Monday, January 25, 2010

Love Means Having To Drive Past Monterey Park

With all due respect to the late pop novelist Eric Segal, who penned the ridiculously inaccurate yet often quoted line, "Love means never having to say you're sorry," I submit the above definition, which proved its validity last night.

Late Blooming Mom, Dad and five-year-old twins were driving on Interstate 10 around dinnertime, heading back to Los Angeles from an overnight trip to see visiting relatives in the Palm Springs area. The drive between L.A. and P.S. is pretty much a culinary wasteland of Denny's, TGI Friday's, Mickey D's, the slightly more tolerable In-n-Out Burger, etc. But after you get through the strip-malled communities of Pomona, West Covina, El Monte, etc., you come to a culinary mecca for some of the best Hong Kong-style Chinese food outside of Hong Kong. It's called Monterey Park, and even the most casual reader of the Pulitzer-prize-winning L.A. Weekly food writer Jonathan Gold knows that a u-shaped segment composed of Atlantic Avenue, Garfield Avenue, and San Gabriel Blvd. contains a large number of excellent Chinese food establishments.

Sadly, Late Blooming Mom does not get out to Monterey Park very often, even though it is, traffic permitting, maybe 10-15 minutes east of downtown L.A.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Newden Days: Five And Counting

"Mommy, do we live in the newden days?" the boy asks as we read a bedtime story and I stop to explain that people sometimes wore hats to bed to keep warm "in the olden days."

"Yes," I say, after I stop laughing several minutes later. "We live in the newden days."

These newden days, I am getting used to having five-year-olds, and they are, indeed, very different from four-year-olds. The tantrums are fewer and tend to come only when someone hasn't had enough sleep. But they've been replaced by a near constant condition best called "selective listening," which is mostly not listening when asked to do something, but listening when there is the possibility of a treat, a new toy, or TV watching. Thanks to the inspiration of the president of the local parents of multiples club, I've instituted a sticker chart in which the kids earn a sticker if I only have to tell them to do something once. Fifty stickers -- a very big number for them to contemplate, but an achievable one -- will earn them a trip to the toy store at the Farmer's Market, and the chance to pick something out. We're only one day into the plan, so it's premature to say it's golden, but at least for now, it seems to be working.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Why Being A Mom Later Is Better, And Why It's Not

I started this blog two years ago to write about my misadventures as a late-blooming, AKA later-in-life, mom. Reflecting on those two years, in which my kids aged from three to five, here's what I think's better about being a mom later in life:

It sounds corny, I know, but I have a greater sense of time's fleeting nature and therefore savor moments with my kids in ways I don't think I would have, had I had them say, five or ten years earlier. I sometimes catch myself holding a little hand in mine a little tighter, and making a mental note to register the sensation of the warmth of that hand, and the casual but sure way it holds mine back for security, safety, and reassurance.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Your Boy/Girl Twins Have Just Turned Five. What Are You Gonna Do Now?

If you've made it through five years of late-blooming motherhood with twins, here's what you're going to do:

You're going to Disneyland.

Accuse me of being unoriginal. Unimaginative. An American parenting cliche. A victim of societal pressure. A rube taken in by the massive Disney marketing machine. A mom in for a long, long day that will no doubt include some whining, a tantrum or two, and overpriced snacks.

You're right.

I'm going anyway. Full disclosure: I'm not going today, on their actual birthday, because a number of factors (including dad's work schedule) mean Saturday is the big day, with more crowds; it can't be helped. But nevertheless, I'm going, with dad along to kid wrangle. I'm going because I went to Disneyland with my parents as a kid, and I loved it.