Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas 2012

Christmas! Christmas with kids is a whole nother ball game.

I won't be all Dickensian and say it was the best of times and the worst of times, but I will say this: holy cow is Christmas with a kid who is both old enough to understand PRESENTS! and interested in eating ALL THE STICKY BUNS AND THE CANDY pretty delightful and completely exhausting.

The morning began with Jordan finding a garbage truck under his stocking. A garbage truck! With actual garbage cans!

I think I've mentioned before his interest in being a garbage truck driver when he grows up. He wants to drive the truck very fast. He's offered to give us rides.

So Nick asked him if he still wants to do that, and he said yes. And then Nick asked, "Are you going to stop and pick up garbage, or just drive fast?"

"I'll stop and pick up garbage and eat my lunch."

He's all set.

Jordan's phrase of the day was, "Let me wrap it!" By this he means unwrap, and he means it for every present, no matter who it's meant for.

India spent most of her time over the holidays trying to stand up.
She has a great time, no matter what. She's also about to become a complete and utterly mobile menace. We are so in for it.

We had a spectacular morning, followed by an equally spectacular crash and a long, long nap. We had to get Jordan up for dinner when our guests arrived.

This was him at 5 pm:
He didn't wake up, even though I took a number of photos with the flash. And what I'd really like to know is, what was he doing just prior to falling asleep?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sharing joy: Mary and the reindeer

Last Friday, the little kids in Jordan's school had a holiday concert.

They'd been practicing songs for weeks. Jordan would sing snatches of songs on the walk home, or at the breakfast and dinner table. Jingle Bells and Feliz Navidad were in heavy rotation. As was Bananas in Pajamas - that old holiday classic. ??

He was so pleased. It was very cute.

Nanna and India and I were all going to see him sing! We'd made treats to bring to the party afterwards. Basically, it was the big pre-winter holidays celebration.

There was much excitement leading up to it! Last day of school! A singalong concert! And then a party! And then vacation!

Some kids had individual parts. Most of the kids sang the sweet and silly songs. Bananas! In pajamas! Are coming down the stairs!

My kid, however, sat like this the entire time:
Actually, not the entire time. Sometimes he sat like this:
And there were a few moments during which he was actually weeping -- the reason for which is unclear.

Ostensibly, he hated his nose. And antlers. And, you know, the singing. And everything except cupcakes.

India, on the other hand, sat in the audience like this:
I kept beaming at Jordan, waving, letting him know that I was so pleased to be there, so pleased that he was in this great concert! This had no effect.

So I turned to Betty and asked, "Would it be impossible to smile while he's up there? Or sing even one of those songs we've heard for weeks? Why is he sitting there like that?"

And you know what she said?

"I guess he's his mother's son. Mary."

I have to admit, she knows of what she speaks.

Ah, well, what's a concert anyway? He's been delightful since then, though, and he's so excited for Christmas.

Or, as he pronounces it, Qwithmuth.

And India, well, Qwithmuth is just another awesome day to her. Yaaay! Life is terrific!

We've got our twinkly tree, and piles of gifts -- or "gives," according to Jordan. Although also according to Jordan, they are all for him. He's almost right.

Our little family is together, and we have plans today and tomorrow with dear, dear friends. We are lucky, so lucky.

Whatever you might celebrate, I'm wishing all of you sparkles and love and hugs and joy. Because no matter what, you can never have too much of any of those, don't you think?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

So many times, it happens too fast. You trade your passion for glory...

I might be particularly sensitive to it because I have asthma, but generally, I think we can all agree that breathing is important.

So when my baby girl, who had been all coldy and congested, started wheezing last weekend, I got kind of freaked out. She was just sitting around panting and wheezing. You could feel the gunk in her chest rattling.

I called a couple urgent care places that said they didn't treat babies. And so I bundled her up and headed over to the ER at Children's Hospital.

It was a Sunday, and we got there around 12:45 pm. It took us about 30 minutes to get through the check-in line. As we were waiting, one of the nurses came out to assess the line, and she said that the room would start to clear out once the football game began.

Seriously. She said that there's typically a rush before and after football games, but the ER is very quiet during the game. The waiting room didn't empty out - it's not like parents who had waited through the line then bailed - but shortly after 1 pm there was no line. For a while.

I assumed people were just making their kids wait until after the game. Nick's take is that people aren't paying attention to their kids while the game is on, so don't notice they're really sick.

Either way, not so good.

They listened to India's congested little lungs and agreed that she was indeed wheezing.  So they gave her an inhaler and a spacer with a face mask. You have to spray the inhaler and then hold the mask on for six breaths. We've been doing this every four hours since Sunday afternoon.

It's pretty easy to count six breaths, because she's typically screaming like a banshee while I'm giving her the medication. It makes her almost as angry as when you try to wipe her snotty nose.

She'll squeal in protest when you get the tissue on her nose. She vastly prefers to just wipe her snot on your shoulder, I've discovered.

Yes, ew. This is love.

So, unlike Clinton, we've done a lot of inhaling, and thus we've had a lot of screaming. Just today I decided to sing to her while I'm holding the mask on her face. It totally calms her down.

So far, the song she likes best is Eye of the Tiger, or anyway, my approximation of it.

I feel like this is further confirmation that she is so my kid, and thus kind of screwed in the musical taste department.

Monday, December 10, 2012

In which we were two weeks early to a party and I got all mouthy with the cops

I don't know how you are with authority. Me, I am a first-born rule follower.

When rules are stupid, I work around them. I learned a long time ago with my dad that it was best to just agree and then quietly do what I wanted. I am not a face-to-face suck it authority! kind of person.


Early last Friday evening I was walking up 18th Street, and there was a police car blocking the road. There were multiple sirens going in the background. A helicopter was circling overhead with a spotlight going.

I immediately wondered if they were looking for an escaped convict.

Because I am nosy and because I was on foot and thus not blocked by the police car, I continued up towards the commotion. And also because I would know exactly what to do if faced with an escaped convict, naturally.

I could see police cars and ambulances, but police tape was blocking off the sidewalks pretty far down the block. I asked a guy directing traffic what was going on, and he said, “Accident.”

Accident being far less compelling than escaped convict, my curiosity was assuaged, and I continued on my merry way.

It turns out that a car crashed into the McDonalds in Adams Morgan. Like, just plain drove into the wall and took out a chunk of it. Crazy, huh?


A few hours later, we’d just gotten Jordan into bed and were about to head out to a Christmas party. I asked Nick if he had the address, and he looked and said, “It’s not on my calendar.” Which was surprising, because every social thing we do together goes into Outlook.

But I insisted that it had been in his calendar, and it must be there, and this was the evening and we had to get going because did he know how late it was getting? I may have gotten a little shrill.

He found the address in his contacts, and we headed out to catch a cab. We arrived at the address, paid the cab, and hopped out. And then noticed that the house was completely dark.

So weird. Did we have the right address, Nick? Yes. Were we supposed to be in NE rather than NW, Nick? No.

I called a mutual friend who I knew was planning to be there. Because what the hell? She answered...and informed me that the party, indeed on a Friday, is not until the 21st.

Oh. Well, then. Nevermind.

Aaaand so we hailed another cab, and headed back to our neighborhood, and decided to take the opportunity to have a date night. After a lot of rush rush rush, it was quite nice to just hang out the two of us.

After dinner, we stopped at the Diner to get Betty some coconut cream pie for her Rachel Maddow watching.

The police tape was still around. Less than earlier, but more, it seemed to me, than necessary. It blocked off the sidewalk where we were walking, and there were cars driving in the street. To keep walking forward not in traffic, I stepped over one strip of the tape and headed towards the crosswalk, where there was a break in the tape.

Basically, I was walking in a little police taped-off strip of road.

I was about a foot from the crosswalk when a police officer - one of oh, 15 hanging out in front of the McDonald's, charged over and yelled, "Do you not see the police tape?"

The tape that I had to step over? The other tape I was contemplating stepping over, until I realized that I'd get hit by a car? The three feet of tape I was walking between to get to a crosswalk? That tape?

I didn't say that. But by that point, after getting two kids fed, bathed, to bed, rushing to look presentable, rushing across town to a not-party, heading back...I was verging on belligerent.

So I looked her straight in the eye with my yes, imbecile look - one I perfected over years and years of dating - and said, "Of course I see the tape."

She got all bulldog-y and bellowed, "Then why are you walking in there?"

Immediately, five of her male cronies stopped chit-chatting and wheeled our direction. Seriously.

As I said, I was feeling beligerent, and was just drawing in a breath and opening my mouth to suggest something along the lines of perhaps they might make better use of my tax dollars by, I don't know, trying to actually stop some crime rather than hanging out at McDonald's when my husband took very firm hold of my arm.

"We're moving along, officer." He looked at the guys and said, very politely, "It's fine. We're going."

To me, he said, "Come on, honey." He steered me calmly and deliberately forward across the street.

I, on the other hand...You know sometimes you see a dog on a leash, and they're being pulled, but they're scrambling with their front legs and straining their head back towards a tree or bush they really want to pee on? That was me.

"But I was almost at the crosswalk. What were they even blocking off there? It was so stupid!"

"I know. But nothing good comes of mouthing off to the police. They have to be in control. You keep it up, and they will book you, and ultimately they'll let you go, but it'll waste our entire night."

"Charge me with what? Not jaywalking?"

(Strain towards the tree. Drop the leash, drop the leash...)

"Lisa." He had A Tone.

He was, in fact, right. We headed home.

And you know, now that I think about it, I was wearing all black, and I did have on my very high platform boots. Maybe I look like a kick-ass menacing ninja? One that could single-handedly fight off six cops?

That thought pleases me immensely, actually.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Bond-age and power lines

So I hauled myself off to Target last weekend for the Neiman Marcus collaboration, and while there were many items that interested me not one bit, I made the surprising but fortuitous discovery: I had this giant hole in my wardrobe that absolutely HAD to be filled with long, metal studded gloves.

Because, see, I have this 3/4-length sleeved jacket and until last weekend my arms would get cold. Which is a dreadful kind of first-world problem to have.

But no longer!
Also, I am posting this totally gratuitous photo because I love my outfit and I wish I could wear it every day.

We went to a party on Sunday, and it was the first time since getting pregnant that I've actually felt good in what I was wearing. I've been schlumping around in comfy, non-binding clothes and feeling frumpy. The regular globs of oatmeal/spit up/what is this gunk? don't help.

So I'd forgotten how much I used to like getting dressed sometimes.

I bought this dress in Paris, and it has these fabulous 60s-style buttons and front pocket. I then was immediately unable to wear it. Like, tried it on a wee bit pregnant, splurged, returned to the US, and my thighs doubled in size and refused to be squozen into it.

Now, however, with a little help of the Spanx variety, I am totally ready to kick ass.

I asked Nick if I could be an aging Bond girl in this outfit and he gave me that edge of mirth, "Sure, honey." kind of answer.

But these gloves make me wish I were a spy or hired assassin (except for the killing part) or something like that. Or just an actual international woman of mystery.

Then I would totally make my escape using the hideous power lines behind our house.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Cabbage is magic and so are Ryan Gosling's abs

I've learned or realized a number of things recently:

1. I think the ideal time to fart in public is when you are just about to get on an elevator.  That way the doors close and whisk you away.

A bad time to do so is in an elevator, even if you’re the only one in there. Because, besides the obvious negative of being stuck in a small enclosed space – even smaller than an airplane, which is perhaps the most terrible place to have a terrible fart – invariably the doors open to people who get in and know it was you. 

2. I'm a sleeper-arounder in my dreams.

Because the other night I dreamt that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie wanted to marry me (I know, I know, the arrogance on my part) but I had to tell them that actually, I was pregnant in both my uteruses, and while I was sure that one baby was theirs, I didn't actually know about the other one. Which wasn't Nick's.

I awoke all, Brad Pitt? He was so cute in Thelma and Louise, but now he just looks dirty to me.

3. Ryan Gosling, on the other hand, is kind of a delightful bon-bon.

How am I so many years behind in learning this? We recently watched Crazy, Stupid, Love and I gasped audibly when the man took off his shirt. Holy Christmas, people.

I love my big bear of a husband and I'm not at all wishing I were with Ryan Gosling instead but I cannot promise that I wouldn't ask if I could just pat his abs once - in a totally innocuous, friendly kind of way - if he were, I don't know, a friend or neighbor or I passed him on the street or something.

4. Shopping on zulily is dangerous.

So, a friend was wearing a very cute dress one day and I complimented her and asked where it was from and then she sent me a zulily invitation and said that if I signed up from her link and then ordered something, she'd get $20 in credit.

Of course I signed up and of course I ordered something because the deals! They arrive in your inbox and oh, the cute! And the brands!

Aaaand I may or may not have just ordered a pair of Fly London boots because one, they are awesome, and two, you know I have a boot problem.

Basically, I need to start recruiting zuliliers to support my habit. God. Does that make it like offering your friends drugs?

5. Cabbage is magic. This one is a re-learn. I knew this three years ago when that vegetable basically saved my life.

I am cutting down on the pumping, which last week led to some boob backing-up and soreness and I am not kidding you when I say that it's kind of hard to focus on anything else when you have a big, solid, scorchingly painful lump in your boob. You're in a meeting and all you can think is "MY BOOB! MY BOOB IS ENGORGING AS WE SPEAK!"

Or anyway, something along those lines.

And I'm not so great with the pumping anyway, so fixing a boob crisis with a pump never works for me. I got India to do some sideways nursing, to which she was amenable in the middle of the night but pretty what the fuck in the morning when she knew what was going on.

And - most importantly! - I stuck a couple leaves of cabbage in my bra on the hurty side. I had to change it a couple times, and within a day, fixed!

I am telling you: magic!

Maybe not so magic if your objective is not to fart in elevators or where-have-you, but that's if you eat it. Sticking it in your bra is a whole nother matter.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Take your economy car and your suitcase…

I’m not, in general, a wasteful human being.

Except for my love of bulk shopping at Costco, and my adoration of frivolous shoes, and it must be said, sparkles, I try to be a responsible citizen of the earth.

I don’t eat a whole lot of meat or processed food. I walk to work, and in fact, just about everywhere. When I do drive, I drive a Honda. I recycle. I tend to give real thought to purchases, I take care of my clothes and keep them a long time, and I’m genuinely pleased when I actually wear something out.


So it is with no small amount of shock and shame that I tell you the following.

We were bringing furniture back from Nick’s parents’ house, and Nick suggested we just get a truck for the drive. We rented a Ford Expedition and hauled ourselves to New Jersey and back in it.

Ford Expeditions, if you’re unfamiliar with them, are gigantor SUVs. This vehicle was approximately the size of the condo I lived in for six years, in which I had plenty of space. Except for the fact that it lacks a bathroom, a family could live in it. Seriously.

When Nick pulled up in front of the house to pick us up Thanksgiving morning, he basically blocked the street by double-parking. He kept having to drive around the block because people couldn’t pass him. Jordan was so impressed. “Woooah! Is that our truck, Mama?”

Let me mention that my son currently hopes to be a garbage truck driver when he grows up. He does not, however, seem to plan to collect any trash; he focuses entirely on how FAST he is going to drive the BIG TRUCK around the city.

This was a BIG TRUCK and my little boy was delighted.

I'm one of these people who can never remember where the car is, but this one was so easy to find in any parking lot, because it was generally the biggest car around. I had to pull myself up and kind of hop to get in.

 It gets about 16 miles to the gallon. You can basically see large swaths of the rainforest being decimated with each passing mile. It is giant and wasteful and menacing. It looks at smaller cars all, “I eat tidbits like you for breakfast, so get the fuck out of my way.”

Basically, it was so many things that I am completely opposed to all wrapped up in one giant gas-guzzling steel thing on wheels.

 It was fantastic. I loved it.

If we lived in the country and hauled stuff and, I don’t know, lived the exact opposite of our current lives, I would totally want one.

Having one of those in the city would be insanity, because can you imagine trying to parallel park it? And it would also be tantamount to saying, “Hi! I’m an asshole! I like to use up the world’s resources driving three blocks to the store in my apartment on wheels!”

Also, I was too scared to drive it at all. So there’s that.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Which I now totally want to try the next time I'm wide awake at 3:00 AM

When you hear piercing shrieks in the middle of the night, you tend to leap out of bed and run towards the shriek-maker to see what the problem might be.

Because maybe something calamitous has happened to your baby. Maybe there's a bug in her bed! Or she's had a ginormous poop! Or something equally terrible!


Maybe she sat herself up for the first time ever. And cannot figure out what to do next.

I have read about babies trying out new skills in the middle of the night. Apparently it is common.

Jordan, however, did not do this. Or if he did, he did so very quietly. As far as we knew, once he started sleeping through the night, he stuck his thumb in his mouth, his butt in the air, and slept. All night long.

And by the way, he no longer removes his pants when he gets angry. I see this as serious progress.

India, however, is so very unlike her brother. She's figured out how to turn on the very same mobile that her brother enjoyed but never touched. She flips and squirms and is generally just itching to do everything she possibly can and then all the things that she cannot yet.

So I saved her from the dread sitting. She was all, "Oh, hi! Awesome to see you!"

I fully expected a repeat performance an hour later.

When I returned to bed, temporarily wide awake, I started thinking. What if adults did that?

One minute there you'd be, sound asleep, all ensconced in dreams in your cozy bed.
You'd have no idea that your partner had woken up and was trying to figure out how to pass the time before falling back asleep. She'd be thinking and thinking, and then she'd realize that her trainer had showed her this great exercise.

And then you might feel the bed shake a little. Or you might hear a tiny noise. You'd slowly begin surfacing from asleepness as you came to the realization that something was going on in your very own bed.

You'd briefly wonder if you even wanted to know. But of course you'd be curious.
So you'd open your eyes to see your partner, wide awake, practicing one-legged squats or something of the sort.

And really, "The hell?" would be pretty much all you could say, you know?

Monday, November 19, 2012

India: month seven

Dear India,

Today you are seven months old. You are joy.

Except when you're exhausted, or awake in the middle of the night and not being tended to. In those circumstances, you are all about the ragey rage. Until someone walks in, and then you immediately begin to beam.

I feel like I'm a better baby mother this time around. Not that baby wearing is the be-all, but I couldn't manage wearing Jordan - he and I just never got the hang of it. And I'm more comfortable and happier just being in the moment with you than I was with him. I wasn't a bad mother to him when he was tiny...but I know I could have been a lot better.

I tried my best, and I still do. 

I took you to vote on election day, and they didn't have my name on the rolls. So you and I very slowly snaked our way through a 2 1/2 hour special ballot line. You were amazing - much better natured than your mother. Happy, smiley, sleepy, asleep.

We didn't actually need to stay, as DC goes Democrat, but I've been so judgey the last couple elections, I felt like I absolutely had to vote.

We started you on rice and oat cereal somewhere around five months, and by now you are itching to try everything.

Yesterday we introduced you to a dill pickle at Potbelly. You kept lunging for it, and it's not on the NO WAY list, and you're our second child, and so...

You very much enjoyed it.

So far you are big on cereals, pears, blueberries, sweet potatoes, and bananas. You're in the George Bush camp on broccoli, but I think it's because the texture freaked you out.

Now you are sitting up so well on your own. I mean, you don't sit yourself up, but you stay up. You are still a rolling fiend, and oh, you want to stand. And crawl. You are thisclose to figuring it out, I fear, and I'm not encouraging it.

It's not that I want to hamper you, but all hell is going to break loose when you are totally mobile.You adore your brother, and I know that as soon as you can follow him around, you will. Jordan, for his part, quite likes that he can make you laugh. I'm hoping you enjoy each other more and more as you age.

But the thing is, he has to take every damn thing apart, which means there are 87 billion itty bitty car tires and sundry toy pieces that would be just perfect for choking. Not sure what we are going to do about this.

Anyway, my delightful girl, you are seven months old, and you are joy.

Love love love,


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Conversations with a three-year old

Jordan, walking into the living room, holding out his index finger: "Daddy, what's this?"

Nick: "I don't know. Come here and let me see it."

Jordan walks slowly toward him, all the while inspecting his finger intently.

Jordan: "Here, Daddy!"

Nick: "Ew. I think it's a booger!"

Jordan: "No. It came out of my ear."

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pavlov's boobs, a three-year old teenager, and sketchy smoothies

1. Pavlov's Boobs

Every time I've taken India to Costco, I've had to find a place to nurse. And so the last couple times I've gone, I've left her at home.

I know it, but my boobs, they do not. They now fill up as soon as I walk into Costco. They start looking around for a comfortable chair.


2. The Three-year Old Teenager

If enough years go by, it turns out that the adorable little three-year old daughter of a dear friend will turn into an amazing teenager.

And you'll meet her again, and while in your mind you've had this cute, bossy little blonde toddler image of her, the reality is that she has become this tall, lithe, incredibly beautiful teen. Who is the kind of girl who would totally have intimidated you when you were in high school, but for the fact that she's also genuinely sweet.

She doesn't know what she wants to be when she grows up, but she knows she likes to write. In English and French. And she likes to take photos. And now she has a blog!

She's lovely. You will like her.

3. Sketchy Smoothies

Turns out a pumpkin + chocolate protein powder + wheat grass all blended up with ice water tastes as unfortunate as it sounds.

And no, I can’t quite explain to you why I thought it might be a successful combination. 

It’s kind of like when I popped a veggie burger in the toaster at work and then kind of flopped against the side and mooshed itself against the heating wires and caught on fire and then I had a hell of a time cleaning it out. Because they are meant for the toaster oven.

It’s not the same but it’s not that different. Basically, I do these things so you don't have to.

I guess you're welcome is what I mean.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sometimes I feel like throwing my hands up in the air. I know I can count on you.

Tonight is the five-year anniversary of the day my luck turned at the Tabard Inn.

I've written about it every year since, and I've said before that I find this date much more significant than our wedding anniversary, as by then we were for sure. Whereas our first date could've been just another first and last date.

Five years. One wedding + one parent death + three moves, including one condo sale and one house purchase + two children + one Betty move-in. Five full years.

These five years with Nick have included the best and the worst moments in my entire life. And he has solidly been there for all of them.

When we met, I'd all but given up on getting married, but I was terrified of dying alone. I was so happy to meet Nick, to realize that I'd finally met my person, to get married, to commit to forever.

I had no actual idea that marriage would mean so much work and so much compromise. Daily, endless work and compromise. And that the commitment to forever would sometimes be what gets you past the bumps in the here and now.

It's not that I thought that marriage was only about sex anytime you wanted and dinners out and a steady +1 for parties. Or, OK, maybe I sort of did.

Because what is marriage, if not an underwear dance party?
It's more that I didn't know that sometimes being married kind of sucks, and sometimes you might not like each other for weeks on end.

And I don't mean not like as in how I pretty much hated him for a year after Jordan was born and would lie in bed mentally dividing up the furniture. Or loathing him in the parallel parking shouting moment. Or how I joke about stabbing Nick, because really, I couldn't actually stab him, or anyone for that matter. Although if he does somehow wind up stabbed in his bed, we never had this conversation.

I mean not like as in just plain not enjoy spending time with. I mean get on each other's nerves. I mean not make each other laugh and not have fun with day after day. Marriage takes nurturing, but sometimes, particularly with jobs and kids and so many immediate demands on your time and energy, you just don't have it in you.

So it turns out that after a period of this, you hit a point where you talk about how much you're annoying each other, and how you have both recognize how much not fun you are having. And where did the fun go?

And seriously, what are the two of you going to do about it? How are you, together, going to turn this around? Because you love each other, and you are going to make it through to the end, where you die of old age together.

And suddenly, you realize that you are a team, and you've always been. And there's nobody else you would rather be with.

What I really hadn't known, and in these five years have learned, is that if you go through a period like that, what you have to fall back on is the fact that you have common goals and a commitment to  your family, the family and the life you have built together.

What you have to fall back on, in a weird way, is each other. No matter what the rest of the world (or one or the other of your kids) is up to.

And here we are. Two children - who are killing us, just a little - later. Five years older and wiser.

And unstabbed.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Jordan's taste in music

I've long claimed that I grew up with no taste of my own in music, because we lived overseas and my dad listened almost exclusively to opera and show tunes. And in the summer we'd visit my relatives, who liked country.

I embraced the 80s music at the local disco like there was no tomorrow. It's still my absolute favorite, and the only songs I recognize before the chorus are from this very narrow 1983-1987 slice of life.

So it's quite interesting to hear Jordan having his own little opinions on music at the age of three.

He and Nick go on weekend adventures, and they usually involve driving. Sometimes they go to Home Depot and Jordan watches forklifts. Sometimes to a marina. Or the hardware store. Or any construction site.

It's a magic world out there.

Jordan hears all kinds of music on XM in the car. If you start driving without music on, he requests it. And he asks you to change the music if the song doesn't appeal. So far, he's not so much on Alanis Morissette or the Beatles.

It turns out he loves Paul Simon's Slip Slidin' Away. Although he calls it Thlip Thliding.

"Play Thlip Thliding, Daddy!"

It was impossible to explain to him that we, the omnipotent parents,couldn't just make whatever song we wanted come on the radio. We are going to have to compile a Jordan's Favorites CD before our Thanksgiving drive, I think.

On Sunday we were running errands and listening to music and changing channels. Several times he asked for The Giant Song.

I looked at Nick. "The Giant Song?"

He shrugged. He didn't know either.

And then, then this song came on:


Ohhh, yeah.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

And then my body just shut the whole thing down

I'm legitimately sick today.

Despite how clever I'm feeling about my use of the Akin quote, and how my uterus grew three sizes yesterday when America voted down much negativity and hatred, instead of feeling jubilant, I feel like complete and utter crap.

And I'm feeling very sorry for myself.

I have to head out and get my enthusiastic! exhausting! son, then keep him moving (no, we can't investigate every crack in the sidewalk; yes, we have more Cheez-Its at home; let's keep going) to get my daughter. Who I will carry, and then Jordan will want me to carry him too, and frankly, I'm pretty sure that in about two years, he'll be big enough to carry me.

And! I can tell you for a fact that one of those little snotgobblers is completely to blame for my state. They are constantly sticking their fingers or whole hands into my mouth or my nose or my food or my water. They give big, sloppy kisses. I love the shit out of them.

But they've brought home one illness and another - vomiting, snuffy noses, fever - your garden plague variety of things. So I've basically been slogging along for the past couple weeks, feeling like semi-hell, but well enough to put one foot in front of the other and continue forward.

And then today, my body voted NO on my proposal to get up and go to work. I have a fever, I have chills, and I slept until 1 pm. And still didn't want to get out of bed.

This was me yesterday, ready to head out and vote. C'mon India! Let's go look at democracy!
This is me today. Please give me kleenex and let me curl up and die.
I told you I was feeling sorry for myself.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Dear laawwd ... what happened here?

Yesterday, we took Jordan to a marina to feed ducks and look at boats. While strolling in the lovely fall weather, we came across this disquieting scene. There was nobody around to ask.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

My Halloweenies

I don't have anything big to say about Halloween BEYOND OH MY GIRAFFE IS IT FUN WITH KIDS!

Last year I got Jordan an adorable, warm, fuzzy little dragon costume. He wanted nothing to do with it. "Take it OAF!" was all he said. Over and over and over.

I took it OAF! I returned it! And that was that.

So, I don't know how familiar you are with the Cars movie, but Jordan has watched it approximately 54 million times. He loves Lightening McQueen (who he refers to as LA QUEEN!), and he loves Mater. Tow-Mater. The tow truck sidekick.

We told Betty that Jordan was going to be Mater, as in Tow-mater, for Halloween, and she said, "Well, then, I'm going to be Q!"



 Uh, not that kind of tomater, tomahter, potato, potahter...

India had no say-so in her costume, but lemme tell you, she was the cutest giraffe I've ever seen in my whole entire life. She beamed and squealed in delight the whole time.

Jordan practiced saying "Twick or tweat!" and he said it so sweetly at every house. He gently took one piece of candy, and (with reminders) said "Thank you!" at each and every house.

Well, except one, when he said, "GBTFHMMFFF" and we realized that his jaw was basically cemented together with Milk Duds.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Frankenstorm, emergency porn, butt paste, and bathtub gin. Not together. Or maybe.

So there is this hurricane - Sandy - heading our way (and how come there's never a Hurricane Lisa, I'd like to know?), plus a winter storm and together they are supposed to do a million dollars worth of damage, knock out power and water, and disrupt the election.

People are rushing out and buying food, water, liquor. Jordan's school sent out an in-case-of-emergency message. Everyone is talking about this. I read a comment on someone's Facebook wall saying they didn't have to rush out because their Mormon upbringing meant they were stocked for a year. Which is practical.

The only thing I think we likely have a year-worth of is Japanese rice crackers and butt paste. Although I realize the latter is not food and would not be of use if the storm or the terrorists take out the water and power.

Although, honestly, if the terrorists attack DC, we're so close to the White House that I figure we're goners anyway. Unless butt paste is somehow helpful. We could coat ourselves in it and...sneak off to Canada? I don't know.

But back to Frankenstorm.

I cannot help but think that the media is enjoying hyping this because they are dead tired of talking about the election. As is everyone I know.


Truthfully, I've not seen a single news outlet suggest the purchasing of emergency porn. I'm just kidding about that one.

So the storm is kind of a nice diversion from this appallingly partisan, divisive election.

And yet, much as I am so fucking sick of it, I still talk about it. I can't seem to stop talking about it. And every time I see a female friend on Facebook say something pro-Romney on Facebook I have to bite my fingers.

Because I want to reach through the screen, shake them and say, "Seriously? Do you want to hand your reproductive rights over to these narrow-minded men who minimize rape, who don't want you to get paid the same as your male colleagues? Seriously? And PS, you're not in the demographic they give a shit about, so if you personally think a Romney-Ryan regime is going to improve your life, maybe just buy a bunch of extra liquor for that four-year shitstorm."

But I don't, because where would that get me?



Happy weekend, all!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The time Nick didn't go on a date with Ann Coulter

I think we can all agree that my beloved Nick looks like a conservative Republican, at least most of the time.

He wears the Brooks Brothers suits and the seersucker suit and the bucs and the khakis and button downs and navy blazers during the week. On weekends he wears khakis or shorts and polo shirts and those cloth belts with things like anchors embroidered on them.

I've admitted this before - the fact is, uptight, conservative-looking men are my type. I just got lucky with Nick in that he's less uptight than many, and he only looks conservative. Under those starched, crispy shirts and carefully tied ties beats the heart of a man who believes in public education and health care for all.

I love this combination. I do.

Thus I was fascinated to learn that a year or so before we met,  a friend of his offered to set him up with Ann Coulter. THE Ann Coulter. Seriously.

Nick, my darling dearest, responded with something along the lines of, "I'd rather slam my dick in a car door repeatedly and then rip my fingers off with a pliers."

He doesn't remember exactly how he put it, but it was certainly not more gentle than the kind of things he says to customer service people who have angered him.

The friend insisted that Ann Coulter's actually a very nice person. She just says these dreadful things in public because that's her schtick. She makes her money by being so publicly outrageous. It's not really who she is.

In other words, she's not actually a vile, loathsome, carrion-eating bag of maggots. (My words, not either of theirs.)

Nick, however, wasn't buying it. He doesn't believe that you can say such hateful things and put such negativity out into the world and  and yet be a good person. No way did he want to meet her.

I do agree with him. Except that I was wishing he'd gone out with her, just once. So that he could give me an informed opinion on whether or not she's actually a man.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Oh, yeah, and there were panda bears as well

 On Monday, Jordan’s school was closed, and he stayed home with Nanna.

Actually, they were barely at home. They had a day of adventure planned. A big ZOO day!

I myself am not a fan of zoos – they make me sad, plus this one time, in Bangladesh, a monkey reach through the bars and got hold of my hair and wouldn't let go and my dad was holding my legs and the monkey my hair and it kind of scarred me for life.

However. The National Zoo is a great place to take kids, and the distance between the animals and the humans is such that your kid is not going to get grabbed by a monkey. There are tons of animals! The famous pandas! Big, wide walkways for strollers. Places to run and play. And free! (Which I find astounding, as zoos are so expensive to maintain.)

We spent the weekend building up the zoo outing – talking about our favorite animals, and what Jordan thought he’d see there. Jordan said his favorite animal was the tiger. And then verified with Nick that tigers are nice to little boys, and don’t scare them, do they, Daddy?

 Nick assured him that tigers are nice to little boys.

When I got home from work Monday night, Jordan was reclined against Betty, exhaustedly picking at his macaroni.

Had they had a good day? Oh, yeth!

Betty said they had spent hours and hours at the zoo. It was so big! Then, then they went to this frozen yogurt place where you go around to all these machines and put the yogurt in yourself and then sprinkle pixie dust on top!

Since he was out with his grandmother - this particular grandmother - they had dessert and then looked around for lunch. They then found the best noodles!

After these adventures, they headed home for what turned out to be a teeny tiny almost non-nap nap due to the arrival of a giant monsterpoop. Could’ve been a good nap, but after the cleanup, the nap was shot all to hell.

They then headed over for a visit at the day care to see his absolute favorite teacher, who just got back from maternity leave. He had been devastated when she left, and was thrilled to see her. She gave him two little cars for presents. It was a total love-fest.

This was what Jordan said: "We went to day care! Claudia gave me two cars! They're very fast."

"Did you go to the zoo?"

"Oh, yeth! We went to the zoo! We had ice cream! We had noodles!"

 Equal billing for all. And this was as much information as I got out of him. He was tired.

Nick got home in time to tuck him in. When this is the case, they lay in the dark and talk about Jordan's day.

Later that night Nick said, "I don't think the zoo made much of an impression."

"Why not?"

"Because when I asked him what he saw there he said ' There was a crane and a digger and a backhoe!'"

Friday, October 19, 2012

India: month six

My dear, sweet India, Today you are six months old! Half a year!

I know that technically you've been a person since the minute you were born, but you're now such a real person!

You can express your likes and dislikes and it is so much fun to see your personality. When you're delighted you flap your arms and kick your legs and squirm and squeal. It's so much fun to see. I have this feeling that you may be more like me than your father - super happy when you're happy, and super not when you're not.

But we'll see.

Most of the time you're happy and extremely smiley and you beam at everyone. And you clearly expect them to smile back. And they do.

This past month has been a huge one. The biggest, most dramatic development was that you started sleeping through the night.

It was brutal getting to that point, and there was a lot of screaming. A lotlotlot. It was rather terrible, and there was a lot of not sleep all around and maybe a good deal of bitterness as well.

But now you sleep from about 6:30 pm until 4:30 am, and that has changed all of our lives. You wake up, eat, crash out again for a couple more hours, and wake up in a good mood.

You look at your brother with absolute adoration. And today he told me that he loves you so much! Melted my heart.

When he comes into a room you're in, the first thing he does is say, "Can I see my baby?"  And then he promptly walks over to you and takes away whatever it is you're playing with.

In other words, I think he's mostly past his jealousy, but not entirely.

You can't yet sit up on your own, but you roll and flip like a fiend. You have the cutest little chortle. You are super chatty.

I love it.

You are pure joy, you really are.

Except when you scream - shrilly, loudly, and evilly - which you do when you are not getting what you want. Then I catch a tiny little glimpse of, oh, I don't know, something that furthers my suspicion that you and I, my darling, might have more in common than is readily apparent.

I love you love you love you,


So, ya know.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

And now for something completely different

I was recently in a good bathroom with one of those high-power air-blower hand dryers, and it occurred to me that I haven't thought about my imaginary penis in a whole long time. And then I almost mentioned it to my new friend, but for once didn't blurt out every ridiculous thought I have as soon as I have it.

Now I cannot remember where I was, which is too bad because I try to make a mental note of every good bathroom in DC. It's not as imperative as it was during pregnancy, but is still super useful information.

And actually, she's not such a new friend at this point, because we've now known each other for nigh on six months. She's rapidly become one of my nearest and dearest. A bosom buddy, in fact. Ahem.

Also, I'm not sure why I censored the penis business, because it's not like she would blink.

The other day we were shopping in Trader Joe's and I got a can of pumpkin and she asked what it was for, and I asked her if she'd ever had a dog, and then she was all, "This isn't going to be one of those 'and then they ate my dog' stories, is it?"

Which, honest to God, happened to a friend of hers in Peace Corps in Mauritania. Got eaten by neighbors.The dog, not the friend.

And I replied, that no, it was actually about anal glands. Since we were in the frozen aisle, which is always quite busy, I said it out the side of my mouth, like one of these old-time movie private investigators.

I don't know why I felt like it was a more subtle way to say it, particularly as she was down the aisle from me so I wasn't exactly whispering.

It wasn't Nick and raisins, but it wasn't far off.

Because pumpkin always makes me think of Gloria, who had to have her anal glands expressed on a regular basis. You could tell because she'd sit down and scoot across the floor. So anyway, the vet had us feed her a little scoop of pumpkin every day to keep things moving.

I think that was after my dad decided that he was going to not follow the "don't try this at home" advice. Which, if you're successful, you only try once before deciding it is well worth the vet money.

Which actually has nothing to do with anything, now that I've said, well, all of it. Except that it's full-on pumpkin season.

Because the whole point of this little tale is that Jordan and I spend a lot of time talking about the things India will be able to do when she's bigger.

She can't talk now, but when she's bigger, she'll be able to talk to him.

She doesn't know how to sit up yet, but when she's bigger, she'll be able to run and play with him.

And so on.

So the other day, I was changing her diaper on the floor, and Jordan said, "Look, Mama! India doesn't have a penis!"

And I said, "No, she doesn't."

He looked her in the face and said very sincerely, "You'll have a penis when you get bigger, India."

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Having it some, doing none of it well

If you're a parent, and you made the choice to stay home with your kid(s), are you glad you did?

I don't have a big important job. I don't have millions of dollars, human life, or grand affairs of state hinging on my actions. I'm not an Anne-Marie Slaughter type; I'm not trying to have it all (whatever that means).

 I'm just trying to have it some.

I'm trying to love my family with my whole being, and spend at least a little quality time with my husband, and get grocery shopping done and keep the clutter piles from overwhelming us. Oh, and get to the office on time. And not take lunch because twice a day I pump as much milk as I can for India to have at day care. Which is not enough, but it's something.

I am currently in the office three days a week. My days at home with my baby are lovely. My office days are rush rush rush - trying to get the bottles together, to get India ready for day care, to get myself into clean and office-y clothes (still a challenge, when many things are still too tight), to focus on work at work, to leave on time to rush to get either one or both kids - depending on Betty's schedule.

My evenings all week, whether home or at the office, are frantic from when I get the kid(s) until about 8:00 pm, when Jordan is tucked in. I get India bathed, nursed, and to bed, Jordan fed, Jordan clean, Jordan to bed.

They're really hard when Betty is gone, because Nick works quite late, and so it's just me with two kids that want ALL my attention. But when Betty is here, which is most of the time, she feeds Jordan while I get India settled. So it's not hard, just kind of full-on until he's off to sleep.

There are parents who have it a lot harder than me, I know. There are single parents, parents with more than two kids, parents with long commutes and no family nearby. There are parents who manage a family and a job and extra activities and bake cakes and have a clean house and do it all very gracefully.

I'm not weak, and I'm not lazy, but I feel like even just doing it some is often more than I can manage.

And I feel like I'm doing a terrible job at all of it.

Friday, October 12, 2012

If you look at the word "six" long enough, it starts to look wrong

You know how that sometimes happens with a word?

I don't mean like weird and wierd, which I'm never sure of. (Yes, there's spell check, thankfully.) But either way looks weird to me. Or wierd to me.

The point of this post, however is, that I have been blogging here at Lemon Gloria for SIX YEARS. Six! Six! Six! (See how wierd weird odd that looks?)

This is longer than I've held all but one of my jobs, longer than I've lived anywhere except now DC. I've now known some of you longer than I've known my husband.

Thank you for six years of laughing and crying with me. Thank you for cheering me on when my dating life was dreadful, and for rejoicing with me at my wedding and my pregnancies and my babies. Thank you for supporting me through the hardest of times with my dad.

Sometimes I don't feel like I have anything interesting to say, and I wonder if this is what I should be doing. And sometimes it feels like so much fun to share stories, and I'm so happy I can.

I suppose you're always where you are, you know? And I'm glad I'm here and you're here with me.

Big hugs and happy weekend, all.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Um, apparently

Me: What if you found out I were sexting with someone? No physical contact, just sexting?

Nick: You are an oddball.

Me: OK, but what would you do?

Nick: I would express my profound disappointment.

Me: What if he lived somewhere we were never going to meet?  Like, Russia?

Nick: Do you and I really have so little to talk about?

Thursday, October 04, 2012

And let me give you a foot rub when we stop at the next light

So, several years ago, my parents gave us their old Alice. She immediately guided us around rural  Maine in 11-mile increments.

And this is tangential, but Maine, beautiful Maine! Here are some pretty pictures of our time there.

Anyway, Alice. She changed our lives. Mine more than Nick's, but he loved her immediately as well.

I've always been severely directionally challenged, and with Alice leading the way I was no longer all stressed out every time I had to drive somewhere new all by myself. I could just get in the car and go! And get to my destination!

She was patient, she was kind. She did not envy, nor boast; she was not proud...I won't go so far as to say that she madeth us to lay down in green pastures, because, let's face it, she wasn't God. But she was awesome.

Rather than telling us we were idiots, she'd firmly say, "Recalculating!" when we didn't follow her directions. And then one day, her face froze. You know how when you were little and you'd grimace and your parents would warn you that your face might freeze like that?

Well, that's precisely what happened to our Alice. I got her unfrozen, but it was brief.

And while we loved her honestly and truly, we promptly set her aside and bought a new Alice. She was a little fancier, but basically the same. 

So we had a number of years of one Alice and then another. And then a couple weeks ago, I was in a friend's car. She had the same Garmin as us, but hers was Ken. Ken the Australian.

I'm not actually one for Australian accents, but Ken has a nice voice. He's soothing. And polite. 

You basically hear, "In five miles, turn left. You look beautiful in those sweatpants. Can I get you a drink?"

He took us to Virginia and back. By the time she dropped me at home, I wanted my own Ken.

I may be patient and kind as well, but let's not pretend I'm above envy. I had Ken envy.

Thus with a couple menu options, I performed international gender bending, and Alice became Ken (who, in the Garmin menu, is named Lee). A scant few days later, Ken guided us smoothly to Charlottesville and back.

I was worried that Nick might get jealous, because you know, Ken is so smooth. And foreign. He basically whispers sweet nothings in my ear in the guise of directions.

Nick, however, immediately viewed Ken as a pal, a friend for the road, and a delightful excuse to throw Australianisms around. Ken would give an instruction, Nick would execute it, and then be all, "Good on you, mate!" Or, "Throw a shrimp on the barbie!"

And then when we reached our destination, Nick trumpeted,"Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi!"

Which, actually, we wish Ken would say at the end of a trip. Right after he pours me a glass of Shiraz.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

On what would've been his 76th birthday

The other day, I almost picked up the phone to call my dad.

And then I remembered.

It's weird, because it's now been almost three and a half years, and it's the first time that has happened. I dreamt about him the other night as well, which I haven't done since right after he died. I've never smelled his cologne since, and I really do believe it was him saying goodbye and taking flight.

Betty and I almost never talk about him. I don't know if this is good or bad. It just is. But every once in a while Jordan will be doing something and she'll say, "Dad would have loved this kid so much."

And he would have. And he'd love little India as well.

I know now he was a better dad to me than to my brother, who is almost four years younger. Something shifted in my dad when my brother was very little. He started getting sick all the time in Bangladesh. I don't remember how he was in Egypt, but really wasn't doing well by the time we were in the US, leading up to his first suicide attempt.

Basically, what I realize is that I got more of the fun and my brother got more of the crazy. You can have the same parents and yet have very different parenting experiences.

It's not fair -  it's just birth order and timing. Hell, none of it's fair. It's just life.

My dad was sure he'd die at 72. I don't exactly know why; perhaps because that was the age of both of his parents, who died in different years, of different types of cancer.

But in the end, he was 72. He almost made it to 73. He almost made it to meeting Jordan. He almost a lot of things, I suppose.

The aftermath of suicide is so very complicated. I was devastated. I no longer had my dad, one of the most important people in my life. I was angry. He'd left us, really left us this time. We'd been abandoned. Lied to. Betrayed.

For the longest time I felt guilty every time I said anything negative about him. Or expressed anger towards him.Even though I was sometimes chokingly angry.

But you know, the aftermath of growing up with an unstable parent is complicated as well. When you look at our family with a little distance, there is some really fucked up stuff. I mean, besides the multiple suicide attempts.

Me, I can trace the roots of nearly all my insecurities back to my dad and his behavior. I can blame him, if I choose - but that's the lazy way out. We can all blame our parents for all our problems, really.

And even if we do so, they're still our problems, until we work them out.

My cousin Lyrae was in town recently, and we were talking about my dad and about grief. She said she's realized it's not linear. You might expect that it gets better and better and better, until it is all gone. But no. It is random and unpredictable, swinging wildly up and down, punching you out of the blue during a period of fineness.

I still get so sad, and sometimes resentful, but I think I've forgiven him for abandoning us. And I've almost entirely forgiven myself for the anger. If he were still around, he'd still be complicated. He's still be crazy. So in some ways, life is calmer now.

But I'd take the ups and downs of the old crazy, any day.

I'm rambling. I don't really know what I'm saying. It's just, you know, October third. It's my dad's birthday.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The first best day of my life

Four years ago, I made my best move ever and married Nick. It was a short walk down an aisle that had been a long time coming.


Our wedding was glorious; I wanted it to last forever. At that point, it was the best day of my life - the first of now several. By our wedding day, I'd only known Nick for about 10 months, and we've since agreed that it could all have ended very quickly and badly.

But sometimes fortune smiles down on you, and look where we are now.

This morning, after an awakey-snuffly-baby-with-a-cold kind of dreadful night, as we were scrambling to get everyone ready for work, work, school, and daycare, India was screaming her head off in her crib (DON'T PUT ME DOOOOWN, WOMAN!) upstairs, and Jordan was throwing a fit downstairs (I WANT TO WATCH A VIDEO! I DON'T WANT TO EAT BREAKFAST!).

We looked at each other, clinked our mugs of tea, and said, "Happy anniversary!"

Somehow I got so lucky. I wouldn't change a thing. Except more sleep and less infant and toddler screaming.


Profuse thanks for the video go to one of Nick's oldest and dearest friends, Matt Curran. Lucky for us, one day he had both a shiny new MacBookPro and time on his hands and decided to play with photos; this video is the delightful result!

The only way I could like this more is if it were set to a recording of him singing. Matt's a professional opera singer with this deliciously deep voice and fantastic and random sense of humor. Which explains some of the captions.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Twinkle, twinkle, little, uh...

At Target the other day, I passed a shelf of Always Radiant Maxi Pads.

Which gave me pause. Radiant. Maxi pads. Radiant.

Radiant is a word I would use for makeup. Radiant eye shadow! Radiant nail polish! Shampoo! Toothpaste! Radiance is sparkle, glow; it is light projected.

Radiant! works nicely for cosmetics in general, I think.

"You look radiant!" This is something people say to beaming brides. To their faces. Not their vaginas.

Because radiance in your pants?

I imagine radiant maxi pads being covered with glitter. Which sounds itchy. And sketchy.

I mean, you know how when you wear glitter, it gets everywhere, into weird little nooks and crannies, and never goes away? For years and years you find little glitter bits in upholstery, carpets, clothing you've washed repeatedly. Seriously, for years.

So Radiant Maxi Pads. Here's what I picture:

When wearing them, you'd walk down the hall at work, leaving a discreet trail of glitter.

Every time you sat down, you'd leave your sparkly mark.

Your butt would be very subtly shiny. Dare I say radiant?

The gynecologist, at your annual exam, would notice something odd, and then be all, "I've never actually seen glitter on someone's cervix before. I don't want to pry, but..."

Monday, September 24, 2012

The food-to-condiment ratio

Incidentally, when I typed the title, I first spelled it "condomint" - and then I was all, that's odd! I'm basically a 12-year old boy; how did I never realize that the word condom is in condomint?

I immediately began trying to think of clever things to say, using buns and beef and condomint...And then, uh, drat. It's condiment.

So. How do you feel about condiments? I'd never given them much thought until I felt drowned in them. Turns out, I'm fairly indifferent to most of them.

Except sometimes, when there are so many I can't cram anything else in. Then I feel some serious condiment hostility welling up.

I don't know how many condiments the average person has. But we surely have more than normal. I mean, we're not condiment hoarders. It's not like we have so many condiments that there's no room for a table and chairs. But they do occupy significant space in our fridge and cupboards.

I live with two other adults: Betty and Nick. With the exception of spices, of which she has many, my mother tends to focus on sweet things like jams, honey, syrup. She also buys mustard. Pardon us. I'm certain we have a stockpile of some Grey Poupon.

Nick, on the other hand, goes for the savories: BBQ sauce, hot sauce, dressings, Worcestershire, ketchup, pickle relish, marinades. The man has been know to put smoky Tabasco sauce on just about everything you can imagine. He also buys mustard. We have mustard a-plenty.

My mother likes Miracle Whip. Nick likes mayonnaise. Each will eat the other type in a pinch, but typically, we have to have both.

Not being a math person, I can't tell you the precise food-to-condiment ratio in our fridge. Maybe 1:3? Whatever, it's ridiculous.

Lately, however, we've all been really busy. We haven't done much shopping. And so, this weekend, when my mother, Nick, and Jordan were all gone, I decided to take advantage of the emptiest our fridge has been since we moved in.

I pulled out the shelves one by one and scrubbed them with soap and hot hot water. I dumped old food. I scoured containers.

It felt great.

I'm in the minority, I think, but I hate a full fridge. When the fridge is packed, it totally deters me from looking for anything. When it's sparsely filled, I love it.

I realize this is short-lived. They're going to get all twitchy when they realize we only have three kinds of each jam, sauce, what-have-you.

Nick is back, and Betty returns from Vermont on Friday. I know she's bringing maple syrup. Oh, and not a condiment, but rather, a staple: four pounds of cheddar. (Lucky for me, Nick has never broken up with anyone for eating too much cheese.)

Friday, September 21, 2012


I went to Tryst this morning with a friend of mine and our babies.

Random note: there were a shocking number of attractive men there today.

Anyway, as pretty much always happens when I go anywhere, India wanted to nurse. So I did. Our server gave me a dirty look, but I think she was in a bad mood or didn't particularly like us or something. Nobody else batted an eye.

And I realized that a year ago I was freshly back from Paris and heading to the doctor to see if I was still pregnant (pleasegodpleasegod...).  And I was!  And here we are!

I ordered a chaippuccino, a word that still makes me cringe whenever I say it, and which I've been ordering there since back in my single days. And I said to my friend, "You know, five years ago if you'd told me I'd be sitting here nursing my baby, I wouldn't have believed you."

Because five years ago, I hadn't yet met Nick. I was dating like a fiend, and had recently gone out with a completely critical asshole who inspired this post.

Four years ago, I wasn't yet married, but was counting down to next week.

Three years ago, I had a new baby and was completely losing my shit.

Two years ago, I was trying very hard to get pregnant. I was terrified of being too old. And I wasn't talking about it. When I finally did let it out, it was such a relief.

And here I am, a married mother of two.

Five years and a million chaipuccinos ago, I would never have believed it.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Methought I heard a voice cry "Sleep no more! MacIndia does murder sleep!"

Is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle toward my hand? 

Uh, no. It's an iPhone. Pretty cool, huh?

Also, if you've ever done any internet dating, is this picture not reminiscent of those in a number of men's profiles? I was always like, why, why are they taking their own picture and not smiling? It makes me think they don't have any friends. And they don't, in fact, love to laugh. No matter what their profile might say.

So anyway.

In sooth, the only difference between a zombie and me today is that I'm not out to eat anyone's brains. Well, that and I can talk and type. I don't think they can do either. Although I can't say for certain, because honestly, I avoid zombie shows. I wouldn't be able to sleep at night. Truly.

But if you were a zombie and you nursed your kid, would you turn your baby into a zombie, I wonder?

So my non-zombie baby, she is not happy about this sleep-training bullshit. Her cries are not, "Help me, help me!" 


It pisses her off, and she is not shy with expressing her ragey rage at top volume. I must say she comes by this honestly.

With Jordan, it only took a couple nights. Not with this one. I met a friend for lunch today and she said that it had been a long, hard slog with her daughter. 

"The problem," she said, "is that she's stubborn. I think the real issue is that our girls are just like us."

Which makes me think, oh, man. I am in for it.

When I was in high school, we were at my North Dakota grandmother's for a few weeks in the summer, and I found a letter Betty had written to her mom when my brother was a baby. She said she'd thought I was a good baby, but only because I was her first. Because my brother, he was actually a good baby. He was easygoing. He slept. He was wonderful.

She had written something like: Lisa, on the other hand, never slept. Never napped. Never wanted to be put down. The minute you put her down, she opened her eyes and screamed. 

It wasn't until my brother came along that she realized how exhausting I actually was.

I read the letter out loud to her. She felt terrible about what she'd written, and being a teenager, I teased her about it mercilessly. It didn't hurt my feelings, even then. And now, now all I can do is sympathize with her.

Pretty sure we all owe our mothers big-time.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

India: Month five

Dear India, my sweet, sweet girl,

Today you are five big months old. Sometimes I can't believe you've gotten so big, and sometimes when I look at pictures from even a couple months ago, I can't believe you were ever so small.

You are relentlessly smiley and happy and charming. When I nibble on your neck, which I try to do at every opportunity, you giggle. Sometimes you shriek in delight, just out of the blue. Like, wheeeee the breeze! Hello, world!

I love how you're not afraid to mix your prints. And it turns out, to my delight, that you too view animal prints as a neutral.  I also covet this shirt. I hope that I'm stylish enough that you will want to raid my closet when you're older.

Hopefully I won't have taken to wearing Mrs. Roper muumuus or something equally unfortunate. If I have, the future you needs to give me a good talking-to, okay?

Last week, at your slightly late four-month appointment, we learned you had exactly doubled your birth weight. You have these deliciously plump cheeks and chubby arms and scrumptious dimpled legs.
You've recently discovered your feet, and when I picked you up from day care the other day, you were in a new pair of socks. Because you'd gotten your socks thoroughly soaked with the chewing.

You actually quite like your stroller, but in this moment, it looked so much like prison that I had to document it. You shot a man in Memphis just to watch him die.

I love this picture of you, because it looks like you have a devil horn, which is perhaps unfair. But I'm pretty sure that you are going to have a gleefully wicked side. I'm not so much on bows on babies, but your aunt Jenny gave this to you and I couldn't resist the whole ensemble.
You are clearly delighted by your older brother, and it so clearly makes him feel good. He's proud of you. He refers to you as HIS baby. As in, "Is my baby upstairs?" "Are you going to put my baby to bed now?"

I love this age, I truly do. The smiles, the giggles, the feet, the new noises. I find it kind of exhausting, however, in that you and Jordan both NEED so much at the same time. Some nights I get you bathed and into bed and then I turn my attention to Jordan and once he's in bed I take a hot hot shower and tuck myself in, too. And we're all asleep by nine pm.

Because you, my little friend, have been a terrible sleeper. There is no reason, I have told you repeatedly, to be up four times in a night, as is your current preference.

With our pediatrician's blessing, we've started sleep training. It's going slowly and painfully, but we seem to be progressing. You fall asleep on your own fine, but when you wake up in the night YOU WANT ATTENTION! AND BOOB! NONE OF THIS BACK-PATTING BULLSHIT, YOU ASSHOLES. Is generally how it's been.

Just because I am delighted when you and your brother are both asleep, sometimes so much so that I giggle with glee and then pour myself a giant glass of wine, does not mean that I don't love you both so much more than I could ever have imagined. Because I do.

Sometimes I see you and catch my breath, I love you so immensely.

I'd just like a little more goddamn sleep.

Love love love,


Monday, September 17, 2012

Proud moments in parenting

You know how when you have a repeatedly negative situation, and you act and react the same way every time, you barely need a trigger to become irrationally enraged the next time the situation occurs?

That Vizzini, he can fuss.

I don't know how you are with parallel parking, and with helping other people park. It's not my strength.

By not my strength I mean I generally suck at it. I learned to parallel park with some ability on an episode of Car Talk. Hand to God, they helped me immensely.

Prior to that, I would just take a million guesses. People would regularly stop to help me. There were a couple instances where guys even offered to do it for me.

And yes, I let them.

So whenever Nick, love of my life, light of my days, asks me to help him parallel park, I know things are going to go straight to hell. Typically, we communicate extremely well. But not with directions. It's like we don't speak the same language. Seriously. We've had enough dreadful experiences that my stomach clenches when we pull up to a space that looks like it might be tight.

I know I've said before that he and I are quick to anger, and it is true. It takes about 1.5 seconds for him to get all ragey. Which, of course, flies all over me.

And when he is parking, and I'm directing him, I am always DOING IT WRONG. GODDAMMIT, LISA.


Because I am always standing in the wrong place. Or my arms are too high or too low and he can't see them. HOW IN THE WORLD WOULD HE BE ABLE TO SEE THEM FROM THERE? Or what the fuck kind of motion is that? What does that twirl of the hand even mean?

Which makes me all, I so fucking should have stabbed him in his sleep back when I had the PPD. I surely would've gotten off with temporary insanity. Especially if the judge were a woman who had given birth.


So when you have this kind of situation and you layer it on top of getting very little sleep because you have a wee newborn, and then you put a family of four into a car and try to park near Dupont Circle on a weekend afternoon because you have gently semi-shoved your husband into going to see your acupuncturist for his back, well, let me sum up.

After circling and circling, we saw a semi-convenient space. Nick pulled up and was all, "I'm not sure about this."

So I, knowing I should offer to  help, asked, "Would you like me to get out and help?"  While silently thinking: saynosaynosaynosayno!

My spouse, he said yes.

So I got out, and invariably had my arms too high. Or too low. I can't remember. All I know is, they were in the wrong place to be visible to him. Any imbecile would know that.

He said something I couldn't hear, being on the other side of the car and all, and behind it. Then he leaned out the window to yell, "I CAN'T SEE YOUR ARMS. PUT YOUR ARMS WHERE I CAN SEE THEM."

"I'M TRYING!!!" This statement contained as much venom as the two king cobras my brother bought from the snake-man on the corner near our house in Delhi that one time. He brought them home in a bag and put them in his bathtub because he didn't have a tank. But that's a whole nother story.

Anyway, I must've launched into a diatribe, because Nick got out and shouted, "SHUT THE FUCK UP!"

Now, when Nick is angry, he is scary. He can get down in your face and it's like a mountain ready to avalanche all over you. I have seen him do this a couple times.

Naturally, faced with this, I responded, "NO, YOU SHUT THE FUCK UP!"



The vitriol, it was palpable. If it were physically possible to be angry enough to burst into flames, we both would have.

And then Nick got out of the car, walked over to me, said, "I'm sorry." And gave me a kiss.

I said, "Yeah, I'm sorry too."

And then we got everyone out of the car and walked to Dupont all fine and good.

And because we both get so angry and then so not angry so fast, this immediately left both of our minds. Weeks later, Nick got mad at Jordan, and yelled at him to stop doing something.

Jordan got upset. Nick apologized, saying, "I'm sorry. I was wrong to yell. We don't yell."

"We don't yell, Daddy."

"No, honey, we don't yell."

"And we don't say shut the fuck up, Daddy."

"Ah, no. We don't say that either."

Well, yah.