My Singing Boy

on 28 March 2012

We spent last Saturday holed up together.  Turns out, we've been a little busy around here, so Chris and I hadn't seen each other all week.  We were all just hanging around chatting in the Boy's room and I was amusing myself (and Chris) by getting the Boy to sing for his Daddy.  I thought you might find it amusing as well...

Incidentally, the song he's singing is a French lullaby called Fais Do Do...

He really is 98 kinds of awesome.

Milk and Cookies

on 23 March 2012

I've been working on perfecting the chocolate chip cookie for nearly a decade.  The problem has been that Chris and I are looking for a texture that's almost impossible to achieve, crispy-chewy on the outside and soft-chewy in the center.

But I've done it.  I've perfected the Chocolate Chip cookie.  And the Boy agrees.

(You know how, that first year with a baby they grow and change so fast you almost can't keep up with them?  But then after their first birthday it seems to slow down and you can catch your breath.  And then, well, then it seems like you go to bed at night with one child and you wake up in the morning to a totally different child.  The Boy is changing so fast now.  He's losing the last traces of my Golden Baby and becoming a full fledged, dirt loving, gangled Big Boy.  I've known it was inevitable, but it still hurts my heart a little bit.  It seems I am always being left behind...)

My Girl

on 14 March 2012

The Girl had her 2 month check up on Monday.

I think she's wonderful, but then, I am her mother.  Of course, I think she's grand.  But it's always so reassuring, so lovely to hear from medical professionals when they're impressed by your baby.  She's mellow and sweet, and they all noticed that.  And she's promising to be just as healthy as her brother is.  I sometimes feel a little guilty that my chickadees are so healthy, I know so many wonderful mothers who struggle with health problems in their kids.  Maybe guilty isn't the right word...mildly embarrassed.  But I have to say, also profoundly relieved.

She's squarely in the 50th percentile for height and weight, 75th percentile for head size, which, you know...pretty typical in our family.

She was NOT happy about the shots.  I told Chris, I have NEVER heard her scream like that, in fact, I have never heard ANY baby scream like that.  She held her breath until she was beet red and gasping, and even when it was all over and done with and I pulled out some human comfort for her, she would latch on and then pull back to scream in indignation all over again.  This went on for 10 minutes until she finally calmed down enough to dress her.

It was just as horrific as it was with the Boy.  I thought the second time around might be easier, but it wasn't.  Even for good reasons, it still hurts when someone else is hurting my babalah.

(My Sister made that blanket for her.  Bobbles and all!  I didn't even get it washed before she cuddled up to it.  It was in the laundry and she was Fussing (capital F, should be ALL CAPS), so I grabbed it and lay her down and she settled right down.  That's what I call magic.)

In Praise of Mediocrity

on 12 March 2012

February 7th was the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens.  I celebrated by rereading my favorite biography of him, and as I was reading I was struck again by his genius and the extraordinary gifts with which he was blessed. 

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a genius, or extraordinary in some way.  Not that I really wanted fame or attention, I mostly just wanted to be special in some way.  Alas, I have no extraordinary gifts, I worked hard and went to school and remained rather ordinary.

And then I grew up.  And I came to recognize that genius isn't always a blessing, sometimes it's a curse.  For all his genius, for all his gifts, Dickens was a miserable, miserable man.  He was NEVER happy.  He wanted to be married and to create the kind of family that he felt he should have had, and so he got married and they had children and no sooner did he have his family then he began to resent them.  He separated from his wife and exiled his children by his own deplorable behavior.

He had this amazing gift for language and wrote some of the greatest novels in the English language, and yet he wrote of them in letters to his friends as if they were millstones about his neck.  He loved and hated his audiences, just like he loved and hated his family.

As I've been reading, I've been struck by the realization that sometimes it's a blessing to be ordinary.  Average.  Mediocre.  Not to be a genius, not to be special, to just quietly live an ordinary life.  Because somehow, in the ordinary is where we find happiness.  Peace.  Contentment.  The things that Dickens never found.

I finally killed him off last week.  I have to say, by the time I got to the end of his life, I was just RELIEVED to arrive at his death.  He was so unforgiving, so unyielding to any way other than his own.  For all his liberality, he was incredibly close-minded.  And as I usually do with his novels, I was struck again by his life how little we've really changed, which, when you think about the progress of human history, is really quiet sad.

Promised Smiles

on 09 March 2012


My girl has been smiling for a couple of weeks now, but what I've learned is that she's not a total HAM like her brother is.  She's a tough audience.  I can talk and sing and make faces and this is what I get:

Thoroughly unimpressed.

But I'm starting to learn her ways...after she wakes up in the morning, she's happiest, she likes to sit up high and look around, and if you're patient and treat her like normal but try to snap pictures at the same time, you'll get this:

For everyone who asks how we're doing, the answer is, we're really good.  Because 90% of the time, this is who we live with:

She's mellow and sweet, but I think she's an introvert like her Mama.  She's likes to stay home and have quiet.  When things get too rowdy, or when we're in the car out and about, she howls and howls.   But for all that, she's nothing short of Grand.

Who needs toys when you have a kitchen?

on 07 March 2012

I was loitering about the other day.  Reluctant to go run the errands that needed to be run, and Chris was enabling me.  I guess I figured if I stalled long enough, maybe Chris would get up and run the errands for me.  Not so much.  He's a master at procrastinating, so all he really did was succeed in corrupting me into procrastinating them as well.

While I was stalling, the Boy declared himself hungry.  While we were discussing lunch options, the Boy took matters into his own hands.

He came back to the living room and informed us that he had gotten out some food for lunch and he was going to cook for us.

You should know that it was 2 cans of mushrooms, 1 can of olives and a can of green chiles.  I'm not sure what he was planning to cook up with that, but he was certain of what he was doing.

In the words of his father, let me just say, Man, I love this kid.  He's 9 kinds of AWESOME.

Sing Praises to the End of February

on 05 March 2012

I hate February in these parts.

In previous years, I've just taken a blog hiatus so as not to drag everyone else down with my mid-Winter gloominess.  This year, well, the Girl is just so CUTE.  And my Boy was particularly hilarious.  I didn't feel it was fair to completely deprive you all of my two little Lights.

There's not much going on in these parts, I just popped in to say...


February is OVER.  

What's next?

Best not to opperate SHEARS while sleep deprived

on 02 March 2012

The Boy's hair baffles me.

As many of you know, I have naturally curly hair.  Very naturally curly hair.  After many long years of practice, trial, error and some truly horrific experiments, I have figured out how to deal with curly hair.

The Boy's hair is so completely straight that I have no idea what to do with it.  It's straight, it's fine, and there's a lot of it.  The consequence is that it tends to be, well, not to put too fine a point on it, it's shaggy.  All the time.

And I feel a little like Uncle Vernon because it seems like I'm always looking at him and thinking, "We need to cut your hair!"

Since I'm too cheap to bring myself to pay $10 for a haircut for him, I've been trying to learn how to do it myself.  Not being overly coordinated, this has proved a bit of a challenge.

Some months are better than others.  Some months, you almost can't tell that a complete amateur cut his hair.  And other months?  Other's painfully obvious that an amateur has cut his hair.  And then there are the occasional months...those months,  well, they usually end in a BUZZ.

At least I'm off the percoset, right?  So all I can really blame this on is chronic sleep deprivation and my own impatience.

I set about cutting his hair last week.  One side turned out GREAT!  You almost couldn't tell that a complete amateur had cut that side of his hair!  But the other side?  Oh dear.  The other side looked like I had attempted to cut his hair with gardening shears.  It was choppy and fantastically uneven.

So over the course of the next THREE DAYS, I snipped and trimmed and futzed with his hair.  All in vain attempts to make the other side look as good as the first side.  I remain puzzled by the reality that all that snipping and trimming and futzing really didn't FIX anything.  All it did was make that poor other side SHORTER.

I finally admitted defeat and buzzed the poor Boy's hair.  I'm torn.   The tactile side of me just LOVES running my hands over buzzed heads.  It's one of the side benefits of Chris keeping his head shaved.  But the mother in me, just hates it!  He looks so...OLD.  So grown up!  Such a big Boy.  I want my baby back.  With the wispy blond hair and the chubby arm folds.

And yet...I also don't.  I love my Boy.  He's tall and gangly, and he absolutely NEVER stops talking.  But he's so imaginative and clever and funny.  I wouldn't trade him for the world.

This Mothering Gig

on 01 March 2012

I was in the kitchen last week.

I was trying to put together something for dinner, which often means that I'm cleaning up a mess previously made by Chris and LEFT so that he could go to work, while simultaneously trying to cook for the Boy and myself.  It also means that, very often, the Girl is screaming her head off.  I'm not sure why, she's generally fed and clean and otherwise fine.  I suspect she feels a little left out and therefore MAD.

But back to last week.  I was trying to cook dinner and I had opened the blinds and windows because it was sunny and upper 60s and lovely and FRESH.  And my Boy seized the day.

I'm not sure why, but I'm regularly surprised by this Boy. 

I can count on 1 hand the number of times I've left him with my parents to go somewhere without him.  For three and half years, he's been this constant presence in my day to day life.  I know him better than I know Chris.  I know his little body better than my own.  I know what he will like and dislike.  I know his expressions, his fears, and exactly how to calm those fears.  And yet.  He still surprises me every day.  He'll look up with an expression on his face that I haven't seen yet.  He'll tell me something that I didn't know he knew.  He'll make me laugh until my head hurts.

He knows all the words to Adele's "Rumor has it".  He loves animals of all kinds.  He knows the names of all the dinosaurs and says them, for no particular reason other than they're fun words to say.  He picks up on elements of adult conversation and works them in for a laugh whenever possible.  He knows how to use a iphone better than Chris and I do.

I was telling my Mom the other day, how I could have gone back for a PhD.  I could be working in an academic department, reading and writing and leading a rich intellectual life.  But then, that would be EASY.  It would be predictable, quiet and steady.  Being home with this Boy?  That's my Adventure.