There's a Reason for 2

on 31 August 2009

We spent Saturday in Savannah. It was pretty fun, actually, I went to Barnes and Nobles with the Boy--as in, if I have to read the Very Hungry Caterpillar one more time I'm going to poke my eye out for variation. We got to see the family, we got to eat at Vinnies, we drove around Isle of Hope, we ate chewy chocolate cookies, the Boy played with his dad and his paw-paw--it was awesome.

We got home very late according to the Boy and I was reminded yet again why families are best when there are two parents.

The Boy usually goes to bed by 6 every night (for further information please read Happy Child, Healthy Sleep Habits) but we didn't even get home until 6:30 and it became a mad dash to get the Boy to bed so that we could save our Sunday. Chris started the bath, I was putting things away and pulling out pajamas and a night diaper, making up a warm bottle, dimming lights and quieting the apartment. Chris stripped the Boy and cleaned out diapers and played and splashed with the Boy.

In the midst of bottle warming I hear a ruckus. I head to the bathroom where the water is draining and there are floaties. Poopy floaties. I head in to our bathroom and get the shower going, Chris carries the dripping Boy in and places him in the shower. The Boy is cracking up laughing--not only does he feel much better but he gets a shower! He almost never gets a shower! Chris pulls down the bleachy chemicals to clean the tub and bleach the bath toys, I grab the Boy's soap and suds him up, rinse him off, towel him dry and get started getting him dressed. Chris finishes up in the bathroom and comes to kiss goodnight. We have a dark, quiet rock in the rocking chair and he goes down in his crib with his blanket and his Monte bear and I say a quiet prayer of thanks.

Thanks for a good husband.
Thanks for a sense of humor.
Thanks for a team effort.
Thanks for the healthy Boy who more and more often goes with the flow.
Thanks for bedtime at last.

Fun Friday: Dos and Don'ts Edition

on 28 August 2009

For Fun Friday, consider the following options:

Do: Go swimming! It's fun! And salty!

DON'T: Go to the DMV. It will take 3 times longer than you think it should, and no matter how cute you were when you left the house, your picture will still look like something from Stalin's gulag files.

Do: Eat popcorn! Watch a short video--your child will think you're awesome!

DON'T: Try to pass of running errands (bank, post office, DMV) as FUN. Your child does not agree. At volume.

Do: Make chocolate chip cookies! The look on your kid's face will make it all the better!

DON'T: Attempt to find the library. Google maps hates YOU. You will not find it. And your kid will NOT be having fun while you drive around LOST.


Cookies and milk, my house, today 3pm if anyone's interested! The cookies are the homemade chocolate chip (my recipe, natch) and the milk is organic and FULL fat. But you and your soy milk are totally welcome too. We have one of those houses where we love just about everyone.

Sight Hound

on 27 August 2009

It has always fascinated me, the way people don't talk to one another. A lot of times they don't listen either. Like two radios tuned to different stations, shouting over each other across a flat empty yard. That might be the thing that started me playwriting, how fast people stick to their own agenda. How they never say what they mean, how I don't, how the world teaches us not to.

  • Pam Houston

How do I say this politely?

on 26 August 2009

Can I please just vent some spleen for a minute here? I'm sorry, I try really hard to keep my blog vitriol free, but I have to do something or I'm going to BURST INTO FLAMES.

Chris works with some very nice people, many of them women. Most of them in their mid-40s, smart, attractive, very professional women. My complaint is not with them specifically but with a sentiment that is often associated with the whole Working Moms verses Stay at Home Moms debate.

(And believe me, PLEASE BELIEVE ME, I'm not looking to get in to that debate here. This is just M venting spleen and it's been a long day, in a long succession of long days and Chris has been gone for, oh, 14 hours just today and no phone calls and no emails and no text messages and we haven't really talked all week because he works for, oh, 12 hours (at least) and then comes home and collapses. So I could just be feeling a teensy bit isolated and overwhelmed and it's just heightening the melancholy, which I'm trying to avoid because it just makes me cry, and crying makes my head hurt so I'm turning to my good friend RAGE to see me through. Are we all on the same page now? Ok, good.)

Can I just say, for a moment, how TIRED, how ANNOYED, how INDIGNANT I am with the Working Moms smiling and nodding so condescendingly about how I am doing the BEST thing for my child? And how WONDERFUL it is that I stay home! And how they would have LOVED to do that but blah blah frickety frackety BLAH.

First, let me say, I don't need your approval. I know I made the right choice for my family. Second, you don't know me, you don't know my life, you don't know my choices so please don't presume to pass your approval off as some kind of INFORMED anything. It's NOT. It's superficial AT BEST. Third, when did my child's or my FAMILY'S welfare become any of your business AT ALL? My family, my kid, MY business.

I know. Is it really worth this RAGE? I'm not sure. I'm not sure why I'm so sensitive about this right now. I suspect it's the vein of insincerity that courses through the whole damn situation. The smiling and nodding and the pretense of the whispered, "oh, I would have stayed home BUT..."

Here's the thing. I'm not stupid. I get it. I do. It's NICE to have an office with a door you can shut. I would LOVE to have an administrative assistant to work up my schedule and organize my life. I would buy her Godiva chocolate on Administrative Assistants day (Wednesday of the last full week of APRIL). I would LOVE to have the additional income. I would love to wear smart clothes and jewelry. Heck, today I would love to wear something that my kid hasn't wiped his face on!

And it's LYING when you try to tell me that these things don't factor into your decision. They DO. I know they do. I've MADE that decision before. And the money thing? Don't you think that people become accustomed to a certain lifestyle and then, that's just it. They're comfortable where they are and they think that they CAN'T become accustomed to anything less. And I know, BELIEVE me I know, that there are moms who HAVE to work, there is no other option--bills must be paid, mortgages and medical bills and student loans and car loans and endless endless demands for money. I really do. I have a lot of lovely women friends who work and are AWESOME Moms (CD and SH I'm looking at you two primarily, but there are others out there--although, CD, I'm not sure if you count yet, but you know...in 4 more weeks), but they're also the ones who have NEVER condescended to me in this way, and so are exempt from this rant.

(I probably shouldn't post this. I'm in a really weird head-space right now and there are an awful lot of parentheses and ALL CAPS...)

I think at the root of all this angst is that I feel like that condescension, that petulant treatment, undermines and devalues the choice that we, who have taken the road less traveled, have made. It some how makes it worth less than it really is. I don't stay home because I had no other choice, I stay home because I CHOOSE to, because I WANT to and not because I don't have any other options. And if there are mothers who work (ahem, they aren't reading this, but I'm thinking of some very well-dressed women at the hospital), that's their choice and that's fine too. Just admit that it's your choice and LEAVE IT AT THAT.

After all, who are any of us to judge the choices of another--good or bad? We don't live in their heads. We don't live their lives.

An Open Letter to Whimsy

on 25 August 2009

Dear Whimsy:

My thumb hurts. I was nervous about the somewhat social event last Thursday and I was chewing on the skin around the nail, you know how I do, and I peeled it back too far. Well, and then, I can't stop doing everything that I have to do just because I have an open wound, so it got infected. On Friday and Saturday I would pull the swollen, red and scabby flesh back from the nail and pour peroxide into it, it would sting and burn and then foam, but after that it started to heal. I was laying in Bed Sweet Bed on Saturday night and it was throbbing and I would periodically get these shooting pains from the knuckled down to the tip of my thumb. Sunday night I realized that that's what the corner of my heart occupied by you feels like right now. I miss you horribly. And in thinking of you, I get these sharp, stabbing pains that shoot from that corner of my heart out into my chest and stomach.

I've already told you this, but I know that I should call. I want to call. But then, what I really want is to have you in my living room, or to be in yours. To crack open a diet coke and slouch at your dining room table and chat. Or to lay my head down and have a good cry while you play with my hair. There's really not much to talk about, I just miss you. I miss having a friend that I feel comfortable with--enough to be goofy and odd with. I miss laughing the way that we do until our bellies hurt. I miss being understood without having to explain myself constantly.

So, in this state, I have pulled down Sight Hound to read. Remember you gave it to me for my birthday a couple of years ago? I couldn't read it then (Chris forbid it) because I knew it would make me want a dog so much that I would do something rash, like actually GET a dog. Anyway, I pulled it down Sunday night. I reread the inscription from you--I love how hard you press on the paper when you write, so that the back sides of everything (letters, postcards, lists) have ridges--it's like Whimsy-Braille--and I started the book.

It's lovely.

Remember how I told you that when I read Harry Potter now, I hear it in my head in Chris' voice? Because he's read them aloud to me so often--on trips from Athens to Savannah, from Durham to Savannah, at home in Bed Sweet Bed. But when I read this book, I hear it in your voice. It's like a conversation with you that I can hold in my hands. And that is a wonderful gift.

And this: "It's funny how love is both harder, and easier, without language."

You wrote it about our friendship, and yet. I read it and I started to think about you and Alice. About me and the Boy. About Samwise and the soon to be Girl. About my sweet sister and her children. About so many lovely women I know and their children. About all the mothers and their children. About how hard it is to love them when they can't communicate with us what they want and need. About how hard it is to love them when they can communicate and we cannot possibly live up to what they want and need from us.

I started to think strange things about how maybe this is one of those burdens of humanity--our blessing and our curse, if you will--I was again amazed that we, as a species, have survived for as long as we have. That we continue to carry on. I was thinking how all of these burdens seem to imbue our life, and our choices with so much more meaning that we think when we're making those choices.

Thank you. Thank you for the book. Thank you for being my friend. Thank you for accepting me flaws and all. Thank you for loving me even when I feel like the strangest girl on earth. Thank you for creeping into my heart and my mind and shining light, and enlightenment, into the dark and dusty corners. And thank you for this book. I'm sorry if I've been weird lately. I'm sorry for not keeping in touch as I should. I love you whole and to pieces.

You'll Thank me Later: a List

on 24 August 2009

I've taken to compiling a list of things in my head, which the Boy protests right now, but I'm fairly certain he'll thank me for it later. And since I find it, by turns, comical and horrific, I thought "This is perfect blog fodder!" Plus, writing it down insures that the Boy will indeed read it and thank me later...


Dude, I know you're having a FIT now, but you THANK me later...

  • for not letting you put your head in the oven
  • for not letting you play with KNIVES
  • for wiping your bum and keeping it clean
  • for bleaching the bath toys that were in the tub when you pooped in the tub
  • for shutting you out of the bathroom when I have my period (no further details provided)
  • for fiber
  • for not letting you eat lotion
  • or chapstick
  • or the CATS
  • for brushing your teeth
Well, that was helpful! I think I'll keep adding to this one as I come across things that he protests at volume. Anyone have anything to add?

Fun Fridays: They aren't just for the Boy anymore...

on 21 August 2009

I've been beating back a post-moving/new-area/hot-summer-hotter-than-the-Amazon-jungle-hotness Funk.

Some days I am more successful than others. And for the record, I generally accept the ebbs and flows of life, some days are just sad days. Some times I'm just melancholy. It's a part of life, and I think that those feelings should be embraced rather than feared.

But. I have my two men who are relying on me in very different ways right now. And as long as they need me, I will be beating back this recurring Funk. The Boy needs me to give him a sense of stability, and so I don't have the luxury to pull the covers over my head and wallow in my Funk. Chris needs to know that I'm here. That I'm ok. That I can hold our little home front together with my bare hands.

And I am and I can and I do.

So, since I don't have the luxury to pull the covers over my head and wallow, I have hit upon a lovely solution that doesn't involve eating copious amounts of chocolate.

On the off chance that I'm NOT the only one with this occasional issue and burden, I thought I'd share it with you.

I call it my Happy-Endings-a-thon.

Catchy title, I know.

Now, Chris would be the first to tell you that I have a lot of SAD books. A LOT. I specialized in Russian Literature, for crying out loud! They aren't known as HAPPY people. Chris would also be the first to tell you that I never met a SAD movie that I didn't like. And he would be right...I loooooooove stuff like that. Bittersweet is my favorite emotion.

Except when I'm in this kind of Funk. Then, the SAD--whether books or movies--pushes me right over the edge. So, I'm claiming this Friday as my very own Fun Friday and I'm bringing the Boy along for the ride. We're having a Happy-Endings-a-thon.

What is a Happy-Endings-a-thon, M, and how does one launch one? I'm so glad you asked!

A Happy-Endings-a-thon begins when you go through your books, your movies, your music and pick out only the ones with Happy Endings. And then you apply liberally, but ONLY the endings. Hence, you have to have read or seen everything before. You skip to the END, the denouement, the resolution, and you wallow in all the unreality of that rose-colored, golden-hued ending. You pull out a BBC or Masterpiece Theater like Middlemarch, Pride and Prejudice, Wives and Daughters, Our Mutual Friend and you SKIP to the END. You watch those final episodes, or even just the last two or three scenes. Slap that goofy, sappy grin ON your face and forget your troubles.

It works just as well with books. For example, pull out your copy of Persuasion--skip to the letter from Captain Wentworth (you KNOW what I'm talking about), pick it up there and read to the end. Or try the last 75 pages of Wives and Daughters. Or the last few chapters Bleak House. All happy endings, all guaranteed to, if not cheer you, at least hold the Funk at bay.

Now go forth and create your own Happy-Endings-a-thon. Share your recommendations in the comments sections--c'mon, spread the LOVE!

That sound you hear? It's my heart breaking.

on 20 August 2009

So...

The Boy and I had our first somewhat social outing this morning. I've been trying to figure out why I feel so weird. And I think I've hit upon it.

It was fairly routine, some ladies from church (myself included) were getting together to make up a bunch of casseroles to freeze. (So that in the event of a birth, death or illness we would have at least one ready meal to take to someone in need.) The woman hosting it, she's cool, and she has a little boy roughly the same age as the Boy. So we were both invited. I got to hang out with some really nice women and try to get to know them better and the Boy would get in some play time with at least one child his own age.

We arrived, I set him down on the floor not too far from where I was, hoping that if he could see me he wouldn't freak out. And he didn't. He was his very cautious self, he was captivated by watching the Jack and after 10 minutes or so he warmed up enough to cautiously approach the toys.

I was making awkward small talk and feeling very strange. And berating myself internally for being so awkward. Seriously, why am I so weird?

Anyway.

I was still watching the Boy, trying to keep him in my periphery to make sure he didn't trash the place or hurt himself or the Jack. And I couldn't figure out what was bugging me. Not while I was watching him. Not while I made a somewhat early exit. Not on the way home. Not this afternoon while I paced the apartment, unable to settle.

I was cleaning up the kitchen and watching him...again...still, whatever you choose. And I think I figured it out.

He's like me.

Uncertain, unsure, unused to other people. Introverted, shy, awkward. All of the things I had hoped he wouldn't be. Or at least have to a lesser degree than I do.

I was watching him try to play with the Jack and not really knowing how to do so. He would sit back and watch the Jack play but when it came to playing together he would back away, look for me, and cry.

And yes, I comfort myself by reminding myself that he doesn't really know how. Maybe playing with others is a skill, not an instinct and since he's never really played with many other children his own age, he just doesn't know how. But then...

I'm an adult and I still don't know how to play with people my own age. And I've been practicing this a long time, people, and I'm still completely awkward and uncomfortable and unnatural and uneasy. How many years does it take?

You know how it is. You don't want your kid to have to suffer what you did. I don't want him to be the odd man out, the last one picked, the one picked on, teased, harassed and humiliated. I don't want him left out, left behind or forgotten. I want the world to love him, to see him, to hear him, to include him.

For he is grand.

In my lap...

Today, on In M's Lap:




Please stay tuned for next week's episode.


Oh wait. No. There is no plot change. Well, I guess if we really wanted to shake things up around here it would be one of the Cats. But mostly the costumes change but the plot stays the same.

Oddly, I'm ok with that.

Black Lamb Grey Falcon

Her question reminded me that the word "idiot" comes from the Greek root meaning private person. Idiocy is the female defect: intent on their private lives, women follow their fate through a darkness deep as that cast by malformed cells in the brain. It is no worse than the male defect, which is lunacy: they are so obsessed by public affairs that they see the world as by moonlight, which shows the outlines of every object but not the details invective of their natures.

  • Rebecca West

Oh me Oh my Oh CAR...Finally

on 19 August 2009

It's taken a month or more, but Burnstopia is finally a two car family.

(And for the record we've loved being a one-car family. We love saving on gas and insurance. We love running errands together. We have NOT loved climbing into the backseat to get the Boy strapped into his car seat. And the Boy and I have not really enjoyed being stuck at home all day every day because Chris takes the Beetle to work. And there's no public transportation in Brunswick, so a second car is a necessity rather than a convenience.)

You know those car commercials. The ones where the husband buys the wife the car and brings her out to see it and it has the big red bow and she gives him a big ol' hug and it just looks so FUN? Well, it really IS.

Not that there was a big red bow, there wasn't. And I knew we were going to get this car, I knew what she looked like and all her lovely bits, but I didn't know we would have her on Monday. I thought some time this week, but Monday, Chris went to the dealership to put down a deposit and he came home with KEYS. I was in the kitchen cleaning up from dinner and he came in and grinned and said, "Will you take me to go get the beetle?" and he dropped the keys out of his hand and I squealed. Of course I did. I haven't had a car of my own for the past 3 plus years and here my man brings home KEYS and gives them to ME. I started to tear up. It was a long day and this absolutely made it AWESOME. I love my man.

awwww. His and Hers.

We test drove the Toyota Rav-4 and the Honda CRV. Chris was pretty set on having a small SUV. I just wanted something to get me out of the house and round about town. Thanks to the Cash for Clunkers program the Toyota and Honda dealerships cleared out their inventory while Chris and I were being indecisive. But, thanks to the wretched salesman at Toyota we decided to go with the Honda.

(There isn't much difference between the two. Instead of comparing apples and oranges it's like comparing gala apples with braeburn--both good, both reddish and sweet, it's a matter of taste.)


Chris ended up talking to a really nice salesman at Honda who actually made some phone calls and found us the CRV of our choice and negotiated a trade with another dealership so that we wouldn't have to pay a delivery fee. I'm tempted to call the Toyota salesman and tell him the story and say, "And THAT'S how you treat a customer!" But I shall not. I shall save my energy for planning some fun things to do OUT of the house for Fun Fridays!

Just how new is she? Check out that odometer.
5 MILES. TOTAL.
I have NEVER driven a car with so few miles on it before. In my LIFE.


I'll be the primary driver of said CRV for the next few years. And keeping with tradition, she needs a name. She's silver with grey interior, she's roomy and comfortable but standoffish. She's safe and handles well, but a bit snooty. And you would be correct in assuming that I'm thinking of a literary character or maybe a historical figure...

Enter the Psychoanalyst

on 18 August 2009

I've been having some weird dreams lately. No, I'm not pregnant, but the dreams are WEIRD.

And since I have no idea what any of them mean, I thought I would post them here and let all you amateur psychoanalyst have at it in the comments section.

For the record, I tend to sleep in fits and spurts--for 2-3 hour increments. 8 uninterrupted hours? Yeah, that's not me. Nearly all of the dreams that I remember occur between the hours of 5 and 7 am (when I give up and get up with the Boy).

Anyway, on to the dreams.

Dream 1: I'm rock-climbing. Not completely uncharacteristic of me, I've climbed some rocks in my day. But just as I reach the top the rock starts to crumble to sand and I have to pick my way down to the bottom (no ropes, natch) as the whole rock/cliff-face/mountain crumbles into sand around me. I make it to the bottom, but just barely.

Dream 2: I am a vampire (I have no idea where this is coming from as I am happily a vegetarian) and on a killing spree. I come across a very skinny girl who pleads to be transformed into a vampire. I acquiesce, for reasons I do not know, but when I bite into her arm, her blood is turquoise and royal blue and instead of becoming a vampire she collapses into nothing but bones and that horrible blue blood.

Dream 3: I'm making bread. It starts off well, the flour, the water, the yeast. But as I knead the dough it starts to crumble back to separate ingredients--the flour, the water, the yeast start to crumble out of the dough. I add more water and try to bring it back together and it comes together again only to fall apart again. And as I add ingredients to bring the dough back together it grows and grows and grows and keeps falling apart. I wake up having no idea what went wrong.

Have at it. What's wrong with me? And how do I get some decent sleep?

My Secret Identity

on 17 August 2009

I have a confession to make.

I'm not really a Wife. Nor am I really a Mom.

I'm a SUPERHERO.

Mom is only my secret identity. If I learned nothing from watching the Incredibles, it's that, as a Superhero, I MUST protect my identity, therefore I masquerade as an ordinary wife and mom.

But the reality of my life is quite different.

I can hear the smirks from here...wipe them off those faces and I'll show you exactly HOW I am a Superhero.

Situation: the Boy has chased a toy under the dining room table but because of the table legs and the chair legs he now cannot find his way out for all the LEGS. He commences howling. Not to worry! Superhero to the rescue! Enter, Moi, rapidly pulling chairs out and freeing the Boy with the strength of a locomotive!

Situation: Chris has forgotten to email a document from his laptop to himself so that he can access it at work. Not to worry! A text message SOS is sent and received. Superhero enters from the mist, heroic and beautifully disheveled. The document is found and email contact is made. And the outside world remains ignorant of near disaster.

Situation: the Boy has found an Unidentifiable Object on the Ground (UOG) and he's put it in his MOUTH! Faster than he can squawk HELP! Superhero to the rescue! Faster than a speeding bullet, I am there and my fingers fish out the UOG with lightening quick reflexes!

Situation: Chris is out of clean shirts! Work is in the morning! He has a 7 am meeting with Doctors and Administrators and people who will help him in his Career! What are we going to DO?!? WE are not going to do anything, because I am HERE. The Superhero and her magnificent laundering skills, washes and dries those shirts...they find themselves mysteriously hung up in the closet and ready for the week ahead.

Situation: the Boy has stopped playing long enough to realize that he's hungry! He needs food and he needs it NOW! Never Fear! I am HERE! Superhero produces relatively nutritious food and satiates the Boy! He can continue to grow without fear and without gnawing hunger.

There you have it. Me. Keeping Burnsothom safe from the Woes of the World, one situation at a time. And you all thought I was just another wife and mother.

Fun Friday--Resume

on 14 August 2009

That's resume, re-zooooom, as in a resumption of activities, not resume like a CV or other summary document commonly used for job applications.

Last Friday (otherwise known as Day Two of Burnstopia Internet Deprivation) was a VERY successful Fun Friday. And since it worked so well, I am here to share it with you! Because I am kind-hearted and giving in that way.

Alas, there are no pictures. I'm giving, but not THAT giving.

I was up to my elbows in parenting books (and no, I shall not be doing any reviews because everyone's parenting style is their own) and wanted to keep reading but wanted to do something fun for the Boy at the same time. And so, the Original PlayStations was born!

We have a big, but long, main living area. The dining room's connected to the living room bone, the living room's connected to the sun room bone...etc. Anyway, I wanted to capitalize on this space and the Boy's need to be movingmovingmoving all the time. So I selected some of his toys (books, plastic foods, stacking cups, balls, his Tonka walking toy, some soft animals and his blanket and Monte bear) and set up stations throughout the space. I tried to match the toys with the specific space. So the plastic food went in the dining room, the stacking cups in the kitchen, the books near a book shelf, the animals near the cat post, and his blanket and Monte bear I kept by me so that he could come over and stop and have a cuddle as he wanted.

May I just brag for a moment and say, he LOVED it. And this was no, loved it for 30 minutes and no longer, he played for 2 hours, had lunch and an afternoon nap and then played for 2 more hours before dinner time. He crawled from one activity to another at will and there was enough space to cross that he was worn out by naptime. It was awesome. There were no fits, no mischief, no following me around and clinging to my leg--of course, it probably helped that I sat on the couch and read most of the time that he was engaged in this. I also periodically got down on the floor to stack cups and fetch balls from under the couch and read books and also contain the general chaos.

This is one activity that will definitely be coming back every few weeks or so, and probably with different toys each time, but definitely coming back all the same.

The Boy and the Agnes

on 13 August 2009

Since I have told you all of the unrequited love betwixt the Boy and the Leike, I thought it only fair to also tell you of his relationship with the Agnes.

Say what you might about Leike, she's a very smart animal. When the Boy is too close and she's feeling nervous, she gets up and MOVES. She heads for high ground, she tunnels under furniture, she gets out of Dodge.

Agnes. Much as I love that cat, she's not the brightest. Or maybe she is. I'm starting to think she's TAUNTING him. Which is going to be problematic for her.

See, Agnes loves to be around us. The adults in Burnstopia, we are her favorites. She claims territorial privileges over our laps. If you sit still long enough in our apartment she will make herself at home. She's having a hard time with the Boy. First we brought him home and he was on top of us all the time--in her SPOT. Then he started to MOVE. Then he started to CHASE her, and now he's all up in her grill and she wants to stand her ground (after all she was here FIRST) but she doesn't quite realize that in the world of Burnstopia, Boy trumps Cat.

So she turns in to Civil Disobedient Cat and will NOT be moved. But reserves the right to get MAD when the Boy gets a little too close, a little too persistent, a little too much. In which times she swipes him. She's gotten him twice now (drawing blood each time. And yes, we wash the wounds obsessively). He cries more because he doesn't understand why she won't play with him than because it hurts. How do I know this? Because he never once touches, pulls at, pats or otherwise references the scratch. I have to go looking for them--and yes, I'm obsessive enough to give him a thorough once over after these infractions.

It's just SAD--he wants to play with her so badly and he just can't understand that she's really NOT interested in that highlighter that he thinks is so wonderful. All he wants is to SHARE with her and yet, she is not at all intrigued.

Look:

Now, look at the look on Agnes' face:

Do you see that? That smug edge that says, I like him not at all, but I will NOT be moved. And then look at HIS face! That plaintive, please-won't-you-come-out-and-play-with-me FACE. It KILLS me, y'all.

I'm still debating what to do about Agnes and the swiping of my child. On the one hand, he needs to learn that all living things need space, he needs to learn to be cautious around animals and to respect them. On the other hand, Agnes can get off her duff and MOVE if he's bothering her. She doesn't have to SWIPE him. I generally keep their claws clipped down, but she had 1 (one) long one and that's the one that got him. Needless to say, I clipped down all of their claws tonight after the Boy was in bed.

Catching Up

on 12 August 2009

Well, I'm back.

FINALLY.

I thought about blogging about the Craptastic Adventure of Losing our High-Speed Internet and the Restoration of Said Internet, but alas. I'm exhausted from all the RAGE. Suffice it to say, we had one real bad thunderstorm. We lost our Internets. We Battled Comcast. We RAGED (very much like the aforementioned thunderstorm). Internet was Restored. The End.

I have also thought about blogging about our misadventures car shopping...I'm still thinking about blogging about that one. Just as a sort of Guide for Car Salesmen. I'm hoping they all aren't as DUMB as the guy who ATTEMPTED to sell us a car and FAILED spectacularly because Chris and I are SMART. And we did NOT fall of the turnip truck yesterday. But, come to think of it, that's really all there is to it. We test drove a vehicle. We liked the vehicle. The Salesman was NOT smart. And Chris and I ARE smart. And so we did not buy a car from him. The End.

The Boy had his one-year well baby visit (which, now they're called well CHILD visits --when, WHEN, I ask you, did he CEASE to be a BABY and become a CHILD? I want my baby back) which was fine. The doctor is nice enough. Our doctor in Chapel Hill he is NOT. But then, all pediatricians can't fall straight from Heaven, now can they?


Anyway, the Boy is still in the 95th percentile for head size (I know you were all holding your breaths on that one so I wanted to get it out of the way first), he's 60th percentile for both height and weight, and they don't measure this one but I'm also pretty sure he's 95th percentile for CUTENESS.

He's getting two top molars and still with that one top middle tooth--the teeth they are conspiring against me. He's perfectly healthy and right on target developmentally speaking.

The doctor seemed flummoxed by the cloth diapers, I believe his exact words were, "What kind of diaper IS THIS?" Which necessarily followed a demonstration and explanation. We had already covered the breastfeeding and the fact that I made my own baby food. When it came time to talk about vaccinations, Chris and I both had to qualify ourselves as "Hippy, but not THAT Hippy." After all, we do believe in vaccinations. He had three shots and a finger prick (just to check his hemoglobin) and he was a champ. He screamed loud enough to peel paint with the shots, but once he was back in Mama's arms he quieted down to a whimper. We made another appointment for October and left so that I could spend the day pampering my Boy.

The strange and slightly depressing aspect of the visit was how surprised the doctor was by some of our choices (breastfeeding, limiting sugar, no juice at all, cloth diapers, no television etc.). It once again reminded me that I am a stranger in a strange land. In Chapel Hill most people made some, if not most, of these same choices. It was nice to blend. Now, we'll be known in the practice as those cloth-diapering-no-television-hippy-freaks. I don't really mind, it's all just fatiguing. And frankly, explaining myself over and over and over again gets a bit boring.

Thanks to all of your suggestions and for nearly a week of total disconnect, I have a list of posts that I'm going to write. Don't get me wrong, I was twitchy and Not Very Nice about the internet situation by oh, the verynextday, but I learned something. In fact, I may have learned some things (plural). 1) I spend entirely too much time hovering the computer. And 2) I'm actually a better mother when I turn it off and don't think about the bajillions of information that I consume via the internet daily and 3) I get A LOT done when I have no distractions whatsoever. Go figure.

HATE

on 08 August 2009

Just an FYI.

I have several posts of lovely material and ideas that you've all given me, and I really am going to write them.

But right now I am going in to BATTLE with Comcast over our internet service.

It's a long story and I think when we're on the other side of it, it may even be comical, but right now it's merely INFURIATING. As in, Chris and I are both in the midst of heavy RAGE.

In the meantime...please hold. Your call will be answered shortly and may be monitored for quality assurance.

the Not so Fun Friday

on 07 August 2009

Since I know that you all read this blog because you are deeply interested in the triviality of my daily existence, please allow me to assuage your suspense as to the Tale of my Laptop (heretofore known as Ruby).

Ruby is indeed the name that I have christened my laptop for she is shiny and RED and ever so sassy. She has been faithful and strong for these last few months, which is why when I awoke on Friday morning (last week, mind you) and pressed the trusty power button, I was shocked and saddened by a bleak and depressive screen.

It was not my cheery blue, yellow and orange welcome screen. There were no trusty Microsoft chimes, there was only BLACKNESS. And three lines of a message, something about reseating memory or somesuchness, and a dreaded BEEPING.

I frantically turned her off again. And sent a hurried email (from Chris' laptop) to my techie friend in Durham, it read something along the lines of:

AM PANICKING. RUBY NOT WORKING. SEND HELP!!!!

Being a good guy with the patience of Job he responded, I supplied him with specifics and decided that the calming breaths weren't working, and proceeded to look up the contact information for DELL which is where we adopted Ruby. I went to the technical support page but it all read like gibberish so I thought the only sure-fire solution would be to CALL someone and talk to them so that they could know the depth of my PANIC.

I called. I went through their awful automated menu. I was connected with a brusque man with a thick South Asian accent. I explained my problem. I explained my panic. I held the phone up to Ruby so that she could convey her own disgruntlement through her repeated beeping.

He said, "Yes, ma'am, I HEAR the beeping! Please. What is your service number?"

After repeating the service number and the situation of adopting Ruby, and the service number AGAIN, he connects me with the leader of a "Technical Team" and all I could think of was, "There is no I in TEAM!"

The Team Leader told me exactly what to do. I explained to him that I am not tech savvy. I have many friends who are tech savvy. They tell me what to do! I am a youngest child and I studied liberal arts and while I may be very intelligent, I know not what to do to help my poor, ill computer!

He chuckled softly, and patiently explained to me (in another South Asian accent--but not so brusque as the first guy) what he thought might be wrong, and what we were going to do. I was forcefully reminded of the way that 911 operators speak to people calling in an emergency. He talked me through removing the battery, draining the residual power, removing the plastic cover and popping out the memory. He calmly explained why we were doing everything that we were doing. Then he talked me through reinstalling the memory and praised me to the hilts when I powered Ruby up and saw my pretty blue, yellow and orange welcome screen. We both cheered "YAY!" when we heard the lovely Microsoft chimes. And then I was reattaching the plastic cover he says to me, "Ma'am, if you will please stay on the line, I will connect you to my manager."

I had no idea what this was about. I had no complaints. He had given me a special number to call if I ever got into this problem again--I will be automatically connected with a member of his Team. So I said, "Um. Ok."

The Manager (yet another South Asian Accent) comes on the line and says that he just wanted to thank me for being such a pleasant and polite customer. He said that the call had been monitored to assure quality and that he was impressed with how polite and pleasant (these are his adjectives people--someone on his team should get him a thesaurus) I had been. He reiterated that if the problem ever came up again I was to call the special number and they would take care of me.

I thanked him. I explained how pleased I was with my experience, that they too had been pleasant and patient and kind. How I had once worked in customer service, I understood how hard it is when people call and are angry and take out that anger on the first person on the phone. I said that I really needed to feed my son breakfast. I thanked him again and hung up the phone.

And the more I thought about it, the more depressed I became. What are their days like that they have to THANK a customer for being NICE? I know that sometimes mistakes happen. Wrong cords are sent, directions are misunderstood, people don't express their own confusion properly, no one enunciates anymore. But is it really necessary to be mean? After all, he didn't sneak into my house in the middle of the night, sabotage my computer so that I would have to call him and work on my computer for the better part of an hour on a Fun Friday morning.

What I've learned: You catch more peeps with sweet than you do with sour. If you don't understand what someone says, ask them to please repeat that. Be up front with your own limitations, people will be more patient with you. And wake up with your sense of humor--you never know what the day will bring.

Per Whimsy's Request

on 06 August 2009

A general update? Really? Hold on to your socks, peeps! This is some THRILLING stuff for you!

The Great Food Experiment is going well. Keeping Chris honest is more difficult than I had anticipated. He's in meetings most of the days and they frequently involve food. I cajole him into making fairly good choices--and he really does try--but when you put a bacon-wrapped filet mignon in front of a man who lives with a vegetarian--you can only expect one outcome. He does well for the most part, and we eat together most evenings, though it's later than I would like. What can I say? I miss my man. He works mostly 12 hour days, sometimes longer, trying to get his work done in addition to all the meetings he has to sit in on. He's starting to get a better focus on what he wants to be doing--he knows he wants to spend time with the CFO and the Legal department, and he may opt for more time with the CEO. I never thought that I would end up married to a future CEO, but I just might be.

The Boy and I are doing well--I'm still losing weight, though slowly. I made wheat bread this week and a blueberry pie for a treat. I'm doing yoga in the morning since Chris works so late at night and I have no desire to run AND push a stroller with the GIANT boy who has taken the place of my tiny and squishy baby. I opted to discontinue the blog...for various reasons. If you're really curious about what we're eating, or if I've found any good recipes lately, please email or comment, I'm happy to share. It was just too much! Too much craziness! Trying to keep up with TWO blogs and ONE Boy.

Who knew?

Ice cream? Yes please. Breyers vanilla is my favorite--because it goes with everything. Chris has been requesting peach pies most of the summer, so between the peach and the blueberry, vanilla keeps us in cool creaminess. We'll have blueberry this week and peach probably next week. And yes, I'm still losing weight inspite of ice cream and pie--I eat it in moderation, and I firmly believe (now, after the past few months) that part of what was messing up my metabolism was all the processy crap in food. Now that all of that is gone, my body is doing better metabolozing calories. And I just feel better generally. My wonky guts happen very seldom...even if I occasionally (very occasionally) eat fish.

Fun Fridays! Tomorrow's post is a vivid Tale of how sometimes Life happens and it is, apparently, not aware that Fridays have been designated FUN Fridays. Two weeks ago, though, we had a lovely pajama day, where we both spent the day in our jammies, we read books, we chilled, we had cheese and crackers for lunch, we watched a movie (gasp! I know! I? I allowed my kid to watch a movie with me. We normally don't let the Boy watch any TV or movies, so that's why it was a treat). We watched BBC's North and South. I figured it was ok because there are no special affects, no naked people, no one is maimed and they use very proper speech. He actually enjoyed parts of it. And it was hilarious to watch him alternate between being captivated by it and annoyed.

(I have no idea what to do for Fun Friday this week...any suggestions?)

The Boy: the oh so delicious Boy. He's not walking (he cruises around the furniture)--he knows very well that he can move faster if he crawls. He is, however, trying to climb the catpost. Leike climbs up to the very top (it's about 5 feet tall) to get away from the Boy when she has had ENOUGH. And he just looooooooves her soooooooooo much! But alas, this may be the Boy's first experience with unrequited love. She does not love him. She does not love him in a boat, she does not love him in a coat. She does not love him, Leike she is. The whole unrequited love and climbing the catpost in attempt to convince her of his adoration would be funny except he keeps falling. Not falling far, and not hurting himself seriously, but falling and getting MAD that he cannot convey the depth of his affection to the object of his unadulterated admiration. It's a totally different kind of affection than what he has for Agnes. Agnes merely amuses him. Leike CAPTIVATES him. If she walks by while he's doing anything--he stops and just stares...as if hypnotized, if you will. It's weird and funny all at the same time.

That was really long, and not really to the point, sorry.

The New Digs: Big. Which is really nice. The Boy just crawls laps through the apartment, he has a few balls that he loves to roll in front of him and then crawlcrawlcrawl as fast as he can to catch up to them, and he laughs maniacally while he does this. It's remarkably entertaining. Chris and I have decided that we don't like black appliances (all of our appliances are black and they just look dirty all the time...no matter how much I clean them), we're also not big fans of the layout of our dishwasher, but hey--at least we have a dishwasher, one of our apartments in Athens didn't have a dishwasher, or rather it DID, but the dishwasher walked on two legs and breathed air!

I finally hung up the last of the pictures, it's not exactly how I want them, but the space I had to work with was kind of odd. So it's long and narrow instead of more balanced. I will say that I love the big, giant bathtub in the master bath...after long sweaty days I crawl in there for a swim before bed. It's awesome. We also love having a separate bathroom for the Boy--no shower curtain to get in the way during bath time, no sweeping kitty litter up before we go in to bathe him...it's so much more efficient. Run the water, strip the Boy, plop him in, soap him up, later rinse repeat.

We swim a lot. As you may have gathered from the summertime post. The result is that I spend most of my days sunburned. We go swim and I brighten up like a cooked lobster, I take a couple of days off, fade back to WHITE (Snow White, Blinding White, Alabaster, Magnolia Blossom, choose your adjective)...and then we go swimming again. Chris keeps lotioning up my shoulders and calling me his little lobster. It would be affectionate if it weren't so applicable (and also if he weren't so horribly allergic to all shellfish!).

And Me? I'm...ok. Not unspeakably miserable. Not unhappy per se. Lonely. Flummoxed. Most of the time. The days tend to blur together...the weekends punctuate long stretches of familiar routine. I try to keep busy, baking, cleaning, cooking, reading, playing with my Boy, I do my workouts (that's how I rationalize my otherwise sedentary lifestyle), I have some sewing projects to work on--yes, Whimsy...I am attempting to sew. My sister recommended some awesome books to help guide me along and I've picked up a couple of patterns for skirts and some cute pajama pants for the Boy. I think I shall attempt the pants for him first. I have a research project of sorts that I'm working on--I'll try to keep you posted if it's published, which it probably won't be, but you just never know. I read some unspeakable CRAP published in the same journal that I'm going to submit this paper to, if I ever finish it, and if they'll publish that CRAP, I might just have a chance.

I was asked to teach for my church again. So I'll pick up where I left off in North Carolina, so that's nice. I have to teach this coming Sunday, actually. Chris and I had our first work affiliated social event last week. It was at a place called Captain Stan's and it was...fine. A little strange for me. Chris was there to network, to press the flesh, to nob his hob off. I was there...as an accessory? I'm still not sure. I think the people he works with were curious to meet me and the Boy and Chris wanted the moral support, so I went. I felt...odd. The only thing I could think was, "Wow. So this is what trophy wives are for...huh." It was odd. And meat-laden. But all in all, the people he works with are very nice and friendly and outgoing in ways that I am NOT. They utterly charmed the Boy and that's all it really took to win me over.

And that ends your happy walking tour through Burnstopia of late. Hoo Boy. I'm not sure we can handle this much excitement on a regular basis like.

Boy Sightings

on 05 August 2009

No one who knows me will be surprised when I say that our days are very routine. To an extent they're also very scheduled, there are certain times of day that we do certain things, but for the most part our days are simply routine.

I have certain chores that I do in certain order first thing in the morning. And because they're chores that are almost certainly germy and dirty and nasty I don't want the Boy to partake. Hence, we have obtained a baby-gate and I simply gate him in his room with all of his books and toys and blankets. He plays quite well by himself for an hour, sometimes an hour and half in the morning.

Of course, his room is completely trashed by the time that we eat breakfast, but not having him underfoot while I'm cleaning out the catbox, is worth it.

Anyway, while I'm moving about the apartment and engaged in these various chores, I find myself occasionally creeping up to his door and peeping in on him in there. Most mornings I can hear him in there, banging toys around, throwing balls, chattering to his Monte bear. But when things get quiet, I get curious.

Inevitably, as breakfast time nears, this is what I find as I creep up to his door:

Aside from my adorable child, please note--the blanket that he's sitting on is normally kept folded up in the bottom drawer of his dresser which means he goes looking for it in the morning. Those books live on the bookshelf in front of him, neatly arranged by author and size.

I love this picture. I love creeping up on him when he's quiet and seeing this. I love that given his toys, balls, blocks and Tonkas, he wants to read. He pulls down book after book and turns the pages over. He goes looking for a finds his favorites. I love this kid.

A Note of Gratitude

on 03 August 2009

Thank you.

Really.

Thank you for coming here. Thank you for reading, for whatever reasons you may have. Thank you for your comments. Most of all, thank you for reminding me that I am not alone in this great wide world.

I can't express to you how much it means to me to read your comments. To check in on your blogs. To know that in all this great wide world, so big that someone so small as myself can quite easily be lost, that you are all out there too.

I'm having some writers block. Feeling stumped for something interesting to talk about. Anyone have any suggestions? Any stories you want to request? Any topics for Other People's Words? Or Strong Opinions? Anybody? Bueller?