Thursday, January 28, 2010

the socks, they are breeding.

For Sale:
Two sets of little girl socks. One pair sized 0-6 months, one sized 3 yrs. These white socks look ordinary, but they are the only socks your kids will ever need--because of their patented Multiplyer (c) technology. Bring them into your house, and soon you will find sock clones* scattered throughout your living space, as if by magic! Under the couch! By the bed! Beside (but never in) the laundry basket! You'll marvel at the sheer proliferation of tiny white stockings!

*Even numbers of socks not included.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

wow, it worked.

The too-tired Lucy melted down tonight as D took her out of her bath. The cause? He put conditioner in her hair earlier in the bath after she said she didn't want "shampoo" in her hair. When the bathtime was over, he got a delayed reaction to his failure to follow directions.

It was a doozy. Standing, stark naked in her bedroom, face red, screaming that she wanted it OUT OF HER HAIR GOING TO TAKE IT OUT PULLING IT OUT NO SHAMPOO while taking her hands and yanking (not too hard, but I was afraid there for a minute).

I pulled her into my lap and took the bath towel and said, "Should I wipe it all off with the towel?"
And just as suddenly as it started, the tantrum was over. She nodded, breathed with me a few times as I tried to finish calming her down, then said, "momma, I have a big runny nose. I need to wipe it."

So I "wiped off" all the "shampoo" and got the girl a tissue. And then put her to bed. Quickly, before there was another meltdown.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

surprise! that's annoying!

In the always-growing list of things that surprise me about parenting, there are two things I wouldn't have guessed would be quite so annoying.
1. "Why?" I admit it--pre-kids, I thought, "What could be so annoying about a three-year-old asking "Why?" all the time? They're exploring their world! It's good to question!"

Hahahahaha. Forgive me while I laugh at my old self.

A real "Why" is perfectly fine. It's when it's used as sort of a default, "I don't want to" response to every request, like "Please hold my hand when we cross this busy parking lot" or "Please, don't put your hand into the molten lava" or "Please, keep the large stick out of your sister's eyes." (okay, examples two and three never happened). Or, when you've explained something five times, giving a reason--the same reason--five different ways, and there is still a why at the end. Then you feel like grabbing the large stick and poking it into your own eyes.

2. Pretend play involving small objects. Or paper. Or scissors. Or fabric. Or bags. Or pretty much any pretend play.
This is something I'm trying to get over as sort of a motherhood's spiritual practice. Because in theory, I want all this pretend play to happen. So:

Ommmm. Do not mind the mess and clutter and scrambling of items that were organized into their own separate containers and in relative order. It is Okay if the buttons are mixed with the coins and the small bits of thread and the shredded paper! It's Imagination at Work!
No we do not struggle with the beginning symptoms of OCD. Ahem.

Ommmm. Happily follow instructions when playing Fairy Godmother/Grocery Checkout Person/Dentist/Patient/Cinderella/Evil Stepsister, participating in the evolving "plot" without actually trying to assert any ideas that do not conform to the preschooler's vision of how the pretend play should unfold.

Ommmm. Happily take the folded/taped/stapled/shredded/cut pieces of ribbon/paper/masking tape/greeting cards and eat/scan/open/close the pizza/present/stethoscope as directed.

Ommmm. Ignore the growing pile of tiny items: fabric scraps, paper, cardboard, ribbon, tape, buttons, coins that appear on the carpet and under tables not five minutes after the carpet is vacuumed. Blocks are easy to pick up. Miniscule paper and fabric scraps diligently worked over with scissors? Not so much.

But, see, I try not to buy too many toys so that what we have, be it broom stick or paperclips can be a horse or a sword or doughnuts or pennies or whatever. So that Lucy makes her magic.

If only the magic were just a little bit tidier. And did not require endless repetition of the princess/doctor/grocery store/cooking script.

Note to self: patience with the above secret annoyances would be slightly left if my energy and awakeness were not entirely fueled by caffeine and willpower. Remind me again when I get to start sleeping somewhat regular hours again?

Actually, don't. Because it's gonna probably be awhile.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

just to be clear

Turning on the TV to let L watch her morning dose ofSesame Street, Dyami found the local news.
"Is this Sesame Street?" he asked.
"No," L said. "That's people, not monsters."

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

wow, it worked.

After reading a book about insects, Lucy and I turned into a spider and a caterpillar, respectively. We played for a few minutes, her eating "teeny tiny insects" (spiders apparently make a slurping noise for each insect), turning around in circles to make a web, and me crunching on a few leaves.

But the muddled mess on the living room table was singing its song of woe at me from the other room.

After a few minutes of play, I said, "Miss Spider, let's get our clean-up webs and go catch the mess up in the other room and put it away!" (with much excited heartiness).
"Okay!" Lucy said, and followed me, slurping, into the other room.
If only moments of parental insight happened that easily every hour.

Monday, January 18, 2010


We've been talking about Haiti to Lucy. She calls it "Heidi".
It's hard to know exactly what to tell her.
We said the ground shook, and that made buildings fall down, which hurt people.
She said, "I don't like earthquakes, so they're going to stay far away from me."
We told her that they do happen around here (it seemed unwise to say otherwise, seeing as we live in California), but that our house is strong, and would be okay. We told her what to do if there is an earthquake.
We told her our houses are stronger because people here have more money than in Haiti. That God has given us more than we need, so we need to share what we have with people, like those in Haiti, who don't have as much.

Every question of hers ,every explanation I try to give opens another rabbit hole of reality about the world. Not so much for her--she doesn't need to know how full of pitfalls this world is--but more for me. Reminding me how much injustice there is that we are implicated in. How we can protect her from natural disasters only up to a certain point. How little control we have over what happens to us all.

I am trying to trust God to take care of the people in Haiti, and to be present no matter our circu
mstances. I ache for the mothers in Haiti who have not been able to protect their kids.

If you're looking for a proven charity to donate to, you might consider Partners in Health. They have been in Haiti since the 80s, and most of their staff is native to Haiti. PIH was designated by the World Health Organization to serve as the coordinators of the public hospital, Hopital de l' Universite d'Etat d'Haiti (HUEH), where thousands are suffering in need of medicines and surgeries.
Here's the site PIH set up for donations for Haiti.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Dear Julia,

I know, I know, you don't like nursing on that side. The left side is clearly sub-par. Be honest: is the milk is flavored like haggis? Is my armpit stinky? Whatever the reason, you turn your face away, you unlatch, you wail, you arch your back. You have Made Your Point.

So you'll nurse, under sufference, if I tap your body, while holding you, standing, rocking, and cooing at you. All at once. it took a while to figure out that acrobatics were the magic formula. So, fine. Acrobatics it is. I jiggle, I stand, I keep relatching you when you try to quit. I'm a mommy. I can handle it.

All this is fine. But don't, once I've done all of that, try to smile at me. If you smile, you can't nurse, too. No! Nurse! Stop smiling! No cooing! No fair being cute. Don't make me laugh. Don't make me laugh.



the marathon

I'm weary.
It's a good kind of weary, the kind you get when you know you are working hard, and using all of your muscles. I'm using those darn parenting muscles, every last one of them, and sometimes, when I do, I get this giddy feeling like a tightrope walker that finally managed to spin the plate on top of the umbrella while riding the unicycle.
Being a parent is hard. Being a parent to two is harder. But I feel like I at least have my balance this time.
I keep thinking about this first year of Julia's life as a marathon. It kind of sucks, the sleeplessness, the constant motion, the figuring-out-why-Julia-is-crying endlessness, the naptime carousel, the nursing wrestling match. But just like a marathon, the experience is exhilarating. And the view--in my case, of a 3-month-old--is indescribable.
I thought, tonight, "But it was the same amount of work, last time. Less, even, because I only had one. Why was it so much harder?"
Then it occurred to me: one doesn't usually run a marathon without training. But there is no real way to prepare for having a baby, unless, like my mother-in-law, you were the oldest of eleven children. That would be pretty good preparation.
So no wonder I felt the teensiest bit overwhelmed last time.

I will keep going, then, and try to enjoy the experience this time. The weariness, the sleeplessness, and the giddy newness of it all.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

exciting news about Julia!

Okay, I lied. I do not have any exciting news.
Here's news: she's three months old tomorrow! She has a strong neck! She smiles and (almost laughs). She's slightly ticklish! She loves her big sister! She likes riding around facing out in the sling!
Babies are not exciting.
And yet, really, they're absolutely enthralling.
First, there's the fuzzy head. I mean, MY GOD!
And then all the little mini body parts, the indescribable joy of the cooing and clucking and happy shrieking. How she smiles at us as soon as she catches sight of us.
And my personal favorite: the look of absolute giddy joy that washes over her face in the morning when she wakes up and sees me for the first time. As if she hadn't been tucked right next to me for 3/4 of the night. It's as if she's saying, "My GOD! I thought you'd never come BACK! Where have you BEEN? I LOVE seeing you! Can we NURSE again? CAN we? Oh, BOY!

So, yeah, no real NEWS around here. Just the normal, humdrum baby magic.

a discerning palate

For a while now, Lucy has been a bit picky about what she wants to eat. I'm guessing it's a phase, and that eventually, she won't insist on eating ham every night for dinner. She'll try (barely) her dinner, and then HAM! MAY I HAVE HAM PLEASE? Even if it's something she asked for, earlier.

Anyway, yesterday I made pot roast, and she complained that I had the temerity to cook something other than pasta or ham. I mean, what was I thinking?
No, she did not use the word "temerity".
After the requisite tiny bite of meat, potato, carrot, I gave up and got her some ham. Then I served myself some salad: mixed greens from our CSA.
At which point, Lucy looked over. Pointed at a round leaf. "What's that?"
"It's baby bok choy," I said.
"Can I have some?"
I blinked a few times. Then I handed her a leaf, and went to find more of them in the salad bag. Because why argue with a kid who is asking for salad greens?
But really, Lucy? You won't have a bit of cooked carrot, but you request bok choy and eat it happily???