can you believe june just flew by? i mean, it just started! and if june's gone, then we're already one third of our way through summer. and i hate that idea. i love summer.
when the time flies like this i feel this wild feeling, like i'm losing my grip on the tiny piece of control i have somehow managed. it's as though i'm holding on to something that's moving too fast, that my hair is being pushed back, my feet hurt from trying to simultaneaously slow things down and keep up. i feel like i'm not looking long enough at my children, i'm not visiting long enough with the people i care about, i'm not savoring the food i eat. it reminds me of that joni mitchell song "circle game" which makes me feel both happy and sad.
i'm moving more and more in to that anonymous role of mother, the strong backstage presence that places all of the correct props into the hands of the true stars of the show. i wear black, i blend in, i am the presence that pushes the stroller, the air that holds the baby, the hands that push the wild stray hairs back in to place. i drive people places, i drop them off. i fold the laundry, i kiss the tops of their little heads.
with all of these actions that must take place, how can i find the time to lift my head and take note of certain curren events?
if the time would just slow down, i'd be able to get it all done.
what if i regret things at the end? what if i'm not reading enough, not cuddling enough, not thinking enough? what if this wild ride ends up with feelings of regret? all i can see is the circles spinning faster and faster as i struggle to make appointments, work with schedules, meet deadlines and keep the house from turning into what looks like the aftermath of a kegger. i am doing so much. i'm proud of myself. i can do more, i know i can. i need to.
what is this world coming to? how can i tell if everything's moving by too quickly and all i can see is a blur called life?
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
can you believe june just flew by? i mean, it just started! and if june's gone, then we're already one third of our way through summer. and i hate that idea. i love summer.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
perhaps the "barack obama has a penis" was a bit much. i mean, the man is a our president. the last thing you want to do is focus on his, uh, unmentionables. and i have to admit, i felt slightly blasphemous when i wrote it. but really? how could i have left such a gem unsaid?
before the carnage
they turned out insanely cute. As they should have. you don't dedicate an entire day with a perfectionist to have things turn out okay. at one point, i really had my doubts. and the nanny, eric (i affectionately refer to him as the "manny") almost lost his head when he took a moment too long to respond correctly to the question, "don't they look just like hamburger buns?"
i know that my project frenzied perfectionist of a mother sighed a great sigh of contentment when it was all over, but since i am neither project frenzied or a perfectionist i ended up feeling an odd sort of resentment towards those adorable little hamburgers and french fries. only a little. and i resented how fast they were eaten, too. but, watching james' face be so delighted with his special birthday dessert did a a good job of wiping up most of that resentment.
my poor children. this was their glimpse into everything they are going to miss out on because i am never going to do something so intricate like that again.
the finished project:
please note that the paper says "happy birthday james". no, not the paper holding the fries, the paper that rests between the mini-cupcake-burger and the mini burger basket.afterwards ryan and i went to frozen yogurt with our friends tyson and heather (ava says tyson and feather. she loves them) and took the two remaining hamburgers and fries to them. if there was anyone who deserved miniature desserts in the form of a happy meal, it was those two. and their reactions wiped away the last of my resentment. i could never resent a dessert for long, anyway.
and in case you were wondering, this is what true mini-burger apprectiation looks like.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
my favorite part of prenatal doctor appointments is the ultrasound. it's thrilling to see your baby moving and thinking about the personality he's forming and how he's real and how he's developing. . .
my doctor with ava didn't have one of those little ultrasound machines in her office, but my doctor with seth did. so every month i'd squint at that tiny screen to see my even tinier baby suck his thumb or "wave" (so exciting) or kick his little legs. right after we had the big ultrasound to discovery that all of his body parts were in place and that he was, indeed, a boy, i was in my dr's office and squinting at the tv screen while she attempted to zone in on seth's boy parts one more time. she found them and said, "oh! there's his little wee!"
my brain said, HIS WHAT?
i was horrified. this woman went to medical school for crying out loud! she was a doctor who dealt specifically with reproductive organs! and yet, when presented with the male anatomy she says, "wee"?
it was then i swore my children would never make that mistake. in our house, i decided, we're going to call it what it is. well, i wasn't aware at how quickly ava would catch on to the differences between boys and girls. but, i stuck to my decision, i tell her the truth. straight up.
i think ryan perhaps wishes i had not decided this decision. because the other day when he was going to the bathroom, ava threw open the bathroom door and said, "dad? you have a penis?"
"uh, yes." said ryan.
"oh. i don't."
and yet again, while at seth's doctor appointment, when the pediatrician removed seth's diaper ava leaned over and informed dr. n'dell that what he was looking at right there? that is seth's penis. and he was touching it. and he has one, too.
"thank you, ava, for that anatomy lesson." dr. n'dell replied gravely.
ava replied, just as gravely, "you're welcome." these things, they are no launghing matter, you know.
and then, while at target, we passed the women's underwear section. ava nearly screamed, "those cover up your nipples, mom! barack obama has nipples too! and a penis!"
so i ask you this: should i have used a silly nickname that i will risk my children using even when they reach adulthood and avoid embarassment? or have i done the right thing despite all of our embarassing moments and the future embarassing moments?
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
ava: i want to go in that one!
me: okay, but DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING.
me: DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING!
me: Ava! I said, DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING!!
me: Ava, don't touch anything.
Ava: there are other people going potty in here. i can hear them going potty.
Ava: Mom? I can hear them going potty.
Ava: Pewww! I can smell them going potty! it smells bad! gross! ewww! gross! Peeewwww! yucky!
me: Don't touch anything.
ava: I think that person went poopy. it's gross to smell it.
me: Don't touch anything. AVA! DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING!
ava: Sorry, mom!
Do I really need to end this post with the following? sometimes i really wish we were still in diapers. especially when i'm crouched down in the beach public restrooms that stink to high heaven, i have seth strapped to my back and he is doing everything short of killing me to touch the toilet paper roll.
yeah, those days when i simply stuck ava in the trunk to wrestle her out of that nasty old diaper and into a fresh new one? loved it. LOVED IT. i just didn't know it yet. seths' going to be old enough to go to the bathroom unattended before i let him put on those big boy pants. because frankly, I DON'T WANT TO KNOW.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
we have ants. so does everyone in southern california. but the ants are happiest in my home because of some of the family members who can't manage to keep the food on their plate, in their mouth or on the table (at least the table). it is all over the floor. and i am always missing it when i try to clean up at night. maybe i miss it because i am so gash-darn tired and this evening time is the ONLY time i have to get ANYTHING done now that ava is a non-napping ever-present side-kick, so i want to do other things. i am sweeping while exhausted and preoccupied. of course i miss those little cheerios (oh, the cheerios! we might as well live in a house made of them!) and piecs of cheese.
so this morning the three of us emerged from the back end of the house. some of us were clothed, some of us weren't. and of course, there are ants all over the floor. it doesn't help that i bring the chickens in at night because i'm afraid it's too cold for them. plus, they want me to bring them in. when the sun starts to set they stand at our back door and look in at us. the chickens scratch around in their cage before i let me out and sometimes some of their food gets on the floor.
anyway, there were ants on the floor. so i started breakfast and began sweeping, carefully making sure i was gathering all the ants in to one little pile so i could sweep them in to the dust pan, poison them with windex and dump them in the trash. ava watched with interest.
"what are you doing?" she asked.
"i'm getting the ants."
"because i don't want them in the house."
"they belong outside."
"you're getting them?"
"what is that?" i ignore her because i don't want to tell her what i am going to do. besides, after that exchange, and the effort i am putting in to "getting" the ants means that i don't want to talk anymore. i don't know why i haven't figured out that ava just gets more irritating the longer i ignore her. She begins, "what is that? what is that? what is that?" pause "what is that, mommy?" again, "mommy, what is that? mommy? mommy? mommy? what is that?"
i can't take it anymore. "i'm getting the ants so i can kill them."
ava freaks out. "WHAT??? the ants are going to DIE???" this is followed by a lot of howling. i regret my hasty choice of words. but what does she know of death? NOTHING! no one she knows has died, so what's her problem? how is she even comprehending this word death? i continue to sweep them and ava continues her crusade. "don't kill the ants! they're shy! the ants are shy! they want to crawl on the floor! SSSSSSSSSTTTTTTTTTTOOOOOOOOOOOOOPPPPPPPP!!!"
"FINE!" I sweep the ants into the dustpan and move to dump them outside.
ava by now has hopped down from her seat and with a very serious milk mustache and her cereal spoon in her hand, watches me with great interest. i start dumping. ava bends down to watch the ants regain their footing and wonder where they are. suddenly she stands and begins stamping on them.
"get the ants! get the ants! they're yucky! they're gross! ants are dead!" she looks slightly hysterical, but then a mob of one with only a cereal spoon for a weapon could only look hysterical.
she is just so weird. i have no idea what made her change her mind. i feel completely exhausted by these wild mood swings when they directly affect me, but when i am not the victim and am only shaking confused ants out of my dustpan, i rather enjoy them.
i rather enjoy her, really.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
it's probably going to be the end of the week before my mom is allowed out of the hospital. they're still are a few symtoms that they are trying to identify, so she has to stay while they poke her and prod her and stick things in her and look around. it all looks very uncomfortable. poor thing! she is so tired of being in a bed in a room where no one really listens to her. she's tired of hospital food (this particular hospital has particularly bad food) and she's tired of not seeing her family, especially the kids.
i'm tired (if i may steal the spotlight a bit) of running back and forth to the hospital, finding babysitters and only being able to stay a limited amount of time. i am not tired of those blod clot leg things. they feel slightly like a massage on my calves.
i think my dad's tired of limited time spent with his wife and sleeping alone at night.
and my brother's are tired of not having my mom at home. we all are. the other day i forgot she was in the hospital and i actually picked up the phone to call and ask if she was feeling up to a trip to the mall. i had to go alone. definitley not as fun as having my mom there to laugh at all the same things.
i can't wait for her to come home!
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
“wouldnt it just rock and roll if liking someone meant they had to like you back? of course that would be a different world, and something else would
Friday, June 12, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
james, ava and seth are in one car with me and following us to my paren'ts house is ryan in his car with aaron. sometimes aaron's 15-year-old influences ryan's inner 15-year-old self and they become 15-year-olds together. so of course, if there were ever two 15-year-olds driving a car together and the driving 15-year-old liked the girl in the car in front of him what do you think he would do?
why nudge her with his own car, of course. but seeing as he is 15 and not really allowed to drive, we all know what's going to happen. he is going to do two things: 1) actually nudge her car with his own like an idiot and 2) nudge her car harder than he wanted to nudge her car because he is both 15 and an idiot.
so my car gets "nudged". i feel it, of course and in my irritation i say aloud, "what is wrong with him?"
james responds, "he's probably been drinking again."
i look at him shocked and he grins to show me he's joking (of course he's joking). so it has happened: the youngest child is joking with the oldest child and we are laughing together. this family is getting old.
welcome to our ranks, james.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
my mother went into the hospital with dirty hair. and you know how that makes you feel: ugly, gross and lumpy (well, it makes me feel lumpy). so by text message at three in the morning, my mother requested that i bring my shampoo, my conditioner and my hair dryer. well, i did her one better; i brought the curling iron, too.
i arrived ready to style, but had to wait while the physical therapist (who i like) did her thing with my mother and totally wear her out. this is how low my mother's muscle mass and therefore strength is: she walked two feet down the hall and then she had to turn around and go back. and she was out of breath. it's times like those when i realize my mother has spent so much time in bed and so little time moving about that that has actually become part of the problem: she has no stength to get up and move.
then i had to wait for the dietician, who i was interested in hearing and all she said was, "try to have snacks. some snack ideas are: yogurt, an apple with peanut butter, crackers and cheese. . ." it was depressing because she told us nothing new. i thought there was something that could be done, something new to learn, i was ready! ready to be inspired! ready to change my life and my mother's life and watch her walk around with vigour and vim!
no such luck. so when i saw her later and she told me she'd stop by to talk to my mom again, i told her not to worry about it. this made my brother laugh really hard.
"she was looking at you like, 'who doesn't want to hear about nutrician?'" he told me in the elevator.
then the nurse came in. then the physical therapist came back. then the nurse came back to tell my mom to get ready for an mri. so we knew we had to hurry (plus my friend sara was watching my kids and i couldn't just leave them with her indefinitely). i got in the shower, looked around, then called for the nurse.
"how do i wash her hair?" i asked.
She looked shocked. "you can't do that!" she exclaimed.
it took a great amount of convincing that we could. she finally agreed on getting me a wheelchair. so we got the wheelchair and then i had to wheel my mother into the shower, which meant she had to hold on for dear life while i pulled it over the dam. then i had to get in the shower, roll my pant legs up and let aaron hand me whatever i needed.
i did not control the water very well.
getting her out was a bigger problem since i was all wet, but with aaron pushing and me pulling and my mother holding on tight, we managed to pull her out.
so, question: do people not shower in the hospital? because no one was treating me like this was an idea that someone else had had before.
in the end, we laughed a lot. and i was able to do something for my mom that wasn't just trying to keep her household from imploding. this felt more like helping. and it was like therapy, i felt better about everything. i walked out of the hospital feeling lighter.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
my mother is ill.
well, she's always ill. the nurse was doing her best to offer comfort by suggesting happily that instead of being bummed about having to sit around bored in the hospital all day, she could get some things done. you know, all the things you want to get done by all that life gets in the way? this would have been a happy thought except my mother's been having health problems for so long now that all those projects have been completed and what she really wants to do is her own laundry. i pointed this out. i think now the nurse thinks i am a bad daughter.
i'm not. i'm a speaking the truth kind of daughter.
so she's ill. and this time, it's more than the normal. you'd think that the other times i'd been in the hospital room and watched them insert her IV, or changed her bandages or watched them test her blood sugar i'd be used to it all. but today, i felt ill myself. i wanted a hospital bed of my own to sort of lie down in and pull the covers over my head.
"wake me up when she's able to go home." i wanted to say.
instead i watched the ct scan (something i learned: ct scan and cat scan are the same thing) where the machine ordered my mother to breathe and then not to breathe and then to breathe again. they had me sit in a corner and had my mother lift her arms over her head.
i'm not sure why. except this: my mother means so much to me. did you know she has the same sense of humor as me? and we think alike. one time my mother, my father and i were in the kitchen talking and making food. my mother said something semi-snide and my father swatted me with a wooden spoon.
"what was that for?" i asked, surprised.
"you shouldn't say such things." he scolded.
i laughed. "that was your wife, not me!"
unfairly, he did not then turn and swat my mother with the wooden spoon. lesson: it pays to sleep with the boss.
no one looked at me when i cried. i was grateful, because i knew the second someone acknowledged my tears was the second i fell apart, right there in the ct/cat scan room, where the technician was teasing my mother about the cocktail she had to drink beforehand (do not let the name "cocktail" confuse you about the quality of this drink. i smelled it and it was foul).
"there's some more available in the gift shop!" he said.
but as i sat there in my corner all by myself, feeling very young as i used the sleeves of my sweatshirt to swipe my eyes, i felt so alone.
i really love my mom. when things like this happen, i remember that she's mortal. the very thought is a trial. i would be so lost without her, i love her so very, very much.
i am surprised that when things are more difficult, when more is on the line, my faith is so small.
an for all of those who would ask, she broke her foot about three weeks ago but because of her diabetes she couldn't really feel it and continued to walk on it. this led to infection and swelling, which started off in her foot and ended up in her abdomen. that's when my mom went to the emergency room. she is anemic (terribly anemic), diabetic, has low blood pressure (very low blood pressure), has a low supply of blood, has a great deal of infection and has a thing in her heart to keep it from skipping beats and then racing.
my dad likes to say that her body is the equivalent to the elite republican guard and his body is the equivalent to the marine corps. then we laugh.
Friday, June 5, 2009
this morning ava wanted braids. "two braids," she told me, turning her back so i could brush her hair.
later, when we were at the park swinging on the swings, i looked over at her and saw this girl pumping her little legs, wearing her little braids and i was just so struck by her.
i am her mother.
then i looked down at seth, who was trying to eat the chain the swing was attached to, and i saw his little chubby fists, his little row of white teeth growing in (thus the attempted chewing on evrything) and again, i was just so struck.
this mothering gig is the most experience of my life, it is so consuming. and i am just so grateful i've been able to experience it. it is so fulfilling, so challenging, so exhausting, so lovely.
and so we sat on the swings, ava looking up at the sky and telling me about the babboon and his red bottom and me trying to keep seth from falling off the swing. it was good. i was their mother and they were my children.
it was a little moment and it was a good one.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
ava, incredulously: daddy was a missionary?
ava, again incredulous: mommy was a bride?
ava, no longer incredulous but instead bored: oh. that's so cute.
sometimes i feel patronized. which makes me think, does she speak this way because i speak this way? do i, despite my disgust for people who use baby voices and baby words, do it anyway?
if i do, ugh. i mean really: UGH.
ava, seth and i spent a morning not to long ago at our local barnes & noble for a little storytime and train table playing. this is especially interesting to watch because ava doesn't really care about trains. not in the normal drive-it-around-the-track-making-choo-choo-noises sort of way. she spends a lot of time parking the trains in the garage and announcing that the trains are at home, that they are sleeping and that they need silence (dark looks may or may not be cast at other noisy children who are choo-chooing pleasantly along the track with their little engines that can). this hardly ever works out because a train without a hand on it is a train up for grabs and some of these little thomas the tank engine fans like to have as many cars lined up as possible. this means that the most commonly heard phrase at the train table is, "you need to give that little kid a train." and it is spoken in a loving, yet stern and naturally, very patronizing baby voice.
so there we were at the train table: ava was patiently putting her trains to bed and seth was gumming the train table despite all of my attempts to interest him in something- anything! else. i swear, that child heard about the swine flu and is determined to get it. there was only one other child there. his name was oliver. his mother called him everything but that. "ollie, baby boy, sweet boy, baby ollie, love, cutie, sweetie, lovie, ol-ol, olli-o, etc. etc." and she said it all in the HIGHEST pitch i've ever heard. in fact, it was so high i thought it was one of those ringtones that adults aren't supposed to hear. i could hardly stand it! HARDLY! STAND! IT! it was so high! and the boy wasn't even responding! how is your child going to learn to be an intelligent member of society if his own parents won't treat him like a human? and on top of all that, oliver had a dirty diaper. and it really STUNK. later, ava, seth and i were looking at the blank journals and i smelled it again. i popped my head up, looked high and low and then, from somewhere far away i heard her, "ollie, sweetie, little boy, are you ready to go bye-bye? can you put that coo-choo down and come with mommy? please? ollie-ollie, baby boy? are you listening to mommy? cutie pie, did you hear what mommy said?" and i shuddered then inwardly i screamed and begged to her to PLEASE! FOR THE LOVE OF PETE! STOP IT!!! for two reasons: 1. she hadn't changed oliver's diaper yet. and, 2. i hate it when people beg their children in sugary-sweet tones. you don't beg your children unless you've been thoroughly conquered, your child is hopped up on sugar and you're still wearing pajamas and it's five o'clock in the evening. plus, you've had to start drinking again just to cope. again, i ask: how does a child learn normal patterns of speech and any sort of vocabulary if you refuse to speak with normals patterns of speech and a normal vocabulary? are we planning on letting thomas the tank engine teach our children? because i saw an episode once and thomas likes to compliment people/fellow trains with the phrase, "thanks ____. you're really useful." and i just don't know about that. what is it teaching our children? that being useful is the best? that people should be used? that we should speak patronizingly with our praise?
i feel so much better. so i think i'll continue: do you know what is even worse than oliver's mother? dads that baby talk.
perhaps i'm particularly sensitive to this because i worked for a CRAZY family once and the parents baby talked to an EXTREME. ESPECIALLY the dad. i remember one day ryan came to pick me up and was waiting in the house for me to be done while dad was doing something and when ryan heard dad his eyes got HUGE and he had this look on his face like he was either going to laugh or he was going to die. then dad did it again and ryan's grew worse. by the time we got out of there, ryan's eyes were the size of beach balls and he couldn't speak for fear of screaming what he was thinking (which was probably, "GOOD NIGHT MAN! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU???"). luckily, rodge managed to keep it all together. that's why i married him. he's as cool as a cucumber. sadly, i am not. so when ryan wore his funny expression and pointed at dad's back, i snorted loudly in my attempt to keep it together. dad then turned around and gave me a funny look. i shrugged, looked odd and waved cheerfull. later on, it was that moment i thought back to when the mother of this house informed me that they'd had nanny-cams installed and i FREAKED out on the outside and wondered what i had while they weren't looking that could get me fired. that was what i thought of. i think that means i was a dang good nanny. also, a pushover. because once she told me that i didn't quit. i have no idea why not. i totally should have.
i'm not talking about dads that melt all over their children, or even men in general who melt all over children in general (quick story: tyson's dad was an intimidating presence until he got seth in his arms and hugged and kissed him to death. he's the kind of man i'm referencing right now. not silly, just loving). i'm talking about voices so high you're convinced they got kicked in the you-know-what. and the silliness! for example, the word (if that is what it is), "num-nums". i hate that word.
this all comes down to the fact that when ava offers a pity laugh at my lame attempt at a joke, or when she sweetly attempts to convey some interest in our topic of conversation i am suddenly seized by the fear that i have taught her to be patronizing by being patronizing myself.
but then i remember the time she was two days old and her pediatrician visited her in the nicu and said something in a sugary-sweet voice and she rolled her eyes at him. and i thought, "that is TOTALLY my child." perhaps i was "blessed" with a child as sensitive to cheesiness as i am. and perhaps she patronizes because she hasn't learned how to curb that yet. this gives me two choices: i can teach her how to be polite even when people are being idiots or i can watch, wish i was so bold and laugh on the inside.
i choose the latter. at least for now.