Wednesday, April 30, 2008

What's it gonna Costas?

king of the mountain, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

Any of you folks watch the Bob Costas "town meeting"-style fiasco last night in which a Pulizer prize-winning author with a blog-style name (Buzz Bissinger) unleashed a torrent of anger and abusive rhetoric at sports blogger Will Leitch, taking him to task for the evils and destruction that will be visited upon the entire field of sports reporting as a result of the uneducated and unskilled rantings of the unwashed public having louder voices than his compatriots, thanks to the home computer and the trendy new venue we all call blogging?

*Stops to take in air*

Bissinger lambasted Leitch on live television, and quoted at length and verbatim from the comments section of the fan-style Web site Leitch edits. His mission, presumably, was to point out that the unvetted thoughts of readers were not only classless but also debased the integrity of the media as a whole.

It was ugly.

I don't usually watch much sports television let alone sports commentary, but I had a hard time NOT watching the segment.

As someone who has thrown about my own tale of woe with respect to the decline of journalism, I couldn't help but recognize this Buzz fellow as a man who only sees an industry in danger of collapse, and who views himself perhaps, not as a passanger on a sinking ship but as one of the last, true sailors willing to go down to a watery grave if need be. The Hey Day is over.

I can't help but think, though, that Bissinger hit the airwaves swinging at the wrong guy.

He should have landed a punch or two in Costas' direction. Or maybe at one of the industry fat cats who pay his own salary. Maybe he should have sucker punched one of the same folks who started dumbing down the news when they voted to go for public offerings and promised shareholders 30 percent returns.

He should have gone a few rounds with the folks at the helm who, for the sake of saving money, cut spending on reporting staff and started developing infotainment. He should have taken to task the folks with the ratings meters who became successful in making entertainment look important. The people who saw dollar signs through gotcha journalism.

I believe Mr. Bissinger is mistaken when he said blogs are all about hatred and misinformation. I mean, Fox News certainly doesn't have ANY of THAT in its FAIR AND BALANCED reportage now does it?

It would be equally misguided to think news outlets such as the New York Times and The New Republic are merely rags of fabricated information. And yet, shit does happen, though, doesn't it?

Bloggers didn't cause the demise of the journalism. The industry started the mortal spiral at its own hand. All you need to do is watch the segment that followed, the one on how paid and educated sports journalists are seen by players as smarmy and disingenuous characters. You will see that a durable press card is the least of the industry's troubles.

In this particular horserace the winner will end up being the one who makes money. Period. And bloggers haven't pulled into the lead just yet. News outlets are still making money even if they're happily telling you they're dying. Bloggers? Some make cash, that's true, but most have day jobs.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Here comes trouble

He still isn't walking but I have to ask: Where did my baby go?
Over the weekend, the baby just disappeared. I have no idea where he's gone, but I think I know where he's headed ...

Hello dad, I'm in jail
Hi dad, I'm calling you from jail
Hi dad, happy birthday, I'm in jail
Jail, jail, hi dad

All those years, I'm in jail now
I'm in jail, I like it here
It's nice, I like it
Hello dad, I'm in jail
Hello, hello dad, hi, I'm in jail
Say hi to mom, from jail
I'm in jail, I'm gonna stay here
I like it here
I like it, yeah, throw away the key
I'm in jail

Hello dad, I'm in jail
Jail, jail, jail, jail

The infractions?

*Bit someone (visible teeth marks, thankfully no broken skin)
*Upended the dog's water bowl
*Refused to stay away from power cords
*Colored the table leg with a purple crayon
*Knocked the table over (twice)
*Unraveled the toilet paper roll (twice)
*Smacked the TV with a magnifying glass
*Colored my laptop's computer screen with a red crayon
*Pulled the dog's ears
*Ate dog food
*Tried to eat a library book
*Steals pens and won't give them back
*Tried to flush the toilet

And the list ... it's growing.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Hope floats

fish adoption, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

What do you get when you go to a kids' fun fair?

If you're in our family you DO NOT get a fish.

This is because in OUR family physical coordination was washed out of our gene pool and replaced by an inability to understand the simple rules of play. (I'm talking about me not Ittybit).

After Ittybit hurled the hollow plastic golf balls at the tiny bowls of colored water (getting three stuck between the rims ... so close to winning territory and still so far) the nice man handed her a pink ticket, saying that if she got five more (losing) tickets she could get a fish. Because I thought any losing ticket would do, and there had a whole gymnasium filled with games that we could flub, we ventured off to various games.

Long after I was ready to leave the fair, we took our losing (and some winning) tickets back to the fish-claiming window of the game booth and were told we were out of luck. We needed to lose at the fish game to get a fish.

So ... off to the pet store, where we adopted Marigold and Poppy, who were then renamed Emily and Abby, and four minutes after that renamed Emily and Elias (because she wants them to have baby fish) and possibly renamed Burp and Rock today, I don't know ....

Anyhow. She's all about being a good mommy to her new pets. She was careful transporting them home. Held the plastic bag in both hands, careful not to shake the bag. She showed them her room and turned on the bedside lamp so they wouldn't be afraid in the dark.

She never even flinched after I offered her Goldfish when she wanted a snack, realizing the horror of the thought after the word escaped my mouth. She just looked at me narrow-eyed as I giggled like an eight-year-old at my own joke. "Not THESE goldfish, though."

She so much more mature. She wanted to give her new charges just the right toy to make them happy when she's away. We had to test a bunch to make sure they didn't float.

It felt a little like the David Letterman show for a while there. We dunked a Matchbox car to predictable results, as well as a plastic key to her prized cash register toy with a not-so-predictable outcome. It sank like a stone. Neither the egg rattle nor the pigs decended past the water line.

Oddly enough, the Playmobil yellow-jacketed girl sunk to the bottom on two submersions, but floated on the third submersion like her SCUBA and vested compatriots. I was really trying to make it work, though, because I thought it would be cool for the girl toy to swim with the fish.

"It would be like YOU pretending to swim with your fish," I said, all excited like.

"Naw," she said. "I don't think I would like to get my face wet. Let's go with the key."

Friday, April 25, 2008

What's that smell?

fishface, originally uploaded by toyfoto.


And corn.

It's what's for breakfast.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Every day is Earth Day

Little Pet Shops garden, too., originally uploaded by toyfoto.

Every day I walk through our front door I turn a blind eye to last year's weeds, pale but numerous, hiding the new growth of perennials on either side of the entrance.

I know that even if my tiny gardens were adequately maintained and detritus free, they would still look like a drunken monkey planted them.

I am not a gardener.

My mother-in-law, a very gentile woman, even LAUGHED at me when she saw me attempting to dig a hole once.

I repete, I am NOT a gardener.

But still, I love me some flowers. Dahlias, peonies, hydrangeas and tulips are my favorites. I also grow irises. I love that no matter how black my thumb, I can usually get them to return year after year.

Watching something you planted grow is a bit of magic.

I really want the kids see that they can make it happen, too.

If nothing else, it gives me hope that one day I can say to them:

".. Hey, you have your shoes on. Go weed the garden."

and they might just take me up on it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Hhhmmmm, what is this delicacy?

hmmmm, what is this delicacy?, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

Nature's own genetically unmodified, organically grown corn flakes ...

or so we hope.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Relentlesstoil is saving babies ... you can, too.

A dear flickr friend of mine, Keet, also known as Relentlesstoil, has created perhaps the sweetest t-shirt designs in the whole dang universe to benefit The March of Dimes in its efforts to save tiny babies like her sweet Maya Chocolate-y Claire.

You have until April 30th to help her reach her goal.

So why are you still looking at my chest reading this?

Go. Save babies.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Automatic pilot

flying her "kite", originally uploaded by toyfoto.

Parent is a verb.

That's what we like to think anyway.

We big people who, through the miracle of evolution (har), have grown from microscopic organisms to organisms that study our own spawn as if they are under a microscope.

Myself an offender of daily proportions with all these observations written down that will haunt them forever for posterity.

I like to think that I'm actively trying to raise kind-hearted, fearless children who will take calculated risks. Every so often I get a glimpse of my baby becoming a girl and I think she's really raising herself. I'm just here trying to make sure the sharp objects are pointing in a downward direction.

And yet she's not really raising herself; she's just getting ideas from the people she meets and the places she goes ... her grandparents, her teachers the babysitter's house, the playground. ...

"Mommy. You're not supposed to talk to strangers?"

"Why not?"

"You're not supposed to."

"Well our family talks to strangers. We may not believe a word they say, but we talk to strangers."

Still, I hold my breath every time she climbs the jungle gym or goes running in the parking lot. I yell and rail against the dangers of not holding my hand as we walk in crowded places. I harp at her to hold the handrail. I tell her to be careful ... of her fingers in the car door. ... near the blender ... while shutting the drawers of her dresser.

Eventually I will have to let go of her hand.

We might raise them afterall, but they are the ones who have to fly.

Eventually, I must accept my role as "verb" being over and settle into the role most young people see us in anyway - a noun. You know, like the furniture.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Suitable for breakfast-lunch-and-dinner table conversation

7 p.m.

rocking the suburbs

Ittybit: Mommy says I have to marry Jacob. I can't marry Elias.

Mommy: *blinking*

Daddy: What?

Ittybit: She told me I had to marry Jacob.

Mommy: What are you talking about? We don't have arranged marriages in this house.

Ittybit: I know. I know. And we're not cat people either.

7 a.m.


Ittybit: Could you please make me the flower pancakes MOTHER? You are the best at making them. ... but you need to grease the pan. ... And they really need to be apart more. ... And THAT, looks more like a mistake than a petal. I think you ruined it. It's a good thing you can try again. Grease the pan, ok?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The end of the day

seven p.m., originally uploaded by toyfoto.

Dear Annabel,

The light is strange here at the end of these early spring days. It has the yellow-y orange crispness of autumn but it shines down warm upon the reawakening green. Just the glow of it around you makes you seem years younger, even at the tender age of four.

And seeing you in that light made me think about how ambivalent I feel about time marching on. You are still my baby, and yet when I call you that now it's only accusingly so.

"Stop being a baby! You are a big girl and you need to act like one."

Mainly it's the end-of-the-day frustrations that we all have. After working all day (for you the job of play is work) our tolerance level is low. Everything we do is focused on getting you into bed and asleep.

It's a tight ship we're trying to run, especially with all of us tired and cranky: Chicken or pork; popsicle or ice cream; movie or games; shower, tooth brushing, three books and "Goodnight."

It never goes that smoothly. Every path has resistance. There's always loud voices yelling "I'm not going to tell you again."

All so we can get up early the next morning and have even less time to get dressed and fed and packed and ready to go.

The strangest part of this isn't my failure as a parent but your success as a child. You don't hesitate to tell me you love me even after I've threatened to sell your toys and rent out your room to someone who will actually SLEEP there. You still draw pictures for me even after you saw some of them in the recycling bin. You always want to be with me even when I've told you I don't want to be with the YOU that is tired and whiney and in need of rest. "Mommy is off the clock."

When the truth is Mommy is never off the clock. Being a mom isn't a job. It's not that souless. I erroneously thought that motherhood was really the shaping of young lives based on the successful completion healthful dinners and consistency in manners.

But it really seems as if you children raise yourselves. We adults just try to keep you away from sharp knives and steep staircases until you can get the hang of them. I'm beginning to think that Motherhood is something only YOUR childhood can teach me.

I hope I'm as good a student as you are, sweet pea. Because I'd like to be better.



Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Just like old times

front yard, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

Last weekend, as I was scrounging around the house looking for film and an old camera that was still in working condition, it occurred to me how much I miss simplicity.

Not that old times were simpler times; because I don't really believe that. But my old cameras were mostly simple contraptions. I didn't have to worry about batteries being charged or tiny cards being misplaced. They only required a roll of film to operate. Sure, some of the more complex cameras I owned required batteries to trigger the light meters, but they worked just fine without. I just had to guess at f stops and shutter speeds.

As I worked my way up to thinking a good camera -- one with tiny bells and whistles such as automatic hocus focus -- wouldn't be wasted on me, the more reliant I became on batteries. Without them the cameras were lifeless.

When I unearthed and dusted off a roll of 120 film, I had three choices: a Holga; a Mamiya and a Yashicamat (my very first medium format camera, which I bought at camera show for $100). I wanted a little bit more control so I nixed the Holga outright. The Mamiya was a splurge camera ($800) so it's one that requires batteries for the shutter to work. Since it's been about seven years since I even looked at the thing I'm sure the batteries are toast. So the twin lens gets the tap.

I have a serious love for this camera. It's got a photocell light sensor and that's all. You load the film, crank the winder and you're set. Even the shutter has an anti-climactic click. Using the camera is like photographic meditation.

Every time I make images with it I feel as if the subjects and I are transported back in time.

But then again the economy of my super-dooper expensive camera on the processing end made me race to the UPS service center last night so I'd have the Nikon consumer-model apex today ... when Silas was going to be rummaging around in the recycling at work.

It all makes me vow, yet again, to do more with film. To not wait until the digital camera is in the shop for me to break out a roll. But it will likely be another broken promise. And before I know it, 35mm and my beloved 120 film will follow Polaroid into the abyss.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Roo wars

roo, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

Sometimes I feel like punching myself in the chin. (Not Silas. He just happens to be nicely framed in this terribly blurry, horrifyingly bad point and shoot photo).

My new camera, which was scheduled to arrive today, has been held up by the fact that no one is home to receive it.

Oh, let the pacing begin.

Tomorrow I may be able to post a more technically proficient photograph. ... I say MAY because I shot a roll of 120 film in the Yashicamat over the weekend and not only am I rusty, but the stuff was outdated by something like five thousand years. The new camera isn't getting anywhere near me until Thursday earliest. *sigh.

At least there's still some fun to be had: That gray, blurry bit with the red tips to the left is a boxing kangaroo pen that lights up.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Pieces of the puzzle

playing with Fd's toys, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

Parenting is full of smack-yourself-in-the-forehead moments: Things we think we should know just because every parent since prehistory has gone through it.

The crying.
The whining.
The biting.
The dragging of feet.
The not eating.
The not sleeping.

There's also the tradeoff things:

The hugs.
The 'I love yous'
The laughter
The happy glances in your direction.
The upraised hands wanting you to hold them.
The pleases and thank yous in just the right places.

People who don't have kids can pick any one of these, wrinkle their faces and say ... "Well, DUH! What did you think parenthood was all about?"

But parenting isn't something you inherit. Being a child doesn't prepare you for parenthood. Your own parents can't really prepare you either. Only parenthood itself can make you understand what pulling your hair out trying to figure out the inner workings of these tiny creatures you made really feels like.

The magazine pictures of happy families with perfect hair and impeccable clothes, pushing strollers, smiling, isn't you. Will never be you. In fact, the light from them is so far away you feel like a mushroom in the dark.

playing with Fd's toys

But the moment you slap yourself on the forehead that first time -- perhaps when you explain to a four-year-old that "going to Seattle" isn't about visiting a long lost aunt named Attle but a city in the beautiful state of Washington -- you'll feel the light snap on and the pieces fall into place. ...

For a little while anyway.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Intrigue on the internet

suspense , originally uploaded by toyfoto.


Ittybit:: "Hi Ama Linda.

Mommy doesn't know you're here."

Ama Linda: So this is our secret?

** This crank video conference call brought to you by Skype.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Game of Chicken ... with myself

You all know I'm going to be breaking into the old piggy chicken bank to buy a new camera right?

You know that invading the privacy of my children by taking copious pictures of them while they are still little and incapable of getting a restraining order is almost a pathological need for me.

You know I can't return to film (entirely) because it would unduly impinge upon the kids' future access to funds for a college education.

You realize the camera I end up purchasing has to be an upgrade from the one that bit the dust, and, with that in mind, I'm hoping my kids are bright enough to at least get some assistance for tuition in the form of grants.

Of course I won't be spending too much, right? I don't want them to HAVE to live on Ramen Noodles unless they want to. ...

You know that right?


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Incentive plan for sprited girls

Incentive plan, originally uploaded by toyfoto.


Red: Combing her hair

Green: Eating her dinner

Pink: Brushing her teeth and putting on her pajamas

Yellow: Going to bed

... without whining, crying, carrying on, causing a ruckus or stalling for days past her bedtime. You know, because she's afraid ... of snarls and pasta and cotton and missing any of the fun.

If she somehow manages to make it through the rest of the month getting at least three stickers a day she will get to choose her own "special."

She wants a cat.

We've determined that she CAN HAVE A CAT when she lives IN A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER by herself.

So she's agreed to a trip to the toy store instead.

I wish there was an incentive plan for spirited mommies.
I would happily brush my hair every day for a month if it would get me a trip to the camera store.

You see, my camera decided it has had a nice life but it is too tired to keep up with my kids. So it's making sad little spitting sounds when it should be making clicking sounds.

** I'll let you know when I decide to part with some squirreled-away savings. Until then, I'm afraid you'll be seeing stuff from the archives.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Good morning

Wake up slow, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

Any parent will tell you children and sleep are the chemical equivalent of oil and water: they don't really blend well.

We didn't start out this parenting gig thinking about sleep styles. Ittybit slept in a crib next to our bed for her first 11 months. She occupied her own room by the time she was a year-old when she attained the holy grail of milestones: Sleeping Through The Night.

Contrary to popular belief, however, we didn't look down our very long noses at folks we knew who were still sleeping (or not sleeping as the case may be) with their school-aged kids because they had adopted the Family Bed sleep style in their offspring's infancy. We didn't eschew the idea of sleeping like puppies from the start. In fact, with Annabel, I had hoped to sleep in the same bed at least until the round-the-clock feedings spaced out.

But it was clear quite early that she wasn't comfortable with the puppy arrangement. She fussed and fidgeted until I laid her in her own bed, where she instantly relaxed and fell into a restful sleep. Maybe it was because I didn't "room in" with her in the hospital. Who knows. Having never really babysat or changed diapers before her birth, I was afraid to be alone with her at night. Or maybe she just sleeps better solo. I know with my snoring soul mate I would.

Silas' early days were different. When he was born, three and a half years later, I wasn't petrified of motherhood or of a tiny child. Unlike the staff who cared for his sister, the nursery staff on duty during his stay had to come and find him for weigh-ins and examinations. Usually they'd find us both sleeping, him in the crook of my arm, in the hospital bed.

The custom continued after we got home because of nerve pain that came with his birth. It was too hard to get out of bed to breastfeed around the clock. And he was still and comfortable, hardly moving a bit.

We we all somewhat comfortable back then, probably helped in part by my husband's insistence on getting a king-sized bed after numerous late-night visits from the sleep-master-flash herself in the months prior to Thing 2's arrival.

He's been very patient, my husband, even though I know he's wishing for the day when we can clear the cribs and changing tables and plush toys from our bedroom and install a lock.

I'm in no rush.

I know there are days when I should have more sleep. Not only is my disposition more similar to a rabid beast, but having to drive upwards of 100 miles a day (more for Jed) makes sleep deprivation a potentially dangerous condition for everyone.

But I also know that these kids are only little for such a little window of time. And sooner than an blink they'll be sleeping like logs and locking their own doors ... (all except for Silas, poor guy, since he won't really have a door to lock only a closet-size cubicle with a bed and dresser will fit in the place we currently call the Guest Prison. But I digress).

It's just that waking up before the kids do and watching them toss and turn during their sleep life unconscious, may indeed be the best part of my day. I can see their personalities from the first eye open: Annabel wakes like a lion and Silas wakes like a lamb.

I think Jed can see the beauty of it, too.

We laugh together as Silas opens his eyes and notices his sister has crawled in beside me during the wee hours of the morning. He screams in delight and claws his way overtop of me to get to her. A little brother wake-up call.

"Do you think they make a bigger bed than king sized?"

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Morning commute

Apropos, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

We were early this morning by 10 minutes. Early - even only a little - always feels good; it always feels like there's time to relax and let the world meet you where it wants to.

The CD player was bellowing out tunes to sooth Silas, the studded snowtires were ticking along and Annabel was conversing with herself in her usual voice - a combination song and chant - when I noticed the train rolling along beside us.

I sped up. My Civic gained on the Canadian rail cars.

"Look, Annabel, we're racing the train."

She stopped talking long enough to look out her window. She was excited. I turned the radio down to hear her better:

"Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy ... MOOOOOOOOOOTHER! We're winning. We're winning. Take a picture. Take a picture. No. No. Let me take a picture. ... "

I laughed when we got to the end of the line - the railroad crossing. I put the car in park and cut the engine as the lights on the signal blaired and the arms of the crossing sign lowered. We had almost beaten the train for real. The conductor waved as the locomotive's engine passed the crossing in front of us.

I dug out the camera from my bag and switched it on, then handed it back to Annabel.

Keeping both eyes open she snapped away, occasionally looking down at the display to see what she'd gotten. She was delighted when the camera flashed bits of train parts back to her.

"I'm going to keep taking pictures, OK?"

"That's a great idea," I said. "Looks like this is going to be a long one."

When I turned the volume back up this was playing.

Monday, April 07, 2008

We might not know who we're voting for yet

she's voting for obama, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

But Annabel's made her choice.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Orange Crush

this kid's face ... just ... gah!, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

Can you have a crush on a baby? Your own baby? Is that weird?

People tell me all the time that the girl will travel the earth to be as unlike me as she can get, but dissimilarly the boy will hold all women up to the light of my image.

They also say, "A daughter is a daughter the rest of her life, a son is a son until he takes a wife."

I tell you what, though, after becoming the mother of a boy I can completely understand where the term "Son of a Bitch" comes from.

It's a rivalry over all the wrong things.

What I hold sentimental for my children I expect to pass along to them as they get ready to settle into lives apart from me. The Christmas ornaments, the photographs, first clothes, handmade quilts and heirloom toys. Things that have meaning for me, and that I hope will have meaning for them one day.

Perhaps it only shows my own errant perspective on gender, but I assume girls become the keepers of their family's sentiment while the future wives of boys become the unwitting collectors of junk that has no meaning them.

Perhaps it's all futile really, this stuff we hold dear. It's not really the things but the memory of times that things recall. It's mine not theirs. And yet it is theirs: The cradle that they slept in, that their father slept in; the cup that bears her name, and her great, great grandmothers' name; the ancient spoon they were fed their first foods from; the sweater their auntie wore.

We get hung up on things because they are tangible.

We can't really hold on to a memory. We can't watch our children change and grow and move away from us without some degree of sadness.

And life is so arbitrary.

Everyone has a way that differs from another from the way we look to the way we think. Everything causes strife. We can't stand when the helpful mother-in-law comes and re-arranges the untensil drawer.

We imagine it's because SHE wants it HER way. She is engaging in a power struggle because she thinks things SHOULD be different. Maybe she thinks her son (or daughter) should have married a different person; a better person.

The rivary can spin out of control over things.

But what if she just GUESSED wrong? What if she put the knives where the forks usually go because the drawer was empty and she couldn't remember where they'd been when she set the table the night before?

Why do mothers have to lose sons as that old cliched saying goes? Why can't they gain daughters? Isn't it possible we're more alike that we think?

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Winkin, Blinkin and Nod

My kids woke up this morning looking like this:



Only their winks were cemented shut with eye boogers.

My eyes were watering in sympathy.

*mmmmmmm. Gross.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Riddle me this

leave me alone, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

What do you have when BOTH kids are oozing phlegm out of all facial orifices, crusty with overnight snot, eye goop that cannot be removed with a chisel and a big old gash on the cheek?

Why, a well-baby appointment at the pediatrician's office silly!

Did I mention that I just did laundry but can't find clothes that match?


Silly me.

Perfect timing, because it's ALSO Annabel's Special Day at school.

Anyhoo. I took Annabel with me to Silas' nine-month check up because I hate myself can't manage to get out of the house on time. Thankfully, she was helpful and sweet. She even helped fill the doctor in on her little brother's developmental milestones.

"Yes, he's picking things up with his pinchy fingers ...
"Yes, he's crawling all over the house and the dog ...
"No, he's not sleeping through the night. He's a big, fat not-sleepy bug boy."

In fact, I kinda felt like the preschooler among us when the routine appointment took three times as long as normal ... which, sadly, is becoming the norm these days at the doctors' office.

Ittybit (whinning): WHEN CAN WE GO HOME? I'M HUNGRY.
Mommy (whinning): I DON'T KNOW, I HOPE SOON.

When we got there at four minutes to nine, the kidlet was asleep in his car pod and had to be woken up and undressed. And you know that last thing isn't really big on his TO DO list. Dealing with the sweaters and shirts while the boy flailed around, making the weigh-in more like an obstacle course wasn't easy.

By the time a medical student came in a half hour later to do a "pre-exam" I was ready to leave the kids with her.

Annabel wasn't terribly helpful in THAT department. She wanted to sit on the examining table, play with the rolling stool and talk the med student's ear off.

"What is that?"
"A stethoscope."
"Can I listen?"
"Ok ... when I'm finished."
"I can't hear."
"Well. .. these have to go in your ears."
"OK. ... Oh. I hear it now."

After it was over and the student left the examination room, we waited another fifteen minutes for the doctor.

"Will you read me a princess book? Or the I SPY one? Can I climb on this ... look there at the eye chart. Can you pick me up? I want to show you my favorite letter. It's R. R is my favorite letter because it can growl.. ... RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!"

Honey. ... Remember, I need to speak with the doctor and understand what she says so PLEASE don't interrupt.


I have no idea what the doctor said once Annabel took the rolli-stool out of the garage and crashed into the wall. I think it was something about using MORE diaper rash cream. ... Or maybe she said he looks like he's eating ice cream. ... I sure hope she didn't say he looks like he's been eating diaper rash cream.

Silas didn't want to be poked and prodded, and he definitely did NOT want the Hepatitis shot they gave him at the end. But he was a trooper.

As we were waiting (yet again) for the nurse to come in with the shot, my dad showed up (stalker papa) on his way home from his cardiac rehab (there is a god). He ended up taking chatty kathy out to the waiting room play kitchen to spread her germs to others and leave us grumpy folks in peace.

Afterward, I took the boy to the babysitter's house and Papa took the girl home to his to feed her lunch, and stand in as her Special Day person so I could go back to work.

But when I got to the sitter's and realized how late it was, I figured what was another hour or two? I got myself a Uber Expensive bag lunch at the chi-chi place I pass every day without hope of stopping, and I ate in the parking lot of the school.

Just an hour with my Special Day Girl. Just an hour to start and make up for too much lost time.

*** FOR THE RECORD: The Champ -- at nine months -- weighs 16 pounds, five ounces (less than 5th percentile); measures 27.5 inches long (25th percentile) and has a cabesa circumference of 45 cm (50th percentile). I know this because the nurse wrote it down.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Brianna's game

Brianna's game, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

Sunday we invited Annabel's former babysitter and her family over for lunch.

The transition from old sitter to new sitter has gone smoothly but I wouldn't say it's been easy. Each meeting - or playdate as we call them - with Lori has been harder than the last. Can't help but understand. As adults, we might see people who we love on rare occasions, and it brings us joy. Our lives may change and we still make an effort to connect. But with Annabel we’ve felt the need to employ an “out of sight, out of mind” strategy just to get through the day-to-day.

But we can’t go on avoiding forever. In real life people who love you don’t just go away, never to be seen again.

And yet, it's been a while since Annabel has seen her old friends. Christmas, it turns out, was our last meeting.

We tried to rewind.

She crawled all over the girls, who have grown in the past four years from wee things themselves to high school and college age. She took them by the hand to show them her new big-girl room and her toys. She played with the Playdoh aquarium Lori brought with her from home, complete with Dayglow dough.

Lori, her other mother. The girls, for all intents and purposes, her big sisters.

Over stage whispers and giggles, Annabel and Brianna organized a puppet show after the steak sandwiches were consumed and the dishes were cleared from the table.

We couldn't help but laugh.

Brianna's Purple monster was a menace: silently eating smaller puppets and knocking larger ones from the ledge of the theater. Its only sound was a deep, maniacal laugh.


Didn't matter how many times that purple monster ate the sheep or tossed the other puppets to the floor, as long as she was "laughing" we were laughing, too.

Of course three hours come and goes like three minutes.

Annabel cried when they left. We were all sad to see them go. For an hour afterward we played "Brianna's game" - in which we take turns describing and guessing animals - to take her mind off the sadness.

Can't rewind.

"It's really heartbreaking in a way, isn't it?" my mom asked when she called later to see how things went. "They really are like sisters to her aren't they?"

"Well with a couple glaring exceptions; they don't pull each other's hair or steal each other's clothes."