Archive for the ‘BABY BABY’ Category

Blog Break While Procrastination Continues…

Monday, September 28th, 2009

Over the weekend we attended a birthday party—T’s first. Since he was scared of the only birthday cake he’s ever been presented with in his life, I wondered how he’d react a year later to somebody else’s birthday cake.

Let Him Eat Cake!

And the eat-fest went on from here. (It was delicious cake!)

www.pbrippey.com

I Had A Feeling And I…

Monday, September 14th, 2009

If I had followed the pediatrician’s advice and that from various books and NOT gone into his bedroom at 9pm, when he’s usually snoozing, but ignored his vocal exercise and let him “work it out” and “self-soothe” himself back to sleep, I would not have known (not having a video monitor anymore because we gave it away when he was 18 months or so thinking that at any moment and certainly by now, at 22 months, we wouldn’t need it because our precious petunia would be sleeping through the night—!!!), I WOULD NOT HAVE KNOWN that he had ripped off his diaper and tossed it out of his crib and was actually a total nudey butt. Had I not gone in to check on his indignant cries, I would have experienced horrible drama at 3 in the morning, no doubt, one involving the stripping of crib sheets and pads and changing a screaming toddler as I struggled to remember how to pull the tabs open on a diaper and administer Desitin. Had I not gone in, I would not have thwarted disaster. More importantly, I would have ignored a little person desperately trying to tell Mama and Dadda: People who take care of me! I have ripped off my diaper! There is cool air flowing around my privates! I may pee!

I entered his room with a sippy cup. He took it from me, swigged with gusto, pressed the “play” button on his crib’s lullaby-maker and lay down. Awwww, I thought, bending over and rubbing his back. He just needed a drink, I thought, then noticed my left bare foot was standing on something that felt soft and odd and just then my hand glided down to the nudey butt. As I bundled him into a freshie diaper (and, this time, pajama bottoms OVER the diaper), I noticed in the half-light that he was staring at me. “Mama,” he said with conviction and I assured him he was absolutely right. He lay down and was out in seconds.

Having grown up with a fear of authority due to living in England in the 1970’s and being subjected to teachers that spanked with plimsoles—spanked hard—when children misbehaved, questioning authority has come slowly to me. But over the years, sometimes dragged kicking and screaming into it by my husband’s support and insight, I have learned to listen to my gut more than my head. As I lie in bed type type typing away, our toddler snoozing for, hopefully, the next 6 hours minimum, knowing I will not be doing laundry at 3, 4 or 5am reminds me of this:

Intuition is a beautiful thing.

(And quite helpful to toddlers learning to master language and communication.)

Little Thinker, Little Communicator
www.pbrippey.com

Island Of Discarded Toys…(blog break)

Saturday, September 5th, 2009

Discard: whale shark

Discard: kiddie pool rejects

Discard: lonely giraffe

Discard: puppy dog

Discard: sock monkey

Discard: Jack

Discard: elephant

Discard: bear

Discard: 1 unfortunate frog

Discard: mystery toy

Broken track!

Al on the tracks!

Al is so large!

Captured ringtail!

Crushed tiger!

www.pbrippey.com

On Wildlife On Human Heads…

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

Saturday, late afternoon, feeling my stream of NO-NO’s weaken from the continuous “Thomas” DVD requests, I suggested the 25 mile drive North—away from the smoke and ash of the fires currently raging—to Zuma Beach. My fatigued husband, who had battled his own personal firestorms all week as a worker back in the corporate world, surprised me with a quick, decisive, “Let’s f*%#*%# do it!”

He didn’t really say that, but that’s how my startled mind interpreted sudden enthusiasm from someone who actually needed a nap worse than me.

So we cooked up the Trader Joe’s cheese pizza, filled sippy cups, stuffed Infant Tylenol, Desitin, matches, scissors, sewing kit, packets of astronaut food, flannels (in case the next Ice Age hit while we were out) and everything else we could think of into the diaper bag, grabbed the “Thomas” obsessed little guy and took off, me thinking the entire drive up and over the baking mountain, Crap, what about vegetables, he’s not getting any vegetables tonight, he’s not—oh shut up!

Because sometimes you just have to go to the beach for dinner, even if you have no vegetables to take along. Because when it’s 105 degrees outside and the blow-up kiddie pool is shriveling and it’s late afternoon and grandma’s gone home and you and your husband slept for 5 minutes on your Saturday because that’s how long your son’s nap lasted and the little guy is moving on to the next thing and that’s going to include you getting up off the living room couch and following him from one end of the house to the other, you start thinking about where the coolest place with room to run a 21 month old is within driving distance that is NOT a crowded mall—and that would be: the beach, the one that everyone is leaving for the day just as you arrive.

Of course the toddler napped blissfully on the way there.

But that meant my husband and I could visit uninhibitedly and if we happened to utter an expletive, our little parrot would not repeat it. (Freedom!)

And when we arrived at Zuma, not only did we choose a lovely, sparsely populated bit of beach with a view of several pods of dolphins frolicking, but we happened to be sitting right where the man with the seagull on his head walks by every single dusk.

You really feel like you’ve seen it all when you watch your amazed toddler watch the man with the seagull on his head watch zany dolphins surfing Zuma waves. And then you talk to the man with the seagull on his head and you find out right away that he is not, in fact, crazy. His eyes are lucid and he tells endearing stories about the gulls—birds most people treat like pesky flies, or worse. I encourage every parent of a toddler to go to Zuma Beach near dusk, to Lifeguard station #12 and wait for the man with the seagull on his head to come along. He’s good at talking to children—all calm and happy-docent-ish, fielding goofy questions with a patient smile. When he said goodbye to us (and the rest of the amazed little crowd that had gathered), we waved as he strolled off up the beach into the sunset, kept waving even though he couldn’t see us waving—a man and a wild gull (occasionally unfurling her wings to keep her balance on his cranium) connecting. They made quite the catchy silhouette.

I glanced at the ocean as my husband and our son moved on to kicking the beachball around. The dolphins were still there, throwing up tails and flippers and making the water froth. I love dolphins. I wondered if I swam out to them, would they include me in their games? Would we connect?

I walked to the surfline, stuck my toe in the water, yelped. F’ing freezing!!! I hastily withdrew my feet from the tide’s reach, pretty sure the dolphins would try to sit on my head, anyway, and I’d drown, or they’d swim away from me and a shark would take their place and bite off my foot like that one bull shark did to that unlucky dude fishing in shallow water and then how effective a mother would I be, hobbling after my son because I was stupid enough to go dolphin seeking at dusk, when, as everyone knows, sharks feed…I breathed in delicious sea air and joined in the beachball kicking still going on, glad to have both of my feet. High above us, seagulls shrieked delightedly, circling our picnic dinner.

www.pbrippey.com

Another Change…

Monday, August 24th, 2009

It’s an exciting Sunday evening. Tomorrow my husband switches from work-at-home daddy to suck-it-monkeys-I’m-going-corporate.

Honeymoon

I confess I’ve enjoyed having him work at home, even though his concentration on work was constantly diverted by me and Mr. T. And by Al and Rudy wanting to go in and out and in then out the screen door, as if convinced their newfound outdoor-freedom will be revoked at any second, as if we will say, “Mwa-ha-ha, kitties! No, you cannot ever be free to eat grass again!”, and of course we won’t say that, but still Al and Rudy test and test and since my husband’s temporary desk has been the dining room’s kitchen-nookish, all-around, everything-lumped-on-it table, located quite near the screen door, my husband’s legs have received a workout from about 12,000 trips from chair to screen door in any five hour period. That’s right: 12,000.

More messing around

I confess it’s been nice to have the option of shouting for help when T has a blowout diaper. It’s been nice not to have to hold T and rip off his clothes and get the water running in the bath and bathe him and towel and dress and fix him meals while answering the continual ever-chirpy WHAZ IZ ZAT!!! OH WOW!!! WHAZ IZ ZAT!!! (A: your toe, a can opener, an olive, part of the ceiling, I have no idea what you’re pointing at) all by myself. It’s been nice to have my husband come galloping to the rescue (or sighing to the rescue) now and then. It’s been nice to have my husband take over in the early morning and spend quality daddy-son time while mommy (responding to a night of broken sleep) snores until 8am. They’ve had some important breakfasts together, followed by stroller rides to the dilapidated petting zoo way, way up the road, where they say good morning to the chickens in the trees and the big-bellied goats and pigs at the fence and T learns his animal noises firsthand. I confess: I’ve enjoyed having my husband at home, seeing his face when we return from playdates, passing him in the hallway at odd times during the day (Oh, hi! Hi! How are ya! See ya later in the kitchen!) having him join us for lunch—or make lunch. It’s been grand.

Ah ha…

But as of tomorrow, it’s another change—and I’m ready! Early to bed. That’s my motto. So I’m up 3 to 5 times in the night—if I’m snoozing by 10pm, I still might log 7 hours of sleep. I have waffles, fruit and other tempting breakfast items. My jogging shoes are by the door, the stroller standing by on the porch. And T and I have a morning appointment at a local toddler preschool for a tour.

Mwa-ha-ha cat!

Toodler preschool (said with awe, a gulp, a sudden shudder and a panicked tear in the eye).

Le Bond!

Oh yes. As the last of August wings ungracefully into the ether, change is definitely on its way. Hello, Reseda dawn. Bring it on, bring it on, bring it on.

www.pbrippey.com

Little Blue Pills…

Monday, August 10th, 2009

Always interesting when one of my parental figures visits our Ponderosa for a weekend. I end up recovering from a heady hangover of memories and toxic tidbits from my childhood I’ve either heard a gazzillion times or completely forgotten about.

cowboy

Like the Swedish au pair my parents hired who, the second my parents went out of town for a weekend and left her in charge of their four little girls, invited a motorcycle gang over for an all night party.

lil cowpoke

Or the French au pair my parents hired after the Swedish au pair was dismissed—a jumpy, wild-eyed young woman who, if our parents were away, wouldn’t let us play outside or use the telephone, who slept with her bedroom light on because she was convinced there were ghosts in our house—prompting my older sister and I to hide under our parents’ bed and, when the French au pair came in the room to clean, utter spooky sounds, freaking the woman out so intensely she called a priest to come over and help her pack, quitting her position in our household (thrilling us)…

Or the time I was 2 years old and was rushed to the hospital to have my stomach pumped because, although surrounded by adults (including my parents), I discovered a tranquilizer on my grandmother’s kitchen tile and popped it in my mouth. The only reason I didn’t die is because after swallowing the pill I crawled into my grandmother’s lap and she happened to detect an odd blue residue on my lips and, in a moment of blown horror, was able to put the pieces together (it was her tranquilizer…).

Lil lil cowpoke/cowboy

Or the size of the insects occupying the musty, ancient farmhouse we moved into upon first arriving in England, when I was 7. How my parents moved us to a hotel rather than endure their daughters’ screams upon discovering fist-sized spiders in their cold, funky farmhouse beds, or in the creepy, funky farmhouse claw-footed bathtub that literally belonged in a museum.

On the Pater’s latest visit he remarked on how much I loved school when we lived in England and he was shocked when I corrected him. I did well in my British school, but for 4 years was teased for being American. Every. Single. Day. I liked schoolwork, but I didn’t like going to school, I told the Pater. When he gasped and protested, so eager to set me straight he choked on his Salmon Alfredo, I jumped in and reminded him about all the stomach and sideaches I used to get that allowed me to stay home. I’ve had a similar conversation with the Mater. I don’t like correcting my parents. I don’t like shattering their illusions about their daughter’s childhood. I mean, I get how no one could have seen me pick up that deadly little blue pill and swallow it. I get how my parents would rather believe I liked school in England, despite all the times I’ve tried to tell them otherwise. I get all that. However…

After 21 months of diaper blowouts, breastfeeding, barfing extravaganzas, and sleepless nights, no au pairs in sight, I have no illusions of what it’s like for myself or my son as we get to know each other. It’s hard being a baby/toddler. It’s easier now being a parent than it was months 0-3, but I realize I’ve signed up for a lifetime of challenges and worry.

And it’s this School of Parenthood, the one with too many books and way too much advice, that I show up for every day (and in the middle of most nights) wanting to learn and participate. And it’s from my brief time in this school so far that, when I find one of the Pater’s little blue pills he takes every day lying on my kitchen tile, I reach down, pick it up, take the Pater aside and am able to advise him in my nicest, most patient, juggling-50,000-things-yet-still-lucid, Parenthood TA’s voice, “History is not repeating itself here, Pater darling, no, nooooooo, not here. ‘Kay?”

Or not…

And, finally, and though he looks a little shocked, my Pater understands.

www.pbrippey.com

The Morning Excursion…zzzzzz

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

Lately it seems as if the thing to do, despite our generous backyard, despite fatigue I’m feeling from a string of nights of interrupted sleep, is to make sure my toddler has a morning outing. We attend playdates at homes, parks, museums, even a dam turned enormous pretty-blue-wading-pool. He will run, he will obtain mental stimulation from someone else’s toys, he will have extensive morning water play—and if he doesn’t fall asleep on the drive home, he will eat lunch, then go down for a TWO to THREE hour nap. That’s right! That’s the way mama likes it! After the nap, it’s snack time, then we play in the schisle yard and then Dadda takes over and oh yeah! Dinner! More yard! Bath! Bedtime, baby, and bedtime, mama, bedddtiiime (also, if it’s Friday, a glass of wine and chocolate things)!

Morning swim

This is a beautiful schedule. I could live with it for years, years. Or at least until he goes to preschool.

Morning tent fun

The key phrase in this schedule, however, is: “if he doesn’t fall asleep on the drive home”. This is Sprawl Angeles. There is always a drive. Since we moved to the wilds of the suburbs, there is even more of a journey to playdates and the best parks and any museum and that dam’s wonderful wading pool. And, like most toddlers I know, mine falls asleep—deep, deep asleep— not during the lengthy return trip home, but the second I pull into our driveway.

Morning drum fun

I lift up his chin with an exuberant sing-song of rhyme—and his chin drops to his chest like a tiny, beautiful potato to earth. I extract his sack-doll body from the carseat while talking in an ear-infesting falsetto, utilizing key words like, FOOD MMMM and CHEESE and, the ace, ELMO. If nothing wakes him, not even the banging of the front door as I haul the enormous toddler inside, my fatigue blooms and I deposit him in his crib, then lunge for my bed, knowing this will not be The Nap, that there will be no The Nap today, but two scant 1 hour breathers, the next breather not for another 3 or 4 hours. This schedule, this continuation of broken sleep schedule, this schedule I’d prefer not to live with—ever. I sometimes debate not driving him anywhere in the morning in order to keep him on the schedule I prefer, so that I may get in as much of a heavenly chunk of TWO to THREE hour napping as he does and be Refreshed Mother when we hit the sandbox later in the day.

Morning sand/water fun

And then I feel guilty. Because it’s not about me and my fatigue. Or not enough, in my own personal mother-situation, about me and my fatigue to thwart his dam-wading experience or button-pushing joy at the museum or sand castle building waaaaaay over thar at distant-country Zuma Beach or, on truly adventurous days, Santa Barbara. And I dredge energy reserves I always forget I possess and I tell myself not to be afraid, that I can do this—it’s not like I have triplets, or a baby and a dog, or a baby and a farm, or multiple babies, a reality show and a promiscuous ex-husband—I can do this.

Morning beach fun

And then: I do it.

www.pbrippey.com
Morning wheeeee

Break From Grieving For The Cat…

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

Animals, animals everywhere at the world’s most exciting petting zoo!
Watch out!

And then the troublemaker came on the scene, eyeing my son’s tender fingers. Oh yeah, I’m talking about you, Mr. Goose.
Uh oh.

And I was all NOOOOOOOOO and moving in slow motion, ploughing through a sea of goat hooves and plump goat bodies.
Begin Jaws Music

Don’t. Touch. That. Toddler!
Get away from him, you b****!

As I went under a gazzilion little goat hooves, my husband swooped in to save the toddler—not before the offending goose took a swipe at my son’s outstretched hand with his beak, causing the little guy such shock, he cried.
Dadda to the rescue!

Fortunately grandad’s presence and powerful goat/donkey-attraction had us laughing in no time.
Ha ha!
www.pbrippey.com

Real Life…

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

charwindow.jpg

Two days in a row I carted us to a place on my beach: unpeopled, sand a sheet of fresh powder, pleasantly cliff-backed—meaning fragrant chaparral and birdsong. The ocean both days: sun-smitten, dive-bombed by pelicans, a mother of all blues, an island standing in as immediate horizon—arcing ocher land softly filtered through a morning’s lazy, leftover fog.

Two days in a row I had the beach experience with my son I’d been waiting for him to grow into: respecting and playing with the tide vs. helter skelter lemming behavior, exploring beach vs. fixating on the umbrella or eating sand, using rocks and driftwood as tools for creating. At the close of our romps and exploring, I changed him into dry clothes, loaded him and everything else back into the jogging stroller and headed not for the parking lot, but farther up the beach, into vaguely sky-slipping sun, just for a bit, as he worked on a ricecake and kept his head turned left, left, his eyes on the sea (thrilling me).

The morning of our departure for Los Angeles, we returned to the beach and walked aimlessly in semi-fog. I sipped a venti-half-caf and he munched pumpkin bread, halting to gesticulate wildly at the low tide, or gulls. For once, in July, we wore sweaters, jeans instead of shorts with our sandals. That air, flushed by salt breezes, never fails to ease his night-wakings. Breathe, baby, breathe, I thought.

Two hours later we were back in dry, molten heat, the main water line from our house to the city hookup on the sidewalk creating a fine, cascading rain in summer’s scald. My husband was speaking to plumbers tramping the front yard scratching their heads over the useless pipe and reformulating original estimates, and my husband was speaking to plumbers coming in through the Bluetooth curling Star Trek style around his ear. I hurried inside, but our bathroom, also a victim of plumbing disorders, was dismantled. I had to pee desperately and was told to use the garden and just then I discovered that my cat of 17 years was, apparently, dying: A troubled meow, then more, like a cavern’s echo’s despair.

The water stayed off for the next 24 hours. The vet: called and seen. Various estimates came, altered, went. My son refused to nap, hyped on heat and domestic chaos, all sea breezes memories, only, if that. When everything happens at once, where does the cool come from? Through it all, my husband and I exchanged glances, shrugged—his turn to argue, my turn to weep worry, aware, of course, always, of our boy, his 20 month old sensors ON, working overtime. I found out how it is to slip into a room’s closet, escaping radar, running away out of a sense of protection. Still, he found me. Mama, he said, tugging open the double doors, excited and curious. Mama.

How everything can happen at once. The arrival of water, a grandmother for my son’s delight, and, within minutes, my cat’s demise. Give her sugar water from an eyedropper, the vet suggested, and I did and that was the end of my cat. 17 years done. Over. When I see the world and do not see my girl…Sorry, Lady Gregory, for the drastic substitution.

I took a shower—not because I was afraid of her death on my skin, but because I am always afraid for my son. The shower thundered out water, the sound appropriate, song-like, also torture. Later, my husband and I buried her under the potato vine. I despaired: Why must a move UP, why must a good change, why must one huge positive mean a sacrifice? Don’t overthink it, my husband suggested. I turned away from the grave, saw the hummingbird feeder needed refilling, the roses begging for a drink, patchy grass suffering. I saw my mother in the house with my son, reading, or read to. A plane muttered overhead. Heat persisted like a warning ache, persistently melting perimeters. Always that heat. So late in the day for so many metaphors. I placed a garden chair near the grave. I stayed close to her for a while. I probably prayed.

www.pbrippey.com

Withnail and I and Me

Monday, July 6th, 2009

Faced with the enormity of fixing up a fixer-upper whilst keeping a toddler from, say, sticking forks/fingers/tips of shoelaces, etc., into plateless electrical outlets waiting to be converted from two prongs to three, my mind flashes on the movie “Withnail and I”.

Firetruck inspection!

Specifically: When The Boys are having it rough, cowering in Uncle Monty’s dark, freezing, English country cottage, believing themselves stalked by a poacher.

But then, suddenly, Uncle Monty arrives with food, light and alcohol. He civilizes the musty cottage in seconds, astounding The Boys.

I like Uncle Monty’s apron and how he takes charge and forces that cottage to obey him and become warm and cozy.

Investigating with a pen’s cap.

When scrubbing our fixer-upper bathroom, the annoyingly tiny bathroom with the ridiculous window fitted with louvers, when tackling bathtub grout grimy as street urchins from Oliver Twist, when attempting to clean, then batten down shower doors that swing, I do my best to channel Uncle Monty.

Don’t be cowardly! (I scold the Withnail and I in me as I cower before the sink’s cabinet into which I’m sure I saw a tiny darkdarkdark shadow glide) Tug on those rubber gloves, get on your bleedin’ knees and show that bloody thing who’s bloody boss! Bloody hell! Are you a mother, or a bloody mouse! Or, rather, a bloody English newt!

Who are you talking to? My husband asks, passing the open bathroom door.

In.Vest.I.Gate…

This is my house. And I will teach this bathroom a lesson in civility, in decorum. It will listen! Because I am Uncle Monty. Without all the weight. And—homosexuality. And I don’t like sherry. Although I had a lot of sherry in Andover, once. It was a Christmastime. I was helping make authentic British sausage rolls and trifle. The kitchen was cozy, smelled delicious and run by a tiny British mum who could have kicked Uncle Monty’s enormous ass in the Capability Department. She wouldn’t have allowed moldy grout in her loo, or things slinking into dark places there.

I should have finished out my Christmas holiday at that mum’s house, with my good friend, P. P and Mum encouraged me to stay. Instead, I slunk off with a lying, cheating mime to Cornwall and ate bitter Christmas fish in a drafty B&B. We fought about nothing on a moonlit cliff with a view of Tintagel’s sad ruins, surf bashing Cornish rocks far below us, too many unknowns going bump in the ghastly Cornish night…

Ah, little mum. Uncle Monty! I’ve come a loooooooong way. But I’m still learning.

Hence this: And now, please excuse me while I fetch my chipper husband, who is better than I am when it comes to exposing things that lurk in the dark—poachers, garden spiders, evil newts and one’s occasionally grouty past.

But make no mistake! I shall bloody return and finish the bloody bathroom job. Because I’ve bloody grown. Bloody hell.

Sweet dreams! And have a bloody good tomorrow.

ponderosa
www.pbrippey.com

Mama Kin…

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

It’s funny and a little unnerving how quickly he changes. After waiting for it for 19 months, after sucking it up when he said Dada, then Sassa (my mother’s preference to being called Grandma), sucking it up when he said Al (our large cat), or bug, big boy, big girl and catchy little phrases like, What IS this! Oh wow!, he has finally, FINALLY called me Mama. Mmmmama, he says, pointing at me or a picture of me. One minute, he had never said it. The next: Mmmmmama!

I think I was as suprised as he was by the ecstatic squeals emitted from mommy, by the shouting and hugging and kissing that went on, the clumsy pirouettes and mad doorbell ringing, the banging together of the lids of pots and pans and the faux American Indian rain dance thing. That’s right, baby, that’s right! I told him. I’m your Mmmmmmmmmmmama!

Odd to think that in years to come Mama, Mom, Mommy, Yo Ma!, Mother Darling, Dearest Revered and Respected Mamma—odd to think how commonplace those terms of endearment will sound. How Mmmmmama will fall by the wayside of Ordinary, a faded blue bead sunk in the backyard dirt pile. How this word will no longer make me euphoric when uttered by my son for general identification purposes or as an urgent summons.

Then again, maybe this particular little flame of excitement and joy never dies, not really, but lives on, like Aerosmith or Rocky Road ice cream.

Mmmmmama.

Music.

Artist!

www.pbrippey.com

The Tip Of The Wave…

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

I checked in recently with my dear friends Moot Mommy and Moot Daddy. If you will recall, Moot Daddy was laid off from the company that said it would never go away just as escrow was closing on Moot Mommy and Moot Daddy’s new home. Although Moot Daddy has yet to secure a new permanent position, although Moot Mommy’s emotions are all over the map as she races after their energetic toddler and frets about what to feed everybody next since she has no working oven and an extremely limited budget, mostly, however, Moot Mommy and Moot Daddy are riding the “tip of the fast-moving wave”, vs. wallowing in a hideous, life-sucking trough.

It’s not easy to ride the tip of the wave. There are many matters to worry about in between trips to Lowe’s and fixing up a fixer-upper and minding a toddler. “In order to stay on the tip of the wave you’re riding, it’s vital to remember present miracles,” Moot Mommy and Moot Daddy told me (as I took notes).

Present Miracle Number One (The Moots told me): Escrow on our new home closed. Despite Moot Daddy’s silly company letting him go, despite Escrow not having to close, it did. It. Frikkin’. Closed! Yes, we had minor meltdowns during the excruciating waiting period, but 99% of the time we kept positive and kept a kind of faith in the Universe providing for us. Seriously! Then: Miracle! Gift! Whatever you want to call it (The Moots told me). We’re here, living in our investment, there’s a yard for our son, and with the help of family the place is really coming together.

Two (The Moots told me): Family! Also friends and friends-of-family and even some strangers. You just never know (the Moots told me, meaning Moot Mommy’s cousins who had decided to buy all new furniture just as Moot Mommy and Moot Daddy were moving and to give to Moot Mommy and Moot Daddy their barely used, like new couches and 55″ TV. Score!) where abundance is going to come from. Nor should you try to know where abundance is going to come from. Just—let it come.

Three (they told me): Ask for things. Like–well, not only new jobs, but S hooks. Moot Daddy really needed a certain kind of S hook for a certain backyard project and, in his own way, asked for it and suddenly: as he was raking up the yard, there turned up two, not one, but two S hooks, unearthed in our dirt. This may sound a very small thing to receive, S hooks (The Moots told me). However, a trip saved from going to the hardware store when you’re fixing up the fixer-upper and keeping a baby from discovering the skin-puncturing and the rusted-dangerous? Miracle! Gift! Etc.! The most appreciated S hooks we’ve ever had.

Four (they told me, watching their toddler water his sandbox with the garden hose): We repeat the “You just never know” bit. Listen: before Moot Daddy was laid off, we were looking for a Playhouse on Craig’s List. After Moot Daddy was laid off, we decided to wait on buying one, then—bam! Our friends called out of the blue and offered us an extremely new looking, electronics-working playhouse. They even delivered it and assembled it for us. Kind of like the S hooks scenario, only better. Miracle! Gift! Family! Friends! Get it? Hope so (Moot Mommy and Moot Daddy told me, corralling the toddler and heading indoors), because we’re too frikkin’ tired to talk to you anymore, PB. Naptime. See yourself out? Buh-bye.

Hi there!
www.pbrippey.com

Anti-Parent Incident!

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

It was a morning like any other on Facebook: Friends dropping one-liners about their moods, ice cream preferences, quiz results, the June Gloom, etc. One “friend”, an unmarried, childless, single “friend” who requested I be her “friend” months ago, wrote that she never follows those who identify themselves as parents on Twitter because the parents say unforgivable, disgusting, asinine things like, “My kid’s puke is cute.”

Comments on this comment by my “friend” followed swiftly. One young man wrote:

“And don’t even get me started about people who post profile pictures of their pets or their kids!”

And a young woman who confessed to being a twit who doesn’t Twitter, wrote:

“I don’t understand that at all!”

Etc.

That’s when I jumped in with what I naively considered a Laughingly-Commenting type comment, stating oh those silly parents do and say strange things due to lack of sleep and trying to keep toddlers alive, ha ha, and I Laughingly Commented that because I’m a parent I do my best to understand and forgive other parents for the crazy things we do, especially after the annoying things I’ve done as a parent, like proudly displaying all of the pictures of my kid in my wallet to total strangers, although (I wrote) I would never Twitter about my kid’s puke. Still (I inferred), I understand parents who do Twitter about puke or poop. Puke and poop are huge parts of our lives, us parents of the teeny-tiny. The paradox being that until you’re a parent you can’t truly know the hell, shock and awe you can be put through. As. A. Parent. Ha ha. Tra la. Hoo. Hee. Ha.

When I should have simply ignored or “unfriended” my “friend” right then and there, or, as a fellow mommy bud of mine (a canny, witty, wildly creative, fantastic mommy I admire) advised me, “Just kick her off the bus.”

My Facebook “friend” commented swiftly on my comment. She wrote (basically), that the “Unless you’re a parent you can’t know” line is used way too often to excuse completely unacceptable behavior from kids and the parents who can’t control them, behavior that she, my “friend”, believes she simply should not have to “put up” with (I assume she means in public). Then my “friend” coolly, condescendingly thanked me for not “baby-tweeting.”

Does my “friend” hang out in playgrounds? Does she live in a pre-school? Please. She’s a single woman constantly Tweeting and FB’ing about where her next cocktail is coming from. She spends A LOT of time researching upscale happy hours (per FB posts). Is she really coming into contact with that many harried parents sucking down martinis in between disciplining their toddlers from the doorways of swanky bars? Jayden–give that woman back her iphone! Bartender, three olives this time and make it dirty–Fitzroy Blane The F****** Third! Get the hell away from that stiletto!

ASS****!!! I muttered irately after reading my “friend’s” comment. A loud buzzing filled my ears. I saw red. I was beyond irate. I was—Uber Irate. I “unfriended” my “friend” and blocked her from contacting me.

I ranted and raged at the computer screen with a passion that excluded Zen kindness or patience or understanding or forgiveness—but then I had to paint the bathroom, clean out filthy cupboards, wash the cat poop off the brand new comforter and feed my toddler and I forgot about the nasty start to my day. I’m still annoyed (obviously) by my “friend’s” comments, but the kicking her off my bus part of my day really hit home. Life is short, etc., and my boy is growing so fast. I don’t have time to be mad at someone who may become a mother some day herself and have the parenting light bulb flash on and realize that thinking your kid’s puke is cute is far, far better than the alternative and makes for a healthier mind and provides a crumb of staid sanity in the many, many extremely long days of being a mother, or father, or caregiver in charge of the following: Raising the future.

Well, parents, there’s plenty of seating in my bus—whether you think your kid’s puke, poop or snot is cute, or whether you’re just plain overwhelmed by parenting. Come in, sit (don’t you love my sky-blue paisley bus cushions!), breathe and sip a libation of your choice. Understand. Forgive. Breathe.

Ahhhhhhhhh.

PS. Thank you B! Your bus is grand, grand.

Now THAT’S cute!
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www.pbrippey.com

Lowes Is A Many Splendored…

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

This store is so near us and so helpful in so many ways.
Lowes!

He was munching on rice cake as we wheeled him around. Occasionally and more often than not, he would shout for joy, startling others, cracking us up.

Lowes!
We got a lot of shopping done thanks to the dual steering wheels.

www.pbrippey.com

Blog Break: Baby Again…

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Current spate of Blog Breaks featuring the baby are due to parents renovating new home while watching a toddler, meaning we prime/paint/clean/hammer/paste glow-in-the-dark stars on ceiling beam/etc in shifts. This does not leave time for: writing poetry, blogging, sanity. I don’t believe I’ve ever felt so tired in my life. However, the good news is: it’s all good. We are extremely grateful for our new home and to have a yard for T. We move in this weekend and look forward to getting a new routine going for us, T and the 3 shi***** on everything, pissing on our shoes, regurgitating, discombobulated, terrified of change cats. Ponderosa? Here we come! (not soon enough!)

It was hell to assemble, but worth the result.
The New Sandbox
www.pbrippey.com

Change…

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

Decisions are made and BAM, life is changed forever. Once, my toddler and I had a routine. Now, the routine is a semblance of its former self—it is Jenny-Craiged routine, thinned and thinning, in dire transition, affecting everyone with giddy upset—affecting the canny toddler, the paint-spattered parents, the dirty dishes piled and repiled in the sink, the laundry mound, blog posts and the cats (morning upchucks and peeing on the laundry mound up 100% this week). Also affecting—bizarrely, perversely, wonderfully—the toddler’s sleep schedule. For the past two nights he has not woken up at 2am and 4am and 6am with strangled cries, but slept from 8:30p.m. until 6:00a.m., been soothed and slept another hour and 45 minutes. Can that sleeping-through-the-night thing actually be happening to us, despite the upset of routine? Or because of? A fantastically welcome mystery! I do know that despite (not because of) the paint fumes I’m inhaling daily, I am a different person in 2 days from getting a solid 7 plus hours of sleep. Sleeeeeeeeeeeeeep. And although I have learned never to expect the expected from my toddler, I am hopeful this current sleep pattern will continue well into the rest of forever. Ahhhhhh. Now if I can only get him to say “Mama.”

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www.pbrippey.com

Blog Break: Water Baby

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Ask me if I care
Waterbaby

if when I do this
Waterbaby!

the water is positively icy!
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Blog Break: Dharma Initiative T Shirt…

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

Dharma baby on the loose

Dharma baby speaks
www.pbrippey.com

What Am I, Pregnant?

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

9th month!

No.

Yet the memory thing rages out of control, as it did when I was in the ninth month and finding my cell phone in the refrigerator and my wallet in the piano bench. Actually, I found my cell phone in the fridge last week, too—and I couldn’t blame it on T. And today, for another instance, I purchased $60 worth of vital items at Toys R Us, including a talking book T was all rabid for. Then I drove off and left the bag of said items in the shopping cart. Upon returning home and placing my snoozing babe in his crib, I realized my error and phoned the store. No bag had been turned in. No bag could be located anywhere. Somebody made off with my goods. Bye-bye talking book. Ciao, $60.

And yesterday I left the cinnamon rolls for the playdate on top of the minivan. As I drove away, they sailed for climes unknown, where they are drinking icy pinot grigio, casually melting into (tasteful) modern art and sharing a good old cinnamon roll guffaw at my expense.

And last night I dreamed I couldn’t find my baby. I woke up hyperventilating, my husband’s worried face in mine. It seems my current streak of forgetting is even penetrating my dream-life. Why???

I asked this question of the gruffish lady checking my groceries this morning, as I ransacked my purse for coupons I’d forgotten to grab from the kitchen counter before leaving home. She glanced at T in the shopping cart sucking blissfully on an enormous piece of fresh baguette. The gruffish lady shrugged and replied, “Him. He’s why.”

Oh, I love my baby. I love going over the replacement talking book I bought for him as he sits on my lap, my nostrils deep in blonde locks reeking of the tomato sauce he patted into his hair at lunch, my arms around his little tubby tummy. I will never lose him, never find myself running screaming around a park searching for him frantically. He is responsible for making me not just hugely, but profoundly happy. Yeah. “Him.”

Take that, Memory, and sleep on it.

Him!
www.pbrippey.com

Memory Challenge…

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

Little guy!

Oh the questions spewing from my mouth when I was pregnant! I interrogated a couple of seasoned mamas, friends of mine, only to be told by them repeatedly (dazed confusion clouding their eyes), “I’m sorry—I just don’t remember.” What!!! How could they not remember vitals like how many times their babies woke up during the night in the first three months, battles with diaper rash and—so much more. Actually, I can’t remember what the heck I asked them—I had to dredge the banks for what I’ve just written here.

Because I, too, have memory blocks since giving birth, since those first three long, intense, post-C-section months. Though S took digi-cam footage and 3,000 pictures, still I can’t remember actually changing diapers that small, or dressing T in those mini-mitts we couldn’t live without. If I think too much about what I can’t remember, I turn into Tim Robbins in “Jacob’s Ladder,” when his face goes cuckoo every time he passes a mirror.

I have the screensaver on my computer that plays photographs from My Photos. Do you have that? Often, as I’m feeding T, my laptop perched next to me on my perch on the king size bed forever dominating our living rooom, beside which I’ve positioned T’s high chair—as I encourage T to try steamed baby carrots, often my eye is caught by photos wafting across my laptop’s screen, ones taken on or around 11/12/07-ish and I gasp. Who is that woman cradling that urchin? My son was never that small! My ass was never that big, surely! Where did that onesie come from? Oh yeah, his hair was black when he was born—I forgot!!! And there goes my face into “Jacob’s Ladder” mode, sproinging every which way with a sped up “yuk yuk” sound as accompaniment.

After 9 months and 1 week of pregnancy, I became fathoms-lady, swimming slowly through incomprehensible depth: birth, taking T home, calling the doctor 12 times in 3 days, showing up at the doctor’s several times a week, driving, driving (once I was mobile after the C section) to calm the strange and exotic little creature consuming my personal hours—despite all the activity, for 90 days life elongated and slowed Einstein-ish-theorem style. I delve through My Photos and the 5 photo albums I’ve filled in 17 months and I can’t believe the changes. These days, life with T in hyper-drive, we don’t even use Dreft and think nothing of putting him to bed without socks on his feet. “The baby might freeze!” “The baby could receive spinal cord damage if we don’t put extra padding in the jogging stroller!” “Our baby will never eat a french fry!” Those days are all over. Done. Gone. We are experienced parents, now, with memory loss. And I know why. There are studies and facts and findings regarding this memory loss issue that I’m way too tired to research and read (also, I forget to), but I know the bottom-line answer. It is:

f e a r

When you don’t know why he’s scream-crying even after you’ve fed and changed him, don’t know what those tiny red bumps are on his chest, his cold prevents him from breastfeeding easily and you’re terrified he’s going to suffocate AND starve, SIDS, first fever, projectile vomits…It’s hard to be a baby. Much harder than being parents. Still, the memory loss thing must be protection for mommies, a salved-up band-aid on true pain, because if we did recall absolutely clearly every single detail from birth through those first scary few months, when every sneeze means certain death, why the HELL would we ever have more than one child.

Memory loss is Mother Nature’s way of insuring the babies keep coming—bless their obviously precious cloud-pink, diaper rash prone bottoms.

The guy!