Thursday, June 29, 2006

Ten Things I Hate About Traveling...

...with Ada.

I was tagged by Mrs. Fortune (or her evil twin). Since I just got home from a little trip with the girl (sans Chris), I thought I'd give it a shot.

  1. Those airport carts* never roll in a straight line. This is especially true when you most need them, when you are shlepping two pack-and-play cribs, four large bags and a couple of carry-ons. Actually, since my sister and friend were in charge of cart locomotion on the airport legs of our trip, I should say that I love this "feature". Those things are incredibly annoying to use, but highly entertaining when you are watching others struggle to move them.

    *Thing 1A: The carte pictured on the company's web-site is WAY nicer than the ones at the Denver International Airport. We had one that was configured such that it had to be pulled. Pushing resulted in heinous carte-wiggling and luggage falling. Smarte, my ass.

  2. The Denver airport does not let you take these stupid cartes through the security check-point. Why? Are they a security risk? Can explosives or guns be smuggled in their thin metal tubing? No. Apparently they are banned from moving freely between the insecure and smug parts of the airport because the local Transportation Security Administration big wig decided that too many cartes were getting broken during the security screening process. (How, I am not sure. Randy, the TSA agent who helpfully explained all this to us, wasn't entirely clear on that detail.) Randy did explain that when a cart breaks under their watchful eyes, the TSA has to pay for a replacement. Randy also happily told us about the woman traveling through Denver last week with four children, and what a pain it was for her when she was not allowed to keep her carte.

    Despite being really chatty, I had to question Randy's social skills when he kept talking as my friend - two year old son on her back - hefted her now carte-free bag of baby-soothing gear and started to back away. Thanks Randy, nice talking to you!

  3. I have long legs. I recognize that this is not other people's problem, but in recognition of the fact that airplane seats are jammed together and that (unless I am sleeping) I don't NEED to recline, I rarely move my seat-back from its full upright and locked position. I know that others do not share my communitarian views of airplane comfort, but I do wish that the woman seated in front of me on the flight out would have shown a little concern for the fact that the woman in the seat behind her was both tall AND holding a squirmy child. Keeping Ada from bashing her head on the seat was a real joy. Thank you again, Woman in Seat 24C. Perhaps now you understand why I did not apologize when my daughter grabbed a small fist-full of your hair. Practically falling into my lap as your hair was, it was fairly hard for my gal to resist a good yank.

  4. This was only the second time I'd taken Ada on an airplane. The last time, when she was 3 months old, we somehow managed to avoid any on-board diaper changes. When Ada decided to forego her usual post-breakfast poop, I worried. When she didn't go while we were waiting in the airport, I squirmed. We made it most of the way through the flight before the tell-tale smell appeared. I scooped up miss messy pants and hustled her down the aisle to the rear of the airplane. How exactly would one use an airplane bathroom to change a child? They are so small and dirty. (This does bring up another issue: why do people want to join the Mile High Club? Again, small and dirty, and the latter not in a good way.)

    Instead of attempting a bathroom change, I put the girl's changing pad on the floor near the tiny galley at the back of the plane. To distract her, I handed her my friend J's confiscated keys. What he doesn't know won't hurt him.

  5. I don't like to think about airplane carpeting, arm-rests or seat backs. With Ada wanting to touch and lick these and many other assuredly disgusting things on the plane, by the time we arrived in Denver I was ready to douse us both in bleach, with a handi-wipe chaser.

  6. As wonderful as it was to stay in a large, well-appointed house for free during our little trip, staying in a new place is always a bit tricky. Ada and I shared a bedroom that opened on to the main entry way. The beautiful flagstone floor made the room a tad echoey, leading to a couple of hairy Ada-startled-awake moments. Our room also opened onto another bedroom, linked by a country-kitchy but not highly functional windowed door. I'm afraid that the sheer curtain between the two rooms did nothing to block the light of my sister and a friend's use of the room. Even with a heavy blanket draped over the window, Ada managed to jump to crabby consciousness when the light went on at midnight on evening one.

    Although I was clever enough to unplug the phone in the room, I somehow neglected to notice the flashing digital alarm clock until I was nursing Ada in an otherwise peaceful and darkish room. I decided to leave the fix until I went to bed, which meant at 11:30 on Friday I was fumbling with the clock's buttons. Yes, I did manage to stop the flashing, but not until I first turned on the radio (cranked to GET UP YOU LAZY BASTARD volume). Twice.

  7. Traveling without Chris is crap for a number of reasons, not least of which is that as the only parent on duty, I'm on duty all the time. And "all the time" starts at 5:30 these days.

  8. Babies do not care that you need to help your friend write his sermon for the wedding. Monkey Boy's Dad had been asked a couple of months ago to perform our friends' wedding. Since that conversation, the bride and groom to be had been incommunicado, so Monkey Dad wasn't sure he was still on the hook. Rather than prepare for a ceremony he might not have to run, Monkey Dad waited until hearing from the groom, which finally happened the night before the wedding. This left Saturday for Monkey Dad and four others to design, write, edit, practice, edit and scribble onto 3 by 5 cards the words that would hopefully make the assembled group melt in a sobbing puddle. All this while feeding, diapering, entertaining, soothing and holding two squirrelly kids. We were aided by the fact that people at weddings are ready to be moved, so it would not take much to get folks going. We were hampered by the fact that writing by committee is stressful, and editing the thoughts of a nervous man is a delicate enterprise. Also by the fact that Monkey Boy wanted to tear up and hide all the 3 by 5 cards.

    After hearing variants on the sermon rehearsed 37 times throughout the day, the final product did not make me well up, but I think people not involved in the speech's production enjoyed it and were impressed by Monkey Dad.

  9. After drinking, dancing and cupcake-photo taking at my friend's wedding reception, I then spent two hours rocking, soothing and singing to Ada before I could get her to sleep. During the two hours in hell, I lulled Ada into a (seemingly) deep sleep, only to have her wake the moment her head touched the flimsy mattress of the travel crib. As great as my friends and sister are, at 2 in the morning they were not really available.

  10. A house owned by two middle-aged lesbians? Not so baby-friendly. The house was chock full of low hanging objets d'art, possibly priceless knick knacks, magazines, DVDs and other items attractive to a year old child and her 23 month old conspirator. Also, the house (owned by two different middle aged lesbians) where the sunday brunch for family and close friends was held? Also filled with baby-dangers, including the rail-less stairs covered with books and ceramic objects, the big pile of flakey logs by the wood stove, and doors open to patios filled with all manner of cool-looking but alarmingly rusty and pointy vintage farm equipment. A relaxing brunch, it was not.

    Back at the vacation house, Monkey Boy was crazy for the phone, and all adults spent considerable time saying "we are not going to play with the phone. Monkey Boy. Put the phone down. Down. Luckily my brilliant sister had the idea to cover the phone with a small blanket, which did help MB forget about the phone for a while. Besides, the television and multiple remotes were still available. Monkey Boy spent a good amount of every day hopefully calling out what sounded like "happies! happies!" but I was assured by Monkey Dad was actually an attempt to make the Teletubbies appear on the TV. Thanks to TIVO, Monkey Boy believes that Teletubbies have their own 24 hour station.) After a couple of days of "Tubbies!" cries, I started rethinking my joy over Ada's developing vocabulary and the amount of time I let her spend with her beloved Monkey Boy.

All this notwithstanding, I had a wonderful time with my daughter, friends and sister in Colorado. I'd do it all again, even knowing that I would get vomited on in the Denver Airport and not notice for 10 minutes while I strolled around with Ada in my arms wondering what smelled so bad.

Your humble List Maker and her sister,
enjoying a zen moment at the reception.

(Oh, and if you want to be tagged to do this, email me. I am such a weenie about tagging.)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Random quote and unrelated photo of the week

Hey man, stay comfortable.
New Seasons grocery employee, to a shirtless, grungy bike rider outside the store on a 90 degree day

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Ada's birth story

I wrote this three weeks after Ada was born. I knew that the further I got from the day my daughter was born, the harder it would be to retain every detail, so I am glad I wrote this when it was still fresh. Ada's first birthday seems like a good time to share it. As a bit of background, our close friend Ellen (a midwife in a hospital-based practice) was our doula. Chris and Ellen were incredible supports. I feel so lucky that they were there with me at home and in the hospital.

Day One

Year One

Dear Ada:

Your dad wants me to write down your birth story. He’s even brought over a bowl of marionberries we got at the farmer’s market this morning. You were there too, but you were sleeping while we walked around, so you are forgiven for not remembering what happened today, much less what happened before you were born.

Sunday, June 26: Your due date was July 9, two weeks away. The “plan” was that I’d work one more week, then sit around fat and pregnant for another week or more waiting for labor. Sunday morning I went to my prenatal yoga class. I came home and had lunch and tried to finish the reading for my book club that was meeting later that afternoon. I had about 70 pages left, and had gotten through 50 by 2:30 when I stopped to take a shower. Getting out of the shower I had my first contraction.

Everything I’d read and heard indicated that “early labor” could go on for a long time. This was the time to relax, eat, etc – generally not get too excited that labor was starting. Your dad was in your room painting your dresser red. I poked my head in to say that I’d had a contraction, but was sure it wasn’t anything. I left the house to get snacks for book club. After buying snacks I sat in the Trader Joe's parking lot reading the last 15 pages of the book while it poured. At 4pm I drove up the hill to Laura’s house. I had a few contractions while at the book club. At some point Ellen called my cell and I told her that I’d felt some contractions, maybe one an hour. She was excited but definitely not thinking that I was in active anything at that point. We agreed to meet for dinner at our house.

At 6pm I had a big contraction just as I was getting ready to leave Laura’s. I was on her porch but had to run back inside to her bathroom to get through the wave of pain. When the contraction subsided I drove home. Ellen and Jiro were at our house and we got a pizza for dinner. I started having contractions more frequently – I was timing them at about 10-15 minutes apart, maybe 30-60 seconds long. I could only stomach one slice, but was fine to hang out while we read magazines and chatted. Ellen and Jiro left around 8 (Dad thinks it was later) and I found myself wanting to be in the bathroom more and more. The contractions were coming more quickly and were fairly intense. Soon I was in near constant pain. I started to get worried about the intensity of what I was thinking was still early labor. If this was “early”, what would it be like when it was “active”? Where were the rest periods I was promised?

Starting some time between 8 and 9 pm I felt fairly constant pain with spikes of intensity at each contraction. I was pacing the floor, stopping to grip the counter and moan. Chris tried to soothe me but I was uncomfortable and cranky. I remember thinking that if I was this hard on him now, what would it be like when things really got intense?

The books I'd read all talked about resting between contractions, that the laboring woman could lie even down. A couple of times I tried to get on the bed, but the pain somehow felt worse that way and I quickly got up again. Chris asked if I wanted Ellen to come over, which I did. Before she arrived, my mucus plug came out (and soon after my water broke, though I wasn’t sure at the time if that had happened – there was no gush of water that would have made it obvious).

During contractions I closed my eyes and used the walls for support. Whenever I got up, thinking another position might help, I quickly decided to return to sitting. Chris was at my feet while I sat, and got up to rub my back when I tried to stand or lean on the bathroom counter. I felt bad that I was making him get up, sit down, get up… I said something to this effect, but he was not concerned. I don’t know when, but remember that he kissed me and told me he loved me.

Ellen showed up and instructed Chris to put his hand on my legs when I was sitting. The two of them tried to soothe me and I remember feeling both very apart from them in my pain and very happy that they were both there with me. Ellen said that Polly was on call at the hospital, with Penny on after her. She said that we’d be in good hands if my baby wanted to show up any time in the next day.

My sense of time is pretty hazy, but at about 10:30 Ellen went to another midwife’s house to get a sterile kit so that she could check my progress. When she returned a bit before 11, I had already started pushing. Ellen had Chris support me while I sat back on the bed. My knees were up and he was propping my back up while she checked my dilation. Ellen looked up at Chris with only semi-disguised alarm as she said I was fully dilated. She said it might be time for a change of plans; we could have the baby at home or we could go to the hospital immediately, but that I’d have to stop pushing if I wanted to make it to OHSU. She said it would be ok to have the birth at home; she would call Linda and we could do it right here. I considered that for a moment but decided I wanted to go ahead with a hospital birth.

I’d put a few clothes together when I had my first contraction that afternoon, but we hadn’t packed a bag. I gave Chris a few instructions about what to pack, I put some pants and shoes on and we were out the door. My body really wanted me to start pushing, but I held back as much as I could. We drove across the river and through downtown. The lights are timed on SW Broadway, which was a bit infuriating. I knew that there was no point driving more than 30 between lights, but found myself wishing we could just blow through the lights and get to the hospital already. I gripped the seat and clenched every muscle to keep from pushing. I think this is maybe when I made a joke about how I was glad we'd chosen June instead of May for your middle name. If you'd been named for my grandmother you might have shown up even earlier.

Finally we got to the hill leading up to the hospital; what was I thinking using such an inconveniently located hospital? What genius thought it was a good idea to put the hospital on a hilltop? At the top of the hill we found ourselves behind a car that was moseying along as the driver tried to figure out what lot to pull into. I wanted to scream “pregnant lady, out of the way”, but held back and we made it to the Emergency Room door.

Ellen and I headed inside while Chris parked the car. She plopped me in a wheelchair and, armed with her hospital ID badge, headed for the elevator to the main hospital. I felt giddy and dizzy as she zoomed down the hallway, in and out of the elevator, and through the doors to the labor and delivery unit. I felt very short, sitting in the chair, but then we were in the room and I was heading for the bed. The nurse – someone Ellen knew and seemed happy to see – asked me if I had a nightgown or wanted a gown. I growled something about not having anything and not caring as I pulled off my clothes and tossed them in the chair next to the bed. Polly arrived and told me to get up on the bed. I got up and was facing the wall, gripping the back of the bed, which was raised up into an L.

I labored for a few minutes (?) until Chris arrived. I turned to see him in the entrance to the room and was flooded with happiness at his arrival. He came to my bedside. Ellen was on the other side, with Polly at my feet. Polly suggested I turn on my side, and from that moment I don’t think I let go of Chris until you were born. Polly was telling me that I was doing fine, that the head was crowning. Did I want to a mirror to see your head? I couldn’t focus on anything other than the feeling of your head coming out, so I said no. I was focused on getting you out, but now that my body was not commanding me to push, it was a lot more work to keep pushing on my own. I felt your head, with the skin soft on your skull.

Polly told me that the head was almost halfway out. I could not imagine that I had to open more, that your head wasn’t already halfway there. I tried to say this, but only managed “I can’t”. Polly told me I could and I kept pushing, though it felt like it was slow work to get that final progress. Polly told me that in 3 more pushes you would come out. It was more than that, but finally your head pushed through and with great relief I heard that we were almost there. A little more work to get your shoulders through. Again it felt hard to summon the required push, but then Polly was instructing Chris and me to put our hands down to grab you as you popped out at 12:02 am on June 27. We put you on my chest and Polly and the nurse came over with blankets from the warmer to put all around you.

You were tiny and wet, alert and hungry. I don’t remember you crying much, but when we listened to the recordings Ellen left on our phone of the moments after your birth, they are filled with your cries. When I put you to my nipple you started to suck immediately. (A clear sign you were brilliant!) Chris held you too, holding your tiny body to his chest.

The placenta came out and a fascinated Polly showed us that it was heart-shaped. Ellen put the placenta in a bag, so that we could freeze it in order to later plant it under a tree. We called your grandparents in LA and Keizer, and left a message for Karen. After an hour we finally let you go across the room to get weighed before we all went upstairs to the Mother/Baby unit. I felt elated, tired, excited and worn. You are sleeping in my lap now as I type this. I am amazed by all your faces, the little and big noises you make at three weeks, the way your soft skin feels and how strong your grip already is. I love you.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Not actually any stories about traveling

Just back from beautiful, beautiful Colorado, with much on my mind. Hopefully given a few days I will get to issues such as:

  • How one horrible mother-of-the-groom dress strengthened my resolve to never live in Nebraska;

  • Where I will build my house in Nowhere, Colorado when I win the lottery (I can say it will be as near as possible to the Mountain of the Jewish Middle-Aged Lesbians);

  • Why bartenders at weddings flirt shamelessly with all the women and 34% of the men;

  • Why crappy-tasting cupcakes make better props for wedding photos than they do a substitute for actual wedding cake*;

  • No, I hadn't been drinking, why do you ask?

  • How annoying it is to fly with a sick child, how wonderful it is to do so with the help of friends and the very nice woman in 14E who kindly lied to you by telling you that your child had been a doll during the flight, and how glad I am that said child didn't fall ill until the morning we were leaving for home;

  • How shamelessly I abused my position as honorary Second Wife during this trip with my dear friends (I confiscated Honored Travel-Husband's keys to insure there was no repeat of a Thanksgiving 2002 airport mishap, and well, let's just say that Wife Number One coined the phrase poliga-nagging);

These and other important issues will be discussed when I get around to it. Tomorrow is Ada's birthday, my mom arrives for a visit, and we have to whip the house into shape before the ants completely take over. (Did you know that ants don't like Windex? I do now.)

*Oh, how I am dying to post all the wedding cupcake photos. As they feature my friends and relatives, some of whom do not know I blog, I'm thinking about ways to gain the permission of the guilty parties. Speaking of which: E & J, how 'bout it?

Miss Rock-Taster/Shmutz-Shmearer implores:

Please Nu-Nu, say yes! If you don't I will be forced to eat more dirt.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Random quote and unrelated photo of the week

(Thanks to Ellen, who probably doesn't even remember sending me this picture.)

It is impossible to add a single feature that will improve the exterior appearance of this beautiful home. While the sloping roof over the porch at the right and over the colonial gate at the left has a tendency to give this house the appearance of being very large, by studying the floor plan you will note it is very compact and will give you a very practical and conveniently arranged home at low cost.
-Sears, Roebuck and Company mail-order house catalog, 1931.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


I spent some time last week going through Ada's hats to separate the ones that still fit her from the ones that don't. This involved putting the hats on my currently hataphobic daughter. Many of the photos are lovely Ada-blurs as she whips off the hat before I can snap a pictures, but here are a few of the shots.

This last one is my personal favorite.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Radio, Radio

A journalist friend had a Father's Day piece on NPR (you know, like the CBC, but with a slightly different accent and more discussion of our bonehead president).

For people who like fathers, sons, jazz and/or New Orleans, check out this story.

Happy Fathers' Day. We had a good one and I hope you did too.

Friday, June 16, 2006

It's a beautiful day for a list

We are heading to the coast for a couple of (web-free) days. Hence, I am offering an early "Happy Father's Day" to the many Dads I know and love. If you see this Mike, a special HFD to you, new pop!

Some things to love about Chris (a woefully incomplete list):

  • I have witnessed him simultaneously cooking and talking on the phone, helping someone close to him work through relationship issues. Each one of these things impresses me. Oh the multi-tasking, be still my heart!
  • He came up with the idea for Ada's name.
  • He is patient when I am demanding, calm in the face of my cranky tired tantrums.
  • He made me a screen door for mother's day.
  • He's so beautiful, but refuses to admit it.
  • He uncomplainingly gets up with Ada when it is his turn, even if it is barely 5 am. I do my turns too, but I complain all the way.
  • Last week's slow cooked Cuban-style pork. I know I mentioned it already, but it was so good.
oh, and:

Time and time again over the past year he has shown himself to be a caring, loving, fun and attentive parent. Happy Father's Day, Chris.

(lest you think he's perfect, there was that shoe thing, and you'll notice the photo that documents that he likes to entertain Ada by letting her examine the contents of my purse.)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Apparently other people have shoe problems too

All day he'd felt something was not quite right, but assumed that his sock was bunched up in a weird way. Didn't bother to take his shoe off and check, mind you. Just tugged at the sock and suffered through.

He got home and took off his shoes. Looking down, he noticed something in the right one. A coaster, which he'd walked around on. All. Day.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Random quote and unrelated photo of the week

Electricity killed my parents!
-Wade 'Cry-Baby' Walker (Cry Baby)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Anyone need a pair of size 6 boots?

I'm having a shoe crisis. For years I have had a pair of workhorse Nine West mary janes. Nine West used to have a "cloud nine" line; their comfort line, which they discontinued at some point. Bastards. 'Cause get this, they were actually comfortable. This pair of much-abused mary janes still are comfortable, but they are starting to fall apart. I love these shoes, but it is getting a little embarrassing to wear them to work meetings. So I started shopping around for replacements. I can't find anything I like that is comfortable and good looking in an appropriate-for-work-yet-still-fun kind of way.

While surfing around for this mythical pair of comfy work heels, I saw a pair of boots online. Enzo Angiolinis, which I like. I once found a great pair of cool brown heels that are Enzos - also pretty comfy now that I think of it - on a business trip to Kansas City. Yes, Kansas City, who knew? (Actually, I should not be that surprised. I've often found good things in smaller cities. I bought a great vintage coat - red wool, with black faux fur collar - in Cincinnati.)

Back to the boots: Originally $170, they were on sale for $50. I could not refuse such a bargain. Who cares that we are in our low income part of the year right now? (Dumb university, paying Chris a 9 month salary.) I needed these boots. I mean, my winter boots are getting a little old, and I am all about planning ahead... So, I clicked, I entered numbers, I bought the boots. I barely glanced at the confirmation email, tapping my fingers impatiently for the box to arrive.

The box showed up this afternoon. Inside, as you may have guessed, is a lovely pair of size six boots. Unfortunately, I wear size nine. Crap. NOW I take a peek at the email. Yup, it says they are sending me a pair of size sixes. How could I not have noticed this when I ordered the boots? How could I have ordered size six? I am obsessive when I order online, checking and rechecking the details before I hit that last "finalize order" button. Going back to the web site I now see that they ONLY have size six. Crap crap crap. And now I am wondering how I could have ordered and not have entered nine as the size. I would have noticed if only one size was available. I'm going to offer them to my petite pal Ellen, but if she declines and you are small footed (and want to come pick them up), maybe we can work out a deal.

No rest for the snotty

Ada is sick again (hence the early posting). Why oh why does a sick child wake up EARLIER than normal? I mean, other than to sneeze on me, which is of course a bonus at 4am. Chris got up to soothe the beast at some time after 3. I momentarily woke up, but fell back asleep when I saw that he was up. By 4 I woke up for real, as whatever valiant efforts he was making were not convincing the Maven of Mucus to shut her eyes for a little longer. I nursed Ada in bed and then tried to replace my nipple with a nuk for a bit more shut-eye for all. Nope. So here we are. 4:30 am and the gal is reorganizing her toys and smiling sweetly at me. I'd love to be as eloquent and erudite as HBM on as little sleep, but that is just not going to happen. Hell, I'm not that clever with a full night of rest. My only hope is that by 6:30 Ada will want a nap and we can both sleep.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Free herb

or, reason 532 why I love Portland

Portland is a "leave stuff on the sidewalk with a 'free' sign and hope that people take it away" kind of city. Now, it is no New York or San Francisco, but it is pretty high in the "free stuff on the street" hierarchy. (I bet you didn't know there even was such a hierarchy, but I'm here to tell you there is.) Chicago always had the right set-up to be a good free-stuff city (apartments and houses jammed up against one another, lots of alleys, rich and poor living in close proximity) but it never really came through for me. Rhode Islanders are too obsessed with yard sales to be giving their stuff away.

Over the years, I've gotten some good things from Portland streets: small appliances; clothes, the odd accidental piece of junk-art. Last week I picked up a hardback copy of Sarah Conley from a box of books marked "Free: Please Take." One of my favorite work shirts was a free find. I've given things away too. Books mostly, but recently I pulled up some oregano plants from my herb garden. (That stuff grows like crazy around here. Almost as well as rosemary, which is currently threatening to take over my entire garden.) I stuck five plants in pots, watered them and lined them out on the sidewalk with a sign "Free Oregano, Yum". People picked them up over the next day or two.

Walking with Ada today, we stopped in front of a house around the corner to wave at a cat. I noticed one of my oreganos on the porch. It made me feel oddly elated, knowing who took one of the plants. I love being part of a community, particularly one in which people offer up free things to one another. My trash, your prize, and vice versa. I love you Portland. Now, about that free IPod...

Friday, June 09, 2006

A fool for June

I love June. The whole month is just such a wonderland. I love that feeling of potential, that the best, most fun, most bountiful months of the year are upon us. The start of summer, beautiful days that are warm but not too hot, the long long evenings, strawberries at the farmers market, knowing other berries are coming, plus tomatoes, peaches, plums...

Some more things to be happy about on a Friday in June:

  • During yesterday's hang-out-on-the-bed-after-dinner-but-before-bath time, Ada kept crawling back and forth between us to kiss Chris and me. She crawled over, grabbed my face and pushed her lips onto my cheek. Then she crawled over to Chris and did the same thing before returning to me.

  • It is likely just a fluke, but Ada took a 2.5 hour nap yesterday. She never does this. Of course it is a fluke (today we saw a one hour morning nap), but it was amazing!

  • Chris made the most amazing Cuban-style pork. It cooked at low heat for over 3 hours and was so soft and delicate. Sigh. Chris is good at a lot of things, not least of which is his pork-cooking ability.

  • My garden is in full swing at this point. My neighbors say nice things to me about it, which makes me simultaneously blush and feel proud of the work I've put into it.

  • My daughter thinks she's a pirate:

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Astronaut has landed!

Happy birthday Astro! We are thrilled by your arrival, even though we weren't really expecting you yet. Your mom and dad were really counting on a few more weeks to get things totally set. For one thing, they haven't even decided on your name yet. But you must know what you are doing. Like your pal Ada, you knew it was time; your parents just tossed out the wrapping paper from the shower gifts.

When you want to know more about your parents and all the silly things they did before you were born, feel free to ask me any time. I know you won't be able to speak for a while, but just give me a wink and I will tell you whatever you want to know.

Chris, Ada and I are so looking forward to knowing you. Welcome to the world.

Random quote and unrelated photo of the week

He stopped. He had had enough of talking. There was too much talking, anyhow. People saying, "I love you," with a touch that didn't mean "I love you." People saying, "There, there," with gestures that did not soothe. People saying, "I'm your mother," while reaching out to a Chihuahua instead of their own flesh and blood. Tyler looked stricken. Lori shifted nervously in her seat. Bandit growled. Cesar turned to the dog and said "Sh-h-h." And everyone was still.

Malcolm Gladwell
What The Dog Saw: Cesar Millan and the movements of mastery

Monday, June 05, 2006

Wow, I'm First!

Something is annoying me about popular blogs. (You know, folks who regularly get 30 or more comments, whether they've written something introspective and soul-searching, something hilarious, or even when they've just logged on to say "ooh, I burped.") Now, I've got nothing against these popular blogs themselves. I mean, they are popular for a reason. Their authors are good writers - funny, interesting and charming. I get why people read them. I mean, I'm reading them, right? I have no beef with these women and men.

What annoys me isn't the bloggers themselves. It is the commenters that bug me. Specifically, the first commenter. The one who writes "yay, I'm first". Is that all you've got? I mean, why the fuck comment if you don't actually have something to say about the post? It isn't a skill that has brought you to this "esteemed" position. No, it's luck or good timing or obsessive blog-checking. Or all three, I don't know. But it isn't something worth gushing over. Next time please celebrate silently about your first comment "status" and just write something about your response to the post, your experience in a similar situation to the blogger's, or your thoughts on a related subject. Just spare us the self-congratulatory inanity.

Updated for Irony: Sitemeter says that someone in the Phillipines found me by searching for "popular blogs". Um, wrong place, hon. Try Dooce.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Damn right I'm smug

I just can't help myself. This was my gas mileage recently, after a trip to Salem and back (about 90 miles round trip)

0 to 2.5 years in 3.4 seconds

As we crawl toward that all-exciting one year mark with Miss Earlygirl, a strange thing is happening. She's turning into a two-year old. Most of the time she's a happy-go-lucky kid, but when she sees something she wants but can't have, she's livid. She reaches out her arm toward the desired object, and when it is not delivered into her sweaty palm, she growls and whines.

This all comes on the heels of her increasing comfort with and enjoyment of her first word. (Did I mention she says "cup" about five million times a day? Very charming, if a bit repetitive.) "Cup" can mean either "I'd like some water in a cup please" or "oh look, there is a cup in the room." When no cup is around, the meaning is more obvious, but when we are in the kitchen things get a little more foggy for me. Needless to say, I spend a lot of time offering her a cup of water, only to have her shake her head at me. ("Mom the village idiot apparently has not grasped that I was merely informing her that there is a cup in the general vicinity. Fools, fools these parents of mine!")

So yes, the point of this whole cup digression? The point is, Ada can now tell us what she wants, so long as what she wants comes in a cup. Anything else she desires must be identified by extending her arm toward it and grunting meaningfully. The problem is not that I don't know what she is pointing at; it is usually pretty clear that she'd like the television remote, my glasses, the hot mug of coffee I'm constantly moving away from her grasp. No, the problem is that sometimes I won't give her one of the aforementioned items, or some other item that could hurt her, that she'd destroy in seconds or that I just might want to keep her from because I am a mean, mean mommy. My refusal to give in to her every demand is frustrating Ada. "You clearly understand me, because you give me the cup when I ask for it," she's thinking, "so what is the problem here?"

The problem (other than that I am a mean, mean mommy) is that Ada's desires have outpaced her ability to express them and to understand why they might not always be fulfilled. Talking about it at dinner, Chris and I agreed that it was probably time to work on some more signs with Ada. Right now she understands "change" (as in diaper) and will do "more" (as in "isn't it time you fed me now?"). We've been working on "thank you" and "gentle", but those are going to take some time. We have some others in regular rotation (bath, book) but this may be the time to go back to "milk" and a few others. Unfortunately for the toddler-in-training, we aren't focusing in on "gimme" or, as Chris suggested, a sign that allows her to express her frustration with her uncooperative parents.