Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Joys of Intimacy

K: (distractedly brusing his teeth) Do girls get butt pimples or is that just a boy thing?

Me: (knowingly) Nah, everyone gets butt pimples.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Resorting to Nonsense

The Mayor’s will is like a hammer. This past weekend he said “I want to go to Walden’s house” about 54 million times. Though we attempted to invite ourselves over to Walden’s house we couldn’t so much as get his mom on the phone. Turns out she had guests in from out of town and wouldn’t have been able to have us over no matter how rudely we demanded it.

So. The. Incessant. Requests. Continued. And continued.

By Sunday, K and I wanted to scratch our ears off before listening to “I want to go to Walden’s house” one more time. With a nearly two year old, apparently no answer matters. We told him that baby Otto (Walden’s younger brother was taking a rest) to which The Mayor replied, “Baby Avocado taking a rest. I want to go to Walden’s house.” We told him that Walden went out of town to visit his grandparents. We made up reasons why we couldn’t see him. We tried affirmation, as in, “That’s a great idea. Let’s go see him soon.” We reasoned. We cajoled. We lied. We heard, “I want to go to Walden’s house.”

AHHHHHH!

Finally, remembering the only strategy that seemed to work at all with Indian touts – the only rivals
The Mayor has in persistence – we resorted to insane behavior.

In India, touts would pester us to the point of complete frustration and near tears. “Madam, you ride my rickshaw…” or whatever over and over and OVER and OVER. We learned that engaging with them in a sane manner was the biggest mistake we could make. It was MUCH more effective to start singing the theme from the Beverly Hillbillies at top volume. This served as a reasonably effective ‘confuse and divert’ tactic.

When my friend Therese met up with us in India we had already been traveling there for nearly two months. At the end of her week with us she confessed that upon arriving she thought we really needed to wrap up our trip and head home because we had lost perspective on being kind and patient with the local hawkers of wares. By the end of her week with us, Therese was all: “LISTEN TO A STORY ‘BOUT A MAN NAMED JED…”


















So FINALLY, when The Mayor said, “I want to go to Walden’s house” for the 54,000,001th time, Kand I started arguing back and forth at TOP VOLUME – --


Me: “NO, I WANT TO GO TO WALDEN’S HOUSE!!!”


K: “NO, I WANT TO GO TO WALDEN’S HOUSE. ME. ME. ME!!!”


[Repeat many times. Stop. Repeat process again if child speaks of Walden.]

The Mayor thought this was funny and he stopped asking about Walden. Mostly. But poor Baby Avocado can’t catch a break.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Better than Spain

Man with Heart Artist Unknown

One of the most compelling things for me related to having children has been getting to know my husband as a parent. When I was dating him he would talk about how he never imagined himself getting married or having children. When he thought about his future he saw himself alone. His plan to remain alone through life would, he told me, enable him to move to Spain whenever he wanted. Spain. (Please note that despite more than 10 years of a nearly constant barrage of my suggestions that we MOVE TO SPAIN IMMEDIATELY, we do not live there.)

Now that ‘he who does not live in Spain’ is a parent, I am awed by the new person in my life called “Daddy” by the other two new people. (Okay, okay, so only one can talk. Details!) For a man who didn’t envision himself as a parent, he has grown into the role in ways that make me smile every day. Literally.

Each morning we strap The Mayor and Rooster Girl into the car, drop Daddy off at the choo choo and then drop the children off at daycare so that I can return to the home office. Every morning, without fail, K kisses me goodbye, gets out of the car, runs around it and opens Rooster Girl’s door to kiss her whole face which makes her laugh. Then he gets his brief case and lunch out of the trunk, opens The Mayor’s door and gives him the last goodbye kisses.

The Mayor is completely obsessed with all things choo choo related and especially things that involve Daddy and choo choos. Most mornings he encourages K to run to catch the choo choo. “RUN AND CATCH A CHOO CHOO DADDY!” With total disregard for the fact that other commuters are everywhere, K hurls himself forward with an overly animated, arms and legs akimbo, cartoon-style run towards the station. This makes The Mayor laugh and laugh, but I am the one who hears the delight of my own child’s laughter because by then K is already half-way to the station entrance. The Mayor calls out, "Have a good day at work Daddy. I love you."

There is an open air bridge passing over a busy commuter road that connects the station entrance to the ticket platform. When The Mayor, Rooster Girl and I pull out of the kiss-n-ride area we stop at a traffic light where we can see K on the bridge. Every morning, K stands on the bridge waving and blowing kisses like a fool. The Mayor and I wave back at him from the car while Rooster Girl strains to see what is going on from her rear-facing car seat. Meanwhile, commuters on the main road must be thinking to themselves, “Do I know that guy?”

In the afternoon, as soon as K emerges from the station and sees our car he performs this ritual in reverse. He flies towards the car, arms and legs rotating like Pete Townsend playing four guitars. Car doors burst open and everyone is covered with a schmere of kisses.

Often The Mayor will ask to “walk a bridge.” To the surprise of his fellow commuters, K will get The Mayor out of the car, wave bye-bye to Rooster Girl and I (and his ride home) and take The Mayor for a walk across the station bridge. When the urge to walk the bridge has been satisfied, they ride the bus home together. There is a reason that K is The Mayor's favorite parent.

I was complaining a few nights ago that I felt like I wasn’t doing anything well. The demands of two babies seem to keep me from achieving anything from developing professionally, to getting in shape to simply folding laundry or making dinner. K said that he felt the same way, but added that he thought the one thing we were doing well was parenting. I hope he’s right about me, but I know he’s right about himself.
He couldn't be doing any better - even in Spain.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Poetry Thursday?

Photo by J.W. Diehl


















Homage to My Hips
these hips are big hips.
they need space to
move around in.
they don't fit into little
petty places. these hips
are free hips.
they don't like to be held back.
these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
these hips are magic hips.
i have known them
to put a spell on a man and
spin him like a top
---Lucille Clifton

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Little Happinesses and More Poo



















Last night I was singing “Six Little Ducks” to The Mayor while he intently drank a sippy cup.

(Horror of horrors! Milk at bedtime! All his teeth are going to fall out and he’ll never grow adult teeth and he’ll blow entire paychecks on Fix-o-dent! I know, I know – horrid, bad parenting!!)

All of a sudden The Mayor pulled his cup out of his mouth to knowingly inform me that:

“Ducks don’t have hands.”

Blink. Stare. Blink. “That’s right. They don’t.”

Then he demanded that we sing “Happy Birthday to Mia” about 150 times.

We went to Mia and her twin brother Jake’s birthday party last weekend. The Mayor spent most of the party nude in the hot tub playing a fishing game with Mia and her mom. I think there’s a little Mia crush action going on because he won’t sing happy birthday to Jake. In fact, he’s all, “Jake who? There was a kid named Jake at the party?”

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In the morning, K gets out of bed before me.

(Way before me if you count the fact that he gives Rooster Girl a bottle when she wakes in the middle of the night. Since I did all the night nursing for six months he claims it’s his turn. Hallelujah and Amen, my husband!)

K gets up (at the butt crack of dawn).

He gives The Mayor a cup.

He makes breakfast for the entire family.

(He mighty good husband, uh-huh!)

When breakfast is ready, he sends The Mayor in to wake me.

The Mayor jiggles the faulty door knob until the door finally opens. Then he rests his little chin on the mattress near my face and says,

“Coffee ready…… You wake up?”

Instead of my usual morning whine, I am plastered over with a huge morning smile.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Tonight Rooster Girl pooped in the tub.

Again.

Little poo kernels floated all willy nilly and we performed the ‘super fast tub extraction ballet part deux.’

I have to acknowledge that this is the second time this has happened and that BOTH times K has been the one to scrub the tub, all the tub toys and the duck and fish bath mat things to remove all poo traces.

I am grateful AND ashamed. His whole personality shines a spotlight on the ways I can be lazy.

I did clean up the juice glass that shattered into a million pieces. I’m not TOTALLY useless. Clearly I am wholly poo-useless. Pooseless.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Pro-Feminist Man with Feminine Side Dresses Baby Girl

This morning while K was dressing little Rooster Girl he turned to me and said,

"You know, I try to be a pro-feminist man and in touch with my feminine side and all that, but I have to tell you... I really just don't understand how most of these little girl clothes work."

[He holds up a little dress with crossed back straps...]

"I mean, what is this and what does it do? I don't understand what I'm supposed to do with this."

(Pauses, surveying drawer full of clothes.)

"I'm just going to stick with the outfits I understand even though I have to rifle through all this stuff to find one."

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Jesus Christ it's Passover Silly

We were invited to a friend’s Seder dinner last night and I was feeling all chuffed about it because it seems like an intimate family thing to be included in – especially since we’re not Jewish – and I really care about these friends.

We were asked to bring 17 peeled hard boiled eggs (17!) and a salad.

To arrive there at 5:30 meant that a whole set of variables had to execute JUST RIGHT.


I had to prepare the food, rescue the children from the PhDs in early childhood development, pick up Daddy from the choo choo, swing home so he could get out of his suit, pick up the salad and bowl-o-eggs and bust-a-move to the Seder.

Best laid plans.

K boiled and peeled the eggs the night before. (Bless him.)


Eggs, check.

At 4:00, I started making the salad. While cutting up avocados, I stabbed myself in the hand.


STABBED. My OWN self.

Important lessons related to stabbing yourself at home:

1.) It really hurts.


2.) It is very hard to find any meaningful results when you Google “Home Remedies for Stab Wounds.”

My neighbor Michele came over and very expertly cleaned and dressed my hand.

I called K to mentally prepare him for the fact that “finish MAKING the salad” now had to be added to the “swing by the house” area of the “Get to the Seder On Time” (Late) plan.

As soon as he got out of his suit, he set to cutting up the rest of the avocados and…

STABBED HIMSELF IN THE HAND!

Our gracious Seder hosts reminded us that it is not necessary to achieve Stigmata for Passover.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Again with the F-ing Eggs!

…So the PhDs in Early Childhood Development have decided to tell me THIS MORNING that if I don’t attend the infant and toddler egg hunt THIS AFTERNOON then my children will not be allowed to participate.

Apparently it is far too dangerous for a nearly two year old to stumble around a playground picking up plastic eggs filled with Tylenol P.M.

I personally don't see the danger...

I’m so glad they gave me so much notice.


I will now rush to my office to cancel the two back-to-back meetings on my agenda for today (that were hard to schedule and have been scheduled for weeks) at the exact time of the all important egg hunt.

Nothing is more important to me than making sure my children think bunnies lay eggs.

[Insert various expletives here!]

Monday, April 10, 2006

Another Exciting Opportunity to Fail at Motherhood

After SIX BUSINESS DAYS without daycare thanks to spring break, The Mayor got a fever and missed the first day back.

THE JOYS MOUNT.

We took Rooster Girl anyway because K and I had to play toddler hot potato in order to avoid being fired from our jobs.

When K picked Rooster Girl up from daycare there was a note sent home requesting that we send 12 plastic, multi-colored eggs filled with age appropriate candy to school with EACH of our children tomorrow.


TOMORROW.

Do I look like I have plastic, multi-colored eggs COMING OUT OF MY REAR?????

Don’t even get me started on age appropriate candy.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Best Years of Our Lives

Because my children go to a daycare that is part of our local school-system, they’ve been out for the last week on spring break.

Though seven month old Rooster Girl begged to go to Daytona for some beer guzzling fun, I put my foot down.

Instead, my Mom mom came to visit for a few nights early in the week, but she left to go visit my brother and his children because, well, she must love them MORE.

For the rest of the week we were visited by my friend Cindy (whom The Mayor called “Candy” the entire time.)

I met Cindy in 8th grade when I moved to Palatine, Illinois from Columbia, Maryland.

Cindy was the first person to befriend me at my new middle school – she invited me over for a make-over.

As she began what would be a five year course in Clinique application (that I would fail despite the length of study), she told me that she was going to be a fashion designer and in the same breath asked if I had I read Goethe.

I ate dinner at her house that night and she became my best friend DESPITE the fact that I would not even express an interest in Goethe for many years.

My favorite story about Cindy involves our inherent teen-aged UNCOOLNESS and her absolute certainty that popularity in high school was not important.

She used to remark (at 14) about how sorry she felt for people who would go on to remember high school as the best years of their lives.

“Can you imagine?” she’d often ask us, “I mean, there are so many more years to live after high school. THIS can’t be all there is to it.”

One day during the summer between Freshman and Sophomore years we were walking out of the pool followed by Mary Nikides and Jenny Joseph, two very popular pom-pom girls, when we heard, “Hey Cindy and Jessica, how many dates have YOU been on this summer?” followed by laughter.

Without missing a beat, Cindy whirled around and retorted,

“They’re not going to ask you that on the S.A.T.!”

I remember wanting to disappear in that moment, but it is one of my fondest memories of being a dorky teenager with her.

Cindy just took a break from her demanding job as a design director for a whole line of clothes produced by an upscale north western department store to spend nearly a week here at Baby Boot Camp.

After living THE JOYS first hand, I wonder if her new husband will see her belly swell any time soon. But, to use some of The Mayor’s words, “C’mon Candy, push higher!” the best years of your life are still to come.


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Big Hairy Visitor

Just now there was an unbelievably hairy, multi-legged insect - a variety of which I have never seen before -scampering, or lurking (can you combine scampering and lurking...) along the cabinet wall in the pantry.

It was as if a caterpillar and a praying mantis had a really hairy baby

On every other occasion that I have encountered a furry, multi-legged insect of this size I have run screaming from the room calling for K to go and get it.

I really hate bugs.

I especially hate big, hairy, multi-legged bugs. (That are fast moving.)

Even more, I hate killing bugs.

I like them to be killed, I just don't want to do it.

These are the thoughts I have when I think about killing a bug on my own:

What if the bug jumps up and touches my hand?

What if I miss and the bug gets away and then I have to go to sleep in the same house with the mad bug?

What if the dead bug leaves a big slime on me?

Tonight I thought all of these thoughts.

But K is not home tonight and the bug was crawling towards the door of my son's room.

My maternal instict kicked in!

I MUST KILL THE BUG TO SAVE MY SON!!!

I wielded my slipper and struck.

Giant, unbelievable slime.

Everywhere.

Son safe.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Husband busted for presumed covert outdoor pee...

Tonight I was singing songs to The Mayor before putting him in his crib when he interrupted me to have this conversation:

The Mayor: Daddy makes pee pee.

Me: That's right. Daddy does make pee pee. Mommy makes pee pee too.

The Mayor: No. Daddy makes pee pee ... OUTSIDE.

Me: (Giggle) Does he?

The Mayor: At the playground.

Me: (Many more giggles) Does he?

The Mayor: Yes. He. Does.