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Greatest Hits - 3 years 2 months

1. Anyone care to tell us what is wrong with the following? Overheard in the car after preschool:
"Dear God, thank you for our family and for our friends. Please bless Daddy and Cooper in Texas and please help St. Joseph to sell our house. And please give me some french fries. Amen."
2. Mommy has found herself fed up with the weakness of the Disney princesses. Who says the only girls worth knowing are the ones that walk around in tiaras? AND, why is it that they have to fall asleep and get kissed by a handsome prince in order to save them? What if they didn't wash their hair that day or put on that tube of "Red as the Rose" lipstick? Would old Charming have stopped over the dwarves house then? Mommy thinks not! AND, once awoken, why is it that the princesses go straight to marriage - didn't anyone in the Storybook forest ever hear of dating? Get the guy to buy you a meal first, for Pete's sake!

Apparently Mommy's rebellion is catching on because here is how Ana played with Daddy the other day. Daddy was playing the part of Sleeping Beauty, by the way. A real stretch of the imagination, but go with it ;-)

"Oh look! It is Sleepin' Booty Aurora! I will kiss her awake because she is kind and smart and funny and friendly and she shares." *shhhhmaaack*

You go, girl!!

3. If you haven't done it since you were 8, go outside right now and lay in a leaf pile. Once you turn off the thoughts of your clothes getting dirty, your body will remember the feel of sinking into the leaves. You will remember that particular scent of crushed fall leaves and the sound that they make as you rest back into your childhood. It is a good thing. Thank you, Sweet Girl, for reminding us.

4. Ana is the new spokesperson for the American Lung Association - she has taken it upon herself to rid the world of smoking, one smoker at a time. Fully supporting your child's ideology does not rid you of embarrassment, however, when said child lectures the kind church man leading you safely across the street to - "Stop smoking! Stop smoking! Yech! You'll get boo-boos in your body! Stop smoking!" Ana does nothing quietly either, mind you.

5. "Mommy, what's this called?" (Pointing to her pillow).
"You know what that's called - it's called a pillow"
"No. It's called Not You Pillow." (impish grin)


6. Parenting is a cutthroat profession. Mommy and a Daddy found themselves flinging insults at the Toy Lending Library, although it was unintentional - on Mommy's end at least. Ana ratted out a little girl for taking a toy of hers. Mommy said, "Oh, Sweetie, that's okay. The little girl can play with it. You have another one."

At this point, the Daddy curtly pointed out that the little girl was in fact a little boy. Trying to smooth over her error, Mommy went on to say, "Oh, of course, see Ana, we thought the boy was a girl only because we saw his longer hair from the back, but he definitely has boy clothes, and a boy hat, and his face definitely looks like a boy."

Mommy thought she had made amends until the Daddy made his next move. "What's her name? Anastasia? I keep wanting to call her Anesthesia."

Thank you. Thank you very much.

Greatest Hits - 3 years 1 month

"It's a small world after all, it's a small world after all, it's a small world after all......"

1. You know you have a problem with sharing when you're part of this conversation:

Mommy: Oops! You put your elbow in the toothpaste. Don't worry, it was my fault. I wasn't watching where I put the toothbrush.

Ana: No! It was MY fault.

Mommy: No, baby. Don't worry, it was Mommy's fault.

Ana: No! It was MY fault. MINE!

Mommy: Okay. It can be your fault.
Now, if only she will continue to think that way when she's 35 and going into therapy for whatever Mommy has done wrong ;-)

2. The girl's humor seems advanced beyond her age - she's already getting into potty jokes. At preschool the other day, while sitting on the potty:

"Mom? Do you want to hear a story? Once upon a time there was a girl named Ana and she said..." (long pause as she was apparently working up to the next part) "Farttttttttttttt"

3. New entry in America's Got Talent: The child who can actually make a relatively annoying song even more annoying:

"It's a small world affer all, It's a small world affer all, It's a small world affer all, It's a small world affer all, It's a small world affer all" X 100 (or whenever Mommy and Daddy start to lose it).

4. Love Bug is having an affair with candy. It is her newest love, the mention of which can stop her in her tracks and send her into spasms of joy and anticipation. Imagine how happy she was when she misheard the following:
Mommy: Ana, we're going to go to a restaurant with Grant, Lauren, and Lindsay. Won't that be fun?

Ana: What it's called?

Mommy: Andy's.

Ana: "Ooh! I love it! Eat it all up! Yummy in my tummy!"
That was one disappointed kid when it finally got sorted out.

5. A flair for the dramatic is starting to emerge:
"Mommy. Do you want me to sing you a song?"

"Sure, Baby."

"Wait for it." (30 second pause)

"Wait for it." (30 second pause)

"Wait for it." (30 second pause)
This went on for about 5 minutes before she finally started singing. And guess what the song choice was? You guessed it! "It's a small world affer all. It's a small world affer all. It's a small world affer all..."

6. Guess what?!? Ana has her first boyfriend! It was total news to us. A friend asked her if she had a boyfriend in preschool, to which Ana answered in the affirmative. Mommy wasn't too impressed until Ana said that his name was Nathan, an actual boy in her class.

Mommy checked out said boyfriend this morning at drop off. Cute kid. Nice dad. Mommy approached father and son. "So, this is the infamous boyfriend of Ana, Nathan? We didn't even realize that Ana had a boyfriend in class."

Nathan's dad turned to Nathan and said, "Nathan, Ana is your girlfriend?" To which Nathan looked nonplussed. Apparently their relationship was news to everyone but Ana. That's our girl. Just name what you want and go after it ;-)

Greatest Hits - 3 years

1. Perhaps the little one is a little too perceptive for her own good. When assigning parts, why is it always "Daddy, you da prince. Mommy, you da witch."?

2. We thought we had eradicated the unfortunate bringing out of the word "sh*t" at oddly appropriate times. The word made a reappearance this month.
Ana: Sh*t
Mommy: Ana, don't say that word. It's yucky. Even Mommies and Daddies don't say it. (lies! lies!)
Ana: Sh*t
Mommy: Ana, don't say that word or we will go home.
Ana: (puppy dog eyes) I'm sad.
Mommy: Why are you sad?
Ana: Because I want to say that word.
3. Don't push the button on those singing/dancing electronic doll-thingies. Just don't do it. Mommy tried to distract Ana with a Santa doll who was dressed in a Steelers jersey. She should have known right there - Steelers jersey is a dead giveaway.

"Ho! Ho! Ho! Since you've been so good this year, Santa will give you a big surprise!" (turns around and drops his drawers)

We swear the kid did a knee slap.

4. Way to get a bit of ice cream from your daughter who is sharing-challenged: Ana! Look! Is that Cinderella over there? (point behind her back, steal ice cream when she turns). Oh no, guess I was wrong. Bummer.

Greatest Hits - 2 years 11 months

1. Is it a bad thing when you want to buy your thirteen-year-old mother's helper a drink when her shift ends?

2. There is no reason why you cannot bite an ice cream cone from the end. There is especially no reason when you have been dressed entirely too cutely in a not cheap Janie and Jack outfit with your hair freshly washed. Why shouldn't you insist that you are "a big girl!" and can "do it myself!" so that there is no hope of salvaging the look. It is even better when you refuse to have it wiped out of your hair, take a nap on it, and create the biggest freakin' rat's nest ever created during one small nap time, such that it has to be cut out and only disposed of by flushing it down the toilet because of your aforementioned hair phobia. Take that for why you should eat an ice cream the "regular" way like all the other little children are doing!

3. "A-B-C-D-E-F-Stinky, H-I-J-K-L-M-N-O-Stinky, Q-R-Stinky, T-U-Stinky, W-X-Stinky, Y-and-Stinky, Now I know my Stinky, Stinky, Stinky, Next time won't you Stinky with me.

4. Ana likes to bust Mommy, making Mommy realize that she needs to shape up her act because Ana is much too observant. Mommy and Ana were speeding home the other day because Ana announced that she needed to "put poo-poo in the potty". Nothing will make Mommy move faster!! Mommy and Ana made it safely to the garage and Mommy told Ana to hang in there, that she would run to the door and unlock it so that Ana could rush in. Ana said, "I know! I'm a big Mommy. I can do like this!" and ran holding her crotch. She must have learned that from her other Mommy.

Greatest Hits - 2 years 10 months

1. The fastest way to lower your self esteem is to be criticized by your toddler. Afterall, they're not capable of an ulterior motive, so they must be speaking the truth, right? Having just showered, Mommy was in shorts and a bra, Ana's urgent call for a snack having distracted her from throwing on her shirt. Ana is typically told that she has to sit in her chair by herself, but Mommy was feeling generous and offered to let Ana sit in her lap, to which Ana replied, "No! I no like you boobies! No like-a see you nakee! Go outta my chair!"

2. Girlfriend clearly does not live on a farm. While pushing Ana in her stroller during a recent trip to Baltimore, Mommy, Daddy, and Ana encountered a large flock? of pigeons. Ana was beside herself with excitement: "Chickens! Come here chickens! Wanna gib you snack. Chi-ckens!"

3. If you should discover that your toddler has a new phobia of hair - "Mommy! Hair on me foot! Hair on me foot!" (shriek, shriek), you are not a bad person if you should happen to toss in a stray hair from your head to get your stubborn toddler out of the bath, are you? "Look, Ana, - a hair! Here I'll get you out. Don't worry! Don't worry! Mommy's got you."

4. Ana was flipping through one of Mommy's magazines - PG, she swears! - and came across an ad showing a woman laying in bed on top of a man. Mommy only tuned in to the crisis at hand when she heard a little voice ask, "What that mommy doin' on that daddy?" Yikes! "Tickling, sweetie..."

Greatest Hits - 2 years 9 months

1. The phrase that will guarantee you a cut to the front of the bathroom line, no questions asked: "Mommy! I'n gonna poo-poo on you!"

2. We all remember Sleeping Beauty. She pricks her finger, falls into a deep slumber, and only awakes upon the kiss of her true love, the prince, yadda yadda. We all remember too that she did not fall immediately back to sleep - like 1700 times. When the prince tired of kissing her she did not demand - Come here! More kiss! Nor did she insist that the prince kiss her for a particular length of time; she did not channel Goldilocks - too short! too long! Mommy has taken to calling our little princess Narcilepsy Princess. The girl seriously has a sleeping problem. Mommy's guilty pleasure is imagining that she does not kiss the princess awake and instead uses the pretend sleeping time to actually get something done around here!

3. If you hand your child a children's book at the local drugstore, make sure you know what you are handing her. You may find that you have handed her a book for pre-teen girls called Know Your Body, or something similar. You may discover this at the checkout line when your child points to a cartoon drawing of a girl inserting a feminine product and asks, "What dat girl doin' to her pee-pee? What dat?" Your reply of "She is just wiping herself, honey" will fool no one, least of all your two year old.

4. We are already worrying about Ana and boys. She had a playdate at her friend Pete's house and the two of them climbed into Pete's bed together, giggling and having fun. Pete's Mommy said she was going to get a camera and weren't they cute. Things took a darker turn, however, when a little voice piped up: Privacy please! Go 'way!

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Greatest Hits - 2 years 8 months

1. English is not very logical. In fact it's not logical at all. More logical is toddler-English. For example, take references to time: tomorrow, tonight, and to-now.

Used in a sentence(s):
Mommy: Ana, you can have ice cream tomorrow. (hoping she will forget)
Ana: No tomorrow, I hab to-now?
2. If you don't want your child to do something, don't bring it to mind - even in a negative sense. To explain: Mommy and Ana went to the petting zoo where Ana took great delight in chasing the poor little goatlings all over the place. After multiple admonishments, Mommy noticed a sign that warned against just such activities. Bringing Ana over to the sign to quote a more authoritative source, Mommy read: No chasing, no riding, no... She was diverted from her oration, however, when Ana, apparently thinking the sign had a very good idea, tried to mount the goat and ride him. Way to go, Mommy.

3. If you are trying to go somewhere nice and have left yourself only 10 minutes to get out the door with your freshly washed and dressed child, do not leave her in the room with a tub of Vaseline. Should you find yourself in a similar situation as Mommy, take your oldest towel and try to wipe the Vaseline out of your child's hair. It will not work, as it did not for Mommy, but at least you will have only ruined your oldest towel and not a good one.

4. Do not bring your almost three year old into a women's locker room. Just don't do it. Mommy and Ana entered the locker room and Mommy knew right away it was going to be bad. Ana got that child-lockdown-stare where her head didn't turn, no matter how far Mommy drug her from the item of interest. It was a woman, completely undressed and talking to her friends (admittedly weird, even for Mommy).
Ana: Nakee!!!!!!!!!! Nakee!!!!!!!!! Ha! Ha! Ha!
Mommy: a peculiar shade of red, concentrated in the cheek area

Greatest Hits - 2 years 7 months

"Of course I didn't put a poop in the dining room. I put it in the kitchen."

1. Sleeping is not always a pleasant experience. Ana's first night in her new "big bed" started out relatively well. She went to bed happily, on board with the new arrangements - that is until about 2 a.m. Thank God for baby monitors! Over the airwaves, as calm as could be, we hear "Help. I'n stuck. He-elp! I'n stuck!" Upon investigation, Daddy discovered that Ana had rolled out of the space between her toddler rail and the headboard and in the process of falling to the floor, had instead gotten her head wedged tight between her nightstand and the bed. Had it have been either of us, we both agreed that we would be a lot less calm when calling out for help. Luckily it has caused no fear of sleeping, but Ana does like to say "Ana stuck" and point to the offending spot each time we tuck her in at night.

2. This month Ana coined her own toddler-appropriate version of the phrase "shit happens": "Sometimes the poop comes out."

3. The beginning stages of potty training are about as fun has having your toenails slowly pulled out one by one. It is hard to remain positive when changing a panty-load of #2 in the Walmart bathroom and hearing the snickers from under the next stall as you go through your Mommy routine: "It's okay, honey. Just tell Mommy next time when your poo-poo needs to come out and then we can put it in the potty instead of in your pants. Poo-poo likes to go in the potty. NO! Don't put your hand there!" (This was the moment that inspired the aforementioned "Sometimes the poop just comes out".)

4. The cursing like a sailor continues, made worse by Mommy finally addressing it after Ana let a "shit" fly in the very quiet public library. Ana overheard trying to leave a playdate the other day: "Sh*t, I can't open the door." The worst part is that she always uses it appropriately.

5. If you've read Terri Hatcher's book, Burnt Toast, you know that the title came from Terri's propensity to serve herself the worst of everything and give the better pieces to her family. After Mommy burnt toast the other day, she took the burnt piece and gave Ana the golden brown one, prompting Daddy to say, "Just call Mommy Terri Hatcher." Taking it as a command, Ana did. For the rest of the day. "Terri Hatcher, I wanna milk." "Terri Hatcher, I hava go pee-pee."

Greatest Hits - 2 years 6 months

1. Up until about 2 1/2 you can fool a kid pretty easily; after that, they're nobody's fool. Mommy wears a bra that Daddy calls her Xena Warrior bra because it is so padded that nothing is getting past that thing. Mommy likes it because it gives her the illusion of actually having something going on up top, which she totally doesn't. Mommy was wearing the bra the other day and went to scoop up Ana. Little Miss laughed, poked Mommy in the chest, and said "Bwah!" Apparently it was obvious to even her that there was no way Mommy magically became endowed overnight. Sigh...

2. God, bless Him, has been superceded by Cinderella. Living in Pittsgurgh, we are lucky enough to be surrounded by quite a few gorgeous old cathedrals. Ana loved to point them out as we would run our various errands - "Church!" she would call out. Post-Disney World, however, she is singing a different tune - "Castle! Castle!" We are waiting for her to ask when Cinderella's firework show begins.

3. Do not sit next to Ana on a bus, on a train, in a car. Just do not sit next to her. Her latest thing is to dig around and then offer her nearest companion a "bogie". Uhhhh....thanks....

We would like to make a formal apology to the lady at the airport, and also to her husband who was offered the bogie when his wife, for some reason, declined the gift. Sorry also to the little girl on the bus and the sleeping baby on the monorail. Tigger, you got what was coming to you. If you wear a big fuzzy costume that seems remotely towel-like, you asked for the bogie-wiping. It's all on you, big guy.

4. If you ever want to get choked up, catch the moment when your child sees her hero (Cinderalla) in "real life" for the first time. The look of wonder, excitement, and pure joy that crosses her face makes every single moment of everything you have ever been through all worth it.

Greatest Hits - 2 years 5 months

1. If you have glasses and live with a toddler, take them off. If you find out you need glasses, just leave them at the front door upon entering the house. Mommy found out that her Lasik had apparently hit its expiration point and that she needed to get glasses again. Her thrill and amazement at all that she could now see - leaves, blades of grass, etc. - quickly turned to dismay when she entered her house for the first time as a newly glasses-ed person. Film on wall. Food on floor. Handprints on window.

2. At some point we all must confront our fears. Ana's fear of the vaccum has been a spectacular excuse for letting cleanliness slide, however (reference the above point), Mommy's new perspective on the world meant that the dog hair sweaters in the corners could no longer be ignored. To tempt Ana into letting the big blue beast out of the closet, Mommy plied her with a cookie, perched her on the radiator, and put on the show of her life. Mommy pasted on an enormous smile and did her best impression of Ginger Rogers while using the vacuum. She got disgusted with herself, however, when she actually caught herself saying "Maybe when you're a big girl you'll be lucky enough to vaccuum..." Women's libbers everywhere let out a collective groan.

3. If there is a will, there is a way. Chickie has been forbidden from wearing her new Easter dress. To her it is just one more pink princess dress and therefore represents the Holy Grail, to be possessed at all costs. On a recent morning, Mommy's shower was disturbingly uninterrupted. After rushing through the motions, Mommy went to locate the little chick. She had let herself into the office (where the dress was hidden) and attempted to put the frock on. She did a pretty good job of it and Mommy was secretly impressed, that is until she spun Ana around and saw the hanger sticking out from her back. Almost...

4. Thank goodness for video monitors. The little angel was in clean jammies, tucked into bed. Over the monitor we hear the sounds of laughing and jumping. Taking our cues from the sounds, we would have just left her alone to jump it out and pass out. One click of the video screen, however, revealed that Ana had stripped off her footie pajamas and was rockin' out in her diaper. Daddy charged up the stairs to dress her again and settle her back down. He was met with an extremely self-satisfied child. As soon as he came into her room she announced: "I'n nakee. Oh my gorsh!" with a huge grin on her face.

Greatest Hits - 2 years 4 months

1. The potential for embarrassment only increases as your child ages and becomes more vocal (and understandable). Chickie and Mommy recently flew to Texas for some much needed R&R and some thawing out from the Pittsburgh winter. They made it through the first security checkpoint with compliments and comments on how sweet and well behaved Ana was. It was the second checkpoint, however, that sullied their reputation. Holding Ana in her arms, Mommy handed their boarding passes to a kind looking older gentleman. "Santa! Santa!" little Chickie cried out. How do you apologize when your child mistakes someone for a white bearded man with a bowl full of jelly?

2. Always suspect ulterior motives. Mommy and Ana were cuddling on the couch. Ana reached up, cupped Mommy's face with one hand and lovingly passed her other hand over Mommy's mouth. Touched by the gesture, Mommy sat there in a warm glow, congratulating herself on having such a beautiful and caring child. Luckily Mommy came to her senses moments later and decided to run her own hand over her mouth just to double check. Sure enough, a large, disgusting boogie had been deposited right above Mommy's upper lip.

3. Mommy has matured to the point where she no longer gets embarrassed when Ana refuses to share or when she stakes her claim on Mommy to exclude another child. She has not yet, however, overcome the face burning power of the being-incredibly-rude-to-nice-older-strangers-that-don't-even-have-any-children-with-them-for-Pete's-sake! moments. Take for example a recent trip to Costco (I swear we don't live there). Mommy and Ana are walking down an aisle. Nice, white-haired, elderly woman walks by - and doesn't even glance Ana's way. Still, little Chickie is never one to let an opportunity pass her by - "Go away, girl! My Mommy!" (You must picture this delivered with head wagging 'tude.) You'd be surprised how fast Mommy can move when she wants to...

4. Consider giving undergarments secret names. For example, maybe you could refer to a bra as a slingshot or a holder. This would allow you to avoid potential problems that have everything to do with the volume at which a toddler speaks. Mommy and Ana at the mall walking past the women's lingerie departartment of Macy's:

Mommy: Ana, those are for big ladies. When you are a big lady you can wear one.

Greatest Hits - 2 years 3 months

1. Out of the mouths of babes... Mommy was cuddling with the wee-one one morning when the little sprite wrinkled up her nose, pointed to Mommy's mouth, and said "Mommy, yecky mouwf." Can't really argue with that one, can you?

2. Our child is extremely spiritual. She will not only "bess you" for a sneeze, but coughs also get "bess you"s. Daddy is working on supressing his habitual morning cough as it is starting to get a little trying: Hack, hack "Bess you, Daddy!" 30 seconds later... Hack, hack, hack "Bess you, Daddy!" 30 seconds later... Hack "Bess you, Daddy!" and so on...

3. Ana and Santa are not good friends. They're not even casual aquaintances. Judging by the loot under our tree, Santa has no problems with Ana, it's Ana that has declared Santa her sworn enemy. We did the whole stand and watch the mall-Santa thing and that seemed to go well. Look, Honey! That little girl likes Santa! Look, Honey! She's telling Santa what she wants for Christmas. Oh, look! Santa's giving her a hug and a candy. What Ana took from that was that Santa would bring her shoes and purses (her presents of choice) and that if you sit on Santa's lap, you get a candy. Okay. Good enough.

Flash forward to the Heinz family breakfast, starring none other than the Big Red Man. Little Chick wanted nothing to do with the guy. It didn't help that he followed us around, peering at her over Mommy's shoulder, causing her to cling tightly like a little spider monkey. Finally it was our turn for the child-with-Santa-photo. All of the other kids were happily sitting on Santa's lap, setting a good example, so we had reason to be hopeful. Yeah, not so good. Mommy finally had to sit on Santa's lap herself, acting as a barrier between Ana and the offending red polyester.

Why is it that Mommy is always the only Mommy having to do these things? At Halloween Mommy rode in the pumpkin patch train with all of the other kiddies. At the mall, Mommy hoists herself onto a carousel horse so that Chickie isn't alone. And now, embarrassement of embarrassments, Mommy had to perch on Santa's knee at the company breakfast. What Mommy will not do for Chickie!

To make matters worse, the man had the gall to not pass out candy, our oft-repeated incentive for sitting on Santa's lap. It somehow seemed less effective when we told Ana, "Santa said we could take you upstairs in the elevator to get a special Santa candy from someone's desk because you were so brave to sit in his lap." Not so sure she made the connection there...

Greatest Hits - 2 years 2 months

This month's Things We Have Learned from Ana will break from its traditional format as the story you are about to read could not possibly be told in one small number. In fact, My-mee could go on and on and on about it, however she has tried to limit herself to letters a through l. Take heed to the moral of this tale because woe to those who should ever find themselves in a similar situation...

a. To begin to understand how My-mee quite nearly had a nervous breakdown, you must go back in time to the night before "The Day From H-E-Double Hockey Sticks". The little cherub, fresh from her bath and smelling like baby lotion, began a song in the livingroom. We have documented it on tape, lest anyone think that we exaggerate. The song went something like this: "F*ck My-mee! F*ck Daddy! F*ck kitty! F*ck My-mee, Daddy! F*ck Ana! We thought it was absoutely hysterical at the time, only because we knew she must be mispronouncing some word (we now know it was fork) and because we could not possibly understand what it could portend...

b. Next day. My-mee and Ana set off to a consignment shop to drop off some of Ana's old clothing. Told to come back in 2 hours, My-mee stops into a Quiznos to get a sandwich to-go. Important to know that it was to-go because this was the only reason that My-mee left the diaper bag in the car. Once in the shop, My-mee - surprise! surprise! - needs to use the restroom. Being a one room kind of place, My-mee lets Ana wander around the bathroom while My-mee takes care of things. Since Ana was on the total other side of the bathroom, My-mee set her keys down on the back of the toilet. Uh huh... you, bright reader, see where this is going...

c. As though the sound of the flush was the pistol signaling the start of the race, Chickie flew at lightening speed across the room, snatched the keys up in her little devious paw, and overhanded them into the potty. To this day, My-mee gets flashbacks in slow motion. Her hand goes out to stop the keys. Her index finger just brushes the keys as they hurtle to the swirling waters below, flipping them over so that now, not only are they falling, but they are flipping over and over as to assure that they will not be rescued. "Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo"

d. Okay. So sandwich is now not to-go.

Thank goodness Quiznos' has an on call plumber so that we are not waiting forever for someone to show up. As it is, My-mee and Ana wait only one hour. In a Quiznos. With other people. And a 2 year old. 30 minutes from nap time.

e. Said on-call-plumber tries a hook. No luck. Dismantles entire toilet. No luck. Goes to the back of the store and looks in the drain trap. No luck. Meanwhile, My-mee is squirming internally as she listens to the adjacent table of elderly-ladies-who-lunch talking about how badly they need to use the restroom and how they shouldn't have had that second cup of coffee that morning.

f. At this point, Scott is called to retrieve the second set of keys from home. This would be the same Scott who took the bus to work that morning. The same Scott that discovered that the bus had just come and that he would have to wait another 30 minutes for the next one. The same Scott that said it would be about 2 hours before he could rescue the rapidly failing My-mee. "At least it can't get any worse..."

g. My-mee and Ana exit the Quiznos, set to get My-mee some retail therapy relief with a shopping session at Big Lots, also in the same shopping center. Their momentum is stalled, however, when Ana grabs onto the back of a bench, starts groaning, and with a flick of her little wrist orders, "Go! Go away, My-mee!" This means only one thing - Chickie is herself using the facilities. For those with good memories, you will recall that the diaper bag is in the car. Locked in the car, as the keys are down the toilet. Okay, so it has just gotten worse.

h. Lo and behold, there is a drugstore across the street. My-mee is saved! She lugs the stinking Chickie into the store and picks out a bag of diapers and some wipes. "At least it can't get any worse..."

i. My-mee takes Ana into the restroom to use the changing table. And so it does. Get worse, that is. No changing table. Fabulous! My-mee locks the door to the store and takes off her jacket, laying it on the floor, and the little one carefully on top. "At least it can't get any worse..."

j. But yet, it does. Pulling down Ana's pants, My-mee wonders to herself, "What is that brown stuff on my jacket?" A little slow on the uptake, My-mee soon discovers that Ana has pooped out her pants - it is all in her leggings, all over My-mee's jacket, all in Ana's onesie, and so on. My-mee spends the next 20 minutes wiping it all up and wiping Ana off, thinking to herself, "At least it can't get any worse..."

k. Inside the cavernous restroom, which affords fabulous voice magnification, and outside which several antsy people are lined up, a little voice begins to warble, "F*ck My-mee! F*ck Daddy! F*ck Kitty!"

l. Leaving the restroom jacket-less, bearing a half dressed child in arm, with head hung low, My-mee vowed to herself that she would never, never, never, ever again say "At least it can't get any worse..."

Greatest Hits - 2 years 1 month

1. The shoe wars continue, although the tall people are decidedly weaker than the small one. Mama's shoes used to fit nicely on an over the door shoe rack. Each morning Mama would weigh how much she really wanted to wear clean clothes over the pile of yesterday's cast offs on the floor. To open the door was to invite a feeding frenzy of all things shoe up to 36 inches from the floor.

This month Mama has proven that you can teach an old dog new tricks. She has decided to throw all of her shoes on the floor of her closet herself. This has been much more effective than picking them all up after each time the closet is opened. Even more effective than trying to convince the wee one that all of the shoes are sleeping...all of the time...

For those following the count: Mama:1 Baby & Foos: 1. Game over.
2. Again, watch what you say. We dogsat a very sweet, but at times overly enthusiastic dog for a number of days. Said dog liked nothing more than to kiss Ana to the point of knocking her off of her feet, where upon the kisses would continue to rain down upon the less than pleased child. Apparently Mama's stock phrase as she was manhandling the dog off of Ana was, 'Go On. Go Away.' This is now what the little chickie has decided to say - to anyone and anything.

Case in point: Mama and Ana shopping at Sam's, being the only people in the frozen meats aisle - apparently just the way that Ana wanted it. A lovely couple starts down the aisle. Catching sight of the cherubic Ana the wife exclaims, 'Oh! What pretty glasses on a pretty girl.' The aforementioned pretty girl responds with 'Go! Go Away!' and emphasizes her point by waving her arm in a dismissive gesture. Mama wanted to crawl under the nearest pack of frozen meatballs... However, it must be said that her technique was effective, as that was just what they did, definitely smiling less than in the approach.

3. 'Go! Go Away!' is useful for any number of situations. For example, when you want to dig in Mama's purse, which you've been told not to do, you should come find Mama in a completely different room, where she was unaware that you were even up to something. You should then tell her 'Go! Go Away!' Mama will at this point pretend that that is the best suggestion she has heard all year and will spy on you to see what your little 30 pound self is up to. For good measure you should then take the contraband into the bathroom and close the door behind yourself so that you can rifle in uninterrupted peace. Ahhh... and when Mama knocks on the door because she knows exactly what you are up to, another well timed 'Go! Go Away!' is sure to work a treat. Not!

4. The best person to trick-or-treat with is a 2-year old - they know not of the goodness in their plastic pumpkins. Our initial plan of just stopping by the neighbors was quickly amended to include the nearby cul-de-sac of 8 houses once we saw the chocolate wonders that were dropped into Ana’s pumpkin. What a goldmine! To some she was a cute dalmatian (okay, to most she looked like a cow), but to us she was the key to all things sweetness! Is it wrong to exploit your children for candy…?

Greatest Hits - 24 months

1. The lack of privacy and ability to have one’s own life continues. A reflective moment found Mama in the shower, standing on a no-slip tub mat, squishing an Ernie tub toy underfoot. The dog was sticking his muzzled face in the shower and Ana was standing between the shower curtain and the plastic water guard saying “Up! Up! All done!,” indicating that she wanted to pick Mama up out of the shower as Mama should surely be all done by this point (approximately 1.5 minutes into the shower). Mama wished she actually bought Calgon at that point.

2. Darlin’ Face now knows what it is to tickle and she likes to demonstrate her new-found skill on anyone that has the misfortune to stand next to her. Case in point: Mama is standing at the deli counter trying to place an order. “Teeky, teeky. Teeky, teeky.” Mama turns to find Ana tickling a nice man in the rear end – she had the perfect vantage point from her cart. Once again, apologizing to strangers…

3. Woe to those who give our child anymore noise making/lighting-up toys. Our dear Auntie Donna gave Ana light up flip-flop shoes (“foos”) for her birthday. So cute and cool until literally the 50th time in the same day that Mama had to help Ana slip them on. In a flash of brilliance, when Ana turned her head, Mama tossed them over her shoulder behind a pile of stuffed animals. Ana turned back and shouted “foos!”, to which Mama replied “Sorry, but your foos went night-night. I don’t know where they are. They’re sleeping.” “Foos!”, Ana insisted. “No, Baby, they’re sleeping.” “Foos!!!!”, pointing now. Mama turned to follow Ana’s finger and wouldn’t you know it…the darn things had hit with enough force to set off the lights – flashing from within the pile of stuffed animals. Mama:0 Baby & Foos: 1.

4. Mommy HATES shoes!!! She used to think she loved them, but no, She HATE THEM!!! She hates them morning, noon, and night. She would not wear them in a box. She would not wear them with a fox. She would not wear them eating green eggs and ham. She would like to give them all to Sam.

If Little Chickie goes into Mommy’s closet ONE MORE TIME and removes EVERY SINGLE SHOE from within her reach and says “Helper! Helper!” indicating that Mommy must bend down and help her slip her foot into a shoe for a precious 5 SECONDS before she chooses another one - “Helper! Helper!”- so help(er) Mommy, she will give away all of her shoes and walk around barefoot – and this includes in the snow. She is not kidding.

Greatest Hits - 23 months

1. You should be ashamed if you tell your child that she can’t drink your beer because it is “Mama’s milk”. You should be even more ashamed if the next time she sees a beer bottle she says “Mama! Meelk!” Mommy’s not saying that it was her or anything, though.

2. Ana has created a Britney Spears lookalike baby doll. She took a perfectly innocent looking Fisher Price doll, stripped her of her hat and all of her clothes. Off went the shoes. Then, through a break-in process, which included grabbing her hair by the fist full and slamming her on to the ground so that Ana could pick her up and say “Oh! It’s okay,” a Britney doll was created. We are thinking of branding and marketing her. Any takers?

3. Again – be careful what you start. Ana was making noises that sounded like Rosemary’s baby, so Mommy said “Are you a devil baby?” The little “angel” caught on to that right away. Now all we have to say is “Can you do devil baby?” and she will start to speak in tongues. This is okay if it only happens on command. Which it doesn’t. We are thinking that it is good that we can’t take her to church right now. All we need is the pastor to talk about resisting the devil. In the silence of the cavernous church, an eerie voice would start to chant: Aaaahhhh Uuuuhhhh Grrrrrrr

4. Chickie is having a rough time sharing these days. This includes the sidewalk with other walkers (she took a swing at a perfectly innocent looking woman just the other day). She also takes offense to the baggers at the grocery store. Apparently they have been stealing our groceries all along, we just didn’t know it. After ineffectively trying to explain to Ana that we will get our things back, we just try to cover for our protesting child by saying “Poor thing! It’s your nap time” or the ever-handy “Oh! Somebody must be hungry. She’s usually so pleasant…” We aren’t too sure that they’re buying it.

Greatest Hits - 22 months

1. Mama’s heart was warmed one morning: The little one began to stir, then a sweet little voice said “Dada”. The first thing the little dear thought of upon waking was her dad! Mama’s heart was a little less warm just a few seconds later when she heard a big gassy toot. Oh well…

2. If you say to your girl “Do you want to go to the mall?” and she does a happy dance, be afraid. Be very afraid. We didn’t even know that she knew the word mall…

3. Having a little chickie will help you to work through your embarrassment. You will be given multiple opportunities to practice multiple responses to things that make you cringe. Consider, for example, the following:

Take 1: Ana to random man: Dada!
Mama: No, honey, that’s not Dada. Dada’s at work. (cringe and blush)

Take 2: Ana to random man: Dada!
Mama: No, honey, that’s not Dada. That’s a nice man. (cringe and blush)

Take 3: Ana to random man: Dada!
Mama: Well, that’s news to me. (blush, no cringe)

Take 4: Ana to random man: Dada!
Mama: Sure, why not? (cool as a cucumber)
4. Despite shelling out big bucks for the privilege of hanging out for the day on Sesame Street, you will shell out even more when your tired and happy girl throws her arms around a stuffed Elmo and kisses him like he’s her long lost friend. Yes, we are suckers.

Greatest Hits - 21 months

1. Ana has a new arsenal in her flirting with boys. Her friend Sam was over to check out the water table. Little Miss sidled up next to him, put one arm gently around his shoulder and said “Hi Baby.” Dada just about fell over.

2. If you are wondering where your little child’s very expensive, ever-so-important-for-her-eyesight, glasses might be, save yourself the trouble – check the water table first. Don’t bother looking for the nose piece there, though. She ate it.

3. The fastest way to determine whether or not you have a favored word is to tune into your 21 month old. Ana has started saying “okay” for everything:
“Come down the steps, Ana.”

“More meat, Ana?”

“Stop poking Cooper in the eye, Ana.”
- Upon examination, sure enough, that is a word that Mama uses with Ana all of the time. Ana, however, has one-upped Mama. She has coined the word “No-kay.” Incredibly helpful for moments like:
“Take your hand out of the potty, Ana.”
“No-kay!” (No! Okay!)

“Please hand Mama that open red marker, Ana.”
“No-kay!” (while running away)

Mama is now using it with Dada.
“Your turn to do the dishes, Mommy.”
“No-kay! No-kay! No-kay!”

4. There are some benefits to having a sitter who is younger than your parents. Who are we kidding? There are many. One being that Ana’s sitter listens to cooler and trendier music than her old folks. Through Alessandra, Ana has developed a love of hip-hop. She has even created her own one-armed monkey move that she likes to pull out whenever the music gets just a little funky. For those that are worried that she doesn’t know any old school moves, worry no more - Dada taught her the Sprinkler the other day. Mama is trying to un-teach her.

Greatest Hits - 20 months

1. This is the month of embarrassment. Ana has become aware of various body parts and is starting to learn the words for them. It should have been no surprise then, that when Mama was carrying her past the coffee shop (where several older men were sitting outside) she pulled down Mama's shirt (exposing all) to ensure that said body parts were still there. The only slight consolation was that she got the wording juxtaposed and was yelling out 'bee-boo! bee-boo!,' but the bemused gentlemen seemed to know exactly what she was talking about anyway.

2. Ana is in love with all things baby doll. The entire last Friday playgroup was spent with Ana toting various naked babies around the place. She would pat them on their plastic rear ends and say 'Oh baby, Oh baby.' Very cute. Mama did start to worry slightly, however, when Ana also picked up a piece of trash, cuddled it lovingly, and cooed 'Oh baby, Oh baby.' Hmmm...

3. It is so funny to see yourself imitated. Especially when it is not quite right. Mama often has to blow on Ana's too hot food to cool it off. She was puffing away on a piece of hamburger and passed the cooled off meat to Ana. Doubting Mama's work, Ana brought the piece of burger to her nose and proceeded to sniff on it. Not so effective for cooling off food, but especially good for getting bits of meat up one's nose.

4. Our little Houdini has figured out how to remove her diapers, with her clothes on no less. Mama scooped her up the other day and realized that her little bottom was a lot less padded than usual. Mama was shocked that her brain fog had gotten that bad - how could she have forgotten to diaper her baby?!? Once Mama realized that just couldn't be true, she started to pat Ana down. Sure enough, the diaper was pooled around Ana's ankle. The little darling had taken it off because it was full of doodie, which had also leaked out Ana's pants and was all over her little shoes. Nice.

Greatest Hits - 19 months

1. Whoever added sounds to children’s toys should be taken behind the woodshed and taught a thing or two. Ana has a push toy vacuum cleaner that has Cookie Monster’s face on one side and Elmo’s on the other. Depending upon which direction she is pushing, the appropriate character will make some cleaning–related comment. Lately her favorite thing to do is to just slightly push the vacuum in Cookie’s direction so that he is sent into orgasms of cleaning ecstasy - “Oh! Me love to vacuum with you!” becomes “Oh! Me love! Oh! Me love! Oh! Me love!” – over and over. You can imagine that it does no such thing for Mama.

2. There is such a thing as too polite. Case in point:
Ana: Haaaa (Hi)
Person seated next to us on plane for long 2 hour 45 minute flight: Hi
Ana: Haaaa
Person: Hi
Ana: Haaaa
Person: My, she’s friendly
Ana: Haaaa
Person: Hi
Ana: Haaaa
Person: raises book to block out the sight of Ana’s face
3. They say that children help you to see the world in new ways. Mama just thought that the girl was a little loopy because she kept lying down on her back in the oddest places – the middle of the sidewalk, the countertop, the airport hallway. That is until Mama tried it for herself. The most blissful 10 minutes were spent yesterday, side by side, lying on the steps of the back porch. This is why she does it: above us was a beautiful blue sky with an occasional bird flying overhead. The clouds were mesmerizing as they passed over. And, best of all, Mama was rewarded with a big toothy grin once we finally drug ourselves up.

4. Why is it that bathroom stall doors have to start so far off the floor? Is it really necessary to see mid-calf down to ensure that someone is not in the bathroom? Are there really that many dummy feet out there sitting in otherwise empty stalls? The problem with the door being so far off the floor is that it is the perfect height for Baby Limbo. This necessitates some serious distraction action: Ana! Do you want to pull the toilet paper for Mama? Ana! Look! Look! More toilet paper! No, No! Stay here, Ana! Do you want to see Mama flush? That will be fun! Look!

Greatest Hits - 18 months

1. It is possible to pick your nose with 2 fingers at the same time. That’s 2 fingers…in the same nostril. We kid you not.

2. If you bent your backside down in front of our then 17 month old on the plane, you asked for what you got, Sir.

3. Little arms around your knees and a little face buried between your thighs is one of the greatest joys in the world.

4. The one thing that will get you to stop doing what you’re doing and to pick up your child immediately, despite having told her – ‘No, Mommy will pick you up in just a minute when she’s finished with the laundry’ – is for said child to start calling out for one of her grandmas – ‘Nena! Nena!’ If you’re like Mommy, you will drop what you’re doing on the spot, scoop her up immediately, and start chanting ‘No, Mama! Mama!’ Nothing like playing the grandma card to get a kid what she wants.

Greatest Hits - 17 months

1. All it takes to attract our girl is facial hair. It matters not if you are the 80 something year old guy at the grocery store with the full beard, or the 30 something guy at music class with the goatee. As soon as Ana sees your facial hair she will give you her best Southern hello: “Haaaaaaaaahhhhhh” (while waving madly).

2. Luckily, Ana’s moved on from the fake cough, but she’s now on to the “oh face.” It is quite versatile and gets applied in any number of situations. Opens a box: “Ohhhhh” (puckers lips). Opens the toilet lid: “Ohhhh” (puckers lips). Grabs a fistful of dog food to bring to her mouth: “Ohhhh” (puckers lips). The good thing is that the lip pucker delays her a bit, allowing Mama and/or Dada an extra second or two in which to snatch away whatever horrible thing they have forgotten to keep out of reach.

3. Think about this: store mannequins are actually a very hard concept to grasp. We didn’t think about this until Ana couldn’t figure out why the preppy guy in shorts and his similarly clad buddy were not responding to her best “Haaaaaaahhhhhh.” When Mama patted him and told Ana that he was not a real man but a big dolly, Ana tested out the pat herself. It weirded her out enough that she had to keep testing what she was seeing by continuing to pat. For anyone walking by, they got to see little Ana caressing one guy’s calf and then his buddy’s calf and then back to the first guy. Imagine what we had to go through when we got to the headless bathing suit mannequin…

4. Everyone should have the body image of a 17 month old. Ana LOVES to caress her belly like a self-satisfied little Buddah. She especially loves to sit in front of the mirror after her bath and snort contentedly as she rubs. You can just hear her thoughts: Oh, that is one good looking fat belly. Oh man, get a load of that thing. That's hot.

Greatest Hits - 16 months

1. Did you know that baby poop actually comes out in the same form as adults'? You can prove this theory to yourself by letting your child crawl around without a diaper (and STILL YET we haven't learned!). Apparently it only gets its baby poop look by being sat on repeatedly until the diaper is changed.

2. If a cow says moo.... it also stands to reason that when you mention the couch, it will also say moo...

3. This is how brave our little girl is: After getting 4 shots in her legs at the doctors, she clung to Mommy. As she hung on for dear life, she patted Mommy's back. Can you imagine? She is terrified and she is patting Mommy's back. She teaches us something about how to be a better person every day...

4. The state of PA gave us a handy guide to stimulating language in a young child. Apparently you are to knock out all words other than nouns and verbs. This was Mommy today: 'Mama potty. Mama come back. Mama hurry. Ana wait. Mama potty. Mama done. Mama wash. Here come Mama. Here come Mama, Ana!' Apparently it is not good enough to narrate your entire day to your child; you must also do it while channeling Tonto.

Greatest Hits - 15 months

1. We decided to teach Ana the meaning of hug. To do this we would hug each other and her, grunt while doing so, and say 'Yea, hug!' Obviously we were not clear enough, which Mommy discovered when she asked Ana for a hug. Ana stiffened in place and let out a big grunt. More of a constipated look than a hug, but hey, we're making progress...

2. The intensity of a diaper change is measured in the number of wipes used. Kind of like the baby Richter scale. This can also be used as a form of competition - 'Oh man, I just had to change a 3-wiper.' 'So what? That's nothing! I had a 4-wiper the other day.And it was carrots.'

3. With Ana behind in her eating, Mommy had decided that we would feed her whatever she would eat and then fix any problems later. Occasionally this led to some Nilla wafers at breakfast (you know - one for Ana, two for Mommy, and so on). Mommy also offered Ana a bit of homemade caramel popcorn the other day at a neighbor Mommy's house. The little morsel went into Ana's mouth just as Mommy heard the other mommy tell her son - 'No, Pete. Candy popcorn is not for babies.' Mommy's not expecting to receive any Mother of the Year awards any time soon. Nor is she expecting that mommy to ask her for nutritional advice.

4. Poor Dada! He has learned that when you decide to tackle changing a baby in the back seat of a car to allow Mama to continue shopping in the jeans store, you ought to check your shirt before you go back inside. Especially when you have a very non observant wife. It wasn't until we got home that Dada asked 'Babe! Did I have baby sh%t all over my shirt this entire time?' It seems that the answer would be yes. No wonder why the car still really smelled despite the fact that Dada threw the diaper away. What those salesgirls must have been thinking...

Greatest Hits - 14 months

1. The new word is the most fun. Just because she knows how to say Mama doesn’t mean that when she learns Dada, Mama will still be called Mama. Nope – we are Dada and Dada. How progressive of us!

2. If you take your child to a Toy Lending Library and are thrilled that you found a place for her to play with “over 300 toys and lots of children,” don’t be surprised if she pulls everything off of a shelf and then plays with the shelf for the first 10 minutes. She’s getting boxes for Christmas…

3. If Mama (aka Dada with the long hair) grunts every time she opens a jar of baby food, Ana will do so also. Not attractive – and a disturbing sign of copying to come ?

4. If you think that it is safe to let Ana crawl around naked because you have just changed a wet diaper, that will be when she pees on the rug. If you then mistakenly think that it is NOW safe, that will be when she pees on Daddy’s leg. After that you will get smart and you will stick a diaper on her like normal people.

Greatest Hits

Selected by the Mother Hen, enjoy these past stories* full of wit, irrelevance, and the undefinable.

*From old monthly emails to family and friends, known as "Things We've Learned from Ana".

3 years 2 months
3 years 1 month
3 years
2 years 11 months
2 years 10 months
2 years 9 months
2 years 8 months
2 years 7 months
2 years 6 months
2 years 5 months
2 years 4 months
2 years 3 months
2 years 2 months
2 years 1 month
24 months
23 months
22 months
21 months
20 months
19 months
18 months
17 months
16 months
15 months
14 months

Nokay What?

"Hi, my name is Ana. My daddy and mommy call me Ana-Nokay."

Def 1: The opposite of the word okay.
Tim: "Okay?"
Nate: "Nokay."
Source: Urban Dictionary

Def 2: No! Okay!
Mommy: Take your hand out of the potty, Ana.
Ana: No-kay!

Mommy: Please hand Mommy that open red marker, Ana.
Ana: No-kay! (while running away)

Daddy: Your turn to do the dishes, Mommy.
Mommy: No-kay! No-kay! No-kay!
Source: My Life…sigh

The Mother Hen & her Neighbor Hen

Mother Hen, blogger: ALISON

Alternately calm and harassed mother of one adorable (on most days), precocious, energetic, dramatic, mischievous 3-year-old - my Ana. According to one popular book, I am blessed with having a child who is so "spirited" that she falls in a category that is only assigned to 10-15% of the population. Translation: I am one busy and tired lady! However, the girl does know how to give me some good material.

When I'm not busy figuring out how to get nail clippers out of the tub drain or googling "how to dry a cell phone out after a toilet bath," I like to walk - preferably alone; read - preferably alone; write - preferably alone; hell, I'd even list going to the bathroom as a hobby if I could do it alone!

I have grand plans to find balance, learn feng shui, breath deeply, and take a yoga class without looking at the clock 7 minutes into class. I'd also love to actually want to wear my nice clothes instead of the most comfortable sweatshirt I own. As for now, none of this is happening, but a girl can dream, can't she?

Neighbor Hen, Nokay's web consultant: GRACE
According to the Myers Briggs Type Indicator for Personality Types, this neighbor hen aptly falls into the category of INFJs who are known to work creatively “behind the scenes”. Grace is proud to be a part of Nokay, helping to bring Alison’s humorist real-life stories to the internet.

As a mother to a curious and energetic toddler who “jogs” 95% of the time when he moves from point A to point B (distance is not a factor), Grace is patiently waiting for the day when she doesn’t have to bribe her son to use the potty appropriately. Finding a trail of poop on the living room rug is cute and photo worthy only for the first time. Subsequent “accidents” are not cute especially when the trail flows like a muddy creek.

In the meantime, Grace enjoys having time to read alone, walks alone to the corner store, writing alone in the kitchen, and using the bathroom, yes, alone.

Ana Cartoons by Ron Lee


Ana Cartoons - View


coming soon