Wednesday, October 27

The Rally Monkey Worked His Magic...

...and Boston will never be the same. I'm happy for Adam, I'm happy for Doodles (who, as Adam says, won't have to live his life in constant want for a win), and I'm happy for me because I can go to sleep.

A Father Is Born

Once upon a time, when I was a corporate drone, I had a wonderful officemate, even though on occasion he did drive me crazy with his pachinko music (and refusing to wear headphones when listening to said music) and his penchant for pumping me for information on my dating life (which, at the time, could be termed active). We both loved Virgin Radio, old flicks, and gummy bears. It was an office made in heaven and it unfortunately ended prematurely.

And even though he just wrote me the most horrific e-mail I have ever received (damn you, Simon, for putting those images in my head!), I still hold Simon in great esteem. So it was with tremendous happiness that I welcome his and Molly's daughter to the world. And it is with just a touch of schadenfreude that I relish that he has no idea what's about to hit him: sleepless nights, wifely hormonal mood swings, nonstop crying (and from the baby, too!). I think this makes up for the pachinko music.

And for the record, Adam would like to suggest the name Pedro or Curt. I'd like to suggest Pete or Geoff.

Welcome to the world, Lump. It's going to be quite a ride!

It's Rather Hard to Concentrate...

...on blogging when every three seconds I need to humor my husband and pretend I'm listening to him. "The Fox announcer is a moron." "Don't jinx this!" "On Sons of Sam Horn, someone wrote..." "This idiot on this list I'm on just said..."

Sigh. In order to not jinx this, I'll just say, one way or another, next week at this time, I'll be free and I'll have my TV back.

Now go take a peek at the lunar eclipse. It's beautiful.

Doodles Doodles

go red sox!
(with a little help from Mom at today's Tots and Twos Gym)

One Foot in Front of the Other

With just five training runs until the big day, my drive is flagging. Part of the problem is that no one warned me that tapering is hard! In fact, I was relieved when my marathon-veteran friend Carly told me that she had a hard time tapering, because I was really starting to think it's me. After all, my runs are now short, I'm feeling strong, and marathon day is in sight. But the thing is, the tapering runs make me feel unprepared. Another friend, Fishy, gave me this advice at the beginning of my training: It's better to undertrain than overtrain. And I know that tapering is crucial to a safe marathon. But I can't help but think, "Oh, I should be doing longer! I'm going to lose my strength! Maybe I should just do a few extra miles..."

I've been training with this program, Boston Fit, which is part of USA Fit, which has been around for a while. They've got the marathon thing down. But for the program, you do your long runs by miles on Saturdays and your weekday runs by time (so I'd run 40 minutes at tempo pace or 35 easy or 45 hills) and you only run four days a week. As a result, my runs are shorter than those on even the most relaxed training programs. However, I've been running consistently, I've done two 18-mile runs and one 21-mile run (which is one long run more than Boston Fit prescribes but my anxiety deemed it necessary)

And then there's the tedium. Oh, the tedium! I am so sick of all my local routes that I'm going buggy. I run now in the mornings before Adam leaves for work, so I can't go exploring for different routes. It's just out the door and down the street. Every run in my neighborhood is a hill run (which I know I'll appreciate during the marathon) but I just want a change of scenery!

Five training runs. Eleven days. I can do this....

Tell Me a Story

Adam and I have been reading to Doodles since he was in utero. When he was born, we began reading to him two or three times a day. As he's gotten older, we've been reading to him more often.

Yet Doodles hasn't always been so enamored of his books. As soon as he was capable of moving those little arms in a coordinated manner, he would yank the book from my hands and shove it into his mouth. I would put him on my lap and stretch my arm all the way out so he couldn't reach the book.

Then Doodles moved on. No longer did he want to eat the books, he just wanted to turn the pages. Rapidly. I'd start reading really, really fast to keep up with him: "Goodnightcombgoodnightmushgoodnightnobodygoodnightmush." What was harder was when he'd flip the pages backwards (skipping a few in the process) and I'd try to still keep up: "Goodnightcombgoodnightroomtwolittlekittensinthegreatgreenroom."

I'd enviously watch other kids who actually looked at books. People assured me someday Doodles would enjoy looking at books too. I didn't believe that day would ever come.

Well, that day has come (as I'm sure you guessed, else why else would I be writing this post?). You can imagine my absolute delight that when I now say to Doodles, "Bring me a book and I'll read to you," he walks over the shelf, pulls out all of the books until he gets to one of his two favorites, and carries it over to me with a big grin. He holds the book out to me and then waits for me to pull him up onto my lap. He doesn't turn the page until I'm done reading it and occasionally he wants me to read the whole book again. True, when I'm done, he then flips through the book backwards and then shoves it into his mouth (he had stopped mouthing everything, but now that he has three molars coming in, back into the mouth the books go!). But he truly seems to love books.

In the mornings, he yawns and stretches along with Hey, Wake Up. In the bath, he splashes when Mimi does. When the monkeys fall off the bed (one of the two favorites), he points to his head and then shakes his finger "no" as the doctor says, "No more monkeys jumping on the bed!" He joins in the "raaaah" of when the gorilla sings (and I confess, when we first were given this book, I thought it awfully simplistic, but I now see its charm and Doodles is a big fan). But when we read him his absolute favorite book (judged by how many times he asks for it), he actually just sits patiently and reverently listens. (And I'm delighted to say that his favorite is one of my favorites too. I wouldn't have survived having to read that grammatical nightmare of a book over and over.) Don't read the reviews of the book though; they give away the ending (seriously, though, this is such a great book).

Now that we have a book lover on our hands, I can't stop buying them for him! (At least I get them used.) Anyone got any favorites to suggest (and we're still in the board book phase--he can't quite turn paper pages yet)?

Forward This!

I don't mind so much getting e-mail forwards from my friends. Because then I simply mock and ridicule them until they stop, and I feel like I've helped society in some small way. But lately I've been getting e-mail forwards from people I can't do anything about. (I'm talking here about the jokes, about the "why motherhood is hard but so rewarding," about the "you're a wonderful woman" e-mails--I swear I've gotten that last one twenty times. Hey thanks. I know I'm wonderful.)

I'm currently on the list of someone I've never met (and it is the nature of blogs that I won't say who this person is or why I'm on this person's list). How this person decided that I was the proper recipient for forwards I can't figure out. I also have a relative who's a big fan of the e-mail jokes. This relative has been in and out of the good graces of the family (that sounds so Mafioso, but really, it's family with a lowercase f). I can always tell when this relative likes us (meaning the family as a whole) again because, wham! I'm back on the joke list.

I'm not even sure why I find these e-mails so annoying. I mean, I have a delete button that works just fine. I think it's just the principle behind it. (I know I have about three friends who are going to be tempted to flood me with forwards as a direct response to this post; let me just remind you that what comes around, goes around.)

Wednesday, October 20

Pedro Martinez Is... Oh, You Know the Drill

I love my husband, but I sometimes think my life would be easier had I married a Marlins fan... or a Dodgers fan... or any other team's fan (with the possible exception of the Cubs). I'm not sure he's going to survive tonight.

It's Started...

The marathon nightmares, I mean. I dreamt that I had already run 30 of the 36 miles (I know a marathon is only 26.2 miles; give me a break, it's just a dream), and I realized I hadn't had anything to drink. I felt amazingly good--I had floated through those 30 miles and I couldn't remember anything about them in the dream--but figured I should take some of the lime green Gatorade offered in tiny cups at this water stop that seemed awfully small for the NYC marathon. And then, somehow, I wasn't running anymore. I had gone home for a quick nap or something (and home was some NY apartment), and I panicked suddenly that I wasn't going to finish the race. I charged out and tried to get back to the last place I remembered, which was mile 30. It was far away from where I was. I decided to tell people I had stopped because of stomach pain because that sounded a lot better than, "I went back to my apartment just because I felt like it." I desperately asked people if they could take me back, only I didn't have any money on me for a subway or a taxi. I kept asking taxi drivers if they'd take a credit card (figuring that I could simply use the number since I had it memorized). Finally someone said, "Oh, you're in the race? I'll take you!" I was so relieved, but then I freaked out when I realized he was also dropping off two other people elsewhere and he was dropping them off first. I woke up just as I was shouting at him, "Can't you drop me off first? I've got to finish the race!"

Hmmm, I'm not showing any anxiety about the marathon. No, no. Not me.

Lessons Learned

Note to self: When invited to any event (such as pumpkin decorating) with Doodles that involves paint, don't wear your new shirt.

Note to Adam: Next time I go out the morning after doing something (such as pumpkin decorating) with Doodles that involves paint, remind me that the jeans from the day before are covered with paint. Please tell me this before I put them on. And barring that, please tell me at least before I leave the house.

Note to self: Wearing jeans striped with green and yellow paint doesn't make you look post-modern or punk. They just make you look like you dirty.

Which Witch?

The perfect fall day presented itself on Sunday morning, and I was in a New England state of mind so we decided to take a Halloween-y trip to Salem. The town wasn't as frightful as I had hoped (although some of the locals do take the season a wee bit far), but it was a lovely town and we had a nice morning. A nice breakfast (at which we introduced our child to chocolate milk; that he loved, even though he refused all other offers of human food substances), a walk through the marketplace, a few stops to listen to the musicians or to watch dogs.

The most challenging thing we did was try and decide which witches to watch. There's the Salem Witch Museum, the Salem Witch Trials Memorial, the Salem Witch Village, the Witch Dungeon Museum, the Witch History Museum, the Witch House, and the Witch Mansion in 3D. Got that?

We decided on the Salem Witch Museum because... well, because we had to pick just one and that's the one we picked. For those visiting Salem, let me give you a bit of advice: If you have a toddler who wants to toddle, don't go to a museum that primarily consists of a twenty-minute show where you need to sit on the floor. First of all, said toddler will want to take off. Especially because there's a bright and shiny red circle in the middle of the floor that looks like so much fun! And second, because in those moments just after the music has swelled and the tension has peaked, and a moment of silence ensues, nothing kills the moment like a tiny--yet strong--"ba ba ba ba ba" ringing across the room. Luckily for us, just as we cringed, stage-whispering "shhhs!" in his ear, my hand over our child's mouth (which he thought meant we were going to play the game where we tap our hand on his mouth so he can make neat sounds), someone's cell phone went off. Which wouldn't have been so bad... except the guy answered it. The woman he was with covered her face with her hands and literally sunk down so as not to be seen with him.

Because/despite Doodles's enthusiasm, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It'll be more fun to go back when he's older and can appreciate the history and the fun of the town. But in the meantime, I'm going to have my fill of candy corn and Halloween peeps. Boo!

Wednesday, October 13

Farmer Doodles

where're my fields?
What happens when Adam dresses Doodles.

What Goes On That I Don't Know About?

[Warning: This may be TMI for those without kids; those with kids are used to this] Adam was giving Doodles his bath the other night while I was on my computer. "Ugh," he called to me. "We've got a floater!"

From the next room I called, "Bleah! Well, start refilling the tub!"

Adam pauses for a moment. "Really? It's just a small one."

I stop at typing at this point. "Um, hello? It's fecal matter. In my son's bath. You know, the little guy who likes to drink his bath water? Refill the bath tub."

I hear a deep sigh, and finally, the sound of a child being put on the bath rug. I came in to check and couldn't help but squeeze that adorable bubble-covered tushie. But it makes me wonder: what he does with Doodles when I'm not around? I think some things are better left unknown.

I Heart the Suburbs

My destiny is the big city. When I dreamed as a child, it was always of me in New York, Paris, and even for a brief time, Geneva. In my fantasies I had a high-paying, high-stress banking job (yes, that's right, banking--for the first eighteen years of my life I wanted to go into international banking), with an extravagant, elegant apartment with wall-to-wall window views of the city skyline. The twinkling in my apartment never came from stars but from the skyscrapers beneath me (my apartment was always in the sky; never mind the fact that I'm really not comfortable with heights). My furniture was always all white in my vision, which is odd because I've never been a real fan of white. Colors appeal to me. I digress...

I had this great boyfriend in college, David. He was intelligent, caring, and, I always thought, a little conventional. I used to tease him that he was destined for suburbia, that someday he'd have a white picket fence, 2.4 kids, and a station wagon. I could easily picture him mowing the lawn, tossing a ball with the kids in the backyard, and getting home right at 6 each day for a family dinner. David would always laugh good naturedly when I said this, but he never denied it.

That was one of the reasons (okay, one of many reasons) we were not meant to be. And now, now David lives in suburbia. At least he did the last time I caught up with him, which was about ten years ago (I was always sorry I lost touch with him; simply a matter of one year we fell off each other's holiday card lists). Ten years ago, he was married to a lovely woman, lived in a ranch house, and he drove a practical car. The white picket fence was missing, but for all intents and purposes (which I only recently learned is not "all intensive purposes"), he was exactly where I had thought he would be.

The suburbs--and by extension, marriage and children--was just another way to say "imprisonment," "claustrophobia," and, while this may be a little extreme, "the end of a life worth living."

not our white picket fence, i swearSo how is it that I find myself now living the ultimate suburban life? My town is pure suburbia. Just fifteen-minutes from Boston, the houses scream "white picket fence," although few literally have them. I am suburban mom personified. (Is that right? Can you personify that? I mean "suburban mom" is an ideal--as in "existing as an archetypal idea," not as "embodying an ideal"--right, so it can be personified. Now I'm doubting my grammar....)

I am a mom, even though most days I look at Doodles, whose personality is emerging more and more each day, and think, "Wow! Where did he come from?" That means I take my child to the park, to music class, to the baby gym. And being a mom in suburbia means knowing moms everywhere. At the park, I run into moms I know, and those I don't know, I still strike up conversations with. I see moms I know at the library. At the grocery store. At Starbucks. I can't turn around in this town without knowing someone.

In New York, I never knew my neighbors. Knowing neighbors defeated the whole anonymity thing. Besides, I didn't want to be able to put a face to those noises I heard through the walls. Ewww... And now? Now I not only know my neighbors, I attend their block parties, I take their toy hand-me-downs for Doodles. I chat with them on the street about their house remodels and family matters. My neighbor witnessed Doodles's first step. We stop to play with the neighbor's grandkids whenever we see them in their front yard.

I drive a station wagon, I wear my hair in ponytails, and I bake macaroni and cheeses for people with new babies. I always have Kleenex in my pocket and a graham cracker in my purse. I kiss boo boos.

Suburbia. Who knew it could be so great?

Thursday, October 7

The Ultimate New England Fall

Last Saturday, Doodles, Adam, and I headed up to Hollis, New Hampshire, so I could run the Applefest Half Marathon. It's amazing how much my running has improved. So much so that when Adam and I went out for dinner on the Friday before, I thought, "Hey, I can have a martini tonight because I'm only running 13 miles tomorrow."

Early Saturday I met up with my Boston Fit buddies and enjoyed the foggy, cool morning. I had my special Mocha Chocolate energy bar from Starbucks that I'd been saving just for that morning. I took one bite from it... before Doodles grabbed it from my hands. Ah, yes. Candy corn... and coffee. What a well-rounded diet! I managed to get some of it from him so I wasn't running completely empty. The route was quite hilly but very scenic, even though we were definitely running through Republican country. I've started a new strategy of walking through the water stops, and it's increased my time to the point where I completed the half in a personal record: 2:11:53 (a 10:04 minute mile pace).

After the race, we grabbed a quick lunch and met some friends for apple picking. Doodles, as it turns out, isn't the biggest fan of the fruit, although points to him for trying. He did enjoy riding on Adam's back and he had a great time playing with the pumpkins and wagons at the fruit stand.

Despite it being a nap-free day (and truth be told, I needed the nap more than Doodles), it turned out being the perfect fall day. This was the kind of day that makes me think I could live out here for good. The colors, the cool air, the smell of the leaves.

Now all I've got to do is figure out what to do with this bag o'apples we've got sitting in the kitchen.

Runny Noses and Nos

Being sick sucks. Being sick with a toddler who thinks the word "No" is hilarious is the tenth circle of hell. Doodles is so toddler now, it's not even funny. Yesterday, as I lay on the couch moaning, Doodles was busy taking full advantage. I really don't want to be a "No" mom. I don't like rules and I don't want to fill our days with me screeching. So Adam and I agreed that we only use "No" for safety issues and for other things we'll distract, use other language, and just generally try to be pleasant.

Um, do you know how many safety hazards a child can get into even in a baby proofed room?

For starters there's our stereo. We have it wrapped up in netting, which worked for about four months. But no longer. Adam and I know we need to buy an enclosed cabinet for our equipment, but in the meantime, it's a definite "No," because we'd strongly prefer it not fall on our child.

Then there's the climbing/standing thing. Doodles has learned how to climb. On top of things (like his toys). Into things (like the bathtub). Over things (anything in his path). Which would be fine if it weren't for the thing that comes after climbing: falling. Which he does frequently. And while I believe to a certain extent he just needs to fall to learn, the ulcer developing in my stomach can't take too much of it. So climbing becomes a "No."

And then there's my safety. I hadn't thought of this before, but my safety deserves "No"s too. Like when I think Doodles is cuddling so nicely on my stomach, blowing a few raspberries, making nice. And my eyes are drifting shut and all is good with the world. Until, of course, Doodles opens that little mouth of his and uses all nine of his teeth to chomp down with all his might on my exposed belly. Really can't say "No" loud enough for that one.

And what does Doodles do each time I say "No?" He laughs. He laughs and laughs and laughs. With that contagious little grin of his, he just laughs. And no matter where I put him, what I try to distract him with, he finds his way back to whatever caused the "No" and he does it all over again.

On any other day, I'd whisk him outside and let him work out his aggressions. But I was just so tired and so congested. So I meekly yelled "No" from the sofa and then demanded Adam come home from work early.

And I think I want two of these creatures? Ha!

Nano Nano

Last year, I conceded defeat. But this year--this year I will once again wear my crown of Nanoness with pride. Yes, boys and girls, I have once again signed on to do Nanowrimo. While the rules clearly state that the novel must be written from scratch, I plan on picking up where I left off when I last won Nanowrimo two years ago (don't get excited: everyone who finishes wins). Basically the novel I was working on is very clearly defined by two sections. Section One is complete and that's what I did two years ago. But I haven't touched Section Two other than some minor outlining (which is allowed). So in a sense, I'll be starting that from scratch. Of course, it'll be a hard month, what with the marathon and the Thanksgiving holiday, but I figure if I just ignore e-mail for the month and convince Doodles to take three-hour naps, I can get through this thing. Anyone else in?

Sick Day

I took a sick day yesterday from the blog. I will, however, update later today when I'm finished with the freelance project I'm working on.