Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Fat Tuesday ...

Rock Star (color)
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
It's almost over, but I wanted to sneak this in before Lent is upon us. (No, mom, I have not returned to the fold, nor am I giving up photography {or meat} on Fridays). Annabel and I celebrated Mardi Gras by trying on beads and animal masks and dancing around the house pretending she couldn't see me taking "pishers." She even helped our guest - Arly C. Clumps III - get into the festival spirit. Since Arly's people - Dappa John and Ama Sally - are in the Big Easy this very as we speak-end with their Krewe de Glue, Annabel knew he felt a little bit of longing for all the glamour and sparkle.

wolf mask Arly dog is a little homesick for mardi gras not looking mama

She has such a head for knowing ... cheered him up poste-hasty.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Reach for the sky ...

reaching, mama
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
After yoga in Great Barrington today (during which Annabel HAPPILY practiced downward dog, cobra and legs-up-the-wall before running off to play with the foam blocks and water dispenser) we tried to run some errands in town.
It's getting more and more difficult to gauge when her meter will run out. This time it ran out before I could even get her strapped into the car. She was adament about sitting on the seat NEXT to the babyseat. She wasn't moved by my explination about the similarities between motor vehicle laws in Massachusetts and New York, so I had to wrestle her into the seat, after which it became painfully obvious that any errands I wished to run efficiently would have to be done through drive-in windows. ... That whittled my list down to coffee at Dunkin' Donuts ... (yay for me).
Although the coffee was a treat, the situation seemed to undo some of the nice effects of yoga. It was especially disconcerting, since the week before we were able to have an hour of pretty stress-free errand running time after yoga.
We hit the co-op for some produce and bread, and even though the line at the grocery store proved a little too long for miss boo, she managed to hold it together long enough for me to pay the bill. A cashier in the next line offered Annabel a small plastic crocodile. She stopped fussing and accepted the gift with great aplomb and said thank you. She handed it back and the woman told her it was hers to keep if she liked. Then her face lit up, and she said "Oh, Shank You VERRY MUSH. Shank You VERRRY Mush!!!"
We even made a trip to the toy store to get presents for Maeve's party and I even managed to get us all safely across the street for a cup of hot coffee. I don't think I would have even tried it had we been in New York. ... you gotta love Massachusetts' pedestrian laws, a-yup.

like this, mama?

Friday, February 24, 2006

Birthday wishes

Annabel had a blast at Maeve's zoo-themed third birthday party today. She even insisted on wearing a party hat. She also insisted daddy and mommy wear them, too.
There were a plethora of new experiences ... Farm Yard Bingo, Color Forms, Madagasgar and a Pinata. She's was surprisingly patient in waiting her turn during all the games.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

CONFIDENTIAL MEMO ... (no peeking, moms).

To whomever it may concern ...
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
23 February, 2006

Dearest Cousin Elliott,

Because you are kin and I love you dearly, and because you are getting around as a bi-ped now (no doubt on your way to the terrible TWOs), I thought I'd pass on a little of the "Support Staff Management" wisdom I've gathered in my TWO whole years on this planet. ...

REFUSE TO WEAR hats, sweaters or coats. It makes the support staff CRAZY.
Only allow your FAVORITE color of socks to be placed on your feet.

Don't EVER take your shoes off. I suggest wearing them to bed.

Another thing that makes the support staff nuts: LEAVING THAT LAST BITE OF FOOD ON YOUR PLATE. ... They will act rediculous in attempting to get you to eat it ... very entertaining.

Don't let your mommy put her hair up. EVER. Protest. Throw fits if you must. She looks better with it covering her face, so show her how to style it that way each time she tries to kiss you.

Use the POTTY once ... early on. ... AND NEVER AGAIN. Show them who's boss. Let them know you can do it, you just choose not to. PRICELESS.

HIDE YOUR FAVORITE TOY then cry about missing it before bedtime. This will add at least 15 minutes to the evening.

There's SO MUCH MORE for us to talk about, baby Elliott, but I won't overload you from the start. Just remember: It's so difficult to get good help these days, so go easy on them. Every once in a while giggle uncontrollably and give kisses when they least expect it ... they will forgive all and never call in sick. I just wanted you to have the very latest information at your disposal.

Much love and sloppy kisses,

PS. .. Speaking of disposals ... hide a dirty diaper when the support
staff isn't looking. The results will be HIGH-LARIOUS. ... I say no more.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The glare ...

How I miss "storm clouds," those furrowed little brows that change the expression on her face into a rainy pocket inside an otherwise sunny day. Annabel's moods are still as fickle as the northeast weather, but her new words make the climate changes unmistakable.

"NO pishers, mommy. NO PISHERS!" she shreaks and runs around the table, turning her head and shielding her eyes. Seconds earlier, she'd been happily playing with crayons and singing songs.

We've been laughing to ourselves lately as we observed our little kumquat turning into a toddling teenager.
The new morning ritual involves her lounging around in her crib, unwilling to rouse herself from light sleep. She's awake, but she would rather lay on her back, bounce her heels on the mattress and have 'latte' boy (or girl) bring her "hot milsh" in bed. We usually have a few minutes to rush through breakfast before it's time to load up and head out for the day. Her weekday motto seems to be: I'll get up when I'm good and ready.

Yet on weekends the springs of her crib start to squeak and her melodic voice begins calling out for "MAA-ME. ... MAAAA-MEEEEE as soon as first light breaks. No rest for the weary.

And now, it would seem, there will be fewer pictures as well.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Sleep, perchance to dream ...

Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
Dear Annabel,

I sneak into your room sometimes in the middle of the night just to watch you sleep. I always take a photograph. The focal guide makes you flinch a little until the shutter releases and the room darkens again. You settle down, turn over and are still once more. I secretly hope my fumbling around in the dark will wake you up, and that you will want to cuddle and read Good Night Moon one more time before returning to the land of nod and all your sleeptime friends.
You are growing up so fast. Growing a little heavier, a little more agile, a little more surefooted each day.
I often wish that I could slow down time. But it's not possible and even if it were I'm sure I wouldn't like the results.
I know there will be a time, and that time will be sooner than I'd like and not soon enough for you, when I will cease being Wonder Woman to your Super Girl. When that day comes, I hope you will still know you can look to me for strength when you need it most. I will always love you, boo. Even when you don't like me much.

Sweet dreams, baby.


Friday, February 17, 2006

It's the mommy chair

It is the job of every single toddler on this planet to make sure that their parents are adequately challenged while doing exercises. (Pay for this kidlet activity is lots of zerberts and loud, sloppy kisses). Our Sunday yoga classes have become interesting these days. In addition to having to be within arms reach of the collar of my shirt at all times, Annabel also has to sit on me. ... hense, floor poses are all she will allow.
I am a bit giddy that she is finally showing a teensy-tiny bit more interest in asanas. She was inspired by a deck of cards I purchased that has lots of colorful drawings of little bendinis pretzeled in poses. Although she mostly just shuffles the deck, she did surprise me yesterday by showing me her version of downward dog.
I suppose I should feel grateful I don't have Jed's excercise routine. When he does his stretches in the morning he usually gets two smelly dog snouts and a baby's butt plunked down on his face.

Translaitin' n' schiizzle ...

I had to share this: I happened upon www.Gizoogle.com and found out how this blog reads in hip-hop ... The following is the translation of the post: "A little girl in us all"

Friday, February 17, 2006
A shawty gizzle in us all

I cizzay believe I'm still fixated on Valentizzles Day. I'm beginn'n ta thizzink it's hustla possible T-H-to-tha-izzat tha Hallmark thugz hizzy invaded mah cranium n implanted some kind of emotion amplify'n device that makes me crave sweet, albeit, manufactured moments.

I actually wizzy out n bought treats fo` mah sweets this year aww nah. Cookies n a sketch bizzle fo` Jed n a purple tutu fo` Annabel.

See, we've been straight trippin' `bout birds who wear tutus in her book "Bears Who Wear Glasses," n she keeps tell'n me she'd like a purple tutu, too n shit.

When I saw this shawty frock in a giftshop last weekend I chisled out mah credit card F-R-to-tha-izzom tha wad of useless crud I've collected in mah wallet n handed it right over ta tha clerk . It's your homie snoop dogg from the dpg.

Of course, this story is going tha way of tha Pottery Bizzy lamb ...you knizzow, tha one she grabbed in tha store n chewed on (whizzay she was `bout seven months old, forc'n me ta purchase tha S-O-Double-Gizzy mop fo` tha exorbinant price of $8) n promptly dropped tha animal as soon as we walked out of tha store.

Afta ballin' tha box n pull'n out tha baller W-R-to-tha-izzap, Jed helped her try it on. She immediately began ta howl as if we were steppin' out her hizzy strand by strand paper'd up. ... I put tha tizzle away fo` gangsta. If its story ends like as tha lamb's has, she'll be sleep'n in her tutu by Summa's end . Aint no killin' everybodys chillin'.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

A little girl in us all

my sweethearts
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
I can't believe I'm still fixated on Valentine's Day. I'm beginning to think it's altogether possible that the Hallmark people have invaded my cranium and implanted some kind of emotion amplifying device that makes me crave sweet, albeit, manufactured moments.

I actually went out and bought treats for my sweets this year. Cookies and a sketch book for Jed and a purple tutu for Annabel.

See, we've been reading about birds who wear tutus in her book "Bears Who Wear Glasses," and she keeps telling me she'd like a purple tutu, too.

When I saw this little frock in a giftshop last weekend I chisled out my credit card from the wad of useless crud I've collected in my wallet and handed it right over to the clerk.

Of course, this story is going the way of the Pottery Barn lamb ...you know, the one she grabbed in the store and chewed on (when she was about seven months old, forcing me to purchase the soggy mop for the exorbinant price of $8) and promptly dropped the animal as soon as we walked out of the store.

After opening the box and pulling out the gossimer wrap, Jed helped her try it on. She immediately began to howl as if we were pulling out her hair strand by strand. ... I put the tutu away for later. If its story ends like as the lamb's has, she'll be sleeping in her tutu by Summer's end.

purple tutu

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Smooches to you

shhhh ... suprise
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
With a clear tape repaired Fruit Loop construction paper Christmas tree in hand, Annabel wishes you the best this Valentine's day. She sends you all her sloppy kisses. Not that we stand on ceremony or Hallmark or anything but we do believe in a little sugar for the season.
We will be sending out our little cupid arrows as soon as we can wrench them from Annabel's kung-fu grip. Watch your mailboxes for soggy "Vlopes" ... and remember to wash your hands afterward.

xxoo xxoo xxoo xoxo xoxo

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Introducing ... Princess Drool and her alterego, Blue Fairy

Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
She was happy enough to try on this tiara (a gift from her "Dapper John" and Gamma Sally way back from before she had hair) - especially after each dog took a turn modeling the bejeweled head piece -- but she didn't want mamarazzi taking any "pishers." Drama queen. I tried to sneek just one of her in her tea party ensemble and this was the result. Oh well. Later on she was too busy playing to object ...

blue fairy

Sweet, comic valentine

my silly valentine

Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
This evening after work I did the unthinkable. I drove to my old nursery school (the place where a tow-headed little heathen told me she would mutilate my beloved teddy bear, and where I spent a few years as an adult living in the apartment upstairs while I was making $12K as a reporter - photographer - editor - columnist - editorial cartoonist - courier - mail carrier - layout and pasteup person), and registered Annabel for the 2-3 year-old class next fall. It's only two days a week for two hours a day, but it almost had me in tears. Not only is my little boo growing up, but she's going to start her schooling in the same place I did.
I was practically misty when I got home, and Annabel couldn't wait to wrap her arms around me and show me her surprise.
She pulled me into the mess of my bedroom and walked over to Jed's nighttable, crouched down and pulled a squiggly ribbon from underneath the stand. Out slid a red, tissued-wrapped present inscribed with the words "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy" scrawled in thick idelible ink. Translucent green bows and leftover curly ribbon from Christmas finished the effect. She couldn't wait for me to open my present ... which turned out to be a few chocolate bars Jed and she had picked out at The Grainery to give me on Valentine's Day.
Jed still has to learn that two-year-olds have trouble delaying gratification ... or keeping secrets. Suffice it to say: It was a great end to a busy, milestone of a day.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Time travel

Adventures in shopping
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
I had no idea this would turn into a series until last night, when, camera in hand and toddler in tow, I decided to get out of the house. It was too late for the park, and I didn't think Annabel would have any fun at a coffee shop if she had to stay in a seat. It was getting cold so a walk in the stroller wasn't an attractive option either. So ... We went to the grocery store. I thought: They have that wacky car, big aisles and lots of room to run. Best of all I didn't have to get anything so I could just focus on having fun and taking pictures.
We ended up getting some fruit and some bacon (Annabel wanted it) and we also ran around the freezer section with her looking back and yelling at me to stop following her. She was adorable. I had no idea the store could be this fun. Of course It came as a complete surprise when we got to the dairy aisle and she had a meltdown. I should have known better. For some reason, she's always hated the dairy aisle.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

"Dapper John"

"daper john"
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
Jed's father stopped off on his way back to Conway after looking at some equipment near Syracuse. He stayed overnight in our "guest prison" and was regaled in the morning by a horse that sings out of its ear and a strawberry scented musical book.
He was also dubbed "Dapper John" in the process. Turns out the name is a good fit.

Late night, can't sleep? Try LUX.

Annabel Ala Lux
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
The utata.org project, paying homage, has me obsessed. I've gone from Cameron to Avedon to Arbus and now I've gone surreal ... to Loretta Lux.
Her unsettling portraits of children are haunting me. I have made several, but so far this one is my favorite. I'm not sure where this is going or where (if anywhere) it will take me but it's a fun distraction.

Today Jed has to work so boo and I will have to entertain ourselves. I hope the weather is nice so we can get out and play.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Shank you, Mommy

lean on me
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
There are days when I think Annabel is already plotting her revenge. Every meltdown caused by us taking something away from her or putting her in "time-out" for some toddler infraction is going to come back and bite us.
It won't be long until she will have outgrown the prison of her crib and will be free to roam about society (in this case, the barn).
We had a little taste of this in Minnesota when we handed over Annabel's playpen to her one-year-old cousin Elliott after his sleep deprived parents forgot to take theirs out of the trunk of their car at the airport.
Oh well. With a futon mattress on the floor and some bedding we turned Ama Linda's elegant curtain-doored closet into a boo-bear abode. She fell out of "bed" each night at least once, and by the end of our stay she had managed to wake up in the middle of the night in the pitch black room and toddle over to the edge of the bed and yell "WAKED UP."
The definition of STARTLE should be that very scene presented to a parent for the first time.
But I digress, as usual.
Another first that I couldn't wait to tell the Internet (but obviously did wait) was that yesterday I bought the most expensive set of finger paints on earth -- Crayola's Color Wonder - at $9 for a package of paper and a tray of paints had me pacing the store pondering the purchase. Since they claim not to stain clothes, hands, walls or furniture, I threw caution and some hard-earned cash to the wind.
While not perfect (they are oily and don't dry) they were s BIG hit, and as such, instrumental in illiciting another first.
After we painted for about 45 minutes on the sun porch, Annabel came over to me and kissed my cheek and said "shank you, mommy."
I stopped my complaining about the cost right then ... it was worth every penny.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

All clean ...

color homage
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
... thanks to Lori, Annabel's "other mother."

After hearing of our trouble and taking great pitty on our ittybit, Lori came to the rescue with a washcloth and some overdue elbow grease. She even risked the state of her brand new bathroom rehab on the gamble that the dirt ring left behind would come clean. (Perhaps with excess scrubbing it might). She even clipped ittybit's nails to boot.
She's bucking for a hefty bonus.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

My grubby valentine ...

silly mommy
Originally uploaded by toyfoto.
I should be embarrassed to admit this but we're pigs so I'm at peace with it: It's been more than a week since Annabel has had a proper bath.
Not that I haven't tried, mind you.
Most kids love to get into warm, soapy water and slosh around until even the walls are drippy. Not miss boo.
I think there may have been a brief time in the summer when bathtime wasn't a struggle, but it's so long ago that I think the memory may have been a dream.
These days when I say its time for a bath you'd think by her reaction that the toddler translation worked out to be: "I think we're sending you back. It's just not working out."
Perhaps its that the blue plastic baby tub - the only way we can turn our stand-up shower into a pool that collects water - is shrinking as she grows. And, of course, we never seem to get the temperature quite to her liking. I insist that it at least be moderately warm while she insists that it's burning her skin off even as her lips turn blue.
I won't even mention what happens when we wash her hair.
For now, I suppose, I shall have to be happy with sponge baths and just thank my lucky stars her hair is still just wispy little weeds.