Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Heather Armstrong is my Hero

We found the... fruit snacks at the store, although using the word fruit here is a bit generous. I would have gone with polycarbonate snack, but I guess that would require more ink and less lying. Whatever. We bought two boxes...



My son points to a photo in a wildlife calendar.

"Muffins!" he says, and smiles proudly.

"Oh, no, honey, you say 'puffin'. P - p - p puffin! Those are puffins."

"No! Is muffins,' he says adamantly, and then looks up at us with a little twinkle in his eye. He's making a joke.

"Puffins," daddy tries again.

"NO!! IS! Muffins!!" He stamps his foot, and then looks up sideways, smirking.

Our little Ogden Nash.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Baby, if you're a sickness, I don' need no cure.

Husband (squinting at the one and only print that our accursed printer has been able to eeek out): We can't send this.

Me: Why?

Husband: People will think he has something.

Me: ?

Husband: With that hat. Covering all his hair. People will think he has cancer or something.

Me: Well, yeah! Something! Something like f-ing awesome taste in hats!!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Thursday, November 29, 2007

hooray for me - I finally took MANY gigs of photos off my laptop, which meant that I could finally remove the 412 files (half of which were unrepenant crap) from my camera.

This means:
I have spent part of the evening reminiscing over the year (since the pictures dated back to June) and marveling over how much my child has changed in just 5 months

I am considering getting my eyes checked (I SWEAR they all looked focused when I took them)

I want to buy soundtrack music for my home movies (Bubbly)

I have to buy more photo frames, or perhaps a house with more walls

I STILL don't know why Kodak software maintains thumbnails for deleted ormaged files. It's driving me insane.

I have no idea where my child got his moviestar looks. I mean, his father is handsome, but in a totally different way - the suave and debonair/tall dark and handsome way. The kid looks like Christopher Robin.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Pleads together? Speeds together?

Life with a for-all-practical-purposes-already-two-year-old is exhausting, but rather good. I have a couple hundred adorable pictures in my camera (and a couple hundred blurry ones too) but my hard drive is so full of pictures that, if I download these, Picasa will crash my computer and probably set it on fire. So we'll have to wait on the pictures.

He's a very attractive child these days -he stood still for a home haircut last weekend. He even let Eric clip several of his nails without the usual wet sheet wrap. (I AM KIDDING. We have never, repeat NEVER, wrapped our child in a wet bedsheet.) (It would probably work, though.) If we work in a little personal care time every saturday morning. we'll probably have a fairly decent-looking kid, without the Wolverine adamantium claws.

He's also fun. He's talking quite at lot, with new words every day. Today, I sneezed, and he said "Bless you."

His best trick - he's been doing this for months - is this.
We tell him to do something.
He replies (as a matter of course, regardless of the request) "NO!"
One of us gives him a big admonishing eyeball and says "Excuse me?"
At which point he makes BLYTHE DOLL EYES and ask sweetly, "No, please?"

So, tiring, but rewarding.

Also, since the tiny corner playground in our neighborhood has been finished and re-opened, I have become much fonder of our development. We go play there nearly every day, and so I am starting to get to know the kids (and the other parents) who live nearby. And, though it isn't like I've found a new BFF, I do find the neighborhood much livlier now that we're a tiny bit connected.

Ian (who, it must be said, talks just a little like Scooby Doo,) asks every day about the playground. This is the way he asks:

"PLWAYYY?!?!??!! GWOUND?!?!???!!!?!?

[He uses that inflection for practically everything. He also has a little trouble with compound consonent sounds, like the 'nk' in the middle of 'monkey'. He gets a little wetness into it, like it's Hebrew. This is particularly cool when he catches sight of the photo of my brother and his wife that's in our living room. He sees it, and it's as if he's never seen it in his life - he gasps (this is actually true), gapes at me, and then shouts "UNKCHCHCHUL?!?!?!? SHANDY?!??!?!?!?!"

Uncle Sandy had dinner with us last week. Ian practically had an aneurysm when he walked in the door.]

We were at the playground after dinner tonight. Ian was starting to get tired (ah ha! My evil plan was working!) and I was ready to scoop him up and take him inside. He was sitting in the bouncy rubber mulch, and I leaned down to pick him up.

At the same time he decided to stand up.

The collision with his shockingly hard little head made me reel, and after a moment, my nose started to bleed. First a trickle, then a gush, which I tamped with my scarf, a pink pashmina-ish sorta thing. I wanted to hide it from Ian, who I thought would be upset be the sight.

While I tried to hide the blood (and get those little cartoon stars and chirping birds from circling my head), Ian decided that it would be a great time to mount the big slide (something he does safely all the time)and then go down it ON HIS FEET.
(Something which cannot be done safely by anyone.)

He made it most of the way down, before falling face-first onto the edge of the slide. No damage, just a bloodied lip. I pinched my nose closed with my left hand, picked him up with my right, comforted him a little, and we staggered home.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Trump Hell

we've just returned from 24 hours in Atlantic City.
all three of us.


Atlantic City is an occupational hazard for variety entertainers - like falling off your unicycle, or getting papercuts from palmed cards. I've been once before, and Eric and Charon have been a couple more times, always to see friends perform.

This was actually a great opportunity - a magician Eric admires, who lives and performs on the west coast, had a booking in AC, and agreed to spend a day with Eric and do some show-doctoring. And that part (you know, the point of our trip)was totally totally totally worthwhile, more than worthwhile - I can already see good effects from the coaching he received.

We stayed at the Trump Marina, a multi-million-dollar COMPLETE HOLE miles from the ocean. Okay, not a complete hole. The sleeping room was very nice. It had the most fabulous chaise over by the window, upholstered in cream linen, and the bed was fantastic. Great linens. Not a bad view. Really good design all around. Whenever we were in the room, we were happy.

The hotel also has a lovely pool, which unfortunately someone carelessly left outdoors in the rain. Since it was not only drizzling but also 68 degrees all weekend, that didn't work out for us.

They also have a nice spa, but until Ian and I can get parallel massage tables, that's not going to work out either.

In fact, I would say that this hotel was the least hospitable environment for a toddler that I have ever seen.

"Duh," you're saying, "Who takes toddlers to casino hotels?"

Well, idiots, to start with. In my defense, I want to say that I was thinking that Atlantic City would be like Vegas. You'd think that would be a safe bet, right, ha ha?


We first went to Vegas several years ago for a gig. I expected to hate it - almost didn't go. I ended up completely loving it. We stayed at the Mandelay Bay for the first part of the trip, which was GREAT; when it came time to pay for our own lodging, we moved down the strip to the Monte Carlo. Which, though it lacked the marble bathrooms and Dale Chihuly ceilings of other hotels, was still pretty nice. (Scaling down, in that case, meant going to a hotel that only had 4 pools.)

I was shocked at how, well, accomodating everything was. Though I'm from the country, I'm kind of an urban girl at heart, and I have internalized the idea that 'the world was not set up for my personal convenience.' Except in Las Vegas, it is.

Tired? There's a bench right here! Bathroom - 10 feet to your left. Warm day? Well, for heaven's sake, don't walk down to the Walgreens - take the free monorail. Thirsty? Oh, honey, let me bring you a drink - what, just a soda? You sure? Well, okay....

Plus, as if you needed it, everyplace is brimming with entertainment, either paid (the art museum at the Bellagio, the big evening shows) or comped (we saw Mac King's daytime show for free) or really free, out on the street! Choreographed fountains! Hot air Balloons! Pirate Battles! Singing gondoliers! A fire-breathing dragon! Okay, so the dragon was looking a little shopworn, and Merlin's arm had fallen off. I didn't care, and I can guaran-damn-tee you that Ian wouldn't care.

Ian, in fact, would have been totally happy to stand in the window and watch the Luxor's diagonal elevator all day. I'm totally sure. The fountain show might have been too much for him. He would have gone into a pleasure coma.

I wasn't expecting a pleasure coma, but a bench might have been nice. A public area with, you know, seating. A lobby. Like at a hotel.

That's all I was expecting. I was expecting the hotel where we were staying to be like...a hotel. Hospitable. Accomodating. You would think they would want to make a nice place, so people will want to come and gamble.

But pretty much the motto of the Trump Marina is: gamble or fuck off.

There's not even SHOPPING, people. There's not even anything to buy if you win, except dinner and Trump t-shirts. (And really cheap costume jewelry. I got 2 watches. I am waiting for my arm to turn green.) You would think they could scare up a Versace, a Juicy Couture counter, something vulgar.


But there's no place to sit down except at a slot machine, no place to stand except in line, no place to buy a paper (AT ALL), no place to let a baby be a baby. It's barely even handicapped accessible, despite the HUGE number of wheelchair users we saw there.

How gruesome is it?

we went for a 60-minute walk in the rain.

So, to recap:
1. The Trump Marina's success is based entirely on entropy. Once you're there, you're not within walking distance of anything else, and so there's not much competition.

2. If you are not actively involved in shoving coins into something, Trump Marina thinks you're dead weight, and would prefer not to do you any favors. It is a hellish place to spend an afternoon, let alone 24 hours with a hyper toddler.

3. East coast hotel pools belong indoors.

4. Be nice to the staff; they really appreciate it, plus you get to leave eventually but they come back every day.

5. We really, really need a new bed.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Saturday, July 28, 2007

We've been to the beach.

he liked it.

On Dooce, Heather Armstrong recently referred to vacation with a child as SUFFERING, and I wouldn't go quite that far.


Ian had a wonderful time at the beach. An insanely wonderful time. Which is to say, apparently something about it drove him insane.

I know that, because shortly after he went completely insane, we stopped briefly at the Jockey outlet for our bi-annual underwear upgrade.

Ian chose to entertain the assembled underwear shoppers by grabbing two gold-colored women's thong panties, on hangers, and running through the crowded store, squealing, twirling them over his head in interlocking circles. Like, I don't know, some sort of underpants drill team.

And I dutifully chased him, mostly to avoid the disapprobation of my peers, because I think we all know it wasn't like I was going to be able to catch him or anything.

That wasn't the only incident, but kind of indicative. It captures the general texture of the week. I know I've complained about him recently, but he's normally not like THAT. We're fairly proud of his ability to join is in restaurants and stores (for reasonable periods) without incident. Strangers are always praising him for his good behavior and even disposition.

Ha ha.

Some snags aside, it was actually fun - we stayed right up at the boardwalk, and could walk down to the ocean carrying nothing more than a room key. For years, we stayed on the outskirts of town, and carried enough stuff each day to start a small lunar colony - food, clothes, books, a tent. This year, I could literally get up and go for a swim in the ocean CARRYING NOTHING. This is the only way, and I don't care how old and crappy the motel (ours was somewhat crappy) is or how rowdy the kids are outside after dark (barely rowdy even by Bethany standards. No lie, there were a bunch of high school boys playing guitar and singing Wonderwall on the boardwalk at 9pm.)

And, of course, it was emotional for me, seeing Ian take to it the way he did, and seeing Eric be such a dad. It made me think about how the beach has kind of 'been there for me', from babyhood through college and singlehood and wife-hood, and now with a beach baby of our own.

It's like a flipbook of snapshots - there's me and mom in matching sundresses at Avalon, there's dad throwing Sandy over the waves; there's me in my red white and blue racing suit in 1972; there's my mom after the stroke; me and Paul and Chuck; me and Dorney and Chuck and Larry..there are all the pictures of me that Eric has taken, holding up a rubber frog at Funland, shading my eyes by the jetty. There are even pictures from our pregnant trip, 2 years ago, when it rained the whole time and never got about 70. I'm obviously lost - huge, uncomfortable, already tired of waiting but mentally paralyzed, completely unable to think about what I'm waiting for. The rain pounded the dunes, and I stood out in it, shooting video of the whipping grass.

And now Ian, running in and out like a sandpiper, dropping handfuls of sand after the receding wave, showing the ocean who's boss.

We're going again in 6 weeks.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Pleased and fairly stunned to report that we survived Artscape!

I mean, who would do that? Who would take a 1-year-old to Artscape?

In fact, if you're like many people, you're asking: who would even go to Artscape? At all?

It's the annual outdoor arts fest in Baltimore.
It is always always always scheduled for the hottest days of the year. With the highest humidity.
Perversely, it's always completely mobbed with people, hundreds of thousands of them. Many visit the small press tents and the art installations, but many more come looking for cheesesteaks and funnel cake.
(Since most art -and most art patrons- do better INDOORS, some of the art and performances are tucked away in buildings and courtyards around the Maryland Institute campus. NOT SO with the cheesesteaks and funnel cake, which are right there on the street - at least a mile of food vendors. This leads the waggish to refer to it as Food-Scape.)
Plus, they sell yards of Coors on the street starting at 8am.
And you park like a mile away. (I guess the walk to your car gives you time to sober up. I hasten to add that, when I lived in Baltimore, in the next neighborhood overm and could easily have stumbled drunkenly home, the beer was not as much of a feature of Artscape.)

I love it.
I love everything about it.
I love the art, I love the art cars, I love the outdoor concert where you sit on the hillside at Mt Royal Station. (It's where I saw Taj Mahal, Betty and Johnny Clegg. Different years.)
I love a cheesesteak.
I love the several hundred art and craft vendors.
I love the idea of showing experimental short films in a tent in in the middle of the street on a Saturday afternoon in July.
I love the way guerilla art projects seep into other parts of town.
I love the people standing outside Theatre Project, inviting people to their original one-act plays like a barker at a sideshow.
I love that there's a ferris wheel, and it's free, and so people bring their little kids and walk around eating popcorn and have conversations about sculptures. That makes me so happy I could practically faint.

I love that it's the same weekend as Otacon, so that, as you drive up Charles from the Harbor, you see people - SERIOUSLY, LIKE A HUNDRED PEOPLE! walking down in homemade elf costumes.

(incidentally, the internet is a making us all smarter, I just learned the word "glomp".)
(I've had them, I just never knew there was a word for them.)

Anyway, I threw Petulant Baby in the car this morning, and I really didn't think we would get all the way to Baltimore. I thought we might get to the ATM, and maybe the Target. But it was such a beautiful day that, once I got him strapped down, and was driving with the windows down and the radio on, I said "To hell with it! Artscape or Bust!"

He obligingly fell asleep, and work up in a stroller on Charles Street.

Of course he protested. I was actually a little nervous - was he just going to be a little crab, a surly little crankypants, and harsh everyone's buzz until I capitulated and took him back home?

We were saved by a monkey.

That's Django, with her friend Jerry. After the jerk chicken stand and the line for the ferris wheel, they were the first thing we came to upon entering Artscape. A welcome sight indeed, as Ian was completely transfixed for...a long time. I got Jerry's card - he does lots more than just pimp monkey kisses, though that was most in demand today.

Anyway, watching Django kiss other children was plenty of entertainment for Ian, and the thrill of a real live monkey - not just on Animal Planet! But in person!- created enough afterglow for him to sit happily in the stroller while I purchased and ate a piece of cherry pie from Rodney.(Ian declined.) AND while we looked at some handmade jewelry and some of this and some of that - a crocheted OBEY afghan and some cool photos
and it was really fun and a nice day SO WE WENT HOME.

I'm ambitious, yes, but I am not stupid. I only put an hour and a half on the parking meter. I knew that he'd hit his fill line eventually, and I was almost spot on.

But I'm really really happy.

Since we have entered the run-up to the terrible twos, I sometimes (ha ha SOMETIMES, that's a special literary device I learned in school, it means PRACTICALLY CONSTANTLY) feel very put-upon. "Oh, fine," I think to myself, "I'll just never do anything fun again. I'll just spend the rest of my life sitting around a townhouse in the suburbs saying 'good job!' and 'Come on, eat one more carrot,' and 'Ew, who has a 'tinky butt? Who? WHO?' until I am too old to enjoy anything except {God forbid} bringing the snacks for travel soccer and complaining about the coarse language in mainstream movies. I am so screwed."

So to be able to take my son to Artscape - even the smallest northeast corner of Artscape, for an hour - really makes me happy.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Comedy 101 - midterm - multiple choice

fig. 1

IF Daddy was dressing hurriedly for a gig

AND a couple of hours later, Mommy and Baby emerge from the bathroom, clean, shiny, wrapped in fluffy towels

AND IF Momma, as she is prone to do, plops Baby onto the bed for a towel-off, a vocabulary lesson, a little smackerel of soy milk, a diaper and a story

1. what item has been left on the bed?
a. something harmless but personal, like a single dirty sock
b. something precisely the size of a baby's esophogus, like a collar stay or the cap from the toothpaste
c. a blunt object or two (ref fig 1)

2. and what is done with that object?
a. it is brandished to humorous effect
b. Baby jokingly holds it near his mouth, checking to make sure Momma is looking and is appropriately horrified, at which point he dissolves into delighted laughter at his obviously excellent skills as a practical joker
c. somebody's getting bonked in the damned head.

Extra credit: how many times, in repeated attempts to repeat the words "Shoe Tree", does Baby mutter "shit..." while Momma's lips go numb from pursing so hard?

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Lord, show me the way, the Devil's tryin' to break me down.

Somehow, The World's Cutest Toddler, with his generally pleasant diposition and his easygoing manner, has been stolen by fairies. The changeling they have left in his place is...well, he's kind of a dick.

He pitches horrible public tantrums with no provocation. He cries for an hour at a time. He throws food. And thinks it's funny. He wants to be held, held, held, and freaks out if you need to shift position. Unless, of course, he cannot bear to be touched at all.

Things we have done to discipline him in the past have no effect at all. My serious admonishing look makes him laugh out loud.

Plus he has learned to escape from his crib, so the idea that we can leave him for some quiet time and, you know, get something done for an hour...that's all over. He's capable of going up and down stairs, so basically he has the run of the house now. No house will ever be sufficiently child-proof for this. Even if we moved all the furniture out, we'd still have to bar the windows.

So these are some tiring days. It's hard work, frustrating and disappointing a child this much, let alone trying to keep him from cracking his skull. While I have no real desire to quit this mothering gig (okay, only intermittant desire) I have wondered several times if I can't get some sort of a transfer to another department.

He's very needy, is the thing. He's teething like hell (apparently that's precisely the word I mean) and having a growth spurt, and it seems that he's really scared of us abandoning him. He has trouble relaxing unless we're both visible. This is tough, since his dad has gigs all weekend, including one Sunday in ANOTHER STATE.

Well, if it sucks to be me these days (and it does) at least I'm aware that is sucks much, much more to be my kid.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Looky Daddy rules. Be sure to read back a few weeks for the story about the toe.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Our new business plan

World' Best Husband is preparing to take a business trip.

(Wait, which sounds cooler - 'a business trip' or 'a gig'? He's got that coveted gig, one that combines public speaking with performing. And with paying the mortgage. Incidentally. But it does mean he'll be away for a night, and it does mean he gets to obsess about packing - material for the show, clothes, promo materials, the magical Sleep Machine. Dude, it's like he's going on Galactica. I am trying to sneak the baby into one of his bags, and it seems there's little chance he'll notice, except that the baby would eat all the granola bars for the trip and then what?)

Him: "Well, I have the cooler for the trip, and some Gatorades, and...hmmm, what's in this Target bag? Ah! Snacks'n'maps!

Me: Did you say "Snacks'n'Maps"?

Him: Yes! Snacks'n'Maps!

Me: And should that be the name of our national chain of roadside stands? "Snacks'n'Maps"?

Him: Yes! I believe it should! "Snacks'n'Maps"!

Me: Or maybe "Maps'n'Snacks"?

Him:..........................................You're fired.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Before and After

Well, he's not a baby anymore, exactly.
He had his first haircut this afternoon. If you had driven by the barber shop at 1pm, you might have guessed that the sign read 'Free Appendectomy Day (anesthesia not included)' rather than 'Tiny Tots a Specialty'. Never has there been a tantrum like this one...and yet Kim, our cutter, was just brilliant, completely non-plussed, working steadily and carefully - and astonishingly quickly - as he writhed and bellowed.

I have no pictures of the cut itself, as I was holding him in my lap for most of the cut. (At the end, we switched, and his dad pinned him against his chest for the last bit of the back.) Beautiful taupey wheat blond locks rained down everywhere, along with tears, and the occasional snot gob.

The special pineapple-and-hair-flavored lollipop cheered him up a little, though he mostly held it - he doesn't quite know what candy is for.

On my other blog, I had said that I could
envision a barber shop like the one my dad and brother went to - the big chair with the booster, the cotton cape, the fat guy brushing his the little hairs off his shoulders with a little soft broom, the stack of Field and Streams and Argosys.

I don't imagine anyone will have a small black-and-white TV with a wire coathanger sticking out the top, playing westerns or a Yankees game...

well, when you check my flickr stream, you'll see that we came pretty darn close.

you'll also see what an all-American boy eats for a special celebratory meal, after the worst public tantrum in world history.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Just wanted to let you know that, for these few weeks, this time when the weather is warm but not yet too hot, when the mosquitos are not yet thick as clouds, is a great time for suburban al fresco dining.

In our town, there is a ridiculous man-made lake, lined on one side by cheesy chain restaurants. Yes, we are far, far to hip, to earnest, to urban and gritty and socially conscious to really fully enjoy an evening at Don Pablos.


Except that we have this child.

This little boy has somehow snuck into our family, and we rather like him (and we rather like not having to cook every night), and so we are pleased when we find a place that we can stand that he can also stand.

He adores Don Pablos, because the patio has a view of the lake, where people walk dogs in the evening and where ducks - in large groups - can be counted on to wander up and try to scam tortilla chips. THIS, friends, is entertainment of the very finest sort when you are 17 months old.

It's also pretty decent for us parents; it's pleasant and relaxing and you can put your feet up and get a decent cocktail, none of which can be said of AIRMAX FUNZONE! (the bouncy castle warehouse.)(They don't even have coffee there. Can you imagine?)

So that's my recommendation: sit outside at Don Pablos. Watch the sunset. Feed your kid a quesadilla with some authentic mexican tater tots.

Ducks like them, too.

[incidentally, a DISCLAIMER: Tortilla chips are not good for ducks. Ditto tots. You should not feed ducks any human snack food. Not only is it not good for the ducks, who then get too fat and lazy to look for real food, but having crumbs around gives the rats ideas. So responsible adults don't do this.]

Sunday, May 20, 2007

New Photos

over here. Yes, It's been a long time, but here you go.

Monday, May 14, 2007

What's Goin' On

1. Reading: I have just finished I, Neal Pollack, Was A Gigantic Ass to My Astonishingly Patient Wife at the Worst Possible Time (right after she had our baby.) Not everyone has liked Alternadad; in fact, not even everyone I like liked it. But I liked it quite a bit.

2. World's Cutest is still a bottle baby. His crib is still in our room. I am not actually bothered by either of these things, and no one (except the pediatrician we saw last time) is giving us any pressure.

3. His favorite book at the moment is Richard Scarry's Please and Thank You Book, a book in which a sanctimonious beastiary of hippos in pinafores and worms in felt mountaineers hats...take turns! and eat with their mouths closed! and help Mother Bear clear the breakfast dishes. He ADORES this book. Absolutely adores it.

One of the characters - a petulent piglet - stays home one afternoon rather than help his father with a project. His mother pig 'stays in her room all day writing a children's book', and therefore he is horribly bored. Occasionally - on the third or fourth time through - I have her write something else. Usually threatening letters to public figures, or else some sort of highly specialized erotic fiction.

4. For Mother's Day, I went to see Spiderman Three. This is NOT A GOOD MOVIE. Please do not go to this movie. It will only encourage them.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Best day ever.

We went to Fells Point. We shared a couple of these

at the BOP - and it's NOT just 80s Baltimore nostalgia, it really is the best pizza I've ever had. Ian loved all the activity and the people coming and going. And I thanked them for having high chairs.

We saw several "DAAAAAAAGS!!" including one of these
wearing a red turtleneck.

We walked across the square to the patisserie,

where Ian was greeted like the visiting dignitary who also happened to be a movie star. We shared an almond croissant, and Mommy had a delicious and much-needed cappucino, and we played the world's longest game of 'Got Yer Hat!", the adorableness of which undoubtedly made the other patrons grow a new ovary, or else frow up in their mouths a widdle.

Leaving the bakery, we watched several of these
which was desparately exciting.

Back across the square, chasing these
and admiring some very handsome spaniels. The woman who was walking them seemed fairly uncomfortable to have her (and her dogs) actions narrated.

On the way home, we stopped at the store, and I was a rotten parent and bought him a toy to keep him from crying; one of these

(that's not him, it's some other internet baby who also like purple balls) and when we got home, we kicked it around outside until he was absolutely caked with filth. And so was I. Our side yard has a slight slope, and so I would punt the ball toward the house and it would roll back down, always gently returning to bump against him like the Red Balloon.

Friday, April 13, 2007


baby crying. Quite unusual.

As I got closer, I could hear that it wasn't the freaked-out night terror cry. In fact, parenthetically, it's mostly me that's freaked out by night terrors; it weirds me out the way he can wail his ass off and STILL BE COMPLETELY ASLEEP.

When I got to the top of the stairs, he was standing up in the crib. He stopped crying when he saw me, and looked concerned, pointing over at the closet. "Glabble?" he asked, conversationally, with his perfect diction. When I look confused, he starts to cry again, softly, like he's sad.

I go and close all the closet doors, remembering how, as a little girl, I couldn't fall asleep if my closet was open. I rock him, pat him, give him a little bottle (YES, 15 months old and still having bottles, please shut up) and a dry diaper. I've been eating szechuan string beans; he doesn't recoil from my chili-garlic breath.

I hold him some more; he rests his forehead against mine and falls asleep. For the second time today, he sleeps across my chest, shoulder to hip like a bandolier.

He's so big now, so long and heavy. And strong. And he speaks so clearly - not English, you know, but that'll come. I finally got that 6-week tangle out of his hair, there in the back, where his head rests against the car seat. He's been working that dreadlock like a dirty hippie. I keep putting off his first haircut; I just want to get a few more pictures first. And a few more. And then a few more.

You know.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

the fundamentals of comedy writing


Amalah's got it.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

He'll sleep when he's dead.

Just like me.

My child is just like me.

Sunday, a friend asked me, "Does even one day go by when no one says 'Wow! He looks EXACTLY like you!'"

well, no, not even one, as a matter of fact. Not since the day he was born.

Actually, he looks a lot like his Daddy, from the bridge is the nose up; his beautiful brown eyes certainly don't come from my side of the family. But nose, mouth, chin, pink chipmunk cheeks and blocky build - thats all me.

As is his taste in food, his jumpy energy...and his attitude about sleep.

Which is to say, like me, he loves sleep - once he gets there. But getting to sleep is a daily problem. Because he knows - KNOWS, for an actual FACT - that there is something interesting going on somewhere. And if he goes to sleep, he'll miss it. He knows for sure, just like I remember knowing at 2 or 3, that everything really good happens at night. I used to lie in my bed, door cracked a fraction of an inch, straining desperately to listen: to the sound of the TV (Glen Campbell, the Burns and Allen TV show, Johnny Carson), quiet conversation, turning pages. I didn't think my parents were having martinis or glamorous parties out there, a room away...but I knew they were up, and I knew it was good time, special time, grown-up time, and I was missing it, and it filled me with longing.

This is a weird admission: my biggest fear, as a child and even a teenager, is that I would die before I was grown up and would never get a chance to DO ANYTHING.

It will be years before my kid has the words to talk about this - and maybe I'm totally projecting - but I swear I see this in him, this longing, at 15 months.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

eye of the tiger, baby.

Okay, so this life - this Rubik's Cube of a life that I'm working - isn't working.

Or it's working, intermittently. Sometimes it's great. Frequently. It's frequently great. Fun, stimulating, manageable. I'm pleased to report good things - we're getting the sleep we need, I've been meeting my goals at the gym and eating much better. I wore some pants the other day that haven't fit since 2004.

Other times, it takes a ridiculously high percentage of my energy to just keep it together. To stay caught up - and I mean, sometimes, just barely caught up - at work; to be minimally civil to the man I love; to keep the little darling warm and fed and not hurling himself out into traffic. The fight for clean underwear could be lost at any moment.

My best friend, like many of my friends, started down this 'motherhood' road many years before I did - her daughter is a teenager now. Her advice has been 'lower your standards'.

To which I reply - excuse me, have you met me? Have you seen our house? Exactly how much lower are my standards going to go?

I have work to do - I took the day off from church, but I have a draft plan that needs typing up -but here I am, blogging, watching Cold Case, which I don't even like that much.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Can't be done.

Because whoever you are, you're doing this too — this thing where you're trying to solve the Rubik's Cube of your life, consolidating one color without screwing up the rest of them; where you're like Wile E. Coyote sprinting off the cliff and through the air, trying to put off the moment when you notice the absence of ground and plummet downwards, trying not to, say, leave one child behind in a stroller at an airport checkpoint because you were busy counting the luggage (ahem). Things can make it easier, of course: a flexible job, good and affordable childcare, health insurance, financial resources, a supportive partner and/or a devoted community of friends. But the only way to make it actually all work, as you surely know, is to pay attention to one thing at a time.

from here
via finslippy.

Seriously - is this possible?

Can it?

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Babies don't seem to mind

breifly - a couple, maybe 3 weeks ago, we had the Week of Vomit.

Ian started Saturday night. (Babies, it seems, are weirdly non-plussed by throwing up, though it freaks their poor mothers the F out. He had never thrown up before! I was busily paging through The 3am Book, a resource that tells you, in effect, when to take your kid to the emergency room. 3am, I'm sitting in bed, hyperventilating, trying to read this book. Ian, having surrendered his stomach contents and now feeling utterly fabulous, is standing beside me, naked, trying to wrestle the book out of my hands because it has a picture of a dog - a boy hugging a dog - on the cover."DAAAAH!!! he yells, and slaps the book.)

(So, while I may remember the night as the start of the Week of Vomit, Ian will recall it as the night that Mama wouldn't let him read the Dog Book. She's so mean.)

Anyway, he felt better immediately. I took the Tues-Wed-Thurs shift, and then Eric came in to finish the week strong, narrrowly missing a trip to the ER for intravenous fluids.

That was also the week that Betsy Misplaced the $600 Drugs. (I found them eventually.) They're actually very effective - it's a special anti-nausea drug that dissolves in your mouth, so you don't have to be able to keep water down in order to take them. They're rather miraculous. Chemo patients take them. Chemo patients, and my husband.

It's a good thing we have some left over.

It's back.

Friday, February 09, 2007


i am aware that this is not a great photo. It's blurry. But it truly captures the feeling of shoe shopping with a one-year-old.

I was laughing so hard that I did not have the phyical strength the get up from my spot (LYING ON MY BACK ON THE FLOOR of the shoe aisle, gasping for breath) to chase him.

You may have to look at the photo a time or two before you notice a pertinatt detail:

he's not wearing any pants.
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World's Best Mommyblog

Everything is so damn peachy, it's embarrassing. And my son is all sunshine and rainbows and unicorns that crap puppies.

Finslippy rules.

Monday, January 29, 2007


Baby's first snow -barely more than a flurry, but immortalized nonetheless.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Lost weekend

I have no bleeding idea how I am still in this house, still married, still employed, still the legal (I just typed 'Klegal', which made me snort with laughter, though misspelled.) legal guardian of an innocent child.

I have no idea how this darling child did not end up in a foundling basket on the steps of some church. Not, um, MY church, of course. Some other church.

The last few days have been rawthur gruesome around here. Today was much better. Thank God.

The darling child had a little virus, which gave him a mild fever, a near-complete loss of appetite, a vile disposition, and, notably, a green gummy discharge coming out of his EYEBALLS. Lots of naps, lots of baths, lots of wiping of various things, lots of night waking.

Lots of crying.

Oh, good Lord, what a lot of crying. And what a lot of hanging around the house, not exposing people at large to gross gummy eye goo.

We had certainly been exposed to the virus, since I had a throbbing head and more than the usual amount of chills. (Pregnancy seems to have broken my internal thermostat, and I am permanantly freezing. My teeth chatter routinely. So when I get the shivers, it takes me a couple days to suspect I might have a fever, by which time it always subsides.)

As I said, today was far better. The eye goo dried up yesterday, under Daddy's loving
care, and today he was energetic, playful, and famished. Still just a little out of sorts. A certain amount of crying. Me, I am back to the normal amount of freezing, and intermittant, minor headache. (My BFF emailed me with an excellent suggestion - I probably should get my blood pressure checked.)

In retrospect - now that he's better and my head hurts less and he's going back to daycare tomorrow morning - I frankly cannot believe what a huge baby I've been about this.

That, in fact, is an insult to babies. (And who do babies have to speak up for them in matters such as these? There's no Baby Anti-defamation League...)

Sorry, digression. What I mean is, is my happiness so fragile that all it takes to crush it is a couple days with a demanding toddler?

Well, apparently.

Friday night, after said toddler was asleep, I had the chance to run out and pick up some groceries. As I buttoned my coat, Eric looked deep into my eyes and said "Just...come back. Okay? Come back? Please?"

And as you can tell, I did. Either this speaks well of me, or else my spirit is finally broken.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Is this thing on? (tap tap)

So I have learned, just in the nick of time, that it's De-Lurking Week. (I think I first saw this on the excellent Metrodad.)
So leave me a comment.

Since you're in the neighborhood, scoot over to my other blog, On The Other Hand, Who Knows What I'll Do? And then you can leave a comment there! And perhaps my desparate neediness will subside, just for a moment, for one blessed moment....



Tuesday, January 09, 2007

365 daaaaaays .... seems like an awful loooot...*

from this...

to this, in one year

*lyrics from the birthday song from the daily children's TV show that my brother and I used to watch on WGAL-TV in Lancaster: Percy Platypus and Friends. No lie. Scanty info here. I cannot find the complete lyrics anywhere - everyone on the web seems to remember the same part I do, the bridge and the big finish:

365 days
seems like an awful lot
then, before you know it,
another year is (BANG!) shot!

Have a happy birthday,
whether you're 90 or 2!
We would like to wish a
happy birthday to you!

This song went with a little cartoon featuring, if I remember correctly, deer, and one got shot in a comical way when they sang 'another year is shot'. Like, it came back with a clumsily bandaged antler to sing that last verse.

I have no explanation, except to say - it's Pennsylvania, man.

Portrait of the baby as a Young Man

The World's Cutest Baby is one year old. He is now the World's Cutest Toddler.

Mobility: He's been walking since about nine-and-a-half months, and so by now he's quite accomplished at it. He actually broke into a run the other day. So far, he's not attempting stairs. Thank God.

Picking up and carrying heavy things around the room;
holding things (toys, remote controls) up to his ear as if they are telephone;
trying new foods

Monkeys, Ducks
our cats
flashlights and other things that light up
sticks of all kinds - brooms, wrapping paper tubes.

Favorite joke:
stealing your hat; putting things (socks, books, toys, paper) on his head as if it is a hat.

Favorite music:
he favors things with a strong beat, like dance tracks. (shudder.)

Favorite Foods:
change from day to day. Consistently enamoured of cheese, plain yogurt, cottage cheese, bananas, apples and wheat toast. And butter. (Guess he's my child.) Today, he ate more than half of a gigantic red grapefruit (from which his mother carefully removed the membranes.)

duck and monkey noises, Daddy, uh oh! Hi! and NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!