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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Run

Saturday morning, I got up at 5:00 AM (not much of a sacrifice as I had been wide awake since 3:00), dug out my running clothes, dusted off my cheap Target sneakers which are nothing fancy but also never broke my foot, fetched Owen and got him back to sleep snuggled next to Chris, plugged in the much-neglected treadmill, jacked up the volume on my iPod, and ran two miles.

Two very slow miles, to be sure. Almost 30 minutes. The last time I ran, I could do a 5k in under 30 minutes, but the last time I ran was also mid-March, after which I decided that my foot hurt badly enough that I should stop running and start making appointments with orthopedists. So I was slow, on purpose, but I only stopped because I had to get Mia up for her swim meet, and I was grinning and (I cringe to admit) boogeying to Lady Gaga the entire time.

I sort of love running, and I have missed it. I am a happier person when I move hard enough to sweat like a pig 30 minutes a day. I love my (cheap, also from Target) running clothes. I love getting to pick the music without having to listen to complaints. I love not hearing "MOMMY!" even once the entire time. I'm waiting a couple of days to try it again, just to make sure my screwed up foot doesn't start feeling screwed up again, but I think maybe I'm going to get running back, and I'm thrilled about it.

Summer

I took the kids to the pool for 4.5 hours today. I didn't plan to stay that long, but it turned out that a couple of the kids' favorite friends showed up while we were there and everyone was having such a nice time that we just never got around to leaving.

At one point, Owen was sprawled on a towel playing Legos with his friend and Mia was sprawled on her own towel across the pool trading snacks with her friend and I was just sitting under an umbrella watching them (like I hawk, I assure you. Chris thinks I am desperately uptight but I have a deep and knee-quaking fear of what could happen to my children in the pool and I think I have learned how to make my eyes operate independently so I can watch them both), and there it was, the exact summer I was hoping to have. Neither of them wanted a damned thing to do with me right then, but it was peaceful and fun and unscheduled and all about kids being kids and nobody was yelling at anybody else. It was perfect, and I hope that if I don't work too hard at it, we can have lots more of those moment before fall.

I Should be Arrested

We received a package delivered by UPS yesterday, and I couldn't tell if it was the same delivery guy or not because he came up the driveway with his hand smacked over his eyes and then sprinted back to his truck as fast as he could. So, I'm guessing it was either the same guy or the story has spread.

And then, I took the kids to the pool and was playing a game where I grab both kids and jump up and down in the water and they scream and giggle. Now, I selected my bathing suit specifically for the level of difficulty it would pose to any child who decided to try to pull Mama's shirt off, but after several jumps I stopped for a rest and oh hello, that's my boob hanging completely out of my suit in front of a selection of 30 or so neighborhood teenagers in the middle of swim team practice.

I'll be moving next week.

Wally

Owen calls me Eva. He wants me to call him Wall-E. Although when he says it, it is Lolly. My boy speaks in paragraphs but has yet to master W. If I forget and call him Owen, he corrects me. "No," he says, "I Wall-E."

And yet, it took a question from Mia about what she was called before she was called Mia, and a long explanation of how she looked like a lima bean in her first sonogram so we called her Lima Bean and then Beanette and then just Bean and that is why we still call her Bean and Mia Bean. And after all of that I asked if she wanted to know what we called Owen before we called him Owen. She said sure, and then it hit me:

Wally. We called him Wally.

(P.S. Some pretty amazing pictures of Mia, Swimmer Girl, are here.)

Where I Flash People. Again.

You would think that after five years of mothering I would have seen this coming. You would think that after all my experience with wearing torn pants and forgetting to redress myself after nursing and various children pulling various bits of my clothing off at various inappropriate times, I would have spotted this one a mile away. But no, there I was playing ride the horsie with the kids, where Mommy is, of course, the horsie, and the children attempt to break my back. And Mia was riding and Owen was jealous, and it wouldn't have been so bad if I hadn't been wearing yoga pants, or if I at least hadn't also been wearing a thong, or if the front door hadn't been wide open leaving only a glass storm door between me and the world, or if the UPS guy hadn't been heading up the front steps. But none of those things were different, and that is how, when Owen tried to get his turn by grabbing on and pulling hard, I mooned the UPS guy.

I figure I will either get all of my packages very quickly from now on, or else I will have to switch to FedEx because UPS will refuse to come near my house. Probably that second one.

Help Wanted

Mia's birthday is coming up, and she is planning an ever more outlandish pool party for every child she has met in her entire life. We will be spending the next week winnowing her guest list down a bit. When I ask her who she wants to invite, she always says "and of course we will invite Alice." Alice is her second or third choice every single time. And that would be fine, except that Alice's mother has made it pretty clear (through omission, nothing direct) that she no longer cares to associate with me.

I find being dismissed by Alice's mother unfortunate, but I'm not losing any sleep over it. These things happen, I'm a grown up, moving on. But Mia is not a grown up, and she really wants to invite Alice to her party. I'm a little surprised, because I never felt Mia and Alice got along that well, but I'm not going to argue, and I'm not going to allow any drama even remotely close to Mia's fifth birthday party.

My current plan is to invite Alice, and then Alice will come and I will smile and make super-dooper nice to Alice's mommy, or she will RSVP no, and I will tell Mia that Alice just can't make it, or she will not respond at all (unlikely, I think) and again I will tell Mia that Alice just can't make it. But since I am unwilling to explain the situation to Mia and unwilling to lie to Mia, I think sending the invitation is the only way to go.

However, I have the social awareness of a garden slug, so I thought I ought to check with you guys first. I understand I haven't given much detail, and that is entirely intentional, but I promise you have enough to go on and if there is some egregious act or unforgivable conflict that has led to this situation I am as fully unaware of it as you are. So, would you invite Alice to the party? If not, what would you do?

(Alice's name is not Alice. I have never even met a child named Alice.)

Completely about the Actual Dishwasher

It is a complete coincidence that this is the one year anniversary of a post I wrote about unloading the dishwasher, which I thought was quite clearly not really about unloading the dishwasher, but I was the only person who felt that way. I learned that the actual dishwasher is a rather touchy subject for many of you.

To be perfectly clear, for the remainder of this post, whenever I refer to a dishwasher, this is precisely what I mean:

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So then I wrote a follow-up post explaining the misunderstanding, and confessing that while I had not been talking about the dishwasher, I did in fact have a dishwasher problem. And I hate to quote myself, but I want to save you all from the boring click-throughs, so the problem I mentioned was:

"And ok, I do have one issue with the dishwasher. Actually, it is Chris's issue. He gets very upset when he puts something in the dishwasher and I move it. He feels that I am criticizing him, trying to make him feel incompetent, some crap like that. I cannot make him understand that I am just trying to load the dishwasher in a way that will result in fitting as much as possible into it and all of those things getting clean and that I constantly move things that I loaded into the dishwasher myself with the same goal in mind. I reload the dishwasher, and it makes my husband very angry."

It therefore strikes me as ironic that Chris loaded the dishwasher last night. I had run the dishwasher in the afternoon, so it was completely empty when Chris took the reigns. And this morning, I was met with this:

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Now, I'm sure that you could come up with a more random, less efficient, completely space-wasting way to load those dishes into that dishwasher, but I think you would have to try really, really hard.

And just for the sake of honestly, here's how I fixed it:

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Lightning Round

The name of this game is "The Stangest Thing that Has Ever Bitten Your Child" and I will go first.

Emu. (Poor Owen.)

Your turn!

Laundry

I'm trying to do less laundry. Well, the laundry is the laundry, but I am trying to do it less often. I usually throw a load of laundry in every day, or at the very least every other day, just to stay on top of it. But I am trying to make this the summer where I let go and hang out at the playground instead of cleaning the house and go to the pool instead of the grocery store and if that means we occasionally run out of milk then I will consider the extra fun with the kids a fair trade for letting them have juice with dinner.

So I am doing laundry less often. Except that it is summer so there are towels and Mia wants to wear her swim team bathing suit every day and there is a limit to how many times I can allow that to happen, and that limit seems to be twice between washes. So I am still pretty much doing laundry every day, but really just the pool-related stuff. I haven't washed the kids' clothes in over a week. I thought it would be liberating, but really it is just stressing me out. Owen is down to four pairs of shorts, but since one pair is a hand-me-down that I don't really care for and another is a pair marked 24 months that I could fit two of him into, he really only has two pairs. And I thought he was down to one pair, but an extra slipped in with the pool wash so he has two.

And this is hideously boring, yes? For me too, but I am spending a lot of time recalling how many pairs of clean shorts Owen has and how many princess nightgowns Mia has left and I sort of want to wear the black skirt I wore last week but it is in the laundry and I am trying so hard to not to do the laundry. But I am thinking it would be a lot more supportive of my fun, relaxed, carefree summer attitude if I just did the damned laundry already so I could stop stressing about it.

Damn, I need a hobby.

The Tedium is Oh So Tedious, but the Divine is Oh So Divine

Saturday morning, eight AM, swim team time trials. Mia, as the youngest kid, was in the very first race, freestyle, six and under. Timers ready? Take your marks... and then the horn sounds. Five children dive into the water and swim their hearts out. Mia is left standing on the edge of the pool, confused. Her coaches finally convince her to dive in, and as soon as she hits the water she swims straight back to the wall. That's what they do in practice, of course, when they work on their dives. They finally get her straightened out, and off she goes. By now, all the other children are halfway across the pool, but Mia is not fazed. She swims as hard and as fast as she can, which is not very fast. She kicks every time she hears someone yelling out to remind her to do it, but as soon as she starts kicking she forgets to move her arms. I'm screaming that she can do it. Chris is screaming that she's almost there. Owen is clapping and yelling "great job, Mia." And a hundred other kids and parents are yelling her name, cheering her on. And she made it. She made it, and she loved it, and she was thrilled with herself. And when it was her turn for backstroke, she didn't come in last.

I thought we were building her confidence and teaching her sportsmanship and teamwork and letting her make some new friends. But no. Mia, it turns out, is there to win. And I am sure it will take her a year or two to get there, but I have every confidence that she is going to do it.

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Owen has been playing pretend since birth, courtesy of his older sister. He's been Abu and Prince Charming and a munchkin, and he calls Mia "Princess Dorothy" (Gale, of Kansas, of course, we are on Book 9) as often as he calls her Mia. He likes to play doggy and have us pet him, he likes to be Handy Manny. Saturday night, I read him a book about WALL-E, and in at one point, WALL-E goes to bed. So after we read, I told Owen it was time to go to bed like WALL-E, and asked him to get in his robot bed. And he said "Ok, Eva." And it took me a minute to realize. The pretending, that was nothing new, but making up something new? Telling me who to be, how to participate in his story, expanding his imagination beyond himself, beyond what he has been told, that was new. That was the first. And that realization made it all the more adorable when he spent the next fifteen minutes saying "I love you, Eva."

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Some days, I really regret that it is not appropriate to lock them both in the basement for several hours until they stop driving me batshit insane. And some days they are so perfectly amazing that I can't believe they are real.

Well this is sad

Right now, at this very moment, both of my children are immersed in entirely spontaneous, completely voluntary naps. This marks only the second time in history that Owen has put himself to sleep on his own, and also the second time in history that Mia has fallen victim to an unplanned couch nap (and the last time was due to a raging fever).

I have at least half an hour, probably more, of nobody wanting a drink, nobody wanting me to watch anything, nobody smashing anybody else in the face with a stick. I have free time, smack in the middle of the day, for the first time in over a year. And I can't think of a single damned thing to do with it other than wander back and forth between the kids checking if they look like the might be waking up soon.

I'm honestly ashamed of myself right now.

Grab a drink

Apropos of nothing, including itself:

I have new favorite Bad Baby Names, given to children I have personally met in the past two weeks: Canyon and Fable. Canyon. Fable. Now, I clearly prefer very traditional names myself (hello, Amelia and Owen), however, I am willing to walk pretty far down the road of It Is All A Matter of Personal Taste. But I'm sorry. I would give up on that road and hail a cab for Target long, long before I got to Canyon and Fable as appropriate names for human beings. A yellow lab and a standard poodle, sure, but someday those adorable, charming little children are going to be grown up people submitting resumes and I just can't get behind it. You tell me though, charming? Edgy? Modern? Or just bad? (Decorum prevented me from begging to know the name of Fable's older sister, and you'd better believe I am still kicking myself for not finding out.)

I cut my hair a couple of weeks ago. It is to mid-neck now with a little bit of layering and was a chop of about seven inches when all was said and done. I keep meaning to post a picture, but I hate all but about three pictures ever taken of me. And I feel like that is a typically boring stupid female thing to say, and I am trying to be one of those women who just smiles for the camera and doesn't worry about it and looks lovely, but then I see the picture and I wonder who attacked it with an Uglystick filter. I think the problem is that I actually have a good opinion of myself, appearance wise. Sure, these days I'd always like to lose a couple of pounds, but I do understand that I'm a size six and thinner than average, and when looking in the mirror if forced to articulate an opinion I would say that even after five years of sleep-deprivation I am better than average looking, but man do I hate pictures. I don't know if I am too harsh or photograph badly or just don't like to confront the harsh reality of what I really look like that I don't see while looking in the mirror, but that is why you don't have a picture of my new hair. Which is too bad, really, because I am loving it hard.

Mia is just about two weeks into to swim team, and this kid is blowing my mind. She is the youngest by over a year and the smallest by at least four inches and damn but if she isn't in there every day swimming her heart out, lap after lap, and listening to the coaches and working hard and improving by the day and all-out loving it. This is the kid who whines for an hour if you cut her pancake too small in the morning or ask her to pick up her own shoes and carry them three feet to the closet, but she works her little butt off at swim team and talks for the rest of the day about how much she loves it. And yeah, most days I feel like I have to just lie down on the pool deck and die of pride, because that little peanut over there showing the eight-year-olds how it is done is my kid, and she rocks.

Living with Owen these days is like lolcats made flesh. My can has doot dack, he says. My can has appa juitch. And if I say no? Yetch, I can has, he screams. He has a pink sponge he got from my mother in law that he calls his spongebob. He has a set of blocks that can be hooked together in a circle and he walks around the house saying he is Handy Manny and asking us to admire his seatbelt. He is at the absolutely infuriating what I hope is the height of his twoness and is frequently impossible to deal with on any level, and at the same moment is so perfectly adorable and charming that I want to smother him in marshmallow and eat him with a spoon.

I miss you guys, I'm hoping this is my comeback.