Monday, December 31, 2007

Resolution, Schmesolution

I'm not feeling the introspective ambition.

I don't have any goals or resolutions for the new year.

There's nothing in particular I'd like to accomplish in 2008.

(Hmm. Unless it's have a second baby....)

I wish I was good at resolutions....

I mean, maybe when I get to a certain point next year when I feel inspired to do something or change my ways, then I'll set a goal. But New Year's Day itself doesn't fill me with a desire to jump in and make a change.

There's plenty I could change, however. I could resolve to keep my house cleaner, be less cranky, work harder on my music, re-learn how to play the guitar, exercise more regularly, read more classic literature, write more and on and on.

For now, I'm just going to enjoy buying a new calendar.

Is anyone with me?!


Friday, December 28, 2007


Today I did something extremely stupid and possibly slightly, very mildly heroic.

Fly and I were at a mall that has a large indoor playground. (God bless these places. When you are shopping with little ones who can't stay stuck in a stroller for long, you need a place like this to let them burn off some energy.) I had been following Fly around the play area for about 15 minutes when I noticed a little girl had gotten stuck inside one of those climbing towers. Her parents were on the other side of the grate wall of the tower, trying to tell her how to get un-stuck. They weren't speaking English, so I don't know if they were telling her to go up or to come back down. She was crying, halfway up a steep step with one leg stretched out to the grate where her parents were and the other leg dangling.

Fly got stuck in a different play area last month, so I could relate. He had surprised me by being able to climb to the top of the tower, then not understand how to crawl into the tube and go down the slide. So I had to crawl up into the tower. I showed him how to get to the slide and come down, for future reference. It was cramped, but I made it. Fly cried the whole time -- and I've been reluctant to go back since! This play area was built for larger children, so Fly couldn't climb it.

I watched the parents and the crying little girl for a while and wondered if they wanted her to learn how to get out on her own. But she still wasn't budging. The little girl was frozen. Her dad was obviously too big to get into the tower to get her -- and her mom was pregnant. So I offered to get her. Turns out her parents spoke English too, and almost before I could finish asking, they told me to please go inside and bring her back down.

And here is where I made my mistake.

I should have asked one of the girl's parents to watch Fly while I carried their little girl back down the tower.

It took me less than 30 seconds to crawl up and get her, but that was 30 seconds no one was watching Fly. He could have left the play area and started wandering around the mall. Another child could have hurt him. An adult could have grabbed him and taken him away. Anything could have happened.

Perhaps even before I offered to help the parents, my subconscious had already calculated the risks and determined it would be fine to help the other family. Maybe that instinctual, mothering part of me -- the same part that wanted to help the little girl -- knew it would be OK. Possibly, it was faith that God would keep Fly safe if I helped another child. Some people would call it karma or some kind of checks and balances in the universe, e.g., help someone else out and you're taken care of in the process.

But the truth is I didn't think these things. I may have felt them, sensed them, known them within my inner self -- but I didn't stop and think.

On the way home, I berated myself for leaving Fly unattended and told myself I can't do that ever again.

And I wondered if that meant not helping others in need when I have Fly to care for. Even as I wondered that, I knew it couldn't be right -- at least not all the time, in every situation. Surely, I thought, it can't always come down to either taking care of your child or helping another child. In many cultures and animal species, several adults watch out for all the children -- not just to each her own. But it's not right for Fly to suffer if I happen to momentarily be more interested in someone else's child.

Those 30 seconds and the what-ifs and the philosophical questions have been beating me up. I'd like to believe it was faith and instincts that led me to help the little girl -- having that real sense of just knowing Fly would be OK -- and I'd like to tell myself I'm overthinking something simple. And I don't want to swear off helping others if it means my attention is diverted from Fly for a while. However, I also realize I am Fly's only mother and that he looks to me for protection.

If it's true that a mother to one is a mother to all, then there must be a balance within each of us so no child is neglected.

And yet ... there are neglected children.

Stupid and heroic sometimes go hand in hand. Where do we draw the line?

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

We wish you a muggy Christmas and a humid new year

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.

Sometimes, not so much.

When JP and I go to church, Fly usually gets a free trip to the nursery. He's happy there, so we're happy.

On Christmas Eve, though, there's a service just for families with kids. Here was our chance to all be together. We took a wiggling Fly and found a seat in the back.

Fly wasn't content to sit on either JP's lap or mine, however. He didn't want to stand on our laps. He didn't want to stand on the floor between us. Fly wanted to run around -- preferably straight down the center aisle to the large Christmas tree in the front. JP and I passed a fussing Fly back and forth for several minutes.

The minister was praying, but I couldn't concentrate because of Fly's maneuvers. Finally, she said, "And all God's children said, Amen."

Except the church sounded like this: "And all God's children said, AAIIEEEEEEEEAAAAAAHHHH!" Great timing!

Fly was so loud -- and there was a crowd of at least 300 -- that the minister actually said, "Let's try that again. And all God's children said...."

By which time an usher appeared to ask if we'd like to take Fly to the nursery.

We didn't. JP and I skulked to the farthest reaches of the back of the church -- somewhere near South America -- and stood up for most of the rest of the service, juggling Fly and trying to be invisible.

Which is why God created church nurseries, I suppose.

Fly fussed the rest of the evening, but he was a good sleeper, and Christmas Day was a huge toyfest of gifts from family, which made him happy.

And I am glad to say I think I made him a bit happy too:

(Sorry you had to see my rear view.)

(Oh, and the playhouse didn't get quite finished. But Fly still played in it anyway. Pics when it's done....)

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What I'd Wear Wednesday

What I'd wear today if I could: some comfy pants like these fleece ones by Gap Body. After Christmas, a mama needs to relax! If you're reading this, I encourage you to do the same.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

The playhouse's the thing

Early December. JP decides he's going to give Fly a gift from the heart -- a gift only he can give Fly, something he's made.

He is going to make Fly a playhouse!

Because JP's motto is there's nothing he can buy for $100 that he can't build for $500.

JP starts to draw up plans. He gets out a calculator. I find scraps around the house here and there.

Then JP asks me for ideas.

"Well, you want to make it interactive, I suppose," I say. "Fly likes that. If it's just a box, he's going to walk in and walk right out."

I happen to find some playhouses (the plastic kind) in a catalog and show them to JP.

"See this one? It has a table and chair. This one has different levels. Fly likes stairs, so he'd like something like that." I show JP playhouse after playhouse and point out their features like I'm some kind of Realtor for the preschool set.

JP isn't satisfied.

So I start dreaming.

"I know! Make a playhouse with a hidden room. Like in those old Scooby Doo cartoons. The playhouse could have a wall that spins around and put you in a hidden room!"

JP stares at me.

But I'm just getting started.

"Or you could make a tiny crawlspace in the wall so only little people could get into the hidden room. Of course, you'd have to have a back door on the playhouse so Fly wouldn't get stuck back in there. Yeah, this playhouse definitely needs a hidden room.

"And a lookout tower! Have some steps so he can climb safely to the top of the playhouse, open a little door in the roof, and look out. You'd have to design it so it would be impossible for him to get on the roof, of course.

"Or how about a skylight? Maybe like the one in the old Swiss Family Robinson movie, where you just pull down on a door in the roof to see the sky.

"Fly likes to push buttons and turn knobs. Maybe you could make part of one wall inside like the play wall at the library. But make it look like our stereo. With lights! Things that light up. Fly loves that.

"A mailbox. Now that would be cool. Fly doesn't get any mail, but I always take him to the mailbox with me and show him how to put the flag up. He would love his own mailbox.

"So how about those ideas?"

JP is awestruck.

"I'm just making a little cabin. It's not going to be big enough for all that."

"Well," I say, "You asked for ideas...."

A few more days go by. JP has been to the hardware store. He discussed with a hardware store guy some options on how to finish the outside walls. The hardware store guy rejects one of JP's ideas as being "too ghetto." That phrase is all JP and I need to brainstorm even more ideas while we have dinner one night.

"Too ghetto?" I ask. "What does he think you're building, a crack house?"

"Maybe I should install a little lab inside the playhouse?" JP ventures.

"Ooh, and then you can build a dealer house on the other side of the yard. With a tunnel between the two of them!"

"Or a live steam train that goes back and forth!"

"You could build a whole little crack town out back!" I say. "One of the playhouses could have graffiti on it!"

Fly, sitting between the two of us, is luckily too young to realize what kooks he has for parents.

We are kooky, yes, and that may be why we are insane enough to think we can create and accomplish some of the things that we take on.

Like JP's playhouse for Fly.

One week before Christmas:

After I helped JP use PVC pipe to roll it into the backyard because it was too heavy to carry. This thing meets hurricane building code!

Fly already likes playing in it.


Half of a roof!

Fly, the building inspector, giving his approval to continue with the work.

Any bets on whether the playhouse will be finished in time for Christmas?!

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What I'd Wear Wednesday: Christmas sweater edition

What I'd wear today if I could: this gorgeous holiday sweater from Boston Proper.

I know what you might be thinking. Something like, What? No red or green? No embroidered Christmas tree, or snowman, or Santa or elves or reindeer or not even one little Christmas ornament or snowflake?!

Er, no.

Although the scrolls sort of look like snowflakes in reverse, no?

The WIWW archives are full of black and white, I know, but you can't lose with a good thing. This sweater is festive without being over the top. And the best part of it is you can wear it even when Christmas is over. You could wear this sweater to your in-laws' house for a casual get-together, or to a party, depending on the bottoms you pair it with and the jewelry you wear.

And if you absolutely must wear red or green, the black and white will go with that, too!


Monday, December 17, 2007

A sling thing

ModMum contest at Much More Than a MomMuch More Than a Mom -- who is about to have a baby any day now -- is having a sling giveaway contest with Mod Mum.

I have one reliable sling. I ordered another about two months ago, but sent it back because it was the wrong size, and -- whaddya know -- the size I need is backordered. Maybe I'll win one of these slings before the other one comes in!

Friday, December 14, 2007

He likes to move it, move it

Fly hit the 15-month mark this past week, and I have to say, he's wearing those 15 months pretty well. He's starting to understand more, and it's always a surprise to watch him catch on to a new idea.

For example, this morning, JP spilled some milk in the fridge. Fly went over to the pantry, got a broom, and took it over to help clean up. OK, OK, I know a broom isn't the way you clean up milk, but he knew JP was trying to clean something and that brooms are for picking things up.

Then last night, Fly wanted me to read him a Christmas book, but I was trying to get a last few bites of my dinner down. So I asked if JP would read the book. He made up most of the story -- saying something about leaving out guacamole for Santa instead of cookies, and poking fun at the number of lights the book character put on the Christmas tree. I cautioned JP that Fly knew the story and wouldn't like if he changed it. Sure enough, before long, Fly got tired of JP's version of the story, grabbed it away from him and brought the book to me. I will never forget the look on JP's face as I laughed in it!

Fly also loves getting into my purse, which was just a bit alarming when I realized that meant he could take something out, go hide it, and I wouldn't find it for possibly weeks. I had put a CD of pictures of friend Guinevere's son, Lancelot, into my purse -- but when I went to give the CD to her, it was gone. I figured it was just a case of mommy brain. I found the CD later in our home office and put it back in my purse. The next day, my little thief came along, pulled my purse down from the kitchen desk and took out the CD. I followed him into his room, where he carried the CD over to his CD player. He's smart!

My favorite thing he can do now, though, is dance.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What I'd Wear Wednesday

What I'd wear today if I could: a simple, yet stylish, paper bag over my head so no one can see how stressed I am! Perfect for all those last-minute Christmas preparations like a husband who is out of town (to buy a race car body, no less), family who is coming in town, cards to mail, gifts to shop for and ship, Christmas solos to learn how to sing, parties to attend, and, well -- fill in the blank!

The paper bag doesn't get enough credit as a fashion accessory. I prefer mine with some holes so I can at least see out of the bag, but ... details, details. The bonus is you don't have to do your hair or put on makeup. Of course, I recommend paper bags made out of 100% post-consumer waste, and then recycling the bag when you're done with it. You can match the bag to your shoes if you really want to, but these days, I don't think people are going so matchy-matchy, so it's up to you.

Yes. I've lost it.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A whoopin'

This week month is totally kicking my butt.


Friday, December 07, 2007

Songs that stick in your head

There's a song that's been stuck in my head for weeks now -- but it's a good thing. The funny part is, it's from a children's music album for Fly called That Baby CD. The Happiness Runs/Circle Game medley is so fun and sweet that I find myself singing it all the time.

That Baby CD -- and the corresponding video That Baby DVD -- is a great concept for children's music. (I would know, because Fly has a stack of music a foot high already.) I reviewed the CD and DVD as part of the Parent Bloggers Network, and I confess it's my favorite thing to review so far! I love how the creators have updated regular popular music for kids, including Brass in Pocket by the Pretenders (when it comes on, I pretend I'm Chrissie Hynde), These Are the Days by 10,000 Maniacs, Three Little Birds by Bob Marley and Anything Is Possible by Jonny Lang. The DVD has several of the songs set to video of children playing, which is fun for Fly to watch. What I really like about the DVD is each song uses a different artistic style in the video -- it could be a cartoon, live action or simple animation. You can view part of the DVD here.

The best part of the CD and DVD is these are songs Fly can grow up with. His lullaby music will eventually be tossed aside (sob!), but That Baby CD will stay in rotation for a while to come. I imagine Fly learning to sing the songs and getting them stuck in his head just like me!

If you want to order the CD or DVD, you can use the discount code PBN to get 20% off! There's a no-questions-asked money-back guarantee, and you can get a lifetime replacement on your DVD and/or CD.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Weekend by numbers and pictures

0: times I thought I'd take Fly to the beach this weekend (but we did anyway)

1: old friend I got to see on my birthday
2: piles of snow we took Fly to see as a curiosity at a carnival
3: friends spontaneously working out to a video just to try it out (didn't last long)
4: friends who met for breakfast before heading to beach
5: birthday desserts friend Roo made for me (see #3)
6: things I had to shop for at the supermarket on my birthday
7: gifts in-laws gave me
8: minutes Fly lasted in a baby bounce house

9: jellyfish/man-0'-war that washed up on the beach

10: time JP and I left client's retirement party on Friday night
11: how many soccer championships these boys will win someday:

12: inches long this gopher tortoise's shell is:

Infinite: seashells and grains of sand on the shore

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What I'd Wear Wednesday: A near-doppelganger

What I'd wear today if I could: anything at the fun blog I found like just five minutes ago called (get ready ... are you ready?) What I Wore Today. Brilliant! I think I'm in love. Kasmira in Cincinnati posts pictures of her outfits, and she looks fabulous.

If I can't be Kasmira or wear her clothes, though, I'd pick a beautiful, cozy hat from my favorite milliner (everyone has a favorite milliner, right?), Louise Green:

So romantic and yet funky too.

Do you wear hats? When?