Wednesday, September 29, 2010

get into the groove

Yesterday, I came downstairs to find Lucy dancing, by herself, to Madonna's "Holiday".
"Did Dadda set this up for you?" I asked, since Dyami, working from home, occasionally pops in to entertain her while I get Julia down for naps.
"No, I," she said. In other words, I did.

Should I be proud, or appalled?*


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

the clothes continuum

I spent some time last night sorting out the hand-me-down clothes bins: to-be-worn stuff for Lucy, and (mostly) Lucy's cast-offs for Julia.
Once upon a time, these were mostly sorted.
Then we had a baby, and moved, and, well, not so sorted anymore.

It was a bittersweet time. Sweet to look over favorite clothes of Lucy's and anticipate them gracing another little girl. Difficult, because nearly all of the clothes that Julia will wear next seem like "girl" clothes to me, and not "baby" clothes.

Her first year happened pretty quickly, though I don't know if I've thought of it being fast. Except looking at the clothes, I realize it has. Surely it took Lucy years to get big enough to wear that pink dress? Those black shoes? To wear the little skirt I made? Surely she was bigger than one, or two when that happened?
Except no, she wasn't.
Ah, me. These babies. THey persist in getting bigger, ever more quickly.

Monday, September 27, 2010

you would think

that after four months of feeding my little tyke, I would think about her breakfast when I got mine ready. Invariably, I am about to start mine, and look down to find a hungry baby looking up at me.
Perhaps I should drink the caffeine first in the morning.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

but I'm saving us money

So I'm about a month into clipping coupons and trying to shop more strategically. I've scored some pretty good bargains, and also returned some things that weren't actually, and also probably bought stuff we don't need.

I cant decide: Am I being responsible to pay less for things that we use, anyway? Is it better to not spend so much time thinking about buying stuff, because I tend to, well, buy more stuff? Do I concentrate less on material things, but use more of our resources to buy said material things? Or do I pay more attention to our spending, and then get fixated?

Perhaps if I weren't such an extremist when it came to projects I could find a healthier balance.

Incidentally, if you like buying a lot of non-essentials, clipping coupons is truly the way to go. If you want to get nearly-free air fresheners, man, I could really set you up. There are about a million and one coupons out there for Glade. The margarine that we buy every week? Not so much.

you're so bigger

Julia is almost one.
I am kind of sick, thinking about it. Even as I say things like, and When the girls are older, we can take the train downtown for the day and Won't it be fun when she and Lucy really play together? And When I'm done nursing so much, I can wear a dress again.

But. Really, I just love her little funny body. The little no-neck. The little rolls, and pudges, and the stubbiness. Her smacking her lips when it's time to nurse. The baby talk, and the headlong crawling, body wagging from side to side.

I know it doesn't happen this way, but I have this vision of her turning one, standing up, getting and insisting she doesn't need to hold my hand when crossing the street.

Perhaps my panic is due to the fact that not long after Lucy started walking, she decided she didn't need cuddles. No voluntary hugs or kisses for months. She is plenty snuggly now, but she's leggy and rangy, and quite her own person, thank you very much. It was kind of abrupt.

My old roommate kept her double mattress when she got married for, as she put it, "enforced cuddling." Maybe I'll keep her in the Ergo until she's three, on the same principle. She'll learn to walk eventually, right?

Oh, Julia. Like Dyami's mom, used to say to Lucy when she was just a wee thing: You're so bigger.


Those days when I think "Why are they so annoying? Why can't they stop asking me questions and bellowing and whatnot? What am I thinking, homeschooling two children? I can't possibly do this even another hour."
Those days, I should immediately take some echinacea, vitamin C, theraflu and go to bed early. Because the gathering stormclouds indicate that someone (Lucy, definitely, and me, possibly) is about to become very, very ill.

Friday, September 24, 2010

thankful, sorta

Stomach flu only lasted a day.

Suddenly speaking briefly? Join us for Six Word Fridays at Making Things Up.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

an upside, sort of

When the baby pukes* many times in the early morning, the upside is she kind of likes being cuddled.
It's not much of an upside (poor thing), but it is something.

*The puking lasted about an hour, and then stopped. Phew.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Oksana Baiul, this means YOU

Lucy, dressed in a fairy princess (pink + wand) costume:

"Mama, read the signs. This one says:
This one says,
She pointed out the rest of the (pretend) signs:
and, because she wanted me to quit nursing her sister:

Duly noted.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Another interest we're pursuing right now? Dinosaurs. Lucy inevitably is drawn to the books targeted at 8-year-old boys, with (fairly) graphic pictures of T Rexes dismembering a triceratops. WHich I refuse to bring home.
However, other than this, dinosaurs are great fun. Perhaps the best time we've had is yesterday, when Lucy decided to draw some dinosaur bones. She drew a picture of a green monster, all knees and elbows, with big pincers (hash marks all over one mystery appendage), and on another sheet, a crooked, purple tooth.
Then she told me about how fearsome the "bronkisaurus" was, how long it's teeth were, how sharp its pincers.
"I'm so scared!" I said, throwing up my hands.
She patted my shoulder. "Don't worry about the bronkisaurus, Mama. It's just pretend."

Thursday, September 16, 2010

out of the mouths of babes

First day of kid's choir practice,
carpet squares scattered on the floor,
the children squiggle and squawk until--
Miss Myra picks up the guitar.
Softly, softly, she strums and sings,
And twenty bodies all sit still.
They are singing now, clapping, patting.
They stand, they sit, they whisper.

Is it not magic to listen
to one woman charm small children?

Suddenly speaking briefly? Join us for Six Word Fridays at Making Things Up.

going just a little too far

When we moved to a small coastal village, we were excited to be surrounded by our local businesses*, and to patronize them.
But living so close to all of these businesses also has it's more annoying aspects.
For instance. A few blocks from our house was a gym. I'll call it "Total Gym." Occasionally, we'd see sweaty people emerging, sipping waterbottles, as they walked to their cars.
Then one day, I saw some guys running down the street in military fatigues and white t-shirts.
The next day, I saw the boot-camp guys running down the street carrying really large medicine balls (think boulder-sized).
The day after, they were carrying each other down the street--lugging them like they were very large bottles of water (or medicine balls).
Then, suddenly, the name of the gym was changed from "TotalGym" to "ArmyGym" and everything was all boot-campy, and two lines of big guys holding up traffic on the street, and people using megaphones and whistles, and call-and-response marches. All within blocks of our house. Very audibly.
Now, I can understand the appeal of boot-camp style fitness. Not my personal cup of tea, but certainly a good regimen. But must costumes be involved? And moving an army recruitment depot to our neighborhood, without the heroic service to our country?

*Incidentally, we live in a sort of hub for yoga studios, Italian restaurants, and colon hydrotherapy. Hopefully, there's little cross-over between the three industries. Also, colon hydrotherapy? Should not really be advertised by a little sign on the main drag, pointing to one (of the many) practitioners just off the main drag (as is done down the street from us). At least, I hope they're not getting walk-in traffic.

The Adventures of Brazilla

We emerged from a dry creative period over here (crayons, puzzles, games were all uninteresting) to a flowering of writing. Lucy is producing her own series of books: Dora and the Princesses. We have almost no gear of either character, nor do we watch any shows/movies featuring these characters, so we needed to add some to our house. Hmmm.
Actually, the princesses of our series are not the pastel-hued Disney royalty (though Lucy loves them, loves them with a ferverent love) but our own creations: Brazilla and Erma. They lend Dora their old gowns and try to keep their jeweled silverware from being stolen by little girls named Rosie and defend themselves with Bubblegum Blue! Whatever that is! And all is beautiful, and they all love their balls, and dresses and tea parties, and they say so, often.
As a writer, I noted with interest that the first book went fast, and the pages were fille,d but by the third, it was harder to come up with new ideas.
Welcome to my world, Lucy.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Julia is sporting a brand-new smile. The bottom two teeth poked through a few weeks ago, and then four on the top decided to emerge, as well. All at once.
We suspect this may have some bearing on our (still very) early mornings.
Anyway, I’m amazed at how my now (gulp) eleven-month-old’s face has changed with the addition of those four upper teeth. That mouth went from being a sweet baby mouth to one that is quite rascally. It makes her look like a six-year-old boy with a slingshot.
In addition, she has changed her vocabulary. Now, instead of saying “Ba! Da! Ma!” she says, “Bum. Dum. Um. Bum.” All quite seriously, with much gesturing and shrieking.
All this is to say: her infanthood is drawing to a close. If she weren’t so darn cute, I’d return her and get a fresh new baby to smell and squeeze.
Of course not! Instead, I am going to find a way to keep her from getting any older. Would tight clothes help?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

early, early, early

Here it is, Wednesday, and I have not yet posted this week. What with Julia deciding that 5:30 am is a very good wake-up time and working on the manual for our family business after the children go to bed, the free time for posting has been, let us say, lacking.
I think I'm going to give myself the week off and meet you back here on Monday. Monday, Monday, Monday. Bright and early. Or, actually, hopefully not.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


I finally succeeded in getting Lucy to listen to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. She's listened to one other chapter book (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but that one has chocolate in the title), but so far all my other attempts have failed. I don't want her to be forced; I want her to enjoy.

And now the time has come. She can follow and have the attention for chapters. She asks for the next chapter, and we're reading the book in satisfying gulps.

I keep looking at the titles on our shelf, whole worlds of books to discover, the rest of the Narnia adventures, and Mary of the Secret Garden, and Charlotte's Web, and Heidi, and Stuart Little, and oh, so many books. They may not come tomorrow, but they will be here soon, these worlds, worlds we can explore and savor together.


We bought Lucy some new crayons yesterday. A small box: only $0.79.
Is there anything more satisfying than coloring with a new, sharp red crayon?

Friday, September 3, 2010

My friend Melissa is relaxing with her new baby (perhaps "relaxing" is the wrong word?) a few friends are guest-posting at her blog. My turn again! And just in time for Six- Word Fridays! Check out the fun at Making Things Up!

Two monarch caterpillars in a box
perch on the top, awaiting chrysalises.
A new mom friend admires them,
then talks about returning to work.
“It is physically painful,” she says.
Mutual friends told her motherhood is.
Painful, I mean. I add: transformative.

Caterpillars turn to sludge inside cocoons,
solid to liquid, their brains dissolving.
They stay that way for weeks.
Ah, but those gossamer, spangled wings.

Suddenly speaking briefly? Join in at Making Things Up.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

all of a sudden

My friend Melissa is relaxing with her new baby (perhaps "relaxing" is the wrong word?) a few friends are guest-posting at her blog. Today is my turn. Check out the fun at Making Things Up!

A week ago, Julia made her way over to the coffee table, placed one hand on the side, and pulled herself up to a standing position.

Now she is attempting open-heart surgery.

Okay, not really. But what is it about these milestones that thrusts babies into a completely different continuum? It’s like each new skill is a rocket launch propelling them forwards. Now I can’t get her to lie flat while changing her diaper, she’s grabbing items off the grocery shelves, shrieking in the car, and working on her dissertation.

Sure, I want her to grow and change and develop, but I always expect this nice even ascent, instead of a blast-off.

We should really put babies on intractable problems, like global warming and texting while driving. Surely that forward drive could be used for something other than ejecting naked bums off of changing pads.

Join us all tomorrow for my turn hosting Six Week Fridays. Tomorrow's topic? TRANSFORM. Changes, metamorphoses, or Decepticons. Get more info (and cool buttons) here.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

my big accomplishment today

was figuring out that the character that supposedly died in the mystery I was reading was in fact, not dead.
Is it a measure of how much I like the book that I feel pretty proud of myself? Or that I need to get out more?

flight path

Dear City in Which I Live:
What gives with the helicopter noises in the middle of the night? So far I've been woken twice with minutes of chopper-ing, all in the wee hours of the morning. And my baby too. Did I mention that you woke my baby?
What with the coastal train choo-chooing at all hours and the friendly neighborhood bikers, we have enough engine noise for now.
Hmmm. It just occurred to me that the chopper might be Life Flight, as we do live fairly close to a hospital.
You get a pass, fair city. For now.