Monday, April 29, 2013

I love our neighbors and waterboarding a baby will get you nowhere in terms of information and now I'd like a parenting award.

We have these down-the-street neighbors - two guys who live in the same building - who, when the weather is nice, like to pull a bistro table out to the curb.

I'm not sure which of them came up with the idea as a way to meet women, but it's quite remarkable - you sit in wrought-iron chairs at a wrought-iron table on the sidewalk, drinking wine and inviting passers-by to join you, and you meet an astounding number of people.

Did I mention that one of them is French, and always has an incredible assortment of wine? Well, he is, and does.

I think the first time Nick and I had really talked to either of them was one evening several years ago. We'd gone out front, probably to admire Nick's handiwork, and they waved us over.

"Hey! Come have a drink!"

As if it weren't enjoyable enough to sit and drink wine and have nice conversation on the sidewalk in front of one's house, there's also the parking judging that they like to do.

Because, you know, parallel parking in tight city spots is not always so easy, and our neighborhood is terrible for the parking. If you've tried to squeeze into a space - with or without the bump-bump - you know that it sometimes takes more than one attempt. And then if you have people actively and obviously judging you while you're doing it, and then giving you scores for your parking job, it makes it all the less easy.

But highly entertaining for those on the sidelines.

I think the night we met we had, oh, five or twenty glasses of various French alcohols and then it was midnight and we realized our baby would have us up in six hours and we were going to feel like the ass of death the next day, which is precisely what happened.

But anyway, that's how we got to know both of these fine fellows in the first place. And now we've been all neighborly for the past several years.

So this Saturday, oh, Saturday was a gorgeous, sunny, breezy dessert of a day. Perfect for being outside.

We stopped and said hello as India and I embarked on a walk around the block. And when we got almost back to our house, I realized she'd taken off and discarded a shoe.

She and I stopped at the bistro table, which at that point in time had three men, and I showed them the shod foot and asked if they'd seen an itty bitty pink and white shoe that matched.

They, the wine swillers, took it upon themselves to ask extremely helpful questions. 

"Where's your shoe, India?"

"India! What did you do with your shoe?"

"Where's your shoe?"

No, as you might imagine, answer. Just happy smiles.

And then one of them said, "I hope you don't have to waterboard her to get an answer."

Which, thankfully, I didn't. Instead, we walked around the block two more times, and there it was, perched on a wall.

And then she had a nap and when she woke up, they were still there, plus a couple other neighbors, and we joined them for a glass.

To make it clear, however, she wasn't drinking the Calvados. Hell, I wasn't drinking the Calvados. I don't need to learn that lesson twice.

I seriously love our neighborhood.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

She has problems with drinking milk and being school tardy. She'll loan you her toothbrush. She'll bartend your party.

So our India is now one and one means many things. One of which is milk.

Do any of you have any issues with milk? Because India might, and none of us do, and I'm trying to figure out an approach.

Ah. But here I should mention that if you cannot handle talk of baby puke, you might not want to read further. Because that's my issue of the week. Hopefully we'll be back to hippos and sinkholes and rabies shortly.

Also, for those of you willing to stick with me on this post, I need your wisdom and suggestions.

So the one business.

For starters, we're to banish the bottles. I think we kept Jordan on bottles until he was two, mainly because we like to promote tooth decay. Oh, and also he started talking early and we weren't smart enough to stop the bottles before he was able to say, "bahdu!" He knew what he wanted and how to ask.

So the bottles should go sooner rather than later. I'm in the market for sippy cups.

Also, she can start embracing the whole milk business.


Except that it maybe makes her throw up. We think. But we're not sure.

See, we spent many hours on Saturday - her first milk day! - driving to New Jersey.  And during that drive, India threw up three times.

She definitely gets carsick, so I can't and didn't blame the milk for the wretched puking episodes.

Also, I should give thanks that we had rented a gigantor car for the trip. Not a Suburban, but something like it. A Yukon, maybe? Anyway, there was plenty of space, so nobody but India had to change. Repeatedly.

Jordan, however, was grossed out. "Daddy! It's gross back here!"

(Which, in Jordanspeak, is actually pronounced GWOTH BACK HEWE. Lisped and emphatic.)

And it was GWOTH. Theriouthly gwoth.

Anyway. We got through it and fortunately had enough changes of clothing and enough baby wipes that she was able to wear something clean to the church and reception and you couldn't even tell that moments prior we'd stripped her in a parking lot, practically holding her with our fingertips.

She's remarkably good natured.

But here's how it's been. We give her whole milk, and then a couple hours later, she throws up big milk curds.

Which makes me think it's the milk. Or anyway, whole milk.

Because she'd had some 2 percent milk earlier in the week, because it's what Jordan was drinking. She had no issue with it. (But she also didn't have large quantities.)

Her pediatrician said yesterday at her one-year checkup that since she's been on milk-based formula, it's unlikely to be milk. She said that only a tiny fraction of the population is actually allergic to milk, and that she's too young to be lactose intolerant.

She said there are a lot of stomach viruses going around, and perhaps that was the issue of the weekend. Her suggestion was to put two ounces of milk in with six ounces of formula, and gradually increase the milk.

This resulted in milk vomit last night.

I don't know if you've ever been vomited on repeatedly, but if you have children, I'd say it ups your odds by approximately 5,000 percent. And if you are like me, you might put on your list of Least Favorite Things.

Besides being gwoth, it's a fucking hatthle.

So the doctor suggested we stick with formula until the weekend, when we have more time to reintroduce milk (and to clean up puke).

I've been reading about allergies vs. intolerances, and I keep running into literature saying what the pediatrician said - that milk allergies are so rare. And it seems to me that the doctor has a point - she's had milk-based formula, and full-fat yogurt and cheese and she has no problem with them.

But then we have the vomiting, which doesn't happen on no-milk days. But then there's this weirdness of India not seeming to have a problem with a couple ounces of 2 percent milk.

Could whole milk just have too much, I don't know, milkness for her little stomach to digest? Should we just ditch the cow milk idea and go with soy milk? Or something else?

Now, on the upside, we discovered Dramamine for the car ride home, and it was fantastic. We turned India's carseat around so she could see forward, we gave both kids a little Dramamine, and they slept (without vomit) most of the way home.

The whole incident left a grand impression on Jordan. It's one of his current topics.

In the same way that you might see someone you know and say, "Hi! How are you?" Jordan will say, "India throwed up! In the car!"

He ended one recent conversation with, "I only throw up in the car after a party."

Which is in fact true. But his small talk needs a little work.

Friday, April 19, 2013

India: ONE!

Dear India,

Today you turned one. ONE! Look what a big girl you are now!

It's hard to believe that a year has passed already. It's been a huge year.

This has been an exhausting, tragic, bizarre week. I'm so glad we had today to look forward to. Your birthday was really the only bright spot.

There were bombings at the Boston Marathon. People lost limbs; people died. One of them was only eight. Boston was on lockdown all day today. They finally have one of the bombing suspects - a 19 year old - in custody. His older brother died in a police shootout. An Elvis impersonator sent a poisoned letter to the president. The Senate voted against expanded background checks for guns; the NRA is more important to them than the lives of children.

It's the kind of week that makes you sad, tired, fearful for your children. What kind of world is this?

Your grandfather died on Wednesday. You are too young to have known him, even as the man in Daddy's chair. But still. You and Jordan had one, and now you have none. Nick had a dad, and now he does not.

I know he lived a long, good life, and I know it's the way of the world. But still. It makes me very sad.

Like I said, it's been a hard week.

But you, my love, you are a dollop of unadulterated joy. You are so shriekingly happy most of the time. You yell with glee when you see us. You beam, you raise your arms for us to lift you and adore you.

And we do. Oh, we do.

You've got three teeth, and a fourth is sure to appear any day now. You show your giant, gummy smile most of the time.

You're sleeping much better, although you still wake up fairly regularly at 3 am; on a good night you'll make it to 5:45, which is like magic. When you wake up, however, you do not go gentle into that good morning. No.

In fact, you scream at the top of your lungs as if you're terrified or in pain. The first time I heard it, I was certain something was gnawing your leg off. I rushed in to save you from...uh...the tragedy of being alone for 45 waking seconds.

See, here's the thing. You SCREEEEEEEAAAM! WAAAAAIIIILL! CRYYYYY! And then we stumble in, all shocked awake but not yet coordinated.

You see one of us and immediately you're all, "Hey! You're here, too! This is great!"


About a month ago you started talking steps, and now you walk pretty well when holding hands. Jordan loves to take your hands and walk you around. The only problem is that he doesn't quite recognize when you're faltering. So sometimes it's more of a drag you around.

You don't complain, though. You so genuinely and obviously just adore your brother. You want to be everywhere he is, in everything he is. You love his cars. This drives him pretty crazy.

When you're not driving him nuts, though, he thinks you're great. He refers to you as his baby. He loves to hang out in the bathroom when you have your bath, and chat with you while we put on your jammies. He will then very sweetly turn off the light and close the door for me to put you to bed.

I have to hand it to him. You sometimes do things that really upset him, like breaking his traffic, and still, he doesn't shove you over.

He'll get so angry, and raise his hand and say, "hit!" or hold out his arms and growl, "push!" But he doesn't actually hit or push.

Jordan was very excited to choose his own birthday present for you. It's a strange bunny kind of doll. He picked it. You LOVE it.

He proudly unwrapped it for you. Tah-da!

Here you are doing your wounded-soldier crawl, getting bizarro bunny baby to safety.
Bizarro bunny baby sings ABCs and such. I have this feeling we're going to hear a lot of her on the way to and from New Jersey. Her and Peter Pan and Captain Hook, unless your dad has downloaded more videos.

You are my constant source of delight, and my equally constant source of exhaustion.

I'm going to be very excited when you sleep all the way through the night. But I'm going to be sad when you're no longer small enough to sit in my lap before sleep, resting your fluffy little head on my shoulder, your sticky-uppy hairs tickling my cheek.

India, my love, it's been a hell of a big year, and I'm excited to see what the next year brings. I love who you are, and I love who you're becoming. I feel so lucky to be your mom.

Love you love you love you,


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Because I'm nothing if not resourceful. And so are we.

This Christmas I discovered a tragic, deep, and abiding love for the fat- and calorie-laden stuff that is eggnog, and specifically South Mountain Creamery eggnog.

Alas and thank the good Lord, they stopped making it immediately after Christmas. And then! Lo! (and behold!) they sent out a message that they'd be making it for Easter. For Easter only! And then it goes away again!

I was delighted, but also kind of puzzled. Because what does eggnog have to do with Jesus? And then I was like, what does eggnog have to do with anything?

So. So given this small window, I bought as much as I thought we could handle. By we I mostly mean me, because nobody else I live with seems as fixated.

Two gallons of eggnog turns out to be a lot. More than we could handle at once. And we needed to freeze some. And we had these handy freezey containers. That we're no longer using.

And no, I don't know why I'm using the Royal We. I mean I. Me. Or maybe I do mean we. My boobs and I. We. Us.

I hope I've explained myself enough so that you realize that  by resourceful I don't mean that I've we've figured out a way to produce eggnog. Although that would be kind of cool...

Monday, April 15, 2013

Pretty much sums it up

Etiquette, as explained by my three-and-a-half year old to his grandmother:

"Saying 'please' is polite."

"Saying 'thank you' is polite."

"Saying 'fuck' is not polite."

And there you have it.

Friday, April 12, 2013

I wonder if he's using the same wind we are using?

I can't quite put my finger on what it is about Target that makes it so compelling.

There's something particular, however. Whoever figures out these Targets knows what they are doing.

Because it taps into the same place that was triggered when as a kid, I would visit the grocery store when we were in the US in the summer. I'd be dazzled - literally dazzled - by the vast array of choices. In the cereal aisle alone!

So many options! So many colors! So much snap crackle pop pretty shiny sparkly!

And! There were SO MANY MORE AISLES just like it!

(Related: Have you ever read the Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver? Oh, I loved that book.)

Anyway, if you ever went to giant theme park like Disneyland when you were young, that feeling of stepping into a semi-unreal kingdom of overabundance and magic is kind of like what going to the grocery store in America was like for me for quite some time.

I mean, it wore off well before adulthood. It's not like I get goosebumps every time I walk into Safeway.

And actually, I find most grocery stores kind of overwhelming. There is just too much, well, too much everything. It's all in my way while I'm trying to find my some things. They make me not hungry. They make me annoyed.

(And! Also! Have any of you looked for full-fat sugarless yogurt to feed your kids? Nearly impossible to find! It is all zero-fat fake sugar crap! We are a nation of overweight people eating scads and scads of fat-free sugar-free yogurt! OK. /rant)

But Target.

Somehow, Target is different. Target seems all fraught with delightful possibilities. I really need baby formula, but ooh! pretty scarf! And such cute thank-you cards! Hey! Lip gloss! And do I need neon turquoise capris? (Um, no. But the possibility exists! And maybe they could change my life!)

Now, Target does do those fun collaborations every so often (their Liberty of London one still being far and away my favorite), and they have some cute, affordable clothes, but for the most part, it's not like you can't get your deodorant, toothpaste, baby stuff, etc. elsewhere.

Plus the Columbia Heights store has a worse bathroom than Amtrak. Hand to God.

And it's not like these stores have roller coasters or cotton candy.

So what is it that pulls me back, makes me happy about a Target outing, and then prevents me from leaving the store until I've spent $100, at minimum?

I do not know.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Various variousness. And anyway. It's a moo point.

In case you were wondering: 

1. I haven't said anything to the guy. Nick thinks I should just stay out of it. And I've only seen him in passing. And it's my understanding that they have moved, so will be changing day cares once they find one.

So, I'm leaving it. Unless I see bad behavior. And then, then I will say something. I don't know what.

2. Also, I didn't buy the platform sneaks.

At the end of the day, I decided that I really don't understand them, and I can't wear things I don't understand. Where would I wear them?

If I'm running around with my kids, I'm not wearing platforms. If I'm trying to look cute, I'm not wearing sneakers. If I'm dressing up, I'm wearing hottie platform sandals or boots, depending on the coldness of the weather.

Which reminds me: 3. holy cow, is it spectacular out! Oh, delightful! Delovely! Sunny and happy and amaaaazing!

Which, with the holy cow, reminds me further: 4. Moo! Sort of.

So yesterday, my dear friend Jessica mentioned a peeve -- a pet peeve, if you will (heh heh) -- on Facebook: "It's LO and behold, people. LO. Not "low". /head asplode."

She got some delightful responses playing with the English language. I don't feel right copying the words of people I don't know, so I will just tell you that there were a number of creative misuses and misspellings.

Me, I got all fixated on low. Low? Low! Cows! Low! 

So I left a comment, "Unless you're talking to a cow. Low and behold! Or perhaps, low and be held?"

Then it occurred to me! I went back and commented again! "Low and be herd!"

You know how something will grab you and tickle you and you just can't let go of it? That's how this was with me.

I could. Not. Stop.

Swing low (and behold), sweet chariot?

Sweet'N Low ('N Behold)?

And then, then my lovely friend replied, "You know, I'd die of apoplexy, but my head asploded already, so it's a moo point."


Low and be Holstein!

Then I decided to quit while I was ahead, so as not to annoy her on Facebook.

I emailed her instead: (Low and be)hold me closer Tony Danza...

I'm not proud.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The more things change...

Some of you may remember the cold pants of yesteryear? Or anyway, last year? (Mais où sont les neiges d'antan?)

Back then, in our onlycoldpants crisis, a number of you were very helpful in locating replacements on the internet. We bought some on eBay. We went to Kohls. We bought a number of pairs of pants, none of which fit the bill. All summarily rejected. NOT cold pants.

Even though they were just like cold pants.

But in the end, after too many sweltering summer days where Jordan was basically a walking sauna (pronounced SOW-na) in his dreadfully hot double-layer polyester cold pants, which by that point had multiple holes and fit him like leggings, we took matters into our own hands. We did the only thing we could do.

We lied.

We hid them, and then told him they were dirty every day. Day after day. After a while, they faded from memory. He even began to wear shorts. He no longer called them broken pants. They were just, you know, shorts.

The new just-like-cold-pants-but-somehow-not got pushed to the back of the drawer. And then, when school started, Jordan had to wear a uniform, or anyway, uniform colors, every day. There was no fighting about pants.

But it turns out that the littlest kids don't really have to adhere to the uniform. Which makes my son happy.

He hates wearing a plain old white shirt. His entire little school life brightened recently when we learned that he could wear any shirt he wanted to school. The backhoes! The bulldozers! Oh, the tractors!

So yesterday, as he and Nick were rummaging through his drawers to get him dressed for school, he spotted a pair of pants tucked way back in the corner.

"Daddy! COLD PANTS!"

He said it almost reverentially. (Cold pants! From Jesus!)

"It's going to be very hot today."


"They're not cold. They're hot. You're going to be too hot."


Right. Because reasoning with a three-year old? Cold pants.

And India, for her part, has discovered Mahavira.

Monday, April 08, 2013

More broccoli? Buh bye.

I don't have much of anything to say today, but would you like to see a wee video of my kid?

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Wedge sneaks?

How do you feel about wedge sneakers?
Image: Zappos

I feel like I ought to think they are ridiculous and loathe them, but the truth is, I find them quite charming. Maybe this is because I'm short and I find wedge anything appealing? I don't know.
Image: Zappos

I went a-huntin' on the Internet, and came across two pairs that I particularly like, on Zappos, land of shoe magic. The first is by Marc Jacobs and too spendy, in my opinion. The second is by Puma, and I might like those even better, despite my penchant for orange and pink together.

Or are they just too silly? What do you think?

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

My mama told me when I was young we are all born superstars.

When I was a kid, my dad used to make me go talk to strangers.

I know - opposite of what everyone else was being told, right? I mean, he was there, and he wasn't all, "Hey, go see if some man in an unmarked van has candy!"

It was more like he'd send me over to the desk at a hotel to ask where the restaurant was. Or whatever. Just to try to make me more comfortable talking to strangers.

I hated it. My younger brother would always step in for me.

Now, although I don't go out of my way to do so, I'm fine talking to people I don't know. Like, I don't shy away from an information desk or asking strangers for directions or something.

But what having kids has made me realize is that people are pretty much born with their personalities.

Look at these little humans: India is always all, oh, hey there! Hi! And Jordan is perpetually so busy creating his own little world.

Jordan, he hangs back in a crowd of strangers, sits on the edge sucking his thumb, not jumping in until he's comfortable.

Sometimes he doesn't talk at all in a group of new kids. He finds some trucks or a book or something that interests him and sits there absorbed, like there aren't 15 children running in circles screeching and playing.

I have to resist the urge to push him into the fray, to say, "Go play!"

But I don't. It wouldn't work, and it's not who he is.

And he is so me in this way. The bulk of humanity is not of great interest to him, and a large crowd of strangers is overwhelming. He picks his people. His true people are few and far between, but you can see how intensely they spark each other when they're together.

India, on the other hand, arrives and she's all, "Hey! I'm here! So great to see you, whoever you are! Yippee!"

This is Nick. Whenever we are in a social situation where we know almost nobody, I hold on to his arm, stand slightly behind him. Which, practically speaking, given our size difference, makes me invisible.

I'm all, "So many strangers! Yikes!"

Whereas he's just like, "New people to talk to! This is great!"

And then he'll just start talking to some random person about, I don't know, anything. There he is, striking up a conversation on the weather or dominoes or foreign policy or ball point pens.

Seriously. Whatever. He just starts talking.

Sometimes he talks too much, and I want to pinch him. Sometimes I do.

So here we all are, in a social sandbox. Some of us are mentally scooping wood chips with a backhoe, and some of us are poised to catch someone's eye all, "Hello the people!"