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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Ungrateful

Hey, thanks to everybody who chimed in yesterday to list all the additional ways in which I am failing my second child. That was special.

(Oh calm yourselves, I'm kidding. You guys are funny.)

Speaking of the second child, he is such a stinker. First he pulled the "ha ha, you thought you had gotten a good sleeper, but I have decided to never close my eyes again, take that!" trick, and then last night, he chowed an entire bowl of oatmeal made with water. I know! The nerve! Here I've been killing myself to pump really pitiful amounts of milk every day to mix with his cereal so that my precious offspring could continue to enjoy the benefits of mother's milk while learning to swallow solid foods, and he has been all whatever about it. But when I run out of milk and have to just go for the water, apologizing profusely all the while, he's all "bring it on, boob lady!" He did the same thing with rice cereal today. What a stinker.

And also, man what a relief. I am a lousy pumper, just don't respond well to it and it only gets the low-hanging fruit,so to speak, so if I do it first thing in the morning after he hasn't eaten much the night before I get 20 ounces in three minutes, but any other time I sit there for half an hour and get half an ounce. It blows, I hate it, and I suppose I shouldn't complain about having to do it less just because my kid is such a stinker.

Owen Wednesday #23: Second Child Edition

Oh, poor me. First I have to use all these pink blankets and towels left over from my sister, then my mom totally forgets to post Owen Wednesday half the time and then she's all "here, kid, have a nice choking hazard to play with while I surf the internet and eat me some chocolate."

Please note that the child was closely supervised at all times. By his father. I was busy surfing the internet and eating me some chocolate.

Smelly and hairy and poopy, oh my!

Yo, internet! This may be the stupidest use ever of this here ground-breaking communication medium, but what kind of deodorant do y'all use? I thought mine was fine, but as it gets hotter and stickier around here it is proving itself not up to the task.

And since I'm asking personal questions, I'll go ahead and update you on my beard. Really, it was more like overly aggressive sideburns, but whatever. Anyway, you know how about four months after removing a parasite from your body (also known as "the miracle of birth") you suddenly have no hair on your head and piles of hair on your carpets and furniture and in your bed and oy, the shower drain? Well, that took care of the pseudo-beard too. Thought you would be dying to know.

And hey, has anybody out there ever potty trained a kid who was taking Miralax? Cause Mia totally mastered the pee in the potty thing in two hours flat yesterday morning, but the other bit is going to be a challenge, so I'm in the market for tips. (Please note I am in the market for tips that you email to me and I respond and we have a nice little conversation about toddler poop without subjecting the rest of the internet to it, because I have done quite enough of that already, thank you very mucho.)

Queen for a day

Chris's summary of Mia's birthday party is here, and as usual he has covered most of the story while I am going to get all wrapped up in some tiny detail, so click on over if you want the overview. (If I were a bigger person, I would not point out how amused I am that Chris said he was "so worried about" the party. I mean yeah, I was worried about the party too, but he was worried that all the kids would drive him insane and I was worried about finding time to complete almost every bit of the preparation on my own while wrangling two kids.)

I've always been a little skeptical of big blow-out parties for little kids, on the grounds that they don't care and the parties are just a way for parents to keep up with the Joneses. And every time I say that, several people pipe up with their lovely and valid reasons for hosting 100 people for a first birthday, and if that rocks your boat then you go for it and I swear I will not get the least bit judgy over it, but it is just totally not my style. So I was a little concerned when I told Mia that she could invite a few friends to her party this year and she gave me a list of 30 children. I got her list down to 12 and then figured oh, what the hell. If it's awful we never have to do it again.

And it wasn't awful. Far from it. The kids were wonderful, they all had fun, and I just kept reminding myself that this party was about the three year olds and refused to do anything that wasn't directly for the benefit of the children. So we hauled the contents of our garage into the backyard, and there was a wading pool and a couple of bubble machines and a sandbox and Mia's new playhouse, and the fish and frogs in our pond and the kids amused themselves. And Mia had a blast, but more than that, there was a moment there when she was sitting in front of her cake (oh, the cake debacle, stay tuned) and everyone was singing "Happy Birthday" and I could tell my little girl felt like the queen of the world. And for that, if for nothing else, it was worth it.

Pucker

Party

Mia had a blast (I was a little afraid she would be overwhelmed and hide in her room), the weather was perfect, the kids were fabulous, and we only had one injury and as far as I know only one meltdown. (And sorry, Claudia, but it was a pretty hilarious meltdown.) I even had a good time, although around 8:30 this morning Chris asked me if I was going to be able to stop being a bitch. I said no, but once the party started I felt much better.

We have lucked into a group of friends where Chris and I really like all of the adults and also really like all of their truly amazing children. We tend to be hermits when left to our own devices, so I feel fortunate to be able to surround myself and my children with such good people. I even managed to send about half the guests away bearing bags of meat (four pounds was way too much), and I resisted the urge to put butterfly stickers on the baggies.

Am rambling, will stop. Instead, here's a shot of Mia, blatantly stolen from my friend Laura because I am too lazy to get up and get the camera and switch computers to post one of ours.

New tricks, etc.

Hey, anybody out there wanna give me three seconds of free technical help? I'm doing a new install of MT and can't get it to publish over the file tree, seems to just not be generating an index file and I am flummoxed. Anyone? Anyone? Come on, it has to be easy, I'm just totally sleep deprived and have no time to deal with it anyway.

Moving on, Owen has learned a new trick.

You would pay a million dollars to have Mia's hair, wouldn't you? Me too.

Swear to god I'll generate some content around here one of these days, like about how I was reading a book about the nouveau riche and encountered a long quote from someone I actually know, which was weird. Or about my totally unfulfilling trip to the non-Hotty Pediatrician (the Hotty Pediatrician was unavailable, something about vacation, how dare he!). Or maybe about the mayhem that is to be Mia's birthday party on Saturday. But it is rather hard to focus on the typing when one or the other of the children is always screaming at the top of their lungs. (Confidential to my children: You would spend less time in exhausted, uncontrollable sobbing if you would just for the love of god SLEEP once in a while. Just a tip from me to you.)

Oh! I need help! 16 adults, 9 kids, I'm buying cold cuts for sandwiches for lunch. How much meat do I need? I can't even remember the last time I bought meat.

I lied

I am entirely too bushwacked for navel-gazing, know you are devastated. Maybe tomorrow, but since we are in the midst of a double sleep strike I have to admit that I wouldn't count on a lot of content from me until at least one of my children decides to re-embrace peaceful slumber. Speaking of which, I just tucked offspring 2.0 into bed with his simulated mommy, which is two pillows and a rice sock. He totally fell for it, hence my ten entire, blissful minutes of free time this evening. Which I am devoting to blogging and ice cream, but only because I am out of wine.

Catch ya later, alligator.

Party hats

Gratuitous picture of my kids. Tedious navel-gazing post coming up later (if the children ever sleep). Mark your calendars!

Mia, Age Three

Mia Bean,

You are three years old today. Three! And as I sit down to type this I am already in tears - not because I mourn the passing of your baby and toddler self, but because I am so gob smacked by the stunning little girl you have become. Sorry, big girl. You constantly remind me that you are a big girl, but just as often check to make sure you are still my baby. And I tell you that you will always be my baby, even though you can now dress yourself and climb ladders and tell stories with a beginning, middle, and end with characters and plot and dialog.

And oh, you are such a big girl. It seems some days that you can do anything. I am constantly amazed by how very capable you are. You can pour drinks and open doors and buckle yourself into your car seat. You can run the vacuum cleaner and brush your teeth and feed your brother his cereal. You can talk for hours and mostly make sense, you can explain your feelings, you can parrot my house rules back to me and remind me not to eat on the furniture or run on the stairs. You are, these last few months, an entire person who does not rely on your parents for your identity. You are no longer defined on any terms other than your own.

Your favorite things right now are many and varied. You like to dress yourself and then change your clothes, frequently without removing the first set of clothes. You like to play dollhouse and cars and color on your "weasel." You love pretend games, love to cook us meals in your kitchen or take your purse and shopping cart and go on errands for the things we tell you to buy. You enjoy puzzles and dancing and working in the yard and going out with Daddy every night after dinner to count your tomatoes. You love to read books, especially the new batch of library books we get every week. You love to sing, some days you seem to never stop and often sing yourself to sleep at naptime or at night.

You have your own friends now, not just the children of my friends. You are usually willing to play with anybody, but are very clear about your favorites. Your one true love right now is Carly. I think we could put you two together and leave the house for three hours and as long as you had access to snacks you would neither notice nor care.

Carly introduced you to princesses, and especially to Cinderella, and we now spend large chunks of each day playing princess. You love to put on your ball gown (really Mommy's night gown) and your tiara and glass slippers and whatever other accessories make you feel fabulous - generally my necklace or a bit of ribbon or maybe your goggles - and then we dance. When you get tired of dancing, you act out scenes from Cinderella, which you have seen only a few times but appear to have memorized. I resisted the princess thing as long as I could because I believe there are higher things to which you should aspire, but I also bought you a new princess dress and glass slippers for your birthday, because I believe you should be able to do the things you love, and you truly love it.

This was a major year for you, as I suppose they all are, but this one had a lot of external change. First we moved from Mia's Old House to Mia's New House, which you handled without so much as a peep. And then, Owen arrived on the scene. From the first, you have adored your brother. You love to hug and kiss him, to pat his head, to give him toys, to help change and dress and bathe him. As he has become more interactive, you have been thrilled to recognize his early attempts at speech and to figure out that you can do things that make him smile. You do sometimes ignore him when his presence doesn't suit your purposes, but overall you have made the transition from only to oldest, and told me last night that you didn't remember a time before Owen. That made me a little sad, because I treasure the time I had with just you, but also made me happy that he has become such a part of your life that you can no longer envision his absence.

This letter is the hardest so far to write, because listing your accomplishments and quirks no longer comes anywhere close to capturing the person you are. I can say that you still don't much care for food and live on eight or ten acceptable things, that you have taken to sleeping on the floor lately, that you love animals and invariably say "Awwww, look at the cute little" whatever when confronted with anything remotely fuzzy. But as long as I spend listing those things, they will never add up to you.

Instead, I'll take a crack at a few of your leading characteristics:

You are kind. Even when you are feeling grumpy or whiny of selfish, you cannot escape the basic kindness that is a major part of your personality. You are gentle. You are energetic. You are whip-smart and frequently outsmart both of your parents. You are curious. You are so brave. (When I tell you that I think you are brave, you often say "but Mama, I cried." I am trying to convince you that bravery doesn't mean not being afraid, it means doing it anyway and coming out the other end the same person as you went in.) You are loving.

Mia, you are beautiful and amazing and the joy of my life. You ask me often, after doing something or other, if I am proud of you, and I usually respond that I am always proud of you. And it always strikes me that I may never have spoken a truer sentence in all my life.

I am so very proud of you, Mia Bean. Happy Birthday.

Love,
Mom

Doomed

Um, is he supposed to be able to do this at five months?

I put him up there, but I didn't expect him to hang out for ten minutes.

Fashionista

Mia has started dressing herself. Several times a day. Yesterday she spent half the day wearing a diaper and three of my bras. Here's her late-morning look for today:

From the top, we have:

  • yesterday's braids
  • Owen's t-shirt
  • belly!
  • Owen's pants
  • Owen's baby legs
  • Halloween socks
  • sandals

She makes it work, no?

Third times the charm

For years I have heard these rumors about kids who get sick and fall asleep on the floor in the middle of the afternoon and sleep straight through until morning. And oh, how I have laughed, because even the sickest she has ever been it takes an act of Congress to get Mia to sleep at night and all sorts of elaborate voodoo dances to keep her asleep until a reasonable hour of the morning.

Which is why yesterday, when Mia climbed onto my lap on the couch and fell asleep at 4:30, I seriously considered rushing her to the Emergency Room. Instead, I tucked her into bed, and other than an hour or so around 3 AM that's where she stayed until 7:00 this morning. And then today she told me she was tired and asked if she could please go take a nap. Needless to say we are headed back to the Hotty Pediatrician this afternoon.

Owen is finally on the mend, but smart money is on another trip to the doctor for him by Friday. And you may think this is a good thing for me in that I get to spend all this quality time with the Hotty Pediatrician, but how can he miss me if I won't go away?

Owen Wednesday #22: Owen vs. Rice Cereal Edition

Must remember to duct tape infant's arms to highchair before attempting spoon feeding.

Clarification

Clarification on this post. I am all for thanking people who go above and beyond the call of duty to help you, or people who do their job well, or even people who do their job competently to your benefit. Therefore, I am perfectly comfortable thanking the Hotty Pediatrician for being kind to my kids, or for being patient with their sometimes hysterical mother, or for taking the time to answer all my questions and explain things to me several times it needed, or for seeming to genuinely care about his patients. (The Hotty Pediatrician is more than just pretty face, you see.) However, I am not in the habit of thanking people for bothering to show up for work, so thanking him for seeing us strikes me as ridiculous. That is all.

Owen, Month Five

Sweet Owen,

You are five months old and I am at a loss to explain how another month with you has passed so quickly. Or possibly I am just at a loss to explain anything right now, as you rang in your fifth month by contacting hand, foot and mouth disease and therefore neither of us has slept much these past few days. You are on the mend now, and thank goodness. You are usually such a happy baby that we didn't know quite how to deal with two straight days of inconsolable crying. I think it surprised you a bit too - you would be wailing and screaming and then give me the saddest eyes I have ever seen with just the smallest hint of a smile before starting up again with the scream. It was as if you knew it was unlike you and you wanted to assure me that my sweet and sunny little boy was still there under all the bumps.

You are easily the size of a year old baby. You weigh 20 pounds one ounce (and that was after an 18 hour hunger strike) and are 27.5 inches long. We moved you out of the infant car seat this month and you seem much happier in the car now that your knees aren't jammed up under your chin every time we strap you in. I am trying to make it the rest of the summer in your 12 month clothes since I have already bought you a summer wardrobe in three sizes, but every day the rompers and onesies get harder and harder to button so I am doubting whether we will make it to fall. The 12 month clothes are still plenty wide enough but coming closer by the day to being too short due to the long torso you inherited from me. You may feel free to curse me for that later in life when you find shirts all too short to fit you correctly.

You are no longer content to sit and contemplate the ceiling and like to be entertained. You love to be spun, twirled, swung, thrown, flipped, and danced around the house. You adore the exersaucer we hauled out of storage this month, and being able to stand somewhat independently is the great joy of your life. You are able to roll over but rarely deign doing so important as you already have your sights set quite firmly on walking and view every other mode of transport beneath you. When on your back you like to wedge your feet under you and push your entire back and shoulders off the floor to balance on your feet and head. When you do have a quiet moment, I frequently find you lying on your back with your arm held over your head contemplating the wonder that is your fingers. You are fascinated by your toes and desperate to cram them into your mouth, but your formidable belly gets in the way every time.

We spent much of the past week at the beach with 12 other members of your extended family and you spent the entire time bouncing happily from lap to lap, looking for Mommy only when hungry or tired. You are social, a flirt, an absolute ham, and everyone you meet is immediately wrapped around your fingers. I spent much of our vacation mediating friendly battles about who got to hold you next and sometimes felt I would have to resort to a stopwatch to reassure everyone they were getting equal time.

You worship your sister and I can tell that as soon as you are mobile you will dedicate all of your energy to following her around. The times when she takes a moment to play with you or hug and kiss you are the best of your day and you nearly shake yourself to bits with glee. You also adore your father and your entire face just lights up when he comes home every day. Mia has recently taught you how to hate the stroller and how to whine. Needless to say I am not entirely thrilled about either of those.

Sweet boy, you have made my life so much more complicated since your arrival. I am always exhausted, always behind on things I need to do, always desperate for just a few minutes to myself that never seem to materialize. And I would not trade it for the world. You have brought a lot of challenges, true, but also so much joy that I can no longer imagine how I lived without you. Thank you for sharing your happiness with us.

Love,
Mommy

More pediatric shenanigans

Thanks to everyone who took a break from their thrilling Saturday nights to answer my pediatrician questions. As for stealth question #4, the appropriate response, as provided by Clarabella, is clearly "take care." I will try to remember that for next time, although I always forget the things I try to remember at the Hotty Pediatrician's office, like to suck in my stomach and stuff so that I keep myself in the running should he ever find himself in need of a second wife.

I was surprised by the number of people who recommended that I thank the Hotty Pediatrician for taking the time to see us. Really? Because the way I see it, taking the time to see me is his job, I pay him for taking the time to see me (or at least the insurance company does) and he isn't really doing me any favors. It isn't like I ran into him in the grocery store and asked him to diagnose my child. Dude! I totally need to figure out where he shops so I can "casually" run into him at the grocery store.

Or else, I really need a hobby.

Pediatrician Etiquette

I spent a week at the beach living on pizza, fries, ice cream, cookies, and more fries, and I lost three pounds. Man, I love breastfeeding. That has nothing to do with anything, just felt the need to throw it out there.

Also, since this is my pseudo baby book, Owen got his first "solid" food today. Really it was just breast milk with a few grains of rice cereal mixed in, but still. He ate it, but was less than thrilled when he figured out we weren't going to let him have any pizza.

Now, on to today's topic. I have some questions about pediatrician etiquette (as in how I should behave when dealing with the Hotty Pediatrician, not how pediatricians should behave, which is a whole other can of worms about which I have all sorts of opinions and we can do that one later, if you want), and I figured hey, who better to ask than the internet. Is it wrong that I now go to the internet with all of my personal dilemmas? It really is easier than thinking for myself. Anyway, my questions are thus:

  1. Now that I have two children, what are the guidelines regarding discussing the child that is not the subject of the current appointment? For example, I took Owen in yesterday and found he had hand, foot and mouth disease. Mia was also sick this week with some similar symptoms which made me think she had the same virus but did not get the full set of symptoms since she has had it before. Is it appropriate to mention that Mia was also sick, or am I supposed to make a separate appointment for her? (I didn't consider her sick enough to warrant a trip on her own.)

  2. On a similar topic, when I was there discussing the latest attack on Owen's immune system, would it have been appropriate to ask for a referral to a new gastroenterologist for Mia? I would ordinarily just call for that, but am I supposed to handle it separately?

  3. How much chatting do you do with a pediatrician? Now, keep in mind that I am not a very chatty person and not usually the type to natter away with strangers. But the Hotty Pediatrician has recently generated offspring and during our last few visits has mentioned said offspring in a casual way. Like yesterday when the only time Owen stopped screaming was to flirt with the Hotty Pediatrician I said "fine, you keep him" and the Hotty Pediatrician said "sure, he can play with my kid, they are almost the same size anyway." Am I supposed to pursue that sort of comment with further conversation about his kid? It feels a little strange not to, since we spend so much time discussing my kids, but I don't, you know, make small talk with my OB/GYN about her vagina just because we spend so much time focused on mine. Also, do you think the Hotty Pediatrician keeps mentioning his kid in an effort to prepare me for my future role as stepmother?

  4. I actually have one more question, but I am paranoid enough that I think it has too much potentially identifying information about the Hotty Pediatrician and that someone may read it and figure out who he is, which would blow. So if you want to help me out with my last question and are able to reasonably establish that you live in another part of the country entirely and therefore are highly unlikely to be able to identify the Hotty Pediatrician, let me know and I will email you. And I really need some volunteers for this one because it stresses me out every time I take the kids in.

Come on now, I know you are sitting home on Saturday night just like me, so help me out.

No rest for the mommy

We returned from the beach early yesterday afternoon, and I have spent most of the intervening hours trying to process umpteen loads of laundry with a screaming baby planted on my hip. Owen has hand, foot and mouth disease, and oh my, how he cries. He cries and cries and cries, and having Mommy carry him constantly is small comfort but any other arrangement is unacceptable.

The beach was wonderful, we had a great time despite both kids getting sick and averaging roughly two hours of sleep a night. And sure, there were still diapers and bedtimes and a kid who wanted to nurse every 90 minutes, at least until he wanted to nurse not at all, but at least it was the same old grind with ocean breezes and boardwalk fries and sand between our toes.

More later, right now is the first time all day I have been able to put Owen down for longer than two minutes and I intend to devote this small break to the consumption of wine and ice cream.

Family Vacation

My family is a little unusual. As proof, I offer the following:

We are spending a week at the beach with both kids, my parents, my in-laws, my brother, his wife and my niece, and my brother's in-laws. And we are all pretty damned happy about it. My first cousin once removed was here too, but he had to go back to work.

So, don't expect to hear much from me this week, Chris will keep you updated if you need a fix.

Owen Wednesday #20: Just Another Day at the Office Edition

I recently pulled Mia's old exersaucer out of the basement and scrubbed all the old baby puke off of it and turned it over to Owen. And man, second only to lactation that is clearly the best thing I have ever done for him. He works his way through the toys like a high-powered executive muscling through his to-do list and occasionally barking at a secretary who is too slow at wiping the pools of drool off of his chin. Ok, so the comparison breaks down a bit, I admit.

********************

Results from yesterday:

1) True. College. Vodka shots. Just thinking about it still gives me a headache.
2) False. I've never had sex in a car.
3) Yes and no. Here's my tramp stamp:

In case you can't tell from that fabulous picture, it's a birthmark right where a tramp stamp would go. So sure, you may have chosen the "trampy" tat, but I was born that way. This is very visible in person, but barely shows up in photographs. Someone cue the creepy music. And don't get upset that I posted a picture of my ass on the internet - I know it looks like I should have cropped a bit more carefully, but I promise it is a trick of the light. It's low, but not that low.

********************

Finally, Mia wants all of you to have a kick-ass holiday weekend. At least, she would want that if her Mommy allowed her to say things like "kick-ass."

We leave for the beach on Saturday. 2 kids + 1 week at the beach = 6 different kinds of diapers. Lovely.

Game time

One of the following statements is true. One of the following statements is false. One of the following statements is both true and false, depending on how you look at it. Your job is to guess which is which and then vote. Why? Because I like voting. And here we go!

1. I've only passed out drunk once in my life. On a bathroom floor.

2. I lost my virginity in the back of a station wagon.

3. I have a tramp stamp.

Handy Tip from Beth

You know how you sometimes see those local news stories about how an astronomical percentage of car seats are installed incorrectly? I always thought there must be a whole lot of idiots around who can't figure out how to latch a couple of belts. But I just finished installing Mia's old car seat for Owen and found that for two entire years that Mia rode around in that thing it was installed incorrectly. So boo on us for not reading the directions more closely, but dammit, I had that thing inspected twice and it passed with flying colors both times. So, and you never though you would hear me say this but, boo on firemen too.

Anyway, you may all already know this, but when you are installing a car seat and applying all the muscle available in your girly little arms to try to get the straps tight and cursing up a storm and finally just saying well fuck feminism and calling your husband to do it, try sitting in the car seat and then pulling. Works like a charm. At least it does if your ass is as fat as my ass.