Wednesday, August 30

Birthday Blast-Off

At 5:55 p.m. last Friday, I was able to toast that I had, once again, made it through my child's first year. Sweetie Pie turned one, and I no longer am the mother to an infant. It is both exciting and bittersweet, as I divest myself of baby things, certain that yes, we are indeed done with babyhood. This past year was so much easier than my first year with Doodles, but at the same time, I feel cheated: Sweetie is on the verge of toddlerhood and I feel like I missed so much. She's this fiery, spunky little girl with a mind of her own. She doesn't like cow's milk; she likes to try to make people laugh by saying, "Achoo!"; she can count to three (even if she has no idea what the numbers mean--"one, ooo, eeee!"); she hasn't met a stair or a slide that she can't scale; she hasn't found a food that she won't devour. She's not a baby blob anymore and I don't know where it all went.

So we had our birthday bash. Doodles got his rocket cake (chocolate, of course) and Sweetie had a Saturn cake (thank goodness I didn't plan on a Pluto cake!) (names blotted out, which is why the cakes look a little funny here). The party was as much of a success as could be expected with toddlers high on sugar and babies high on sugar (did I mention that Sweetie has discovered that she likes cake? Now that's a surprise, huh?), and parents high on sugar (and beer). Lots of noise, lots of running around. Not too much damage (although Doodles's grandfathers did bop an innocent toddler on the head during a highly competitive Frisbee game). It was all good, but I'm happy I don't have to do it again for another year.

Wednesday, August 23

Boy Talk

Ever just want to haul off and smack the crap out of some seven year old? Yeah, I wouldn't have thought I would, but there you go: you learn something new about yourself every day.

Doodles and Sweetie and I were sitting on the front porch. The ice cream truck had just rolled down our street, and I let Doodles get a treat. He scanned the offerings and immediately glommed onto a Dora popsicle. He sat on the front porch, licking Dora's hair. He was as cute as could be, with his hair in lovely pigtails. Sweetie Pie is at a point where her hair is simply big. With the curls, the hair goes out instead of down, creating something of a baby 'fro, so I usually put her hair in pigtails or barrettes. Whenever I do so, of course, Doodles wants pigtails or barrettes, too, and I'm happy to oblige.

An older boy from down the street came ambling up. A younger older boy (does that make sense) was also playing nearby. "Is that a Dora popsicle?" the older boy asked in horror. Doodles kept licking and, hackles rising, I said, "Yes." The older boy turned to the younger older boy and sneered, "Look at his hair! Maybe he's a girl!" While I wanted to smack the kid and yell, "What? Are you already feeling insecure about your manhood?" I controlled myself and simply said in a chilly voice, "I can assure you, he's a boy." Something in my tone, though, must have given me away, and he took off.

Now, let me say, it's not the "girl" part that was offensive--I don't find "girl" to be an insult. It was the tone and intent. Luckily, Doodles kept happily eating his Dora popsicle, but it made me really sad that at this young age he's going to be facing people with such hardened notions about gender. And it also made me feel completely vulnerable, with this sudden insight that I can't protect my little boy from the world, that there are people out there who are going to be mean and nasty to him and there's not a thing I can do about it. My little boy is a sensitive, polite, caring child, and I'm so very proud of him. I'm going to teach him that boys can like Dora, wear pink, and put their hair in pigtails. And then I'm going to show him how to throw an uppercut followed by a left hook. That should take care of things.

One-Sided Conversations I Have with Sweetie Pie (Unless You Count "Eeeeee!" as a Response)

  • Sweetie, the floor is doing just fine. No need to feed it your dinner.
  • How the f*uck did you get all the way up there?
  • Yes, I know you're becoming a very good stander. Just no need to practice standing halfway up the slide!
  • Sweetie Pie, your brother is not a tackling dummy. Get off him now, please.
  • Sweetie Pie. Sweetie Pie? Sweetie Pie! Where the hell is Sweetie Pie! I walked out of the room for two seconds! Sweetie Piiiiiieeee! For God's sake, Sweetie Pie, how did you get in there?
  • Bath water is not for drinking.
  • Drinking water is not for spitting.
  • Why do your cheeks look like that? What are you up to? Ohmygod, how many rocks did you stuff in there?!?


Three years and one day ago, our living room couch and chair were clean.

Three years ago, my precious Doodlebug was born.

I can live with a dirty couch.

Happy birthday, my monkey.

Wednesday, August 16

A Post About Nothing

Ah, one of those weeks where blogging Wednesday rolls around and I really have nothing to say. My mind is a million places these days--copyediting job, working on my own novel, kids' birthday parties, do we have presents for all the parties we're going to be attending, am I getting enough mileage from my runs, and so on and so on--that I haven't a single witty or interesting thing to blog about this week.

I'm feeling sentimental about my babies' birthdays. Doodles turns three next Wednesday. And Sweetie Pie turns one the following Friday. Such big kids! Doodles is full of questions and wonder and Sweetie Pie is a moving machine. She's big and yummy and cruising her little heart out and trying to mimic our speech and she's definitely looking more toddler than infant and it makes me both so very happy and so very sad.

The moo countdown is on--I need just 24 ounces for two more days of school before she gets whole milk and I already have 12 ounces in the freezer--which is a beautiful thing. I'll pump a little extra so that we can mix it with milk, in case she doesn't like milk, but within two weeks I can confidently say, I'll be pump-free. I haven't made any decisions yet on when to wean her from the br*east for good. I still hate br*eastfeeding. But I do like the closeness with her and the ability to make her so darn happy. But I am anxious to reclaim my body for myself again. I did give away the can of back-up formula that I bought the week before she was born. I'm pretty happy that I didn't have to use it. Not that I have anything against formula--Doodles actually had his fair share of it--but it's cool to think of Sweetie Pie as all-natural, formula-free. I wish I could post pictures of her yumminess for you, but I don't like to do that in the blog. Those with the password can see her yumminess in the photo section.

Tomorrow is the Tweedle Twirp's birthday. Happy birthday Tweeds! How did you get to be 35? I recall when you were Doodle-sized too well for you to be 35. And how the hell did I get old enough that my little sister is practically middle aged? Yeah. I just got notice of my twenty-year high school reunion. Bleah! Actually, I'd go if I didn't have not one, but two better things to do that weekend. It's the same weekend as my marathon and it's also the same weekend that the wonderful Alisa and Jeff will be celebrating their marriage, and as curious as I am to what folks back home have been up to, I'm truly bummed to be missing the wedding party. How is it my calendar is clear for 51 weeks of the year and then everything happens on the same weekend? (Jeff, by the way, writes about his daughter handing him back her uneaten portion of corn on the cob and it brought back memories of going to my favorite rib joint in South Miami, Flynn's, and eating ribs. My father would look over them and say, "Are you done with those? You left half the meat on them," when I was sure that I had cleaned them all off as much as possible. And then he'd say, "Hand 'em over," and would proceed to finish them off. The way Sweetie Pie eats, I don't think I'll ever have this experience. Unless it's her eyeing my plate for tidbits I've left behind.)

Okay, that's enough of nothing. Somehow, when Seinfeld went on about nothing, he was much more interesting. That's just the way it goes.

(And speaking of Seinfeld, I think he and Doodles have some sort of thing going. Remember this Seinfeld quote: "Cinnamon. It should be on tables in restaurants along with salt and pepper. Anytime someone says, 'Ooh, this is so good - what's in this?' the answer invariably comes back, 'cinnamon.' Cinnamon. Again and again." Doodles lives this.)

Wednesday, August 9

More Bodily Functions

And it's all about the bodily functions these days. This morning I gave Doodles a popsicle.

Doodles: Where's the popsicle?
Me: You ate it!
Doodles: Where is it now?
Me: It's inside you.
Doodles: Is it going to turn into poop?

Ah, poop. Doodles is still fascinated by it. Wants to see it. Wants to talk about it. Just doesn't want to acknowledge his own. Still hates having his diaper changed. Still refuses to poop on the potty. Although now, if you ask him about it, he says, "I'll poop on the potty when I go to preschool." A nice thought... but we've heard promises like this before. We'll see... My money is on Sweetie Pie being potty trained first.

And then there's my own bodily functions. In a cruel twist of fate, the closer I get to being able to feed Sweetie Pie whole milk, the less milk I can produce. Which means that in order to get the b*reast milk needed to get her through five more day care days, I need to pump twice as much. It's killing me. Theoretically I could give her milk this Friday, as the doc said 11 1/2 months. But that just doesn't it cut it with my O.C.D. tendencies, which insist that I make it a full year (kind of like when my training schedule says I need to run 10 miles, I'll run up and down the block to get there, because 9.96 just isn't the same), so Sweetie won't get cow's milk till August 26 (because she was born at 5:55 p.m., I'll need to wait till the next morning to get that full year in).

But the final countdown is on. In two weeks and two days, I'm packing up that pump FOREVER!! Moooooo!

And Already It Begins...

I get Doodles out of the house and to Target by telling him he can pick out a new lunch box that he’ll take with him to preschool. He’s psyched for the idea, and all the while I’m shopping, he’s asking, “Where are the lunch boxes? Can I get my lunch box now?” I say we’ll get there soon and I remind him that Sweetie Pie will need a lunch box too for the Tiny Tot room. “Can I pick out her lunch box?” I shrug, and say, “Sure!” Sweetie Pie is babbling away in my mei tai carrier and doesn’t seem to mind the idea.

So, we make our way over the lunch box aisle finally, and they have *the* cutest dinosaur lunch boxes. I quickly move Doodles past the Spiderman, Batman, and the like lunch boxes.

Me: Wow! Look at this! Are these the coolest lunch boxes or what?
Doodles: They’re dinosaurs!
Me: They are dinosaurs!
Doodles: I want a dinosaur lunch box!
Me: I think that’s a fabulous idea. Would you like the orange one or the green one?
Doodles: Um, the orange one.
I pull the orange one over.
Me: Look! Do you see what kind of dinosaur it is?
Doodles: Is it a triceratops?
Me: Yes, it is! That’s very good, Doodles.
Doodles: I want to pick Sweetie Pie’s lunch box.
Me: Great idea. Do you think Sweetie Pie would like the green dinosaur?
Doodles wrinkles his face in distaste.
Doodles: No. Sweetie Pie wants the Hello Kitty lunchbox.
Let me interject here and ask: How the hell does my son know what Hello Kitty is!!?!! Okay, back to our story:
Me: I really think Sweetie Pie would like the green dinosaur.
Doodles: No, the Hello Kitty lunch box.
Me: I think the green dinosaur is the baby sister dinosaur. Don’t you think Sweetie Pie should have the baby sister dinosaur?
Doodles starts getting upset: The Hello Kitty lunch box!
Me: I have an idea! Why don’t we get you the Hello Kitty lunchbox and we’ll get Sweetie Pie the dinosaur lunch box!
Doodles: No, I want the dinosaur. Sweetie Pie wants Hello Kitty.

Now I’m debating with myself. Do I get the Hello Kitty like he asks for? (I can't find the lunch box online, but it looks almost like this.) After all, I did say he could pick out her lunch box. Or do I override him and get her the green dinosaur? I even contemplate buying both the green dinosaur and the Hello Kitty and then secretly returning the Hello Kitty when Doodles’s forgotten about it. Then I have an idea. After all, Sweetie Pie has my genes, right?

Me: I know! Let’s let Sweetie Pie decide!
Sweetie Pie is happily reaching for everything from inside my mei tai.
I hold up the dinosaur.
Me: Sweetie Pie! [lots of cheer in my voice] Do you want the neat green dinosaur!!
I hold up Hello Kitty.
Me: [voice goes lower] Or do you want this one?
Sweetie Pie looks at both. Her eyes start to sparkle and she gives a big smile.
Me: Look! Sweetie Pie wants the dinosaur! Here Sweetie Pie!
At which point Sweetie Pie squeals loudly with disgust, bats her hand out until it makes contact with the dinosaur, throwing it down on the ground, and grabs the Hello Kitty lunch box with both hand, cackling with delight.
Sweetie Pie: Eee! Eee! Eee!

I buy one dinosaur lunch box and one Hello Kitty lunchbox.

I’m a failure as a feminist mother. They’re going to take away my feminist credentials. Might as well buy those Barbies now and get it over with.

Wednesday, August 2

Birthday Blues

August is upon us. Which means it's time for birthday angst. Not mine. Well, it's not my birthday. It is my angst.

To recap:
Doodles turns three later this month. Two days later, Sweetie Pie turns one. They will be sharing a party this year (and for as many years as I can get away with it).

The dilemmas:
Who to invite to the party? Do I invite the children of my friends, who I would like to come? Do I invite the kids that my children play with at daycare, even if I have no idea who they are (I was going to say, "Even if I don't know them from Adam," but since I do know Adam--at least one specific Adam, even if he's not the biblical Adam, at least, not to my knowledge, he's not--that particular trite expression doesn't work for me)? Do I say the hell with it and not invite any friends and just have family while Doodles is almost young enough for me to get away with it (definitely "almost," as when a friend came over recently, Doodles walked up to him and asked, "Are you coming to my birthday party?" Um, no! He's not invited in any of these scenarios! Oops!). Does Sweetie get to have any friends of her own come? Not that I'm aware of who her friends are because unlike when Doodles was that age, Sweetie Pie doesn't get playdates of her own. She gets to tag along on her brother's playdates.

Then there's poor Sweetie. Is her party simply an add-on to Doodles? Doodles is having a space theme party (excuse me, "a rocket party"). Sweetie gets her own cake because 1) I don't want her having chocolate yet as has been requested by the birthday boy and 2) I want her to be able to rip into her cake and I don't think it would fly with Doodles if she destroyed his rocket cake. Does Sweetie get her own theme? I mean, frankly, let's face it, Sweetie Pie really doesn't have any interests of her own yet other than my b*oobs, rocks and sticks that she can hide in her mouth, and stealing whatever toy Doodles is playing with. Does she get some planet or stars or something to go along with Doodles's cake or do I give her a theme of her own. And what nongirly theme could that be? No pink, no rainbows, no flowers, no princesses. Please! No princesses!! Avoiding the girly stuff is getting pretty tough. For how many years can I vet the presents first and then hide all the princess stuff? I really don't want to do the princess thing. (Hey! Look! I just guaranteed that Sweetie Pie is going to be obsessed with princesses. Maybe I should forbid football. That's probably the best way to insure she becomes the first female NFL player.)

How overboard do I let myself go with my Martha Stewart tendencies? My sister mockingly suggested cutting up pickle slices into triangles to put on as the fins of "hotdog rockets" and I actually for a few seconds considered it.

When Jenny was still a Jennifer, on her 3rd birthdayMy mother tells of my third birthday party where she invited all of the neighborhood kids, got me my favorite ice cream cake, invited me downstairs where I took one look at the cake, one look at the crowd and ran back to my room screaming and she tried her best to get me back down. I believe this is the single photo from that day. I'm hoping to avoid this fate with my own children. And yet, I can't stop thinking, "How could I hang a space shuttle from the trees?" "Would the kids drink Tang?" "Is it possible to take the kids on a trip to Mars?" Am I creating a party my children are going to refuse to attend? (Although that's a nonsense thought, I'm sure, as Doodles will endure just about anything to get cake.)

I think this is all just a distraction to keep me from thinking about the fact that my little bitty baby will no longer be a little bitty baby, but a hulking toddler. And my little bitty toddler will no longer be a little bitty toddler but a--well, let's face it, he'll be a little bitty preschooler. My Doodles. Cute as can be, but still a peanut.

Sigh. And I've got the whole month to get through obsessing about all of this. It's going to a fun month.


You're sitting at the table, eating dinner when you hear the clatter of a toilet lid. Nothing too unusual. There's silence for a few moments, just enough for you to pause mid-bite and think, "Hey, is that right?" Something nags at the back of your mind. Before you can give shape to the thought, you hear the toilet being flushed. Then it slowly dawns on you: "Wait, a minute. Everyone who is toilet trained is actually sitting at this table!" Look at husband who is having the same thought as he rushes to the bathroom to see your son innocently looking up and saying, "I need to wash my hands." So what went down the toilet? Only the Shadow knows.