Archive for the ‘Vitals’ Category

Preschool: An Introduction…

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

My son just turned 3.


A year ago he and I visited a preschool. It was very: science station, art station, monthly themes (pirates, the holiday stuff), and parents could hang out and peek around corners to see if their children were happy——

Ah, science!

Leave my son in that sweet, teacher-caring, we-provide-potty-training environment? A Mama’s worst nightmare!!!


A year ago, my son would not sit still for any storytime we attended. He parallel-played consistently. He did not engage in science stations (his sand and water table at home, dirt pile in our yard) for longer than a few minutes. At the preschool visit, he obsessed on the indoor pirate ship thingy and screamed when I tried to get him to look at what the other kids were doing, upsetting parents peeking around corners. I was scared of disrupting the entire school. So we left, with me telling myself that there is plenty of time for pre-school, that he is going to be in school for such a good portion of his life, why not stick to playdates and beach outings and park fun.

Water drums!

Tomorrow we’re returning to that preschool from a year ago. My son’s sleeping habits have reverted to his first year of life, when wakings were constant and urgent and why this is happening again is beyond me. I don’t feed him sugar. He doesn’t eat fast food. He drinks milk. Tonight he even accepted steamed green beans. I am. A. Vigilant mother. Especially when it comes to my finnicky eater. So why the wakings in his cozy, super-dark room (but for a little nightlight)? Why? Mama is so tired…

Interesting jeep!

So tired, that I AM READY for preschool. 3 mornings a week. As long as he likes it.


He does love being around kids on playdates and at the park, even if older kids don’t realize he is actually following them around and playing some game they are inadvertently involved with. He does crafts now (for about 10 minutes). He likes bugs and binoculars and anything pirates and rockets and marine. He won’t sit still for a storytime, but if the other kids are, maybe he’ll consider settling in, especially since he loves books. Tomorrow is a big day.

Says so much.

Because it’s not about me. Of course it is about me! But not really. You know?

A Mama learns to let go a little. And catch up on some sleep.

Little guy. Little pre-schooler (maybe). I will bring my box of tissues with me tomorrow. Happy Birthday!
Little guy!


Blog Break Ad Nauseum…

Monday, November 8th, 2010

There are reasons for all the blog breaks I have posted of late, instead of writing meaningful material. Ha ha! Place your mouse over each photo to receive an explanation. Or—not…

Uncle Bob’s Birthday!

“Papa” visits and brings miniature golf platforms.

My dad’s 70th birthday!
(One sister is not featured in photo as she lives in Iowa—however, we missed her greatly, although the Pater HAD TO ACT as if overwhelmed by female offspring invading his household. Could not cooperate and just smile normally for camera…

Dinner guest!

We love him and his toddler ways!
Newest addition to our family!

Frikkin’ Time Change!!!
Yes, that’s right: Frikkin’ time change!

Yeah, and this!
Which means I’m writing/editing.

And my son—

Candy Boy Buzz!

turns 3 in 5 days. November is a busy month! And it’s Christmas at Target. Ouch.

PB Writes

Boo Break 2010

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Buzz on sugar!


Boo Break 2010

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Buzz eats a cupcake!


Woofy Woes…

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

Recently a dog came to visit us, a potential adoptee. We were nervous before doggy arrived. We spruced up the house and my husband mowed the lawn. We brushed our hair and teeth minutes before the arrival. We wore nice clothing and had doggy toys on hand we’d picked up at a pet store earlier that day. We had been told that “if all went well” with the visit, then doggy might be ours that very afternoon. We were excited—and I was a little nervous. The last potential adoptee tried to nip my son and slam me down on a coffee table and chew off my shoulder. This latest dog, however, was listed as “kid and cat friendly”, and as looking for its “forever home”.

We really want a doggy. Sometimes we visit Lab Rescue Man’s home down the street from us. He might have up to 6 waggy doggies playing in his yard at one time. T is in heaven when this happens. He runs with the pack and throws balls for them. He pets them and kisses them, if they’ll let him. He’ll give them commands—sit, doggy drop ball, etc.


We are nice people. Responsible adults run this household and raise a child. We are all animal lovers. So of course we were excited to meet the doggy, even if we turned out not to be doggy’s “forever home”. As long as doggy didn’t try to eat us, we could at least give her some fun in the Ponderosa’s roomy yard, give her a chew-toy to take back to her foster home, have an afternoon of play.

Rudy! And dinosaur! Living together!

“THIS DOG IS NOT FOR YOU,” declared a Cruella-De-Vil with an unraveling eagle’s nest of auburn hair, her Mute Dude trailing after her. She hadn’t even made it to our walkway, but was shouting at us from way over there on the pavement. I stood dumbly on our front porch, my hand frozen in greeting, my mouth agape, my son behind me crying, eagerly, “Doggy! Doggy’s here!”

“I–um,” I stuttered as the wiggly black lab on the choke chain and leash yanked the woman closer.


Charcat—may she RIP. 18 1/2 wonderful years.

I stared at her, baffled, as my husband took over. He greeted the dog generously, then Mrs. Freakazoid and her Mute Dude. By this time, doggy had reached me and I bent to give her some love, my husband trying to calm Mrs. F with pleasantries. I knew he was as baffled as I was. Mrs. F had insisted, initially, that we meet the dog, had insisted that doggy was perfect for us, had already met my husband and son at an adoption fair she was running, had decided that the happy black lab licking my hands might be our “forever dog”. So—WTF?

“Well, why don’t you WALK her,” Mrs. Freakazoid said all suddenly sickly sweet and nice in a bi-polar, schizophrenic moment. “Just go ahead and WALK her.”

She thrust the leash in my hands and I obeyed, walking doggy along the sidewalk for about ten paces, during which doggy lunged, bounded and tested her choke chain. She was only a year old. She had tons of energy and no training. She was going to need some help, okay—but I couldn’t figure out why Mrs. F was sure doggy wasn’t for us.

Then, in his cute little voice, my son asked to hold the leash. Before I could answer, Mrs. Freakazoid jumped in.


She. Yelled.

My son was aghast. Who was this super scary lady? What had he done wrong? I saw these questions race through his mind. I watched his lower lip tremble. He turned and fled to my husband behind us (poor S desperately trying to lure conversation from Mute Dude).

Here’s what should have happened next: I should have handed Mrs. Freakazoid the leash and told her: Thank you for bringing this lovely puppy to visit us. I’m afraid we won’t be using your adoption agency. I’m sure you’ll find doggy the right home. Goodbye now.

Because how could it get better after that, after a total stranger yelled at my son, a wonderful little boy excited to see a dog. Mrs. Freakazoid didn’t wait for my response to my son’s question. She didn’t wait to hear me say, “Doggy is very excited right now, baby. Mama will hold the leash.” She didn’t watch and learn how I will introduce my son to a dog in our lives. She just jumped in, gnashing, rabid, threw us all to the ground and tried to chew our shoulders off.

Mrs. Freakazoid’s brain ALL THE TIME.

Instead of getting rid of the crazy lady, I said, “Why don’t we bring the dog into our yard, since you need to do a yard check anyway.” Sigh. Hindsight is one of my unfortunate talents (see holiday-cookie-recipe posts for other unfortunate talents). I guess at that point I was still thinking there might be hope, or I was being foolishly polite, or I was probably thinking that we “needed” this lady in order to find our family dog—but I have learned that I am the sort of person who must shut the door on crazy people, or bad things will happen, to myself, usually, but also, in this case, to my CHILD. Hello! I will never not trust my gut instincts again.

In the Ponderosa’s back yard, doggy and my son ran around the lawn beautifully, gleefully, having fun. For a moment, I felt vindicated—Mrs. Freakazoid was as mute as her companion while T and doggy romped—but when T tried to show doggy one of his large colorful plastic toys, one that made doggy a little nervous, Mrs. Freakazoid’s switch flipped again. She frothed at the mouth and shook her head, her hair pouffing so much it scared birds from the trees, her bi-polar/schizo-lunatic thing in full swing and after that she pretty much got out of our lives with the dog—forever: When my husband returned home from work the next day, his big news was that Mrs. Freakazoid had dumped us from the rescue’s list of possible doggy owners. She told my husband that until our son was 10, we would not be getting a dog from her rescue, that we were not a family fit for a dog at this time, that my son would hurt the dog.

We love animals!

My first reaction was to phone Mrs. Freakazoid and scream at her, but that would have made me as crazy and Freakazoid-ish as herself. My husband had dealt with her by calmly, graciously telling her that he disagreed with her assessment, that we were moving on to a new doggy rescue because yes we will have a family dog before our son is 10. “Let’s leave it at that, PB,” he suggested. I knew he was right, but it took me a day of teeth-grinding and one stern email to Mrs. Freakazoid—that I deleted—before I could move on. And I remembered something Mrs. F had said before leaving our house with Mute Dude. My husband had commented that she must really love dogs to be so involved with them, and she had answered (in a rare moment of quiet tonage), “Oh, well, I don’t LOVE dogs, I like them, but somebody’s got to do this, I guess, I mean, I’m not a dog FANATIC, not at all.” ??? I hope she is helping doggies, absolutely—but Mrs. F needs people-skills lessons and to spend time with toddlers and I need to never let anyone I don’t know talk to my child like that again without addressing it immediately, bottom line.

So when the home-check person from a different rescue came to visit us today, I was ready. If she showed any bi-polar tendencies, if she showed even a hint of displeasure toward my son, I would have her OUT OF MY HOUSE. You know. In a gracious sort of manner, but–out. Out.

Brotherly love.

The lady who visited us, however, was lovely, just lovely, an obvious dog lover/enthusiast, totally supportive of us, sure that she can find us a family dog. She told us how beautiful our son is, how perfect our yard is for a dog, praised us for wanting to help a doggy in need. She made no promises, but offered her help. An hour after she’d left, she sent us an email saying she enjoyed meeting us and hoped she would have some dogs for us to meet soon.

“Oooookay,” I said and breathed—no, I breeeeeeeeeeeeeathed. “Okay.”

A 3 mos old T loves his animals.

PB WRITES (PB’s Writing Blog)

Boo Here! Boo…

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

Here, we prepare for Halloween.


This year—as opposed to last year and although he has no idea how to respond when I ask him what he wants to “be for Halloween”—he is totally into the “Halloweeeeeeeen stuff, Mama!”


This year he doesn’t rip the decor down, is not frightened of it, or even wary, but holds its bony hands, or cuddles rat bodies, or gleefully pokes and prods all spooky bits hanging from trees or lurking in plants, thoroughly enjoying his eerie front walk and Pyrate Patio.



That’s my boy!You’ve come a long way, baby. Now slooooooow down with all the growing and attitude. DO NOT wake up tomorrow morning and ask me for the car keys. Thank you, baby. I appreciate it. (A Mama worries…)

That’s right! I said: Arrrrrrrrrrr!


Sunday Thanks…

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

T and I attended a birthday party yesterday morning, held in a park. It was hot at 10:00a.m., soon to reach triple digits. All the toddlers had red cheeks. Luckily there were shade trees so the cupcakes didn’t melt. And the kids didn’t notice—they bounced in the bouncer and played like crazy and wore their long princess dresses if they were girls. T played so hard I was sure he’d have a 3 hour nap, but unfortunately he didn’t transfer from his snooze on the car ride home, to bed. Before I could panic, my husband ordered me to have a nap. When I woke up, he and T were sitting on a sheet on the kitchen floor. They’d made a rocket out of a paper towel roll, duct tape and gold pipe cleaners. They had the paints out. Music was on the CD player. They were having fun. I stared at them, thinking, Oh yeah—this is family life—I have a family—I am a mother and a wife—oh yeah!

Even though T is almost 3 years old, this revelation still slams me.

Crayons make good rocktes, too…

I made pizza pinwheels and we piled in the minivan and headed for Zuma Beach for dinner, driving away from the boiling valley toward coolness. Of course T fell asleep on the way there, pinwheel in hand. He didn’t wake up until we’d spread the blanket on the sand and the breeze swooped in, sea air buffeting his gold locks, whirling around his nose, reviving him. He ran non-stop for the next 2 hours, his Dadda runnning with him as I watched from the blanket, seagulls circling our dinner. There were several falls, some crying, but mostly happy gallavanting. One canny mother had thought to bring a clear plastic container she filled to the brim with sand and seawater. Darting through the murk were sandcrabs, attracting kids like a magnet. Kids, and my son, loved sticking their hands in the water and having the crabs ricochet off their skin. Genius!

They found a hole!

Marriage, a BABY, all seemed, for so long, simply not for me. I was close-minded and probably judgmental of people who had kids—especially if screaming was involved on a transatlantic flight. I learned about children from my sisters’ kids, true. I babysat, I watched, slack-jawed, as they grew like those little pills you stick in water, that instantly balloon into dinosaurs or flowers. But it was impossible for me to have as much empathy for parents and children as I do now. Of course it was! Still, this revelation slams me, too—and I feel a little guilty.

Beach bunny.

My empathy meter these days? It’s in danger of bursting, I have that much. It can be hard to be a baby, it can be lonely being a mother/suburban housewife/part-time poet/outings-initiator, it can be frustrating when others have misplaced their empathy meters and fail to open doors for mothers with strollers or resort to dirty looks when a child has a tantrum in the aisles of Target, but the patience and understanding I have gained, the family I am an active particpant in? My husband and I may have come to this later than is traditional, but all I can feel is, yes, yes, yes.

Home from Zuma, the toddler passed out for the night, my husband tapping away on his computer, I pour a glass of wine and fold another load of laundry—as content as though I’ve swallowed a peace pill, as awed as if I’ve just watched a rocket take off for Mars. You’ve done it now, PB, I think.You’ve gone and got yourself a life.

Thank you, thank you, thank you…


Blog Break # Infinity…

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010


The only problem with coming home is leaving the above behind. And allowing for a day of fatigue, in which mother and son are flattened by all the gallavanting they’ve done the week before. Once breakfast concludes, we take eons to dress and whatever else and get our bottoms to Trader Joe’s. Plus, it’s 90 degrees by the end of T’s naptime, so forget Gaga-walking around the neighborhood with T in the stroller, forget piling into the broiling minivan and driving anywhere, forget it. We read books in his room, color paper plates, wash dishes, I teach him how to put the folded laundry away (this includes many drawer openings and shuttings and a slew of high-fives). We roll out the pizza dough and he presses the pulse button on the food processor, not knowing that the spinach and beets and creamy Swiss cheese he is mashing together will comprise the base of his pizza dough, disguised with cheese and olives (and, later, he eats it, still oblivious—a Mama is victorious). We hibernate in stifling September, in the cool of the A/C. And I think fondly of the beach we traversed and mucked about on only yesterday—the perfect playground. It’s good to go away and it’s good to come home, but I have to say that most of all: It’s bloody darn pinchy good to have energy. Vital, even! Ha, ha!


THE OTHER BLOG (it’s very quiet over there tonight)

Present Reminiscence (w/Sunday Sounds)…

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

“Okay, let’s go! Dadda’s coming. Dadda’s coming. Unh—gotta da teddy bear! Teddy bear! Let’s go. Okay. Let’s go. C’mon, let’s go. Hi, Mama! Okay. Now. Dadda. Let’s play animals. Get nice and cozy. Nice and cozy. Let’s go get da room, Dadda. We close the door?” (Door shuts—I listen to T and his dad play “animals”, which means T lies on the floor and Dadda places all of T’s stuffed animals on top of him, T saying the entire time, “Cozy, so cozy!”)

Where did he go?

I listen from my bed office, house finch chatter and Sunday sunshine pouring mildly through the windows, mug of coffee (my sturdy “Nepenthe” mug) on the side table, enjoying cool wafts of air, Julian’s chatter, strains of Crosby, Stills and Nash from the kitchen boombox, Al the cat banging on the front door to be let in— sounds of family life in the suburbs.

It’s moments like these when I am so thankful I’m no longer single and living in trendy Los Feliz, in a small apartment building filled with single people hiding out from audition rejections, writing rejections, date rejections, the heat, the sunglasses and ripped jeans wearing crowds at The Bourgeois Pig (and it’s pricy coffees and ugly art on black walls) and Birds down the block, hiding from each other, from everything.

Cozy, so cozy!

It’s moments like these I’m grateful I no longer live on a sailboat in Marina Del Rey, despite the beautiful neighborhood and ocean air and cheap rent and friendly neighbors with martinis on their minds, where living was camping every day, a long way from Hollywood business, and crazy-mad on the weekends when every single boat owner in the city showed up to play and writing was simply impossible.

It’s moments like these I’m grateful I no longer live in Echo Park in the building replete with grecian urns and mirrored hallways and views from downtown to Santa Monica–a fabulous view to write by, Elysian Park and its grassy lushness and hiking trails just steps away from the building, Chango for coffee just down the street, but so lonely at night gazing at the soup of city lights, listening to coyote howls and car crashes or high heels and dinner-party-laughter in the unit upstairs and mournful owl hoots in the fir trees as I sat on my narrow balcony with my glass of wine and my candle, view-gazing, licking my wounds, wondering if I’d ever meet Mr. Wonderful, trying not to wonder.

And he switches to animals on the bed.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

PB WRITES (PB’s Writing Blog)

My Peeps…

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

These are my peeps.

I need my people, my people…

I meet up with them hey, maybe 3, maybe 6 times a week depending on life.

This is hard, every time. Isn’t it supposed to get easier?

Our meetups—and I mean regular meetups, not 1 hour in the odd weekday here or there—have been going on for about 4 months. We say Hi!, pick up our weights, and start rocking on the Wave, which I discovered late at night once, when my son was about 2 months old and needed to nurse. Bleary-eyed, I turned on the TV that fateful night and there were my Wave peeps, pushing their product and telling me that after only 10 times rocking my butt off on the plasticky blue contraption, I would notice a difference in my body (how much of a difference was, for obvious reasons, never specified), because I would be working TOTAL BODY, they assured me. Working TOTAL BODY is the touted benefit of the Wave. I had put on 50 pounds during my pregnancy and maybe an ounce of that vacated my physical premises after my son was born. One. Ounce. I so wanted to believe the Wave women. I needed to believe them.

Those are weights in their hands. 5 and 3 pounders.

My Wave sat around for a couple of years until I started using it consistently. Pre-Wave, I dropped more baby weight, slowly, but now that I am a consistent Waver? I crave my peeps. Peeps-fixes are vital. Even though I could hardly walk after the first usage (not a great body-place to be in when you’re keeping up with a toddler) even though it’s taken far more than 10 times of Wave rocking for me to notice anything different about my post-pregnancy, previously IN N OUT burger indulging physical self, something is happening at last. My arms and legs feel stronger. I don’t throw my back out when I pick up my son or the stuffed-to-the-gills laundry basket. I breathe better. And although there are moments when I’m nervous my shoe will slip and send me over the edge of my Wave and into the coffee table where I will lie under a pile of smashed wood and cardio weights bleating for paramedics, I don’t fall. I just do it, like Nike. Or, maybe not like Nike. Maybe more that Subway sandwiches man—I don’t think he works out, though. Blrrrrrgh.

The bent row!

When in the wild heck do I have time to exercise? When my husband returns from work, when all I really want to do is climb in bed and FB while scarfing down my son’s leftover spinach tortellinis. Sometimes I’m this: Hi, Peepies!—at nine o’ clock at night, after my son is in dreamland. Yeah. Wave-rocking peeps at 9p.m. Who am I?

Wave sunnyside up for step aerobics. Ha ha! Ingenious. zzzzzzzz

The only thing that bothers me about my peeps is that Tina and Louise are always working out next to each other. They’re introduced that way by Ally. “Joining us,” she says through her enormous, glittering smile, “are Tina, Louise…”. Maybe it was a conscious tribute to Tina Louise and “Gilligan’s Island”, placing those two together in that order? Why didn’t they do LOUISE then TINA. My peeps all have the same body type, so would it really have mattered if Tina and Louise switched places? I wonder this EVERY SINGLE TIME I join my peeps. I just can’t get over it. Tina. Louise. Ooookay. obsessobsessobsession

Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a…zzzzzzzz

Many times I was going to quit, return to IN N OUT double doubles with cheese. Nothing was happening to me anyway, except a little weight loss down by my big toe, a little muscle tone in my pinky fingers—so why try? Why not just give in to hormones and grease? But I’ve hung in and hung in and hung in and hung in and now I’ve lost 10 pounds depending on which scale I’m utilizing and I’ve realized that I simply can’t NOT work out as I’m a saner, calmer person for it. I don’t worry as much. I have more energy. I’m chirpy. I—zzzzzzzzz…

My camera sucks.

So I guess I recommend my peeps. Just be sure your workout shoes have non-skid bottoms. And whatever you do, don’t be in a hurry to get anywhere fast and don’t give up. Unless you’re driving by this:

I miss you, Man!


The Other Island

Sunday, August 29th, 2010


This is actually the movie we were supposed to watch. Not “The Lost Island”, but this, a comedy. How did I confuse the two? Well, I was too lazy to leave my bed office to find the DVD and the correct title, so I Googled Andy Garcia and his bloody darn movies and got Lost instead of City, didn’t even see City, and who knew Andy Garcia would be in 2 movies with the word City in them, anyway? But since we didn’t watch the movie, who cares? I HAVE NO OPINION TO GIVE. Now it is Sunday and we still have not watched the movie and will probably return it to Redbox unwatched. We did, however, get more sleep than usual—which for some reason is making us more tired. The good news is that the toddler has taken to weaning like a—root to water? Cat to tuna? Like a Mama to her imagined BMW? Although last night, as Mama slept the sleep of drugged horses, my husband (working at the living room table) “felt” a presence behind him. He turned around and there was our son staring at him, holding his blanket and blue glow stick. “OH MY GOD,” my husband reacted. The toddler promptly cried, scared by his dad scared by him and had to be soothed back to sleep. Usually the toddler does not wake up in the middle of the night and when he does, I am very aware of any waking. However, I missed my husband’s cry of fear and the toddler’s wounded cry, which is very unlike me and a little disturbing—because I am a mother, NOT AN ISLAND. I close this scintillating Sunday post with these vital statements:




Weaning, III…

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Yeah, it’s hard being a toddler. First, your friends come over for a playdate and you surprise yourself by really enjoying their company and freely sharing all your toys and jumping on your bed with them and splashing everyone in the kiddie pool and getting splashed back with no one crying, and eating TJ’s Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies because your Mama was too tired to bake anything with hidden nutritious ingredients like spinach or beets and all the kids eat the cookies too and you discover this is what a cookie really is, not fruit bars, which your Mama has been calling cookies for as long as you can remember, and you run and shriek and roar like lions with the others and then they all leave and you are high on chocolate chips, don’t want lunch or “Nemo” and can’t nurse anymore to calm down. The injustice. It would make anyone, even a grown-up, cry and resist napping. THEN, your Mama takes you into your bedroom to nap, despite your having told her this is absolutely not acceptable, unless you can nurse! Well, for the love of gummy bears! What IS this pewpy kind of day?

But THEN you surprise yourself (again) by lying down with Mama on your big-boy bed and, although you adamantly, stubbornly repeat NO when Mama repeatedly, patiently requests you nap together, you discover you really are tired and can flop onto your tummy with your stuffed otter, bear, Diego, dinosaur, tiny bunny and sock monkey and—sleep—without nursing.

Yeah, it’s a confusing, painful world—but one also full of miracles that really aren’t so bad.

Already driving! Such a big boy now.


Weaning, Part II…

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Last night S stayed in the room with T to do night-night, T once again not happy about this, about no rocking chair and spigots—but when I left the room, he didn’t cry. At. All. S lay down on the bed and T fiddled with his books, ignoring his dad. Finally S called T over and HE WENT TO BED—tossed and turned a bit, but went to sleep in a timely manner (so did S). When my sleepy spouse finally stumbled out of our toddler’s room, I told him I had once again underestimated our son. “He totally gets it and is adapting,” I said. “Blrrrrrgh,” answered my husband. Today at naptime, T asked for his blanket. I said, “Nap? Sure!” Of course he wanted to rock and nurse, but again I told him the milk was all gone. He whimpered a little, but lay down on the bed with me and—WENT TO SLEEP. For the rest of the week, S will take over the night-night shift and then next week I’ll try it. I would still love to rock T and sing lullabies, sans nursing. We’ll see what happens.

How do I feel, with this new milestone in place? Not weepy—freer—relieved—coping with a stinging sort of nostalgia I’m sure will stay with me forever, through every upcoming milestone. I’m doing my best to roll with the changes and relish each stage. A woman I met at a park recently told me that the day her 23 year old son moved out of her house was the most emotional of her life—and that it still feels like only yesterday that he was my son’s age. I so, so believe her.

My baby!


Just Another Milestone…

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

Around 8:15p.m. this evening, my son realized he was not going to be breastfed before night-night time.

T never did pacifiers. He never did bottles (except in the middle of the night the first few months, when S would take over the night-shift feedings). We nursed. And nursed. And nursed. And it was fine with me—and I was going to wait on the weaning until he was 3, but the first major Mama/son milestone of me leaving for an extended stay out of the house for the first time in 2 3/4 years happened—and for the 2 nights I was gone on my Mom’s Weekend Out, I told myself I was ready for the 2nd major Mama/son milestone in 2 3/4 years: weaning.

However, listening to T’s devastated sobs coming from his room as I cringed on my bed feeling like a monster? Like Nurse Ratched? Like Mary Poppins off her meds? Agony, of course. “Arrrrrrgh,” I whispered, which is the gut-sound of the actual gut actually turning itself inside out.

This 2nd year of T’s life has contained so many changes—growth spurts, chattiness-spurts, so many new words, sentences, songs, identifying the letters of the alphabet, shapes and colors, making his first egg carton caterpillar, finally sleeping through the night—such a tremendous year. And now this. My baby. My not-so-baby. My bigger boy. I rejoice in the changes! I celebrate T’s progress. I’m excited to get my boobs back to myself again. I am joyful. I am—arrrrrrrrrgh…

The problem: Over the weekend, T’s naps and night-nights were initiated by car rides—he fell asleep in the car and transferred to bed without waking up. Therefore, his dad never had to explain about the boobs, that they were on permanent hiatus, that Dadda was now on night-night duty, not Mama. Tonight marked the explanations and T was not, as I’ve stated, happy about the news. With his red, teary face and down-turned mouth he kept pointing pitifully at my chest. “All gone,” I told him with a shrug I was terrified seemed callous. “The milk’s all gone.” Yeah. I lied to my little boy. And then I left the room, the back of my hand pressed to my mouth, choking back my weeping.

For a while my husband rubbed T’s back as our son lay on the floor confused and crying, refusing to get into his big-boy bed. Finally I couldn’t stand it anymore. I knew T was exhausted and needed to go down. I went in the room, picked him up and placed him on his bed, all the while saying soothing things. S slipped in next to the flailing arms and legs as T’s protests became more vigorous. “Dadda’s doing night-night,” I kept repeating and, once again, left. I closed the door quietly, then fled down the hall and into the kitchen, hovering before the squeaky refrigerator, the empty sink, the dubious stove, guts twisting.

I don’t know if my husband and I followed appropriate weaning-procedure. I told this to S when he emerged from T’s room after about 15 minutes, T completely passed out. “Listen,” my husband said, hugging me as I sobbed. “Whenever you feel like you weaned him too soon, or should have waited until he was 3, just remember that British comedy where the grown-up son says to his mom, BITTY? BITTY?”

I will miss nursing T, miss rocking him as I gazed at his face and stroked his sweet fingers. I don’t regret nursing him as long as I did. It was right for us, according to my now thoroughly-twisted-up-into-tiny-unreleasable-knots gut-instinct. It’s time. It’s time. I know it’s time.

We’re all growing up around here. It should be an interesting week.

Life is so sweet and simple!


On Folding Laundry…

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

Before T came along, I folded laundry meticulously—meaning even briefs and all t-shirts turned the right way out.

After T came along and I experienced severely broken sleep, laundry wasn’t folded, dishes weren’t washed, socks were shoved into whatever drawer and although I never iron sheets anyway, the term ‘balled-up-in-linen-closet’ definitely applied.

I knew the sleep I’ve been getting lately was catching up to me when, after 2 1/2 years, I caught myself turning my husband’s t-shirts the right way out again. Then I sorted the t-shirts drawer, putting plain, tanks and t-shirts-with-writing-on-them in separate stacks.

I once again wash dishes before my husband returns from work, so that he won’t have to do them, which he was, quietly and diligently, for which I’m very grateful—but since I don’t feel the need to collapse with exhaustion and acute brain fuzz when he arrives home, I can do them (we bought the only house on the block without a dishwasher…).

I’ve caught myself playing the piano every evening, while T and S are doing the bath thing. I’ve caught myself working on my writing until after 10p.m. I’ve caught myself remembering to put on fun CD’s in the morning, so that T and I can dance to the music. I exercise every day and have lost much 2 1/2 year old stubborn pregnancy weight. I’ve caught myself admiring my husband as he plays with our son—struck as though for the first time by how much I enjoy his laugh, his jokes, his storybook reading style.

Most importantly, I have more energy to devote to my toddler, meaning not feeling as though I’m lifting a giant boulder from my head in order to drive us to the playground in the afternoon. This means everything to me.

A suburban Rumplestiltskin, I’ve woken up due to receiving more sleep. I am relieved. Although my synapses aren’t firing at 100% and may never again (if they ever were), although I buy too many loaves of bread, or find my cell phone inside Julian’s bird cage, although the windows need cleaning of small, sticky handprints, the good news is in:

If, like mine, your child is a waker instead of a sleeper and your t-shirts and most of the rest of your laundry are the wrong way out and your sheets are balled up in the linen closet, don’t worry. When sleep returns (and it will return, even if you think it will never, ever return, it will return), so will you. Pretty much. Most likely. Seems to be the case! Ha ha. Whew.

Now THAT’s sleeping!

PB Writes

New Blog (Yeah, That’s Right!)…

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

Since my little petunia has decided to—for the past month especially—keep to his sleeping through the night until 6, 6:20, sometimes even 6:45a.m. schedule, vs. waking up several times in the night or waking up at 5a.m. to start the day—since this miracle started happening, only 2 1/2 years after birthing my son—since I am getting more sleep, I have been procrastinating much more than usual about my writing and all the many projects involved therein.

So I’ve started a “writing blog”, in which I will chronicle my writing progress—keyword, progress.

Here it is:

PB Writes

It’s still quite fresh, so changes are taking place—but I’m happy I’m doing it, happy I’m turning procrastination into action, not just with a new blog, but due to a new blog and it’s Operations and Tasks for———-moi. No little guy pictures or stories there—it’s the all-writer in me speaking, struggling, finding a means to publication for some of my other babies.

Sleep. It’s a whole new world. Or something like that. zzzzzzzzzzzz…

2nd ice cream of his life (from a soda shop, that is)! Santa Monica Pier.

What’s that you say? My link covers almost the entire page? No! How did that happen! So embarrassing. Sorry.

Day Out: Nemo…

Friday, August 6th, 2010

I flow with an attitude of serendipity through all kinds of experiences.
—Louise Hay

Seals! Or Sea Lions! Couldn’t read the placard. Too much going on!

Today being a prime example of attempting to make “flowing” a reality at the overcrowded Long Beach Aquarium Of The Pacific and its magnificent, child-endearing cases and cases of fish, coral, anemones, jellyfish, weedy sea dragons, super weird s*** with mouths and tails you can touch and even a bull shark with restless twitches in a tank big enough for a convention of hermit crabs, maybe, but—a tank big enough to house that many sharks? (Turn Mind Off After $20-something admission fee, just: Turn. Mind. Off…).

So many fish, so little a guy to view it all…

Having been on a serious Nemo kick since Catalina Island and the charming rentable house we stayed in with The Movie he had never seen before because Nemo’s mother is wiped out in the first two minutes and I hate that—

Ah, the mighty sea turtle! He can never hang around long enough…

Having been on a serious Nemo kick (we own the movie now, oh yeah—but I fast forward through mom’s fatal chomping by a barracuda), and not having been to the aquarium since October, 2009, when the giant water squirting squid was all he wanted and we ate next to some kids atrocious to birds

Fish! Fish! Fish!

Having been on a serious Nemo kick due to worry that my son watches too many DVD’s while mama stares blank-eyed into her 6am cup of coffee—I am on a serious outings kick. Because of T’s current Nemo fascination, where to go BUT the aquarium and its sweetly caged aqua-beasts and (don’t know why it’s there, but it’s nice) Lorikeet Forest?

Birds and fish! Birds and fish!

I knew I wouldn’t be getting a nap and I was prepared for that, prepared to go a few thousand extra miles this day, but I wasn’t prepared for my son’s enthusiasm. He told anyone and everyone standing at every case HI!!! FISH!!! WOOK!!! FISH!!! And, when we found the Nemo case, HI!!! NEMO!!! WOOK!!! DURY!!! (i.e., Dory—many, many Nemos and Dorys swimming together beautifully, making kids BALLISTIC with excitement—they must have planned it that way, right? Those diabolical-aquarium-planner types? Or—Disney?).

Nemo! Dory! OMG!

Enthusiasm that, several times, accelerated into chaotic emotion preceding (as I know from experience in Target and malls) tantrums, during which my son shouts STOP IT STOP IT STOP, as though I’m beating him in public (instead of just standing there with a slump in my shoulders and a glance at my wristwatch as he enters serious turmoil). Arrrrgh! I felt bi-polarish the entire fish-viewing: Utterly elated by his elation, then sunk (pun intended) by his own tot-bi-polarish angst. Little guy!

OMG. TG for fake ones.

However (and I’m not patting myself on the back with big whoops or woots or however we spell shizzzz—I’m simply stating my own experience): Despite my frustration at my son’s frustration with Listening-To-Mama, I was pleased with my TONE when dealing with his—well, with his tone. True, I did use the, “We’ll have to go back to the car, then, won’t we?”, but I did not raise my voice, did not accuse him of grievous wrong-doing, did not beg or plead or argue or lie on the darkish aquarium carpet in the fetal position, sucking my thumb before a gathering crowd. I did what I’ve been practicing since he turned 2 and startled me with his first tantrum–only this time, today, it was easier for me—my parenting method was easier—it flowed: I talked to him. And talked to him some more, whatever his reaction—until he calmed and the angst receded from his eyes like (yes, I’m writing it and sticking by it!) a minus tide…

Way up there, fish. And more fish. Way up there…

And then I bought him a Nemo.

Just love you so much!

Blog Break #17,000,002: Catalina

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

What’s not to like?

Ah, island, sea, sun, breezes…

Much stimulating fun for the toddler—

Must kayak!

and his parents.

Hi Dadda! Come back soon! Mama needs a Mango Margarita Slushy!

Ocean breezes.


Fascinating California history, such as Zane Grey’s Pueblo Hotel (haunted by the author, I was informed—I can see why he wants to stay—he never missed a dawn if he could help it, watched the sea come alive).

Zane! Go to the light!!!

Views everywhere.

Ocean front walk. Lovely.

Clear water.

Just missed snapping a photo of a Garibaldi. Dang it!

Put the toddler to bed? No, no, no. Put him in his pajamas, then put him in his stroller and meander the waterfront to the pavilion, to watch the night divers and the bonfires on Descanso Beach. Once the toddler is lulled to sleep by the stroll, snoozing peacefully, covered by his favorite blankie, stop for ice cream, sit, watch boat lights twinkle, relax, holds hands, be happy.

Return to wonderful Catalina house and drink champagne with good friends (on Catalina, the toddler can be transferred from stroller to bed with no wake-ups whatsoever)—champagne so smooth and Cadillac it doesn’t give you a hangover and you can rent those several golf carts in the morning with your bloody-mary’s-in-plastic-cups-toting-friends and utterly enjoy your last hours on the island.

Who knew golf carts could be such fun!

That’s Catalina.

Baking—With A Rolling Pin!…

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

I’ve been utilizing the Weelicious recipe site of late. I’ve tried the Breakfast Bread Pudding, which my finnicky toddler actually enjoyed and asked for seconds (which he got once mama recovered from her heart attack and picked herself up off the floor). I made the Baked Zucchini Coins, which were delicious, although (grrrrr!) the toddler didn’t think so (luckily his dadda did). I baked the Pizza Muffins, which once again were a hit with the dadda, especially since I substituted tofu cubes for the chicken the recipe called for. The toddler? He licked the tops of two muffins with a suspicious look on his face, took one bite and asked for jello.

Today’s venture is Carrot Snack Sticks, which look beautiful in the picture on the site and which, around here, will be Carrot Dinner Sticks. I was very excited to use a rolling pin that I found in my havoc-of-cooking-implements kitchen cabinet. Can’t remember when or why I bought it, but how nice to have it at my fingertips! The toddler “washed” dishes while I prepared the recipe, adding about 5 times the amount of parmesan cheese due to my experiences with flour’s power to bland, bland, bland. I also added about 3 or 4 more tablespoons of vegetable oil than the recipe calls for. I’m wild, man! I’m crazy!

Pre going in the oven!

As I expected, the sticks did not look like the chef’s picture when they came out of the oven.

Placed so nicely on his tray!

But T ate 1. Then asked for milk. Then he ate another. And I’m sure he’ll eat the watermelon slice I’m keeping out of sight as he ponders the remaining carrot sticks before him (hopefully he’ll eat more). So tonight’s dinner: Carrot Sticks, watermelon and milk. Not bad. Ha ha ha!

Proof of his eating!

As I’ve mentioned incessantly, my toddler is a finnicky eater. Compared to other toddlers I know, those who only eat dry cheerios, for instance (so sorry for those mothers), he’s great. But for me each meal is a challenge in keeping cool, not worrying, not taking that rolling pin and using it to pound the many pillows on my bed as I silently scream my frustation when he refuses a recipe, any recipe, even the tried and trusted ones. Instead, I take the pin with both hands, bring it behind my head and commit 50 french presses. Right on! Cooking that’s good for the triceps, or whatever that area of arm is that waves like a banner in the wind. Ah, PB—you were born for motherhood! Peace and be well. And remember that the pediatrician told you not to worry—unless T starts losing weight from finnickiness and so far he’s way too chunky for that. Keep on cooking!

The Pin…


A BIG PS. After writing this post I noticed a burning smell. The 2nd batch of Carrot Snack Sticks were destroyed. I didn’t hear the timer. Too bad, because the longer I left the sticks on his tray, the more he eventually ate. Back to the rolling pin!

Burnt sticks…

Oh, PB—You’re So Transparent…

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Why does having a new cell phone make me feel so content? It’s not an iphone. It’s not even smart, just—the sort of super-basic model that no one would ever want to steal. But there’s no static when I make or receive calls, the kind of ear-wrenching, in-your-canal static that makes people scream and swear they will never speak to me again until I get a new cell phone. My phone does not disconnect every few seconds. My phone has colorful wallpaper depicting a tropical reef that instantly transports me to—I don’t know, let’s frikkin’ say Kauai, every time I look at it. My phone’s ring is a Latin woman singing a lazy bossa nova. I don’t know who the artist is. I don’t know what her words mean. I only know she makes me smile when I hear her voice, which reminds me of margaritas on the rocks. Now, when I call people, I cut them off before they can berate me to get a new phone. I yell: IT’S A NEW PHONE! Their suspicions are put to rest as the conversation continues with me babbling on about how there’s no static. Ha ha! No static! And I won’t cut out on you, either! I add, waiting for cheers, which might or might not come. And someday, I tell everyone, my phone will have a bluetooth piece for company (to which I might receive an oooh or ahhh in reply, but that’s only if it’s my mother, who has no idea what bluetooth is or why it would have a piece). Yes. I heart my phone. Is that wrong? Or just—millenial? Am I a millenial girl? Can I be millenial without a bluetooth piece? What does millenial really mean and why am I writing about it when I have a tiny hour alone at home until the toddler and his dadda return? Why am I writing about my new cell phone and its tropical features instead of—ah. Caught ya! Avoiding my novel editing. Again! Well, you listen up, PB, and listen well (no static here!)—no phone for a week unless you stop blather-blogging this second, pull up your novel and get to work! Yes, Ma’am. And don’t call me Ma’am! Yes, um—Lady Gollum. Well, now! That’s better. Gollum. Gollum. Gollum. (Note to Self: Do not ever show this post to husband or son…)

Oooooh! Ahhhhhhhhh!