Friday, June 30, 2006
Today another mother pointed to A. and said to me, "Oh look! He's got red hair, just like his mom!" I kissed her.
A. successfully deposited a rather large bowel movement in the potty chair today. He stood up, said, "Look Mama! Do you see that?"
I assured him I did, and he then asked, "Are you vewy impwessed?" Yep, no one's going to be impressed with your poops like your mother, kid.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
I don't remember where I found this, but I liked it.
I'm sort of an Office Depot slut. I love office products and organizational tools and motivational websites. I think I'm constantly searching for the product that will completely streamline my life, fix all the problems and make everything easy.
I drool over planners and calendars and filing systems. I love colored folders, binders, and dividers.
You'd never know it, because the bag I take to and from work gets heavier and heavier with unfiled statements and check stubs, and although I have a filing system at home, it's random and I'm amazed I can find anything. I like to have stuff immediately accessible, and I like to see the stuff around me, so I'd do well in a room lined with corkboard, but trying to fit in my little computer armoire in the family room, I'm bursting at the seams.
G. is very organized and comes by it naturally. He actually goes to Office Depot and buys what he needs. He is not seduced by the make-it-easy, get-organized promises of all the desk systems. He knows what works for him and he just does it.
Me, I'm more of a seeker. The perfect system might be out there right now and I certainly can't get organized until I find it. The problem isn't that I'm disorganized, it's that I haven't found the right office product yet.
G. is reading this over my shoulder and says: "This is the problem of the Philosopher King. It was first discussed by a great Greek philosopher." He thinks it's Aristotle but doesn't want to be wrong so he's telling me to edit it. "If you spend all your time philosophizing until you find the perfect form of government, you will never rule as king. In other words, if you spend all your time searching for the perfect organizational system, you'll never get organized." Thank you, Oh Yoda of Organization.
He is right, though. I will be set on organizing my files, but then in the middle I think, "Oh, you know what I need? I need another box for my CDs." And I'm convinced I can't do anything else until I get another box for my CDs. Or more hanging files. Or the right paper clips. How am I supposed to organize anything without paper clips?
I'm also a piler. I have piles on the floor by my armoire and on the kitchen table. There are certain things that belong in each pile. Sometimes, though, I try to put something in the recycling and it ends up back on my pile by G. How am I supposed to work under such conditions?
Mostly, I blame it on the fact that I gave up my office to be A's room. G. is supposed to give up his office to be Ben's room but has staked himself in there like a hunger striker and isn't moving without an eviction notice. I keep reminding him that when he moves his office into the small hovel that is our book room (i.e. enclosed porch), he will get better wireless reception. He remains unmoved. Literally. Ben's almost 16 months old. Apparently he is going to have to share his room with his father for the rest of his childhood.
Just remember, boys, when you're wondering who loves you more, Mom gave up her office for you BEFORE you were born.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
These were taken in indirect light with no flash. Assuming your monitor isn't wonky, what color do you think my hair is?
Try to ignore the gray - G. says it's more noticeable in these photos than in real life (thanks, but I'm still gonna cover it). When I was a kid, I used to try to match my hair to Crayola crayons and the closest I got was burnt sienna.
Now A.'s got red hair, and since he was tiny, people have said, "Oh, what gorgeous red hair! Where does he get it?" I say, "Me," but you can tell they think I'm delusional.
Sometimes if the light's really good, they'll add, "Oh, yeah, I guess you do have some red in your hair, huh?" I am a redhead, damnit! The carpets match the drapes, too, but you're not getting a picture of that. Now that I think of it, though, maybe I should carry a picture of that around with me just to prove it. That'll shut 'em up.
My status as a redhead has never been in question until the last few years. I read somewhere that red hair fades more quickly than other hair colors, but since my mother had dark auburn hair until her early 60's, I figured mine would stay, too.
Last week we went with my older sister to the zoo. A. was following her, so I called out, "OK, but stay with Auntie R!" This lady passing by said to me, "Oh, it looks like he got Auntie R's hair color!"
Sometimes people call my hair strawberry blonde, but it seems to me that it's too dark for that. And it's got too many blondish streaks to be dark auburn. When I was a kid, I didn't want red hair since it was so different and the only people who thought it was cool were grownups - I wanted to be a brunette. Have I had another childhood wish granted?
I bought a bottle of some Nutrisse color the same day of the zoo incident. Haven't had the balls to do it yet. On the sides of the box where it says, "If your hair color is....then your result will be..." they never give options for reddish hair. So I'm afraid it's going to turn orange. Once I find the courage (and the time) to do it, I'll let y'all know how it goes.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
When I was growing up, I was the only kid my age on the street. There were some older kids, and there was actually one boy across the street who I played Hot Wheels with occasionally, but I really didn't have anyone to play with regularly.
Because my parents were in their 40's when they had me, and my sisters were already in their teens, I heard lots of stories that took place before I was born. The ones I was most fascinated by were about when they lived, ironically, in the same city I live in now. All the neighborhood men got together to build fences around the houses, and they put a gate in between my family's house and the neighbor's house so that the kids could go back and forth freely. There were also stories about my sisters playing football in the street with neighborhood kids, and I saw photos of them putting on shows with their neighbors for all the parents. I was so envious. I really wanted to live in a neighborhood like that.
By the time I was a kid, my mother didn't like to have anyone over to the house, so we were pretty much hermits. It got me reading lots of books, which ultimately helped me in school, so it wasn't all bad.
Now we live on a cul-de-sac where the neighbor kids feel as comfortable walking into my house to see what's in my refrigerator as A. feels asking our neighbor when she's going to get some of that tube yogurt that he likes so much but I won't buy. Pretty much every day we gather outside, dragging our various bikes, balls and push toys out front. We buy from the ice-cream truck once a week, and the kids know the mailman. The kids ride each other's bikes and teach each other to climb trees.
It's great. It's exactly what I wanted when I was a kid.
Saturday, June 17, 2006
A. has had a real developmental spurt in the last week. He can ride a two-wheel bike (OK, with training wheels, but I thought we'd never get him off the Big Wheel)...he's mostly potty trained with only one accident in the last 3 days...he can get his own underwear, shorts and sandals on all by himself. Oh, and Ben walked 4 steps, too.
Today was really hot, and our neighbors brought out a slip-and-slide. A.'s usual method of slipping and sliding is to back way up ('cause that's what the other kids are doing), run to the beginning of the plastic, prance with tiny steps all the way down the plastic runway, then stop and sit down in the puddle at the end. He couldn't really get the whole "sliding" thing, but he was having fun and wasn't hurting himself, so that was OK.
He finally decided to try it on his belly, so he backed up again, ran to the beginning of the slide, lay down carefully on his belly and then army-crawled on his elbows to the end. It looked really difficult, but he swore it was fun.
He's been really listening to us and trying to use words he's not familiar with. I explained something to him and asked, "Does that make sense?"
"Yes," he assured me, "that's very senssss-uble."
I got a pedicure today (from a gift certificate given to me for Mother's Day in 2005), and A. insisted he wanted his toenails painted too. I showed him the polish I had, and he picked a metallic blue one. I painted his toenails, and as he admired his feet, he sighed, "Now I'm a real boy."
Friday, June 16, 2006
We finally timed something right.
We've had this portable air conditioning unit since I was 9 months pregnant with A. and we were in the middle of a heat spell. We joined a huge crowd battling over air conditioners at Fry's Electronics and beat everyone into submission with threats of delivering the baby right then and there if they didn't back off and let us buy the only floor model left. We eventually got central air (the best invention in the whole wide world and I never want to live again in a house without it*) so we could have more than one tolerable room in the house.
So we've been trying to unload this air conditioner forever. It sat unsold on e-bay, even at 1/2 the original price. So we cut the price way down to $175 and listed it on craig's list last night. In a stroke of luck, today was the hottest day of the year so far and we got no less than 14 queries. Some tried to barter, but several said, "I'll pay cash and I'll come pick it up right now." I'm a nice seller and I sent everyone a quick e-mail saying it was gone, and one guy wrote back, "OK, but I really need it." Oh, OK - I guess I should've had people rate how much they need it and go by that.
"Ah, you're in an aluminum mobile home? Sorry, you've been trumped by the two old people in the teepee with dark leather walls. But if a pregnant chick comes along, she beats everybody."
Anyway, I also sold my breast pump today too. Had no problem letting it go, which surprised me. The small wad of cash might have had something to do with that. Almost paid for the first month of A's preschool.
*I grew up in an inland valley where the temps regularly reached 100 or more during the summer, and we didn't have air conditioning. I know, I know, cry me a river, but really, it sucked. My mom kept saying we didn't need a/c because the sun went over our house from side to side, instead of from front to back. Yeah, well, it still went over the house and made it hot as hell. Us Irish people are a boggy, misty people and we wilt in the direct sun and heat. Hey, another reason to move to Portland.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Geez, it's next week already.
So I've been busy not eating as much so I can fit into my clothes again. I'm one of the few women who lost weight while pregnant, so I wasn't too far away from my ideal weight right after having Ben, only to gain it back in the following year. Yippee for aging metabolisms.
I've also been busy getting ready for Father's Day. I've been thinking about what to do for G. that doesn't cost much (his practice is, again, way down), and I almost forgot about my own father. He lives in Arizona and has been hard-of-hearing for as long as I've been alive. It's hard to call when the kids are awake, because they're awake, and it's hard to call when they're asleep because I'd wake them up with all the yelling. But I check in as often as possible, and I think I'll actually get his present out to him in time. I made him some scrapbook pages for the big father's day album my sisters and I gave him two years ago.
We are still at war with the potty, but I believe we've reached a turning point (hah - where have you heard that lately?). I've tried really hard to keep it mellow and not react to A's 5th accident of the day. I know he has control. We can tell by the little smile on his face when he tells us he's wet. So he changes himself and we move on. But last night I almost lost it. I'd just cleaned out his pooped-in underwear (for some reason that grosses me out so much more than a dirty diaper) about an hour earlier when he stacked our two big couch pillows on top of each other and was perched on top of both, reading his train magazine. I told him I was going to put Ben to bed, then I'd be back to read his magazine with him.
So I returned and suggested he sit on the potty while we read the magazine. He hopped off the pillows, and I immediately saw a huge wet spot on his gray knit shorts. I said, "Oh, it looks like you've already peed," turned back to the pillows and damned if he didn't pee right through the top one all the way into the bottom one. He grinned a little and I almost lost it.
But I didn't. I took a deep breath and said, "Oh, man. Now we have to take the pillows to the laundromat tomorrow morning instead of playing outside." I do feel a little bit bad pushing him, because from his point of view staying in diapers makes complete sense. Why should he stop playing to run inside and pee in the potty when if he has a diaper on, he can just keep going until it's convenient for him to change? In his world, everyone would wear diapers. It kind of makes sense, except for the odor problem. We haven't pushed it until now, which is why we have an almost 4-year-old still in diapers. (Well, not really - let's say an almost 4-year-old in many pairs of underpants a day).
First thing this morning, he tells me, "We have to wash the pillows!" He was very interested in the whole laundromat experience, which I was kind of hoping would be more boring than interesting. I included him in every step, from going around the house collecting quarters for the machines, to explaining each cycle the giant machine went through. I do think it made an impression.
Also, today we tried something new. He goes to the potty every hour and sits there for two minutes. No accidents today, and he even pooped in the potty chair between our hourly visits. He actually said, "I have to go potty!" and went and sat on his chair. Naturally he did this right before I went to work and while G. was still dozing on the sofa so guess who got to clean it up? G. is a lucky, lucky man.
A. told me this afternoon that he didn't want me to go to work.
"I know, babe, and I'd rather stay here with you, too. But sometimes we have to do things we'd rather not do."
He was quiet, then gave a huge sigh. "I really don't want to use the potty."
"I know, sweetheart. Sometimes it's hard to grow up."
Big sigh. "Yeah."
Friday, June 09, 2006
We had a Togo's picnic at the park tonight, and G. was telling/venting to me about his passive-aggressive boss and how hard it is to be direct with him.
A. interrupted and said, "But Papa, when you learn something new, you have to not get mad at it."
Not really apropos to our topic, but profound nonetheless. I think he might be struggling with that lesson himself as he adjusts to using the potty all day.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
|Your Life is Like|
Being John Malkovich
Wow, here I go and ask for comments and Blogger goes all crazy on me. I don't know if it was just me, but I couldn't get on to make a comment on my own or anyone else's blog today. Must've been fate.
K: Exactly. I suppose it doesn't matter so much except that if we are supposed to be reading the signs, they could get a little clearer.
BBM: I was hoping you'd chime in. I completely agree with you about morality and religion. In fact, I remember a long time ago you waxed eloquent on the topic and I still quote you in such discussions because I think one should do the right thing because it's the right thing, not because it's going to get you a better seat in Heaven.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
So I was driving to the office this morning, pondering the possibility of an objective morality, when I realized I was starving even though I'd just eaten breakfast. Hmmm. This kind of hunger, plus the weird nightmares last night, plus the existential crisis I'm suddenly in is reminiscent of the way I felt, oh, maybe three weeks ago.
Now, because of my chosen contraceptive device, I don't have periods, but I should still have a cycle of some sort going on since I'm supposedly still ovulating.
Speaking of tampons, which, by the way, I don't need because of my beloved contraceptive device, head on over to f-bomb and watch his extremely cute kid throw around a tampon like a poi ball at a luau. I'm gonna have another bowl of Corn Pops.
By the way, is it evil to tell your kid that he probably won't like Corn Pops because they're corn and corn is a vegetable? Stick with your Cheerios, kid, and hands off my Corn Pops. Especially at this time of the month.
By the way again, no one has ANYTHING to say about free will vs. predeterminism?? Was the debate settled and no one told me? Geez. Always the last to know. Except that I did know Christina did "Beautiful," unlike Trish. Not that I'm making fun of her, because she is beautiful in every single way.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Unedited blabber follows. Sorry if it doesn't make much sense. Doesn't make much sense inside my head, either.
Last night I was lying in bed trying to sleep. You'd think it would be easy to sleep when I'm so exhausted. But sometimes I have little control over where my brain goes, and last night it wanted to ponder free will vs. destiny.
I'd like to believe that everything happens for a reason. That would be comforting. The whole idea that "if you don't get something you really wanted, that means there's something better waiting for you" is a great one. Win-win for everyone.
I used to believe that. I used to be kind of new-agey, in fact. I used to throw the I ching and consult the tarot, and I used to believe that if I just plugged into the rhythms of the universe, the universe would tell me what to do. You know, be in the "flow" and all that.
When we were trying to decide whether or not to pursue a move to Portland, G. asked for some signs. He thought, "If my private practice goes down, I'll know we should move."
His practice tanked. Financially, it sucked, but he did ask for it.
We drew tarot cards. I forget what they were, but I remember that the basic message was something about transformation (when is it not?) and embracing change.
Then he got mugged at an ATM before Christmas (he actually ran away and the guy didn't get any money, but geez). He thought this was another sign that we should leave the Bay Area.
I told him perhaps if he was going to ask for a sign, he should ask to win the lottery.
He joined Major HMO down here with the intent on transferring up there eventually. So when a position came open that was the exact same position he holds here...we thought, "Hey! It must be time!" They asked him to fly up, there were few other candidates and the position had been open for some time. His Oregon license came through. Perfect!
Then....The House! His sister's friend had an extra house lying around and decided to get rid of it. Perfect location, a coveted neighborhood that we wouldn't be able to afford otherwise, old tree-lined street, around the corner from the elementary school, vintage fixtures, etc. She wanted to sell to us and was willing to give us a deal for the convenience of a direct sale. There was a little cottage in the back that we could use as a private practice office and save on rent and taxes - perfect!
G's practice went down again - which was actually a good thing this time, because it would make the practice easier to close as we prepared to move. His mom and sister, who walked down the street of The House often, said the worst thing they could see was the god-awful color of another house down the block. When G. went up there for his interview, he saw painters getting ready to repaint that house a regular neutral.
I was concerned about leaving the boys' friends here - we have a great group of neighborhood friends with whom they play daily in our safe little cul-de-sac. Turns out the street in Portland has a bunch of kids right in their age range.
Now, I'm not trying to whine here. I'm trying to figure out why the signs looked so good. Why did everything fall into place only to fall apart? I'm not thinking "Why us?" - I mean, hey, we're luckier than most, I know. But how could we have been so wrong?
I want to believe everything happens for a reason, but the truth is, I don't. I believe in a greater Spirit of some sort, but whether it's inside of us or outside of us, I don't know. I don't believe that God is up there counting prayers and saying, "Congratulations! You've got cancer but you got a whole congregation to pray for you, so you get to survive!" or "You're such a special person, you get to have some really bad stuff happen to you."
I think shit happens. Lovely people with kids get sick or have accidents. Kids themselves get sick or have accidents. People who would make wonderful parents can't get pregnant and crack addicts abandon their 10th drug-addicted infant.
I don't know what's bringing on this existential crisis. Ever since I hurt my head, I've had this weird reaction where I'm scared to death (hah) of dying too soon. I've always been philosophical about death - my mother died when I was 21, and death is part of life, yada yada yada.
Yeah, but now I've got this gorgeous little redhead boy, and a beautiful little baby with such sweet dimples who survived his own life-threatening "event," and the stakes are so much higher. It was one thing to have faith when I was single and I just hoped the Universe would send me someone to marry. It's quite another when my little boys are my life and my heart and I don't want to leave them.
Maybe it's a delayed reaction to the whole brain thing. Maybe it's just a midlife spiritual questioning. (Damn. I'm old enough to have something be described as "midlife.") Mostly, I'm just tired of trying to read the signs. Maybe I just need to increase my meds. Maybe I'm grieving the end of this year's TV season.
I remember when I met G., I thought, "Oh my goodness, I'm going to marry this guy." I was shocked. Now, there came a time a few years later when I thought, "Damn. I guess I was wrong." But it turned out that I was right and here we are. I have a client who's trying to figure out whether or not to leave her boyfriend. She's so torn, but she believes that there is a correct answer. She believes that if she just reads the signs right, she'll make the right decision. I don't know. I guess we just do the best we can with what we have.
I saw a bumper sticker the other day, "My religion is kindness." I like that.