Thursday, November 30, 2006

Favorites Vol 3

First of all - this is it! The last day of Nablopomo, and I actually managed to post every single day. OK, sometimes it was a bit half-ass but still. I might have to rest tomorrow.

Last night while making dinner (late again because this duel bedtimes thing is something we really can't seem to figure out) I heard an episode of Speaking of Faith on NPR. I don't usually hear that show because, well, it comes on after I'm out of the car. But last night's was called The Spirituality of Parenting; it was being replayed, Joy had mentioned it to me a few days ago. It was so positive and comforting that I listened to the entire thing and wanted to share it.

I'm not a fan of religion. But I'm a huge fan of spirituality, and even though the woman being interviewed on the topic (she has books...I may add a couple to my wishlist.) is a Rabi, she seemed to have things in such great perspective, it caused the knot that's been steadily tightening in my stomach due to living among so many irrational bible thumpers for so long now, to loosen up. So many of the people I talk to on the topic down here are so thoughtlessly dogmatic that they send me off in as much the opposite direction as I can go. It didn't make me want to go to church. I'm pretty sure nothing ever will. But it did reinforce for me that I can be a good person anyway. And so can my kids. I'm not even worried about the strange birthmark on Sarah's head that looks like 666. I'm sure it's 999, anyway.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Yesterday a package from Sybil arrived. She'd sent it twice. Once for the post office to screw up and end up sending back to her, and once via FedEx to Jeremiah's office. It arrived there just in time for Jeremiah to be out for Thanksgiving.

Along with some lovely baby care products it contained this delightful jumper. Happily, after all that time it spent in the box, it not only fits, but has some growing room. It's made from 100% organic cotton (so niiiice). Sarah was very excited to put it on this morning. She especially likes the teddy bear buttons on the straps (she has an eye for detail and a love for the whimsical, that Sarah.) Can you see the button here? I know desktop monitors don't do dark well...

Anyway, the outfit brings out Sarah's red hair.

And her blue eyes.

This is not the first lovely knitted item Sarah received for her wardrobe. Oh no. These delightful articles require time and patience to create, so I keep more than one friend on hand who can do them!

Earlier (when Sarah was making her debut, and it was powerful hot out), Rebecca sent this darling sweater. It's hard to tell from the photo, but it's amazingly soft and when I hold it against my cheek it makes me think of kittens. I was concerned that since it's double breasted it might make Sarah look short...but I don't think it's the sweater.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

more on the topic of sleep

OK, so both girls are awake and making squeaky noises in their room right now. But no one is crying. No one is coughing. And Sarah just consumed an entire 6 oz bottle (with just a touch of rice cereal in it). I have been unable to get her to eat after 5PM for weeks now, so I'm psyched. They slept last night. ALL NIGHT. At about 5:00 this morning Kate coughed and I sat bold upright in bed - prepared to begin the morning ritual. But then...silence. Except for NPR, which came on with the alarm. Jeremiah and I took turns hitting snooze a few times, but it turns out we were both lying in dark awake, worried that Sarah was dead.

Did yesterday's booster shots do it? I put her to bed with a blanket...what if she pulled it over her head and suffocated?

Nothing like that happened, though. She just...slept. It was glorious.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Photo Op

I was trying to get a shot of Kate and Sarah together the other day. Sarah had been having tummy time on the bed, an event that led, predictably, to a small pile of spit-up on the provided blanket. Kate got up on the bed with Sarah but refused to touch her. Through a good bit of insistent babble accompanied by head shaking, pointing and disgusted glances at the baby, I made out that she was grossed out by the baby puke and fully expected Sarah to puke on her if she got close enough. So much for the sweet hug I was hoping to capture on film. Gotta hand it to Kate, though, she's pretty observant.

This morning I brought Sarah to bed when she awoke (from her nap after her 4AM breakfast) at 6:00. We had the day off and I was going to sleep in late (7:00) if I had to lay in my bed with a screaming infant. She snoozed happily, though, and remained in that state when I went up to get the chatty, happy Kate (who had gone ahead and removed her nasty diaper for me). When I came back downstairs with Kate she was very excited to see Sarah. She got up on the bed, laid down next to her, gently stroked Sarah's fuzzy little head (impossible to resist), and then sweetly kissed her sister on the cheek. The camera was nowhere to be seen. You'll have to trust me on this one.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Fish in the Water

We bid our guests a fond adieu today and, since we really didn't feel like cleaning the house and doing the weekly grocery shopping, we acquiesced to Kate's repeated requests to "go see the fish in the water" (the Aquarium). Kate loves the aquarium and every time we go she spends the bulk of our visit saying "Wow!" which we think is cute. Though she is a mature 4 months old today, Sarah was her usual stoic self about the spectacle that is the Georgia aquarium. Though she did spit up a bit while we were there and sometimes I think that might be a reaction to too much emotion.

When we left I asked Kate if she had fun. "Yeah!" she said, nodding enthusiastically. "Well, we're going to leave for now, but we'll come back again soon". As we exited the parking garage we heard Kate in the back seat saying "bye bye fish, we'll be back soon!" over and over. I'm a little concerned about what her definition of "soon" is because even though we're members, we only made it there maybe 4 or 5 times all year. Just as I was becoming worried that she was going to obsess about returning to the fish, she switched from talking to the fish to quietly singing "Ring Around the Rosie" and examining her hair and periodically yelling "No [insert name of child in her daycare classroom], don't hit Kate!". Ahhh...there's the little drunk I know and love.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Is this month over yet or what?

The girls, in what I suspect is a pact they formed when they were suddenly forced to share a bedroom, have stopped sleeping at night. For the past several nights, Kate has been coughing so vociferously that she's been waking not only herself, but also Sarah, at regular intervals. Just about every 2 hours. The cold and cough medicine has stopped working. Sarah has started to refuse to be lulled quickly back to sleep with the simple re-insertion of a pacifier. Now extended periods of rocking and sometimes even FOOD are involved. It's all falling apart!

Because I love Thanksgiving and I love having out of town guests, I have happily soldiered on during daylight hours. But tonight...around about 6:30, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I am exhausted. Chris wanted to watch the Pee Wee Herman HBO special that we now own on DVD and because I love it so (it's worth it just for the tribute to Sly Stone), I watched it too. But when it ended - at about 8:30, I could take it no more and had to go to bed. Jeremiah, too, is wiped out. As we climbed into our bed and I felt that last of my will to remain conscious evaporate, I looked lovingly at my pillow and pulled the sheets up to my chin and Jeremiah said "Did you post to the blog today?"

Stupid Napblopomo!

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Friday After - another Thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat

Beautiful day today. Just stunning. We forced our guests to walk all over town. On the way back from the coffee shop, which was on the way back from the park, Kate insisted on walking. That really makes for a long .03 mile walk. It forces the adults to behave like Lola on a hike - run up way ahead, run back to check on the people, run ahead again...and so on. At one point Chris ran backwards past Kate. Apparently, Kate has never seen anyone run backwards before. Wide-eyed with jaw dropping Kate said "WOW!".

Thursday, November 23, 2006

A Very Drueke Thanksgiving

Three days to prepare, one hour to devour.

Sarah's first Thanksgiving!

Pajama time with Aunt Abigail

Giggling with Grandpa Drueke

Eating, drinking and being merry

Too much turkey

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Home vs. Daycare

When I picked the girls up at daycare today Kate had a serious case of the stink butt. This is always a downer but on a positive note, she's started telling us when she needs her diaper changed. I was just becoming convinced that Sarah would be potty trained before her sister - that child will sit blissfully in her own filth indefinitely. Or would, I should say, because now she says "mommy I have stink butt" which is pretty funny to hear from her. Diapers that are just wet, apparently, are still deemed tolerable but none-the-less, progress has been made.

So anyway, I'm picking Stinky up and there's no way a kid smelling like she did was getting into my car. So I took her into the bathroom in her room to change her diaper. First, when young Miles came in and just stared at her, not 2 feet away from her head she said "Miles I'm getting my diaper changed!" with such clarity I fully expected her to follow up with "a little privacy please!" Then, when she got down, she marched over to the sink (just her height), thoroughly washed her hands, dried them on a paper towel, then threw the paper towel away in the trashcan.

Much like the time when she was an infant and I learned she'd been holding her own bottle for weeks at daycare, I thought "that damn kid's been playin' us". Getting her to wash her hands here is a very Sistine-Chapel-on-the-head-of-a-pin type scenario. But with the drying of the hands...and the throwing the paper towel in the proper receptacle?!? What the...? Clearly it's time for a step-up in expectations at home. I think I'll start with having her do laundry.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Jeremiah raked up the leaves. Kate then swept them back out all over the lawn. Thus, after hours of hard work, the status quo was maintained.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Good Fortune

Jeremiah read somewhere that this year's Corsendunk Christmas was on tap at the Brickstore. Yum. Excited, we packed up the family and headed over to our favorite downtown Decatur pub. When we got there we learned that the Christmas ale was in the building but they hadn't tapped it and had no plans of doing so. Stricken, I grumbled a bit about our having gathered up the children to rush out for WHAT? To this, Jeremiah responded something along the lines that I never had it so good. "You're lucky! Kate, tell your mommy she's lucky". Kate obediently turned to me and said "you're lucky mommy!" Looking at her sweet, round face, and across the table at Jeremiah and Sarah who was snug and snoozing in her carseat, I had to concede the point. Then, unprompted, Kate turned to Jeremiah and said "you're lucky daddy!" Jeremiah agreed. Then she said "I'm lucky!" And to that, Jeremiah and I both agreed.

When I got home mom called. Among more cheerful items, she told me Sue's pregnant god-daughter, Chris, had lost her baby. I've never met Chris but she's dear to Sue and Sue's dear to us so that makes Chris extended family by default. She was 17 weeks pregnant and her baby had failed to develop a brain, so she had to be induced to deliver it and then name it so a death certificate could be drawn up. Holy crap. I was unable to avoid imagining how I'd have felt if that had happened to either of my kids. In fact the thought of it still brought tears to my eyes this morning. The whole time mom was talking about it, I could only hear Kate saying, with her ketchup-soiled grin, "you're lucky, mommy!" Truly, I never had it so good.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Hot Krusty

This is Kate's jack-in-the-box, Krusty the Clown. My only disappointment with it is that he doesn't say "Heyhey!" when he pops up. She used to love Krusty but lately she seems to be afraid of him. She wants to hold on to the closed box, but she definitely doest not want to make Krusty jump out, and she doesn't want you to do it, either.

I have an enduring fear that Kate will touch the oven when it's on and the door is open. I have worked to impress upon her since her toddling days that she should never, ever go near the oven when it's hot. For awhile Joy had her telling us that the oven is "seriously hot". At any rate, she's always been really good about staying away from it and from the stovetop or anything on the stove. Whew. To our amusement, we have discovered that if we attempt to make Krusty leap from his cramped quarters, Kate will yell "No! No! Don't touch that! It's very, very hot!"

Conversely, it was cold out today. Here's a couple shots of the girls all bundled up, just because I think it's cute.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Treasured stuff

We wanted to have a couple books about the holidays for Kate and Sarah so we headed to Borders. To my delight, right there at the front of the Children's section in the display set up to snag parents exactly like me, was a reprint of the same The Night Before Christmas I had when I was little! Dave used to read it to me. He'd get to the part where he "ran to the window and threw up the sash" but he'd just say "I ran to the window and threw up!" I'd laugh and laugh and make him start over. Paging through the book at Borders I confirmed what I suspected - I don't actually know any part of that story after that point. Feeling happily nostalgic I rejected the Curious George Christmas book Kate had picked up and purchased The Night Before Christmas. When we got home I sat her on my lap and began to read it to her. She was distracted and disinterested.

In a similar vein, Jeremiah ordered a copy of The Muppets' Christmas Carol for her. He was excited to give it to her -this movie of which he had such fond memories. He was sure she'd be thrilled. So certain, in fact, that he insisted he give it to her himself. It started and she wandered off to the kitchen holding her copy of Bugs Life and asking to watch it.

We want so much to share with our kids the things that made our own childhoods happy, I guess because we want so much for their childhoods to be happy. But we keep forgetting that it's not the things that made us happy. It was the events surrounding those things. And more importantly, the people. I know that Kate will have her own things to which she attaches great meaning and affection. But those things will matter to her because we'll have read them to her, or watched them with her, or made it with her...whatever. Simply giving Kate my old Raggedy Ann won't make her love Raggedy, no matter how much I sneak Raggedy into her bed. I know this. I'm just...not there yet.

Friday, November 17, 2006

For her birthday last June I made Kate bug cupcakes. You probably remember. What? You don't? You didn't get to see them? What a shame! Let's see...I think I might have...yup, here's a photo of my cupcake prowess.

So anyway, they were a big hit with the birthday girl, she especially liked the bugs. For their safety, I put the cupcakes in my Tupperware cake keeper before we ate them.

Tonight I arrived home from work (after an hour and 1/2 of traffic for no discernible reason save that it's Friday) with the very same cake keeper. I'd taken it to the office with more cupcakes for my co-workers for Halloween. I know. It's been sitting at the office awhile, focus, will you? Kate came running out the door with Jeremiah and bounded into my arms. When she saw the cake keeper she declared "happy birthday! Birthday cupcakes!" When I told her that there were no cupcakes in the container she said, regretfully but informatively, "happy birthday's all done".

I guess she really is my kid after all.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Best seat in the house

The Girls' Room is my favorite room in the house. I'm fond of all the wood paneling and the finished attic has some very cool angles and nooks. There's a window overlooking the front yard that is small, like a playhouse window, and when we come home at night and there's a light on in the room the window has a warm, happy glow you can see from the driveway.

The room is full of books and toys and soft things. It contains a rocking horse that was Jeremiah's when he was a kid and the toy box my grandfather made for me when I was little. The view from Kate's bed is funky. Not funky in a weird smell kind of way, funky in a cool way. From the windows over the toy box we can call to our neighbors' dog, Marley, and freak her out when she can't find us. Kate likes that a lot. This is a room I would've loved to have growing up. Despite the fact that the dresser is built in, there's plenty of ways to rearrange the furniture - a favorite pass time of mine in my own childhood bedroom. There are built in shelves for toys and a little storage space in one of the walls for hiding treasures.

Sometimes I worry that all the little nooks and stow-away spots will become hiding places for monsters. Then I worry that they'll become hiding places for pot and bottles of Boon's Farm Strawberry Hill. Then I worry that their grades will suffer and they'll never get into a good college or they will but because of the pot they hid in those nooks they will have gotten such low grades they won't get scholarships and it will take them 8 years to finish college if they finish at all and then what will they do? Probably move back in with us, that's what! That's it...they're not sleeping in that life-ruining room anymore. I hate that room.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Sleep and my obsession with how much everyone is getting

These days, the question "are ya gettin' any?" has an all new meaning.

Having lulled us into a false sense of triumph by snoozing relatively well in her crib Friday and Saturday night, Sarah started showing her true colors on school nights. Sunday night we were resolved to keep her in her new room, so we spent nearly the entire night running up and down the stairs every 20 minutes. Monday night we surrendered and let her sleep in her bassinet downstairs again, after hours of fussing (her) and wailing (us).

Last night Jeremiah mentioned it might help to move the crib downstairs temporarily so she didn't have to get used to a new bed and a new room all at once. Moving the crib would involve taking it apart and putting it back together. And then I remembered that the baby-basket part of the bassinet comes right off the stand. So, we put that in the crib and put the kid in the basket. And at last, we all got some.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Upper Third

Back in 1995, Steve & Joy bought their bungalow on Third Avenue. Even then, the street was pretty with many old growth trees; the entire lane is lined with classic bungalows. Of course, back then there was more than one house that contained drug dealers and the homes were somewhat neglected. But when they bought, so did several other folks who've remained there. Since then, the street has gone from an affordable investment to completely out of reach to first time buyers (or even second time buyers if you're Jeremiah and me). Homes have been refurbished, drug dealers ushered out to, presumably, Conyers. The neighbors who've been there all along are a tight-knit group and they've created an atmosphere where newcomers are amply welcome.

The street, which once contained very few little ones, is now teeming with kids. Many of the neighbors who lived there before Steve and Joy moved in are still there, making the street pleasantly diverse - a large spectrum of ages, socio-economic statuses, family histories and to some degree, colors. They call it upper Third Ave because the street is very long and logically divided into 3 big chunks. Theirs is the northernmost portion, I think it would be easier to call it simply 1/3. Our friends Rusty and Jennifer, who also live in our wider-neighborhood, like to call it "Uppity Third".

We don't live on Third Ave, but we're there so frequently we know all the neighbors and Kate arrived on the scene at about the same time as many of the wee ones over there. Sarah did, too! So when they threw their block party last Sunday, we were invited as honorary residents. There was a clown (not as scary as I expected) and face painting and a little moon walk (Kate's favorite. She declared "it's like jumping on the bed!"). It was chilly out, but fun was had by all. Together, they've built a great community over there. We're trying to do the same with our closer neighbors, many of us are pretty new to our homes, and East Lake is a busier street that doesn't lend itself as well to popping in on neighbors. But we'll get there.

Monday, November 13, 2006

ABCD Puppy?

Steve and Joy got a new puppy! Now every night for them will be a 3 Dog Night. This one's name is Captain. He's a bit of a nervous pup right now, still growing accustomed to Motor and Stelle and at our house, Antagonistic Lola. It's hard to get a good picture of him because he's so dark, but here he is resting on his back paws. You can't really tell here, but his paws are pleasingly gigantic.

Kate, of course, loves him. She desperately wants to take him for a walk, but he doesn't quite get the whole leash thing and she mostly ends up dragging his little puppy butt across our hardwood floors. C'est la vie, Captain, you should see what Lola has to put up with!

Tonight at dinner Sarah met Captain. Captain was very excited about her, she was somewhat indifferent toward far. But the two of them together are so cute, I'm pretty sure I got a cavity just taking the pictures.

Lola does not approve of the addition. She's not a fan of puppies and I think she's pretty put out that we keep bringing all these other cute creatures into the house. She used to be top Cute Dog. So far, none of the other cuties has eaten bits of our furniture so she really has no one to blame but herself for her fall in the rankings.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Oh my ears and whiskers

This afternoon I ran around like a mad woman trying to complete a myriad of tasks while getting the kids ready to hurry up and get out the door so we could get to a party and have fun (we did, pictures are forthcoming). More and more these days it seems that's just what I'm doing; rushing myself, Jeremiah and my kids so that we can enjoy ourselves.

Today somehow I managed to prepare various parts of a lasagna for tomorrow's dinner, feed Sarah, comfort Kate who had some freaky meltdown and was crying and insisting on being held (this does not go well with making a bechamel sauce), shower, dress, dress Sarah, re-dress Sarah, dress Sarah again, dress Kate and clean up the kitchen all in about 1 hour.

More than feeling impressed with myself, I'm worried. I used to love Sundays. Slow and mellow...we'd read in bed while drinking a pot of coffee together. We went through a pot of coffee today and I don't even remember it. Now the only thing left to do is to clean the pot for tomorrow's coffee. I want my slow days back. There must be a way to reclaim just one day out of the week, even with 2 kids. I mean, besides drugging them, because even though I've thought of that, it's probably a bad idea - long term.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


First of all, because people have asked, Sarah did very well in her new room last night. She woke up about 6 times, but a pacifier inserted in the scream-hole put her back to sleep immediately. Of course, getting up at 2AM to run up and down the stairs is not my idea of a fun workout, but it certainly could have been worse. Kate slept through all of it.

Today after gymnastics (she stood on the balance beam unassisted and declared "I did it!" to her teacher) Kate got the playdough out. More than dirt, Kate likes to eat playdough. I don't recall having such a taste for it myself, but it's non-toxic and I doubt it hosts any parasites.

After she tired of mashing the green and purple together and trying to wear it as a nose, she placed both containers of playdough down the front of her leotard. She kept the playdough there for some time while she ran around the house, helping Sarah swing in her swing, chasing the cat, chasing the dog...every now and then, she'd take a small piece of the playdough out of one of the containers and eat it. Later I found her feeding bits of it to Lola who also finds it delicious.

Later, Kate and I made chocolate chip cookies together. While I was able to get her excited about dumping the ingredients in the stand mixer and indeed, she seemed to like "testing" the raw cookie dough, the cookies weren't as popular with her as playdough. I remember watching her emerge from my very own body...but I'm still not convinced she's my kid. She rejected an offered chocolate chip. Which of you weirdos in our family contributed that gene???

Friday, November 10, 2006

New sleeping quarters

Tonight Sarah has moved into what was formerly Kate's room and is now, officially, The Girls' Room. While I was giving Kate her bath (mostly just watching her take big sips of her bath water then spew the water out in a fountainesque manner until her fingers and toes turned to prunes) Jeremiah put Sarah to bed in the crib. In between geyser eruptions I explained to Kate that Sarah is her room mate now. Once Old Faithful was out of the tub I took her in to see Sarah in the crib and Kate said "Night night Sarah! Don't wake up!"

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Favorite Things (officially) Vol 2

I find most magazines written for parents mildly offensive. I have read every scrap of literature available at my OB/GYN's office and they have Parenting, Parents, Atlanta Parent, Cookie, Fit Pregnancy, and some other ones I can't remember. It's not that I was ever made to wait very long, it's just that I've been there so often lately. In addition, the moment you purchase your first item of maternity clothing, the editors of various parenting-themed publications begin clogging your mailbox with their stuff.

First of all, it tends to be a bit sexist. Nearly all of these magazines claim to be for parents, but are in fact written almost entirely to a female audience, as though dad's don't read or care or matter. Sometimes there's a page dedicated to dad and its articles are "How to enjoy a night out with the boys and still be a good dad" and "why she's grumpy and what you need to do about it". Then there's the things they assume their female audience cares about - month after month. How to lose that pregnancy weight, how not to gain it in the first place, how to still feel sexy, how to tell him you're pregnant, blah blah blah.

When I read these magazines I imagine the writers are the women I always see at Souper Jenny. I go to Souper Jenny because the name is right - it's soup and Jenny makes super soups. But her location is in Buckhead among a throng of small boutiques where I could spend $85 on a t-shirt for my 2-year-old. The line for soup is always long so I get to hear entire conversations among the diners who are freakishly tiny women who, as best I can tell, work out, shower, do their hair and make-up, and change into clean workout clothes. They are always in pristine condition, but have "just come from the gym". They wear rings that contain rocks so giant they probably have to take them off at night to avoid accidentally removing their noses or eyebrows when they roll over. Those rings amaze me, if I had such a ring, my left arm would be far more developed than my right and frequently painfully caught in my hair. These women arrive in Souper Jenny's tiny parking lot in their SUVs that are so huge (my favorite is the "Denali", now that's huge) they look like school children driving them. Once my friend Paige and I both laughed from opposite sides of the parking lot as we watched one of these women get her Suburban stuck on a curb and spend a solid 5 minutes trying to liberate the giant 4-wheel-drive vehicle from the small curb. Anyway, I think these are the women writing "What to do when he doesn't find your post-partum body attractive" for Parenting magazine and I really, really don't want to take any advice from them. These are not my people. Sure, we all like good soup, but even Hitler could appreciate a yummy chowder.

On one of my more recent visits to the doctor, while sitting in the waiting room with my painful, glowing, mastitis-afflicted breasts (a chair for me, a chair for them), I made a discovery so delightful I was temporarily distracted from my boob problems. I spotted a lone copy of the premier issue of a publication titled Wondertime. The stories are things like "Teach your child to love math" and "How kids learn to tell time" and "Raising a kind child". And the articles are written with humor and in a tone that isn't...patronizing. I took it from the waiting room to the exam room and then I took it from the exam room to my house (my doctor said I was welcome to, I swear!) and then I ordered it. I love it. I will save the issues like I do National Geographic. It's published by Disney, which would ordinarily make me a bit suspicious, but seriously, it's worth reading cover to cover.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A few photos I've been meaning to share

Here's Sarah with her Uncles Steve, Keith and Kevin and my folks' dog, Farley.

The trip to North Andover, MA was Sarah's first chance to meet Keith and Kevin. They seemed to hit it off great.

Kate is wearing the green hooded cape Anni got for her, and riding on Anni's shoulders. Over on the other side there, Kate's in a hair-slinging contest with 3rd Avenue pal, Catherine.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

It would be very cool to live in a democratic republic if one really existed

I should list election day as one of my favorite things, but it's just been too depressing where parenting is involved. Our "family values" legislators pretty much never make any family-friendly legislation. So instead, tonight's favorite thing for parenting is the wonderful and necessary group Moms Rising. Hopefully some day this group will actually change things and maybe, just maybe, my own daughters will be able to take more than 6 short weeks off after having a baby with their federally-approved spouse (hey, I'm working Moms Rising, not the HRC, in this post.) A girl can dream.

Oblivious to the wretched and depressing state of things, Sarah enjoyed some giggles with her daddy this evening.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Pre-dinner entertainment

While Jeremiah gave Kate a bath, I rocked Sarah to sleep. Then I began the soothing preparation of food...the chopping-of-stuff and the making-the-kitchen-smell-enticing that relaxes me. Ahhh...deep breath in...deep breath out...naked 2-year-old running circles around the work island, screeching with delight and terrifying the dog. Oddly enough, that, too, is very soothing.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

At the park

Kate ate dirt at the park today. She's a dirt-eater. Leaves, too. Sometimes she sticks her tongue on the playground equipment. We discourage this behavior but I can't swoop in and push her tongue back in her mouth every time it's headed for something disgusting. She had been off with Jeremiah, running around the baseball diamond, while I was with Sarah and a couple other parents with infants. When she ran over to me with dirt around her mouth I let out a sigh and Jeremiah quickly said "I looked away for one second and she started to eat the outfield"

One of our neighbors, who I know to be an obsessive parent, commented to another dad that our child was probably about to play host to a woodworm. Then, I guess because he thought I hadn't heard that, felt the need to inform me "there are dirt-borne parasites". So I should...what...panic now? She's already eaten the dirt and lots of dirt before that. I smiled and nodded and said that yes, I know there are. But I what I really wanted to say to this guy who seemed to be implying that we should be more concerned parents was "better dirt in her mouth than a giant stick up my butt".

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Glassy-eyed girl

I think Kate is trying to catch my cold. Last night she just curled up on the couch and stared, slack-jawed and glassy-eyed at the Muppets. I found her on the couch in her diaper and shirt, just gazing off. I put the pillow under her head and brought her the little cup of Annie's Bunny Grahams* and water. Then I sat on the couch next to her and remembered what a better deal feeling sick as a child was than it is as an adult.

I can remember sitting on the couch, just like that, all buried in soft blankets. My mom kept bendy straws on hand for these occasions - so we could drink while lying down. We were not allowed to use the bendy straws otherwise. When I was very small, like Kate is now, mom would scoop me from my bed (probably prompted by my crying or puking) and carry me out to the kitchen where she'd sit me on the counter in the semi-darkness and administer various medications. It always felt like a special treat to get to sit on the counter. Last night before taking her up to bed (a good half an hour early) I plopped Kate on the kitchen counter and gave her some cough syrup in Jeremiah's miniature A&W Rootbeer glass.

Meanwhile, we've both been watching Sarah like hawks and pointing out to each other each time she sneezes of coughs. No one wants to be sick and I certainly don't want my kids to be sick, but in a twisted way, I'm glad to be able to provide for them that same extra care with some trademark memory-makers, like the rootbeer mug, that comes with childhood illness.

While my mom was known for being a real hardass regarding illness (if you're not bleeding or running a fever above 99 you will be going to school thank-you-very-much), being sick was a time for feeling protected and loved and not in any kind of trouble. What do we have that's comparable in adulthood? I have no idea. I missed a couple days' work with this odious plague and all I can think about is how backed up my workload will be when I return. Maybe I'll go out and pick up some bendy straws before I go back to work.

*The bunny grahams are another of my favorite things. Kate loves them and they contain no high fructose corn syrup and no trans fats. I'm told trans fats will kill you just as soon as look at you, so I'd be a horrible mother if I let my kids eat them. Of course, I ate them the whole time I was growing up and I've yet to keel over. Although...I suppose I might not have caught this cold I have today had it not been for all the Oreos I ate in the 80s. Ah, the 80s...if the cocaine didn't get you, the partially hydrogenated oils just might, eventually.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Favorites, Volume 1

In the two days I've been out of commission the house has gone from "pretty messy" to "OH MY GOD IS EVERYONE ALRIGHT IN HERE!?!" I can tell I'm starting to feel better because I'm beginning to obsess about it. My annoying fever didn't break until around noon today so it was extra nice that my loving spouse stayed home to take care of me (under duress, but still).

Just as Jeremiah was getting the girls into the car to take them to daycare Kate laid her head on his shoulder and wept "No daycare! Want to go upstairs and lie down!" We exchanged raised eyebrows. She's good at the con, that one, but this was above and beyond. Additionally, there are enormous purple circles around her eyes and her skin has taken on a skim-milk tone. I've been so paranoid about giving the kids my plague that I've gone all Howard Hughes on the place and I'm still nervous about touching the babies. So, positive I'd infected her, we let Kate stay home. She did go upstairs but she did not lie down. She set about tearing the place apart like a rock star, chatting and sometimes even singing, while doing it.

The day has not been as relaxing and undemanding as I'd hoped. The highlight was when Jeremiah bought me these wonderful little vaporizing shower tablets. Which brings me the point of all this - since I have to post each day this month I think I'll share a few of my favorite things (Go to hell, Oprah, anyone can steal from the Sound of Music), and since this blog is about the kids, they'll be things directly related to parenting. These are related to parenting because they allowed me to breathe for at least 45 minutes after the shower and subsequently, actually do some brief parenting today. The shower was only mildly relaxing since Kate kept coming in the bathroom, ripping open the shower curtain and announcing "mommy's takin' a shower!" and her daddy was there to agree with her because he's a total peeping tom. Even with both of them in the tiny bathroom, there was still room for the dog (Lola thinks that, just like jello, there's always room for the dog). None-the-less, it made life slightly better. Aside from the fact that I had to keep my eyes closed for the first few minutes or the tablet made them burn and water, my main complaint is that the tablet didn't last the full 3 hours I'd planned to stand in the steamy water.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A post a day! A

Holy COW am I sick. I've been running a fever since this time yesterday and I am hopping mad about it. For some reason, I think I shouldn't ever get sick. I don't know why I have this attitude, but every time I am struck down with some creeping crud I become indignant. Still, I have slithered missing-link like from the depths of my bed to post on this blog. I took up the mantle to post every day in November...I'm not bowing out on the 2nd! Although, the 3rd is still up in the air...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Pagan Ritual

For her first Halloween Sarah was a caterpillar. Sarah wasn't wild about the whole thing. She thought the caterpillar outfit was too hot and she flat-out refused to go trick-or-treating as soon as she realized she wouldn't get to eat any of the candy. She's a pretty chatty girl these days and although you can't make out a word she's saying I'm reasonably certain it was "So, you want me to humiliate myself in this sweaty get-up that, incidentally, I've already spit up all over, so the neighbors will give me candy that YOU will ultimately eat? How about this - I go to bed and you people get your own damn candy." And she won that round.

Kate, meanwhile, was a butterfly (get it? Sarah's still a bit larval...) Butterflies eat with a tongue-like thing called a proboscis, as we all learned in 9th grade biology. To my extreme chagrin, I've been saying that word incorrectly for as long as I've known it. So, I taught Kate "probiscis". When she says it, it sounds like "pro-biscuits" and who can argue with that? She would say the word, but mostly, when you ask her to tell you what a butterfly's tongue is called she will confidently announce "tongue!" I made her a little flower through which I stuck the straw to her smoothie-cup, so she could sip her smoothie with her proboscis while in butterfly form. She very sweetly did that, then proceeded to tear the flower to shreds and spread it all over the house. I don't care. I got a photo.

Knowing we would probably have a lot of trick-or-treaters, Jeremiah and I realized one of us should stay home to hand out candy (and let the Very Grumpy Caterpillar sleep), while the other took Kate out for the evening. Jeremiah said "well...I don't mind staying here if you'd like to t-" and I hurriedly chimed in with "OK!" Kate's Uncle Steve joined us, which was nice because we were mainly on Steve & Joy's street and Kate insisted on being carried a good part of the evening. So poor Jeremiah had to stay home and protect the house while it was under siege by hundreds of local sugar-crazed ghosts and goblins. He ran out of candy before 7:30! That's alright, though, because Kate and I returned home with a big ol' pile of it.