Thursday, August 30, 2007

Who can be grumpy with all these bubbles about?

Tuesday was off to a bad start. Mostly it was work that was screwing up what would have been an otherwise delightful day. Also, I'd forgotten to bring my remaining stuffed poblano pepper, left over from last night's delicious dinner, for lunch. To cheer myself up, I coaxed Jeremiah into joining me for lunch at my new favorite spot near my office, Cafe Posh. I tried to find a site to share with you but they don't have one. Cafe Posh is located in a shopping center next to a little shoe store that's next to the Kroger that houses the Starbucks which supplies the fuel for my frappucino monkey. It is not posh. I've wondered a couple times if maybe that's the name of the family that owns and operates it.

Anyway, I love the tiny, middle eastern woman that seems to lord over the place. She's always nice. What? I like nice. They make all their own breads and everything is delightfully fresh. I've been making my co-workers go there with me, one at a time. Plus, wi-fi! Annnnyhoo, Tuesdays and Thursdays they do a falalfel special (yum! homemade pita) and I wanted to try it. Jeremiah was pretty easy to convince. It was, for the first time in about a year, I think, not 100 degrees outside, so I walked.

I was already feeling a bit lighter at the prospect of getting to see Jeremiah right in the middle of the day during the week but then, as if Lawrence Welk had himself smiled down upon me, things got even better. There's a big ol' fountain out in front of the cafe. As Jeremiah and I approached it together we saw that the fountain had been filled with LOTS of soapy bubbles. It was overflowing with soft fluff. There was a gentle breeze and as the wee-bitty kids and their parents who had gathered around it drove their arms in up to the elbows and threw bubbly-fluff into the air, the breeze would catch it and the bubbles would float gleefully above everyone's heads. They looked like cartoon amoebas.

Here's the thing about a world filled with bubbles - it makes everyone cheerful. One woman told us that when they first got to the fountain there was a wall of bubbles so huge that it covered the benches around the fountain. Indeed, the benches were stained with soap scum. We sat outside to eat our sandwiches and every single person who walked by, if they didn't stop to play in the bubbles, smiled. From what we could glean, the bubbles were a teenage prank. Ah, those awful, underwear-exposing, meddling kids.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The gloves are off

To my brother Kevin: I was only being polite when I said I thought that child of complete strangers whose picture you sent me today, insisting she's cuter than my kids, probably because her mother is better looking than I, is cute. I happen to think everyone pictured here (in birth order) is cuter than that unfortunate kid. Yes, even my dog. That's right. Sarah's sporting a full-on baby mullet right now and she still makes that kid look like a turd.
Ha! Better get the phone, I'm betting it's mom...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Happiness at the midtown Whole Foods

Once again we'd planned our Sunday poorly and found ourselves starving at 2:00PM and still needing to go to the grocery store. Our list for the week was so short (I very cleverly chose our menu items based on what we've already got hanging around) that we decided we could hit Whole Foods instead of the always annoyingly crowded Farmer's Market.

We picked up our few items and grabbed food and beverages to fill our gumbling bellies, then sat down to eat. Finally. Once we'd inhaled our food, we gathered ourselves together and instructed Kate to close her bottle of juice so we could leave.

"Can you please help her with that?" Jeremiah, arms full of Sarah, asked me, indicating the screwing of the bottle cap back on to Kate's juice. I watched as Kate manipulated the cap and bottle.

"She's getting it - she's learning" I said. Then Kate successfully replaced the bottle's cap and Jeremiah and I exploded into congratulatory peals of applause and "very good!"s as though Kate were, well, three. She was very gracious, smiling beguilingly while rolling her eyes at us. She held her freshly closed bottle aloft and indicated it with a flourish, musically saying "Ta-dah!" I laughed so hard I nearly blew some of the new blended espresso the Allegro coffee bar people are hocking right through my nose. Teary-eyed, I gazed across our booth in the storefront window at my little family. Sarah sat perkily on Jeremiah's lap, laughing because he was laughing, Kate leaned on his shoulder. For a minute I didn't think about work or the messy house or the pets or if we'd have enough money to survive retirement, I just stared at the 3 people I love most in the world and felt certain I couldn't possibly be any happier.

Then we came home and I started to handle a few items I'd been putting off online, and Kate hit the power key on my laptop, unceremoniously (and improperly) turning it off and I thought "I could be a little happier".

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Monday, August 20, 2007

Nap time is crappy

The week had been long and unpleasant. We finally brought the girls back to daycare after their respective illnesses Friday morning. Friday afternoon daycare called and told me they thought Sarah had Scarlet Fever. I thought there is no way that kid has scarlet fever and proceeded to panic regardless. When I picked her up, at 2:00, a little over an hour after they called me, she was, as they say, cool as a cucumber, if fussy. She screamed all the way to the doctor's office which did cause her to break out into crazy hives all over her chest and face. The doctor snickered a bit when I told her daycare's diagnosis, and then informed me that she's just at the tail end of a little virus and isn't even contagious anymore that'll be $20 please. By the time we arrived home she was in great spirits and insisted on being played with. So much for that day's work.

Friday night we still didn't get loads of sleep. Saturday, Jeremiah indulgently suggested he run an errand in which I had no interest while the girls napped so I could hang out downstairs, finishing up Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Aaaaahhhhh, sounds fantastic. Off he went and down I sat for about 3 minutes, and then Sarah began screaming. I raced upstairs and gently convinced her to go back to sleep. I ran back downstairs and nestled into my favorite chair with my book. More screaming. So I put my book down and bolted up the stairs again, repeating the previous tactics successfully again. And on it went. Finally, Kate had been in the guest room "napping" for a full hour, so, with Sarah in my arms, I opened the door to tell her quiet time was officially over. Even before I opened the door all the way it hit me - the stench of poo. "Did you have an accident?" I asked, advancing into the room. I caught her holding her underwear like an artist's pallet, spreading the source of the stench on, I noticed as I glanced around, a third wall.

For a second I was paralyzed, staring at a room bedecked in excrement. For whatever reason, I didn't deem it a punishable offense and focused instead of getting Little Miss Poop 2007 in the tub while getting Sarah away from the guest room and the tub. "I have poop on my feet!" Kate announced gaily as I searched her face for signs of coprophagy and quickly washed a suspicious spot on her chin. Jeremiah returned home just as I was attacking the room with rags and cleaner. He wisely did not ask if I'd finished the book.

On the up side, the guest room has never been cleaner. I even purchased new sheets for that room. Nothing is really wrong with the sheets that were on the bed; I washed everything in hot water with tons of soap, but still. Ewh. When it came time to go to Target, I was quick to volunteer to run that errand.

Friday, August 17, 2007

And now for something completely different

Remember back in the spring when I begged my crafty friends to make a tank top like the one I spied on a woman at the park? And all of you ignored me except Sybil, purveyor of fine textiles and yarns? Well, my own fabulous tank top has arrived! I decided to take pictures and post them before writing Sybil a check because I really have my priorities in order. Sybil might consider them in the wrong order, but they are indeed in an order. So anyway, here's the top, pictured in a strange light that makes my face look weird. Oh wait...that might just be my face. Certainly it's my face when I'm about to walk out the door to go to work and I'm saying "just take the picture!" through a forced grin while wondering where, exactly, I left my cup of coffee.

Oh, the girls are both fever-free and at daycare today. It will be awhile before I'm done being tired from this week, but I love my fabulous new tank top and I've already gotten a compliment on it!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Day 4

We've gone from one sort of sick kid to two kids with fevers the rest of the week. Sarah has been sleeping in 15 minute spurts punctuated by bouts of banshee-like ululating until someone picks her up and rocks her back to sleep. The rocking back to sleep typically takes about 10 minutes, then you get 15 blissful minutes of quiet.

Last night we let Kate, 101.5 again, sleep in the guest room. When Sarah began screaming anew at 11, exactly 4 hours after her last dose of Tylenol, I went upstairs to take her temperature (oh goody, 103.4) and dose her again. Then I laid down with her in Kate's twin bed. You know how sometimes you'll be all cozy somewhere and the cat will leap up on you and start purring and making biscuits on your stomach in such a charming way that you'll sit perfectly still to keep the cat there even though you're extremely uncomfortable and some body part has long-since fallen asleep and is painfully tingling? Trying to balance in a twin bed with a needy, feverish baby while you cannot let go of the fear that she will topple out of said bed feels kind of like that. Only much hotter. I spent the better part of the night sweaty and working my core.

I had to keep figuring out the new rules as Sarah threw herself into a new position on the bed and wailed angrily if I moved in the wrong manner once she was comfortable. When I finally had to get up, my right leg was bright red from hot baby pressing up against it and my neck was achingly kinked from resting the lower half of my body on the bed at Sarah's convenience, and upper half on the giant hippo pillow/seat I'd earlier positioned next to the bed to help ensure Sarah's protection from falling (all of 12 inches). That makes 4 nights in a row I've slept almost not at all. The good news is I think I've moved beyond tired and will just give up sleeping altogether. Also in the happy column, Kate's fever is gone. When I took Kate's temperature and confirmed this, I immediately admonished Sarah for still running a fever. "Why can't you be more like your sister!?!" I demanded. She just cried. Big baby.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Children don't care about the Geneva Convention

It's been a busy few days. Saturday we all split up, Jeremiah went to his Pork U BBQ class, I went hiking with some of the 3-Dayers and the girls hung out with Crazy Joe and some other folks over on 3rd Ave. Sunday we learned our friends Frank & Kari (which always comes out like "Franknkari" and causes us all to strike our best undead pose with accompanying "grrrr") were in town with their kids. We had an impromptu cook-out. All fun stuff, though we documented none of it on camera, sorry.

Sunday night Sarah didn't sleep. Oh, she did sleep a little, here and there. But mostly she screamed. She seemed fine but yesterday Jeremiah had to go get her from daycare early because she was running a fever of 102. We got that down pretty quickly, and off she went to bed. We worried she'd be up all night again but no, she was only up a few times, it was Kate who was up. Just...up. Reading aloud to herself, chatting away non-stop, thumping around directly above our bed, squirting the entire contents of the tube of greasy eczema steroid cream out all over her bed. All. Night. We tried a dozen different approaches to get her to doze off but to no avail. The last time I looked at the clock while she was chattering away in her room, it was 3:00 in the morning.

Today I stayed home and worked while Sarah acted as my handicap. But now it's not quite 4:00PM and though I'm still trying to work (Sarah, running a slight fever again, has been banished to her crib where she is squawking, but not really screaming, so there she'll stay) but I'm so tired all the numbers are swimming around in front of my eyes and I can't hold my head up anymore. Why on earth did I ever decide to have kids? The dog eats our furniture and other things we care about while we're at work but she has always at least let us sleep. What did we do to deserve this? We were just trying to fulfill our biological imperative to propagate the species! Where did we go wrong?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Under the pink kitty umbrella

It's so very hot. I hate it. No, really, I hate it. Yesterday I walked outside and there, on the front steps, lay a carpenter bee, dead from the heat. I don't much like the carpenter bees (or the Carpenters) but still. Dramatic. There's no relief in sight and it just won't rain, despite being obscenely humid.

Last weekend, because we hate being trapped indoors even when it's Tennessee Williams' Play Hot, we took the girls downtown to Centennial Park to frolic in the fountain with all the other poor kids. Sarah was not down with that. She refused to leave the arms of one of us and since we had the bigass diaper bag and the camera with camera bag, one of us had to guard the goods. It was mostly me.

There I sat, near, but by no means in the cooling waters of the fountains. Sweat dripped down my back as I sometimes held Sarah (under Kate's big pink kitty umbrella) and sometimes made Jeremiah carry her around while I hovered over our belongings. It's not that I thought the other families would take them, but there were a lot of conventioneers about in their weird, matching t-shirts with uplifting theme-of-the-weekend phrases printed on them. I don't trust those people.
Anyhoo, the "Never Give Up!" folks aside (Wow, tote bags, wrist bands and buttons, too, huh?), it was a pretty good time and I thought I should post some photos from it. So, here they are.


I used to wonder at what point my parents went from being "mommy" and "daddy" to "mom" and "dad". I imagined, with 4 older brothers, that I must've made the switch pretty early on, hearing my parents called that all the time. I know some women never stop calling their fathers daddy. Frankly, I find that a little creepy, but that's just me.

For Kate, the time is right about now. Jeremiah and I both have noticed that more often than not, we are now, officially, Mom and Dad. When there are falls or other minor tragedies or when she is very, very tired we are still mommy and daddy. But by and large the change has been made. I do not feel sorry for the end of mommy. I wondered if I would. But there is something so sweet to hearing my 3-year-old, upon bouncing into the kitchen with an empty cup, say "Hey Mom, can I have some more smoothie?" It comes out kind of "mum" and is always accompanied by a little pursing of her lips, and the wide-eyed look of a sincere inquisitor.

It is so very exciting when your baby first starts saying "mommy", especially since she's been saying "daddy" for at least 3 months. But that's the excitement of the big milestone. This change to being Mom, it seems to come with the implication of all that resides in the very essence of being Mom. It's like being awarded some sort of badge of honor.

"Of course you may have some more smoothie!" is the only response I can manage.

Monday, August 06, 2007

The Fabulous Fox

Yesterday, Joy took Kate and me to the Fox Theatre to see Kate's very first play. The Wizard of Oz. Perhaps you've heard of it. I've spent an obscene amount of time in theatres. Load in. Strike. Rehearsal. Build. Search for a friend's contact lens. You name it. Over the years they lost some of their sparkle for me. I have a scar on my right ring finger from a glue gun gone bad while I was building the buck basket for The Merry Wives of Windsor. I broke my foot during a strike while launching myself, gazelle-like, through the house toward the booth. But I still love theatres and the Fox, of course, is Fabulous.
It was a pleasure to take Kate there. To see her eyes as wide as they can get at the sight of the building. We took her down to the bathrooms (Joy and I were both nervous that she'd pee on one of us during the performance) and I sat her in front of one of the gigantic make-up mirrors while Joy put lipstick on her. She pursed her lips as though she did it daily. As we toured around the main theatre, looking at the orchestra pit, me pointing out the booth, Kate became quiet. I wasn't sure if she was overwhelmed or bored.

She sat on my lap the entire first act. She was thrilled to see a dog on stage. When the tornado swept Dorothy away she huddled under my chin and announced "I want to go home!" But she didn't mean it. Three hours, that show was. She spent the second act on Joy's lap (peeing on neither of us) and never stopped looking around. She ate most of Joy's popcorn. She loved the Cowardly Lion. She bravely faced the wicked witch. When we left, she was so tired she nearly fell asleep in the car.
I stole glances at her in the rear view mirror. I remember my mom taking me to plays when I was little. I thought the actors were wonderful. After the plays I'd line up with all the other little knee-biters and get their autographs on my playbill. Amazing to me, was how easily watching Kate in the theatre revived all the magic that I thought had gone out of it. To her, the wicked witch really flew, just like Peter Pan really flew around Wendy's room when I was about her age. I saw Kate's little open-mouthed gaze up at the stage and even the facts that no one even attempted to conceal Dorothy's mike and the lighting designer had some unresolved issues melted into meaninglessness for me. Ah, once upon a time, when magic was everywhere...

Joy got us good seats, but Kate only has a box seat at home.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Tuck in time

Last night the Miami Druekes were in residence for a whirlwind visit while en route to their real vacation in North Carolina. As ever, I was delighted to get to visit with them but I was also certain my popularity with Kate would be greatly diminished. Kate seems to be extra-enamored, for the time-being, of Abigail.

But lo! When Jeremiah came downstairs to the dining room after putting Kate to bed he informed me she'd requested that mommy tuck her in. I gave a moment's thought to giving Abigail a conciliatory embrace, pageant-winner style, before I raced up the steps, failing to look cool. When I got there Kate gave me a big smile and began talking about something that made no sense at all and I remembered that tucking Kate in is a lot like trying to a get drunk friend safely home. She is physically intractable, mumbles a lot through a pacifier (Jeremiah keeps saying we must break her of sleeping with those but I'm more concerned that we break her of pooping in her pants and besides, it's funny to me that she calls them "assifiers"), and when she isn't' mumbling she talks nonsense.

I gave her a kiss on the forehead and a big hug and said "I missed you today while I was at work." She popped the assifier out of her mouth and said "I missed you!". Just as I was beginning to melt she went on to say "and I missed the animals!" What? "And I missed Luga!" Luga is the name Kate gave the Groovy Girl doll Margie got her. When she first announced the doll's name Jeremiah and I both thought she said "Lou Dobbs". Inexplicably, Lou Dobbs comes with her own bed. In the packaging, the bed was literally strapped to the doll's back. What the hell kind of message is Margie trying to send her grand daughter here?!? So, she missed the pets and her slutty doll Lou Dobbs equally to missing me. Still, though, victory was mine. I was doing tuck in.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


I hate my commute. It's short but takes forever. My butt hurts from sitting in the car too long and I miss being able to do such a long commute on the train, where I lose myself in a book. But this morning while en route, accidentally spilling latte on my console and nearly being sideswiped by a driver for whom 70 wasn't fast enough, I kept this in mind:

I've had some terrible commutes, but so far the road has never collapsed beneath me, causing me to plunge, trapped in my car, into the rapidly moving waters of the Mississippi River and then, assuming I didn't die, swim to safety. Yes, I thought, sucking in a terrified breath with my heart in my throat as someone behind me veeeeery nearly rear-ended me, I'll take latte on the console over that.