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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I can't believe I'm asking for advice about sleep

If the internet has taught me anything, it is that when someone asks you how your young child is sleeping the best course of action is to flash a peaceful and well-rested smile and say "Oh, just fine, thanks." Even though, at least in my case, that is a bald-faced lie much of the time. (And by "much of the time" I mean "the first 21 months of Mia's life and the first 21 months and counting of Owen's life." Please do not give me any sleep-through-the-night tips, because I will a) delete them, b) hate you a little bit, and c) weep in total despair.)

However, I have decided that the one thing that would make my life measurably better would be for Owen to fall asleep a bit earlier at night. Right now, he is bright-eyed awake at around 6:15 every morning, takes a 1.5 to 2 hour nap starting at around 1:00 or 1:30 every day, and then drifts blissfully off to sleep after 45 minutes to an hour of bedtime effort between 9:00 and 9:30 every night. I want him to be asleep no later than 8:30, and 8:00 would really be ideal.

Now, I can't nap him any earlier because of our schedule, waking him up earlier in the morning is a shitty idea, he does need a nap and taking it away seems insane. We don't do cry it out (nothing against you if you do, we just don't), so plopping him in his crib to deal with it himself is not an option. (Also, he climbs blithely out of his crib at any slight provocation, so I can't even trap him there until he falls asleep.)

So help me out, dear internet. Any suggestions on making my charming and adored son go to sleep an hour earlier so that Mommy can have a little more sanity and not spend every last waking moment (along with many of the sleeping ones) on parenting?

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In other news, I seem to be writing for Style Lush now, which is hilarious. If I had to choose words to describe myself, I would probably go through all other words in this and several other languages before I arrived at either "style" or "lush." However, Jennie asked me and she's fabulous and the other women involved are like my secret internet crush list has been leaked to the tabloids, so I'm doing it. My first post is here, if you are so inclined to come visit (and say hi? Please? So I don't feel like a loser?).

She Bang

Yes, this is the third post in a row about my zit. I know, it is scintillating. Please do not send me notes about magic zit potions or toothpaste or dancing naked under a full moon while singing Smoke on the Water, because I have tried them all and they have served only to anger the zit and not to reduce it in any way. The only options at this point are a mask or bangs. I do not have a mask or bangs. (Other things I do not have: decent lighting in my kitchen, the ability to take self-portraits, enough sleep (clearly, oh my god), any make-up, or apparently any vanity.)

Here's my attempt at a hair-shield containment system.

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Now tell me truth... I should go buy a mask, right?

Insult, definitely

I took the kids to a birthday party this morning at Rat Hell, and after I had been there a while, I noticed that I was being checked out rather more widely than usual ("usual" being "not at all"). Nothing leering or nasty, I just noticed myself being noticed. And I thought to myself, "Well damn, I guess 35 is working for me after all. I'm sorry I called bullshit on you, 35. I take it all back."

Then I noticed that many of the women were checking me out too.

And then I noticed that all these people who suddenly thought I was noticeably hot were staring only at my forehead.

Which is when I realized that nobody was checking me out, they were checking out the mountainous zit on my forehead. Which has increased quite considerably in girth since the picture below was taken, but I can't bring myself to subject all of you to an update.

You're just fucking with me now, 35, and I can see I'm going to have to show you who's boss.

Not sure which is the insult and which is the injury

WTF, 35?

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We're doing acne now? It goes so well with gray hair and wrinkles? 35 is the new 14?

I call bullshit on 35. Bullshit, 35.

Land of Confusion

These people confuse me. As in, I confuse them with each other. Although in some cases, they confuse me on many other levels as well.

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Left - George Will, conservative columnist/journalist/talking head.
Right - Will Shortz, puzzle creator and editor.

This one is a one-way street. When I see Will Shortz, I think "oh, the puzzle guy." When I see George Will, I think "oh, the puzzle guy."

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Left - Mary Matalin, conservative political consultant
Right - Marlee Matlin, actress

Just a name thing here. I always say one when I mean the other.

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Left - Ann Coulter, conservative political commentator
Right - Heidi Montag, who seems to have no purpose

I simply cannot tell these women apart. I mean, if you showed me the picture above and told me that one was Ann Coulter and one was Heidi Montag, I could say which was which with about 65% confidence in my accuracy. But otherwise, I am just fully confused. I am always wondering why that ridiculous Heidi person is talking-heading on CNN or why that ridiculous Ann Coulter person is tonguing that prat in public. Highly confusing.

Also, each of these pairings seems to contain a conservative Republican. Perhaps I am just confused by conservative Republicans.

So am I alone in these? Are there people you always confuse?

Me me me

(Wait, is it redundant to title a post "Me me me" on a blog that is all about me me me? Yes, I think it is.)

I'm 35 today, Happy Birthday to me. Those round numbers always come as a bit of a shock, don't they? I mean, wasn't I just in college? Didn't I turn 30 a week ago Thursday? My mom keeps asking me how she can have a 35 year old child, and I keep telling her that I am only going to explain the birds and the bees thing one more time because honestly she has four grandchildren and it is time she understood these things.

But you know what, 35 sounds good to me. I think I'm going to like it.

Like a Stuck Swine

Chris and debated whether to get the kids vaccinated for H1N1. Oh, how we debated. We went in circles, we hemmed and hawed, we questioned and wondered and pondered. Chris tends to be the "do whatever the doctor says' type, and I tend to be the "in favor of vaccines, but annoyed that we are now supposed to vaccinate against mild childhood illnesses" type. But with this one, neither of us was quite sure what to do. The whole thing just seemed fraught with peril on all sides, and while we were probably leaning toward yes, we still hadn't really decided.

And then Mia landed in the hospital, and suddenly this unpleasant-but-likely-to-be-mild illness became a potentially-life-threatening-illness for our suddenly high-risk child. Our first order of business was getting Mia better. Our second order of business was getting her vaccinated. Easier said than done right now, around here.

So this morning, Chris spent two hours standing outside in the cold and rain at ye olde local health department so that I could swoop in with the kids when they opened and score two pieces of paper entitling us to two doses of H1N1 vaccine. One hour, two band-aids, two princess stickers (no way was Owen accepting Spiderman when Mia had Ariel), and much screaming and tears later, we were on our way. (We were numbers 29 and 30, I feel really bad for the people who were 329 and 330.) We'll be doing it all again in three to four weeks, and despite my initial misgivings, I feel good about this decision.

What are you guys doing on this one?

Owen, Month 21

Sweet Owen,

Sweet Owen, O-man, Big O, Little O, Monkey, Monkey Boy, Menace, Blue, Boomer, Boom-Boom, Bugaboo, Monkey Do, Little Me Too. You are the boy of a thousand nicknames. You are also the boy of a thousand words. You are a parrot, anything you hear, you say, anything you say, you master. You defy all the conventional wisdom about second children and boys with your constant chatter which is, these days, about 75% intelligible. You never use a word where a sentence will suffice, you request a viewing of your favorite show by saying "Scooby Doo where are you." A request for footwear is "put on Owen doggy shoes please." You tell me to get up, you tell me don't worry, you tell me all day long "Owen do it." You hate to be left out of anything, and often can be found yelling "Me too me too me too" when you want to be included. Sometimes you get the sneaking suspicion that you are missing something good, and then you run through the house screaming "Owen Owen Owen" until you find it and get involved. My favorite thing you say, by far, is "love you too."

You are twenty-one months old now, breathing down the neck of two. If you someday read through these missives from Mommy, you may notice that the twenty month letter is missing. What can I say, you are the second child. And when you are the second child, sometimes Mommy is too busy getting ready for her first vacation in five years to write your letter, and then sometimes as soon as Mommy gets home your big sister winds up in the hospital for two days, and sometimes Mommy decides that next month will be good enough. There are good things about being the second child too. You are allowed to do things your sister was never permitted at your age, you know things she didn't learn until much later. You have unsupervised staircase access a full year before we trusted Mia to do that. You can count to three, you can recite and recognize your letters up to C and sometimes to D. I've already discussed your amazing language skills, which I credit to having a sister who is all mouth.

You are starting to develop preferences that seem to have to do with your personality rather than just your mood. You want the car cup, thank you very much, not the princess cup. You love trucks and trains and dogs and falling down and getting dirty and all the other typical boy things, but you also love drawing and music and demand both frequently and frequently in tandem. You have also discovered independent play and can happily amuse yourself for quite a while with a box of crayons and a stack or paper, or better yet, a box of crayons and a cardboard box.

You have perfected your flirt face in the last month. To start, you look down and affect either contrition or shyness, and then you oooohhhh soooo slowly peek those wild blue eyes up through your eyelashes and aim them directly at your target. Mere humans are powerless to resist, and it never fails to crack me up, not matter how difficult you have been making yourself.

You love trains and trucks and animals and puzzles and reading, especially the selection of Dr. Seuss books that you can request by name and read aloud yourself. But by far your favorite thing to do is copy Mia. You say what she says, you run when she runs, you dance when she dances, and you erupt with glee whenever you are allowed to sit in her chair or play in her room. Dinner around here is sheer lunacy, but also hilarious as we watch everything that happens on her side of the table repeated precisely on yours.

You are a sweet, charming, loving and lovable boy. And oh man, can you throw a tantrum. Wrong kind of juice, wrong kind of cup, wrong color lid, and heaven help whoever is in your path.

You like to pretend to drive our cars and take great joy from occasionally being allowed to ride shotgun while I drive up and down our driveway. You love being outside more than just about anything else and are happiest when we are taking a walk, collecting acorns along the way and throwing them at trees and rocks and random stretches of dirt. You like to take your push car to the top of our very steep driveway, climb on, and rocket down the hill, giggling all the way and trusting that someone will catch you before you meet the asphalt or the street or the wasp-infested bush at the end of the driveway. The moment you are rescued from yourself, you haul your car back to the top of the hill and do it all again.

You like to take off your shoes and socks and shirts and pants and pajamas and I sometimes leave you alone for a minute and return to find you mostly undressed and so very pleased with yourself. I think you do it in the hopes that Mia will get you dressed again, which you love so much that you actually cooperate with it, which never happens when Mama and Dada are in charge.

You are not my baby anymore, little Owen. You haven't been for a while, I know, but I've had a bit of a hard time with that because it felt like you had left that category without really entering another one. But now, I am comfortable saying that you are not my baby anymore, because you are my son. My son. It has taken me this long to wrap my head around that, little one, but I couldn't be happier or prouder about it if I tried.

Love you too,
Mama

Burning Question

So, does everybody clean their house primarily with baby wipes, or is that just me?

In the Kitchen with Beth Fish

So, you guys remember back a couple of months ago when I got totally into that cooking from scratch deal? And it lasted, oh, three or four weeks because it was hard to focus on cooking from scratch when I was at the pool with the kids until 5:00 every day. Well, now that I don't have the pool as an excuse anymore, I've decided to start doing a better job at this again. Although we do have swim lessons two nights a week, so there is still likely to be a lot of frozen pizza in my life.

Anyway, here's what we ate last week. If you want to know more about anything, just let me know and I'll send you the details.

Black bean tacos: I make these pretty often because they are good, and also because it is easy to make a huge pot of the filling and then freeze the leftovers for another dinner or two. You basically just cook black beans with onions, red pepper, cumin and cayenne pepper, run it through the blender, and dump it into tacos along with whatever makes you happy. I used canned beans, because the whole dry beans in the crock pot thing still seems like a huge amount of effort for too little pay off to me.

Spaghetti provencal: Hey, did you know that spaghetti sauce doesn't have to come from a jar? Go figure. This is a big can of tomatoes in thick puree, yellow squash, zucchini, a bunch of herbs and assorted seasonings, and maybe an onion, but I forget.

Zucchini with Chick Peas: So you take some zucchini, right? And then some chick peas? And you like, cook them? And then you eat them. We did it with Mediterranean cous cous and it was surprisingly good, considering how simple it is.

Broccoli and Black Beans: So you take some broccoli, right? And then some black beans? And you like, cook them? And then you eat them. We did it with rice and soy sauce and it was ok. I mean, it was broccoli and black beans and rice. Edible, but I don't think I'll be doing it again any time soon.

Mushrooms Stroganoff: Good and surprisingly easy, considering the fancy-sounding name. Basically just portabellas and some onion in yogurt and fresh dill sauce over broad noodles.

Salmon, Asparagus, and Mediterranean Cous Cous: We had this when my parents came to dinner, and we don't eat much fish, but for when we do I love the individually packaged flash-frozen filets you can buy just about anywhere. Also, Owen loves asparagus, is that weird?

I'm actually a little proud of last week since I managed to cook every night. Ok, Monday I was out to dinner and Chris and the kids ordered pizza, but I cooked every other night, even when that meant, as it did several times, that I had to make dinner at 8 AM and throw it in the fridge to be reheated at dinner time. Of course now, the only think I have in the house is frozen pizza and frozen burritos, I didn't make it to the store over the weekend, I haven't found recipes or made a list, and I have no time for shopping until tomorrow. Oh well, if I were too perfect you would all just hate me for it.

Writ by Hand

I am loving all the handwritten posts you guys have done, and I think everyone should check them out. Here's a list of the ones I know about - let me know if I missed you.

My amazing, handsome, sexy, talented, caring, all around fabulous husband from Rude Cactus who just read this draft over my shoulder and started pouting about being in the middle of the list so fine, here you are at the top and I hope you are happy now

Holly from Sichernde Seele (75% chance I misspelled that one)

Kelly from Assorted Nutz

Melissa from Under Construction

Michelle from Momma's Pixie Dreams

Leah from Lakeline's Thoughts

Ticknart from Useless Writing

Swistle from, you know, Swistle

Stephanie from Completely Irrelevant

el-e-e from Hello, Self

Aimee from Smiling Mama

Megan from The Empty Cookie

Heather from Muirnait's Musings

Parking at Home from Parking at Home

Sir from Etcetera Etcetera

Sarah from Sarah and the Goon Squad

Anne from Belgian Waffle

Lumpyhead's Mom from Lumpyhead

Angela from Fluid Pudding

Erin from The Looney Bin

Aimee from Greeblemonkey

Mary Lynn from Riding in a Handbasket


Aaaaannnddd.... That's what I've got. Please let me know if I missed you, I assure you it was due to idiocy rather than intention.

In the Details

I enjoy:

Covering my sleeping children with warm blankets pulled all the way up to their chins.

Sneaking into their rooms late at night to impart one last forehead kiss.

Kissing boo-boos and making them suddenly all better purely through the power of Mommy.

Scrubbing the remains of dinner off of faces and hands and out of neck folds and even, when necessary, from between toes.

Making baby food - the whirring blender, the careful addition of just enough of the cooking water, scooping it into ice cube trays.

Making toddler food, carefully cut into un-chokable bits. (Less so watching it flung against the walls.)

Pressing my cheek to my child's temple to see if they have a fever. (Much more so when the answer is "no.")

Using that nose sucker thing and pulling out a big sticky stream of snot, which makes my child scream like I am ripping out fingernails but then, for at least a few minutes, feel better.

Sleeping with either child curled next to me. (Less so getting kicked in the head.)

Sleeping with both children curled next to me. (Less so getting kicked in the head and the kidneys.)

Brushing Mia's hair.

Mia brushing my hair.

Rocking a baby/toddler/preschooler when necessary to sleep.

Taking a load of kid clothes warm from the dryer and folding them into neat, sorted stacks. (Less so putting the laundry away.)

Trimming fingernails.

Having to run to keep up.

Singing lullabies.

Newborn sized diapers.

Debating details of astrophysics with a four-year-old.

Debating details of no you may not have more juice with a toddler.


And you?

Questions

1) Given that I walked all the way to preschool hauling a metal wagon laden with one child and all the way home from preschool hauling a metal wagon laden with two children, and further given that there were hills involved and even further given that I had a mere 10 minutes previous completed that blasted 30 Day Shred crap, how many mini candy bars do I get to steal from the children's Halloween loot in recompense?

2) What do five-year-old boys want to receive for their birthdays?

Owen Reads Hop on Pop

3 vs. 1

I'm having one of those days where it seems that Chris's sole goal in life is to make my life harder. First, I spent all night up with Owen, only to discover this morning that Chris had neglected to change his diaper before bed and he was probably awake because he was uncomfortable sleeping in eight pounds of his own urine. Then, Chris left a full cup of water on his night stand, which Owen discovered and dumped all over my bedroom for me to clean up. Finally, Chris returned from a dental appointment with a large Starbucks for himself, the one who slept all night, and nothing for me, the one who was up all night.

When I confronted him about his many sins and told him that he seemed to exist only to make my life harder, he said that no, I was thinking of the children. I took some comfort in the fact that they all had something they could enjoy doing together.

Halloween 2009

Ariel:

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And Scooby Doo:

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