Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Is it just me, or is Maurice Sendak a little creepy? Don't get me wrong, the guy is brilliant, and I love his books, but working my way through his three most famous books, (Where the Wild Things Are, In the Night Kitchen, and Outside Over There) I am a little worried about the guy.

Actually: it's just the last one that is creepy. In the Night Kitchen is a little disturbing (wow, they try shoving the kid into a hot oven! Great! And--oh, he's swimming naked in the milk! So hygenic!) But Outside Over There is just not really appropriate for a two year old. Of course, I discovered this while I was reading it to Lucy. (note to self: vet picture books. Even award-winning ones from a brilliant author)

Here's why it's creepy:

1. The drawing of the baby? Creepy. She's screaming in almost every picture.

2. Goblins? Little hooded monk/druidish figures? In a children's book?

3. Switcheroo with an ice baby, that looks like a corpse. Very appropriate.

Outside Over There won a Caldecott. Not saying it doesn't deserve it, but I wish I could have seen the room of librarians deciding that one. I think they were all fanning themselves, adjusting their glasses, and taking tiny sips of water. "Ahem. Yes, it is...brilliant. And....strange. I wins?"

Of course, Lucy now loves this book. And wants to show me the "goblets" any time she thinks about it. I'm just hoping their creepiness is not contributing to the waking up in the middle of the night andrising while it's still dark phenomenon that we're in the middle of.

If I do find a correlation, I might just send that Mr. Sendak a letter. "Thanks for your beautiful (but creepy) books. Could you be a little less creative, so my child could sleep at night?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I decided to blow Lucy's mind this morning. Turned on the hose in a little patch of dirt in our backyard, took off her (nice white) skirt and said, "Do you want to get dirty?"

Turns out she didn't, not really.

See, I thought she'd take after Dyami. When he was her age, he'd politely come to his mother and say, "Play mud, please?" She'd strip him down and leave him to splash in puddles.

Lucy on the other hand, played for about two minutes, then asked for a napkin.
A napkin?

"It's okay to be dirty, honey," I said.
She gave me a look.
"Really. When you're done, we'll put you in the bath."

She took a few more minutes, asked for a napkin one more time, and then was done. And was clearly disturbed to have mud all over herself.

When I started to put her in the bath, she shook her head at first. "Dirt," she said, pointing to her knee.
Apparently making mud pies actually requires practice.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


We got the new Killers album a few weeks ago and are enjoying it immensely. After Lucy decided that it was okay not to listen to Maroon 5 every time we turned on a CD she decided she liked the album. Especially song #2, "Human."

For any of you who have heard it, it is awesome in its cheese (and I also have to dance to it pretty much every time it comes on). Driving eighties pop/synth vibe, full on lighter-worthy anthem voice, and lyrics that make absolutely no sense.

Lucy likes singing along, which really increases the amusement. Here's a sample:

Killers: My sign is vital!
Lucy: Bidah.
Killers: My hands are cold!
Lucy: Told.
Killers: And I'm on my knees, looking for the answers...
Lucy: Knee. Sansers.
Killers: Are we human?
Lucy: Hoiman.
Killers: Or are we dancers? (?!?!?!?)
Lucy: Dancer.
Cue rising dance beat/pop synphonics/crazy dancing in a circle with Mama and Daddy.

My favorite comment on this song is Rolling Stone's observation that most dancers are, in fact, human. Perhaps the Killers haven't noticed? Are their dance moves that bad?

When asked, Lucy says that she is a "dancer", not a "hoiman."
What is clear: she is a pop-rock maniac.

Friday, January 16, 2009

bested by breast

Just read an interesting article in the New Yorker about breastfeeding. It looks at the current trend: women pump milk more, rather than directly breastfeeding. The author, Jill Lepore, points out that in the US, this is a government sanctioned activity, and also points out that pumping is a cheaper (though less human) alternative to paying for actual maternity leave. In some cases, this borders on the absurd (like work "pumping" rooms that are forbidden to moms with actual babies.)

I read the article in the light of a recent visit to a close friend who just gave birth for the first time. Her daughter is now six days old and my dear friend has gotten very little sleep. No one really talks about why the first weeks are so hard, and why they are especially hard on moms. It's because we have the breasts.

My first year of parenting produced a real crossroads of faith for me. Being a mom, being reminded every day about the physical abilities that separated me from my husband, being reminded every day how tied I was to this tiny child, made me very much question God's sanity. Why in the heck had he put all of this biological baggage on _one person?_ Couldn't the fathers get pregnancy, and the mothers get breastfeeding? (Or, since I had an easy pregnancy, vice-versa?) I got rather angry that while I was learning to be more selfless than I'd ever really desired to be, I participated in a faith headed by a heavenly Father (and, not being Catholic, very little mama-centric imagery to guide me in a bewildering new life phase).

Sitting with my friend brought all of that rushing back. And the article cemented it. Pumps, very simply, even the equation. I have several friends that don't pump. I respect them deeply. I didn't pump for Lucy, but I'll tell you, I'm planning on it if we have another baby. I needed an out. I'm a little ashamed of that, but principles are less important than staying sane the next time around. And even if my baby didn't take a bottle next time, I'd want to know I did everything I could to take care of myself.

Which leads me back to the article: much as I agreed with it, much as I question our society's dependence on the artificiality of pumping, I think pumping can really help even the playing field. I hated the few times I tried pumping--the techno beat of the machine, the uncomfortable suction, the ADD sterilizing--but if I got used to that, I think it would be worth being able to roll over and go back to sleep every once in a while.

What I end up wondering, though, is whether this dependence on pumping is less about the intrinsic demands of mothering--and more about our culture. If we lived in a culture where new mothers were truly supported, truly prepared, would the beginning be such a trial by fire? Would so many women shudder when they look at the pump--and then reach for it anyway?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

little bear

My daughter sounds like a little snuffly bear when she is sleeping.
She also sounds like a (slightly less peaceful) bear when she should be sleeping.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

big gel. smaller gel.

I remember reading british stories as a wee lass and laughing over the cockney pronunciation of girl: "Gel". Now that's what Lucy says:
"Ucy. Big Gel."

Unless when I want her to do something that is, as I tell her, what Big Girls do, and she doesn't want to do it, she shakes her head and says, "Smaller Gel."

I guess it's all relative.

Anyway, this Big Gel of mine is wearing undies. Some have little dancing fairies on them, some frogs and dogs and cats, some sport Elmo or Zoe (We avoid the merchandising, but in the interest of being out of diapers sooner and smoothing the transition, I will apparently sell my daughter to Sesame Workshop).

For any of you who have been reading for a while, we've done a whole "diaper-free" but with diapers thing, and then backed precipitously away from that, then pulled our hair out, then wrote an essay about it here, then started going diaperless again when the fancy struck, then said screw it, not worth it but let Lucy run naked all summer and sighed over how complicated pottying can be, how much patience and flexibility it requires for us parents, and then suddenly, she's pretty much done.
Can't decide if she's a Bigger Gel because she's almost done or a Smaller Gel because the undies are just that ridiculously tiny. And because sometimes she wears them like a belt--a very tight belt with two legs wedged into one tiny leg hole.
Bigger? Smaller?
Perhaps part of me is hoping that she'll stay smaller just a tiny bit longer, so that she'll be My Gel, small or large.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Dear Trader Joe

Why, Trader Joes? Why? Why?
Why are you out of the Omega-3 fortified dried cranberries?


Why? It has been almost a month, Trader Joe. A month without the tart, sweet goodness of your cranberries. A month of the warehouse being "temporarily out of stock". A month of quick stops by your local store, just to see if the warehouse problem had resolved itself.
It had not.

Did you notice that it was Christmas time? A time for CRANBERRIES?

Oh, don't give me that. Your other varieties of cranberries--organic, orange-flavored, classic crappiness--DO NOT TASTE THE SAME. (What did you do with those anyway? They taste like frickin' raisins, except not as good.) You might as well just tell me to go buy Craisins. Frickin' Ocean Spray. The "Omega-3 Trail mix" is a poor substitute, too, since I buy $4 of nuts for every 50 cents of cranberries I get. Plus Lucy refuses to pick through the pistachios, pepitas and whole almonds. And I can hardly blame her.

It wouldn't be so bad if I could get them someplace else. Except you're frickin' Trader Joe! So unique. So utterly hateful when you run out of items. So evil and clever with the crack-fortified "health" cranberries. They must be fortified with crack to taste like that.

It also wouldn't be so bad if you'd always had them before. I wouldn't have grown so dependent on them for snacking in the car/stroller/beach/park/wherever if you'd been more spotty in your delivery. No--before, it was all sure, there's aplenty! and now it's like electricity in Bagdhad.

Trader Joe, I'm just curious. Was it intentional to fortify them with Omega-3 oils? Those oils that help avoid depressive/rage-filled episodes? That I am now having because I'm ADDICTED TO YOUR PRODUCT? Oh, that and the crack.

Oh, and my sweet daughter? That angelic one? She's constipated now, because she refuses ALL OTHER DRIED FRUIT. Her poop used to be like--well, I'll let you decide.
It's not like that anymore, Trader Joe. It's more like your all-natural peanut butter, now. Except harder.
Thanks a lot.

Please, Trader Joe. Please get back the cranberries. Please.
And maybe a little extra crack, too. For the rage.

so many cute things!!

Lucy's been doing a lot of really cute things lately.
Believe me, really, really cute. You won't even believe how cute.

Actually, you'll have to believe me, because I can't remember what they are.

See, we've been sick, and working to much, and sleep-deprived, and out of town, and my brain has forgotten to come back.

So Lucy does (insert cute, forgotten thing here), and I think, really got to remember to post that and then I don't.

You'll just have to be satisfied with knowing that Lucy Is Cute. Incontrovertably.
When I remember why I'll make sure to let you know.