Sunday, August 31, 2008

Grateful, part 2

Why mgb, married yoshimi's husband, rocks:
  1. Because he's known me since I was a total dork (as opposed to the semi-dork I've become) and still wants to be friends with me.
  2. Because he reads books. Like, real books. Fiction and stuff.
  3. Because he married the aforementioned ms. yoshimi. She's in-freakin'-credible. And if it wasn't for him, I never would have met her.
  4. Because even if it's been months since we talked, I know it's all good and we won't waste any time berating each other for not calling -- we'll just jump into the juicy stuff.
  5. Because sometimes he hears songs that make him think of me, and he'll send me links to the files so I can hear them too.

Grateful, part 1

Why I love the boy:
  1. Because of the way he sleeps on his tummy, with his diapered butt way up in the air.
  2. Because of the way, from time to time, he'll put a tiny hand on either side of my head (grabbing one ear and one handful of hair), and try to eat my face. It's as if he, also, loves me so much he wants to consume me.
  3. Because he is always, always happy to see me. And it doesn't matter if I haven't brushed my hair or if my t-shirt has strained peas on it or if I'm two weeks behind on getting my brows reshaped. He just lights up. (I'm enjoying it while it lasts.)
  4. Because he is heartbreakingly beautiful.
  5. Because he is mine.

Why I'm sweet on my husband:

  1. Because he gets the spiders. And geckos.
  2. Because he knows how much I hate being startled and has never once leapt out at me from behind a door.
  3. Because he hung in there and waited. And waited. And never gave up.
  4. Because sometimes, once in a while, he looks at our son and the boy's beauty makes him cry, too.
  5. Because he's never once made me feel bad about myself or said anything intentionally hurtful to me in the nine years we've been together.

Friday, August 29, 2008

I have yet another blogging hero ...

... and here she is.

The posts about her daughter and her dog are my faves.

Would that I were this clever. Can I just follow this woman around and listen as gems of delicious wit fall from her lips? I heart her style.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Yet another reason I'm glad I married him: A one-act play

[Scene: A semi-lighted living room in a two-story home in the suburbs. It is 9:45 p.m. on a Wednesday. A WOMAN enters, wearing pajamas and a towel wrapped around her wet hair. She crosses the living room intending to enter the master bedroom, adjacent. Suddenly, she freezes. She slowly backtracks a good ten feet, then leans back to call up to the second floor.]

Woman: [Urgently] Honey!
Man: [Enters, and can be seen on the landing] Yes?
Woman: [With great deliberation] There. Is. A. GECKO. Under. The. Couch.
Man: ...
Woman: Come down here and GET it. Please.
Man: [With finality] Sweetie, I'm not touching a gecko. They freak me out. The way they run ... [affects a surprisingly good gecko crawling motion while standing upright] ... Gah. Yuck.
Woman: But this is precisely why I got married! So I wouldn't have to touch them!
Man: Seriously? You can't pretend it's not there?
Woman: [Thunderously] This is where YOUR SON crawls. Every day. [Switches to whining] PLEASE.
Man: [Sighs] I'm coming.

[MAN comes downstairs, having tiptoed past the doorway of a sleeping INFANT.]

Man: Where is it?
Woman: [From across the room] Under the corner section of the sectional couch.
Man: Of COURSE. It WOULD be under the hardest section to move.

[MAN retrieves a flashlight and a broom from offstage. Returning, he surveys the scene.]

Man: What sucks is that I'll have to get down at FACE-LEVEL to the thing to find it.
Woman: [With great sincerity] I love you, by the way.

[MAN gets on his belly behind the couch. A long silence ensues, during which time WOMAN climbs onto a chair to get even further away from the alleged gecko.]

Woman: Do you see it?
Man: [Looking intently ... then, suddenly] YES. [He leaps upright with alacrity.] Baby, I would love to be your knight in shining armor on this one, but I am NOT touching that thing. It's effing QUICK.
Woman: [Despairing] But what am I going to do with the baby all day tomorrow? This is where he plays most of the day! What do we do now?
Man: [Unhelpfully] I don't know.
Woman: [Thinks furiously, then says with decision] I'm calling J. [J is her youngest brother, away at college.]
Man: Wha ...? Why?
Woman: He'll have a plan.

[WOMAN whips out her iPhone and dials. YOUNGEST BROTHER answers.]

Youngest brother: Hello?
Woman: [Without preamble] I've got a problem and I need advice.
Youngest brother: [Immediately gets serious] I'm ready.
Woman: There's a gecko under the couch, and neither one of us here wants to touch it. Can you think of a way to trap it that doesn't involve touching it?
Youngest brother: YES. [He launches right in.] One of you will have to tip the couch slightly to flush it out. Then the person who's committed to catching it should take a large transparent Tupperware container and clap it over the lizard when it emerges. Then you can scoop it up with a piece of cardboard underneath and take it outside.
Woman: Right. The problem is, you see, neither one of us is really willing to commit to catching it.
Youngest brother: [Trying not to laugh] Yes, there is THAT.
Woman: Ok, we're going to try something else. I'll keep you posted.
Youngest brother: Text me later. [They hang up.]

[Back to square one, WOMAN and MAN look at each other across the room. A silent struggle takes place, an argument completely held within their shared gaze. MAN graciously surrenders first.]

Man: [Resigned] Ok, I'll tip the couch section back, but it might run toward YOU. You have to promise not to scream.
Woman. [Confidently] I can absolutely NOT promise you that.

[MAN reaches toward couch, but WOMAN's protest stops him.]

Woman: Wait!
Man: What?
Woman: What will you do when you find it?
Man: Yeah, I'm not sure yet.
Woman: But you'll have a very small window of time to decide on a course of action! We need a plan!
Man: Ok. I have a plan. Hand me that shoe by the back door.
Woman: [Aghast] No! Don't kill it!
Man: [Almost out of patience] Baby, I'm NOT TOUCHING IT. It's either kill it, or it stays where it is.
Woman: [Wages an inner war, with the combatants being her conscience and her cowardice. Cowardice wins.] Ok, FINE. But I don't like this.
[MAN shoots WOMAN an eloquent glance that clearly communicates his distinct dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs as well.]

[MAN tips up the couch section.] Do you see it?
Woman: Um, no. No, I don't s- ... CRAP. THERE IT IS. [A tiny one-and-a-half inch lizard sits quietly on the underside of the couch section.]
Man: [With great urgency] IS IT MOVING?
Woman: No. It is NOT moving.

[MAN sets the couch section down on its back, and makes his way gingerly around to get a clear shot at the reptilian victim. WOMAN gasps as he raises the shoe high. The shoe whistles through the air, delivering a quick blow to the couch. MAN straightens up.]

Woman: Did you get it?
Man: Yes.
[WOMAN clamors down from her perch to peek at the lizard.] Aw, poor thing.
Man: [!!?!?!]
Woman: I know. You're right. [Sighs with great relief] THANK YOU, honey. The sanctity of my home has been preserved. I love you SO MUCH. [They embrace. WOMAN smiles up at MAN.]
Man: [Proud of himself, and basking in the praise] Will you help me move this couch section back in place?
Woman: [Instantly retreats] Not a chance till that thing's outside.

[MAN sighs. Curtain closes as MAN cleans up the carnage and sets the room to rights.]



WOMAN ....... Me
MAN .......... My husband
INFANT ......... Himself

Good thing he's too young to vote.

I don't generally trust my seven-month-old son's judgment. Here's a quick run-down of his opinions ...

Things that taste better than actual food:
  1. His fingers
  2. My wrist
  3. Carpet fuzz
  4. Blanket lint
  5. Strands of hair

Syllables/sounds that are preferable to "ma-ma":

  1. Da-da
  2. Gee
  3. Ba
  4. [Various tongue clicks]
  5. Ts

Objects more interesting to gaze at than his mother's face:

  1. Ceiling fans
  2. Windows
  3. Moving cars
  4. Televisions
  5. Tubes of diaper ointment

Items more fun to play with than toys created for that purpose:

  1. Shoes
  2. Plastic bags
  3. Paper napkins
  4. Empty water bottles
  5. Stereo and TV components

Every now and then, though, he gets it right.

People he prefers to his mother, when he's scared or wants comfort, especially in the middle of the night:

  1. No one
  2. No one
  3. No one
  4. No one
  5. No one.

Monday, August 25, 2008

At least I realize how ridiculous I sound.

These are first-world problem statements I've actually made or thought in the very recent past:
  • "I wish this Starbucks was a drive-thru."
  • "I hate that this antibiotic pill is so BIG."
  • "I thought these flourescent light bulbs were supposed to last seven years! It hasn't even been two!"
  • "So should we rent the 15-foot ladder again, or just buy one?"
  • "Damnit, I bought fat-free Lactaid milk. I meant to buy the 2% kind."
  • "This Uncrustable [frozen PB&J sandwich] is taking forever to thaw."
  • "I guess it's time to do the 'pre-cleaning' before the cleaning lady gets here."

Seriously ... it's embarrassing.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Any given morning

[I open the nursery door and walk in. Boy is babbling in his crib.]

Me: Good morning, son! How's baby today?
Boy: Day! Da-da-da-day-DAY! Day.
Me: Really. Hm. Interesting. What do you want to do today?
Boy: Thhhhhhh. Ts-ts-ts. BAAAAH. Bay-ba-ba!
Me: Ok, you work on that. How about we start with a diaper change?
Boy: [Indifferent silence, as he's rediscovered how delicious his toes are.]

[Diaper change commences. A struggle ensues.]

Me: Son. Son. Can you lie still so mommy can get your diaper on?
Boy: [Makes a surprisingly quick-handed swipe for, and snags, one of various toiletry items stationed near his head. Apparently mommies and daddies never learn not to store the nasal aspirator/hairbrush/tube of diaper ointment so close by.]
Me: Um, can I have that back?
Boy: [Gums the taboo item gleefully while making happy faces around the thing lodged in his mouth.]
Me: Fine, but just till I get the diaper done, then I get it back.
Boy: Ghee. Gleh.

[Boy is scooped up and carted downstairs to his play area in the family room. Shoes off (to keep the carpet clean for creeping and crawling), we sit on the floor and survey our little kingdom.]

Me: Look, son! All your toys are saying 'good morning' and are ready to play with you!
Boy: [Makes a beeline for my flip-flops at the edge of the carpet.]
Me: No, no, honey. Shoes are not for eating. How about this? [I hold up an adorable monkey toy with rattling body and squeaky head.]
Boy: Uhn. MMMMMM. [Strains to be released. I place him back on the carpet in front of another toy.]
Me: Ok, how about this instead? Look, the purple elephant will tickle you with his nose. See?!
Boy: [Glances dispassionately at the elephant in question, and then looks at me as if I'm nuts.]
Me: Um, alright. Let's sit you up in your Boppy so you can practice sitting up like a big boy.
Boy: [Is placed upright in a firm horseshoe shaped pillow, and nestled just so. He sits up for four seconds, then spots the satin tag on the side of the pillow. Heedless for the safety of his adorable face, he makes a nosedive for the floor.]
Me: Whoopsie. Careful, big guy. Here, lay on the floor, then, so you can play with the tag.
Boy: [Immediately loses interest in the aforementioned, desperately-necessary-to-his-happiness tag.]
Me: Fine, sweetie. What do YOU want to do, then?
Boy: [Affects a faraway look. From below the belt, unmistakable sounds issue forth.]
Me: [Sigh]. I figured.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

In due time

When people see that you have a baby, their first two questions are as regular as clockwork. "Oh -- how old is he?" And then the inevitable, "Does he sleep through the night yet?"

I never saw that one coming. Sure, I knew people would ask about the baby's age. I knew they'd have opinions on nursing versus bottle-feeding. I knew they'd share ideas about how to cure colic. But I had no clue about the sleep thing. People really seem to care. And if your answer is "No, he's not sleeping through the night yet," they act as if that's a bad thing.

I'll admit I don't get nearly as much sleep as I used to. And I'll even go so far as to acknowledge that it would probably be really good for me to sleep more than three or four hours at a stretch. That's pretty much all I can complain about, though. My dirty little secret is that I love the nighttime feedings.

See, during the day, feedings tend to be a little rushed. We're either coming back from somewhere or on the way out the door. We're waking up to tackle tasks, or we're winding down to grab a quick nap before an afternoon appointment. And while my eyes are on my son, my mind tends to wander, visiting and revisiting my endless mental to-do lists. But nighttime's a different story.

Boy goes to bed around 7 or 7:15 each night. He's up for the first feeding around 11 or so, before I turn in. I call it a night around midnight or later, so I'm really only awakened for the second feeding. I usually hear him stirring via the monitor on my nightstand. A bit groggy, I fumble for my glasses, check the time, and head upstairs. With each step I wake up a little more, and by the time I reach the door to his room, I'm firing on all cylinders again. Within a few steps, I'm at his crib-side, and when he hears my quiet greeting ("hey, baby"), his cry instantly changes from angry or frantic to relieved -- it really does, every time, and it touches my heart to know that I can bring him comfort, that he is always glad to see me. I scoop him up and do a quick pat-down for diaper status. If it needs changing, we attend to it, but if all's well, we get a few seconds to just cuddle as we make our way in the dark to the rocking chair.

As I sink into the soft chair and settle him to start nursing, my eyes adjust to the darkness enough to see the shape his jammies make in my arms, and I can marvel one more time at how much he's grown and changed from the fragile little newborn we brought home. Nursing contentedly, boy's hands and arms settle into their usual nighttime positions -- one clutching my shirt, as if to say, "stay with me, mommy," and the other wrapped around my side, skimming across my skin, as though he needs a moment's reassurance that I'm really there. And in the peace and quiet, it's just me and my son, his warmth a perfect anchor in the darkness, the soft touch of his downy hair in the bend of my arm. There are no phones to answer, no pressing tasks to perform, nowhere I need to be but with my boy, wrapped around him in the dark, trying desperately to soak in every second of the fleeting baby-ness of him.

Within ten minutes, he's had his fill, and is sound asleep in my arms, sated and heavy with sleep. I lay him gently in his crib and tiptoe out the door to my own room, glad to have had an excuse to touch him once more, at peace knowing that he's full and happy and resting comfortably. As I drift off to sleep again myself, I glance at the monitor on the nightstand, a sentinel in the dark, and know that when I'm called again, I'll know it within seconds.

Maybe in a few more months, I'll feel differently about the nighttime feedings -- maybe. For now, I find that some of my richest memories are of the few moments I have alone with my son in the night, when everyone else we know is asleep.

Is he sleeping through the night? We'll get there. All in due time.

I thank you, Lord, for the gift of this perfect child. I ask you to make me worthy of him. Help me to be the mommy he needs and deserves. With all that I am, I implore you to keep him safe, healthy, and happy. Show me how to nurture him to grow up into kindness. Protect him as he learns, grows, explores the world around him. Help me to raise this healthy baby into a happy child, and that smiling child into a loving person of faith and courage and strength.
Please, God, help me to do this right -- this job of being a mommy. Never have I been so blessed as now, and never have I needed You more than I do in this work. Guide my steps, my words and actions, please.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

There just aren't enough Os in "smooth" for me.

A while back, I decided to go see a great band at a cool local venue. I couldn't talk my husband into going -- he was in grad school at the time and had to do something lame like "study" or "read" -- so I figured, hey, I'm secure. I'll go alone. No big deal.

So when a great band comes to a popular joint, turns out the place fills up. It never occured to me to call ahead to reserve a seat in the pub -- I just figured I'd get there early and stake out a spot. When I walked into the place and was greeted by a hostess, I realized the error of my ways.

"Hi, can I help you?"
"Yes, I have a ticket for tonight's show. Can I just sit anywhere?"
[Beat.] "No, ma'am. If you don't have a reserved seat, it's standing room only tonight."


Sitting alone is easy. You trade small talk with the people on either side of you, and once the show starts, you're on your own. Done. Enjoy the show, sing along, whatever. But standing? You have to keep shuffling around to get out of the way of the harried waitstaff. If you walk to the ladies' room, your two-by-two square of carpet gets taken over, and you lose that spot you so carefully staked out. Not to mention the awkward eye contact with the people sitting at the bar.

[Let me back up here. I'll go on record with this -- I've never been much of a drinker, or a girls'-night-out-er, or a bar-frequenter. I had what you might call a more bookish experience in my earlier years. I've never even been drunk. So as a result, I don't have any social grace around bars or their patrons. I just get all stupid and tongue-tied. As you'll soon see. Plus, I never know when people are drunk or not. I just figure they may naturally be loud, or careless enunciators. Anyway, I digress.]

So I pick my spot -- carefully chosen to 1) see the stage, 2) scan the room for two friends who said they might drop in, and 3) catch one of the waitstaff if I get a hankering for a diet Coke. It's a half-hour before the show starts, and I'm seeing and scanning, and contemplating catching. As my eyes skim over the crowd, I accidentally lock gazes with a guy at the bar. I look away quickly, but not before I see that he smiles. And -- horror of horrors -- he starts making his way toward my two-by-two square.

Damn it, damn it, damn it! WHY did you do that? Ok, just be cool. Refold your arms so that your left hand with the wedding rings is on top of your jacket. That's right. Make it look casual, though. Ok, here he comes. Be cool. Cool. Wait, hurry up and think of something to talk about in case he asks you a question! You need to prepare a way to let him know you're married, so you have to anticipate his approach! Um ... ok, crowded bar, great band, got it. He'll probably go with something along those lines.

He arrives. "Excuse me. Are you going to be here for a while?"
I smile brightly. "Yup! Standing room only! Guess I'll be standing! Since it's crowded, you know! So, standing!"
He blinks, taken aback. "Well -- I'm working on this beer, and I don't want the waitress to take it away. Would you just watch my beer while I put my jacket in my car?"
Oh, Lord. "Sure."

He walks away, leaving his beer on the ledge near me. As my cheeks burn in embarrassment, I try to regroup before he gets back. So I thought he was going to hit on me. And I was wrong. Big deal! I can handle NOT being hit on. Didn't I want to prevent it in the first place? Come on, girl, pull it together. Sh*t, here he comes again.

"Hey, thanks."
And still I have not learned. "Sure! No one put drugs in it or anything!"


All I can say is, it's a good thing I'm already married. I have no idea how I'd ever meet anyone again.