Thursday, February 28, 2013

Love and communication

Our weekday mornings pretty much suck a bag of rocks. Every. Single. Day.

I cannot wait for Saturday for multiple reasons, but most of all, because it's just so much easier. We have no fights about getting dressed, no struggles to get out the door, no tantrums about staying hooooooome. 

Jordan does not not not want to go to school. His level of cooperation ranges from mildly whiny to flat out belligerent.

He's had a rough couple of months health-wise, and so he's been home a lot. Which only serves to make him want to be home more.

Last month we spent the better part of an afternoon and evening in the ER because his pediatrician was afraid he might have appendicitis.  He's had a number of ear infections. Monday night I got home and he had a fever of 104.4 degrees, so he was out school for a couple days.

And the fact is, he likes his teachers, and he's fine with the other kids, but he would just as soon never go back there again.

Jordan is one of the youngest in his class. He's a big kid, but he's such a little boy. He walks in sucking his thumb. He still cries at drop-off sometimes. It makes me so sad. It makes me think we started him too young.

But with DC offering pre-school, and him getting in to one we liked, it meant not paying approximately $1,600 in day care every month. Which is huge, you know?

I remind myself that his teachers like him, and so do the other kids in his class. His school is friendly, and the staff are kind. He's in his peer group - just younger by months.

And then in the morning, I try to remind myself that he's three and a half, that he's just a little kid. This is hard in the moment when he's making the morning miserable, when we're scrambling to get everyone out the door and he is so deliberately working against us.

As contrasted with India, who is also working against us, but mainly because, oh! Shoes! would be so much more fun in mouth than on feet! And such.

I  have a hard enough time hauling myself out of bed and looking somewhat presentable for the office. Just me. I need the added complication like I need a suit of chain mail.

Somehow we do manage to get out the door every morning. Rarely on time, rarely without some degree of drama trauma. But we all get to school, daycare, work. Eventually.

This morning Nick called on the way to work and said Jordan was fine. Once they left the house, Nick had kept him chatting, and all had gone smoothly with drop-off.

He still wasn't happy to be there, though.

Nick said, "I get it. I hated going to school when I was a kid. Every day, ever year. I hated it."

"I know; you've told me. And I bet you were just as big a dick about it every morning as he is."

Which is probably true. But never needs to be said out loud.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

And I'd be all, "You should know we run a clean dungeon around here..."

What do you imagine you would do if you left your current job?

It used to be that whenever I’d get sick of my office job, I’d think, well, you know, I could always turn to foot prostitution.

Since writing that long-ago post, however, I’ve been informed by a variety of foot fetishists that in fact, I could not. I don’t  have the feet for it.


Which, you know, is kind of like being told that I’d be a bad lesbian. I want to be all, I would so be good at it! But, I’m trying to work more within my limitations. Plus my husband is completely opposed to the idea.

So the other night we were talking about what I might actually do if I weren’t in my current job. I was trying to come up with business ideas. One possibility for me would, of course, be freelance writing and editing. Which Nick suggested.

“What about something totally different?” I asked.

Because, you know, I spend my days writing and editing. And while I like it, I kind of feel like if I’m not writing my own stuff, why would I leave a good job to do the same thing, but without colleagues or benefits? If I do something else, I want to do something completely else.

“Which would be…what?”

(Nick, it must be said, gets a little tired of my existential crises.)

“Maybe I could be a dominatrix! It's not about sex.”

“Huh.” It was one of those, fuck, not this kind of random mental masturbation conversations again huhs.

“Listen! We could stop renting out our basement, and turn it into a dungeon! We could have different theme rooms!”

Nick just looked at me, poured himself more wine, saying nothing.

"Yes! I could be all, 'And here's the laundry room, where we'll be spending our next hour...'"

This intrigued him. "And then you'd make him iron naked!"

"While I stepped on his feet in spiky heels!"

"And then you could start a laundry service..."

Pretty much.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The opposite of making out with a teenage boy

At the risk of sounding antediluvian, does anyone remember those cigarette vending machines? The kind with the pull-out knobs?

I can't imagine they would still have them, would they?

(They, of course, being...them?)

Yah, so I'm still nursing India. And I haven't started smoking. Or making out with teenage boys. In fact, I hadn't even thought about doing so until the other night.

Because there we were like every evening, my daughter and I, sitting in the dark, having a nurse and cuddle before her bedtime.

She was lying on her side, firmly affixed to my boob, one hand tucked around back of my body.

Jordan, when he was nursing, was always so focused on nursing. He ate and ate and ate and then he was all, oh, so tired! Need to sleep!

India. However. She turns out to be a multi-tasker.

Because yes, she's eating. But much like I eat lunch at my desk and surf the Internet and answer a phone call, there she is, flailing around with her free hand.

The rogue hand. Is how I now think of it.

Because we could be sitting there having a sweet moment in the dark. It could be lovely and relaxing.

But instead, I spend my time fending off the rogue hand.

The hand that reaches over to my other nipple and GRONK! pulls it like a vending machine nob. And then whacks my cheek. Pokes me in the mouth. Pokes my lip. Picks my teeth. Pulls my hair. Pats my boobs. Rubs my stomach.

In any of the above order. And repeatedly.

So we do this elaborate wrestling sort of dance in the dark, my kid and I. I follow the hand and block. In this case out of self-preservation rather than modesty or shyness or whatever else kept my clothes on way back then.

So there we were, like every night, and it suddenly occurred to me that my daughter is just as handsy as a teenage boy. But with an antipodal agenda.

She already has the naked boob. It is everywhere else she is up for groping.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Skip to my Lou, my darlin'

Would it bug you to have insects in your sugar shaker?

(Also. This has nothing to do with collecting dead bugs for the office - which, let's be clear, I never actually did.)

So, the sugar. Plastic ones, I mean. Not real live or even dead ones. Because that would just be obviously gross, and who wouldn't be bothered by that?

Now that I say that, I realize that there are cultures that do eat beetles and crickets and such. Plus there are the maggot and mite cheeses.

And actually, if you have ever eaten insects, I'd love to hear about it. But for all of you who have not, who might not be all, ooh, ants! Tasty! Would it bother you?

Because, here's the thing. We've always had plastic insects around the house. Betty is fond of them. If you came to stay at their house, you might find a rubber cockroach on your pillow, or a plastic cricket in your napkin.

So when she realized that her plastic ants were just the right size to live in the sugar shaker and not fall through the hole in the top, they went directly in. And when I saw a package of plastic flies, I knew just who to buy them for.

And then she moved in with her sugar shakers, and now her bugs are our bugs.

Nick, however, is not so much on the bugs.

This past weekend he cleaned the shaker, washed the bugs, and set them aside. "The joke has been played," he said. "Can we now get rid of the bugs?"

Now, every once in a while someone notices them and jumps. When Kelli was in town for our high school reunion, she walked over to me holding the sugar.

"I know I'm drunk, but am I hallucinating? Are there tiny little spiders in here?"

By now, they are kind of like decoration. When someone is surprised by them, it's a bonus, but that's not what it's about. I like them. Nick, he does not.

But I mean, really. What's the bug deal?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Robert's got a quick hand. He'll look around the room, he won't tell you his plan.

Yesterday at the office, I heard an unfamiliar voice raised in anger. I cannot remember the words, but the tone was threatening.

I whispered to my Quad-mates, "Who is that?"

One of my colleagues, sitting nearer the office from whence the voice emanated said she thought it was someone recounting a story, not an actual argument. As there was then conversation and no further angry utterances, I strolled that direction - past the office, to the next one over. I ducked in and asked a friend of mine what he thought had happened.

He said a visitor was talking to our colleague in the next office, and she was talking about something like an accident she was in, and repeating the harsh words of the altercation.

Which is not so interesting. Here's what I did find interesting, however.

All of us in my corner were immediately on guard, clenched, poised for escape. One woman said she had her phone in her hand, and she knew exactly where she was heading.

I said I would run for the stairs, but another colleague pointed out that that would necessitate crossing the hallway, and it's a long, open, straight shot down the hall. Whereas we could climb over our cupboards and hide in a back room.

One of our colleagues watches a lot of CSI and some other show I didn't know. She pointed out that we should figure out the duct work.

Which, if I can't make it to the stairs, seems like a great idea to me.

Seriously, world?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

India: Month tippy-toesy ten

Dear India,
You are now TEN months old.  I know you were nine months old last month, but somehow I still feel like ten snuck up on me.

You've started standing and cruising and boy howdy are you itching to walk. If we hold your hands you stagger along, doing what Nana calls the "whiskey walk." We showed Australian Builder and he called it something like toodleyboots, which is an adorable term for drunken walking.

The thing about you being so mobile now is that, well, you're so damn mobile. Nothing is safe or sacred, least of all your brother's toys. You adore him and want to be right where he is.

We've impressed upon him the importance of keeping the little things - tires and bits pulled off of cars, pennies, random treasures - up out of your reach, because you might choke.

Now he will say, "Mom! Mo-o-om! India wants to take one of the little things and choke!"

Of course, this morning he dumped a whole truckload of his little things on the floor near you. I don't believe his motives were pure, either, as he has been incredibly crabby lately. Pretty sure he'd have pushed you over if I hadn't been right there.

To be fair, however, he is often very sweet to you. And you beam and giggle when you're near him. You clearly adore him. And he loves being adored.

You squeal and squawk in delight at all kinds of things. Standing on the couch excites you no end. You side-step along, holding the back of it. You and Nana have a game, where you stand up and hold the back, and then flop yourself down onto the cushions. Stand, flop, stand, flop.

If she finds it tedious, she never says so.

You have one tooth that I have tried in vain to document. You're ridiculously good natured, but when you don't want to do something, you do. not. want. to! Such would be the case with wearing shoes, for example. Not happy. Notnotnot happy!

We've taken to sending you to day care barefoot (stuffed inside your puffy winter suit) because you take off your socks immediately anyway. Or you chew on them till they're soggy. And then take them off.

They recently informed us that you don't like it when other kids wear socks either. You do them the favor of removing them. I didn't think to ask if you chew on them first.

Sleep continues to be a struggle. By struggle I mean that dear Lord, after almost two years of not sleeping an entire night, I need, neeeeeeeed eight straight hours of sleep. For nights in a row.

You are down to one wake-up a night, at right around 3:30 am. You don't need to eat at this point - you're just AWAKE. And ENRAGED. And then you go back to sleep, but not before expressing your PROFOUND ENRAGEY ENRAGEMENT, ASSHOLES WHO WANT TO BE ASLEEP!

You're a great eater, love to feed yourself, and up for almost anything. In fact, one of your favorite foods is guacamole. You like it with eggs, you like it with broccoli, you like it on its own. You will shovel in spoonful after spoonful.

I understand - it's good stuff!

It is, however, a little odd to burp a sleepy, freshly-bathed baby, all sweet and smelling of baby lotion, and suddenly get a big whiff of garlic.

You're very much your own person. And I hope you always will be.

Love love love,


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

M-m-m-m-mary's blind! And other fictional tragedies.

If there are any among you who haven't read the Little House on the Prairie series, I'm sorry, but now you know.

Mary goes blind.

She's been on my mind since I read this article about why she went blind, since apparently scarlet fever does not cause blindness.

Now, at this point I need to warn you that there are Downton spoilers ahead, so read no further if you haven't yet seen the finale and don't want to know.

OK. So.

I've always been a person who cries easily. You are sad, you tell me something sad, and odds are, I will tear up.

I'm not interested in realism for my entertainment. Reality has plenty of grim, thank you very much.

I like happy endings, no matter how implausible. I typically do not watch sad movies, and if I'm worried about the direction a book is going, I will skip to the end to make sure the characters I care about are still alive.

Nick thinks of this as cheating. I tend to see it as self-preservation.

Our dear friend Pat, (the other, first) Jordan's mother, tells stories of when I was a kid in Bangladesh. She'd come over for a visit, and my mother and I were sitting on the couch, me sobbing inconsolably.

The first time, she was sure something terrible had happened. "Betty! Lisa! What's wrong?"

I pointed to the book in Betty's hand, Charlotte's Web.

I hiccuped, sobbed, choked out, "Ch-ch-ch-charlotte died!"

And it was the same when Mary went blind.

"Lisa! What's wrong?"

M-m-m-m-mary's bliiiiiiiiiind!

These were my own personal tragedies. And still, they did not interfere with my ability to do good hair.

Which leads me to Downton.

I wasn't enamored of this season, as I felt like it had a weak start after so much hype, but still, I have been invested in these people for a while now. I wasn't going to just stop watching over some initial lameness.

And then they killed Sybil! What the fuckity fuck?! Sybil! Lovely, beautiful, sweet Sybil!

I was crushed! Oh, I cried, yes, I did.

But, you know, other good things happened. The lovely baby Sybil. Bates getting out of prison. Mary and Matthew deliriously in love. And so forth.

But! The season finale! Matthew! Matthew! Dead in a ditch Matthew! What is it with babies being born and a parent dying? Is Julian Fellowes all into that circle of life bullshit, I wondered?

I was pissed. I had a bone to pick with that Fellowes fellow.

So I went googling, because it was just so unfair! The world is a hard place! We need the Sybils and the Matthew-Mary love affairs!

What the shit?

Oh. The actors who played Sybil and Matthew wanted off the show. There was nothing Fellowes could do to keep them. Ah. Well, then.

So my bone to pick is actually with Dan Stevens.

Decided not to renew his contract. Wants to do other things.

How selfish can you be?

Oh, and PS I just realized that I stuck Little House Mary in the fiction category. When she was real. Unlike the abandoned-by-Matthew (ahem!) Downton Mary.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Naturally, darling, naturally

"Mom, Carolina doesn't put her jacket on like that."

"Huh. Who is Carolina?"

"She's a girl in my class."

"Which one is she?"

"She's my friend."

"What does she look like?"

"A silly princess!"


"Jordan, do you like peas?"

"Well, sometimes I do and sometimes I don't."

"Do you like peas today?"



"Mommy, at the school party I gave my teachers and my children brownies and clementines."

"Brownies and valentines?"


"To all your children, huh?"


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Some will fall in love with life And drink it from a fountain That is pouring like an avalanche Coming down the mountain

And now it's Valentine's Day. Which, like New Year's, invites you to confront the state of your love life.
Now, I personally quite enjoyed writing my Valentine's post last year, but it's not the kind of thing one can recreate annually. Well, maybe you could, but you'd have to lead a more, uh, adventurous life than mine.


Last night Lexa, who is good people, who is one funny and very real woman, tweeted, "To all my single friends lamenting tomorrow: Don't worry. You'll still be alone Friday, too."

Which is, you know, hilarious. And not. Depending on how you are with yourself.

But such a good reminder that you are who you are and your life is your life, and this is one day.

Although I must admit that previously I could have read it, run with it, and spiraled into a pit of despair. Not only will I be alone tomorrow but also Friday and FOR THE REST OF MY LIIIIIFE.

When I am cold, I cannot begin to imagine what it is like to be sun kissed and warm. I mean, I know that I have been warm before, and that summer will come around again and be blazing hot. I know this with my mind. But not with my skin or my heart or my cold little feet.

I cannot conjure up the feeling of heat.

It is the same way, thankfully, with my life now. I can remember that I used to cry just about every day. I know that I was terrified of never finding love of the stick-around kind, certain of dying alone.

And now I have so much love surrounding me.

Very little of it is of the romantic variety, I will say.

Not that Nick and I don't love each other. But with two young kids, we spend a lot of time on meals and baths and bedtimes and stories and kid adventures. Romance has gotten shoved in a corner, at least for now.

I fretted so much about finding someone and getting married that I didn't actually stop to form expectations of being married.

Which I suppose is good, in that it doesn't meet or not meet expectations. It just is.

One thing that surprised me though, was how much compromise there is. Like endless, daily compromise. And negotiation. It's not that it's always a struggle; it's that you always have to take at least one other person into account.

Pretty sure nobody puts compromise under the "romance" rubric.

Sometimes I get so tired of my life never being about me, always being about us. I think back to my single days, when I actually was having a lot more fun than I sometimes gave myself credit for.

Because now I have so much love surrounding me - but the truth is, I always did. I just didn't see it that way.

Perhaps because I was so busy looking for, well, love. Or something along those lines.

I think back to putting the butter on that guy's nose, and it seems like a lifetime ago, and for that I am thankful.

I'm not suggesting that single people need to get up to as much stupidity as I did, and in retrospect I'd have taken off my clothes in public a lot less and had a lot more sex (not in public).

But what I am saying - or anyway think I am saying - is that it can be difficult to appreciate our lives while we're in them. Maybe those of us who do yoga do that more? I don't know. It seems yogic. I'm the only human I know who has never done yoga.


Things don't necessarily go the way we want them to. We don't have as much control over the world as we would like. Things don't happen on our mental timelines. Sometimes the person you like doesn't like you back. Or does, but is too damaged to do so in a healthy way. Sometimes the right person likes you, and you are too damaged to appreciate them. Sometimes you are married to the right person and you have kids and you're tired and you're not doing a very good job of appreciating all that you have.
Human beings seem to be like this.

Life does not stay one way or the other forever. Although sometimes it feels it does.

Sometimes life is dark, and bad things happen. And sometimes it is rosy, and the world sparkles for you, and you sparkle the world.

And sometimes it's rosy and sparkly and someone poops on your shirt just as you're about to walk out the door.

Here's wishing you more love, more rosey, more sparkles, and less poop.

Happy Valentine's Day, my friends!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Nobody likes getting their penis stuck in their waistband.

I Talk Like a Mom Volume One:

"Oh, honey, I know that was uncomfortable. Nobody likes getting their penis stuck in their waistband."

"Please take your finger out of your bottom. We don't put our fingers in our bottoms."

"We don't need to save the poop until Daddy comes home. Let's just take a picture. He'll be very impressed."

"Wow! That IS the biggest booger ever!"

"Please don't put your tongue down the drain."

"We don't eat wood chips. Why? Because rats walk on them at night."

"The dead crab is gone. You will not get dead crabbed. I promise."

What kinds of things do you find yourself saying?

Monday, February 04, 2013

Literally and figuratively, Thunderdome, and the Women's Auxiliary barfed all over the Benevolent Order of Antelopes

As the title suggests, this post is all over the place. It is about almost everything except the Superbowl and Downton. Also, it is not for the scatologically faint of heart.

Let me sum up. It's one of those kids get sick and gross things happen and they are horrifying and now I'm going to write about them posts.

Basically, it's been a complete shitshow at our house.

I mean this both literally and figuratively. Not like, "I literally died of embarrassment." Which always makes me want to punch the sayer in the face.

It's up there with less and fewer for me. You didn't literally die. You're just an idiot.

Oh. Speaking of:
But back to the shitshowness.

Sooo Thursday of the week before last, we had a puking incident at Jordan's school. In which his teacher called and said, "Jordan just threw up all over the classroom."

Direct quote: all over the classroom.

Yes. So. Have you seen the movie Stand by Me?

I haven't seen it since the 80s, and in fact, have some vague idea of having watched it in the basement of the embassy in Delhi, where they had a movie theatre. I definitely saw Footloose there, that I know for sure. And Mad Max. Back when Mel Gibson was young and hot and not obviously anti-Semitic.

On a side bar, when Sasha's mom suggested we go to the reggae dance party, Nick jokingly said, "Not if that fucker Sasha's dad is going."

So her mom and I keep ourselves amused with a pretend rivalry between our husbands. She suggested a 6 am time for them to fight it out, and I said, "Thunderdome!"

You know: "two men enter, one man leaves."

(And do I seem to be overusing colons in this post?) 

Now I will text and say that Nick is oiling his leather chaps and sharpening his mace, and she will text back saying her husband is in a unitard with his light saber at the ready.

It would all be very awkward if it were true. Although I myself have always always wanted a light saber. Even more than I wanted legwarmers in the 80s.

In any case, there is this one scene in Stand by Me in which there is a blueberry pie eating contest. Which devolves into a barf-o-rama. The chain reaction of vomiting is really quite dramatic.

This scene clearly so impressed itself upon my now-feeble memory that, when Jordan's teacher called last Thursday to say that he had thrown up all over the classroom, my mind went straight to the blueberry pie barf-o-rama.

Which is, incidentally, a word I have never used before.

So Betty rushed to get bring him home, and he was fragile, but then he was fine. Kind of tired, no appetite, but nothing more.

And then Saturday on a family outing, halfway home, he threw up in Nick's car. A lot. We were all cold with the windows open is all I'm going to say about that. Oh, and it's been scrubbed, and yet...

Then on Monday he complained of extreme stomach pain, and the pediatrician said they were afraid it might be appendicitis.They gave us official papers and sent us to the ER at Children's Hospital.

(I now feel like I'm writing an illness version of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. On Monday he puked all over one bed. But he was still sick. On Tuesday...)

See what happens when I spend so long without writing? I'm all, oh and then...hey look! Mel Gibson! Unitards! Stinky poop!

But back on track. So we spent a good chunk of Monday at Children's making sure that Jordan did not have appendicitis.  Which, apparently, is hard to diagnose in kids, and too serious to mess around with. Thus the ushering to the ER.

Thankfully, he did not. He had a terrible stomach virus. And a bonus ear infection!

Look at this little pumpkin, all asleep amid commotion as we waited to be discharged.

Also. Let me take this opportunity to tell you that the bathrooms at Children's rival both those on Amtrak and at the Columbia Height's Target. They will certainly be noted in my 2013 Guide to Terrible Bathrooms of DC and Environs.

It's a companion to my Awesome Places to Nurse in DC.

Even after the vomiting went the way of all good things, Jordan stayed home for most of last week with wretched diarrhea of the foulest, yellowest variety imaginable. Accompanied by stomach pain and hideous gas.

I don't know if you yourself have ever had parasites?

I was beginning to think it was Giardia or something of the sort, because this was the toxic evil smell of deathly death, like Voldemort  slithering around wreaking havoc in one's bowels, rearing his ugly head every so often. (Rearing, ha!) Seriously worse than the shameful incident on the plane.

It is so heart-wrenching to have a kid who has made it to big-boy status, who proudly wears underwear, turn to you terrified, eyes wide and tears spilling over, all, "Mommy! The poop is coming out!"

You assure him that it is OK, sweetheart, and Mama will take care of it. And you rush with him to the toilet and hold their hands and pretend that not only are you not about to pass out from the stench, but you are so proud of him for doing such a good job even though you know that it is scary. You know that really he just wants to curl up in your lap but nowayinhell is that happening until that shit is out. (Literally)

Is basically where we've been the past week or so.