Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Live from New York's Upper East Side

I'm sure he never takes the bus ...where you’re never more than 100 feet from a Bugaboo. Or a Starbucks. Or a purse dog.

Work is crazy and Internet access is spotty (read: pirated) so that’s my excuse for not posting or reading.

Hope to catch up soon.

PS Julie: I walked by Gate 210 the other morning and felt a great pang of homesickness. And then I was all, “This is the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Get over yourself.”

Friday, May 25, 2007

When exactly did I turn into my mother?

Don't be a chicken--wear something decentWhen I was about 15, a fashion fad swept through our school: Wearing men's boxers as shorts. Of course I marched out and bought myself a three-pack. My parents were appalled and decreed that I could not leave the house wearing underwear without outerwear.

So, typical teen, I just changed into the boxers after I left the house. Eventually I got busted. And to this day, I have a rather old-fashioned formality-meter when it comes to clothing. I believe that if you are at church, in a theater attending a live performance, in a hotel lobby, or at a chicken-nugget-free restaurant, you should be wearing real clothes. I don't mean head-to-toe Prada, but come on--avoid workout gear, stained sweatpants, and ripped jeans. There are plenty of decent clothes that are also comfortable. If you are over 4 years old, there is no excuse for wearing pajamas outside the confines of your own home (or, OK, your car). Are we clear?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I am streaming my consciousness

Magpie tagged me to tell you what I am.

I am amazed by my children.
I am annoyed by my children.
I am not a superhero, but sometimes I feel like one.
I am a better editor than writer.
I am an optimist.
I am nearsighted, but going farsighted too.
I am healthy.
I am too busy all the time.
I am always sleepy.
I am happy to be alone.
I am not afraid of mice, but I don't love winter, snow and ice.
I am also not afraid of bugs, as long as they keep their distance.
I am responsible.
I am often naive; I assume people have good intentions.
I am 5'2" with eyes of blue.
I am going to BlogHer.
I am tagging: you.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Still life with found objects

Now with answers!
lake fly corpse not  included It's quiz time again! Guess where I found the following:

1. Shredded wheat square: c, living room, near front door
2. Dead lake fly (not pictured): e, dining room table
3. Newspaper wrapper: g, fireplace mantel
4. Bath toy: f, dining room floor
5. Dirty baby sock: a, dining room sideboard, amid Mother's Day card display
6. Kiddie chopstick: b. living room floor, near piano
7. Old, dirty glove with hole in finger: d, TV room

Magpie came closest with three correct answers (lake fly, bath toy, chopstick). Extra credit to binkytown for revealing the weirdest thing she's found lately.

Thanks to Elizabeth for inspiring this post.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Revelations of nerditude

My favorite Alaskan blogger, Michelle, tagged me to reveal 7 embarrassing things about me. Actually the theme was 7 things about me, teen edition, but by definition, most everything about the teen years is embarrassing, no?

1. This one time? At band camp? Actually, I never went to camp, but marching band, symphonic band, orchestra ... I was in them all.

2. I kept a log of what I wore every school day. I didn't want to repeat the same outfit too frequently. The log also came in handy on those mornings when I couldn't figure out what to wear.

3. I was supposed to take calculus my senior year. Instead, I took Spanish. The summer before, I took an intensive class so I could skip ahead to Spanish V. This was all part of a plot engineered to allow me to go on the annual spring trip to Washington, D.C. with a bunch of my friends.

4. I still had a babysitter up through my senior year in high school. Actually she was more of a chauffeur, since her main job was to drive me and my younger siblings to all our activities. She was the one who made us county fair snacks all the time.

5. For fun, my friends and I would go small-towning on weekend nights. This involved getting out a map, picking out a nearby small town with a funny name, and driving there. Sometimes we would take a picture of the sign or something, but mostly we wouldn't even get out of the car.

6. My best friend from those days is still one of my closest friends. We went to college together too, which didn't thrill me at the time (snotty me wanted to branch out a little -- guess who I clung to like a koala the entire first month of school?).

7. The summer after I graduated from high school, my family moved cross-country. That same friend had a surprise birthday/bon voyage party for me. She ordered a bakery cake iced with a bunch of private jokes and phrases we always used to say. This bakery would usually put the special cakes on display in the window. Obviously since this was a surprise party R. asked that the cake not be displayed. Not only did it say my name and all these quotes that only I would understand, it said SURPRISE on it. Do you think the bakery had any clue at all, and kept the cake out of the window? No it did not. Luckily I didn't happen to pass by the window that day.

Now your turn, if you dare.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Not my idea of a good workout

it's from fadiddle
This afternoon I had to jam one tantrumming kid under each arm and physically haul them out of day care and into the car. That’s 70 total pounds of screaming, flailing child.

That sucked. They screamed all the way home and then I had to repeat the performance to get them from the car into the house.

I have read, edited, and written hundreds of articles about child development and discipline. I know about positive reinforcement, natural consequences, distracting with humor, choosing your battles. I know all the strategies for preventing meltdowns.

They do me no good whatsoever when I just need to GET IN THE DAMN CAR.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Never ceasing to amuse

The way Opie loves the word huge and uses it to refer to whatever he's about to eat: "Awan huge!" as I pour cereal into his bowl; "Awan huge" as I pile turkey on his plate; "Awan huge" as I fill his cup with milk.

The way both kids are inordinately thrilled to spot their clothes among the laundry moving from washer to dryer or dryer to basket. It's as if they're reuniting with a long-lost friend. "Hey! I see my jeans!!" exclaims Jo. "Dat's my socks!" boasts Opie.

The way Opie has adopted the fake-kiss pucker. Last night the dog took a huge bite out of the tortilla Opie was holding. After Jeff and I had thoroughly scolded her for swiping, Opie looked at her and gave that little smooch, as if to say "It's OK. We're still friends."

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mother's Day Mission

Area Forecast Discussion for Mayberry, May 13-14 2007

Sunday morning should bring homemade cards and pictures as well as hugs and kisses, however breakfast in bed seems unlikely at this point. Check updated forecast later. Mood sunny with occasional passing clouds of Annoyance or Whining. Outdoor play (as well as material gifts) may be limited by renovation and/or lake flies so make alternate plans.

In the afternoon, look for a cancelled baseball game family outing to be replaced by an ice cream parlor trip. Forecasters expect bedtime to be relatively uneventful however the threat of stomach virus in small boys requires us to recommend extra parental fortitude and defensive sleep acquisition; also note that child care will be an unavailable option for afflicted small boys on Monday.

Thanks to Jennifer for inspiring a new twist on the "what I did for Mother's Day" post.

Friday, May 11, 2007

What makes me a mom

Ever since Parent Bloggers and Light Iris posed the question "What makes you a mother?" I've been thinking about how I'd answer. I knew right away it had very little to do with carrying and birthing my babies. Though I love to trade pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding war stories as much as the next mom, I believe that adoptive, foster, and stepmothers, along with other mother figures (like the grandmother and three childless aunts who helped raise my husband alongside his "birth" mom) are every bit as motherly as I am.

What really makes me a mom, I thought, are two things: sacrifice and bodily fluids. I'm a mother because I've given up hours--weeks--of sleep to my children. I've slowed my career, changed my name and my financial priorities, moved to Mayberry. My body has been permanently scarred and temporarily bruised. Every meal I eat is interrupted, and eligible for sharing whether I want to give it away or not. There's no one else I'd do all that for.

And I know you know what I mean about the fluids. Sure I picked up dog poop before I had kids. I changed diapers often when I babysat. But before I had kids I never had the pleasure of hearing a poop blowout happen from the front seat of the car, then extricating a craptastic little baby out of a car seat, carrying her inside face down and at arms' length, peeling off her clothes without befouling her hair, and spending a half-hour bleaching everything in sight. I never knew how it felt to stuff my bra with nursing pads (and still wake up with soaked pajamas every morning). I never leaped across the back seat of a speeding car to catch another person's vomit.

Yeah. Motherhood. It's pretty gross. But these two make me a mother, and I wouldn't trade them for anything.

Now you go: Put up a post about what makes you a mom and you could win a $100 GC to You could use it for a glute massage! Get all the details at Parent Bloggers Network.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

No picture's please

Big fat smooches to the person who came up with this: Atrocious Apostrophe's.

Via Mamapop.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Now with free child care!

How to keep kids entertained for hours at a time, with little to no parental intervention: Drop a load of cash on a backyard renovation, thereby ensuring the presence of Diggers! Trucks! Mixers! Worker guys!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Choose your own adventure

I'm not sure what prompted it, but I was thinking the other day about do-overs: Not regrets--it's much more a matter of curiosity than of sadness--but idle wondering about what ifs. What if I'd stayed in France the summer after I studied there instead of going home? What if I'd hired a midwife for my first pregnancy? What if I'd bought that apartment in New York at the bottom of the market (OK, I'm pretty sure I know what would've happened there, and I try not to think too much about the bajillion dollars I could have made)?

I've been blessed with a lot of good fortune in my life. I look back and realize that events that seemed upsetting at the time, that seemed not to be going my way, in the end turned out for the best. This has given me the confidence to realize that some combination of fate, luck, smarts, good parenting, karma, and who knows what else is taking good care of me. This, in turn, frees me from quite a lot of worry. (It also makes me sound like a Pollyanna. I'm not so naive as to think that bad things don't happen, or could never happen to me; I realize that my view is colored by the fact that I haven't yet experienced any personal tragedies. I'm just convinced that I cannot prevent them from happening by worrying. So I don't).

Do you wonder about any do-over moments of your own?


Read about some people who are taking the leap to find out what if, and how you can help.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Habitual blogger

My Mayberry homie Movin'Mom tagged me to tell you 7 facts or habits about myself. I've already done 5 strange things about me so these must be the ordinary things.

Habit: I have eaten the same breakfast almost every day for the past two years. (Yogurt, granola, and berries.) (Hippie much?)

Fact: I am appalled that I just used the word "homie." Pretend I said something else--something less ridiculous and more funny.

Habit: Whenever I eat lunch (or any meal) alone, I must have something to read.

Fact: I am a Name Snob. I will judge you on what your child's name is.

Habit: I always listen to NPR in the car. Even if it is one of those dopey shows like "Calling All Pets" or "The People's Pharmacy." (The only shows I can't stand are "Here on Earth" and the one with the really annoying doctor, Zorba Paster.)

Fact: Everytime I hear the name Ségolène Royal on the news all I can think of is "Royale with cheese." This woman might become the first female president of France! I am so sorry, Madame.

Habit: (Inspired by Sonia and her Q-Tips) I'm a little OCD about the order in which a.m. and p.m. grooming routines must happen. I discussed this with a friend about this once and she was totally on my side, though. Of course you have to put your lenses in before you do anything else, because otherwise you will get moisturizer in your eyes. It makes good sense really. Is it still OCD if I have good reasons?

Now I am supposed to tag 7 people. And you are: Kate, Mona, Kari, Elizabeth, Lisa, Tori, and anyone else who wants to play.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Real moms are winners

How about this--an iPod and chocolate for being a real mom. Sweet!

Write a Real Moms post (this was mine) and you could win a shiny prize. Get the lowdown--and get going; you have one week.

By the way: I did finish The Count of Monte Cristo. All 1400+ pages. And the next book club book. And I'll have to finish the next one, because Julie recommended it and because I'm hosting the meeting.

On a roll, people. ON A ROLL.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

You say wahter, I say wooder

Renzulli's The other day our neighbor gave Jo a Fla-Vor-Ice (I dare you not to smirk at the kids pictured on that page), which immediately prompted one of those intense childhood memories: getting Italian ice from the convenience store a few blocks from our house. It was the kind that came packed in a small paper cup, with a flat top that had a semi-circular pull tab. After you picked your flavor (lemon, or strawberry if necessary), you fished around in the bottom of the freezer for the strip of little wooden paddles, wrapped in paper and linked end-to-end. You tore off enough for everyone and passed them around.

Then you walked back home savoring the ice--fast enough so that you didn't get stuck with too much syrupy goo to drink up at the end, but not so fast that you couldn't appreciate the treat. There were a couple of different eating methods: scraping the surface flat and even, or making a neat ring around the outer edge, or boring a hole into the center of the ice. You would never just attack at random, because the wooden paddle-spoon was key to the whole thing. You had to make good use of it.

When I reminisced about this ice our neighbor immediately asked where I'd grown up. It wasn't Mayberry, but it was a lot like our Mayberry is today. The good news is it was close enough to Philadelphia to have water ice, even if it wasn't fresh. Anybody else remember the packaged kind? Or something else regionally delicious from your childhood?


To the as yet unknown true love of my life,

It’s coming on Mother’s Day, and I find that I miss you, now more than usual, in some strange backward manifestation of grief, as if you had been here all along. I’m not sure how or when, but you’ve settled yourself in the deepest seat of my heart, content to wait until we can be together. Not in silence – no, you wait with such clamor and excitement that it’s hardly like waiting at all, but more like an insistence that time move faster and hurry our anticipated meeting. I wonder sometime if you’re the reason my heart beats at all, and I’m scared to realize the power you already hold over me – how much you are already the center of my life.

Sometimes when I lie in bed at night, I close my eyes and I see you. I see your eyes, and they sparkle and shine and I wonder at such brilliance in a simple shade of blue. I see your nose, tiny and pert and perfect – but not – just like mine. I see your wispy tufts of hair, and it reminds me of my father’s at the end, and I wonder if maybe we won’t call you Baby Eaglet too.

But mostly I see your smile, open mouth, not an ounce of self-consciousness, just unaffected joy at something so simple I probably would have missed it without your laughter telling me to notice. I see me in your smile, and my mom, and my sister. But there’s something else too – shades of a man I’ve never met, who will someday change my life. A man who knows you already – just as I do – and sees himself in that smile I love.

I don’t know when we can be together, but I know we will be. I’m frightened sometimes, because I love you so much already, and I don’t know how to love more than this. It hurts my heart sometimes, the intensity of what I feel. And yet I know that when I see you, when I know you even more and feel the reality of you in my arms, my heart will break a thousand times over just trying to make room for everything I will feel. I wonder sometimes if you will completely destroy me, only to build me back up into everything I was ever meant to be.

Some people will never understand how much I love you now, today, years before we even meet. They don’t feel what I feel – they don’t know you like I do. But that’s okay, because it means it’s special, this bond we share: precious and misunderstood and just for us. When I miss you too much, I’ll just hold my hand to my heart and know that you’re there, waiting.

I’m waiting too.

With all my love (and even more than that),

Your Mama


This post was written by Lara David as a part of the May Blog Exchange about Mother’s Day. Lara is a 20-something writing her way through life one day at a time, constantly discovering that the more she learns, the less she really knows. She loves new friends, so follow along with the ups and downs of her life lessons at Life: The Ongoing Education. Plus, I'm writing over there today, so go visit and leave a friendly word or two.

Mother's Night

Originally posted at Life: The Ongoing Education as part of the Blog Exchange.

11:30 p.m. I finally finish working/blogging/folding laundry/puttering around. I’m nearly ready for bed, brushing my teeth, when I hear my son’s cry.

I enter his dim room. He’s standing in his crib, sobbing. I can hear the tears and the snot all over his face, even though I can’t see them. I crawl around on the floor, feeling for the pacifiers he’s either dropped or hurled to the floor in anger. One, two, three—I feed them back to him through the bars. He crouches down long enough to pick them up, and just as quickly pulls himself back onto his feet.

I stand next to the crib and he grabs for me, his arms tight underneath mine, his head on my shoulder. “Hold you,” he gasps between sobs. “Hold you, Mama.” I rub his back and tell him, over and over: “It’s nighttime now. I’ll hold you in the morning.”

Still angry, still sobbing, he soon gives up. He sits down, but he can’t help himself. “Hold you, Mama. Hold you.” But now the yawns come, too, amid the sobs and the pleas and those sharp, damp intakes of breath.

I sink down to the floor, stretch out, wait. Keep murmuring. “In the morning, sweetie. In the morning.” The wails soften and the intervals between them stretch longer. Eventually I hear the chok-chok-chok of the pacifier in his mouth, the slowing of his breathing.

Cautiously, gingerly, I stand. Tiptoe to the door, my hand on the knob.

“Mama stay.”

“Yes, baby. Mama will stay.” I return to my post on the floor, waiting and listening. Mama stays.