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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Closing

I'm selling my little yellow house today, and while we will still be here for a couple of weeks, by 4:30 it will no longer be ours. We will be here only to finish packing up and moving on and getting it ready for someone else to take over. Someone who will not know about the spot in the living room where Mia first crawled and took her first steps. Someone who will be able to walk into her room without remembering the night we were all sitting by the window and she finally said Mama.

We've packed up our pictures and our books and are slowly emptying this space of the things that made it seem like home when I walked in the door. But we can't pack up the azaleas we back-breakingly planted that first summer or the secret messages painted behind the mirrors in all the bathrooms. We're leaving behind the microwave door handle that doesn't quite fit and the spindles at the top of the stairs chewed before we got here by somebody else's dog, or possibly child. We're leaving the strange little closet hidden under the stairs, that fills with dust and plaster so fast it must be a wonder of the world and that has a mystery light socket with no way to turn it on.

The new people, they seem nice, they love the house and I'm sure they will feel the same way about it that we do. But they will never know the joys and tragedies that came here before them, the things that we are taking with us but also leaving behind as shadows, echos.

I'm excited, thrilled, but when I sign those papers this afternoon it will not be without sadness and regret. I will miss our little yellow house.

Hey, would you all click over here today, if you have a second? There's nothing interesting, it's just that I'm buying a very expensive house in two weeks and every little bit helps, ya know? Appreciate it bunches.

Mia Monday #81: Ladies Who Lunch Edition

Make that Ladies Who Lunch in their Jammies while watching Elmo Edition.

Mia woke up at 4:45 this morning and dedicated the entirety of the next 15 hours whining and crying. I think the molars are coming, and me without a gallon of vodka. I didn't manage to convince her to change out of her pajamas until 2:00, so this was lunch.

Yeah, that's the best I've got. It was a long day, people.

Quick question for Monday morning

Hey, what's the best way to destroy Polaroids? No reason, just wondering. Has nothing whatsoever to do with anything I may have discovered while packing this weekend. Nope, just idle curiosity. Yeah, that's it.

Lessons

Today, Mia learned that balloons tend to pop if you bite them and that it is not generally considered polite to reveal (and play with) your nipples at the dinner table. (I was perfectly willing to allow her to do so herself, but far less willing to join in.)

All in all, I think that made it a day well spent.

Cinderfella

Our next door neighbor brought Mia this cup for her birthday.

Is it just me, or does Cinderella look a little... tranny?


Mia Monday #80: Second Birthday Edition

A few more pictures are here.

Month Twenty-four

Happy Birthday, Mia Bean!

You are two years old today, and what a day it was. It started with counting to ten all on your own (I didn't see it, but your father swears that he only helped a little bit with six) and culminated in a two mile ride on your new tricycle wearing your new pink helmet and new ladybug boots with your new purse hooked over your elbow. In between there was a party with all the crackers and strawberries and beach pizza you could eat and a pile of presents that officially pushed us over the line from "a bit cramped" to "totally outgrown this house."

We've been talking about your birthday for weeks, and when it finally arrived, you knew it. You told us all day that it was Mia's birthday and that you were having a party and who was coming and what we were eating and how old you were. You even try to hold two fingers up to show us, but your hand won't quite cooperate yet. You loved the balloons and the rainbows and all the decorations, which earned a "wow" or two when we brought you downstairs this morning, and tried really hard to blow out your own candles. Mama only helped a little bit.

You are not a baby anymore, you are trying so hard to be a big girl. Last week you insisted that I remove your booster seat and now take all your meals in your "big girl chair," which is a stool on a regular chair. It isn't all that different than a booster seat, but there are no buckles and that independence is very important to you. We are working hard on sitting with your legs under the table and asking to be excused before you get down, and you almost always do pretty well at both.

I sometimes can't believe that the independent little girl running away from me at top speed is the same child who spent her first year glued to my hip all day every day. You still run to me if you are startled or frightened and insist that "mama hug," and sometimes demand a mama hug or kiss just because you feel like it, but more often than not you are happy to play on your own for a while or to chat with the checker at the grocery store or wander off to explore the neighborhood and insist that I sit on the sidewalk rather than following you too closely so that Mama doesn't cramp your style.

Last week, Nana and Papa took you to their house and then to the park. You were gone for four and a half hours, which is longer than I have ever left you with anyone other than your father, and precious few times even with him. You had a blast, a great adventure, and never once whined or cried for mama. When you got tired, you simply asked to go to Mia's house. I missed you like crazy and worried the entire time, but I admit that I also enjoyed it a bit. I love being with you and spending most of my time with you, but it was nice to know that you could go out into the world without me for a little while and enjoy yourself. I was, and am, so proud of you for being such a brave little girl.

I can't believe how much you talk. You repeat nearly everything you hear, and with few exceptions they are actual, intelligible words. Most things are a sentence these days too, and you sometimes even remember to say please and thank you without being prompted. Your latest words are "now" and "need," and you seem to need absolutely everything now. You are generally very sweet about it though, rarely crossing the line into demanding or petulant. Even so, I think patience is going to be our next assignment.

You have an incredible memory. You hear or see or do something once and weeks later it pops back out, in context. Three weeks ago, your Papa told you that hickory nuts falls down and go "boink." At their house on Friday, you picked up a hickory nut, threw it at the ground and said "boink." You know things that I am sure we have not taught you, that you have picked up from watching and listening and from figuring it out on your own. Like counting to ten, although I think Elmo must deserve some of the credit for that one.

Mia Bean, two years ago today I held you in my arms for the first time, met you for the first time, hugged and kissed you for the first time. I can hardly imagine what that was like anymore, because it seems like you have always been here, always been a part of us and of our lives. These past two years have been amazing and beautiful and fun, but also very challenging. You were a perfect, easy baby in a lot of ways, and a very difficult baby in a lot of other ways. All those difficulties and challenges are gone now, outgrown or solved or discarded along the way, and you are just this totally amazing, sweet, happy, kind, giving, beautiful little girl. I know that there are many more challenges ahead of us, especially with all the major changes we will go through this year, but I am looking forward to them. I can't wait to see what comes next, even if some of those things are problems to solve or issues to help you work through. I know who you are now. I've seen your character and your heart, and I know that those things will carry you through whatever is to come, through your whole life. And I am just happy, so very happy, that we are all in this together.

Love,
Mama

Somebody talk me out of it

I'm on my way to buy Mia a drum for her birthday.

Clearly, I've lost my everloving mind.

Lengths to which I will go to avoid packing

First, is it bad to hire a mover solely because he correctly identified the piano as a spinet? Yeah, whatever.

Second, Brad asked for a picture of me in pigtails (in context of a conversation we were having, not just at random which would be weird and also vaguely pervy), so here we go.

I used Mia's hair ties to try to make them cuter. Also, this is a shitty picture of me, but look! Look!

My eyes are open!

It appears that I am taking requests, which what the hell, it has to be better than listening to me talk about moving for the next month. Anyone? Anyone?

Frenzy

Today we had the home inspector, the exterminator for the fucking fuckwad ants, the appraiser, our realtor, and finally got our "Under Contract" sign. Mia and I went out for breakfast, to Target, the bank, the mall play area, the grocery store, and story time at the library. Tomorrow we have two movers coming to give estimates and I have to call to switch all of the utilities and find someone to replace the missing shingles on the roof because our buyers seem to want the roof to actually have shingles, which I think is a bit unreasonable but I have decided to humor them.

On Friday, Mia has an outing with my parents and I am going to plan the menu for her birthday party, buy the food, buy decorations, buy and wrap her birthday gifts, clean the house and start packing.

Next week just gets worse. Now is the time for you to reassure me that this will all be worth it. Also, now that I am firmly on the road to having only one mortgage, and even for the space of two weeks or so having no mortgage, I promised Isabel that I would send you all over to her to focus all your good internet vibing on getting her new house built so that she can move out of her one bedroom apartment and get her summer clothes back. Go on now, tell her I sent you.

Urgent

Get me, two posts in one day. You all have to stop calling me a sucky blogger now.

First, if you are expected home at 3:30 and instead arrive home at 2:30 and sneak into the house so as to avoid disturbing naptime, you are very likely to give your poor, unsuspecting wife a heart attack. You are also very likely to get brained with a hair dryer. Keep it in mind.

Also, anybody bored at work today? I need a size 24 month dress with a rainbow theme. By Saturday. It's urgent. Go!

It's a sad, sad day when I'm the fashion police

Dear Woman at Mia's Mommy and Me Class,

Tight white pants over a black thong is a Bad Idea. It's bad enough when I can tell from the back what kind of underwear you are wearing, but when I can tell from the front? Shudder.

Love,
Beth

Mia Monday #79: Basket Ball Edition


Why is this toddler smiling?

Because Mama and Dada sold their house on Friday!

Pull up a couch

I have this recurring dream.

Wait, no, don't leave. Yes, I am going to tell you about it, but I promise I will do so in 60 words or less, and that's counting the really short words. And then we will play a game.

My dream is that I am trying to find a public restroom, but every one I try is either locked or filthy or flooded or full of spiders or has no doors on the stalls or something that makes it impossible for me to use it and I have to move on in search of another.

I have this dream a lot, have for years. Now, the game part. Your job is to psychoanalyze my dream, either seriously or with an eye to being as ridiculous and outrageous as possible, up to you. Whoever submits the best analysis wins the fabulous prize of coming over on August 11th and helping us move.

Clever

Several months ago, I installed magnetic cabinet locks on some of our kitchen cabinets. I'm surprised, really, that it took me until this morning to lock the only key in one of the cabinets.

Also, I forgot to tell you that Mia called FreezeM a couple of weeks ago and left him a voice mail. Trust her to find the only international number on my cell phone and decide she felt like a chat.

Rough

Today was a hard one. Mia fell asleep pretty late last night and then was awoken two hours early this morning by a leaky diaper I pulled her into bed with us hoping she would at least lie quietly for a few minutes and let me doze a bit more before facing the day. And she did, for a little while. And I even thought, briefly, that she had fallen asleep. But then I felt a little hand on my cheek, and then she started rubbing my hair and then my back, the way I do to her when I am trying to quiet or soothe her. That stretch of three or four minutes was one of the highlights of my entire life.

It went downhill from there. This morning she fell and bumped her head lightly on a carpeted floor. This is the kid who cracks her head into a table so hard you can hear the thump in the next county and then collapses in hysterical giggles about it, but instead she collapsed into tears. It took 15 minutes of patting and singing and hugging a sobbing child to quiet her down. She was whiny and impossible.

A trip to the pool improved things, but once we got home it was back to the lousy mood. And then, right after her nap she had a major wipe out on the sidewalk, resulting in two skinned and badly bruised knees and the insistence that "Mama hug" for the rest of the day. I couldn't put her down, she would not leave my lap, and eventually not even my lap was good enough. The only thing that would make her happy was me carrying her around the house. It was like she was a month old again and I spent a couple of hours walking the same path I used to walk with her two years ago.

I didn't handle it well. I snapped at her and told her to just stop crying and dumped her on Chris the second he walked in the door and ran to hide in the kitchen.

Bedtime finally came, and with it hysteria. After 5 minutes in her crib she was so freaked out that it took 15 minutes of rocking to calm those awful gasping, halting, hiccupy breaths. I rocked and I rocked, and I rubbed and I patted, and I sang a vast swath of my repertoire of Paul Simon songs, and she finally fell asleep in my arms, her head snuggled into my neck, her arms wrapped as far as they would go around my waist.

I sat there thinking that I didn't do a very good job today. She was too tired to deal, and I was too tired to deal with her, but I'm the adult and ought to be able to fake it better. It makes me feel better to know that, even on my bad mommy days, I'm still the one she wants, I'm still the one who can make it all ok for her. That she'll give me the chance to do it better tomorrow.

Because I am so sure you have been wondering

I've been a bad blogger lately, I know. But what do you people expect? This is free entertainment I'm providing here, sometimes it is just going to suck. You get what you pay for and all that. However, since I know that the world at large is fascinated by every aspect of my life, here's what you've been missing.

Mia's birthday is the 22nd and I finally got the invitations to her party out yesterday. I mean sure, we are only having the family, but still that was cutting it a bit fine, don't you think? Still working on a theme, am leaning towards a Happy Birthday/Box Packing party. Hey, she's only 2, she won't know the difference and would have a great time throwing our crap in boxes, and I could use the extra labor from the family for a while. Ok, so I guess not. Probably won't be a theme at all, because again she's 2 and won't know the difference. I am working on a menu though. Tell me, would it be bad to serve only food that Mia likes? That would mean that lunch would consist of fruit, pasta with parmesan cheese, peanut butter sandwiches and teddy grahams.

I'm putting off doing any move-related stuff, like calling utilities or movers or any of the hundred other people who will care that we are going to be living somewhere else. I find a new excuse every day. Today's excuse: Chris is in training and will have limited opportunities to reach me, should he need to, therefore I need to keep the phone line free. Yes, I do have a cell, so what?

Last night, Mia recited the entire Gettysburg Address. It was impressive. Ok, so not so much, but remember back when I spent all my time bitching and moaning about how my kid didn't talk? Sweet lord but my kid talks. All the time. In sentences. Blows my mind.

Hey, can anybody recommend a mover that didn't break all your shit? Thanks.

Also hey, do you guys think Mia should have the front bedroom or the back bedroom? Chris thinks the front, but I am sort of leaning towards the back. Thanks again.

You know what I did on Sunday night? I ordered a St. Joseph's statue to bury in the yard so our house would sell. I wasn't going to, but then I found one that was made out of PVC and I couldn't resist. I mean come on, my very own 4 inch PVC saint? He's not going in the yard, I'm totally building a shrine to St. PVC. With candles and incense. It's going to be awesome, so awesome that we'll probably throw a shrine warming party. People can bring more incense.

And let's see, what else is there? Nothing much, really. Oh, except that we got an offer on the house yesterday. Well, almost. We got a contract that was missing three pages and didn't have a loan approval and was really low-ball to boot, but hey, at least it was an offer, almost. Will let you know if anything happens with that, obviously, but I'm not holding my breath.

Mia Monday #78: Mia and Adelaide Edition

Bonus points for anybody who can identify the extra toddler's blogging mama.

The Hair

Well, since you asked so nicely, here's After:

Obsession

Will it come as a shock to you if I tell you that I am obsessed with selling my house? No, I guess not. I dream about it. I worry about it. I think about it all the time. This house needs to go, which is a vast change from my position of a month ago, when I could hardly bear the thought of parting with it. See what the threat of two mortgages can do?

We had four showings today, which is fabulous, especially for a Friday, and if we get a contract this weekend (ha ha) there is still a chance that we can sell this house before we buy the next one. Which, while not strictly necessary, would be hella convenient and lift about 194 tons of stress off of my shoulders, which would be nice as I have another thing or two going on right now that I would much rather worry about. So if all y'all would focus some good juju on sending a contract my way right quick, I would appreciate it.

And ok sure, that hair thing from earlier was rude, but also, you must admit, rather funny. The hair is great, really it is, and I would be blissfully happy to post picture after picture of the hair if only I could work out how to not be in the pictures myself. I hate pictures of myself, mostly because I tend to have my eyes closed or starting to close or nearly but not quite open in all of them, which makes me look like a Class-A drooling dweeb. Also, I'm not sleeping well lately (see two mortgages, above) which gives me lovely bags under my eyes and my hairdresser pointed out that I am starting to get "natural highlights" and despite losing 12 pounds (12! go me!) the stomach pooch is still formidable and well... I start going a little crazy with the Photoshop and then the picture I intended to post starts looking quite a bit like Michael Jackson and not much at all like me. But I'll work on it and get something up soon. Ish. Promise.

On the happy side of things, thanks to two last-minute requests for showings, we decided to just go out to dinner tonight and then went for ice cream, and in between those two things peered and giggled at some fish and some ducks and a whole passel of geese, and then we got home just in time to say hello to our neighbor dog Luke, who was out for his evening constitutional and who Mia worships as she does almost nothing else on this earth. And it was just a lovely, very lovely evening. And a reminder that I am far luckier than I deserve to be to have this life and this little family and these two god forsaken mortgages and this totally hot new hairdo (which I got done for free, since I was donating the hair).

Hey, I'm very literal-minded

So you want to see my hair, huh? Fine, fine. You can see my hair here.

(Honestly, there's just no pleasing some people.)

Very possibly hollow

Something tomorrow, I promise. In the meantime, here's an adorable picture of my kid.

I suggest something about "beauteous tresses"

Hey, you know what I did last night? I left Mia in the capable hands of her father and went out to dinner with a friend. You know how many times I have done that in the past two years? Once. Well, twice now, but it was only once before last night. It was lovely. No actually, it was fantastic. Sure, we spent most of the time talking about our kids, but that's a huge and welcome change from spending a meal talking about your kids while trying to get said kids to eat their grilled cheese and stop throwing ice cubes at the waitress.

So dinner was great, but it really drove home the point that oh my god I need some sort of childcare. I adore my kid, you know I do, but I also take her literally everywhere that I go, and it starts to drive you straight up the fucking wall after a while.

In other news, today is Haircut Day. Come on, when you have had as little hair removed from your head as I have in the past two years, it deserves to be capitalized. Those of you who have been playing along at home will be aware that the only reason I have let my hair get so out of control is that I have been planning to donate it to charity before it goes gray. (My parents both started going gray by 30, so I'm living on borrowed time.) So thanks for all the gentle suggestions and kind brow beatings, but I assure you that I am right there with you, no need to go on.

For the purposes of posterity and what not, I humbly offer these "before" shots, to be followed by "after" shots as soon as I leave the "oh my god, I hate my hair, I look disgusting with short hair, why did I ever cut my hair, I can't leave the house for a year until it grows out" phase, which I calculate should last a week at the outside. Anyway, before:

(The above is the only shot out of 15 or so where I managed to keep my eyes open. And now you know why I never post pictures of myself.)

I would like to take this opportunity to invite each of you to compose a stirring, deeply moving Ode to My Hair on the Occasion of Its Imminent Demise. (Dudes, was that the right its/it's? I can never remember and am too lazy to check.) I invited Chris to craft his own Ode, and his efforts left quite a bit to be desired. (Answer to everyone who asked "but won't Chris freak out if you cut your hair?": No.) I couldn't even get a decent haiku out of the guy, but the only thing he ever really notices about my appearance is whether or not I am currently naked, so I wasn't all that surprised. Those of you who don't care to draft an Ode to My Hair can just, well, for all I care you can, you know, just go ahead and go on about your lives with no skin whatsoever off my nose and my hearty congratulations for not being quite that bored and hard up for entertainment today. Naturally, those of you who are that bored and get your Odes on will thrill my shriveled little soul.

Mia Monday #77: Storytime Edition