So the Fish Said...

Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be my poem, I whisper with my lips close to your ear.

- Walt Whitman

Meet the Fish

I want to get a pet duck and keep it in the bathtub.
I am addicted to chap stick and altoids.
I am freakishly flexible.


World's Most Beautiful Child

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World's Most Handsome Child

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Other Important Things

Clive Owen

Clive Owen
Pretend Celebrity Boyfriend


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Mia Monday #29: All She Wants to Do is, All She Wants to Do is Walk Edition


Cancer sucks, yo

Wait, what are you all doing reading my blog on a Saturday night? I mean, if you don't have plans, you should come over here and we can make out.

Or else, you can do something worthwhile and go say hi to Keri who is Blogathoning to raise money for cancer today. (I assume she is raising money for curing cancer, not for buying it a drink.)

Go on over and say hello and give her some money, or at least a sloppy wet kiss from me.

Retraction

My kid is so awesome. She has been asleep for two hours, and I still can't stop giggling about how she was tonight.

Why didn't you people tell me about this? About how your kid's laugh makes everything right in the world?

Oh that's right, you did. I just didn't believe you.

Largest living land mammal

If Mia gets any more teeth I'm going to be too fat for all my pants. Oh yes, there is a connection. Mia has two molars coming in, and apparently, they hurt. (Please please pretty please save me your teething pain relief tips because I have tried every last one of them and nothing works.) Sometimes, such as when we went to lunch on Wednesday with Corinne and Shepherd, or today when we went to lunch with my friends A and B (hi, guys, here's an internet shout-out just for you) she has been lovely and charming and giggling. Other times, such as every second of every day that we were not out to lunch, she has been screaming. She screams if I put her down, she screams if I pick her up. She screams if I feed her, she screams if I take the cheerios away. She screams if I take her outside, she screams if I take her inside. She screams if oh you get the idea.

She screams in her sleep. It takes at least an hour to get her down for a nap, and in the 20 minutes of silence before the screaming starts again, I eat. She's been asleep for about 15 minutes right now, and I have already eaten leftover french fries from lunch and a chocolate ice cream cone. As soon as Chris gets home, I'm going out for cookies. I'm not usually a stress eater, so this is new to me. I am, however, a stress smoker. I am also bound and determined that I am finally, at great long last, with no cheating of any sort for any reason even when entirely blotto drunk or stressed to the point that my head is about to pop right off my neck, a non-smoker.

And so, I'm eating. And eating. And eating. And I swear I'm gonna stop, just as soon as I make it through those cookies.

A meme, a meme, my kingdom for a meme

Ok, I admit I've been tagged for this one before more than once, so if you are one of the ones who tagged me I'm sorry I didn't get to it. Yesterday, HollyRhea tagged me and because I a) think she's fabulous and b) have nothing else to write because it is hard to follow a post devoted to chapstick, I'm doing it.

Five items in my freezer
Avocado slices
Avocado puree cubes
Applesauce cubes
Pearsauce cubes
A washcloth

Five items in my closet
A box of baby clothes waiting to go up to the attic
The attic door
Row upon row of sexy heels, covered in dust
A broken box fan
Two humidifiers

Five items in my car
Cheerios
Half-empty water bottles
Inflated baby float
One of those big things to cover shopping cart seats and restaurant high chairs that I never use but also never fold up and take out of my car
Silk flower in my visor that was on a wedding gift we received

Five items in my purse
Chapstick, duh
Cell phone that is actually charged, highly unusual for me. I still never answer it, don't call me.
Cheerios
Wet wipes
Hotty pediatrician's phone number, just in case

Five people I tag
Um, haven't you all done this one already? Tell you what, if you haven't already done it, then I tag YOU. You had better do it too or else I'm gonna be pissed.

And now for something completely different

I love Jen. I love her so much that if we weren't both already married I would kidnap her to Massachusetts and force her to marry me. (Hey, is that how you spell Massachusetts? I can spell Mississippi. See, Mississippi. Did I ever tell you about the time I spent a long family road trip forcing my younger brother to learn how to spell Mississippi? No? Well, that's pretty much the whole story, so let's move on.)

I love Jen because she sent me an email yesterday claiming that she has suddenly developed a lipgloss fixation and wanted me to answer some questions, but also I think possibly maybe it was at least partly because it is well nigh time for me to crawl the hell out of my own navel. Which it is! Sayonara, navel! Here are Jen's hard-hitting questions and my fabulous and enlightening answers. Please hold your applause and blatant hero-worship until the end.

1) Are you obsessed with only chapstick, or does this extend also to other lip products?
Only chapstick, although I own roughly 800 tubes of lipsticks, glosses and balms, my heart belongs to chapstick.

2) Do you ever use lip glosses? If you do, what kind?
Almost never. I once received a pack of six Bobbi Brown lip glosses that I liked pretty well, but I can no longer find any of them. I suspect they have gotten packed away inside various purses and as my current purse is a diaper bag (actually a beach bag from Target) I am unlikely to find them in the near future. I dislike lip gloss because it stays all wet and sticky and rubs off too easily so you have to keep reapplying so you have wet, sticky lips all day and my very long hair gets stuck in my lip gloss.

3) What kind of chapstick do you use? Do you ever get the flavored kinds?
Flavored? Blech! I occasionally get a variety pack and force Chris to take the cherry one out of my sight. I use either the good old original black tube or the light blue SPF 15 tube.

4) Have you tried the Burt's bees wax chapsticks?
No, that hairy old man scares me.

5) At any given moment, how many chapsticks do you have in your pockets, purse, etc.?
Let's see... one beside my bed, one in the bathroom, one by the computer, one in the nursery, one in the kitchen, one in my car, one in my purse and one in the diaper bag. So, eight?

Tell me the truth - you feel enlightened and strangely satisfied now, don't you? As I thought. Now, on with your days.

Best/Worst

I keep editing this post. I will get it all ready to go and have my cursor hanging over the Publish button, and then I will think, "What the fuck? I can't say that on the internet!"

I used to play this game with a friend of mine called Best Thing Worst Thing. It's a pretty vicious game. The way it works is that you pick a topic, like physical appearance or personality or affectations or whatever and then tell each other the best thing and worst thing about them on that topic. So, hypothetically, my friend would say to me that the best thing about my physical appearance was my smokin' ass and the worst thing was my fat, fat thighs.

Clearly you need a pretty thick skin to play this game. But, I have been thinking about it lately (during my ongoing wanderings down memory lane, which by the way I realized how that all got started so remind me to tell you about it) and I realized that the reason we could play this game and giggle rather than cry was because there is a lot of power in identifying both the good things and the bad things about yourself.

There is also a lot of power in having a friend to whom you can say "I love you, but there's this thing about you I don't like so much." I don't have one of those friends right now. Do you? (I'm not counting my husband here because it is a different situation.) I feel a bit like a loser admitting that I don't have one of those friends, like it marks me as some sort of outcast. I do have good, close friends, but nobody to whom I can say anything absolutely without repercussion.

I wonder whether I am in the minority or whether this is just part of being an adult, especially an adult who has lost touch with most of your childhood friends. Tell me, do you have that kind of friend? Do you have a relationship (outside of marriage, which is still different) where you could sit down and play an honest round of Best Thing Worst Thing and then go to lunch together like it had never happened? Have you ever had that? Do you think you will ever have it again? Or is it like lightening, powerful and amazing and then gone?

My cooling ardor

People. People! I am distressed!

I am beginning to suspect that the hotty pediatrician may not be plotting to leave his wife and beg me to run away with him. We took Mia in for her 12-month check-up yesterday, and I spent the whole time carefully watching for a secret sign. You know, a look, a gesture, something that said "Amelia's mom, I long for you, ditch your husband and meet me out back in 10 minutes." I mean, of course I am planning to turn him down, but I feel like I owe it to him to at least listen to the speech that I feel sure he has been practicing in his head every since the first day he saw me. It would only be polite. But there was nothing. Nada. Zilch.

So now I'm wondering, what? What is it? Is it something I said? I mean, I brushed both my hair and my teeth before I went in yesterday and wore a clean t-shirt and my least-stained shorts. Maybe he didn't like my perfume, eau de sunscreen, chlorine and baby poop? Maybe he could tell that I ate a piece of birthday cake for lunch? Am I just not MILF-y enough for him? Has he transferred his affections to one of the moms who haven't been wearing the same nursing bra every day for the past year? I just don't understand.

But you know what I noticed? He sort of has a screechy voice. And I don't think I like his glasses that much anymore. And I'm pretty sure he was wearing the same shirt the last time we saw him, which means he just isn't making the effort anymore. Maybe I'll just forget about him. Yup, that's it, that's what I'll do. Why waste my time on one hotty pediatrician when there is a whole station full of firemen just half a mile from my house?

(Hey, do you think he just didn't want to give us away in front of Chris? Maybe he's waiting and he's going to call me later and pretend he is calling about Mia? Do you think?)

Mia Monday #28: Happy Birthday Baby Edition

More pics here.

Month Twelve

Mia Bean,

Happy Birthday, my baby girl. You are twelve months old today, and a year ago right now I was holding you in my arms for the first time. You have grown so much, from just under eight pounds to almost 25. Your jet black, sticky-outy hair has given way to light brown that lies down calmly except for the riotous curls behind both ears. Your soft, gummy mouth is full of eight teeth. Your quiet, whimpering cry has become wails and screeches and hoots and hollers and giggles and grunts and babblings and even words. From a tiny swaddled bundle in the crook of my arm who couldn't stay awake for more than a few minutes at a time, you have grown into a sitting, rolling, clapping, pointing, crawling, walking, beautiful little girl.

This year has been the best of everything. I'm living a life I didn't even imagine existed, and I adore it. I adore you, my big girl, my toddler, my Mia, my baby bean.

This month you learned to walk. You still prefer to hold onto your truck or a nearby finger or leg, but you will take a few, tentative steps on your own. You also learned to stand up unassisted and to do so while clapping or raising your arms over your head or giggling at your own cleverness. With just a bit of support, you abandon walking in favor of running.

This month you also learned how to control your body and make it do fun things. You learned to climb onto a pile of blankets and get yourself stuck so you can flail around and giggle. You learned how to fling yourself over backwards, then sit back up and do it again. You are slowly learning not to smash your head into a wall while doing it. You have learned that when you clap or point or raise your arms or make a face, the people around you will do the same thing, and you revel in your new found power. You are in control of the world right now, beautiful girl, enjoy it.

You don't talk much, mostly mama and dada and the meaning behind those are hit or miss, but you babble non-stop and have learned so many words. You can comply when asked to point at the fan, the light, your tummy, nose, hair, truck, mama, and sometimes dada. You know apple, pear, avocado, water, cheese, up, down, nap, no, and the list goes on and on.

Your focus is incredible. You will sit and play for half an hour with a wallet you can take cards and tickets out of, anything with a lid, your blocks, your cups, your books, so many things that hold your interest. You delight in handing anybody anything and are learning how things work together, how to stack things, how to put blocks in and out of the bucket, how the world relates to you and to itself.

Your physical milestones are slowing down and your mental milestones are happening so fast we can no longer keep track. This month you discovered under, so we can no longer slide something under the couch and make it "disappear," now you will go right in after it. You have such a personality and an attitude and at times a temper. You are becoming yourself, becoming your own person, and I feel so blessed to be here to watch it happen.

You are napping now, recovering from your birthday party. You were attended by Grandma and Papa, Mimi and Grandpa, Uncle Erich and Aunt Kelly, Great-Aunt Bev and Big Papa. There must be a thousand pictures documenting those two and a half hours. You ate cake, which you enjoyed, and played with the ribbons and boxes and paper and bags from your presents. Mostly though, you just charmed your guests with your smiling and playing and flirting. It's always like that, though. When I take you out, people can't keep their eyes off you. You are magnetic and mesmerizing and more so every day.

It's been an amazing, wonderful, challenging, fabulous, difficult, gorgeous year. Thank you for that. Thank you for coming to us. Thank you for showing me that all the poets who describe love as an ocean, a chasm, an eternity were right, were telling the truth, were talking about their child.

Love,
Mom

Because really, what's more exciting than poetry

I love you guys! That had to be, bar none, the best collection of cricket carcass poetry ever assembled in one place. I'm also going to go out on a limb and say I feel sure it was the first cricket carcass sonnet writing contest in the history of the internet. And YOU WERE THERE. (Did anybody else watch those videos in school? The YOU WERE THERE videos? Just me? Nevermind.) I admit I was getting a little worried there when it got to be 2:00 or so and nobody had done a sonnet for me. I was afraid I was going to have to do the sonnet myself and I had spent half the morning trying to remember whether iambic feet were dum DUM or DUM dum. (dum DUM, right?) Well ok, I really spent half the morning chopping down the weed jungle that had taken over the side of my house, but while I was doing that I was thinking dum DUM? DUM dum? dum DUM?

Anyway, we did have a couple of sonneteers after all. Many thanks to not-Benjamin, Sheryl and Hannah for their smooth sonnet stylings. Honorable mention goes to Elaine for her entry which captured the essence of bad teenage angst-ridden cricket carcass poetry. Since you guys never want to make out with me you will all be receiving the latest and greatest Cactus-Fish mix cd instead, just as soon as you send me your addresses (give or take a couple of weeks). Also, I think some of you already have the last cd we sent out, but rest assured that this is a new and exciting cd prize extravaganza and also maybe you should send me your address again because I can't be trusted to keep track of things like that.

Since you were all so kind to send me dead cricket poems, including limericks and haiku and actual real sonnets, I thought I should do something to repay your kindness or express my solidarity or... something... whatever. Anyway, I was going to write a sonnet, but then I figured it had been done. So instead, I wrote a villanelle. What's a villanelle, you are wondering? A villanelle is a royal pain in the ass, and this one is really bad, but the form is correct and it's nice and angsty so deal with it.

Gazing upon the carcass of a fallen friend
I'm at a loss for anything to say
As like a puddled raindrop you meet you end

Stronger ones than I have gone round the bend
When they have faced this grim and joyless day
Gazing upon the carcass of a fallen friend

I fear my broken heart shall never mend
I feel deep in my bones it never may
As like a puddled raindrop you meet you end

I know that you would tell me for mine own self to fend
But how am I to rise above the fray
Gazing upon the carcass of a fallen friend

My clothing, soul and mind I shall but rend
And sing your chirpy song to all who will naysay
As like a puddled raindrop you meet you end

The time to mourn has passed, I will pretend
That my step is light, my mood is gay
Gazing upon the carcass of a fallen friend
As like a puddle raindrop you meet you end

You want punctuation? Do it yourself, I'm over it.

Ok, enough about carcasses. Tomorrow is Mia's birthday and also Mia's birthday party and I am far too busy to stay here writing bad poetry with you people. (Unless you want to make out? I always have time for that.)

Desiccated Cricket Carcass would be a great name for a band

Well, are you all tired of wandering through my introspective little whiny-pants ramblings yet? Because I have a stack of bad, angsty teenage poetry I can post if you aren't. Don't tempt me on this one, I've done it before. Oh, except when I did it before I had about six readers on a really good day, so you probably all missed that. Too bad, it was fun, in a totally humiliating kind of way.

I actually pulled out my bad and embarrassing (and, well, huge) poetry notebook a couple of weeks ago when I was cleaning out some bookshelves in the basement, and there was a dead cricket in it. I regretted for a moment that I wasn't 16 anymore, when I would have taken that as some sort of sign and written an incomprehensible sonnet about it. Something like "on dead crickets and woe" or "life is dry and dusty like a desiccated cricket carcass." It's always good when you can work "carcass" into a poem.

(I must remember to add "embarrassing poetry notebook" to the list of things I need to destroy or discard before Mia gets old enough to go snooping in my closets. Or destroy and discard. Or shred, burn and scatter the ashes across several continents. No, I don't want to tell you what else is on that list.)

I swear I had a point when I started this, but I can't remember what it was. Possibly something about expectations versus reality, but that doesn't sound very funny, so it can't have been that. See, I'm exhausted and still trying to get over the fact that my darling precious brilliant little monkey Mia pooped on the rug, and also now I am entranced by the idea of sponsoring a dead cricket sonnet writing contest. Surely there must be some of you who have seven rhyming iambic pentameter couplets about carcasses in you just bursting to get out. Yes? No? Ok then, nevermind. (You guys just aren't any fun today, did you know that?)

You know, when I got home from whatever it was I was out doing tonight, I remarked to Chris that Mia almost never wakes up in the evenings anymore. Naturally, she woke up about two minutes later. Chris got her back to sleep, but she just started her singing again and it's my turn, so we will all have to just wonder where in the heck I might have been going with this. I truly hope the suspense does not kill you.

(Oh, first person to send me that cricket carcass sonnet will get a kiss full on the lips. I mean, unless you would rather have a cd or something.

Threepeat

Dude, that last entry is bringing me down. However, I have one more and then cross my heart I'll go back to talking about baby poop and how freaking tired I am. (Mia pooped on the rug on Monday. On the rug. Also, I am really, stupidly tired. There, that should tide you over.)

A couple days ago, I sent an email to yet another friend with whom I have fallen out of touch, asking if he wanted to grab lunch sometime. I don't know what it is that is driving me to seek out these forgotten and discarded friends. Maybe motherhood has made me long for a connection to my past, maybe it has made me feel old so that I am compelled to find the people who knew me when I was young. Or maybe it is just that I have a tan for the first time in 20 years and for once in my life have pretty good hair, and that big honking zit on my cheek is very nearly gone, and if you are going to reconnect with people you haven't seen in a while, you may as well do it when you are looking hot. Hard to say.

This latest in my string of targets is a friend from 15 years ago, but our families have odd connections going back 60 years. I've written about him before here. We were really close for a while, but have been drifting for a couple of years now. Also, I was holding a grudge, and I've told you about me and grudges.

The difference here is that we never had any falling out, and also he has to answer me or I'll tell his mom on him. Anyway, I decided that I don't want to be looking back years from now and regretting that I did nothing to save this friendship, so I decided to just ditch my anger and hurt feelings and see if there was anything left to salvage.

Hey, get me. It's like, personal growth, or something. I promise I won't make a habit of it.

Interstices

After my inaugural foray into myspace turned out to be not emotionally damaging (to me, at least), I decided to give this creepy find people from 20 years ago on the internet thing another shot. This time, I had a specific person in mind. I decided to look for one of my oldest friends. We were pretty inseparable as kids, but by the time high school ended our friendship was totally fractured. The reasons we fell apart are too many and too huge and too petty and too small to go into. We had been close friends for 12 years and we were barely speaking.

Things got better once we went to college. We traded some letters, saw each other once or twice, seemed to be getting along ok, and seemed to be letting bygones go. And then, I don't know. The last time I saw her, she would barely speak to me, and I was shocked. I had been looking forward to seeing her. I knew we weren't really close anymore, but I thought we were at least ok. I thought we would sit around and reminisce and laugh a bit. I had no idea that she hated me.

I was hurt. Badly. I had been upset in high school when we stopped getting along, but at least then I knew why. I understood what had happened. I knew where the blame lay with me and where it did not. This time, I had no idea. I didn't know if I had done something, not done something. It was hard to get over it.

I called her a couple of years later, and she was very cold. Clearly, she was not happy to hear from me. It was hard to get over.

I called her again a couple of years after that. Clearly, she was not happy to hear from me. It was hard to get over.

That last phone call was eight years ago. After that, I told myself I was done. I put it behind me. I regretted losing what had been a very close friend of my entire childhood, but I accepted it. At least I thought I did, or told myself I did.

A few days ago, I found her and sent her an email. It was hard to know what to say. My email was very short, very non-descript. We've missed so many years of each other's joys and tragedies that there was really no common ground from which to start. Fundamentally, there wasn't anything I really wanted to say, just hi. I agonized over writing it for a couple of days. In the end, I went with hi, I hope you are well.

I haven't heard back. I don't know whether I will be more surprised if she does answer or more surprised if she does not. I don't even know if I am hoping for a response or not. I don't think we will ever be friends again. (Even now, after so many years, it wrenches my stomach to say that.) I don't think we will ever be friends again. I don't think we will even be casual correspondents again. But I had to give it one more try.

One more try to say hi, you were very important to me. Hi, I still think about you sometimes. Hi, I still miss you sometimes. Hi, I think I will always regret what happened to us. Hi, thank you for those years of friendship. Hi, I loved you once. Hi, I still care what happens to you.

Hi. I hope you are well.

Two words

I have a bit of unsolicited advice for mothers of young children.

Once they start pulling up and trying to walk, babies will latch onto anything handy for balance. Combine that with natural baby grabbiness, being only a couple of feet tall, and insisting on accompanying you wherever you go, and you have the makings of a bad situation.

I have two words for you: brazilian wax. Of course, you could just wait for the baby to do it for you.

Ouch.

Mia Monday #27: Video Killed the Radio Star Edition

Eat your hearts out, internets.


I have never been so afraid of the publish button

Sammie and mother2faith both sent me this link (has nudity, don't get excited) last week. When I checked it out, my first thought was how amazing it was, how honest and real, and how brave those women were to post their pictures. My second thought was that I would never, ever do that.

I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight, a little under in fact, and all my clothes fit and I don't have any stretch marks (I know, you hate me) and I despise my belly. I know objectively that it isn't really that bad, but to me it looks and feels like it's still huge. It is soft and flabby and it pooches out and you could go swimming in my belly button with a few of your friends. I have even started occasionally doing crunches, and I hate crunches almost as much as I hate my belly.

And then, Jen posted a picture of her beautiful belly all full of twins. And then Sundry posted a picture of her post-baby belly, and then I got to thinking.

I hate my belly, but Mia loves it. She loves to smack it, to lift up my shirt and kiss it, so blow sloppy wet raspberries on it that tickle so much I cry. She loves her own belly too, which is a huge round lump of chub that she pushes around ahead of her like she is shoplifting a basketball. I want Mia to always love her belly, no matter what it looks like. I want her to love her body for what it can do, not for the level to which it conforms to some imposed concept of beauty. And I realized, if I want to instill these characteristics in my daughter, if I want to give her the strength not to care, I first have to get there myself.

And so...

This is me at 38 weeks pregnant.

This is me 359 days ago, the day before Mia was born.

And this is me today.

This is the body that gave me my daughter and the body my daughter gave me, and it's fabulous. (That mirror, however, is filthy.) (Also, say hi to my rash. Yes, I still have it.)

P.S. That isn't my c-section scar, I think it is from my pants, maybe? My scar cannot be included without turning this into a whole different kind of website.)

My own private Benjamin

I can't sleep, (which, what the fuck? I got three hours of sleep last night. I should be unconscious, but Mia woke up at 12:30 to eat and now Chris is snoring and I'm wide awake.) so let's climb into the wayback machine and take a trip all the way back to junior high.

I know, junior high is a scary place. I'll hold you, don't be afraid.

Seventh grade orientation, earth science class, last class of the day, and all of the sudden, there's this guy. Preppy-looking, dark hair is some crazy pompadour, blue eyes like oceans or lasers or I don't even know what just blue like you would not believe and gorgeous. I was in love. I was so much in love, that on the bus on the way home I told my best friend all about him and how in love I was and that his name was Benjamin. Benjamin, Benjamin. I clearly remember saying it a few times like that, all dreamy and gooey.

Except his name wasn't Benjamin. Benji turned out to be this sweet, goofy kid sitting next to my new one true love and I guess I heard wrong when the teacher called roll, or else I was blinded by my love. And I wasn't the only one. The school had this thing on Valentine's Day where you could send someone a red carnation for a dollar. I sent one (anonymously, of course) to not-Benjamin, as did all of my girlfriends. As did every girl in the school, if the red carnations crammed into not-Benjamin's notebook at the end of the day were any indication. (I never got a carnation. I was a huge dork in junior high. Oh, and in high school. Dorks are sexy though, right? I made it look hott.)

Not-Benjamin turned out to be a really nice guy. We were friendly during his junior high preppy phase and friendly during most of high school and by the time he was a long-haired, unwashed, scraggly hippie senior year we were good friends. I was madly in love with him for all of seventh and eighth grades. Oh, and ninth grade. And part of senior year too, which was a little awkward since I was dating one of his best friends at the time. Not-Benjamin was good at all the arty things I was interested in, but mainly he could write. Man, could he write. He was the first person who really impacted me with his ability to manipulate words.

One day, while we were hanging out in a cemetery (don't ask) we started a contest to see who could give up their particular crutch for the longest. Not-Benjamin wasn't allowed to smoke and I wasn't allowed to be sarcastic. Unfortunately, I also wasn't allowed to just not speak, so I was doomed. Not-Benjamin worked hard to bait me, and I was doing ok, until he said "I love you, Beth." I said "Oh I love you too, not-Benjamin," and he went straight for his lighter. I crashed and burned, because it cut too close. I was over it by then (mostly), but not far enough away to remember it charitably and laugh. I'm laughing now.

I've only seen not-Benjamin a couple of times since we all left town after high school. The last time was 10 years ago, maybe a little less, and it was awkward and weird. Or probably, I was awkward and weird. Since then, I haven't heard from him. And then yesterday, I read Isabel's post about myspace and logged in to the account I never use and searched for people who had graduated high school with me. And there, in the "last person I expected to see here" category, was not-Benjamin. So I emailed him, and he emailed back.

And because I am dumb and this whole thing where I tell people about the other blog but not this blog has become too confusing for my poor, addled brain, I mentioned that I had a blog. I tried to get out of it, but naturally at that point I had to cough up the link. Not-Benjamin is reading my blog. I'm a little embarrassed, and I don't know why, so I decided I may as well just go all the way and post this, which is about the most embarrassing thing I can think of for not-Benjamin to read, and then I no longer have to worry about it because the damage will be well and fully done.

So, everybody, say hi to the first boy I ever loved. Oh, and tell him to be nice to me about this or risk the wrath of the internet. Y'all could work up some wrath on my behalf, right?

(Oh, you guys got that the title is supposed to be a play in My Own Private Idaho, right? Not on Private Benjamin? Swear.)

Bitches

Mia loves the pool, as I've mentioned, but she can be sort of a terror while we're there. She doesn't mean to be, she's just really friendly and loves to go up to everybody and say hello and then steal toys from the other children. Whenever she does this, I ask both the mother and the targeted child to let me know if Mia bothers them so I can move her, and I always offer the other child Mia's toys to play with as compensation. (Mia hates her own toys - at least, she hates them until someone else is playing with them and then they are the coolest things she has ever seen.)

Some of the moms are pretty nice and coo at Mia and chat a bit with me. Quite a lot of the moms are cool to me but friendly to Mia, which is fine. I'm not looking to be bestest buddies with every mommy at the neighborhood pool, so as long as they are sweet to Mia they can flip me the bird for all I care. (Well ok, that might tick me off a bit.) Then there is the final group, the bitches.

The bitches ignore me, which I don't care about, and ignore Mia, which I take very personally. Mia will be there, bouncing at their feet in her little inner tube (the bitches are invariably ensconced in those short pool chairs working on their tans), trying her chubby best to make friends, and they totally ignore her. They also ignore me when I offer to move her, or tell me not to bother. Either way, it seems to me that they have agreed to have here there, in which case, SAY HELLO TO MY KID, BITCH.

The same thing used to happen at this pseudo-playgroup thing I went to. Mia would be making the rounds checking out all the carseats (which fascinate her, provided she isn't strapped into it) and would invariably crawl into some other mom's lap. I would apologize, offer to move her, and they would tell me no, no, she was just fine. And then, they would ignore Mia entirely. I don't even mean ignore her to tend to their own kids, which I would get, I mean just flat out ignore. I don't get it. I offered to move her, you declined, so once again, SAY HELLO TO MY KID, BITCH.

I stopped going to the pseudo-playgroup thing (it's right at naptime anyway), but Mia likes the pool so I have been forced to come up with another solution. The straps of Mia's inner tube hold water and you have to tilt it a certain way to empty them out. So, when we run into one of the snotty bitches who is too good to even acknowledge a baby who is desperately trying to make friends, I make sure to walk past her on our way out and tilt the inner tube just so right over the top of her head.

Then I toss a clearly insincere "oh, sorry" over my shoulder and go home pleased that, in some small way, I am socking it to the bitches.

I should have mentioned this happens at the baby pool, so, you know, I assume everyone there is expecting to interact with babies.

Notes from Thursday

Does letting Mia play with the blender make me a bad mother?

Was the last line of the song I am listening to really "take me to Walter Reed tonight?" As in Walter Reed Army Hospital? Isn't that weird?

Anybody want some pearsauce? It's yummy.

This kid has eight million toys and has spent the entire day playing with an empty Aquaphor container, a cup from Baja Fresh, and empty water bottle, a can of spanish peanuts, and her shoes.

When she isn't pushing her high chair around the kitchen, that is.

And screeching.

Will write something later, I swear, when the screeching stops.

And the baby is...

Shepherd! Adorable son of my friend Corinne. They came for lunch yesterday and Mia spent half the time kissing Shepherd (can you blame her?) and the other half of the time trying to smack him. At least, all the time she didn't spend gazing lovingly at Corinne wishing that Corinne was her new mommy.

And the winner is, Ali, who has already won a Cactus-Fish summer mix cd and therefore I am taking suggestions for alternate prizes.

Honorable mentions (and also cds, because I'm sweet like that) go to Betti and Jean.

Yes, yes, there were others who got it right, but I only promised a prize for the first correct answer, so my generosity already abounds. If you want a cd you will have to get one of the others to share with you, or win the next contest.

I seem to have an extra baby in my living room

Contest time! First person to correctly identify this famous internet baby wins a prize:

No, not Mia. The other baby. This might be tough since I don't remember if I have ever mentioned that I am friends with this baby's mother "in real life" since I am still scared about that whole "meet a blogger, watch my life crumble" streak I had going for a while. Although, I have met a number of bloggers and it has been a long time since doing so has coincided with unrelated angst and gnashing of teeth, so I guess I could say the curse is broken, but I am still a little wary. Anyway, need another look?

Ok, ok. One more just since he is so cute.

That's all you get, now on with the guessing.

It feels a little like walking around naked in public

Yesterday, I ran into a former co-worker in the post office parking lot. I haven't seen her in about four years and we were never close, so we did the typical superficial three minute chat and then went our separate ways. At one point, she asked me what I was doing these days, and I finally took the plunge. I said, "Well, I took an extended maternity leave, and now I'm trying to be a freelance writer."

And then I fell down dead. Poor me, you will miss me terribly, I am sure.

What's the big deal? Nothing, I suppose, except that I have been pretending that I have been doing this "get paid to write" thing purely as a lark and it was the first time I have admitted to some random person that it isn't a lark, it is something I really want to do. Rather desperately, in fact.

I want, have always wanted, to be an actual writer. And now, thanks to the hard work and tolerance of my husband, that's what I am. It's thrilling, and terrifying. I mean, what if I suck? What if I am a laughingstock and the only reason I haven't been fired is because everyone feels so sorry for me for deluding myself into thinking I can write? What if my ideas about getting other people to hire me to write are crazy and I will have to go back and get a real job instead?

God. Self-esteem issues much?

I swear I am not fishing for compliments, so thanks but no thanks. It was just a strange experience to take this quiet little dream of mine and put it out there in the world. I'm hoping the cool kids don't beat it up.

And speaking of, I'm running a little contest over at the other site today, with prizes and everything for the winners. Check it out if you are interested, or if you just feel sorry for me and want to give me an extra hit so I don't look like I totally suck and get fired. No pressure or anything.

Mia Monday #26: Keep On Truckin' Edition


Milestones

This kid? This kid right here?

She can stand up, all by herself. She can bend over to pick up a toy and stand herself right back up. At least, she can do it until she notices she isn't holding on to anything, and then she plops right down.

And yesterday? I can hem and haw and qualify and say almost, sort-of, nearly, maybe, but none of that changes the fact that yesterday she took a step.

It all makes me want to cry, from sadness or joy I'm not quite sure.

Yo, baby

Hey, is yogurt supposed to taste like brie?

12 Gardens

This is not my husband's album review. If you want to know about the actual music, go ask him.

I was never a cool kid. I was a nerd, a geek, a goody-goody. I never thought I was a vampire or a hippie or a renegade. I never got into music as an expression of how non-conformist and alternative and misunderstood and fabulous I was. In high school, while all my friends were scrambling to profess deep and abiding love for the most obscure band they could find, I loved Billy Joel. I had all of his records - yes, actual records - and spent hours in my room playing them and singing along.

When Chris picked up 12 Gardens Live, I wasn't sure I wanted to listen to it. It has been 13 years since his last album, and I worried he would suck and I wasn't interested in witnessing that. Then today, Mia was in one of her moods where she refused to let me put her down, so I popped in the cd and we danced around the house for hours. The albums are great. He resisted what I think is the downfall of so many iconic performers to revamp and redo his songs to match some new musical "message" or try to bring them up to date. Sure, they sound a bit different than they did on the original albums, but in almost all cases they are close enough that you can sing right along without feeling like an idiot when he breaks into a brand-new melody that is no match for the original.

Most music to me is just music, but some is intimately tied to a time or an event in my life and hearing it has the power to take me back to the moment of the association. Hearing this new album took me right back to being a teenager, back to when everything was simpler and also more complicated. Back to singing in my bedroom, back to the concert I attended in high school, back to listening to his last album with Chris when we had just started dating. Back to before I had any context for most of his songs, back to before I understood some of them, back to before he had a wife 5 years older than his daughter (ew).

It was a fun afternoon. And it is fun to be at a point in my life where I can say that I don't care if it isn't cool, I don't care if it brands me as boring and staid and conformist and all those things I thought were so awful in high school, this is my kind of music. I love Billy Joel.

Mia Monday #25: Pool Toy Bandit Edition

All photos by my dad. I would ask his permission to post them, but that would mean admitting the existence of this website, and right now we are operating under a don't ask, don't tell policy. Sorry they are so grainy, if I get better copies I'll repost.