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


World's Most Handsome Child


Other Important Things

Clive Owen

Clive Owen
Pretend Celebrity Boyfriend

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so the fish said...
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Photo essay, sort of

Hey, I'm averaging four minutes of free time a day here, you'll take what you can get. Chris has taken to emailing me periodically throughout the day to see "how things are going." What he really wants to know is which, if any, of the children I currently have duct taped to the washing machine in the basement.

Mia's outfit today:

I dig the shoes. I think this is the exact same outfit my grandma used to wear to play shuffleboard on a cruise. Actually, Mia is about the same height as my grandma.

This is what I bought today.

That just seems a bit extreme, doesn't it? I mean, all that stuff barely fit into the back of my SUV. (To be fair, there was a double stroller back there too.) (And it's a very small SUV.)

These are Mia's dinosaurs.

Although I just noticed that the baby triceratops is missing. And really, they are Michael's dinosaurs, which I bought for his birthday lo these many months ago and then chickened out of attending his birthday party with a weeks-old infant tied to my chest so they sat in my coat closet until Mia decided she wanted to be a paleontologist and I gave them to her in hopes of stopping the whining for five minutes. Sorry Michael, I owe you a birthday gift.

I was a little worried how she would respond to the teeth and the claws and the general "I'm gonna tear off your skin and pick my fangs with your bones" attitudes of the bigger dinosaurs, but she doesn't seem to have noticed. Mia's dinosaurs all lie down together to rest and then come give me kisses and yesterday she asked if I would breastfeed them because they were hungry. Hello, gender stereotypes in action, nice to see you.

Some guy just came to my door trying to sell me meat out of his truck. Which a) door to door meat? Really? And b) ha ha, vegetarian, sucker!

And now if you will excuse me, Mia is screaming her curly little head off at the injustice of being duct taped to the dryer confined to her room for quiet time and I have to go get her before she wakes up poor Owen who has decided that teething is incompatible with sleep and therefore desperately needs every minute of nap he can get. She did tell me this morning that I should let Owen sit in his "Bimbo" though, so I suppose I will keep her.

Oh fuck me

Owen is teething.

Owen Wednesday #15: Monday in the Park Edition

Ok ok, I know that this is my kid and that everybody thinks their own kid is impossibly gorgeous, but come on - this kid is impossibly gorgeous.

Mia Monday(ish) #123: Family Portrait Edition

Yesterday, Chris and I schlepped the kids to a local park for a picnic lunch and some walking on laser beams. (Ask Mia about that one.) While Chris had both kids, I tried to get a lovely shot of my little family. Naturally, Mia was not in the mood to cooperate.

Help needed

Dudes, has anybody seen the lid to the peanut butter?

Owen Wednesday #14: Hands! Edition

Happiness is finally figuring out that those floppy things at the ends of your arms are specifically designed for getting the purple elephant into your mouth.

And proof that my child isn't always smiling. Although admittedly it took me over a week to capture these Mildly Annoyed shots.

Blood and guts. Or just blood.

Mia had to have blood drawn yesterday (she's fine, just ruling a couple of things out). She had blood drawn about a year ago to do allergy testing and it was fine. I mean, she screamed and cried and screamed some more, but the lab was great. They took us back right away, spoke sweetly and soothingly to her, had enough staff at the ready to help me hold her, and got the dirty deed done as quickly and easily as possible and then held three doors open for me so I could run Mia straight out of there and make her feel safe through escape. It was traumatic, but it was also as good as it could have been.

Yesterday I took her to a different location run by the same company and it was an entirely different experience. The technician started off with attitude, I assume because she had to call us twice. Um, maybe if you walked out of the room instead of just yelling down the hall? Whatever. When we walked into the room she asked if the tests were for me, which I found odd since she was holding a doctor's order listing Mia's age as 34 months and I had given her birth date at check-in. When I said no, it was Mia, she started talking about how many tests we were doing and then pointed us to the chair. I sat down with Mia in my lap and held her the best I could while the tech checked her arms, snapped at me for not pinning her legs well enough, and then tied the rubber band around Mia's left arm. Then she said she needed to get her colleague and left us sitting there. Mia was losing her shit at this point, obviously. The tech came back, took the band off of Mia's arm and said it would be a few minutes. To which I said "Are you fucking kidding me? You can't start this, get my kid all freaked out, and then say oops, never mind!" Ok, I really said "We have to wait?" and was told that we had to wait for the other tech to finish because Mia was "moving too much." And then I said "Yeah, well she's 2, what did you expect?"

After that, the tech was a little more conciliatory, as in she actually spoke to my child and helped me try to distract her. The other tech came in, we got it done, Mia screamed and cried the entire time but sucked it up fairly quickly once it was over and I produced a lollipop.

And I dunno, was I being unreasonable? Am I one of those people who get irrationally pissed off at the slightest... well... slight? (I totally am one of those people, but I'm trying not to be.) I just feel like there ought to be some consideration for the fact that this is a child, and a very young child at that, and when she has to go through something unpleasant I don't think it is unreasonable to expect people in this situation to help me limit her discomfort as much as possible. Is that more than I should expect?

Mia Monday #122: The Many Faces of Mia Edition

Mia says that this is her sad face:

And this is her happy face:

And this is my "the toddler hasn't napped in over a week" face:

I want your...

Let me ask you a question. Those of you who have two or more children, how do you ever have sex? No, really. I mean yes, my children do frequently sleep at the same time, but there is not any time at which I can feel confident that one of them isn't seconds away from starting to scream/sing/talk/giggle/howl at the moon. Which I dunno, but knowing that I may be mere moments away from having to get up and cram my boob into someone (else's?) mouth doesn't do much for "the mood."

Seriously, I want to know this.

I also want to know the following things:

1) What do you do if one of your offspring starts screaming at an especially inopportune time? Go deal with them? Let them scream? If you let them scream, doesn't the screaming put a bit of a damper on things?

2) Do you ever, as someone around here may have suggested today, just lock any available toddlers in their room for a bit to amuse themselves? What, she has toys in there.

3) Do you just wait until they go to college?

Feel free to be anonymous.

Owen Wednesday #13: Bathtime Edition

Public Service

Owen Wednesday? What's that? Everybody knows you never take any pictures of the second child.

While we wait for me to get off my ass, here's something I didn't know about breastfeeding before I did it. Yes, you absolutely will have considerably enhanced boobs, which for some of us means the only chance in life to actually have boobs plus some once in a lifetime cleavage. However, those rocking boobs and awesome cleavage will look like a textbook illustration of Your Circulatory System. Huge, prominent, highly-visible, purple veins. Seems making milk requires extra blood flow.

It's like sexy and disgusting all rolled into one.

Dead cat napping

Mia: Look Mommy, it's a picture of Daddy with a kitty on his lap.
Mommy: It sure is, babe.
Mia: What's the kitty's name?
Mommy: That's Callie.
Mia: Callie lived with us when I was a baby.
Mommy: That's right.
Mia: Mommy, where is Callie now?
Mommy: (Dammit! Ok, you can do this, just be gentle and direct and keep it at her level.)
Mommy: Well, sweetheart, Callie was very old and she got sick and she died.
Mia: (long pause)
Mia: No.
Mommy: (Fuck! Why did you say that? What the hell is wrong with "Callie went to live in a nice farm"? Stupid mommy, bad mommy, the child is damaged for life now. Fuck!)
Mommy: No?
Mia: Callie is in my lap. See?
Mommy: Ok.
Mia: I'm patting her head! I'm patting it very gently! Isn't that nice of me?
Mommy: Yes well, in that case, Callie likes to have her chin scratched.
Mia: I'm scratching her chin! Mommy, Callie wants to take a nap in the guest room! Let's go! Shhhh, Mommy, don't wake Callie up!
Mommy: Not much chance of that, Bean.

And that is how I came to spend yesterday afternoon playing with my dead cat.

Free to good home

The first time I was pregnant, Chris and I were in violent agreement that our impending daughter would have a normal name. It would be a girl's name, it would be spelled the regular way, and it would be familiar to anyone who heard it. We didn't want her to be Emma B. for her entire life, but neither did we want her to be the only Kumquat she ever met. And then, one day Chris sent me an email suggesting that we name her after some random town in Italy, to which neither of us had never been. I have no idea where he got the name, and since he now denies that this ever happened neither does he, but he tried to sell me on it by telling me there was an ancient amphitheater there. I shot him down, we moved on, and Amelia eventually emerged victorious.

With pregnancy #2 we had the same plan - a normal name. And then, in the middle of Mia's mommy and me class one morning, I decided I had the perfect name for our son. It wasn't normal, many people would have no idea how to spell it, it may be familiar to some, but not as a first name, and I was fairly sure he would never meet another one. But I didn't care, this was the name. I even went so far as to run it by Swistle (didn't you know she was my Top Secret Internet Baby Name Consultant?) and got her somewhat qualified approval. I used this name in my head for weeks before I concluded that, for no reason in particular, it just wasn't this baby's name. But I still sort of love it, so I am throwing it out there in the hopes that someone else will love it too and use it and then I will get to take all the credit.

The name is....

*trumpets* *drumroll* *etc.*


Come on, you know that totally rocks.

Mia Monday #121: Stealth Broom Edition

Day o' Mom

It cracks me up how the one thing we all seem to want for Mothers' Day is time away from our children. Which hells yeah, I want that too. I also want all the dirty dishes scattered around my house to find their way into the dishwasher and for someone else to make dinner. But hey, there's always next year.

My favorite part of Mothers' Day was when Chris made this really nice breakfast of waffles with syrup and fresh strawberries and powdered sugar. For himself. What with cooking and cleaning for the lunch we were hosting and feeding two kids and trying to make them and myself presentable, I didn't manage to get breakfast myself. But that's sort of how I think mothering should be - the little people come first and you don't always get around to you.

My other favorite part of Mothers' Day was the Survivor finale. Which yes, I still watch that show, but don't worry, I'm not going to talk about it. I like the finale though because I like to see how everyone shows up at the end when they have access to showers and pizza and know they are going to be on national television. I always think they look better starved and unwashed on the island. Not so much with the men, who don't seem to change that much, but the women always look overly made-up and excessively primped and preened and fluffed and I always think wow, you should go back to being covered in mud because it really was a better look for you. Is that just me?

Meanwhile, I've lost my position as the only healthy person in this family, in that a) Mia seems largely recovered, aside from the fat lip she gave herself this morning, and b) I feel like hell. So I am off to drink tea and offer my children ponies if they will nap at the same time today.

Owen, Month Three

Sweet Owen,

You are three months old today, clocking in at 17 pounds and 25 inches, and you are sick. Oh my little bear, you are sick and I am so sorry. You have a stuffy nose and a cough and it makes you very, very sad. Of course, by very very sad I mean that you occasionally squawk when your nose gets so stuffy that it wakes you up and sometimes cry for a minute after a massive coughing fit and scream like a lunatic when I attack you with the nose sucker. So by any other measure you are still an incredibly happy baby, but when you have the reputation of World's Happiest Baby to uphold these things matter greatly. You actually kept me up most of the night last night, which is only the second or third time in your life, but you were so sweet about it I couldn't even get very grumpy.

So, you are sick, and I've spent the past month ruining your perfectly wonderful nap schedule. You can't quite sleep through anything anymore, but we are almost always out somewhere or other in the morning and that somewhere or other is usually loud enough to wake you up. So you've trained yourself to take a 30 minute morning nap and then collapse for most of the afternoon as soon as we are home and giving you half a chance to sleep. I put you to bed at night between 8:00 and 8:30 and you usually sleep with very little intervention until 7:30.

Your favorite activity these days is smiling. You just love everybody and everything. You will let anyone hold you, let anyone play with you, and will happily spend an hour in a total stranger's lap. You are beginning to realize that you can cause your arms and hands to do your bidding and like to bat at toys, especially your purple elephant and the world-famous Ball of Wonder. You like to suck on your knuckles.

You are soft and squishy and chubby and nearly perfectly round, and if there is anything in the world I like better than a fat baby I sure can't think of it now. You are so chubby that when you chanced to look up farther than usual one day this week we found a collection of schmutz hidden in one of your deeper neck folds. I am starting to move you into your 6-9 month clothes, with most of your 3-6 month stuff folded in your drawers entirely unworn. There just weren't enough days when they fit to get around to wearing it all.

You favorite person by far is Mia. Luckily for you she loves to give you hugs and kisses and bring you toys, which thrills you, but all she has to do is look at you and it makes your entire day. You adore your father and just light up whenever you see him. But you also love your mommy. You love to nurse and you love to cuddle with me and you are perhaps happiest just tucked under my arm or up on my hip as we go about our day.

You have some sort of magnetism that people are powerless to resist. Nobody can keep their hands off you, and when we enter any room you are swarmed by people who want to admire your cheeks and your smile. You are especially attractive to children, who always love babies, but who stare at you as if hypnotized.

I think you were born three months old - settled and happy and big and strong. And now when I see other babies I naturally compare them to you when guessing their ages. I frequently decide that another baby is your age or maybe slightly younger only to find that he is six or seven months old. You are big, yes, and so strong that the pediatrician keeps telling me you shouldn't be able to do the things you do, but you are also so alert and engaged that it is hard to believe that until today you still qualified as a newborn.

One day this week you were having trouble falling asleep so I held you and rocked you for a while, thinking of the many things I needed to get done once I finally got you and your sister to sleep. But then I realized that none of those things were as important as sitting there and holding you. I feel guilty sometimes that I don't spend three hours a night rocking you to sleep, that you aren't taking every nap for your first six months in my arms they way Mia did, but you don't need those things and you don't want them - won't allow then, even. It makes me treasure those rare times when I can steal a quiet moment with you, when I can spend an hour watching you sleep, watching your lips move as you dream about nursing, hearing you groan and sigh as you wander through your nap.

Sweet Owen, my bug, my little bear, you are a wonder and a marvel and being your mommy is a great and tremendous pleasure.

Later, gators

Sick toddler plus sick infant plus beshingled husband plus the brunch I am hosting on Sunday equals I do not have time to talk to you people right now. Instead, you can hit my much neglected flickr account to score some bonus shots of the world's happiest baby, who kept me up literally all night last night but was so damned sweet and happy about it that I can't even bring myself to complain.

June Effing Cleaver (reprise)

Mia loves to bake. Cookies, cakes, brownies, most especially cupcakes. Her ideal is to bake something chocolate that she can then decorate with sprinkles. And so, we bake. Sugar cookies, gingerbread men, shitty cupcakes from a box, decent brownies also from a box, etc. I hate it.

Mia wants to do all the measuring and pouring, which means there is going to be flour or shitty cupcake mix all over my kitchen, and I spend the whole time trying to keep her fingers out of the mixer blades and the raw egg out of her mouth and her head out of the oven. Every couple of weeks I brace myself and embark on another kitchen adventure, because that is the kind of fabulous selfless mom that I am, but I dread it every time.

Yesterday though, I found the perfect solution. You know those peanut butter cookies with Hershey's kisses on top? Well, unwrapping four dozen pieces of chocolate is an excellent way to keep a toddler busy while you do all of the non-toddler-appropriate prep work. Brilliant! Well, except for the part where I ate an entire dozen cookies between taking them out of the oven and getting them boxed up for "later." Dude! Those things are small! A dozen is, like, no more than eight regular sized cookies. Totally.

(BTW, I live on candy and cookies and ice cream and have lost two pounds in the past two weeks. God I love nursing.)

Owen Wednesday #12: Toes Edition

Alltop gave my husband herpes

Guy Kawasaki says I can't keep my dead last listing on Alltop's momblogs page forever, which oh my god, isn't he mean? (Yeah, I know, that page crashed your browser. Mine too.) I am a little bitter about that, because it is sort of fun to be dead last on a list of 4000 or so mommy bloggers. It sort of says "Hey, you suck, but Aimee made us put you here." (Hey, do you remember when I made you guys vote about whether a) my husband resembled Aimee's husband and, b) you would do them? Well, next up is a vote to determine whether a) my husband's colon resembles Aimee's husband's colon, and b) you would do their colons. It's going to be awesome! All we have to do is convince Chris to get a colonoscopy and we are in business.)

Anyway, since I can't remain dead last on Alltop, I have decided to try to be the first person to get kicked off of Alltop, because that's a distinction, right? Which is why I feel I must tell all of you that Alltop gave my husband herpes.

Ok ok, so he doesn't have herpes. But he does have a prescription for a herpes medication to help clear up his shingles, and the instructions for his herpes medication instructed him to wear a condom, which I found hilarious because yeah, right, I'm letting his skeevy, open-sored person anywhere close to me, latex or not. Also, the shingles are on his arm, so I don't see how the condom is going to help.

We are watching Owen carefully for specks, which I hope like hell do not materialize, but if they do I will be sure to come back next week and tell you that Alltop gave my infant chicken pox.

Tune in tomorrow to hear how Alltop stole my credit card and used it to buy porn.

Things that amuse me

I spent dinner last night teaching Mia to say "Daddy has herpes." It was awesome.

If you hurry, I am currently the very last mom listed on the moms page at Alltop. I'm not all that giddy about being listed there, but it does entertain me to be dead last. Do you think I could request that I always be in that position?

Mia Monday #120: Adventures in Naptime Edition

Mia was trying something new.

so the fish said, working for you

Hey, remember back when I casually mentioned my miserable fucking dyshidrosis and like 80 of you popped up to say that you got it too? And remember further that since I am currently serving as a 24-hour dairy bar I was denied access to any good drugs? (They recommended over the counter hydrocortisone, but I am firmly convinced that over the counter hydrocortisone is nothing but a well-marketed placebo meant to dissuade the general public from asking for the good drugs, because it has never done jack-all for me.) Well, since the itching in my hands was causing me to lose the will to live and since it had been five solid months of it getting progressively worse without a single hour of reprieve, I started searching the internet for crackpot cures. Dangerous, possibly, but less so than do-it-yourself at-home double hand amputation.

And you know what? I found something that seems to be working. Hydrogen peroxide. Apparently some people use the hardcore stuff from pool supply stores, but I have just been using the regular old 3% junk from the local grocery store applied for a few minutes a day with a gauze pad, and while my hands are still disgusting, they are disgusting in a different and far less itchy way and it is beginning to seem possible that I may make it through this with actual skin remaining on my northern extremities.

It isn't fun, mind you, and if you are inclined to try it may I recommend that you first lay in a large supply of chocolate or cookies or chocolate and cookies to reward yourself for surviving the briefly increased itching (and by "increased" I mean it is so bad that you will think everything down to and including your intestines are itching). Also, it stings like a bitch. Hot water helps with both though. But after that, at least for me, it feels better. And then it gets all nasty and dry and peely and shit, but I am thinking that is a good thing.

There. Never say I never did anything for you.

If I die, he's fucked

Him: Do we have a copy of the phone bill around here?
Me: Yes.
Him: Where would it be?
Me: In the filing cabinet.
Him: Oh. Where's the filing cabinet?
Me: Dude, seriously?
Him: Oh. Right.
Me: (rolls eyes)
Him: Hey, what would it be filed under?
Me: The phone bill?
Him: Yeah.
Me: I'm gonna go with "Phone."

Poor Me

Hey! You know how I spent last night? Lying awake in Mia's bed while she kicked and punched and head butted me, mostly to make sure I was still there, occasionally sneaking out to nurse Owen for a few minutes before Mia realized I was gone and started screaming again. I got 15 minutes of sleep, from 11:15 to 11:30, which was when Owen started fussing. He finally calmed down at 12:30, which was just when Mia started screaming her head off. It was a lot of fun, you should have been there. No, seriously, you should have, because then I could have made you read Mia a story or something at 3 AM when both of my arms had fallen asleep from cramming myself into a twin bed with a spastic toddler.

Tonight, I'm kicking Chris out and taking both kids to bed with me. Sure, it will just mean getting kicked from both sides all night, but at least I'll have more room to try to escape.

So hey, cheer me up and tell me about your worst ever night of parenting. Misery loves company, you know? I will have to say that mine was a couple of days before Mia's second Christmas when I had the stomach flu, spent eight hours throwing up, finally hauled myself out of bed at 2 AM to check on Mia only to discover that she also had the stomach flu and spent the rest of the night rocking her while she barfed on me. Good times, good times.