Thursday, June 28, 2007

Appliance Power


By the time daycare drop off was finished and I was back in my car I just wanted to come home, curl up in a ball on my bed and stay there all day.


I don’t know what is going on with The Mayor nor do I have the first clue how to handle it and this makes me feel miserable, anxious and out of control.


He turned three almost a month ago and it's like a bomb exploded in his mind and body.


I have never seen such defiance, such tantrums.


On average, I can find my inner parenting Zen for about 80% of the tantrums but
the sudden spike in his rage means that I am losing my cool -- a lot.

My patience. runs. out.


When it does, I take the bench and send K to the parenting field but neither of us have any good plays.


Time out is dead to The Mayor now.


I am the kind of person who is usually willing to face any challenge.

I am a problem solver, a solution seeker.

I am a “roll up your sleeves and get in there” kind of woman.

The problem is that I normally have an approach to the problem at hand.


In this case, The Mayor is a whirling ball of angry chaos and I haven't had any idea what to do about it but stare blankly and doubt my fitness for this mothering job.

Tonight there was, praise be to the great and powerful Oz, a glimmer of hope.

K gave The Mayor... the vacuum.

The Mayor vacuumed the dining room floor (covered in corn kernels and portending incoming fanetti poop), received high praise on his technique and was declared "in charge" of the vacuum.

I invited him to vacuum any room in the house at any time.

He gave me a smug nod of agreement, put the vacuum away for the night and, most importantly, did not challenge us to a throw down.

It seems a little power can calm a wee angry boy.

[I bow down to the vacuum.]


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

She's Got A Point



Tonight in the tub I noticed that The Rooster couldn't keep her hand off of her junior lady parts.



She seemed to be gripping the whole package.


"Roo," I said. "What's going on with your vagina?"


[A raging, western wildfire of a devious smile spread across her face.]


"I'm just holding it," she said with a grin.

"Why?"


"BECAUSE... it's a..."


"It's a what, Roo?"


"It's a PUSSYCAT!"

So it is. Oh, The Joys.


evil-kitty


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Mischief

I had a work-related meeting with three other women yesterday.

Of the four, three of us are already mothers and the fourth is eight months pregnant with her first child.

As our meeting got underway, we made sure the pregnant woman had a comfortable chair and asked how she was feeling.

And then? We did her WRONG.

We told horror stories of sleepless nights and incessant post-partum weeping.

We roared our terrible mothering roars and gnashed our terrible mothering teeth.

ROAR, THE SLEEP DEPRIVATION!! ROAR!! ROAR!! ROAR!!

We showed our terrible mothering claws and we laughed like mama hyenas.

Three of us laughed, anyway.

The pregnant woman was shifting uneasily in her seat, her swollen belly teetering from side to side.

One of my colleagues lowered her voice and, trying to reassure her, said,

"You know, they say that the wakeful babies will be the brightest, smartest ones. Yes! Because they are taking in more stimuli earlier than their sleepy peers!"


My other colleague rolled her terrible mothering eyes and, in the incredibly sarcastic tone of a wild thing, said,


"And rain on your wedding day is good luck!!"


Had I been in the company of my family instead of my colleagues I would have added,


"And my farts smell like sweet, musky roses."


[Because that IS the truth.]


Wild Mamas

Monday, June 25, 2007

At Any Time

I think it was Melanie that first told me that a Blogger called NYC Watchdog lost his son in a swimming accident.

I heard about it last Friday and since then I haven’t been able to shake the ordinariness of the circumstances.

There’s something so every day, so regular about a child at the swimming pool in the summer time…

On Saturday afternoon I met my friend Melissa and her kids for a play date at a local land trust.

We sat under a giant elm tree grateful for the shade while our children scooped, dug, and bulldozed in the sand lot.

I told Melissa about NYC Watchdog’s loss and how I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

Melissa belongs to a group of women who meet regularly to discuss the ways that faith guides their lives.

[Though I admire their commitment to each other and to the exploration of faith, I have never been invited to attend as I am a heathen from the Church of the Zoo.]

Melissa told me about a time when a woman in her group talked about the pain of a miscarriage.

After listening, another woman in the group said,


“You know, the truth is that any of our children could die at any time. The older they get, the more and more horrific the possibility becomes.”


While I don’t know if the death of a child can ever be any more or less horrific, I was struck most by the words,


“The truth is that any of our children could die at any time.”

At any time.

It made me think of a quote I like despite it being wildly overused,

"Work like you don't need money,
Love like you've never been hurt,
And dance like no one's watching."

I wonder if there’s a version of that sentiment that I could bring to my parenting.

Parent like every moment is your last?

I don’t know.

Tonight The Rooster had trouble falling asleep and then cried about an hour after she had been put down.

K and I are “cry it out” parents. Though we might go in periodically to rub her back, we would normally let her comfort herself back to sleep.

Earlier, just after dinner, Rooster managed to cut her finger somehow. I think the combined sensation of wearing a bandage for the first time and feeling her finger throb were too distracting for her.

I picked her up, got her a sippy cup and rocked her while she had a drink. Then I took her to my bed and snuggled with her until she fell asleep with one of her little feet resting in my hand.

I haven’t held her until she fell asleep since she was six months old.

I was a mother in the moment tonight and, at least for today, I have no regrets.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Flushed $8.50 with a side of Irony

K left me alone with the short people for the whole weekend to attend his best friend Brian's fortieth birthday in Albuquerque – a town whose name is awfully hard to type.

K flew out Friday after work and won’t be back until late tonight.

I was a bit nervous about managing the house of joy on my own, but now that the children are bedded down, I would say that I prevailed.

First, employing my trusty organizing skills, I packed in activities so that when the time rolled around The Mayor and The Rooster were begging for their naps.

“Ask Mommy again, but more nicely this time."

Second, I had the foresight to schedule a babysitter for this afternoon.

I figured I might need a break – and even if I didn’t – I decided I’d take one anyway.

I went to the gym, swam and then went to a movie by myself.

I’m kind of pissed off because I chose to see a film called Waitress and though the paper gave it an A- and said blah, blah, poignant, blah, blah... I didn’t like it.

Apparently all that is wrong in a woman's life can be righted if she just has a baby girl child and looks into her loving face.

Looking into the face of a newborn enables the film's heroine to confront an abusive husband despite having been too afraid to leave him less he actually murder her. The moment (THE moment) after the newborn has been placed into her arms she finds the strength to tell the abusive husband to take a permanent hike.

Well slap my forehead! The answer to domestic abuse has been staring women in the face all this time… women will be empowered to end domestic violence by conceiving children.

Brilliant.

Am I the only one whose popcorn isn't sitting so well?

[Who actually funded this film, I want to know...]

Effing Hollywood losers trying to sell me on the idea that I’ll be the happiest woman alive if my daughter and I wear matching dresses while I hold her, sing soothing songs and bake delicious pies.

Suck my big, hairy one, Hollywood creeps.

Rant aside, the weekend of solo parenting had been going so well that I considered skipping the movie.

I should have.


Something Fresh

My friend Elke is driving her husband Michael crazy.

He does most of the cooking, but looks to her for inspiration.

Lately, whenever he asks what she'd like to eat for dinner, all she says is,

"something FRESH."

[I could go to such a naughty place with this post... but that's not what I'm going to do, you Gutter Mind! I am going to a WHOLESOME, FRESH place.]

When asked to explain or define "fresh," she only offers,

"You KNOW, something with vegetables in it."

Michael is expected to reinterpret this direction every evening and come up with a meal that will satisfy her request.

Let's
help Michael, friends.

It's summer time.

There is an abundance of "fresh" available.

What should we eat?

I'll post a recipe and then you post one, okay?

[If you want, I mean, you know, I'm not BOSSY or anything.] [Love
BOSSY .]

[My mom is laughing at me denying that I'm bossy. I'm so bossy.]

ANYWAY.

If you post a recipe for feeding Elke in the FRESH way, please link back to this post so that Michael (and anyone else) can benefit from the whole of the freshness.

Feel free to post a photo of yourself enjoying the freshness.

Like this --


Fresh


Without further rambling, here's my FRESH recipe for Michael...

[I'm calling this recipe "Jackass Gazpacho" as a private joke for Grandma Seattle.]

Here it is...

Jackass Gazpacho

Ingredients:
Two carrots
Two stalks celery
One cucumber
Two Anaheim peppers
One bunch radishes
One small-to-medium yellow onion
Cilantro
Worcestershire sauce
Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil
Tabasco
salt/pepper
One quart tomato juice

Directions:
Cut vegetables into small chunks and feed into a blender one handful at a time, with half a cup of tomato juice to lubricate the mixture.

Grind vegetables at medium pulse setting -- for a chunky texture, do three or four pulses of no more than a second or two each. The longer the pulse, the closer to puree you'll get. You'll have to experiment to see how you like it. (One option to the blender method, which will guarantee the consistency you want, is to take a very large, VERY sharp butcher knife and dice them by hand.)

After all the vegetables have been ground up and put in a glass bowl, pour in any remaining tomato juice. Season with 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, two tablespoons olive oil, one teaspoon Tabasco sauce, some of that
Worcestershire sauce and salt/pepper to taste.

Two other recommendations: Use a glass pitcher to store it in the refrigerator, OR a plastic pitcher that you can designate as your permanent gazpacho pitcher. If you put this stuff in plastic, it will smell like gazpacho forevermore. Second, let it sit in the fridge for a day or two so tastes meld a bit (and the onion taste mellows out; it can be sharp at first.)

Sometimes I pour it into a glass and drink it. A more elegant presentation at dinnertime is to put it into a shallow soup bowl, and decorate it with stripped green onion, cilantro and a small dollop of sour cream. I've also occasionally added very thinly sliced strips of pre-ripe avocado -- a nice touch.

To make it more of a meal, toss in diced chicken, shrimp or tofu.



Friday, June 22, 2007

Know Thyself

I accept that my children are going to struggle with my failings as their mom.

On the upside, I can be enthusiastic, silly and animated.

On the downside… I can be selfish, self-absorbed, bossy and controlling.

There are many mornings where I just can’t wait to drop them off at daycare.

There, I said it.

Some days I thank The Smiling Mighty Jeebus for daycare.

I often read other mom’s blog posts about how hard it is for them to be away from their children during the day and I try hard not to judge myself or feel guilty that it isn’t like that for me.

Though I admit, leaving The Mayor at daycare at the end of my maternity leave was difficult.

I cried every day for a while.

While I was pregnant I even thought I might like to be a stay at home mom.

[It must have been the hormones...]

K and I took a look at the financial implications and realized that sadly, that just wasn’t possible.

As it turns out, maternity leave taught me that I am not cut out for the stay at home mom role.

While I have a deep respect for women who stay home, I was bored out of my mind.

I accidentally left a huge chunk of cash at Target in exchange for things we didn’t need just to have something to do.

I became addicted to the TV show called Dawson’s Creek.

[See? That is bad!]

Despite being bored, I really did have a hard time leaving The Mayor at daycare and going back to work. At least, I did at first.

At the time, I got a great piece of advice from my friend Elke. She told me that as a new parent it would be important for me to give changes a three week settling in period.

“If you still feel like a new situation is terrible after three weeks then you figure out how to change it,” she said.

By the time The Mayor had been in daycare for three weeks it was apparent that he was perfectly happy there.

[Which was a good thing because by then I was deliriously happy to have time to myself.]

Though I am an “extravert” according to various personality tests, I spend an enormous amount of time by myself and like it that way.

About five years ago I became an independent consultant. I work by myself from home.

Though I have conference calls and meetings, I spend a huge amount of time alone.

I need it.

I want it.

Don't get me wrong.

I love The Mayor and The Rooster, I do!

They are mysterious, miraculous and fabulous.

They are!!

But I am their selfish mother.

Will they grow up and resent me for it?

Probably.

Will I be sorry?

Sure.

Am I likely to change?

Probably not.

My children will have to go through the Kübler-Ross stages of grief when they grow up and understand that I’m no prize.

On some level maybe all of us grieve a loss of some kind as we develop a mature understanding of our parents flaws.

[My mom is reading this and yelling at the computer screen, "WHAT FLAWS?!!" Heh. Hi Mom!]

I remember feeling close to my mom growing up until I turned into an obnoxious teenager I realized she was…

...an OVERDRESSER!!!!!

[GASP!]

My mother wore outfits that were, in my esteemed opinion, far fancier than called for on many occasions.

[THE HORROR!]

Her over stimulated fashion-i-zation reflected on ME, right?

Obviously!

How could she do such a thing to me????

It cast a long shadow over my own identity.

Oh, The Joys of Kübler-Ross-ing my loss of innocence about my own mother…

Denial: NO! My mom does NOT wildly overdress. She is not wearing a ball gown to the bowling alley. I am not embarrassed.

Anger: My EFFING mom! Why is she wearing sequins at my Granny’s house in the country when we’re twenty miles from the nearest general store!! She’s embarrassing me!!! This is a direct reflection on (and an affront to) my character!

Bargaining: I can change her! I will be impossibly rude and awful to her and she will cease and desist with her evil overdressing ways!!

Depression: Oh, woe! My mom and I will never be close because she is incapable of wearing jeans and a t-shirt. I am alone in the world. Alone!!!

Acceptance: My mom cracks me up. Look what she’s wearing?! It's a costume party every day! Go Mom!

My mom likes to get dressed up and I’m okay with that.

I can be selfish but The Mayor and The Rooster are going to be okay.

Everything’s going to be all right.

There's always therapy.



*In fairness to my mom, I feel bound to add that --

a.) she has never actually worn a ball gown to a bowling alley that I know of, though I wouldn't put it past her...

b.) since moving to the laid back Pacific Northwest, she can and does wear jeans and t-shirts... sometimes (okay, okay. OFTEN.) and

c.) I looked through my digital photos to find "evidence" of her overdressing and couldn't find ANY! WTF? Do my teenaged memories fail me? Could I have been... wrong? (Perish the thought.)

Which brings me to, d.)
my Ady always used to say, "never let facts get in the way of a good story." So there.





Thursday, June 21, 2007

Guru Bumpi Stickr

I don't have that much to say this week...

I am worn down because The Mayor is three.

So far, three is hard.

He is so defiant... and yet transparent in a somewhat endearing way.

He acts out, blatantly disregarding K and I.

[If he knew about his middle finger he'd be using it.]


His struggle against us is maddening, but...


I understand that he's trying to find his own power and agency, reaching blindly for the borders and boundaries of his personhood.

In my finer moments I feel compassion for him.

Compassion...

I was driving the other day and I saw a bumber sticker that said,



Compassion is the Best Revenge

What does that mean?

Is that right?

Can compassion and revenge share the same space?

[And should I consider a bumper sticker a good source for parenting advice?]

Explain it to me.

I need to center my three year old tolerance chakras or something...



Compassion



Wednesday, June 20, 2007

What Is Art?

The Rooster wasn't feeling well last weekend.

[Shocker.]

All she could do repeat a whiny noise that sounded something like, "eeeeeeaaaaaaaahhhhhh."

Having eaten far too many baby carrots to be in the presence of my family or any other human beings (pppfffffttt), I decided to take her out on a marathon stroller walk.

I figured I might as well get some exercise - and maybe digest a few carrots.

I told her we were going to the playground and plied her with raisins and goldfish.

After about an hour and a half we passed a modern sculpture on the local college campus.

Seeing it from afar, The Rooster asked,

"Is that the playground?"


[Amazing she still believed we were going!]


"No, Rooster. That's art."

"Art?" she asked.


I realized she didn't know that word.

I wondered how to explain it to her.

What is the 22 month old definition of art?

"Art is just for looking at, Rooster. It's a playground for your eyes."

"Oooooh," she said knowingly, and she seemed satisfied.


Modern Art

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Southbound

When I was pregnant and nursing I was really worried that my nipples were going to look like gigantic, mahogany dinner plates forever.

Is it just me or do the pregnant lady nipples grow to an unusually large size?

What is the purpose for that?


I know newborns don't have keen eyesight and all, but...


Anyway, I was standing nekkid in front of the bathroom mirror the other day after a shower and I noticed that my nipples seemed to be restored to their former size and color.


How about that?!


I was feeling cavalier until I made a second observation.


The girls do something they never did before.


They speak.


That's right, I have talking boobs but I am here to tell you, what they have to say is not nice.


Not at all.


They shout obscenities. (Obscentities!)


You can look at my raised middle finger and understand the "Eff You!" message.


Now too, you can look at my naked boobs and they tell you...

"Go to Hell!"
[Directions provided.]

Monday, June 18, 2007

Are We There Yet?

When I picked The Mayor up from daycare on Friday afternoon he asked me if we were going to eat at home or at a restaurant.

For a change, I didn’t know the answer.

We were headed to our little town’s summer beach party and I didn’t know if we would eat at a restaurant or at a street vendor’s booth so I said,


“We’re just going to go where life takes us, Mayor.”


Do not say this to a newly three year old child.

Or else! REGRET!

Saying this will result in your three year old child repeatedly asking WHEN you are going to go to Where Life Takes Us.

As if it were some new restaurant with the best kiddie meals in the whole universe.

Gah!

diner

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Who's Yer Daddy?

Here at The House of Joy there are three people who love the same man.



Father's Day

This was the picture on the front of his card this morning.

The Mayor said,

"Daddy, why are you carrying Mommy?"


"Because I'm strong and charming and I swept her off her feet," he answered.


"Noooooooooooooo," The Mayor laughed. "Why are you REALLY carrying Mommy?"


Happy Father's Day to all the Dads!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Streets of Sand

I will never forget the sound of her scream.

Our little town blocks off the downtown street, fills it with sand, charges admission, lets our children go nuts with buckets and shovels and calls it the annual beach party.

The first time K and I went was two years ago when The Mayor had just turned one and I was pregnant with The Rooster.

The party was packed with people, children flinging sand in all directions and parents drinking beer as the sun went down and the heat of the day faded.

The instant the woman’s wailing began every parent at the party reached for their children and pulled them close. The sound of her agony was unmistakable. One of her children was missing.

Families that just moments before had been entangled with each other's plastic toys and sandcastles suddenly stood in solitary columns.

The frantic woman ran through the sand calling for her child, police joined in her search and no one was allowed to leave the enclosed beach area.

The still, quietness of the crowd was almost as chilling as the mother’s panic.

Finally the child was located and the party resumed, though it was subdued after that.

I remember imagining myself as that mother – hurrying my whole family away, my body shaking with fear and, once I reached the safety of my home, collapsing on the bed sobbing, unable to stop.

I have never forgotten the sound of her screaming or the way that all of the parents, ourselves included, recognized what it meant without having to be told.

Thankfully, last night held no trace of her fear.

The Mayor and The Rooster repeatedly yelled “BEACH PARTY!!!” the way a fraternity boy might yell, “KEGGER!!”

They played in the sand until they were too tired to play more and K and I carried them towards the exit.

Dance music was blaring from the speakers on the stage.

Though no one was dancing, K started whirling and dipping The Mayor and I followed along with The Rooster.

I lost all sense of what was happening around me and was filled up instead with only my daughter’s laughter.

The four of us circled around each other, spinning, dipping, and grinning.

When we were worn out, I noticed that we had been joined by a crowd of other parents and children, everyone turning, twirling, laughing and dancing.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Love Song of the Serengeti

K was grilling kebabs for dinner so I was ...

Okay, okay.

I admit it.

I was lying on the floor (again) while The Mayor and The Rooster played with toys.

The Mayor had a zebra puppet on one hand and a giraffe puppet on the other... and those two animals were making out like nobody's business!!

The giraffe (as channeled through The Mayor) said,


"Kissy, kissy, kissy. I love you, Zebra."

Then, while erotically rubbing the hair of his mane up and down the giraffe's neck, the frisky zebra said,

"I'm just gonna rub you with my hair...rub-ba, rub-ba, rub-ba."

The Mayor didn't notice me watching him play this wild animal love game.

"Do the giraffe and the zebra love each other?" I asked the Mayor.

The Mayor, suddenly furious, swung towards me and hissed,

"DON'T ASK ME ABOUT THAT!!!!!"

Oh, the shameful forbidden love between various species of African plains dwelling animals!

The tragedy of Zebras and Giraffes hiding their love in dark, secret places!

Not to worry, Mayor.

Though you have no way of knowing it yet, your mommy is 100% okay with free love between giraffes and zebras.

May each and every one of the animals get all the love they need where ever they can find it.

Animal Love

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I Touched Al Sharpton with My Boobs

A colleague sent me a link to a speech that President Clinton recently made at Harvard and I can’t get the speech out of my mind.

I know that not everyone likes Clinton and that some people felt he betrayed their trust while he was in office.

Because I would never want my fetish for National Park Rangers to interfere with my professional life I was willing to allow for the separation of his sex life and his job.

Though I TOTALLY get that he was in a position of power over Monica, she was an intern, feminism, feminism, feminism. I get it.

However.

I also think Monica probably enjoyed herself.

Back in the 1990’s somewhere, K and I sleezed an invitation to Hank Aaron’s 75th birthday party.

There were over 1,000 guests including all the living baseball hall of fame players as well as an endless stream of famous people one of whom was President Clinton.

The Temptations were the house band for the evening.


The hotel ballroom was so packed with people that at one point when I wanted to greet a man I knew, I had to reach across many bodies to shake his hand.

When I extricated myself, K said,

“Do you realize who you just pressed your entire body up against?”

[Uh, no.]

“You just gave Al Sharpton the full body press, Jessica.”

[Heh.]

[Al, the girls are no longer what they once were! Sigh.]

I stood up to get a better look at President Clinton when he entered the room.

I remember, during the primaries, thinking Clinton seemed like a total yokel on TV and I was surprised when he won.

In the ballroom, as I waited for him to enter I thought,

“Let me have a look at the guy. Would I… you know… Monica with him?”

In person, Clinton is a presence. He is tall and handsome, his eyes sparkle and he has a charming smile.

I had to conclude that yes, I would TOTALLY get my Monica on with the guy.

Bow chicka George Wa-wa-washington!


[Judge me. Whatever. I don’t care because I am just speaking my truth here, people!]

All hot cigar action aside, I listened to the speech that Clinton made at Harvard and I was really impressed by it.

I think anyone would be – even if Clinton isn’t a guy you would, you know, Monica.

What he said was far more important than who said it.


In the speech, Clinton talked about how focused we are on the things that separate us, the things that make us different.

We do this at the macro level with race, class, gender, politics and religion.

We do this in smaller ways too – identifying our differences in parenting styles, musical tastes, fashion sense, etc.

He went on to discuss genetic findings from DNA studies revealing that all human beings are 99.9% genetically identical.

This means that the intensity of our focus on our differences is time spent obsessing about one tenth of one percent of ourselves.

He suggested the importance of shifting our focus.

What are our commonalities? What unites us? What makes us the same?

How can I find my connection to you?

He talked about how much it amused him to understand that he is 99.9% the same as Rush Limbaugh and the profound humility he felt in thinking that he could be 99.9% the same as Nelson Mandela.

I was tagged again for the 8 weird things about me meme this week. You know, what are 8 things that set me apart, that make me different...

I consider myself 'on the meme wagon' after my raging binge meme -- what with all that careening down the hallways of the internet tagging people left and right.

(I think I passed out in the end, though I can’t be totally sure that I didn’t sleep with my Technorati favorites.)


After listening to the Clinton speech, I prefer to write down eight things that make me the same as anyone else.
1. I suffer
2. I grieve
3. I hope
4. I love
5. I laugh
6. I celebrate
7. I yearn
8. I dream

[And of course... I chop down trees and eat my lunch, I go to the lavatory!]


I see you.

I SEE you.

I am because we are.

UBUNTU






The full audio of the speech (about 30 minutes) is available online If you want to listen to it. To do so, click here and then move to about the 1 hour and 35 minute mark where Clinton is introduced.



justpostjune2007

Monday, June 11, 2007

Oh, The Satisfying Achievements!

The weekend was one of unprecedented laziness for The Family Joy.

For the most part we've been keeping close to home because The Mayor, as it turns out, does have mono complete with an enlarged spleen. (Though he's apparently not contagious.)

On Sunday, all four of us stayed in our pajamas until 4:00 when we changed into our bathing suits, went for a quick dip, returned and changed back into our pajamas.

We did manage a few unexpected achievements.

For a long time now K and I have specialized in parenting from the floor - also known as The Horizontal Parenting Technique.

This weekend, while The Mayor and Rooster played with a train track that took up all the floor space, I crawled up onto The Mayor's bed and K followed.

"And the horizontal parenting begins," I said.

"Except we're taking it to a higher plane," K returned.

In addition to our robust commitment to lying around, we did manage to feed ourselves and our family.

K popped corn for our afternoon snack and, as usual, we all sat around the giant bowl on the kitchen floor.

Putamayo's Arabic Groove was playing in the background. It's a CD of dance music with an Arabic theme - Middle Eastern grooviness that makes your butt wiggle.

The Rooster started dancing first. She tucked her hand into her armpit and flapped the resulting folded limb like a baby chicken. She bit her lower lip with her upper teeth.

The Mayor opened and closed his hands while swaying from side to side to a beat quite different from that of the Arabic Groove CD, but then fell in with the chicken move.

K and I tucked both our hands into our armpits, flapped our giant elbows and displayed our upper dental work.

Next weekend we're going to teach them to bounce up and down on both legs without moving their feet -- and if that goes well we'll move on to shaking imaginary dice and revving imaginary motorcycle engines. (Maybe even graduate to the pencil maneuver!)

We're taking steps to insure the longevity of The White Man's Overbite on dance floors everywhere.

We taught this guy everything he knows...

Friday, June 08, 2007

Girly Girls Like Peanuts



I wouldn't describe myself as a "girly" girl. I generally don't wear make-up and when I do, it's mascara and lipstick and that's it.

I was never a tomboy either. That wasn't it.

I think I wasn't ever very girly because I don't like doing things that I'm not really good at.

I like to win. I like to be first. I like to excel.

Growing up, I guess I looked at the popular and pretty girls doing the girly thing and knew that they were the leaders there. No room for this dorkwad.

I think it may have been a bit of a disappointment for my mom (or Grandma Seattle as I call her here) who is and has always been a girly girl and a great champion of all things girly.

The order of her universe has been restored now as she has found the girly daughter she never had in Rooster Girl.

The Rooster, so named for her capacity for making a great, crotchety crowing every now an then, is a bonafide Girly Girl.

Although she is not even two she makes sure that her shoes are appropriate for her outfits.

Each morning after I get her dressed the first thing she does is run off to find her father, twirl for him and say,

"Look at ME!"

After receiving compliments on how nice she looks she heads for the full length mirror in the hall to admire herself.

This morning I was watching her at the mirror. She looked at herself and said,

"I PRETTY!"

This alone seems like trouble to me... and then there's the peanuts.

Lately Rooster has had a hankering for peanuts but she can't quite pronounce the word.

So Little Miss Pretty's in the kitchen shouting "I want PEANUSS!"

Saints preserve us.


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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Connecting Flight

On my flight home from New Orleans I had the center seat in an exit row and I got there first.

The first row mate to join me was the guy in the aisle seat.

Once he got settled he looked at me and said,

"You're not a talker are you?"
I told him no, I wasn't a talker.

First of all, it's the truth and secondly, I was almost done reading The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls and wanted to finish the book.

Then it occurred to me to ask him if he was a talker.

He told me that yes, he was one.

(Whoops.)

But seriously? A plane talker? Who openly admits it? Wow.

I was friendly for a few minutes (okay, maybe a minute) and then returned to my book.

When the guy sitting in the window seat showed up there was no talking. He squeezed himself past us both and into his seat.

Sandwiched between the window and aisle men, I read my book and finished it.

[Holy cow! The parenting described in THAT book!]

I got up to use the sky toilet, window man got up to use it, there was a great resettling... and then, with ten minutes left between the three of us and the gate, we started... talking.

(Gasp!)

We talked about where we were from and learned that Aisle Man was a native New Orleanian, but had been in Georgia for 20 years while Window Man, originally from upstate New York, now lived in Portland, Maine.

Aisle Man left New Orleans to seek greater opportunity. At first he went to California, but he felt he was too far away from his mother and wanted to return to the south.

"I'm southern," he told me. "I feel more comfortable here - and I needed to be near my family."

Aisle Man had a sister in Georgia and settled here to blend opportunity with family proximity.

I asked Window Man what drew him from New York to Maine.

"My sister," he said. "She was sick and I went to take care of her. She had cancer."

"How long ago was that?" I asked.

"Two years ago," he said.

"How is she doing now?" I asked.

"She passed away a year ago. She was 31. She had just been married."

Window Man looked out the window.

"I'm so sorry," I said. "That sounds really hard."

He turned back to Aisle Man and I.

"I never got to say goodbye to her. All my siblings did, but not me. She knew her cancer was fatal, but I didn't. She never told me. I guess she was trying to protect me from something she didn't think I could handle."

He paused.

"I miss her," he said.

We talked about the ways that the death of a loved one hurts, how some days it feels like it just happened while other days are better.

Aisle Man told us that his mother passed away nine years ago on his daughter's first birthday and how much he missed her.

I talked about my Grandfather who passed away earlier this year.

We were three strangers talking about love and loss...

It was nice.

As much as I appreciate the quiet time to read, perhaps I should reconsider my position on plane talking...


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Supportive Spouse

I've been working hard lately.

The other evening, K came up behind me while I was working on the computer.

He reached around my chair back and gently cupped "the girls" in his hands.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"Supporting you," he said.

Lord knows that's what I need.



Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Mumble Jumbled Joy

Every night since I left for New Orleans, The Mayor spiked high fevers at night.

[Let's go for ELEVEN weeks straight without working a full work week, shall we?]

Earlier this afternoon,
all the New Orleans meeting participants finally filed out of the conference room.

I was surveying the jumble of three-ring binders, hand-outs, drink cups and half-empty goody bags when my phone rang.

It was K.


I was hardly able to talk to him while I was in New Orleans because we worked from 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. at night.

[Where was the fancy hotel sleep in session I was hoping for?]

[Oh, and what kind of hotel doesn't offer you any coffee in the morning? Four dollars? For my first cup of coffee of the day? That is just rude.]

When I answered my cellphone, K told me that today was The Mayor's three year old check up at the pediatrician's office.

[Though neither of us had remembered to put it on our calendars.]

K said that at the pediatrician visit, the doctor told him that The Mayor's spleen was enlarged and sent K to the children's hospital for blood tests.

K went on to tell me that so far the tests have indicated that he has a some kind of virus -- perhaps mono. Mono? Three year olds get mono?

I am totally confused.

I got mono as a freshman in college. I was in Florida on spring break.

At first I was devastated because the doctor said I would have to go on medication and wouldn't be able to have any alcohol - and there I was in Daytona. But this fine, upstanding man from Florida made it all up to me with a free bag of Darvoset. Lovely man. Lovely.

Worried about The Mayor, I caught an earlier flight back to Georgia.

I arranged for a colleague to drive me home from the airport, but when I came up the elevator into the baggage claim area, K, The Mayor and The Rooster were all waiting for me.

Surprise!

They brought a picnic dinner and we shared our first Family of Joy Airport Picnic.

[Highly recommended.]

The Mayor seems o.k.

I'll look forward to hearing the rest of the results of the blood tests.

Kind of an alarming and charming way to end a business trip... pediatric hospital blended with sweet airport surprise pick-up and picnic dinner.

***************

I do have a short confession about my trip to New Orleans...

I was there to help faciliate an annual meeting (same one as last year) for some fortune 100 CEOs and Civic Leaders.

I was bent over the nametag table when a bus load of them strode down the hall towards me on their way to the conference room.

The precise moment that about 100,000 of them were right behind me, a sonic blast of The Mighty Wind set itself free.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I farted (loudly) in their general direction.

Oh. Yes. I did.


Monday, June 04, 2007

Toddler Takes Over The World

The Mayor turned three this past weekend.


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How old are you now, Mayor?



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I fear THE AGE OF THREE.


K used the word "teamwork" in a sentence while talking to The Mayor.


"Do you know what 'teamwork' is, Mayor?" K asked.


"It's when you work together."


"That's right, Mayor! It's when people work together towards a common objective. Can you think of a common objective for our family?"

Without hesitation, The Mayor yelled,

"POWER!!"

Who is this child and where did he come from?




POWER
(Power comes with MAN HANDS!)



Totally Unrelated Side Note:

I am coming to you this morning from New Orleans!

I'm here for three days for work.

I'm staying at a fancy, schmancy, super MOD hotel and I have to say, it is totally "Now is the time on Schprockets ven ve DANCE!"

I am supposed to be all pro-fesh-un-ull and yet I some how feel compelled to dance in a cage wearing only a bikini - what with the club/rave music they play all day in here.

(Work that body, work that body, make sure you don't hurt nobody!)