September 27, 2007

New Song!

A song of both innocence and experience, composed spontaneously.

"My little plum's
A stinky plum!
I'm gonna wash
His stinky bum!

I'm gonna make
His bum all clean!
Even it if makes him
Yell and scream!"

September 26, 2007

holy molars!

that is a bad pun. it's not even a pun, it's just a vague attempt at verbal hilarity. but, it does describe sentiments about tonight's news. Just this morning I was taking comfort from nico's description of her son's comparatively-easy transition into molars--and now, we have detected two molars poking through Elliot's upper gums. Two! I'm shocked.

Also, right now, some high school-aged boys are playing pop-up in the alley behind our condo. They periodically make loud, good-hearted boyish noises: "Aaaah!" "Heyyy!!" "Daaaammmnn!" They yell, and when they yell loudly enough, Elliot pauses from his busy self-feeding and yells back at them in the general direction of the window: "Aaaah!" He's totally saying, "dudes! I'm a boy too!"

more break throughs

friends, elliot is walking. Walking. I mean, not like Anni and Teddy and other babies of our aquaintance are walking, but definitely taking steps in sequence without holding on to anything. Yesterday when I picked him up from daycare he walked into my arms. Awwww! Sentimental mama moment!

Julia sez it's time to break out the bubble wrap, and friends, julia is very right, because this morning Elliot whopped himself into the corner of the bedside table and gave himself a black eye, poor little plum. Undeterred, he proceeded to careen around the house, attempting to climb the stack of books next to the entry way table (crap!) and successfully pull out the drawer where the teatowels are, throw the teatowels on the floor, and then climb into the drawer himself and joyfully slide himself in and out, in and out. Our house is an amusement park; who knew?

September 21, 2007

It's the small things that are so demoralizing

This morning, Elliot woke up early. I had gone to bed a bit late--not elliot's fault--so was especially tired when elliot woke up at 5, after also doing some middle-of-the-night squawking. But we managed! I was tired, and Brandon was tired, but we got everyone cleaned and fed and Brandon left on time and I managed to find all the books I needed and find my keys and get the counter cleaned to prevent ants (we have an ant infestation; so frustrating)and got elliot dressed and myself dressed and it was all okay. And then 30 seconds before I was ready to walk out the door, Elliot found Ada's water bowl and dumped it all over himself and the hardwood floor.

And it's fine, right? You just wipe up the water, and change his clothes, and get on with life. But part of me wanted to just sit down on the floor and once and for all throw in the parenting towel.

September 19, 2007

I try not to be one of those people who is always railing about the excesses of US consumerism, but Elliot does not need...

....Holloween-themed boxer briefs. No matter if Gymboree does have them, you know, "on sale."

I mean: really.

Too much multi-culturalism for me

This post is kind of gross. I'm warning you right now.

We live in a very diverse neighborhood--the most diverse in the city, and one of the most diverse in the country. And we love that: we love that there are millions of languages, and weird things for sale in the grocery store, and so on. It's fun. It makes you realize that "normal" is a very dubious category. It is not normal to me, for instance, to order tripe on my tacos. But it's normal for someone, and maybe someday it will be normal for me. Who knows? When you're exposed to lots of things, you become open to the idea of change. All well and good.

There are limits, though.

Yesterday, we were taking a walk along the beach--it's gorgeous indian summer weather--and Ada was prancing along incredibly joyfully, running back and forth along the water to greet different dogs. Then she stopped still, for some reason we couldn't see, and started sort of jumping in place, and looking back at us with great eagerness, and wagging her tail, and sniffing.

Usually when Ada gets this excited about something at the beach, it is a dead fish. Which is nasty. Erg. So I started running up to Ada and her find to prevent dead-fish rolling. As I got closer, I realized that whatever she found was too big to be a fish. It was white and lumpy...maybe a garbage bag? A garbage bag, filled with something nasty?

Nope. It was a DECAPITATED CHICKEN. Not a friendly little grocery store chicken, all plucked and cleaned, but a big crazy chicken carcass, with feathers and feet and a bloody spinal cord sticking up from its neck where the head should have been. And while we shooed Ada away and stood there exclaiming upon the profound disgustingness of the situation Ada ran a hundred feet up the beach and found a SECOND DECAPITATED CHICKEN. This one was brown and speckled instead of white but it was equally nasty. Ada was so overwhelmed with the situation that she didn't even try to roll in or carry around the carcasses, which is good, because I'm not sure what happens to your dog if she rolls around in someone's leftover voodoo sacrifice, but I'm sure it is smelly.

Anyway, chicken carcasses on the beach: that's a new one for me. If anyone can enlighten me on the significance of these trophys (cockfighting? voodoo, for real?) do let me know.

September 18, 2007

Health Update

Here's some grist for the mill, regarding the health of bebes: info about the effects of food additives, at the top, and then some more about plastics at the end.

I am not one to get too worked up about ingredients and chemicals; I figure that for the most part, what I eat is pretty safe, and nothing is too harmful in moderation. (When you spend your time reading antebellum novels about people who carry meat around in burlap bags, you're prone to thinking that you've got it pretty good.) But the news presented here, while still inconclusive, seems a good reminder that, y'know, it's smart to eat fresh foods.

I kinda like the plastic news because it (in my mind) justifies my tendancy to put food in the microwave without covering it first with plastic wrap. This tendency is completely due to laziness, but I like the idea that it is due to a desire to protect myself from chemical build-up.

September 12, 2007

More thoughts on everything we talked about yesterday

1: Fall

No really, it's fall. Saturday I was wearing shorts, sweating, and getting bit by mosquitoes, and today I'm wearing socks and a jacket. We in Chicago, we don't do our season-changes by halves.

2: The Doctor

I was realizing that one of the weird things about parenting is that there's all this Stuff You Must Do, like take your infant to their regular "well baby" appointments for poking and prodding and evaluation. You've gotta do it. But if you don't do it...nothing happens. Which is not to say that there aren't consequences to neglecting your child's preventative healthcare, but just that there really isn't a report card day; if you fail preventative healthcare, there's no one who's going to keep you back a year, or cut funding to your parental rolemodels, or necessarily even know about it for a very long time. We are so unsupervised out here, we new parents.

3: A+ Parenting

A friend and I were chatting last night about how one of the things that it's easy to be a big overachiever parent about is the First Birthday Milestone. Now, clearly being one is an exciting achievement, and I love birthdays, and I think it's great to do fun things to celebrate you and your child being alive and happy. But the First Birthday Party is a weird thing; it spirals out of control so quickly. You think you just want to do something simple, and then you find yourself thinking: "...well, but I guess I should get some streamers. Some First Birthday Streamers. And maybe some party favors? And probably there should be some games. And hats. Maybe crowns?" And then, before you know it, your one one-year-old's birthday erupts into a six-day celebration culminating in a champagne brunch at the club in the Hamptons (which seriously happened to a casual friend of mine).

And the thing about that six-day affair is not that it's a bad thing, especially if it's fun for you, but you just have to remember that the champagne brunch with streamers and crowns is not about doing something nice for your baby; it is about hoping that the world gives you and A+ in first birthday parties. Which can be fun! And is fine! But if your child were actually doing the grading, what they would probably be hoping for is your undivided attention while they spent some quality time whacking a measuring cup against a thrift store soup pan.

I believe in being celebratory and in cultivating excitement, but I also believe in living simply. It can be darn hard to balance those two things.

4: Abba
We actually didn't talk about Abba yesterday, but we should have. We should have been talking about how Abba is a POP MUSIC JUGGERNAUT of astounding proportion. If you weren't listening to Abba with your one-year-old this lovely fall morning, then I highly recommend remedying this situation tomorrow, because nothing is better than whacking your measuring cup against a soup pan while "SOS" plays in the background.

September 10, 2007

It's Fall, Now.

I can tell because when I looked at the weekly weather forcast, I was looking eagerly for warm days rather than for cool ones.

Elliot had his 1 year doctor appointment today. He is perfectly fine, and was a complete trooper about his shots--barely cried. The nurse was tremendously impressed.

One thing I have realized about infant doctor appointments is that it's very hard not to feel as though they're the parenting equivalent of report card day. Motherhood is so vague and nebulous; it's like going to one of those hippy colleges where there are no grades and everyone just hopes, at the end of the class, that you've had a meaningful experience. This is weird for me. I'm a big one for grades: I didn't know how much I relied on them until I started doing this Very Important Thing and there wasn't anyone to evaluate my performance. Well, I take that back: everyone is always evaluating maternal performance. We mothers, we are judged a lot. But usually it's just by random people, or even by intimate people whose opinions still don't ultimately matter.

But doctors! Doctors are official and important. I feel like their opinion should count. But one of the things I like about our pediatrician is that he seems to absolutely forswear any sort of gushing or evaluating. He's low key--he's older, and he's seen lots of fads come and go, and he figures that probably it doesn't matter hugely if you nurse six months or twelve or two years, or if you co-sleep or don't, or feed exclusively organic foods or don't. He seems to figure that most babies turn out okay. It's very comforting, and I think he is quite right.

Still, every appointment he looks Elliot over good humoredly and says, "There you go, Elliot! You pass." And the over achiever in me always thinks, always always thinks: "Does that mean he gets...that I A?"

September 07, 2007

His Day

For Elliot's birthday we had cupcakes and a visit from a new puppy named HUGO. I shall venture to say: who could ask for anything more?

September 06, 2007

The World is His Bathtub

One year ago today, I was very pregnant. Indeed, I was precisely 40 weeks pregnant; my baby was due. In the morning while I was walking Ada by the beach, a friendly gender-ambivalent neighborhood dog-walker and drag queen asked me when I was due, and when I told her, "today!" s/he said, "aaaa-aaah, walk it on down, honey, walk it on DOWN." In the afternoon I went to Starbucks, again with Ada. This was before the new neighborhood locally-owned coffee shop opened, so I went to Starbucks a lot. I sat, in the late summer wind, and finished knitting a pair of booties for Sloane, Elliot's one-week-older friend. Our wise woman neighbor Tawanna happened to pass by and asked me how I was doing. She told me that the elders in her family would say to "wear it like a loose garmet; wear it easy." When I stood up with my extra large ice tea, I felt the only sensation which, in retrospect, I realize might have clued me in to how quickly my baby was coming: a low swing in my abdomen, and a tired sense of doneness. Elliot was born at 6:39 the next morning.

I was thinking about all this today, as Ada and I took Elliot to Starbucks again. He jabbered away in the baby bjorn, which he has almost outgrown. When we got there, we all three sat on the ground in the outside seating area and shared little bites of a rice crispy treat (nothing makes me pleaseder than sharing a snack with my sweet creatures). I helped Elliot do some little practice paddings around; he is making real progress on the walking front. A very dapper and euro looking man (he was so dapper it almost didn't matter that he had no front teeth) smiled smiled at us! He said, "you 'av a bee-you-ti-ful familleee!" He was feeding little bits of coffee cake to a bird. I'm not even kidding. Elliot flirted particularly with a slouchy man of the African-national-taxi-driver variety, who also smiled smiled and waved and laughed. They beamed upwards at each other from non-English-speaking eyes.

And then it started to rain, all of a sudden. I scrambled Elliot back into the bjorn and trotted towards home. Elliot waved his hands over his head and then started to laugh. Just like he does in the bathtub when he accidently swings his head under the faucet and gets a spray of water in the face. He is in the bathtub now, jabbering and laughing, and no where in the world is there anyone I would rather take to Starbucks in the rain than him.

September 05, 2007

Catching up

There is nothing more boring -- on the whole Internet -- than the classic blog post which blogs about why the poor blogger has not been blogging. So we'll be very, very brief about the contents of the last 3 weeks.
  • Ann Arbor (blueberry picking, Elliot watches)

  • New Orleans (wedding in a busted Caribbean city, Elliot stays home)

  • Graham visits Chicago (he and Elliot do Vulcan mind-meld, swap shoes)

  • Salt Lake City and Seattle (Sarah and B get stomach virus, Elliot works on a tooth. All grumble.)
Now we will go work on uploading some pictures.