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


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Clive Owen

Clive Owen
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Everybody Loves Potty Training

So, I've been thinking about potty training Owen. I have to do it before September if I want him to go to school (which I do, sort of, I suppose, he's all signed up though), and I've been thinking it would be easiest to do it now before we are spending large swaths of each day at the playground and pool, where running off to the potty every three minutes gets a little inconvenient. And he's been showing signs of being ready, like on more than one occasion pulling off his pants and diaper and peeing in the potty. Or like telling me he wants to pee in the potty two seconds after he finishes peeing in his diaper twelve times a day.

And he's my second child, so I should be all whatever, piece of cake about it, right? Except that he just turned two six weeks ago, and I potty trained Mia a week after her third birthday. It took about four hours to fully transition Mia from diapers to underwear and she had maybe six accidents, total, in her entire life. I suspect it will not be so easy with a two year old.

So I decided to start slow, and this morning I let the kids watch Elmo's Potty Time. And from that point on, Owen refused to wear a diaper. Refused. And those of you who are thinking that he is two and I am the adult and that maybe he objected to the diaper but by no means could he actually refuse to wear one, giving that I have a hundred pounds on him have, I suspect, not met that many two year olds. Owen no longer wears diapers, at least not in the house. And there was no poop on the carpet or pee on the couch today, which I consider a huge Potty Training Day One success, and he did really very well, all things considered, but compared to my one previous potty training experience, today was a disaster.

And hey, he wants it, he proved today that he has at least a rudimentary control over the relevant systems, and I intend to be fully supportive and encouraging and proud and liberal with the M&Ms. But oh my word, if anybody out there has some super-fast, easy-to-follow, no-book-reading-required-because-I-don't-have-time advice, I would be oh so happy to hear it. Like, pronto.

That Sound you Hear is Angels Singing

Owen, age two years, one month, and fifteen days, puts himself to sleep for the first time ever.



Several years ago (twelve or so, now that I think about it), I called up an old friend of mine to whom I had not spoken in a while. Just to say hi, catch up, see how things were going. It became painfully obvious in the first minute or two of the call that she did not want to talk to me, that she wanted, in fact, nothing to do with me. I was shocked. I knew we had grown apart, sure, and I also knew that there was a fair amount of water under our bridge, but I had no idea that we had moved from "fallen out of touch" to "all ties severed."

It took me a decade, more or less, to get over it.

Fortunately, it hasn't happened too often to me, this severing of ties that I didn't especially want severed. But it has happened, and I have been both the sever-er and the sever-ee. I think it is bound to happen to all of us eventually, this active removal that goes beyond the general attrition of time and distance. Someone turns out to be other than who you thought them to be, or they do something with which you cannot reconcile your own beliefs or feelings, and you cut them from your life. Or someone does it to you.

It hasn't happened often, but it has happened enough for me to have developed policies. Policies that allow me to move past it without taking a decade to process the rejection. One of my policies is to never ask why. I have decided that there is usually nothing to be gained from asking, but not knowing drives me nuts. I wonder about it, I replay conversations, I review emails, I try to figure out what it was, what was the last straw, what made this person decide I was no longer worth it? In the long run, I wonder about why far less than I would obsess about the reason, if I knew it, so it works for me to process it in a relative vacuum.

I recently found out why my old friend decided to cut me out of her life. I thought I knew, I was sure I knew, I had accepted it. I was wrong. And her reason was far less acceptable to me than the one I had deduced for myself. I wanted to argue, to present facts and evidence, to show her how wrong she was. I didn't, there was no point, but it made it far harder for me to accept. Far harder to reconcile with my view of myself. Far harder to keep that finally-healed decade or hurt healed. I wish I never knew.

Has this happened to you? What do you do? Do you have any policies?

Story of My Life

Hello! I am wearing green underwear with white stripes today! I figured I may as well tell you, since everyone else in the world already knows, thanks to the gaping hole in the ass of my pants that Chris pointed out to me at 5:00 today. I wore black underwear yesterday, which I mention because I wore the same pants yesterday. I forget what underwear I wore on Sunday, but yup, I wore the same pants. I wore them several times last week too, and really there is no saying how long that hole has been there or how many people have been touring my daily underwear choices.

Faithful readers will realize that this is the third time in four years I have wandered brazenly around in public with the ass falling out of my pants. Do you think my ass is to blame? Do I have a Highly Destructive Ass in some way? I'm starting to wonder.

I've had these particular ass-less pants, and worn and washed them often, for four years, and they were cheap Old Navy pants, so it isn't like I didn't get my money's worth from them. But I had been wearing them so often lately because I only have two pairs of "everyday" pants that currently fit in an acceptable manner (some pants are too big, some too small) (ok, most are too small) and my other pants, which are a pair of severely fraying jeans, have developed A Smell. They smell like dirty laundry. Really dirty laundry. And they are clean! They smelled like that when they came out of the dryer. And I washed them again and thought it was better until I put them on and I lasted four minutes before I ripped them off my body and hurled them down to the basement for another round in the washer. The jury is still out on the latest attempt.

Clearly, I need some new pants. I am willing to buy new pants. I have nothing planned for tomorrow and know the way to the mall. However, in order to go shopping, I have to choose between ass-less pants and smelly pants. It is a very tough call.

Waltz of the Flowers

Mia has been performing since she mastered voluntary movement. She sings, she dances, she put on elaborate shows, requiring all adults and young children to sit on the couch (or floor) and watch, and any children old enough to be biddable to participate to her exact specifications. She loves going to the theater and re-enacting movies and seems to have drama in her bones.

And this weekend, she had her very first real performance, on stage with lights and costumes and her entire family cheering from the audience. She was amazing and confident and brave and beautiful and I sobbed the entire time, because oh my god, where did this kid come from?




March Idyll

My favorite part of every year has always been the first time, around here it is generally in early to mid-March, when you get a string of two or three or four days that promise Spring. The mercury inches toward sixty and the daffodils and crocuses begin to pop bold green shoots out of the muddy earth. The tulips are either lazy or know well enough that another cold snap is inevitable and they will wait several weeks more before taking their chances.

In recent years, the best part of these fleeting, teasing days, is releasing the children from the house sans boots and hats and mittens and parkas and trotting along behind them as they gallop around the neighborhood as if they had never seen the sun before. And this year, these past few days have brought along some amazing discoveries. Like that Mia can ride her bike. I mean really ride it - uphill, downhill, one-handed, side saddle, even with her eyes closed. That if you teach her once how to pick the downhill slope rather than the uphill one when making a u-turn she will try it tentatively once or twice and then do it for hours without slowing down. And Owen - Owen knows the names of everything and what it does and what it is for and that he should not eat it. And he can ride a scooter and jump off the curb. And he can swing. Really swing, just like a big kid, holding on with both hands and calling for "other push other push!"

We spent this afternoon just running around the yard - bouncing from sandbox to basketball to playhouse to swingset. Mia and I even pulled some weeds, resilient little buggers, while Owen shoveled up the last of our snow and relocated it to various spots around the yard. We counted the goldfish in the pond and marveled at how they managed to survive the winter. We chased a neighbor's cat and left out peanuts for the chipmunks that live under our porch and drew undersea mountains in chalk on the driveway. And I know that by August I will he saying hey, kids, couldn't we just sit quietly inside today and read some books, today, being able to run around outside with my suddenly so big kids seems like one of the high points of my life.


This morning, as soon as the yard boys finish hauling away the first round of our storm-damaged trees, I am heading out to be fitted for a pair of running shoes. I have been putting this off for weeks, because who the heck am I to be fitted for running shoes? I'm not a runner. Except that lately, I sort of am. A very slow, very sweaty, very funny-looking, runner. I ran five miles on Tuesday. All in a row, and I didn't die. And I have some birthday money that has been hanging out in my wallet since November, and if I don't find something to spend it on soon I will end up doing what I always do with it, which is hanging onto it until the week before my next birthday and then spending it on diapers or clothes for the kids. So I'm going to do it. I'm going to walk into the running store and ask to be fitted for shoes. I'm not quite sure why I am so nervous about this, but I somehow feel it would be less embarrassing to walk into a different store entirely and ask to be fitted for a dildo.

Wish me luck.

Also, I am considering buying a vinyl tablecloth. A faux-lace vinyl tablecloth. For my dining room. Won't you please go here and talk me out of it?

Important Life Skills

Scene: Beth, Chris and Owen are playing on the guest bed

Beth: Owen, did you poop?
Owen: No, Daddy toot.