Archive for August, 2009

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.


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.

Knock On Wood…

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Checking in with my dear friends Moot Mommy and Moot Daddy, I was thrilled to be told that despite this country’s wimpering economy, despite California’s manic-depressive State’s budget, despite Julia Roberts starring in Eat, Pray, Love, despite anything on the downswing anywhere in the world, Moot Daddy secured himself a new position in a great company.


Upon receiving the news via her cell phone, Moot Mommy shook off the plastic potato chips, hamburger buns and Thanksgiving turkey her son had placed on her legs and lap and shoulders and she went to the freezer, pulled out the tub of Chocolate Sundae ice cream and polished it off. “Because,” she told me, “now we can afford to buy more.”


Poor Moot Mommy is a little delirious. Moot Daddy’s necessary and zealous quest for new employment and his juggling of a small slew of freelance jobs has meant a lot of 24/7 togetherness-time for Moot Mommy and the toddler. She’s at the point now—after maaany nights of broken sleep—where when she is asked, “OH WOW WHAZZ IZ ZAT!!!” for the 20th time in two minutes, she responds, “That’s a thing that things ride in to get to things and it makes sounds.” Or, “That? That’s a———huh——-riiiiiiiight——-let’s listen to some music…”


I asked Moot Mommy how she has made it through the past three months—apart from the help of caffeine and a plethora of mommy and me playdates. “How?” she responded with a large yawn, picking banana from her hair and watching her son water the chaise longue. “Well—against many odds we got this house. When things looked dark, we hung in, took a lot of deep breaths and mostly—apart from a couple of Moot Mommy meltdowns—mostly solidly believed that the universe was more than willing to provide for us,” Moot Mommy said, watching her son drag the hose to the playhouse and water it. “Same for the past few months of our time as The Unemployed, our gig as Statistics, our turn living with the Great Unknown. We’ve said many thanks for tremendous blessings and agreed to enjoy life and the ever-quickening growth of our little boy–despite the employment situation. I mean—if this house can happen for us, anything can happen for us, good things,” Moot Mommy said. I nodded and sipped the lemonade Moot Mommy had poured for me. It desperately needed sugar. “Huh,” I remarked, “I don’t think I’ve ever heard you sound like this before, Moot Mommy. So—bottom-line positive?” Moot Mommy shot me a wry look. “That’s because,” she said, watching her son water his swingset, “before this,” she said, gesturing broadly to include the house and the yard and the woodpecker rapping the strangely beautiful dead tree behind us, “I was only moot. Now? I. Am. More than. Also,” she added, “life and death issues tend to invade your thoughts constantly when you have a child. I’m very grateful to be thriving with Moot Daddy and that soaked urchin over there watering the soccer ball. As a family, we’ve only just begun.”

As you may know, Moot Mommy is a keeper-of-the-flame for Karen Carpenter’s songs. I knew that behind her sunglasses, behind her blue-eyes-tinged-with-a-stricken-gray, somewhere in that sleep deprived brain of hers, Moot Mommy was humming that tune.

We’ve only just begun, la, la, hoo, ha, la, laaaaa…

Home sweet Home

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.


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.

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.
Morning wheeeee