Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Tubby post

This blog has sunk to amazing new lows. I'm about to ramble about Teletubbies. If you don't want to read it, please scroll down and watch my video. Or don't. Thanks!

I've mentioned before that Fly loves Teletubbies.

I didn't mean for it to happen. It was an accident. One afternoon when he wouldn't sleep, I sat down in frustration and turned on PBS, for lack of anything better in mind to do with a cranky, non-sleeping child. Teletubbies happened to be on, and he laughed and jumped in glee like I had never seen him do before.

Huh? My kid loves Teletubbies?!

(My friend Guinevere said if I gave Fly a Teletubbies-themed birthday party, she would mock us for all eternity. But she didn't have to worry.)

Since then, I have seen enough Teletubbies to write a thesis on them. But don't worry -- I won't write the whole thing here. Basically, I believe there are four of them because personality type experts say there are four basic personality types, which the Teletubbies personify. There are two boys (Tinky Winky and Dipsy) and two girls (Laa Laa and Po). Tinky Winky and Laa Laa display more feminine traits; Dipsy and Po are portrayed as more masculine. They live together in a Uptopian community, but they don't have parents -- which is distressing -- anyway.... I'm still working on my thesis. But you get the idea. Or not.

It doesn't matter whether you get it, because after all, it is just Teletubbies, and they have gone off the air where we live as of three weeks ago, and who cares what I think anyway?

Because it's I See What You're Saying Day (which I have probably failed already by writing so much), here is a video for your entertainment.




I think I'm ready to enter the Sundance Film Festival now.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

What keeps me awake at night

At 2:30 in the morning, I still couldn't sleep because I was thinking about how so many children have disappeared and gone missing.

I suppose I was overly tired and my mind just turned to darker thoughts, as I do sometimes at night. Names of many children who disappeared or were abducted came to mind, and I thought of ways they might have suffered -- might still be suffering. My imagination got the best of me, and I had to check on Fly to make sure he was really still in his room, asleep.

It also doesn't help that I am in uncharted territory: just in the past two weeks, I have allowed Fly to walk on his own in public. Up until recently, he was either in a sling, in a stroller, in a cart or in my arms. But because he is getting so heavy (he's more than 30 pounds now), and because he greatly protests strollers and shopping carts (he threw himself face down on the ground at the entrance of the supermarket at the idea of being put in a cart, and he usually cries almost the whole time he is in one) -- and also because he is two now and needs to learn -- I have been allowing him some freedom. I require Fly to hold my hand in many situations, but sometimes I need both hands. When I can't hold his hand, I constantly remind him to stay close.

Fly, of course, has no fear. He knows I am nearby, and that is enough for him, emboldening him to tuck around a corner where I can't see him or to race ahead of me. He has always been an explorer; he's my son.

He is curious. He is friendly. He is cute. He is innocent. I know what could happen.

And so I come to a question every parent asks at various points in their child's life: how do I give my child freedom while making sure he is safe?

It was a fitful sleep, a night with worries and no answers.

So it was a relief to be woken up by my little boy, interrupting my dream about taking him somewhere to buy a toy.

Joy does come in the morning.

But those nights will nag me.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

The birthday party that wasn't

On Sunday, we were supposed to have a nice family gathering at a local park to celebrate Fly's 2nd birthday. But it was a no-go.

JP and I went back and forth about the party. Mean ogre of a mother that I am, I didn't want to have a party at all. I felt we had given Fly the best possible birthday he could have wished for. I felt Fly didn't know any better and certainly wasn't expecting to have a party. I felt I really didn't want to spend five hours cleaning my house.

But JP debated me on all those points, plus he threw in extra reasons Fly should have a party.

If you can call it a compromise, JP and I decided to have a low-key party at one of Fly's favorite local parks.

Funny thing is, I ended up doing almost all of the planning.

(How do moms get suckered into stuff like this?!)

JP told me he would take care of buying and mailing the invitations. Calling people on the phone to invite them over just doesn't work in his family.

Days went by. No invitations.

Then Tiny Prints came riding in on a white horse and offered to give me invitations for free!



This is the invitation I would have chosen. But by that time, it was so close to the party, the invitations probably would have arrived after the date I'd reserved the pavilion. So it wouldn't have worked out.

But then Tiny Prints said How about some thank you notes? And I wanted to give them a virtual hug. I couldn't have been happier.

Unless Tiny Prints offered to write the thank you notes for me as well. That would have made me happier. I am a super grateful person, but writing thank-yous is a chore. I guess you could say I have thank you note angst.

Tiny Prints has so many thank you notes to choose from. These are my favorites:


Well, it goes with his name, right?


Fly has now become enamored of anything on wheels.


I just thought this kid was so funny.


These are the thank you notes I decided on because JP made Fly a train table complete with elaborate train track for his 2nd birthday.

JP finally picked up some invitations and sent them out. Four family members said they could come. Then JP's grandma went into the hospital and his parents were afraid she'd need emergency surgery. So we just called the party off.

Do you know how many cupcakes are in my fridge right now? Well, admittedly not as many as there were earlier in the week.... Mmmm....

Anyway, if and when JP's family does give Fly a birthday gift, I will be ready, willing and able to graciously thank them with Fly's own personalized thank you cards.

And someday Fly will be able to write his own thank-yous:


These kids' thank you notes are just genius. Tiny Prints, can you make them for adults?

(Tiny Prints also has fun Christmas cards and photo cards for showing off cute kiddos.)

I don't think we'll have a party do-over for Fly. I'm a bit relieved not to have a party, but I have to admit, I was disappointed when we canceled it.

Next year, we'll just make it extra fun.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What I'd Wear Wednesday: Bohemian

What I'd wear today if I could: a flowy blouse in an unusual print like this one from Boston Proper. I have been feeling kind of Bohemian lately, and I would feel so in-my-skin in this blouse if I had it today.

I think you could wear this top with just about anything if you have the right accessories. For me today, jeans and flat sandals would be perfect, with several of my favorite bracelets.

After tearing through my closet and drawers, I recently realized most of my tops are T-shirts. And solids. Solid T-shirts. Yawn. I have mentioned here before that prints can make you look dated, but, holy frijoles, I need something to look at! Give me prints, or give me nakedness! OK, I wouldn't really go that far, but I need a little shakeup. I'm gonna get me some prints.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Choosing the better part

Fly and I stepped into the studio. There was a small entrance with a chair, a water cooler, a couple posters on the walls. Beyond a decorative black accordion screen were the gleaming wood floor, the wall of mirrors and the barres.



He let go of my hand in excitement. Or maybe I let go of his. I hadn't entered a dance studio in 24 years. My senses were overwhelmed with memories of songs played over and over on a turntable, of my hair pulled back too tightly by my stepmother, of bodies lined up behind the teacher to mimic her movements and make them their own until every muscle automatically did what it was supposed to do without the dancer having to think. For nearly every Wednesday and Saturday for nine years, this was my life.

And here I was again, this time with my own little dancer. It was just a free introductory course for toddlers to learn rhythm and get a chance to burn off some energy. But I was sure Fly -- who is in nearly constant motion, who just taught himself to do a somersault, who can now hang from the playground bars by his hands, who always seems to be asking for a song -- would love it.

He didn't.

Fly was more interested in playing the drums in the corner. He didn't want to jump across the floor with me (unless I was holding him), didn't want to sit in a circle, didn't feel like doing the contract-and-release exercise (teacher: "Open your arms like a flower, yes?").



It was a bit of a letdown.

During a short break when the teacher was changing the music, I suddenly realized a sustained note under the music was actually one of the children crying. I looked around and didn't see Fly. I followed the sound of the crying back to the entrance, where a little girl was spread-eagled against the glass door, perhaps wanting to leave, while her mother sat next to her in consolation. And Fly stood right next to the girl with his eyes wide and serious, looking at her intently.

I realized then even though Fly might not like dancing as much as I do, I did get one wish -- and that was for a child with a kind and generous heart. A compassionate boy. A son who is concerned about other people.



And that definitely trumps dancing and everything else.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Happy fall


It's fall!

The thermometer doesn't know it, though....

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Fond memories of little-baby baths

It's a virtual baby shower for Kristen of Motherhood Uncensored and Rebecca of Girl’s Gone Child!

Congratulations to both, who are expecting their second and third babies in a matter of weeks.

Ah, I remember what it was like to be pregnant and huge. Just to commiserate, Kristen and Rebecca (as well as soon-to-pop bloggy friends Oh Amanda and Kristi), here I am on my due date.

(Please excuse my windblown hair. I'm only posting this picture for comic relief.)



Do you know how hard it is to shuffle across the sand with a small person's head wedged in your pelvis?

Oh, yeah, you probably do, considering you are repeat moms now.

I have only one child, and -- especially if he turns out to be my only -- I like to remember the good things about his little-baby days. (This can actually be helpful when he's in full terrible-twos mode now.)

One of my favorite things about Fly as a baby was giving him a bath. During the day, he might have had a poosplosion. He might have spit up constantly. He might have cried for hours. But come evening, it was time to relax.Pouring perfect-temperature water into his little baby bathtub, setting out his super-soft towel and washcloth, and easing him into the water was almost like a sigh of relief. Gently caressing his tender skin with softly scented baby wash and maybe singing him a song -- now that was something to look forward to. Fly was usually calm during baths, and he really seemed to like the water. Then I'd wrap him in a plush towel and place him on my bed to give him a gentle massage, dress him in fresh pajamas and maybe swaddle him.

There's just something about bathtime. Maybe there's magic in the water.

Or maybe it's because all the baby bath stuff is so darn cute.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What I'd Wear Wednesday: Legs

What I'd wear today if I could: a miniskirt. I can't remember the last time I saw my thighs. And sadly, it's probably a good thing I don't show them off.

See, I haven't been able to bring myself to wear skirts much shorter than knee length since before Fly was born. It could be an age thing -- as in maybe I'm too old to wear this. It could be a wardrobe thing -- as in maybe the colored daisies on this mini aren't in style so much anymore. It could be a leg thing -- as in look at these scars and little blue and red blood vessels!

I just like the way a mini lets my legs feel free. It's sleeker than a pair of shorts. And for people like myself who are (at least slightly) vertically challenged, a mini doesn't overwhelm your frame. Once you learn how to sit down or bend without embarrassing yourself, minis are great.

It also doesn't help that the mini-with-opaque-tights option isn't really seen in my part of the country.

So maybe this isn't so much what I'd wear today as it is what I wish my body was like. Maybe I don't need new clothes -- maybe what I need is a new body!

So do you love or hate miniskirts? And what age do you think women should stop wearing them?

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Rhymes with truck

Fly and I were playing with a couple of his birthday trucks when I started rhyming.

"Truck," I said, "buck, duck, luck, muck, puck..."

And Fly said -- I kid you not --

"Suck!"

It starts so young, sigh....

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Monday, September 15, 2008

The photo that got away



How did I miss this photo that made me fall in love with my baby-who's-not-a-baby all over again? This amazing, pre-teeth, spontaneous grin from about 22 months ago?

Oh, yeah -- it was on my husband's computer.

When is someone going to invent a time machine so I can go back to that day?

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Apolitical

For better or for worse, I have been blessed (or cursed) with the ability to see all sides of an issue. That doesn't necessarily mean I agree with all sides -- but I do agree most of the time that each side has a valid point. (A professor indicated this would help make me a good journalist.)

This can make it hard for me to make a decision or take sides.

When it comes to elections, this is especially difficult because voting is a hard-earned right and is so important. There is a lot riding on each person's individual vote.

The thing is, with the upcoming presidential election, I don't feel either of the two major candidates deserves my vote. There are things I really don't like about both. I have reservations about either of them leading my country.

For most of my voting lifetime, I have felt I was choosing between the lesser of the two evils when it came to voting for a president. I wonder why I can't have additional choices. Other countries have more than two main political parties. I know the United States has parties other than Democrat and Republican, but those parties are in the minority and seldom discussed, other than perhaps the Libertarians.

Discussing some issues that I actually take a side with, you might think I am a Republican. But on other issues, you'd swear I was a Democrat. There is no in-between. I'm not conservative enough for Republicans, and I'm not liberal enough for Democrats, so neither really cares what I think, anyway.

And that's what literally turns my stomach: the bipartisanship. The Democrats are going to negate anything the Republicans say. The Republicans are going to wave away whatever Democrats say -- and it's just a big power struggle to see whose team can win. It's as though America has divided itself in two and is just looking for an opportunity to prove the other side wrong.

How does this division really help us as a nation? Certainly, a healthy debate has its benefits. But the "I'm sticking with whatever my party says" attitude prevails anyway -- a Democrat isn't going to change a Republican's mind or get that person to see things in a different light, and vice versa.

This ridiculous two-party push and pull completely turns me off politics, and I refrain from talking about politics with people unless I can make a lighthearted joke about something that is being said.

My problem now, though, is I have a child. I am a woman who needs to vote for the sake of her child's future. But in all good conscientiousness, I am not sure I can.

I can't possibly be the only mother who has these beliefs. I'm not asking for a show of hands -- I just wonder when the country will wake up and realize there are more than two flavors.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

What I'd Wear Wednesday: Zzzzzz

What I'd wear today if I could: a sleep mask like this one found at Etsy. I need some zzzs. I seem to be so tired lately. I could nap every day.

I used to think sleep masks were so frou-frou and silly, but then I found out my friend Roo uses one. She likes them because they really block the light. That's perfect if you like to sleep inside a light-free cocoon like myself -- especially handy for taking naps during the day when the sun is in full force.

Now please 'scuse me.

Zzzzzz.....

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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Momjacked by a girl

Fly and I went to the library yesterday. There is a nice children's play area in the back, with interactive mazes on the walls, fun rugs on the floor and short bins full of board books.

After Fly and I had played for a while, I had hoped he'd settle down and read a book. I grabbed a couple books from the bins and sat down on the floor. Children were playing nearby, however, and it was too great a temptation for him. Fly wasn't going to be still.

But I really wanted to read the board books! My inner child was inwardly stamping my foot.

So I started to read anyway.

Fly paid attention for about one short page, then abandoned me.

I kept reading, hoping he would come back.

He never did.

But a little girl, around three maybe, noticed me reading out loud to no one like an idiot and took pity on me. She scooted across the floor and sat next to me. She asked a question about a page in the book. She was listening to me reading the book! So I kept reading. I looked up every now and then to see Fly playing happily, unaware his mother had been hijacked (momjacked?).

The girl and I finished the book, and I picked up the second. This fun book had hints about animals to guess and flaps to pull down to find out the answer. The girl happily guessed the animals as I read. She softly rested her hand on my leg while I turned the pages.

Is this what girls are like? I wondered. I could get used to this!

Then Fly ran off among the large bookshelves, and I had to jump up and go find him, leaving my sweet little audience behind.

It was nice while it lasted....

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Monday, September 08, 2008

Fly's birthday

Some special friends came with us yesterday to celebrate Fly's birthday at a children's museum in the city. Turns out the museum was celebrating its anniversary, too, so there was extra stuff going on. The kids even got a free noisemaker toy.

Fly loved the water play area:



But didn't really like how he looked in uniform:



I pity the people who had to work in this room with kids building things and then knocking them over:



Would you believe some people have told me I have a big mouth?



Fly and his best little buddy loved the romping room:



We can't forget the traditional birthday hand in the face -- one for however many years old you are:



We even got to create art with found objects:



Why is it so hard to get a good picture of me and my boy?



We ended up getting free ice cream twice yesterday:



Eventually, though, we were all so tired that we felt we were just going around in circles:



I think this is proof he had a good time:

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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Happy 2nd birthday, Fly!

Friday, September 05, 2008

He calls it as he sees it

Lately, ants have turned up in every room in our house (even the bathroom on the toilet! where I can assure you no one eats!), and I'm revolted. I try to keep things clean, so I got frustrated.

Then I remembered that I used to keep ant traps around the house because the idea of someone spraying pesticides around my house every month is even more revolting. But I stopped setting out the traps when Fly started crawling -- I couldn't let him find one and start chewing on it.

(I'm surprised that I'm still surprised how motherhood makes you forget what your life was like before kids.)

Fly still chews on almost everything, but something had to be done about the ants. So I set out the traps again. There! Say goodbye to feeling as though my whole house is moving!

Of course, it was just a matter of time before he found an ant trap.

Yesterday, I saw him discover one of the little white disc-like things in a corner. I watched him pick it up and show it to me. My fear of him chewing on an ant trap were unfounded, however.

"Yucky!" he said immediately, and he walked to the trash and threw it away.

(When did he learn to throw things away?)

Score one for Fly -- and one for the ants.

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

This is not my beautiful blog

And you may find yourself blogging about Elmo and opera
And you may find yourself writing your best posts in someone else's comments section
And you may find yourself behinder and behinder in Google Reader
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful
child
And you may ask yourself, well...how did I get here?

[Sing it with me, now!]

Letting the days go by/pointing the watering can down
Letting the days go by/water flowing on Fly's head
Into the blue again/after the readers are gone
Once in a lifetime/water flowing underground

And you may ask yourself
How do I work this?
And you may ask yourself
Where is that clean automobile?
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful blog!
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful child!

[Etc.]

OK, so I'm in a bizarre mood today. And if you're still reading, the purpose of my little ditty is to announce two fine bloggers have given me awards! I'm indebted to Carabee at the Land of Bean for the Kick-Ass Blogger award, and to Renee of Life With My Special Ks for the Brilliante Web award. Thank you both so much! Wow! Carabee chronicles her adorable little Bean's life with great wit, and Renee always has something touching to say about her four gorgeous kids and life as a military family.



As the recipient of this award, I need to pass it on to five other bloggers. (You know how I hate having to pick and choose blog award winners! For both awards, I'm going to select bloggers I haven't already given awards to recently -- you know, to spread the blog award love around.) Heeeeeeere they are, in no order:

Maternal Mirth -- she is so wickedly funny! It would be fun to hang out.

lifelong playdate -- also a mom with a little Bean, she has a way of finding the extraordinary in the everyday.

Much More Than a Mom -- a longtime bloggy friend and The Opinionated Parent reviewer! And also a good Canadian.

Interrupted Wanderlust -- another funny mom whose posts makes you think, and who is soon adding twins to her family, which includes the irresistible Isabella!

Creative Thoughts by Chelle -- a kick-ass Web/blog designer and mom, for sure. And also a good Canadian.




The rules of the award are:
1. The winner can put the logo on their blog.
2. Link the person you received your award from.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Put links of those blogs on yours.
5. Leave a message on the blogs of those you’ve nominated.

Look At Us Now! -- a fun-loving bloggy friend who shares my birthday and keeps herself busy with all kinds of projects. And also a good Canadian.

Groovy's Ruminations -- a serious writer whose blog posts are usually not serious at all!

Just Being Me -- another serious writer who always has thought-provoking posts that come from a good heart.

Oh Amanda -- one of those girls who wanna have fun, who also has a new blog featuring crafts for kids, and is expecting a little boy soon.

Three And Holding -- Poetic or laugh-out-loud funny, her posts are a must-read. And also a good Canadian.

Crazy Bloggin' Canuck -- a hysterically funny mom who always seems to be on a great outdoors adventure. A also a good Canadian who happens to live in Colorado.

Carpe Diem! -- a mom who seems to truly live by her great blog title and who has two angelic-looking children!

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

What I'd Wear Wednesday: Fall

What I'd wear today if I could: anything that says fall is here! Because I so wish fall was here. I am tired of the heat, humidity and hurricane scares. I want to put on a cozy sweater and not worry about cooking my internal organs while driving in my heat-trap car.

So today, I have a WIWW fall extravaganza of the trends as I see them. I don't claim to know the entire fall fashion agenda. These are just some fall looks I've noticed again and again. Take a deep breath, relax your shoulders, and let's look at some delicious fall wardrobe candy.

The first thing I noticed about fall trends is color. Bold colors are back. Magenta or red (but especially magenta) with gray or black -- I can't remember how many stores I've seen with windows featuring outfits in this color combo.





This magenta outfit also includes another fall trend, which is a long cardigan and a skinny belt.

So, colors are bold, and prints are too:









(I just included this tattoo tee because I think it's cute and fun.)

Every few years, it seems, sleeves get some attention, and now it's sleeves' turn again. There are a lot of bell sleeves, especially in a shorter length:







This look is a related trend, which is short-sleeve sweaters. I don't understand why you'd wear a sweater with short sleeves, but I've noticed this a lot.

Ruffles are a hit, so if you like 'em, you can get your girly on in full force.





And boots, oh, the boots! The first presidential candidate to promise not a chicken in every pot, but a pair of chic ankle boots to every woman, should definitely win the election. Ankle boots of any height seem to be where it's at, especially if they have one to three buckles.







(I just included these Doc Martens because they're so darn cute! I really would wear these today if I could. With that tattoo tee and some jeans. I don't even care they don't match.)

So anyway, I don't think my day-to-day clothes are going to change much, but it doesn't hurt to window shop -- that's the closest I'm going to get to fall for a few more months....

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Monday, September 01, 2008

The littlest tenor

Fly has discovered he likes opera, but only if Elmo is involved.

And he loves hitting those high notes.

video

(Sorry you had to see my messy office. But that's where the magic happens.)

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