Sunday, October 19, 2014


Bill ran his first 5K today! It was a fun run, so he didn't get an official time, but I think he came in around 35 minutes. Not bad considering he walked about a third of it.

He just decided two weeks ago that he was going to do the race, which was sponsored by the school PTO. I was skeptical, given that he has never shown any athletic inclination before. But I told him that if he was serious about it, I'd help him train for it.

For the first week, at least, he was serious about it. We ran together every night after dinner. The first two nights, Bill ran over a mile easily. He sprinted ahead and only took breaks to wait for me at every corner. 

I started taking him to the track, so he could run as fast as he wanted without me slowing him down. For the first mile, we were like the tortoise and the hare. He would sprint half the lap, walk the other half, and still finish ahead of me. After that he'd get tired and I could keep up with him. But he loved it. After our runs, we stretched and did pushups and situps together, taking turns holding each other's feet.

The second week his enthusiasm flagged a bit, and he opted to skip some workouts. Still, he was a good sport when his crazy mom woke him up one morning at 5:30 for our longest pre-race run. I took him to a local trail by the water, my favorite running spot. Unfortunately, I forgot that since the last time I was there for an early morning run, summer had ended. It was dark and cold. We could see about five feet in front of our faces. We had planned to run three miles, but he gave up after two. The sun had just risen when we headed back to the car. I made it up to him by taking him for a post-workout donut.

I was proud of him for following through and running the race. And it was fun having a workout buddy, whether or not it continues.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Movie night

Tonight was my first-ever attempt at family movie night. I wouldn't call it a disaster, but it wasn't a success.

We had technical difficulties: the "Wreck-It Ralph" DVD from the library kept breaking, and I had to update my Amazon app before I could rent the movie from Amazon, all of which resulted in the start of the movie being pushed back until after dinner.

I had told Bill it wouldn't be scary, but I didn't do my research. I should have known that every Disney movie has a gratuitously terrifying moment. Bill freaked out, hyperventilated and cried. He managed to watch the rest of the movie, but whimpered through a lot of it and asked me to stay in his room and keep the lights on at bedtime. Little brother Ted took the scary parts in stride, but fixated on one sad part where one character was mean to another and made her cry.

Both kids went to bed late due to the late start, and since JW was out I had to put them to bed one at a time. I read a funny book to Bill at bedtime and tried to keep his mind off the scary movie scene. I sat in his room after singing to him, only to hear Ted crying. This turned out not to be movie-related. He had poked himself in the eye. He insisted on extra snuggles, and moved over so I could lie down next to him with his face as close to mine as possible. Meanwhile, I kept an ear out for when Bill started crying.

At 9:30 I finally extricated myself from both kids' rooms. Crossing my fingers that nobody wakes up in the night from residual movie trauma. I will not be planning another movie night for a while.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Evidence that Bill is growing up

He wants a glass instead of a plastic cup.

He wants me to drop him off about a block away from the school entrance, and doesn't want a hug. After school he runs at me with a big hug, but no other kids are around.

When we get home, he wants me to give him the key so he can open the door.

He says things "suck." (I told him this is inappropriate to say around grown-ups, but it's okay to say with your friends. I have no idea whether this is a good message, but I think it's realistic.)

When we're out and he sees a friend, he immediately runs off with the friend.

He and his friends punch each other for fun.

He says "OMG."

He introduces me to new music, increasing my understanding of pop culture references. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014


Ted went on an apple-picking field trip this week. He brought home six huge apples. Every day, several times a day, he asked me if we could make pie. "Today, Mommy? Can we make pie today?" "Not today. This weekend."

Today we spent half the day making pie. He woke up asking for pie. After breakfast, we made the dough and put in the fridge to rest. When we got back from the playground, we peeled and sliced the apples. He squeezed a lime over them and tried to mix them with a whisk. After lunch, he rolled out the dough under my supervision. Before naptime, the pie went in the oven, and after naptime he ran down to the kitchen to look at it. "It's beautiful," he sighed. Daddy said, "No, that's ground beef. The pie is over there." He looked, and was equally pleased. "It's a great pie!"

Pie privileges almost got taken away when the game of Mad Scientist Detectives went awry and he hit the neighbor girl. But he repented, and went back to her house to apologize, and ate a good dinner, and finally got his pie. With the pumpkin ice cream that we had bought earlier at Trader Joe's.

If you have ever parented a three-year old, you already know what happened next, so I don't have to tell you that he ate all the ice cream and about two bites of pie.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

MILP Roundup #364

The weekly Mothers In the Legal Profession Roundup is hosted on a rotating basis at the Butterflyfish, Grace, BJJ, Law, and Living, Mommy and the Sin City, Magic Cookie, The Reluctant Grownup, and Perspectives of a Hard Boiled Egg blogs.

This edition of the Roundup covers posts from September 8-September 14.

  • Mommy and the Sin City got a ruling in her favor and entered her third trimester. 
  • Lag Liv is shoe shopping and dancing. (Unwanted commentary: "It's not good when you move like that Mommy.") 
  • Kderoll's title says it all: "surfacing from the depths of the first trimester" with baby #3.
  • The Queen of Hats wishes more people would just say they care, instead of asking intrusive questions.
  • Alice's son drew a family portrait: "In this picture you are mad, I am sad, and Noah is confused." (Don't worry, Alice. Bill recently told me I have three moods: happy, disappointed, and grouchy.)
  • In the Full of the Dickens household, the first day of school brings excitement and fear of wedgies. 
  • Izzie is adjusting to a new school year too. 
  • Perfect Yellow Yolk is having a rough transition to preschool.
  • The Reluctant Grownup has a packed kid schedule and teething issues.
  • BJJ, Law, and Living started her first post-JD job.
  • Daisy, JD quit Twitter and Facebook.
  • Here at Magic Cookie, I'm still rehashing my biglaw days.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Getting over biglaw

I've been at the new job for a year now. Not sure when it will cease to be "the new job," but that's still how I think of it.

And I still think about the old job, not constantly like I used to, but more than I expected to after a year.

I had my performance review today and afterwards, I was thinking what a relief it was that at this job, I always feel like I am good enough. What I can do, and what I can give, is good enough. Better. I get a hell of a lot accomplished even with the sick kid days and the snow days and the bring-my-kid-to-work during summer vacation days. And I probably make mistakes sometimes, but meh, we just handle it and move on.

This, of course, triggered thoughts of my time in biglaw. Because I never felt good enough there. No matter how glowing my performance review, I could always be billing more, could always be more available. There were always five things I was supposed to be doing at that very moment, and every screwup was a crisis, no matter how minor. At my exit interview, I told the managing partner that in a firm full of high-anxiety Type As, they should lay off the messaging that everything you do absolutely must be perfect, and a typo in an email was a huge problem, and for first-years especially, since you don't know anything about the law yet, perfection was the only way you could be useful to the firm. I don't know if he understood what I was talking about.

I also started thinking, as I have thought many times before, about boundaries. Back at the firm, everyone kept telling me I needed to set boundaries, and I tried, but it didn't work. And for a long time I blamed myself, for not being effective enough at setting boundaries. Today, for the first time, I think I finally realized that it wasn't my fault.

Because, imagine you're a teenage girl, and you're dating a guy you really like, but he wants to be more physical than you're comfortable with. (Unexpected direction, but go with me here.) And he assures you that he's totally okay with the limits you set, and he would never try to force you to do anything you didn't want to do. But every day, even several times a day, he keeps asking you to do more. And it seems like everybody around you is doing it. You're the only one who wants to be different. And he won't let up, he keeps asking and wheedling and telling you he really needs this and reminding you that everybody else does it. So you probably go a little farther than you would like, because it's just wearing you down to keep saying no, no, no. And you probably get more and more unhappy and conflicted, even though you believe he's sincere when he reassures you that it's your choice and he'll still like you.

That's how it felt to me. And when I think of it that way, it seems a lot more clearcut. If that's not an abusive relationship, then I think we can at least all agree that that dude sucks.

On a more systemic level, I wonder if one reason women leave biglaw at higher rates than men is that, even when they set firm boundaries, their boundaries are being ignored. If partners and senior associates are more likely to push that girl where she's reluctant to go, and farther than they would push a guy.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Summer recap

I got tired of "what I did this weekend" posts, yet still wanted to chronicle what we did with our free time, so here's my recap of our summer.

Weekend #1: Birthday party at the cousin's house; Lego Movie; lots of hanging around the house.

In between: First sleepover with Bill's BFF, at our house. The next day we let him play hooky from camp for a day and BFF's mom took them to the beach.

Weekend #2: Visit to my family. We went to a library festival one day (where the kids saw a dog show and Bill discovered the Peyo Smurfs graphic novels) and an aquarium and fish hatchery the next. It was adorable to watch my nephew and Ted together. Baby R followed Ted around and copied everything he did, and Ted kept hugging him and giving him toys. I hoped they would become as close as Bill and my niece, who have the same year-plus age difference, but I thought it would take another year or two.

In between: Ted got sick. Came home on Tuesday with pinkeye and mild fever, and got progressively worse but was still in a good mood between treatments. One day we went to the playground, another day to the Museum of Science. Played a lot of Octonauts.

Weekend #3: Stayed home. Saturday we went on a farm outing, Sunday to the ER.

In between: Ted still sick. I got sick. Ted got potty trained.

Weekend #4: I was sick Saturday and JW took the kids to the Museum of Science. Sunday my parents came and we all went for a walk at the local nature preserve.

In between: Anniversary getaway! Bill had the week off and got to hang out with the grandparents at home.

Weekend #5: Returned from Vermont Saturday. Grandparents left Sunday, and we had dinner at a friend's house. I baked Fiori di Sicilia ricotta cookies and brown butter rice krispy treats. Bill saw a healthy cooking segment on TV and, inspired, made yogurt pops with fruit that he cut up himself using a real knife.

In between: Bill went to a week-long art camp.

Weekend #6: Castle Island.

In between: Bill had the week off and I scrambled to find things for him to do, which included sponging off friends and taking him to work with me. (His imitation of me at work involved me typing, talking on the phone, and scribbling on a piece of paper all at once.)

Weekend #7: Labor Day!

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Conversations with three-year olds

Ted tells everyone they're his best friend (or, pointedly, NOT his best friend), but today his actual best friend from school came over and they had a great time. Meanwhile, Bill also had a friend over. So there was lots of yelling in our house today. But I'm happy that my kids are developing social lives that don't involve me playing with them.

This week Bill lost a tooth. According to his friends, we have a stingy tooth fairy. Does $1 per tooth sound low to you? I remember getting a quarter and being happy about it. I know that was a long time ago, but has there been that much inflation?

Here is a conversation I had with Ted today:
Ted: Let me see your butt.
Me: Why?
Ted: Because I need to. Please show me your butt.
Me: Um, okay. [I turn around, stick it out, even white boys got to shout.]
Ted: No. I need to see your WHOLE butt.
Me: You mean, with no clothes?
Ted: Yes.
Me: No.
Ted: Why not?
Me: Because it's private.
Ted: Your butt needs privacy?
Me: Yes. My butt needs privacy.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Labor Day weekend

The drive up to the in-laws' was better than usual, even though the kids stayed awake for most of it. Ted called the toll booths "toad boots" and kept asking me to turn around by saying, "Mommy, put your face to me, please!" (Which reminded me of how he used to ask, "Who's going to put me to school today?" Also of Russian folk tales: "Little hut, little hut, turn your back to the trees and your face to me, please.")  JW yelled at the boys for punching each other in the back seat. I leaned over and whispered, "Isn't it a time-honored tradition to punch your brother in the back seat?" He replied, "And isn't it a time-honored tradition for Dad to yell at you to knock it off? I didn't even threaten to turn the car around."

Yesterday we went for an idyllic boat ride and spent the afternoon playing trucks in the backyard. I organized my in-laws' junk drawer during Ted's nap. At night we had a bonfire with s'mores: Ted's first fire ever, since he's always been in bed by dark. He took one bite each of a s'more and a toasted marshmallow, and ate almost all the chocolate before we could stop him. 

Tonight we're going to have dinner with the extended family. My MIL mentioned that she had been asked to bring mac and cheese, and I immediately offered to make it. I spent several hours boiling two pounds of pasta, grating two pounds of cheese, making a roux, whisking in the milk, making the cheese sauce, mixing in the pasta... only to realize at the end that the scorched smell I had started to notice halfway through had permeated the entire double batch, even though I had been careful not to scrape up the bottom of the pan. I had wasted half the day and probably $30 of ingredients. And I had a huge kitchen failure in front of my MIL, who is the sweetest person and would never say anything but still... you know? I drove half an hour to the nearest store and stood there staring at the boxes of pasta, then went straight to the frozen aisle and grabbed two boxes of Stouffer's. I drove home listening to "My Tears Dry On Their Own" by Amy Winehouse and repeating to myself, "This is funny. I can laugh about this."

Tomorrow... hopefully the rain will dry up and we'll have more lake time, then home again.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Technological advances

Bill likes to tell his friends how I was around at the dawn of the personal computer. He cannot believe that there was a time, when I was alive, that people did not have computers in their homes.

Bill has also been amazed and appalled at my other tales of technology that we acquired for the first time at some point during my childhood:
  • Garage door opener
  • Microwave
  • Cassette tapes (and later, CDs)
  • Transition from black and white TV with a dial to a color TV with a remote
  • VCR (and much later, DVD player and eventually TiVo)
Here's a new one from this week: a friend who was sleeping over said, while we were inflating the Aerobed, that he would NEVER sleep on the floor. I remarked that I used to sleep on the floor a lot as a kid, when we traveled or had guests (who would invariably get MY bed). Bill whispered to his friend, "Her parents were not so nice." "But there were no air mattresses when I was a kid." Both of their jaws dropped.

Bill has a hard time with the concept of radio, or any entertainment that is not on demand. He cannot imagine life without handheld devices. Earlier today he asked me if he could have our old first-generation iPhone. I said maybe, but he wouldn't be able to use it as a phone. "What do you mean?" I explained the concept of a phone plan, and said that phone didn't have one. "So I can't play games on it?" "No, you can play games, but you can't use it as a phone." "What do you mean, use it as a phone? So I can't get to the Internet on it?" We went around and around like this several times before I finally realized -- to him, a phone is a mini-computer. He does not think of a phone as something on which you make and receive voice calls.