked for "anything in a coconut, but it must be in a coconut".  You know, just for this photo opp.  Classy.

Matt relaxing.

This is Matt's favorite part of the trip, bar none.  He sincerely got a kick outta the old man in the g-string.  He said everytime he spotted him, he got 10 extra "lizard points".  (Boy was falling behind on the lizard points, let me tell you.)  Anyway, since Matt was so enamored he spotted this gentleman daily (look, this dude really piqued his interest), and thus clenched the win for "Lizard Spotting".  Unfairly, I might add.

Beautiful beach.

Nighttime in Tulum is magical: lights in the trees everywhere, people walking to dinner on the dirt road, flashlights in hand, and hotels aglow. Here is the pool at our hotel.

On our last day we went to Chichen Itza.  Matt was dying to go.  I was like, "eh, ruins.."  I know, I'm so jaded.

We also snorkeled and saw tons of sea turtles and took some underwater photos, which I hope to share when they're developed.  It was a terrific trip, but we were so happy to come home to Annie, who spent three days with my parents and three days with Matt's.  It's good to be home.