Tuesday, 31 January 2006

i have writers block

My mother called with a request the other day. My grandmother had asked her to have us all write down memories about my grandfather. Now, Grandpa's alive and well, albeit slowing down with the years. But Gram wanted stories now, so that when Grandpa dies she'll have them to hold onto.

I'm a little horrified at the idea, but I do see the appeal. I have lots of lovely memories about both my grandparents - they are some of the nicest people I will ever meet - but the problem comes when I go to write things down. My head is clouded with memories - Grandpa took me ice-fishing and after abut two hours of me deciding the place and getting ready to fish (did I mention this was a Michigan winter, and a storm had begun to blow off in the distance?) we discovered I had...lost the hook - my first poetry recital, speaking in front of about three hundred people and seeing Gram and Grandpa (who had driven from Louisville, Kentucky to Michigan that day to see me and would go back again that night) - Disneyworld, with Grandpa making faces at Mickey - my grandfather, who loves the spoken and written word, used to send me letters that were deliberately mis-spelled with instructions betting that I couldn't find all twenty mistakes - they helped me with math by teaching me 99 and other card games. So many memories!

The trouble is - when I write these down, they go flat. They don't sing, like the memories do in my head. I can't make me words resonate with the absolute love I have always felt from both my grandparents, and that makes me sad. They feel wooden, like something I'm obliged to do, like a condolence card for someone you didn't really know. Not the feeling I want to leave in my Grandmother's book of memories.

I'm not sure what to do.

Monday, 30 January 2006

the end of pinocchio

Cass came downstairs and got me from where I was leering like a lover at the dishwasher man this morning. (Shaddup. It's been broken for a month.) He wanted me to come with him upstairs, now, and yanking at my arm, got me up to his room. He threw open the door with a flourish, practically vibrating with excitement. 'TA-DA!'

My God, he made his bed. Perfectly. BY HIMSELF. This was no 'toss-the-sheets-on-and-let's-go' hurried mess, either. Things were...straight! And ...neat!

And Oh My God, he's growing up. Lately, he's turning into this person that is wholly his own. There have been signs all along, of course, but now...it's all Cassidy, and no one else. He dresses himself (okay, that one's not new, but he picks out his own clothes! From the dresser! And puts his dirty ones in the hamper!) He picks out what he wants to eat! He brushes his teeth in the morning without being reminded! He has opinions! A thousand little things that all mean one thing - Cass is growing up.

A real live boy, as it were.

Friday, 27 January 2006

and they all lived happily....

While my husband and I were just getting to know each other, we chatted a lot with another couple. The male half, T, was my friend first. We'd known each other about a year before my husband and I started talking. He was from Australia and seemed like everything I had ever heard about that place - flamboyant and romantic. His girlfriend was from Michigan too - a sweet person, smart and funny. They seemed like an ideal couple, even with the geographical hurdles separating them. Through my move to Canada, my marriage and having my first child, we kept in touch - just notes now and then, a quick how-are-you then months of silence. They seemed happy - making plans for her move and their future. A couple of years ago I lost track of them. In this electronic world, people can drift right out of your life in the time it takes to make coffee and turn your computer on.

Yesterday, I sent A a note. It was just recently her birthday, and I dashed off a little nothing and sent it, wondering where she was now, and what they were doing. Tonight I checked my in-box - she'd sent back a note and pictures! I scanned the pictures quickly. There she was, with her beloved animals, her gorgeous smile, and....some other male person. I flipped back up to the letter. A was happy...but with someone new. T's promises had begun to grate after awhile, and she'd moved on. She had found a new fellow, a man that promised nothing he couldn't deliver, and she was living with him, certain that she had done the right thing and had found the right man for her.

Now, I'm so happy for her I could pop. She deserves the absolute best, and from the way she talks about her man, she's got it. The fairy tale has ended, they are living happily ever after.

And noone knows what became of the Aussie. Maybe he's polishing the Fairy Godmother's shoes.

Thursday, 26 January 2006

lucy in the sky with diamonds

Cass's Tribute to the Beatles:

Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly, the girl with kaleidecope eyes.....

After writing that poop line, I've been walking around humming the song.
And he's been making up gestures to go with.
(Either that, or he's recounting the faces of everyone in the grocery store today when he flew down the stairs (the bathroom is on another level) and screamed at the top of his lungs 'I pooped, Momma!')
Ladies and gentlemen, my son the unembarrased. We're so proud.

Monday, 23 January 2006

karma bites me in the ass

This is what happens when you write a decent-length post on the joys of having a Nova Scotia winter with almost no snow.....

I was just about ready to hit print when I turned my head and saw, to my dismay, that the sunny morning had been replaced with...with....this.

(The wavy lines on the photo? I shot it through the screen. What, you think I want to go out in this?? Bah.)

Friday, 20 January 2006

i'm raising a boobah

Last night I was sprawled on the sofa, reading a book and idly listening to the kids pester Bear, not a care in the world. I did a little cleaning yesterday in the pantry - even went through the spice rack, tossed out bits and old stuff, so I was relaxing. Bear was having laptop woes, and not really paying any attention to the terrible two (always a recipe for disaster). Cass was playing under the kitchen table, contentedly running dinky cars around and up Bear's feet, and Rosey got bored and wandered over to the trash.

Yes, it's true. The girl-apple of my eye is a trashpicker.

She does this wonderful thing - when we change her diaper, she will grab the balled up old one and throw it in the trash can. No, really. She'll also undress if she's wet and find her own coat and boots. She's kind of spooky-smart that way. On one of those trips (and you can understand we've been milking this) she must have seen something in the garbage that she liked. Since then, if the house is quiet, chances are you can find Miss R fishing.

I was losing myself in my novel when suddenly Bear screamed 'Holy shit!' and Rosey came running out of the kitchen, B in hot pursuit. She ran over and buried her face in my arm. When I finally got her untangled and caught sight of her face - Rosey was blue. No, not like I-can't-breathe blue. Just blue, in a huge spreading mess on her mouth, nose, cheeks, neck, hands, and my shoulder. Apparently blue food coloring tastes good.

I have never moved so fast in my life. UP the stairs, INTO the bathroom,strip clothes and diaper, toss baby in and SCRUB.
Her tongue was blue. Her teeth were blue. Her lips were...oh, you've got the point. I used every soap, shampoo, and body wash we have on her face. The bathwater turned a grotty color. About sixteen washes later, her face was clean...a bit blue if you squinted, but okay. Her hands were a different matter. I'm not sure if she was playing in the coloring or what, but her hands were NOT coming clean. I let her play in the tub until she was pruney, but still stubbornly blue-fingered.
Her teeth did come clean after a bit of brushing, and the tongue wore off by itself. But even after her bath tonight, Rosey Posey still has blue paws.

I'm waiting for the kaleidoscope poop.

Monday, 16 January 2006

the owl-eyed child

Cass has decided he doesn't ever need a nap again. This makes perfect sense to him (why cut down on the time you can spend torturing your sister and making intricate road and street scenarios with every dinky car in the house?) but leaves out the fact that m'boy just can't do it. He can't go like a whirling dervish from 6 o'god in the morning to eight at night - not without falling into puddles of crazy exhausted over-wound boy, and that drives me nuts. It seems I can handle the everyday whines and balkiness from the four year old, but pair that with the super-charged meltdown factor, and I become shrewish.

After about a week of begging, pleading, crying, and 'I hate naps!' he got creative. Now there was a ghost. His bed just wasn't comfortable anymore. 'Mommy! There's a fly in my room!' 'I need a drink of water!' 'I've got to pee!' 'Is that Daddy going into Nancy's (our neighbor) house?' Every excuse in the world....

Well, last Friday Casserole and I had a talk. We discussed naps, and how Michelle's son (the babysitter's boy) doesn't have to take them. (He's 5.) I stopped trying to get Cass to lay down at noon and instead, he goes into his room at 3:30 for a 'rest period'. (This distinction is VERY IMPORTANT to Cass. Resting isn't as babyish, I guess.) This rest period lasts no longer than one hour, and during that time, he is welcome to look at books or play with his toys. He just CANNOT be out of bed.

Since that conversation, he's had two 'rest periods'. In each one, he's gone upstairs quietly, gotten into bed, and...fallen asleep.

I don't claim to have solved the problem. (I probably just jinxed myself.) But anytime I match wits with the canny animal that is the four-year-old and I WIN, it feels a little bit more like I have a handle on this mothering gig.

For the moment, anyway.

Sunday, 15 January 2006

as I discover I am hopelessly addicted

Y'know, I came to this blog thing kind of late.
I've always played with computers - I was the kid with three study halls in twelfth grade who spent two of them in the library. Y'know, the one the crochety old librarian liked? And let fool around on the computer all day? Yeah, that was me. But I'd never heard of blogs until about two years ago. While I was busy cooking the baby, I fell in with a group of women on a baby board. When our pregnancies were over, one of them set up a board for us on ezboard so we wouldn't lose touch. She had a blog. It was more a journal than anything, but it was enough to start me thinking about starting one of my own.
I started out on Livejournal and fumbled around there for a bit, then switched to Blogger. By then I was reading blogs through recommendations, by linking through comments that people had left on blogs I liked, by reading articles. Some of the first blogs I started reading are still on my list: Say La Vee, Badger Meets World, A Little Pregnant. My first comment was from Tessa, of Digital Home.
I am always having new blogs being recommended to me. Women from my birth board (still going strong!) leave messages about blogs they enjoy. It's a great system.
My husband is getting a little tired of me shoving him out of the way so I can get to the computer, but he'll live.
There are two competitions going on right now - the Best of Blogs and the Bloggies. Both have stupendous bloggers in them - great stuff to read and enjoy. I was a bit....well, surprised to find out that I have read most of the nominees, though. Either I have somehow stumbled upon the popular kids' clique, or I get around.....
Vote if you want to. But by all means, check the voting pages out - they have links to fabulous people who say things I want to - and do it so much better than I ever could....

And we now return you to your regularly scheduled blog....

Wednesday, 11 January 2006

military maneuver

I'm beginning to suspect there's a revolution brewing at my house. The smallest native is restless.

Not only that, I think she's having fun with us. 'I'll show those idiots! Trap me in a diaper, will you?' She has quickly learned how to divest herself of any garment we put on her - the best so far has been the time she took of everything except her onesie - somehow manhandling her diaper off while leaving the covering snaps still clipped. When I went in, she handed the diaper to me, grinned, and peed defiantly all over the floor. 'Take that!'

She likes to climb. She's happiest standing at the table, jabbering orders (if only we would just understand!!) rocking her little bum from side to side. I'm sure she's practicing for when she's commanding squads of soldiers.

She has started a physical exercise program, too, sharpening her senses for that one moment when we let down our guard, that instant when we're not looking so she can dash to the great outdoors and find out what exactly it is that we all do out there.
Reconnaissance missions have been highly unsatisfactory. It's hard to get the lay of the land when you're trapped in a stroller in fifteen layers of fleece.
But someday......someday she'll break free.

Here she is, practicing her chin-ups like a good little revolutionary.

Saturday, 7 January 2006

the continuing story of a quack....

Job interviews: Most are dry, dull and predictable. I don't tend to interview well - it's always a challenge - and I know that's held me back a few times.

Today, though, nothing I could have said or done would have changed the fact that I slipped into a time warp of weird.

I was interviewing for an office position - some accounting, some parts work, filing, writing checks, and keeping track of the boss's schedule. Nothing I hadn't done before. The secretary, the owner and his wife interviewed me, in a tiny, grotty office that smelled overwhelmingly of something floral - ly I couldn't identify right away. It was a casual atmosphere (mostly because of the dirt and mess the shop made) and the owner and secretary were both in jeans. The wife had a long denim jumper on. The owner is (justifiably!) proud of the business he's created, so he told me all about how the business started and how it's expanding. The secretary started her portion with a rundown of a typical day - what she does when, how many different things she has going at once. They both seemed like nice matter-of-fact people. I started to relax. Finally, it was the wife's turn. A short silence. She flicked her long hair back, leaned forward and took my hand in hers, and said "And do you feel your heart led you to this job?"
Me: (thinking: what on earth? no, it was the want ad. PATCHOULI! THAT'S THE SMELL! IT REEKS OF PATCHOULI IN HERE!) Um.
Wife: Because you know, you need to have your heart invested in this job to take it.
Me: Well, I've always found...
Wife: And you have two little ones. What have you done this year to better yourself?
Me: (thinking: that didn't make any sense?) I took a course in the latest version of Excel and Alchemy last fall....
Wife: No no no. What have you done this year to better yourself? What are your hopes and dreams? Your fondest wishes?
Me: (thinking: what the fucking fuck?) (Warily) To own a bookstore?
Wife: So you really have no interest in this industry.
Me: (thinking: Well, this is in the can. You're nuts, and the other two are hypnotised by your patchouli candle. LET GO OF MY HAND.) No.

Wednesday, 4 January 2006

in the shit

He's stepped in the shit now.

No, not the four year old. The Doofus I Married.

Rosey has had hair since birth. She came out with a fine crop of curly black hair (minus the crooked swipe the NICU nurses took off her bangs - okay, I get it, lifesaving (or at least monitoring) measures, but REALLY.
Once that grew back in, I started buying barrettes and pony tail holders, and plotting hairstyles. I liked having a girl, you see. I was also thrilled at the thought that I wouldn't have to scotch-tape bows to my daughters' head. (My aunt, an extremely fair skinned red-head, had no hair until she was two. Looking at the photo albums is a nightmare. At one point I thought my grandparents had some sort of psychotic break and dressed my uncle in flowered dresses and pinafores until he went to school.)

Roseys' hair is getting lighter, and longer. Her hair pattern is the same as her big brothers (which they got from me, the poor things) - all their hair grows forward. So her bangs have been getting longer, and longer.
The D.I.M. and I were on the same page at that point. Most girl-babies I have seen with haircuts (before the age of two) look scalped. So we both told people "Oh, no. We're just going to let her hair grow for awhile." We both became really good at the one-ponytail-on-top-of-the-head routine, and I was pretty quick with the wee braids and the ponytails.
At Christmas, the in-law murmuring grew louder. Rosey's hair was just long enough to swoop it behind her ear - okay, it wouldn't stay, but soon she would have one-length hair, and then - this would all be easy. I bought some pretty sparkly bobby pins and captured her renegade bangs.
At New Year's, FIL cornered me. 'When are you going to cut her hair?' I went into the song-and-dance (Tra-la-la! We're not! Get over it!) Bear.....was silent.

It was at that point that I should have known.

Last night I went to bed early. Both kids were up. Bear was doing Daddy duty, and I wanted to read and fall asleep. Besides, it was his night to give the kidlets their bath.
When I woke up this morning and went to take Rosey out of her crib, something looked different. But she stank a bit and I hadn't had coffee, so downstairs we went to remedy both problems. It wasn't until I was dressing her and plotting what hairthings would match her clothing (yes, I know, total weeny mom moment) when I NOTICED.

Dipshit had cut her hair. There was a growl of rage burrowing up in my gut. When I finally screamed, I think the windows rattled.
Bear came charging downstairs. 'What? What's wrong? Is Rosey okay? Ohhhh...yeah. That. I love you, remember?' But I was too far gone down the road towards mad to appreciate cuteness.
'What' I hissed 'DID you DO?' And it's a darn good thing Rosey only says mama, dada, and unh at this point, or else she would have learned a whole lotta new words.

Okay. We all know I suck with scissors. There was no way Rosey would sit still and let some stranger trim her bangs, so a salon visit was out. He took it upon himself to cut her hair because, as he said, defensively, 'It was in her eyes!' It's been in her eyes for months, ding-dong.

He will suffer for this. For months. Slowly. Or at least as long as it takes for her hair to grow back.

Sunday, 1 January 2006

it's the new year, baby!

Someone said that to me last night and my first thought, bizarrely, was those Virgina Slims ads "You've come a long way, baby" with the women all sultry and sleek, smoking their cigarettes with the silent adoration of the men with them...

Yup, long way from that, baby. (In my flannel pyjama bottoms and bare feet)

Last night was fun - my father in law came out of the hospital and is recouping at my sister in laws house, so it was just family - but fun was had by all. Rosey, amazingly, was pleasant and pleasing until almost ten-thirty...at which time she melted into a sticky puddle of WhinyCrabbyBaby (now with added grumpiness!) so I missed most of the fireworks, but Cass had a great time. My brother in law (no shoddy cook!) made appetizers, and we all hung out and laughed a lot.

Today I'm cooking prime rib and roast potatoes and we'll have a nice lunch at home.
You've come a long way, baby.
I guess I have. And most days I really like this casual and bare toed me.

Happy happy new year. I hope everyone has a great time this turn around the sun.

Yarn over and over

Someone, an old babysitter maybe, taught me to crochet when I was six. I remember making long braided loops of yarn and thinking how pretty ...