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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Month Seventeen

Mia Bean,

You have been seventeen months old for a little more than a week, and I have been avoiding writing this letter because you have also been sick for a little more than a week and there have been times this week that I have doubted whether all three of us would come out the other end with our sanity intact. Yesterday, your father had to go back to bed for an hour to try to rediscover a small amount of patience, and Mommy has needed to sample quite a bit of wine to the same end. I don't want to dwell too much in it, though, because I am not the most pleasant person to be around when I am sick, so I can sympathize, and also because it is definitely the exception that proves the rule. Almost every day with you right now is so wonderful and fun and exciting that I almost hate to describe our lives for fear people will think I am lying to make it seem better than it is. I am not lying, it really is that good.

You learned a lot of new signs and words this month, and also learned how to string them together into a series of detailed demands. You can tell me you want to sit in your chair and have cereal and water. You can tell me you want to put on your shoes, hat and coat and go bye-bye in Mommy's car. You can tell me you see a doggy or a monkey or a bear or a birdie. You favorite word by far is "ball." Your father and I could spend every waking moment throwing, fetching and bouncing your balls and it would still not be enough to satisfy you. You demand ball while you are eating, while we are reading, sometimes even while you are sleeping.

Your favorite games this month were Hide and Seek and Fanball. For Hide and Seek, you run into the powder room downstairs and wait for me to shut the door. Then I open the door and run like crazy to hide from you. You come barreling out of the bathroom and wander around searching until you find me, or until you are distracted by a stray soy chip you find on the floor. Then we do it again, for hours. I have been trying to teach you how to hide, but you don't quite get the point as it is not nearly as much fun as seeking. Fanball involves either throwing a small plastic ball at the fan in the kitchen and trying to get it caught on the light fixture, or, more often lately, lifting you up to the fan clutching the blue ball (always the blue ball) in your little fist and getting my face stomped on until you get the ball caught in the light. It's more fun than it sounds. Or at least it is more fun that a few hours of playing Buckles which involves, you guessed it, closing and opening various buckles.

This month you learned how to climb up on the kitchen chairs and the glider in your room and onto Mommy and Daddy's bed. You learned how to run, although it is still more of a rapid, barely-controlled stagger than an actual run. You are trying very hard to learn how to jump, and I can see you sometimes concentrating and just willing your little body to leave the floor. You have not, however, discovered that there is a physical component to jumping that must accompany the mental component, so I think you have a ways to go on that one.

You love to sing songs, and can request the ones you want by using the various signs you have invented to represent them. You love to be tickled, love to climb up on my bed and throw yourself down on the pillows, and love more than anything to do things yourself. You are still very particular. Doors that are usually closed must remain closed, and heaven forbid I leave one of the baby gates open because you will scream at me until I come running back to close it. Your hands and clothes must be clean at all times, but this does not extend to your hair, which frequently sports mashed banana or spaghetti after you used your head to wipe your hands. Out of sight, out of mind, I suppose.

You seem to learn new things by the minute lately, mostly by copying me which scares me a little bit. I suppose the best way to break my bad habits will to see the mini-me versions acted out over the next months and years.

The one thing I will say about this past week, is that even when you are driving me up the everloving wall with the whining and the tantrums and the refusing to eat solid food for four days purely out of spite, even when I want nothing more than to run out of the house just to get away from you for a few blessed, peaceful minutes, even then I love you more than anything in the world, more than I ever understood it was possible to love, so much that it is a physical presence, a weight that sits on my shoulders and chest and that I carry around with me all the time. I don't think you can fully understand it unless you have a child of your own, and if you do someday have a child I want you to know that the way you feel in those moments so distant and foreign that I can barely imagine them now, that is the way I feel about you. There is no other way to describe it, you will just have to wait and see.

Love,
Mama

Bread and water. Or just water.

So, Mia has been sick. Persistently sick, and then cranky and screamy and whiny and just not pleasant. Also, she has stopped eating. Today she ate some cereal, half a fruit bar, three ounces of yogurt and two tortilla chips. We've tried things she likes, things she hates, things she has never seen before. She keeps telling us she is hungry but then refuses to eat. This is where you come in.

Step One: Tell me this is normal. Tell me this is just what toddlers do. Tell me about the time your kid ran for a week on water and three bites of fruit leather.

Step Two: Tell me what to do. How do I get this kid to eat?

Mia Monday Tuesday #50: Sick Christmas Edition


Have yourself a merry little whatever

39 hours 15 minutes and counting vomit free. That's a Christmas fucking miracle if ever there was one.

Went to our box today and collected a pile of cards and a notice that one of you lovely people had sent a package that arrived in plenty of time for Christmas but that we were too sick to collect and now must wait until Tuesday. Thank you all for sharing your cards and children and names and postmarks with me these last few weeks, it has given me tremendous joy.

Thank you also, all of you, for enriching my life. I look forward every day to the little bits of conversation we share and I am richer and better and happier for each of you. You are all, every one of you, a Christmas fucking miracle, and don't you ever forget it.

The kitchen, the doggy, a huge bag full of balls, and two last-minute Elmo DVD's await Mia's discovery in the morning. Chris and I are beside ourselves with anticipation.

I hope you are all merry and bright. Happy Christmas.

Hi. Vomit.

I hate throwing up. Hate. But over the last two days I have discovered that it is infinitely worse to watch your child throw up. Fifteen times or so. I had the opportunity to closely compare the two experiences Thursday night (me) and very early Friday morning (Mia). And then again Friday night and this morning (Mia again). We are plying her with Gatorade and me with wine and hoping we will all be well enough to host Christmas Eve tomorrow, although we have made the rule that all guests must wear jeans or sweatpants or risk being sent home to change. Mia and I will likely be wearing pajamas, because if I have to do one more load of laundry this week I'll, well. I'll vomit.

Speaking of laundry, beloved Monkey, who is Mia's constant bedtime companion, is currently enduring his first spin cycle to remove the odor of baby puke permeating his person. I sent Chris back to the store today to secure a duplicate Monkey, just in case, and there were none to be had. Pray for him. And for me. Mostly for me.

Three topics in search of a point

I was supposed to spend this morning having donuts and mimosas with Corinne and Sarah and their respective adorable children. (Don't worry, we weren't going to share the mimosas with the children.) I say supposed to, because they both bailed on me. Something about "croup" and "bronchitis." You know, if you don't want to be friends with me you can just say so, no need to come up with these elaborate lies. Besides, who needs friends when you have decaf gingerbread soy latte? Not me, that's who, so take that.


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When I unloaded the Christmas decorations this year, I discovered that our tree skirt was covered in Callie's fur. Then I cried a lot. Then I decided that the cats loved sleeping under the tree so much that there was no reason they should not continue to do so, even though they are at this point quite literally ashes to ashes. Hence:

That's Callie on the right and Pix on the left, and I think they are quite happy there. Mia finds it all a bit disturbing. Do you think I should put bows on them so they look more festive?


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Finally, Mia is getting a dog for Christmas. A stuffed dog. When I went to get it, I could not decide between the two top contenders, so I brought both home to make Chris choose. He couldn't decide either. I feel like it will be more special to Mia to have one dog rather than two, so like it or not one of those bad boys is going back to Target, and you are going to decide which one. Here they are, click to embiggen.

Doggy on the left is Dog #1, doggy on the right is Dog #2, vote for the one you think we should keep.

He just doesn't appreciate my humor

While playing with Mia tonight...

Me: She likes to take the balls from the ball popper and put them in her teacups.
Chris: I can see that.
Me: And then serve it to you. We drink a lot of ball tea around here.
Chris: Lucky you.
Me: Kind of adds a whole new dimension to the concept of teabagging.
Chris: (Blank stare, attempted jokes about T-ball, Mr. T.)

Hi, I'm random. How are you?

Hey, Sarah and I need to know, what kind of wine do you serve with donuts?

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The Kind of Thing that Makes Him Want to Hit Me

Chris: (Holding up a toy ball that is clear and has a little plastic dog inside.) Look! He's pointing North!
Me: (Blank stare.)
Chris: It's a ball bearing! Get it?
Me: But that's South.

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Me: Hey, can I blog about your pit rash?
Chris: In what context?
Me: I dunno.
Chris: Um, sure. Just don't tell them that I bought the girliest deodorant I could find.
Me: Ok, but can I at least say you bought the one for "sensitive skin?" Because that's funny.
Chris: Hey, it's one-quarter moisturizing lotion.

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OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG!

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Thanks for all your help with the Mutter Mushroom recipes. I made one on Sunday. Then we ordered a pizza because it was inedible. I'm sure it wasn't your fault. Thanks also for the lovely Christmas cards that you have sent us. I love getting mail for some reason I cannot explain and have been having a wonderful time checking our box and seeing all your cards and notes and pictures. The guys at the box place think I am a loser because I always go skipping out of there giggling over my holiday cards. Also, skipping while carrying a squirmy, 24 pound toddler is no easy task believe you me.

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Do you like my fishies? Or are the just sort of annoying as all get out? I did it myself, so even it they are annoying you should be proud of me.

Mia Monday #49: Christmas Card Rejects Edition

Or, you try getting a toddler to stand still in front of the Christmas tree.


Save Christmas

Dear Internet,

I need your help. Chris and I are hosting Christmas Eve dinner for both sets of parents and, because we are just cool like that, we're doing Indian. I desperately need a recipe for a dish called Mutter Mushroom (mushrooms and peas in an onion sauce) and in all my years of searching have never been able to find one. We have a fall-back, but I really want to make Mutter Mushroom and, not to put too much pressure on you guys, but I'm pretty sure my Christmas will be ruined if we don't have it. Surely somewhere, out there, someone has a fabulous recipe that they can send me and save Christmas. Anyone? Anyone?

Love,
Beth

Shopping list



Under the bridge

I love trolls, I really do. They make me feel better about myself. No matter what my own faults and failings, no matter what may be going on in my life, at least I am not so bored or miserable or insecure that I need to scour the internet searching for people to whom to be rude. I'm kept quite busy just being rude to the people I encounter in day to day life.

As a quick word to the wise, I felt I should mention that every time you leave a comment on this site your IP address is logged. In fact, every time you visit this site your IP address is logged. Therefore, if you feel it is necessary to leave me a string of comments, there is no need to trouble yourself thinking up different fake names and email addresses as it is quite a simple matter for me to say "oh yes, there's Belleville again."

On a tangentially related note, I have this tiny little cut on my finger and it hurts far more than such a small thing should and I suppose I watch too many medical shows as I have decided that it is infested with flesh-eating bacteria and actually spent several minutes of my day pondering how much of my finger they would need to amputate and bemoaning the fact that it was my right hand rather than my left, with which I would be more willing to part (although still awfully damned reluctant, you understand). And that was a run-on sentence, boy howdy was it, but I am far too enamored with myself to go back and put in some badly-needed periods. Deal with it.

And finally, thanks to all of you who hooked me up with some myspace love. I've taken down the relevant post because it was stupid and annoyed me, and I still can't stand myspace with all the flashing crap and the poor design and the 16 year olds trying to put their sad little moves on me, and like hell I need another thing to keep up with online, but you are all kind and lovely and I truly appreciate you for saving me from the sad, sad fate of total myspace loserdom. If anyone missed the stupid post and wants to make me your myspace makeout buddy, you can find my boring, never-to-be-update profile here. And thank you again from the absolute heart of my bottom.

Expanding Mia's Vocabulary

So I'm sure I am far from the first person on the internet to ask this question, but googling it and reading a bunch of responses from people I don't know does not sound nearly as much fun as asking and getting answers from you people who I do know and adore.

Mia and I have been taking showers together lately, because some days it is the only way to get it done. Mia is in a body part naming phase, so we spend a lot of time anyway pointing to our noses and eyes and knees and bottoms and toes. When we take a shower, her repertoire obviously expands a little bit, so in addition to mommy's legs and fingers and ears we have mommy's breasts and... that's where I get stuck.

Now, my mom taught me to say vagina, and I have no problem saying vagina. Vagina, vagina, vagina, see? My problem is that it is not the correct term. To be anatomically correct, the word she is looking for is labia, which I also have no problem saying, but it just isn't a word you hear much in casual conversation. I want to give her to correct words, I want to be straight-forward, but I just don't know what word to tell her.

What did you teach your kids at this age? Would you do the same again? What words did your parents teach you?

Whatever

Dudes, I just noticed I've posted pretty much nothing but pictures for the past week. This is either because I have such fabulous pictures to share with you that I simply cannot control myself, or because I haven't been able to wrap my brain around a coherent thought in at least that long.

The kid, you see, the kid is driving me bonkers. She's been awake from midnight to 3 AM every night for over a week, she wants me to sing the alphabet song for her at a constant rate and bursts into howls if I so much as pause to breathe, it takes us 30 minutes to leave the house because she insists on putting her shoes on herself and she is not capable of putting her shoes on herself but if I try to help her you would think I had unleashed a herd of sharks upon her precious little baby toes.

Hey, herd of sharks? School? Flock? I like flock, make that flock of sharks.

So now you are going to tell me that she is just a pretty normal toddler and is probably teething and to that I say that you can all kiss my (smokin') ass because I knew that already but holy shit is it driving me up the everloving wall.

Hey, did I mention how Chris has barely been home the last two days, which may have the slightest little something to do with this? And how sometimes I wish I could be the parent who can just say "oh, I'm going to be late, bummer" instead of the parent who has to make sure the kid is clean, clothed, fed, watered, rested and entertained before I can so much as pee?

Actually, most of the time I don't wish that. Most of the time I am thrilled that I get to be the parent that stays here and does all that stuff, and I don't mind Chris being late because somebody around here has to work and make some money, but hot damn, sometimes it would be nice to just go be somewhere else for a while and not have to worry or explain or ask or give instructions or coordinate with naptime or lunchtime or clingy-need-my-mommytime.

And I don't really mean a word of that, not most of the time. Just today, though, well today I could use a break.

Mish-mash

Generic Seasonal Greeting Cards are going in the mail today, I swear. If you didn't sign up to get one, well, I'm afraid you missed the boat. Sorry.

Don't worry, these aren't all for you people, I do have family and friends. Well ok, most of them are for you people.

How cute are itsy little baby toes in great big mama shoes?

So cute!

And she can totally walk in those things.

Hey, if you get a chance, head over to Playgroup Dropout today. I'm soliciting suggestions for looking and feeling more like hot, MILF-y mamas and less like slovenly, unwashed, slacker moms. Those of you with penises can leave suggestions too, I suppose, but this is one of those situations where I would suggest being really darned careful how you phrase things.

Mia Monday #48: I Can Explain the Outfit Edition


How it sounds in my head

Mia: Mama! Mama! Mama! Mama! Mama!
Me: What, babe?
Mia: Look! There's some crusty old banana mashed onto the door right there!
Me: Why yes there is. I wonder who threw her banana at the door and got it there?
Mia: And look! Look! There's some here on the floor too.
Me: I see that.
Mia: And a raisin! And some dried coffee. And look, here's a little piece of hair. Let me bring it to you. It's a gift, because I love you. Hey, when was the last time you washed this floor anyway?
Me: You know, I think children who keep their mothers up until 3 AM should keep their mouths shut about the housekeeping.
Mia: You could have washed the floor last night instead of trying to force me to go back to sleep. I would have helped! Hey, didn't you think it was funny how I cried for Dada for three hours and then when you finally woke him up I screamed for you the second he touched me?
Me: Funny? No. Mama doesn't find much funny at 2 AM.
Mia: You're crazy. That was comedy gold, lady. And then wasn't it funny how I finally went to sleep but insisted on having my toes jammed up your nose for the next four hours?
Me: Hilarious.
Mia: I knew you would think so. Hey! Mama! Mama! Mama! Mama! Mama!
Me: What, babe?
Mia: Look at this piece of fuzz I found on the stairs! And this lint! And this scrap from the roll of toilet paper I tore apart and used to decorate the house yesterday!
Me: Yes, dear, those are very nice.
Mia: Wait, when was the last time you vacuumed?

Ok, this was funnier in my head while I was mopping the kitchen floor. Actually, on three hours of sleep it's still pretty funny. You should try it that way.

Date Night, Postscript

I forgot to mention how Outfit 3b fared throughout Date Night, and since you were all so intimately involved in this process, I feel you deserve to know. It was a little chilly, but comfortable through dinner. The top and skirt were ok in the movie, but I had this itch on my ankle that kept requiring me to unzip my boot to scratch it and the zippers make rather loud, noticeable, zippery noises, so I am sure the people around me thought I was performing some sort of movie theater strip tease.

As all good dates should, mine ended with Outfit 3b crumpled on the floor next to my bed. That is where I left it when I took a break from the 2 hours of trying to get Mia back to sleep because I could not wear those fucking boots or that god-damned skirt another second, even it if meant my precious child had to scream while I changed into my good old yoga pants and favorite shirt with 18 holes (which I do not wear out of the house, at least not without a coat). After that 2 hours, Chris finally took over and got her to sleep in her crib in under 10 minutes.

Final verdict: good choice for dinner, good choice for movie baring intractable ankle itches, piss-poor choice for 2 solid hours of baby rocking. Keep that in mind for next time, would you?

Date Night, the Final Chapter

Calm down, calm down, I wouldn't leave you hanging on the outfit thing after making you nice people vote on it twice. However, since this is me we are talking about, it turned into a whole saga. Let's start with the basics. The final tally was Outfit 1 - 8 votes, Outfit 2 - 30 votes, Outfit 3a - 20 votes, Outfit 3b - 37 votes and Outfit 3c - the winner (barely) with 38 votes. Also, Boots kicked Heels butt.

So, it was decided, I would wear Outfit 3c, and I was actually very happy with that. It was something I wouldn't have put together on my own and I was feeling all daring and cool for going out on this big fashion limb. I started getting ready, and then the babysitters (my in-laws) showed up early and I got a little flustered because I felt like I was running late. I jumped into my clothes and was putting on my makeup when I realized that something wasn't quite right. I was wearing Outfit 3c, all should have been well, but then I figured out I had chosen the incorrect black tank sweater from my vast collection of similar garments. The one I was wearing was too long and doing unfortunate things to my hips.

Luckily, this was easy to fix. I would go back to the drawer and retrieve the correct shirt, change, and go merrily along my way. Except the correct shirt wasn't there. It had been right on top, waiting to be selected, and now, although there were six very similar shirts in a pile, the shirt I wanted was not there. None of the other shirts would quite work, so I started digging. The shirt was not in the drawer. It was not in any of the other drawers. It was not in the closet, not in the laundry, not in with the dry cleaning. The chosen shirt was gone baby gone.

See, Mia likes to go through my drawers and take things out and rearrange them a bit for me. I can only assume that is what happened here. The odd thing is that the shirt has not turned up. I have looked and looked and there is no trace. I am starting to think Mia has a secret hiding place and someday I will find my shirt there with her comb, half of her socks, and everything else that has gone missing around here for the last 6 months.

Anyway, due to circumstances beyond my control, I went with Outfit 3b. At this point, I really was running late and the restaurant Chris had chosen is one of those that doesn't take reservations and if you get there later than 5:15 or so you have to wait three hours for a table. I was ready, I really was, except that I needed a camera so I could get proof for you lovely people that I had worn the outfit you very nearly voted for. I found the camera, no problem, and then I found 8 dead batteries. Most of the dead batteries were conveniently housed in their unplugged chargers. And that is why all you get is this crappy camera phone picture of me, Outfit 3b, a revolving door that clearly is not in my house, and a total stranger who I left in the shot just to prove I looked much better than she did.

And finally, at dinner, the woman at the next table was wearing Shirt 4. So thank you all for saving me from that embarrassment.

Birthday Boy


Go wish him well.

Mia Monday #47: Mia Shows off her Words and Gets a Little Tickle Edition





Lightning Round

Voting is now closed, and we have a winner. By one vote. Thanks for playing, and tune in, um, later sometime, for photograph evidence of the winning ensemble.

I'm a little horrified I am about to do this, as we all know I am having body image issues right now, but I said I would so I guess I am stuck. Mia and I spent much of the morning sifting through your votes trying to come up with the winningest combinations, and the results are below for your continued voting pleasure. I tried to find some sort of actual voting application so I didn't have to count all of these myself, but three solid minutes of searching yielded no results and naptime is a very limited resource, so we will have to do it the old-fashioned way, in comments. If you want to vote anonymously, you aren't required to enter anything other than my anti-spam passphrase and your comment.

Here we go.

Outfit 1

click to embiggen

The pants fit, can I get a hallelujah? In addition, although what is going on underneath that mercifully loose-fitting top is not a pretty sight, nosirreebob, after a minute or two the pants aren't as uncomfortable as I thought they were going to be and I might even be able to sit down in them. Only caveat is that this is a bit fancy for an early dinner (seriously, like 5:00) and movie, so I would be overdressed, but also totally hot so who cares.

Note to boots voters - I tried them, but they were too heavy with the floaty shirt/pants combo.

Outfit 2

Does that skirt/boots combo look familiar to anyone? Do you think it would look better with the stripey socks? Why the hell am I so enamored with posting pictures of myself this week? Don't I have anything better to do?

Outfit 3a

Outfit 3b

Outfit 3c


So, in 3c I swapped the sparkly top for a non-sparkly top cause it just went better. Also, why do I own 14 sleeveless black sweaters? If you vote for Outfit #3a, 3b, or 3c you can also vote to swap boots for heels or vice versa. Other than that there are no substitutions.

That's it, get to voting. I'll take a final tally right before I get dressed tomorrow and will have Chris take a picture of me in public to prove I wore whatever you select, and then I am not posting another single picture of myself for at least a month, maybe two.

Oh, if you want to vote on my sexy date underwear, it's after the jump.

Continue reading "Lightning Round" »