Monday, April 30, 2007

You know where this is going, right?

that face, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

Sometimes I think she's going to go from preschool straight to prom.

She's already got the idea that I may not really be the all knowing, all powerful Oz I'd led her to believe me to be.

"Mom, I think you went the wrong way."

"Mom, that's just silly. Animals do not TALK."

"Mom we DO NOT have any Cocoa Puffs at home and we also need more milk."

But we've also entered into a rhelm much more frightening than merely willfully defiant. We've entered the third trimester zone.

Before this weekend her definance was easily -- if not always satisfactorily -- handled:

SOOOO sorry you don't want to get into the car seat right now, but oh, lookie here ... I'm three times your size. It really sucks, and I feel sad that all your railing and raging is for naught when I can just pick you up and put you where I need you to go.

But as I watched her run away from me in the supermarket, I realized for the first time I couldn't catch up. And then I couldn't FIND her despite oodles of other shoppers pointing in the direction she went as I waddled past them, sciatic nerve throbbing and noticably frazzled.

Minutes passed, and I wondered what I should do? Screaming? Going to the service desk for help? She's not going to know what to do when the loudspeaker announces "Annabel go to the service desk your mother is looking for you."

And then out of the stinky cheese aisle she comes -- smiling and happy to see me, as if I were the one who was missing.

"Oh there you are mommy. I was looking for you. Look what I found: seeds!"

I had already abandoned my basket of fruit and milk somewhere to lighten the load, and I picked her up, telling her IT WAS CERTAINLY NOT OK TO RUN AWAY FROM MOMMY LIKE THAT! NOT. OK. AT. ALL.

After explaining that she wouldn't be able to come with me to pick up groceries again until she stayed by my side or sat in a trolley, I made her put away the "seeds" and help me find the abanoned basket so we could pay and go home.

I'm pretty sure I handled it all wrong. That I should have taken her out of the store right then, dairy be damned.

I wasn't worried about abduction or people seeing me as an inattentive mother; I didn't care at all what anyone thought. I was worried she'd wandered into a backroom or into the parking lot.
I pictured her lying under an SUV or a stack of toppled boxes.

Of course, when I mentioned to her WHY I was worried and upset, I get this look and the phrase I will no doubt hear for the remainder of her tenure in our house:

"Maaaah ... that's just crazy-nuts."

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Circus Berserkus

So. I survived.

I know you weren't all that worried. After all, it's a circus not a firing squad. (Well, they did shoot a 70 lb. cannon ball out of a cannon 75mph at some supposed strong guy, who caught it in gloved hands ... but that's not the same as a firing squad, right?)

Thanks to my father, who happily agreed to go with us to the civic center and even waited in line to swap our complementary passes for actual tickets, I was able to resist the urge to throw myself under the wheels of the miniature cars the clowns were zooming around in to end my suffering. You know ... to get away from all the people. I realize it really wouldn't be a circus if you didn't have to wade through crowds of people -- starting with the animal rights activists who are happy to shove pamphlets of ailing elephants into your kids' hands, and ending with the pushing and shoving of herding ticket holders, trying to run you down with their SUV-sized baby strollers as they make for the doors -- but I wouldn't mind trying.

Like I said: A clown show.

It also doesn't help that the very first thing you see upon making your way past the box office is The Greatest Show on Earth's most abundant and glamourous trinket trap in the Tri-City area. Whirring, buzzing lights spinning flashers; stuffed horses, elephants and tigers, mug heads sporting multi-colored ice brains and $10 bags of cotton candy stuffed into ludacris hats. All for the bargain price of 8,000 times the cost of production.

"I want a toy, mama. Can I have a toy, please."

And so it begins.

She doesn't REALLY want a toy. She just wants something she can put her hands on. Something she isn't in possession of this very minute. Something she can leave alone, abandoned, minutes after she possesses it.

"Well, I'll tell you what. We are going to find our seats because the show is starting, and if you are well behaved through the show I will buy you a toy on our way out. How's that sound?"

"Ok," she says and eyes me skeptically as we pass sales booth after sales booth after sales booth trying to find section 111, Seats 7 through 9 of Row G.

As soon as we climbed up the cement steps and brushed through the velvet curtains she was silent. Agast at the lights darting from one side of the arena to the other. The noise and smell of popcorn overwhelmed her. She was silent as we climbed all the way down the right side of section 111 only to climb half-way back up the left side to our seats.

"Wow. This is a circus?"

Those and a few more choice questions (Is that a tiger? What's the woman doing up that high? How is he going to get down from there? HORSES!) were the only things to pass through her lips until the lights went up for an intermission ... and she remembered her passion for popcorn.

So as Papa entertained her by pointing out all the crazy antics of the incidental sideshow - trying to keep her eyes averted from the souvenir hawkers making their way up and down the aisles with their sticks festooned with all manner of high-priced kitsch - watching the sweepers and the cleaners and positioners get ready for the second act, I went to spend a hour's worth of pay at the conssessions stand on popcorn and bottled water.

By the time I got back the lights were down and the tumblers were tumbling; the tooters were tooting and the fumblers were fumbling. The elephants came out and sat on their chairs and the aerialists were swinging high up in the air. It wasn't the Bindlestiffs, it had too much glam, but it sure was exciting from anywhere I could stand.

I watched in silence for 45 minutes, alongside the girl who was similarly committed. Even the grandpa was rapt with amazement. It was quite a spectacle, much more than entertainment.

When the lights came up for the very last time, I had to admit I was glad that we came. And on our way out, we stopped by the stands and picked up a wizzing, light twisting scam.

Then back to the car, six far away blocks, carrying a sleepy tot who'd just seen a lot. Too exciting for a weekday maybe, but man what a sight a circus can be.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

We're going to the circus tonight

Clown nose, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

And I'm afraid of clowns.

Please pray for me.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Good for the soul

... I'm your only friend
I'm not your only friend
But I'm a little glowing friend
But really I'm not actually your friend
But I am

There's a picture opposite me
Of my primitive ancestry
Which stood on rocky shores and kept the beaches shipwreck free
Though I respect that a lot
I'd be fired if that were my job
After killing jason off and countless screaming argonauts
Bluebird of friendliness
Like guardian angels it's always near

Blue canary in the outlet by the light switch
Who watches over you
Make a little birdhouse in your soul
Not to put too fine a point on it
Say I'm the only bee in your bonnet
Make a little birdhouse in your soul

(and while you're at it
Keep the nightlight on inside the
Birdhouse in your soul) ...


As an ineffective parent, I often find myself giving in to whims. When she asks me at the end of the workday, when I pick her up from Amah and Papa's house, what I've brought for her, a part of me winces that by having little gifts on hand I'm in effect buying her affections with incidental trinkets. The other part of me is just happy I had received a package containing a press release and decorator paints from a local vendor, which I happened to take home that evening, so I could get her to leave the grandparents and go home without tears. (Bribery works wonders for getting wriggling kids into carseats.)


I buy lots of junk we don't need under the auspices of filling up a craft box with activities we can do on rainy days (or when the whining gets to be more than I can handle). And most recently, as preparation for maternity leave when I'll have to find ways of entertaining the little munchkin without turning her into a television junky, I've been stocking up like there's going to be an armageddon.

I find all kinds of things in the aisles of dollar stores: foam shapes, paper, paints, pens, gluesticks even car washing mitts that I imagine with a few buttons sewn on may make interesting little handpuppets. (You know my skill with such things is craptacular.) I stuff them in a box and drag them out when the mood strikes, usually just about half past when all else fails.

I was delighted recently to find unfinished wooden birdhouses at the junk shop, and thought it would make a good project for painting. No only would it require no skill (on my part) but it would look nice and make lovely grandparent gifts.

Of course, because weekdays consist of all the fun of forcing her her to get ready for "school" or get set for "bed," I thought we'd be doing our craft on the weekend -- the designated mommy and daddy fun days.

At 9:30 on a Tuesday night, when she should have been in bed, it might have been wise NOT to show her the birdhouse or let her see the payola paints. But it wouldn't have been as good for the soul.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Today I hope to comb my hair

The lovely and talented Kelly at A Child is Born tagged me to write about slacking ... or being a useless slug ... or driving along the boulevard of broken dreams ... I don't know I think the official title was something like "What Five Goals Have You Largely Ignored?"

As I sat down to formulate my thoughts about the subject, I was startled to realize that pretty much all my goals have gone the way of Prince Charming or world peace or affordable healthcare: Silly notions I may have had as a starry-eye youth, but were soon beaten to death by the wage gap or the glass ceiling or the myriad inequities ranting and raving did nothing to change.

Whenever someone even mentions the word "goals" I tend to imagine some stuffed shirt corporate lackey -- a middle-managing boss-type character direct from the movie Office Space -- whose attendance at a management style conference in Las Vegas one summer six years ago provided him with the keys to the universe and a guest towel in the executive shitter. You'll recognize him easily enough. He's the one in the bad suit, who's never had an original thought in his life, coaching his "team" with slogans like everyone needs to be "thinking outside of the box."

OK. Maybe I'm just a little bitter.

When I was younger my goals were uninspired stock dreams:
*I wanted to go to graduate school.
*I wanted to travel and see the world.
*I wanted to be a journalist for LIFE magazine.
*I wanted to be in history books for the way I saw things.
*I wanted other people to think I was valuable.

But something happened to me as I got older. I couldn't decide on a major (let alone a direction) so I abandoned plans for grad school. I fell into a career that started small and just got smaller. I let fear settle down. I came to terms with being painfully shy and lacking in confidence. I was still the child who wanted to say something but hadn't figured out what, only now I was growing older and more set in a comfort zone. I had goals but no plan. No way to get from here to there.

I didn't feel valuable.

Eventually my goals became little ticks of obsession-compulsion:
*Get to the light before it turns Red.
*Empty the dishwasher before the baby wakes up.
*Switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer.
*Weed the flower bed before it gets too overgrown.
*Write something and post it before the kid (or the husband) comes looking for you.

The Grand Plan had become a To Do list.

Sounds depressing, doesn't it? But it really hasn't been. There's more to life than aggrandizing the things we do; the personal satisfaction we glean from being the amazingly talented beings we only see in the mirror. But whether you call it a goal or a dream or a life's purpose, once attained it's an ending.

Parenthood, if nothing else, shows you in no uncertain terms that having a child isn't the end. It's just a another piece of the collective you. You may identify yourself as a mother (or father) or you may not. You might put your heart and soul into raising the best and brightest or you may look on in amazement as it happens anyway. But you are always moving forward ... always trying to keep up.

So I don't have goals anymore I just have things to do. Keep moving, keep plugging, don't look back.


I'm not going to tag anyone for this, but as always if you want to write about it, let me know and I'll give you some linky love

Monday, April 23, 2007

'Round and round we go ...

there's my papa, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

Dear Annabel,

In the grand scheme of time, it won't be long until your brother is here taking the space your baby-self left behind. Everything is going to change -- from where you spend your days to how quickly we are able to answer your needs and desires.

I can't believe I'm saying this, and I really don't want to set myself (or you) up for heartache, but I really think you are ready.

It's not merely the relentless questions you pepper me with daily about when he's coming, or what we'll call him, or where he'll sleep; It's because you've been asking if one day you'll be a mommy. If you'll be able to "take care of everybody," as if that's what you've gathered mommies do.

I'm sure when he's here the reality you face will be vastly different from the fantasy you've been living with as you hug my belly and demand to give him one last "zerbert" before bed. I imagine it is only natural that from time to time you will have issues with having our attentions divided, and you will grow weary of the crying and the fact that mommy won't be able to cradle you both at the same time.

I know that family and friends will be riveted by every move this baby makes, but I am also reminded of how incredibly magnetic babies are to strangers. How, for most people, an infant's presence is reason enough to coo and cluck, and talk about how a new baby is so beautiful-special-adorable-precious-delightful and such a blessing.

When you were tiny, I couldn't walk down the street without people stopping me to comment on your sweetness. It was nothing short of miraculous to me how just your existence seemed to brighten the moods of total strangers.

A part of me was a little sad when you outgrew the infant clothes and you lost the roundness of babyhood that attracted folks we'd never met like moths to fire. It wasn't that your specialness had ended, it just wasn't automatic anymore.

A part of me missed the attention you got that spilled over onto us.

A part of me resented the public angry tantrums, and worried what others' must think. A part of me worried that constant repetition of the need for patience was a lost cause.

But last weekend, when spring lifted us out of winter for the first time and you, papa, Mimi and I went to The Farmer's Museum in Cooperstown to meet some friends and ride the carousel, I realized that your charms and your abilities are blossoming.

You are lovely and amazing, and that has really nothing whatsoever to do with me. It's never been more clear to me than at that precise moment that this person you are comes from your inner being not from how we try and shape you.

By the time we left, all the staff we encountered knew your name - and no, they weren't rolling their eyes when they said it. They were smiling and pleased to make your acquaintance. They watched as you moved out of your safety element - the stable boats and benches - to the more daring stand-up animals and they congratulated you on your bravery.

They said they'd hoped you'd come again, and they meant it.

Next time we go, though, I imagine you'll be showing off your little brother. But I doubt you'll be outshined.



Thursday, April 19, 2007

Taking matters into her own hands

Inspector Ittybit, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

Every Wednesday I stand on top of a decades-old footstool in our tiny, badly-in-need-of-renovation bathroom and snap a picture of the belly.

It's weird, really. I have about four pregnancy photographs of me with Annabel in ought 3: two my parents took in their living room whilst I was visiting and two I took myself in the buff, no less, (for posterity) during week 37.

This time there's been no fancy setup, no stragic lighting, just quick snaps, once a week, in front of a waterstained, reclaimed mirror. They are throwaway photos that lack style and technical merit. All they are is consistent: the barn wood of the mirror's frame giving the appearance of a peep hole, and my left-side profile against the light of a bare light bulb late at night.

I'm not sure why I take a picture on the day the pregancy ticks up to another week, but I'm sure it has been out of compulsive or compensatory need rather than celebratory desire. It's practically the only thing that has been "done" to mark Thing 2's progress to date.

With more experience and the constant noise of another little person who speaks and has needs (such as Ice Cream, please) there's not a lot of time to sit around and marvel at the miracle of this new, unexamined life.

But it is new and marvelous and wonderful to HER. And that's a detail I might have overlooked completely had she not pushed open the bathroom door and climbed up on the footstool next to me, to give her brother a "zerbert."

Pulling at the waist of the pants my belly is trying to burst, she noticed the deep impression the button had made on my skin.

"WHAT IS THAT?" she said with the Oh-my-gawd-this-is-so-cool voice she picked up from the pre-teens in her life.


I had to hand it over and let her snap away. How could I resist?

Excitement was finally in the air.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A little lookie lou ...

thing 2 -- 29 weeks, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

A banner day at the ob's office: intake of yucky glucose drink on empty stomach at 8:30 a.m. followed by an ultrasound, which because of position (me, lying on my back, not baby who is still breech presentation) made me want to vomit, and then, finally, a quick (surprise) visit with the doctor. I was actually at work a few minutes later than my usual arrival. Go figure.

The stats look like this:

*I fully expect to fail the simple glucose test -- because I did with Annabel -- and will be required to take the three-hour tolerance version.

*Thing 2 is measuring right at 29 weeks, weighing in at 2 pounds six ounces. The doctor says that's solidly in the 50th percentile. He's happily swimming around and poking me in the left side with his feet, not caring at all about the numbers game we're playing out here.

*Also, with 10 weeks left to go, I am officially one pound away from attaining the total weight gain I had with Annabel.

*The rash has now been conclusively determined to be PUPPPS. So that means it's here for the remainder of the pregnancy and might even get worse.

*AND .... (imagine drumroll here) Thing 2 has a tentative potential birthdate. ... Although not set in stone, it looks like the surgery schedule for the c-section will be June 18 or 19th ... two weeks before the due date.

I can't believe it's only two months away. Where did the time go?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Like I needed ANOTHER reason to love her ...

she got the funk, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

Upon seeing a Play-Doh mold of Toy Story's Buzz Lightyear, she exclaimed:


Yeah, that's my girl.

Speaking of virginity ... any of you see this little study?
Some of us already knew abstinance-only programs were full of holes ... now a Harvard study has a little proof.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Just one more question ...

Three-year-olds love to stall. They love to elongate the process of bedtime so that it includes more parent time, more toy time and more just plain I'm loving being alive time.

As I've complained before, bedtime in our house can last for hours. With the music selections, deciding which books to read (and how many encores afterward) getting water to be the right temperature and volume as well as a few random "I'm so scared" pleas for good measure, it's amazing to me that she ever falls asleep.

I berate myself that I'm always at my least able to handle these late night assaults against sleep, and I usually end up pleading with the little miss to go off and join her dreams, wherever they may take her. Just GO!

That's why I'm glad that the stalling tactics have spilled into the morning routine. I've noticed a little rest and time away from the daily grind makes it easier to enjoy the banter.

Lately, after dropping her off at the sitter's, as I say goodbye and head for the car, Annabel taps on the window to ask "one last question."

Of course it's always rainy and cold as I stand outside (without my coat) waiting for her final query, but somehow a little sleep and a long commute ahead cushions the discomfort.

When I was her age, or so my parents tell me, I was just the same way ... only different. For me it was wanting people to talk to me but not really having anything to say. I would hem and haw and say "You know what? You know what?" over and over again until someone would bite.


Then I'd skitter away like a crab behind my father's pant leg and hide. I hadn't though of a question.

Annabel, by contrast, has TONS of them.

Mostly they turn into statements such as "Well, actually ... I was just saying that Mouse is a dog and he's really, really tiny and cute."

or ponderings that have little to do with the morning excitement ...

"Mom, remember when we were with Ama Linda and we swam in the heart-shaped pool in the bathroom? I'd like to go there again sometime."

Of course today, on this gray, lackluster day with fall winds pushing against the promise of spring and the threat of yet more snow for the weekend, she was direct:

"Mom? Why do you have sunglasses on your head?"

"Because I live in hope that they will bring out the warm."

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Creepy ...

luxian landscape, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

I got home from work last night and before my bag had hit the floor the kiddo was at my feet, pulling on my legs wanting answers.

Her face was stern, and her eyes intent and fixed on mine.

"Am I going to Lori's house?"

My mouth hung open. I stammered ... "What do you mean? Are your going to Lori's house? Do you mean right now? Tommorow?"

She shook her head violently and pulled harder on my pants' legs for emphasis.

"NO! NO! Am I going to Lori's house next year?"

I was afraid of this moment: The one in which I would have to tell her that she won't be seeing nearly as much of her beloved babysitter, the person she's spent three years of good times; that she will be going someplace else, some place - at least in my mind - not as ideal.

Since January, when I found out our child care situation would go through drastic change, I've thought of little else but this conversation - a conversation I thought I would have to initiate. A chat I had scheduled for sometime in early June. A talk that I envisioned would turn into hours of creative collaboration and culminate in a series of memory books for each of them -- Lori and Annabel -- to keep. In essence, a long coming to terms with life's curve balls.

But she preempted my plans.

"No, honey. You won't be going to Lori's next year. Next year you will be going to a bigger school."

"Oh good," she said happily, and she skipped away. "I can't wait to go to school."

Now I expect the grand meltdown will happen in ernest when she realizes she doesn't get to ride on a big yellow bus just yet.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Sleepless nights

to sleep ..., originally uploaded by toyfoto.

I couldn't sleep last night. I tried. I went to bed early (for me) and closed my eyes. Nothing.

My legs felt gittery. I cracked my ankles and moved my feet back and forth. I shifted and turned, and grumbled to myself at the potential for this new symptom to be the often scoffed-at syndrome -- restless leg.

I got up and walked around. No help. Last week I was waking up from a dead sleep with crippling pain and leg cramps. Flex, point, flex, point, flex, point ... back to sleep.

The clock that had read 11 p.m. now blinked 1 a.m.

My legs eventually gave up their wakefulness and just before I was able to drift off, the itch of the rash roared. Up again for the forgotten Caladryl. The shock of cold as it dried woke me up again.

2 a.m. Annabel is standing in the hallway, silently looking at me. She lifts her arms. I put her in bed and we cuddle. She tells me I'm the "bestest mommy I ever had," and shushes me when I tell her I love
her too. "MOM," she chides, "You are waking me up from my dreams."

Lay back down, I tell myself. Soon there will be enough sleepless nights. There will be on the two hour feedings round the clock. There will be new learning curves for all of us. Get all the rest you can now.

I do as my mind instructs. I try to relax but the reflux takes it's turn. I get up and go to the kitchen for more TUMS; an empty ritual that doesn't work.

4 a.m.: with flexing feet, itchy torso and burning throat, I wonder if I will ever get sleep again.

Thing 2 has been quiet, and it occurs to me that aside from what I hope are pregnancy related symptoms, I've not really been noticing the pregancy. I wonder how often he's been fiddling around in there.

And just when I figure I'll be awake to greet the sun, he reminds me he's here and his got things to do, thank-you-very-much. "I just think I'll try tap dancing over here on your bladder, ma."

There's so much to think about; so much left to do. So little time, it seems. No time left for sleep.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter

anticipation and elation, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

Wishing you a day filled with sweet things.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Maybe prevention is the problem

waiting her turn, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

I've heard it a million times: "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." But lately I've been wondering if that ounce of prevention doesn't also equal a metric ton of unnecessary angst?

If you’ve followed the news at all during the last decade, you're probably aware of the billions of ailments and hardships we can prevent by eating the right foods, getting the right exercise, getting the proper amount of rest and moving to the right neighborhood ... or being born to the right parents ... or jumping around on our left foot while tugging at our right ear.

Sorting it all out isn't even the biggest problem, although it probably doesn't help that the "Good" list includes coffee, sunlight, red wine, chocolate and sex for their anti-oxidant and stress relieving properties – all of which may also be found prominently on the "Bad" list.

Maybe it's just coincidence that since the advent of safety campaigns such as "Loose Lips Sinks Ships" and "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires," we've seen a collective increase in American anxiety.

Is it possible that the idea that we can effectively stop bad things from happening has turned prevention into avoidance and pushed us all into a state of undue agitation?

Perhaps it's a bit of a leap or an over simplification, but I keep asking myself what has changed since I was a kid and the answer I keep coming up with is fear.

Improvements are everywhere:

*Car seats are safer
*Footwear for kids is better
*Cribs and toys are better designed
*Getting the word out on hazards is instantaneous and fixes are just as speedy.

And yet we'll say "the world is a different place" today as easily as we said an “ounce of prevention …” yesterday.

We’ve all seen stories of children abducted from their own homes or on their way to school, and we put ourselves in the place of the victim. But no matter that numbers indicate stranger kidnappings are statistically insignificant, we can only wrap our minds around the fear and the possibility of preventing a tragedy even if we can’t do it.

Doesn't it seem strange that very bad things continue to befall us, despite the fact that kids aren't allowed to be without parental supervision anymore?

The playgrounds are always empty of the kids I would have known in my suburban pre-adolescence: Kids who showed up after school with their gloves and their bats and wondered who wanted to play pitch and catch. Kids who wouldn't go home until their mothers called or darkness ended the game.

Instead there are huge playfields and droves of parents trucking their uniformed children from one league game to the next, setting up the tailgate of their minivan with Gatorade and low-fat snacks, and yaking on the cell phone during play.

And despite all my digging in of heels and refusing to believe the world has changed for the worse, I fall into the trap of such ill-perception myself.

Anxiety is always the first emotion to appear as I drive my family sedan on the windy, back roads I used to ride my ten-speed Schwinn an unhelmeted five miles alone. What ifs start coming like mad. What if a driver didn't see me? What if there was an accident? What if I just disappeared?

I wonder how my mother was able to let me go. How I will let Ittybit go? And then I realize, sadly, I probably won't have to: There won't be anyone for her to meet. All of her friends will be at soccer games with their moms or dance lessons or gymnastics after school.

The playgrounds will still be empty.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Back to bed

All over the place, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

The burning questions ...

Did Jed get home as planned?


Did Annabel sleep in her own room finally?


What time did she end up going to sleep?

10:16 p.m.

What happened when she woke up?

Lots of angry, accusatory tones and this early-morning rebuke:

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

You've got mail

what e-mailing requires, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

Annabel has been somewhat enthralled with the "pewter" as of late.

Thanks to our imaginary friends, we've been tipped off to some fun online sites for kids such as Kneebouncers and Orsinal. Every so often she comes and asks if she can play the OTHER KNEEBOUNCERS, a series of games for older kids, which means she sits in my arms and consoles me as I try and get an animated squirrel to jump from ledge to ledge as it collects crabapples.

She pats my hand sympathetically each time my squirrel takes a plunge.

But lately she understands that communication happens here, too.

"Mama, I want to write a letter to Emma and Luke," she said with her hands on my keyboard.

"OK?" I say without hiding my skepticism, and I set her up with a blank e-mail window.

She starts to type letters and numbers and other symbols into the white space. Chattering the whole time about what it is she's "writing."

"Dear Emma and Luke. Hello, how are you? I have a spotted frog and he's in the swimming pool. Happy Birthday!"

She almost never includes Love, Annabel in the closing.

"I need an envelope and a stamp, mama," she instructs after she's finished her epistle.

"Why do you need those things?" I ask.

"Because I'm ready to send it."

Monday, April 02, 2007

That kicking you don't really feel is a good thing

All the best-laid plans ...

Jed is on his way home in his rickety NEW truck with a NEW uber expensive crane attatched to the back, and he should be pulling up in the driveway tomorrow morning. I would shout something celebratory but I'm really a pessimist at heart and I don't want to jinx anything. Two engine overhauls in two weeks should teach anyone with the sense (insert deity name here) gave a goat not to crow.

Mostly I'm just happy I made it through 10 days without him. Oh sure, we'll have to reacquaint Annabel with her own bedroom, which for the past week has seen her only long enough to change clothes or release one of its toys to her nimble clutches, but I'll let him worry about that.

Today's only REAL dissappointment was that I had planned to take Annabel with me to my regular dental appointment so she could get a first-hand look at what it's like to open wide and say "ahhhhhh SHIT!"

I kid. Really my teeth are in pretty good shape aside from the fact that I threw away my retainers once I got my first diaphram (you know, I didn't want to confuse the two protective cases) and therefore have the tell-tale snaggle tooth front and center on the bottom. Since the dentist has the same condition, he doesn't chastize.

I also digress ...

Since I had hoped Jed would be home and able to bring her back to the sitter's house so I could go straight to work, and since some itchy mystery rash decided to cover my abdomen late Saturday night, I cancelled my plans to have her sit in on the hygenist's handiwork and instead made a back-to-back appointment with a midwife to let her have a peek at the pustules.

Turns out the rash is likely a contact dermatitis and NOT PUPPPS (as I had initially feared).

I suppose the highlight of the whole thing is that whenever you go to the OB when you're pregnant they check out the heartbeat. This time the midwife couldn't help but chuckle.

"He's a kicker and not shy about it at all," she said, laughing. The rhythmic bounce I heard on the doppler (but only felt when they made my belly bounce on the outside) was THING 2's idea of a dance party. "He's already got a personality, this one. That's for sure."

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Living up to the shirt

April Fool, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

The only person who pranked anyone in this crazy family was Annabel today when her papa took her away for an hour so I could have a little rest. They went to the grocery store and then to the ice cream shop that gives away free sample cones.

While they were deciding what flavor would taste best in the tiny cone, papa preemptively went into the bathroom to dampen a paper towel.

When he returned with the "wet nap," Annabel looked at him with a furrowed brow and said loud enough for the whole store to hear:


A little embarassed, he quickly told her no, that he'd run it under the sink's tap.


He assured her he did not ...

She cut him off.



While we might have held off on crooking each other, April is pranking us. Jed is stuck in Michigan, needing yet another engine overhaul for his NEW truck. He won't be back until Tuesday now. And, just to make sure he has something to do when he gets home, the neighbor kids broke a window in the front of the house with a baseball. Accidents, you know -- like that other sticky substance -- they happen.