Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I’m obsessed with finding the perfect banana recipe for using up over-ripe bananas. I always throw them in the freezer when they get too squishy and gross to eat. I’ve tried banana breads, banana muffins, banana cakes, banana cookies. Everything’s always really good. I’ve had some major successes and some merely good enoughs. But the perfect baked good has still eluded me. I think I’m finally onto something though. I just made banana bars. I adapted this recipe for pumpkin bars and swapped out the pumpkin puree. Fifteen ounces is one and seven-eighths cups. In this case, that worked out to be four bananas. I’m not that big of a walnut fan so I only used about half of what is called for. And I’m really not that big of a cinnamon fan so I used ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon nutmeg, and ½ teaspoon ginger. And then I frosted the finished bars with some leftover homemade butter cream frosting from the last time I made a pink cake. They turned out fan-frickin-tastic. Still a trifle cakey and not quite as dense as I was hoping for. But super, extra moist. I’m definitely moving in the right direction. Of course my ideal is my late grandmother’s banana bread. I don’t think anyone has that recipe however so I’m working off of memory. Memory that’s most likely faulty after all these years and colored by nostalgia and enhanced by wishing for something that may not have actually been as perfect as I’ve convinced myself it was. But still. That’s what I’m aiming for.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Fear is the Mind Killer

Kirk fell out of bed last night. He's been sleeping in his big boy bed of late but has had either Mr. b or me in it with him for at least part of the night. There are still no rails. About midnight, as I was falling asleep and Mr. b was reading, we heard a terrible crash and tore down the hallway to see what had happened to him. He was stuck under his crib, right next to his bed. So Mr. b crawled in with him, to comfort him after such a terrifying event. I didn't know if Kirk would be into the idea of sleeping in his bed again tonight but that's what he chose. Of course he asked me to stay with him. Like putting him to bed last night, I told him explicitly that I would lay down and cuddle him for a few minutes but that's all. Last night he cried. Tonight he accepted it.

He is definitely going through a period of fear though. He's been startling at noises he's never noticed before. "What's that?!" He'll scurry over for a hug and cling to me as I explain that it was nothing, the furnace starting or the house settling or the distant train yard or the kitties fighting. He accepts it calmly and returns to playing but it still keeps happening.

Kirk has also started using phrases like, "I'm scared." Where did he learn that? If you ask him what's scary he'll inevitably respond with "I don't know" but it's still interesting and a little disturbing. Well, maybe not disturbing. Fear is an important part of being a human. And with his tendancy to be a little bully it's always nice to have confirmation that he's feeling *some* emotions. But I don't want my son to be scared of anything. I don't want him to have to be afraid. He shouldn't need to experience true fear. I know he's just growing and developing and this, too, shall pass.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Too Much Information

Some things you may want to know and one thing you may not want to know.

Kirk has invented a new word. It is "dinty". It means anything that he finds gross, icky, in his way, or otherwise enjoying his experience of whatever it is he's doing. Typically, it refers to food. "Got dinties on it." "It's all dinty." Mr. b ate all the dinties [toppings] off his pizza and then Kirk was fine with the saucy crust. We are starting to use dinty in our normal conversation.

Kirk got to go in a tower in Missouri. I refused to go to Stupid Ass Holiday Amusement Park Whatever with my MIL and my aunt-in-law and the kids so he did. Such a good hunny. I got to hang out with the boys as an honorary member of the patriarchy. It was a very good time and I won money off them when they thought I'd be an easy mark. Heh. Also, my sweet potato cheesecake was awesome.

We are continually amazed by what Kirk knows about that we didn't teach him. He's had a semi-obsession about beanstalks (as in "Jack and the") for a couple of months. Where did that come from? Near as Mr. b can tell it's a common story on the various Disney and PBS shows like Little Einsteins and whatever. The most recent one is whales. Specifically humpback whales. Did they watch something at daycare? No idea. We tried watching Star Trek 4: Spock Likes Whales last night but he didn't really pay any attention. He was more into playing cars.

Kirk has been "teaching" the cat. He explains things that he does to her and shows her toys and gives her a running commentary on what he's doing. Perhaps this is a sign that he needs a sibling. It seems all the cool internet parents are working on seconds. Still not ready for that myself though.

And finally, Mr. b declared that he's no longer "going to let that little fucker get in the way of [his] sex life." This was after we snuck into the bedroom for a quickie while Kirk was watching Depeche Mode videos on YouTube. That was definitely a first. Unfortunately, I couldn't concentrate. Mr. b promised we'll practice whenever I'm wearing a skirt.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Family Vacation

Whenever the Eiffel Tower is shown on anything (Little Einsteins, mostly though in the DM "Strangelove" video) I point out to Kirk that Mama and Daddy when there on vacation. It seems like as good of short-hand as any. I'm not going to try to explain the Riviera to him when he doesn't even know what France is! But there seems to be an interesting side effect I hadn't foreseen. I've been warming Kirk up to the idea that we're driving down to Missouri for Thanksgiving by telling him that he gets to go on vacation with us this time. And he expects that he'll get to go up in a tower! He believes me that the Eiffel is too far away. But he still thinks that vacation = tower.

Of course there's always the chance we'll have to scrap our plans altogether. Mr. b's cafe is flooded right now and he's bailed 300 gallons of water since 1am (had to "sleep" there, too) and the plumber hasn't arrived yet. Yay. I guess we can always do our Turkey Day chowin' down at Kim's Chinese - Vietnamese. Mmmm, Kim's.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Bubbles on Head

I managed to record this very first songwriting effort last week. I was afraid that Kirk would never sing it again but thankfully, he'll actually do it on request. His very first song!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sleeping Arrangements

We’re in the middle of the crib to big boy bed transition right now. Kirk’s been all over the place with his reaction to it all. We picked up the mattress on Saturday and he was beyond thrilled.

New Mattress!

It was amazing. He was just so psyched about it. We dressed it up college-style right on the floor and he was really into it.


We had a babysitter that night so I could go to the exceptionally amazing Mercurial Rage show (best I’ve ever seen them) and we didn’t know how he’d react to it. But he slept on the mattress and not in his crib!

Mr. b picked up the frame on Sunday from someone I found on Craigslist. Kirk was still pretty excited and was “helping” every step of the way, from hauling in the pieces, to cleaning them, to assembly.


Yet he did not want to sleep on the bed now that the mattress was up off the floor. He wouldn’t even lay down on it! He jumped on it a bit but even getting him to sit on it was almost impossible.

I'm not so sure about this.

He slept in his crib again that night.

Last night he was once again give a choice between crib and big boy bed. We’re prepared to leave both options up for as long as it takes for him to be comfortable with the new bed. It's not like we have an infant that imminently needs the crib or anything. He chose bed this time. But he wanted me to sleep with him. And it was like doing crib training all over again. I’d lay with him for five minutes until he was asleep or nearly asleep and as soon as I’d leave he’d start bawling. Wait five minutes, go back in for five minutes. Over and over. Only this time he wasn’t just crying like when he was a little baby. Now he was wailing “Mommy!” at the top of his lungs like I was betraying him. Heartbreaking. He didn’t get out of his bed though and he slept through the night once he finally did fall asleep. I hope that going away for Thanksgiving doesn’t undo whatever progress we manage to make before then.

Monday, November 05, 2007

I'll Make You a Believer

Kirk is majorly obsessed with Depeche Mode videos right now. Mr. b is so proud! He used to hold speakers up to my belly and play bootlegged tracks off Playing the Angel, which came out a few months after he was born. Kirk likes most of the songs but seems to gravitate towards the Violator tracks more than any others. He used to be into King Song (“Enjoy the Silence”) but lately is completely hung up on Cowboy Song (“Personal Jesus”). He asks to see Cowboy song as soon as he gets up in the morning, as soon as he gets home from daycare, all day long on the weekends. He puts on his battered $1.99 Walmart cowboy hat and sings along and does the Dave Gahan moves, holding his arms wide, and mimicking Martin Gore’s weird breathing rhythm thing in the breakdown. It’s frickin’ adorable. My mom was a bit concerned by the fact that the video is set in a bordello but it’s not like he has a clue. Someday it’ll hit him in a flash, “Oh my god! Those are hookers!”

Thursday, November 01, 2007


My boys were just adorable as a pair of skeletons. Kirk kept talking about how Daddy is a big skeleton and Kirkie is a little skeleton.


We decided that hats really made the costumes. Who actually likes wearing those masks anyways?

Sith Cowboy Skeleton

Though by the end of the evening, when Kirk also carried a light saber with him, he was more like a Sith Cowboy Jedi.

DeeDee & Skeleton

My homemade DeeDee Doodle costume was a huge hit with the little ones. Several wee lasses were convinced that I actually was DeeDee and asked me about being on TV and where Rooney and Moe were. I even heard them fighting with their dad further down the street about wanting to go back to the Doodlebops house! Hee!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Using the Force

Darth Vader got all burned. Need helmet on, mask on, suit on. Got all burned.

Kirk’s increasing obsession with Star Wars eased the transition to babysitter for us last night. Mr. b’s boss took us out to fancy dinner last night and we shared a babysitter. His kids are older than Kirk (Girl is 11 and probably could have handled them herself – next time) but they got along swimmingly. Boy just pulled out all his Star Wars action figures and plushies and by the time he unearthed the light sabers, Kirk was completely done being shy and hiding in my lap. We didn’t know if we would have to sneak out but he totally didn’t care when we left.

We’ve also been using Star Wars as a morality tale to try to get Kirk to knock off the hitting and naughtiness. Anakin was naughty and didn’t have any more friends when he turned into Darth Vader. Luke shouldn’t hit his Daddy Vader, even if he’s mad at him. I don’t know if it’s helping but it’s a lot of fun. You’ll get all burned and end up in a suit if you don’t hold hands while in the parking lot, if you throw food on the floor, if you hit the kitty, if you push your friends on the playground…

Friday, October 26, 2007

Compromised Position

Kirk has been strangely cooperatively lately. Oh, he still hits and pushes and is a very naughty two year old. But for the past week, if we calmly explain why something else has to occur first or why something can’t happen, we’re more likely to hear a resigned “OK” and a big sigh. Which is a vast improvement over, “No like it that one!” “No, Kirkie do it!” “No, Kirkie say it!” I’m not sure what’s up with the change. He’s had a cold but it started before then so it’s not just physical exhaustion. And the fights haven’t gone away completely. Getting dressed has been a major battle probably half of the mornings in the last couple weeks. Neither Mr. b or I will let him go to K’s in his pajamas and he no like it that one. Eating is often a struggle. We’ve had to become *those* parents, you know, the ones that won’t let you have the TV on during dinner. Which sucks for us because we like it. But Kirk will get too distracted and not actually eat. Which he often won’t do anyways. The starvation method helps: let him play until later than normal dinner hour and then he’s hungry enough to eat. But I’m usually too hungry right after work to go along with that! Strangely, going to bed generally isn’t a fight. Sometimes we’ll get a “Still playing” but then he’ll be ready after only a five or ten minute delay. There haven’t been any potty training fights yet because we’re totally chill about letting him go at his own pace. He gets praised effusively every time he does use the potty, which makes him just beam with pleasure. And we reward him with Potty Candy for anything actually in the pot, not just sitting down and trying. Potty Candy at home is two pieces of Smarties (one for each hand) and K said that she uses chocolate covered raisins. I can see the end of diapers, but it’s still just over the horizon. We’re definitely on our way though, which is nice.

Friday, October 12, 2007

30 September 2007

We both woke up exceedingly early and so slowly finished getting ready, packing, and cleaning. After check-out we caught the train to Antibes. The ticket machine was still broken so another free ride. I was concerned about finding our correct seats on the fast train but we did it right and five hours later, were back in Paris. We quick time harched to the Metro, thankful that we had the foresight last weekend to book a room at the same hotel so we knew exactly where to go. After ditching our luggage we tested my theory that the Metro tickets were good for all day – yep! So we did a little recon on our train to the airport tomorrow and then headed towards the Champs de Elysses. We slowly made our way to the Eiffel Tower.

Hey, isn't that thing famous?

Occupied France
We took the stairs up to the first level and took in the view.

Hangin' Out
I was disconcerted and fighting vertigo the whole time

Hangin' On
so I went back down and [Mr. b] climbed to the second level. [I guess irrational fear must suit me because this is hands down the best picture of me in years.] Unfortunately they had stopped selling elevator tickets to the tippy top so he missed out on that. We Metro’d back after buying a gift for my mom (Dad was easy – got him a Marina Baie des Anges hat back at the complex when buying postcards) and started looking for a restaurant for dinner. I declared that I was too tired to think in French anymore so we ended up at a place with an English menu. It was a lot more expensive than we had anticipated – we got ripped off on the drinks for the fixed price menu – but good. Just two long-ass flights tomorrow and then we’ll be home, kissing Kirkie.

29 September 2007

Another frozen quiche for breakfast and then eventually made our way to the train platform. The ticket dispenser was out of order. [It was the weekend so the booth wasn't open and the automatic machine was the only option. We didn't know what to do if we got stopped by a conductor but there were quite a few of us on the platform so I figured we'd get it sorted.] It started raining when we got to Antibes; we stopped at a bar we had passed the previous two times we’d been there. A walk took us to the small bay

and then we explored the edge of the old walled city.

Old Antibes
[I was really mad at Mr. b when we got back to the apartment and I realized that I wasn't in a single one of the Antibes photos. It still bums me out a little.]

After circumnavigating the border we wandered the narrow streets, occasionally stopping at shops.

Bought Tintin figurines for [Mr. b] and a large plush Snowy for Kirk. Another round of rain brought us to a café for another break. Returning to Villeneuve-Loubet we went back to the shops so I could find a coat. There was a massive sale going on and it was madness. [Mr. b] went to McDonald’s while I shopped. Then back to the apartment to prepare for the first leg of our journey home. Snack at the grocery store. Then dinner at a cute little pasta place. Then I packed while [Mr. b] cleaned. Early wake-up tomorrow.

28 September 2007

We had every intention in going to Nimes. First we found out the check out procedures for our apartment, then went down to the bike rental place. The guy thought we were nuts for thinking of doing six hours of driving in one day but more importantly, it would have been 165 €. [I guess this was an example of our "Americanness". Sure, three hours one-way is a lot but it's totally doable. And we've both done it. Many times.] So we checked out the train option, stopping along the way to buy a hat I had found the day before. Three different trains to Nimes. So. An hour at the Clubhouse Marina, downloading iTunes TV and regrouping. Sex and then an unexpectedly leisurely lunch. We determined a while ago that tip is included. Today I realized that they don’t deserve it anyways. We walked down the seaside path all the way to Cagnes sur Mer, then cut back through part of the town on the way back.

[Check out the reflection of the Med in my sunglasses! Totally unintentional but very awesome.]

[Mr. b] estimates it was a good 5+ miles. We tried to do some more shopping back here but the stores were closing for the evening. I bought ingredients for chicken with cream of, rice, and veggies and it was OK. We wound down the night watching Eureka and playing random video games on the laptop in bed.

27 September 2007

Still beat from yesterday’s three country train tour, we legitimately slept in until nearly Noon. Leftover pizza and then the storms arrived. We sat up in bed reading, watching the rain, and drank and entire bottle of wine.

Now THIS is vacation!
[There's no WAY we'd be able to lay around, reading and drinking while at home with Kirk on hand. We really enjoyed the chance.]

The thunder and lightning let up but the rain kept coming – we went shopping anyways. Being soaked to the bone – again – put [Mr. b] in a foul mood and so we fought for a while. No restaurants were open for dinner yet so we came back to the apartment and made spaghetti and watched The Office on the laptop. What are the stages of culture shock? We’re both missing comforts of home. I want steak and potatoes and [Mr. b] wants the History Channel. While doing our regular evening internet check on the stairs (the only WiFi hotspot around)

Our Office
we were approached by some young dude who really unsettled me, though I think he was just trying to warn us about thieves. Back at the pad we took care of the credit card security business we had pending – they had called my folks on Tuesday but wanted to speak to us in person. I was shaken up after all that so we called [K] and talked to Kirk briefly. Now I’m in tears but it’s OK. I just miss him so much. Also, there are snails everywhere after all the rain.

Where's SpongeBob?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

26 September 2007

We actually got up and stayed up today. After a minor set back returning our bikes (we left them at the SeaDoo rental next door to the bike shop) we hopped on the train. The ride was lovely – the tracks are right on the coast most of the way. We saw a few surfers just west of Ventimiglia. No where else has had rough enough water for waves – hence the pebble beaches. It was raining in Ventimiglia so I bought an umbrella but [Mr. b] decided to ignore it. We stopped for some caffeine and then made our way down to some Roman ruins.

Which were closed. We took a convoluted path back, through winding apartments, and found a restaurant that had previously caught our eye. Delicious. Back on the train, stopped at Monaco. Really, incredibly cool city. Walked up and up and up on sidewalk stair cases.

Stairways in Monaco
Then down and down and down. Over to the palace – Rainer and Grace named everything. Old palace – built in 1533 – with a guard and it’s own old city.

Grace Kelly Slept Here

Palace city
Completely enchanting, stopped for a beverage and then back to the train station, this time via the marina level. Hard to capture the layers upon layers of buildings over time – ancient foundations still visible everywhere.

Train back “home”. Used rest of extra noodles (too many for tuna hot dish) with pesto for dinner. Cooking for ourselves is really nice.

25 September 2007

After getting up and having a delicious frozen quiche Lorraine for breakfast, we went back to bed. Until 1:30pm! Sex and leftover tuna noodle hot dish, then we rented bikes. We rode east for a while and explored into the village.

Bike Rental
[The bike paths were marked in green and were not just thin borders like in the States. The entire path was painted green in spots! It made it really easy to follow as long as it didn't stop randomly for traffic pattern changes, which certainly happened a few times in our exporation.]

After learning of a local train stop right near our complex, we headed back west. We took the train to Antibes and bought our return tickets to Paris for next weekend. Then we came right back and sat at an internet café for a while before hopping back on our bikes. We ended up riding all the way to Antibes! Adorable town; we both loved it. We wandered around on foot for nearly an hour, eventually discovering the old walled city, now filled with cute shops and countless restaurants. Back where our bikes were parked we had fabulous pizzas at La Toscana. That seems to be the name of every Italian place in the area. [Mr. b] biked back carrying the box with our leftovers. My ass is killing me from the hard bike seat. But we definitely got our money’s worth!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

24 September 2007

Today was the day I declared we would do nothing. And, as Peter says, “It was everything I always thought it could be.” [Mr. b] woke up and went out for a baguette and some more supplies while I stayed in bed. We ate breakfast and then returned to bed to read and nap for several more hours. About 1:30pm I got up and finalized the inventory paperwork for our apartment. I dropped that off and tried to pick up the groceries [Mr. b] had forgotten but the store was still on its afternoon break. After surfing the internet on the stairs to kill some time, [Mr. b] got up and we went down together.

Garden Party
Late lunch of baguette, cheese, wine, and strawberries, then down to the beach. The water was quite cool and there’s no sand – only rounded, flat rocks.

French Riviera
Boobies! [There were very few topless women around so I never bothered trying it out for myself. The vast majority of those topless were Baby Boomers and older, too! Leathery skin. Yikes.] We read some more then came home and [Mr. b] made tuna noodle casserole. The oven was difficult to figure out so the topping got slightly burnt but it was delicious. Winding down the evening watching Dr. Who on the laptop and drinking more red wine. My teeth will be stained by the time we get home.

23 September 2007

A restless night for both of us – I kept having dreams of weird math and [Mr. b] was up at 3am. He went down for coffee and cigarettes; I got up when he returned. Easy trip to train station thanks to prior recon. Sat in wrong car after thinking we did it right. Unexpected train stop in Aix en Provence. Train lunch of “Parisien” sandwiches – ham and white cheese, quite good. Yogurt came in crocks!

Cell Phone Ghost
[Mr. b was highly amused by the "sleeping ghost" posted all over the train. It took us far longer than we should admit before we realized it was the turn-off-your-cell-phone symbol. Bit like our amusement at the "No Blue" no parking signs when we first encountered them in England 10 years ago.]

Passed resort on way to Nice. Cab ride much more expensive than anticipated. Crabby door man at building and lady at check-in, first “French rudeness” encountered. Explored shops at resort complex, rested, had dinner, tried to call home. Grocery shopping – hope to start cooking meals instead of going out. Have to rent linen, bought dish soap, need scrubbie and paper towels.

22 September 2007

Mass confusion at Charles de Gaulle to find shuttle. Nice co-passenger from NYC to chat with on drive to hotel. Sex and long nap. Subway to recon – train station for tomorrow. Walk, walk, walk, amazing dinner, sweet waitress. [I ordered us both the cassoulet. We didn't know yet that it was too early for normal French dinner hour. The chef brought them out himself - simply astoundingly delicious. Ham, sausage, and leg of something that I think was duck but might have been rabbit, beans, and fabulous bread. It was also our first experience with a carafe of vin rouge. That would become my standard drink order.]

Cafe Scully in Paris
Walk, walk, walk, Notre Dame, Louvre, Duncan McLeod, back towards hotel.

The Seine
Winding down at corner pub outside hotel entrance.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


A3 only a few hours old

Well. There is nothing that makes your baby seem like a big boy quicker than seeing him next to his brand new baby cousin. A3 finally decided to join us the day before we left, so we did get to meet her when she was only a few hours old. Kirk seemed to handle our departure pretty well. He had some extended cuddles with each of us post-nap before my dad drove us to the airport. I cried while pulling away from the house. I had printed out a few pictures of us that my mom put on the fridge for him to play with about halfway through the vacation. While in France we recorded a short video message to him and posted that on YouTube which apparently was a big hit. He'd ask Papa to "see pictures" every time he heard the laptop start up. I uploaded pictures to my France folder while away so he also got to see what Mama and Daddy were doing. We called him once and though he didn't say much, it was enough for us to just hear his voice a little. Mom said that he really broke down the day before we were supposed to get home and that he had been talking about us more and more each day leading up to that point. Then he broke her heart by going on about how much he missed us. Needless to say, he was as excited about our return as we were.

I kept a brief travel journal every night that I'll transcribe into blog posts. But not right now. Kirk is napping and Mr. b is at the cafe and I'm enjoying being back in my own home.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Looking for Doctor Right

Last Thursday I had an appointment for my annual physical. I had scheduled all of my various yearly check-ups to be done before I went on vacation and this was the last of them. Plus, I needed to get my prescription renewed since I'm on the final pill pack. Doc used to be at the clinic within walking distance of my house but she switched to the new one that's way up in the northern suburbs when that opened up. But I've been going up there and taking Kirk up there out of loyalty to her and because I honestly like her so much. So when I finally got up there Thursday afternoon? I was beyond dismayed to discover that she wasn't there; she was out delivering a baby.

When we took Kirk for his 2 year well child check-up Doc told us that she's going to stop delivering babies at the end of the year. She's 50 now and it takes too long for her to recover from the middle of the night calls and she just decided that she's done. To be honest, I felt betrayed. Sure, I haven't exactly jumped on the let's-make-a-sibling bandwagon but I do intend to get knocked up again. And now I won't have Doc as my Ob. I don't know that I've felt this attached to a particular physician before. Is it just because she's cool? Or because I saw her so often during my pregnancy and then for all of Kirk's well baby visits afterwards? I feel like I really know her and I don't want to find another doctor. I've seen quite a few random doctors at the nearby clinic for just miscellaneous visits and none of them have seemed like the right fit. But I guess I need to start trying to find one. I still like the idea of seeing a GP so that both Kirk and I can go to the same person. And I don't really have a hang-up about only seeing female doctors. My last physician was a man and I quite liked him but his clinic moved and then we moved and it just didn't seem worth going back to him.

In the midst of this debacle I had to really examine my intentions about getting pregnant again. Since I'm not going off the pill for France I've been wavering on how long I want to wait before trying again. And a lot of it has to do with my vacation plans for next summer. It's a family reunion year and we're going to be at a beach house on the North Carolina coast and I would really like to look halfway decent. But that's just my own personal vanity getting in the way. Do my cousins honestly give a damn? I doubt it. I don't know that I'd want to be hugely, third trimester preggers though. That's just not particularly comfortable. Especially since we plan to drive. So I realized that maybe first or second trimester would be OK. It's not like lis and I are going to be partying it up in DC during The Summit; she'll have a 4 month old after all. So my new thought is New Years. We'll see if I have a new excuse for putting it off when that rolls around.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Walkin' Tall

I think we're weaning ourselves off of stroller dependence. It was not intentional at all. When we went to the zoo Labor Day weekend we just completely forgot to bring it. And it was fine. Kirk was perfectly happy to walk on his own and responded pretty well to me telling him to "pick up the pace" when he started slowing down or wandering off course. If he had been in the stroller he would have demanded to get out all the time and be held up to see the animals. And then he would have wanted to push the stroller himself. That's what happened when I picked him up from daycare via the bus and we took the bus home. The final walk was excruciatingly slow because "Kirkie do it." But then Kirkie started gazing up at the clouds instead of watching where he was slowly pushing the stroller, decreasing his speed even more. So when we recently took a walk up to the city offices to drop off the water/garbage bill we decided not to bother even trying to strap him into the stroller. It was a lovely promenade and he stuck with us well and didn't get too tired out by the end. Oh, I'm not going to get rid of it any time soon. But I'm also not going to be as desperate to make sure it's in the car whenever we go to the mall anymore.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Fruits 'n' Veggies

Apple Graveyard

Kirk eats apple slices the same way he eats melon wedges. And then we’re left with a field of spent apples. I don’t really want to be the kind of mom that always peels the apples but he just eats around them. Even if I cut each apple slice down to bite size pieces he leaves the peel.

Thankfully he eats the crust on his bread. He seems to have switched off macaroni & cheese as his failsafe, always-ready-to-eat-it food and is now on peanut butter (with or without "purple jelly") sandwiches. And those he eats strangely, too; he pries the bread slices apart and eats each side as its own open-face sandwich. Very messy. But "dood".

The only other failsafe food at the moment is "O-bars". He’ll eat a granola bar no matter what. We refuse to make him a whole separate meal of his own if he has decided that he doesn’t want to eat what we’re having for dinner so he has had quite a few O-bars in the past couple of weeks.

He’s a bit of a menace in my garden, too. I don’t have much growing in the way of vegetables but he took his soft Twins baseball bat to my yellow pepper plant and managed to knock off the only branch that was producing fruit. So, no peppers for me. He’ll pick tomatoes, either the Cherries or the Romas, and take one bite before spitting it out as "icky". For some reason the no pick rules I’ve hammered home regarding my flowers just haven’t stuck on the tomato front. "Mama’s pretty flowers. Kirkie no pick. Nose. *snorting exhalation as he attempts sniffing*" Maybe because I pick them but leave the flowers? Oddly he leaves the zucchini alone.

Giant Zucchini

Except when it’s sitting on the counter of course. Then it’s a hilariously awesome thing to carry around. I have no idea why my zucchini plant produced such a monster. It really hasn’t put out that much fruit at all but two of them have been those ridiculously State Fair sized behemoths.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Finish Line

Today is my sister's birthday. She's 29 now and is about to have her third child. Third. Before 30. The thing that really struck me is how hugely pregnant she is. Her official due date is one week from now but her doctor thinks she'll deliver this weekend. And I don't know what that level of pregnancy is like. I never experienced the massive frustration, waiting for the end to come. I never got a chance to be desperate to get the baby outta me. It's sort of fascinating to look at it objectively like that and I realized it's a whole aspect of female reproduction that I just didn't participate in. I have secretly wondered in the past if women that have had C-sections really can understand what giving birth, actual delivery, is truly like. But in most instances, there was a serious medical reason that they had to operate. They did go through labor, at least somewhat, and that wasn't good enough. So I feel bad that I held that slight prejudice. I think realizing that I missed out on an integral part of pregnancy by having Kirk nearly a month early has helped me to change that opinion.

But seeing my sister tonight at her birthday dinner made me realize just what she has in store for her. And that I really am not ready to do it again. Not yet.

Monday, September 03, 2007


Kirk's memory is kind of astonishing. He will bring up events, a bug biting him for example, that happened months ago and out of nothing he'll just start talking about them. I've certainly prompted him about stuff when we just get done, like on the drive home from the zoo yesterday I sort of drilled him on all the things we did (dolphins, train, monkeys, sharks, butterflies, etc.) but that's just making conversation. He does better on the phone with Nana and Papa or Auntie and A1 and A2 if he's got stories to tell. I don't think he's really got much of a sense of time yet though. I never know quite how much advance warning I need to give him before babysitters or big events or anything. Sometimes I'll tell him about something a few days earlier and sometimes, quite frankly, I forget to tell him at all until it's happening. So far he's fine with just rolling with it. But I figure that the France trip is huge enough that he's going to need to have it in the back of his little head. I've been mentioning it whenever vacation comes up or whenever Nana and Papa come up. I don't think he has any clue what's really going to happen but I'm hoping that it'll be in there enough so that he doesn't freak out entirely. I have no idea what to expect actually. Now that it's so close I'm starting to realize the enormity of leaving the continent without my son.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Wedding March

Last weekend Kirk and I drove out to Wisconsin with my parents to attend a wedding. Kirk had a blast. My sister and brother both came out so he got to spend some time in the hotel with my nephew and then dance at the reception with A1. I knew that he would have fun, but that's not the reason we went. I felt compelled to go. The groom was my brother's best friend growing up. It's the only wedding I've been to for anyone from the old neighborhood. And it's the first wedding I've been to of someone that I used to babysit. All his brothers were his attendants; I probably haven't seen a single one of them since I babysat them. Oddly, that didn't bother me or freak me out in any way. It was neat seeing the boys all grown up. What I did notice, however, was a strong feeling of future-self when I saw their mother. The Mother of the Groom. I really identified with her. It's not like we were ever particularly close, I was just the girl across the street. But this time, I could really see an eventuality for me. It was fascinating. I recently read a lovely line in something about how a son's mother gave him the best gift in loving his wife. Even thinking of it now brings tears to my eyes. I often wonder if I need to have a daughter to carry on the bond with her that I have with my own mother. And it's always been strong but it's most definitely mutated and grown and evolved since I've become a mother as well. And yet I find myself now looking to my mother-in-law. Who thanks me each and every time I see her for loving her son. I can only hope that I'm as gracious when Kirk someday brings home his mate.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Love is a Battlefield

Mr. b and I continue to pick our battles. My sister sometimes claims that we're spoiling Kirk but I just don't see it. Why should I care if the boy wants to wear his jammie shirt as his shirt for the day? It's not like it's particularly obvious that it's pajamas. Why should I care if he wants to walk to the car barefoot? It's not cold out. Sometimes it's just easier to buy him the one dollar Spiderman ball rather than fight with him in the store. I'm not getting him a pony or anything! And we do have rules for him; I could never abide having a no-really-I'm-my kid's-best-friend parenting style. I'm sure things'll change as he gets older. For now? I'm sticking with the lazier method.

Random bits: today Kirk asked for milk on his cereal. That was new. He actually ate about two-thirds of the bowl, too!

He counts thusly: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 12. Every. Single. Time.

Play-Doh is endlessly entertaining. Meaning Kirk demands that we use certain colors in certain molds and then changes his mind in the middle.

Help! is now as popular as Yellow Submarine. "Darth Vader Movie" requests are bumping up in frequency as well.

Actual quote: "No, Dada. Don't ever touch Kirkie's green candy." Swearing can't be far off. Heh.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Gettin' the lead out

Well, it looks like we just made it through our very first toy recall. K had gotten the Sesame Street Tub Pots & Pans for Kirk for his birthday. I followed the instructions they sent me and it would seem that we’re in the clear! I had to look for a date code between 1097LF and 1877LF. Kirk’s was 100. Yay! Thankfully he didn’t notice that I had removed it from the shower wall. I’m sure he’ll be excited to have it again though.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Sibling Shuffle

Kirk spent the day with his cousins today since K was closed. My sister is hugely (like 36 weeks) pregnant right now and we've been explaining to Kirk that Auntie's got a baby in her tummy. It was just starting to sink in last week when we saw her but apparently he got to see A3 kick and now he really believes it. He kept saying, "Baby comin'."

He's not particularly curious about where babies come from, which I suppose isn't that suprising considering he's still so little, but he was talking about having a baby in his own tummy. I just explained that boys don't get to have babies, only girls. Mr. b added that only grown up girls that are Mommies have babies. Kirk took that in stride except for one thing, I'm apparently not a girl. "Kirkie, boy. Dada, boy. Mama, boy." He refused to believe me when I corrected him on that last part.

I'm not sure if that means he knows, or at least suspects deep down, that there's a real good chance that he won't be an only child. Maybe I'm just reading too much into that. I do know that I have a short reprieve from my planned Pill deadline. I did the menstrual math for our upcoming France trip and if I went off then I'd get my period halfway through our vacation. Nuh-uh. Me no likey. So I'll just do the suppression trick. Of course my sister did not like it when I told her that. She wanted me to suppress this month so my cycle would be a week earlier. But the last time I did that (a friend's wedding in Jamaica) I ended up spotty for the next two months so that would totally defeat the purpose of being rag-free on vacay!

I'm slightly relieved that I can put the decision off for another month. (Or more?) I know that Mr. b was also showing signs of hesitation. My SIL is newly pregnant with their second and their son is younger than Kirk! They apparently started trying when he was barely over a year! I know that two years is an extremely common age gap but it just seems like too soon for me. My sister and I are nearly 3 and a half years apart and we recently discussed how much we liked that. Because of her birthday being after Labor day, it also meant that we were 4 grades apart. So once I left elementary school, we never had to be in the same school at the same time. That was really nice for both of us. Our brother is nearly 2 years younger than she is but again, due to birthday placement, they were only 1 year apart in school. And it was hell on both of them. Her girls are 8 and 5 and so they'll have that nice gap, too. I know that it's human nature to think that whatever difference you have is the perfect amount but I've really been analyzing this a lot. Obviously.

Mostly I'm just not convinced that I'm ready to be pregnant again. But I suppose I need to get it out of the way because I've definitely come around to agree that Kirk needs a sibling.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Two Transitions

We took Kirk to see The Simpsons Movie on Sunday. It's the first time he'd been to a movie theater since he was a carseat baby. He really did pretty well but I ended up spending the final 15 or 20 minutes watching from the entrace hall while holding him. If we had come a bit later and avoided the millions of previews and other bullshit at the beginning, maybe it would have timed out better. We did go to a 10:45am showing but that meant it was pretty much naptime when the movie ended. Nevertheless, it was a great experiment. Kirk had fun and now we know that it's possible to see movies as a family, as long as we schedule it right. I think typically people don't take kids to movies until they're a bit older but he knows about the Simpsons and likes them so we figured it would work out.

We seem to be behind the curve on Kirk's sleeping arrangements however. He's still in his crib and we're not making any move to switch him into a toddler bed any time soon. I think all of the other two-year-olds we know have been transitioned already. But Kirk still hasn't ever climbed out! And so many parents have warned us that we need to treasure the crib time while it lasts because after that the random mid-night appearances begin. Though I think that Kirk needs new bed clothes. When I get him up in the morning he has often covered himself with one or more of the random baby blankets that are piled in and amongst the stuffed animals. Does he need proper blankets? He also doesn't have a real pillow; he's been using my old Boppy for probably a year now. I intended to at least get him a normal pillow for his birthday but that got away from me unfulfilled.

The switch to 2% milk Mr. b was on top of right away though. He took Kirk off whole milk several weeks before his birthday. Apparently the kids at daycare make a note of who drinks red milk (whole) and who drinks blue milk (2%)!

Friday, August 03, 2007


How do you explain something like an historical tragedy to a two-year-old? Of course the TV was on news coverage of the bridge collapse from 20 minutes after it happened onward. Mr. b had to leave so it was just me and the boy. And I was too busy being stunned and answering phone calls whenever someone was able to get through and sending out emails letting people know we were all OK to pay much attention to him. I tried to take time out. We sat on the front steps and watched the rain come in. Kirk claimed he was scared of the "bunder" but I don't buy it. We sat in his bedroom and had a tickle war. But mostly, my mind was elsewhere, trying to process what had just happened. My only attempt to explain it was to tell Kirk that the bridge broke and now there was a big mess. I wonder how much of this he'll retain in memory as he gets older?

I worked from home yesterday and went over to Dinkytown to meet Mr. b for lunch. As I drove by, and saw the destruction with my own eyes for the first time, I gasped, clutched my chest, and fought back tears. It's real. We walked over before eating to look again and take a couple of pictures and just reminisce about all the times we spent in the area, in the neighborhood, under the bridges, along the riverbank.

Mr. b got interviewed by a Sioux Falls news station later that day. A print version is online, with a link to the video.

Standing on University Avenue bridge, looking south onto 35W destruction

Standing on University Avenue bridge, looking south onto 35W destruction

Monday, July 30, 2007

Painful Phasing

I'm having a real hard time with Kirk's preferential treatment of his father. It would be one thing if he just ignored me. But it's more than that. He refuses to sit in my lap even when Mr. b's not home. He wails when his Dada leaves for band practie or recording or a gig. "Mama no!" "No kisses!" "Mama leave!" "Mama go!" This weekend he actually tried to push me out of bed when we brought him in to sleep in with us. I left and went and bawled in the kitchen. It's hitting me way harder than the last time he was being mean.

I know it's just a phase. I know I should enjoy having the pressure lessened while he hangs on his dad. Mr. b makes a good point that I'll always be Mama, the comforter and care-giver, even when he's long grown past kisses on his owies. But I don't care. It hurts so much.

Friday, July 27, 2007

I Get So Emotional, Baby

I stayed home with Kirk on Wednesday. He just had a cold but I think he gets better quicker if he stays home and has a quiet day instead of being crazy at daycare. Plus it was nice to have an explanation for his extreme whininess of the previous couple of days. Dinner on Tuesday night he was so whiny we started making fun of him. We honestly thought his voice was going hoarse because of the constant whining! But when he went back to daycare on Thursday? Mr. b says that he freaked out and started crying, "Kirkie home!"

That sadness is a new thing. He's starting to feel more than just the base emotions like happy and mad or the physiological ones like hungry or tired. And it's just heartbreaking to see him genuinely broken up by things not going his way. But it's not like he can win every battle. Now's the time when kids are able to be spoiled. I don't think you can spoil them earlier because it's just basic needs. But if you give in just because he's got a sad face? Or because he's throwing a temper tantrum? Then he learns how get whatever he wants by being a total pain in the ass. And I refuse to fall into that trap because I hate getting ripped off. And that kind of manipulation definitely qualifies.

It still doesn't do anything to assuage my worry about what the future holds. If Kirk experiences that level of sadness now, when he's two, what's he going to be like when he's fifteen and every day is the end of the world? Teenage years are hard on anyone but boys are more likely to act on it. And lord knows his father was hugely depressed even into his twenties. I don't exaggerate when I say that there were countless times when I was afraid to come home from class or my student job because I honestly didn't know what I would find when I came in the door. I'm so thankful that Mr. b came out of that darkness and I just can't bear the thought of Kirk going through it, too.

For now, though, the worst that happens typically involves poop. While at home with him on Wednesday, Kirk had his hand down his pants, as usual.
Mama: What you diggin' for down there?
Kirk: (continues his excavation)
Mama: What are you playing with?
Kirk: Fingers.
Mama: What are your fingers playing with:
Kirk: Poop.
And then he pulled out a turd nugget and dropped it on the floor.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


"Mama bra."

"One, two boobs."

Kirk can count to two. And he’s obsessed with my boobs. He grabs hold and gives me a titty twister when I hold him. For a short time he tried biting but thankfully that never caught on. He thinks he’s being hilarious though. I try to divert him from actually grabbing on and then he’ll lift up my shirt and try to tickle my belly to distract me. Cheeky monkey.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Sing, Sing a Song

Kirk has always been a very aural baby, really into music and sounds. Lately he's begun singing actual lyrics to the songs he knows. But he doesn't get in all the words, he'll only hit the high points. The cute thing about that is that he pauses, exactly long enough for the missing words to be sung, before he moves on to the next one.

T'inkle ... ... star
... wonder ... are
Up a' ... ...high
... di'mon' ... sky

It's frickin' adorable. His other favorite songs are Sing, Baa Baa Black Sheep, On Top of Spaghetti, and the Alphabet song.

And Yellow Submarine. He's obsessed with Yellow Submarine. He got a Beatles t-shirt from Angelmamma & Fam for his birthday so, since I was home with him the rest of the week, I decided to show him the movie Yellow Submarine. I hadn't actually watched it in years. Wow. Crazy madness. Such a drug trip. Which was the point, of course, but holy cow. I didn't think he'd really pay that much attention since it's so bloody long with lots of bizarre filler between actual plot elements and songs. But he loved it. Loved. He asks to watch it all the time. He knows the names of all the Beatles now (Ringo is his favorite) and has noticed the Beatles poster we have hanging in the garage porch and the "Hard Day's Night" record cover jigsaw puzzle we have framed and hanging in the stairway. It's awesome. We're both so proud.

Of course once his Papa finds out, he'll have to start brainwashing him over to the Rolling Stones. Heh. My dad's always been a Stones guy over the Fab Four. I suppose we can always show Kirk The Rock and Roll Circus DVD we gave him next time we're up at Nana & Papa's house. Lord knows that's plenty psychadelic, too.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Poor Kitty

Sally’s not getting better. It’s been over a year since we got Chloe and she’s still completely bonkers and hiding and not using the box and barely eating. She was semi-fine in the basement living room if we kept the door latched. Yet even then she rarely came out from under the bed. And the door didn’t stay closed all the time because it’s not her room, it’s our room dammit! We’ve evicted her a few times over the past year but she always seems to end up back in there. I feel sorry for her crazy ass and let her go back in. But it was starting to reek of catshit from her crapping under the bed whenever she was too chicken to go the three feet to her catbox. So we evicted her when we were staying down there while my in-laws were visiting. It seemed like she was better for a little while. She even came part of the way up the stairs! And then she started hiding. I would find her behind a box or under a desk or on top of my sewing basket or under a table and sure enough, there would be a pile of turds right next to her. She even pissed all over the old iMac! I’d clean it all up, put her back into her box in the laundry room, stop up the access to the space, rinse and repeat. Right now she’s been sitting in the laundry room sink. I don’t know if she’s moved out of there for a couple of days. She’s not the kitty that I used to know and love. She’s an empty shell.

I can’t blame Chloe though. It’s not her fault. Sally was like this before but hid it better. When you live in a one bedroom apartment it’s easier to overlook the fact that she’s never in the same room as Smoe; she’s just sleeping in the bedroom! But the truth is, she can’t live with other cats. And we would’ve gotten another cat eventually. I’m sure the only reason she was fine with Tron is that she could sense he was dying.

Sally has really brought this upon herself. We did everything right to introduce those two cats to each other. But she chose to let her hate consume her. I don’t know why I should’ve expected any other fate for a Sith lord. So now I have to call a vet and find out if they think she can be rehabilitated. I have to keep hope that she’ll be fine in a house without any other cats. With a patient human that will care for her and not have the distractions of a two year old son. She’s only ten; she’s got a lot of years ahead of her. But I’m terrified that the answer will be that Xenoba cannot be turned from the dark side. I’ve never had to bring a pet in for *that* reason before.

Video Rage

Mercurial Rage has a video for one of the songs off their new CD, The Funeral Sessions! Check out Mr. b's mutton chops.

I'm wearing a fur coat.

Monday, July 02, 2007


Kirk's golden birthday was today and we had his party yesterday.

Mmmm, frosting.

Yay frosting!

Ooh hey, more cake!

Cousins are fun.

Kirk had both sets of grandparents at his birthday party.

Aunties are good for winding down after a full day of craziness. I'm pretty sure he had a massive sugar hangover today.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Fact and Habits

Tagged by lis

The rules: Each player lists 8 facts or habits about themselves; the rules of the game are to be posted first; at the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people.

1) I like making overly elaborate costumes of characters from shows and movies and video games – but I think that Cosplay is kinda weird.

2) I have used the public transportation system almost exclusively since I was 14 years old and have never owned a car exclusively in my name.

3) I garden because I like dirt.

4) I often seem to watch TV more so that I can talk about it online than because I’m truly addicted to the show.

5) I organize my closet by length of skirt or sleeve, type of fabric, and color.

6) I check TWoP and my email obsessively both from home and work.

7) I walk from one end of the corporate campus to the other and back again, twice, at about 2:30pm every day, because it’s usually the only exercise I can manage to fit into my day.

8) I set my alarm early enough to be able to hit the snooze button at least three times before actually getting up in the morning.

Tagged (I'm listing folks because the "rules" say I have to. Obviously, no obligation is implied):
Jon - though I just found out he had to shut down his sites so that’s probably out
Hmmm, I don’t think I know anyone else that both reads this and has their own blog. So…add your own lists to the comments here my dear 2 or 3 readers! You know you want to!

The Mommy Blues

I am just on a roller coaster of emotions dealing with Kirk of late. He’s so manic! Last weekend, for no reason, he turned to me and said, "Mama? Love." Oh! Joy! I’ve prompted him before but this was out of nothing. And yet last night he was so mean and nasty to me, taking out his anger at his dad and uncle for deserting him to go have a drinking and gambling trip with their cousins. He fought over every little thing, from dinner to diaper to bath. He didn’t even want to sit on my lap for bedtime stories! But when I dropped him off at K’s this morning he wanted up and then proceeded to give me the sweetest prolonged hug. I got a little choked up.

It is neat how he’s holding on now when he gives hugs. He used to just lean in and touch you with the top of his head. He still does that when he’s apologizing for being naughty. "Sorry. Hug." He’s starting to do that without any prompting, too. Manners with a nearly two-year-old are an ongoing process to say the least.

Another new development? His hands down his pants. All. The. Time. Seriously. And he fights so much harder getting his diaper changed because while it’s off he has unrestricted access to his wiener and balls. He finds it "funny".

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I'm so Proud!

Check out these awesome articles written about Mercurial Rage!

MN Daily

City Pages (Awww, my poor honey had the flu for that photo shoot.)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Toxic Fans

When I was in high school I let my annoyance of certain fans influence my own appreciation of what they were fanatical about. It happened because of the extremely overzealous followers of Twin Peaks. (I still haven’t watched that show – though I like Lynch’s films). It happened because of the constantly moping Goth kids playing the most depressing Cure songs off "Pornography" nearly constantly. (I now have an appreciation of their poppier oeuvre, such as "Head on the Door".) And it happened because of the hateful drama kids that held Bash Sunny parties and their incessant singing of Steve Miller Band songs. (Love them! Love!)

Being older and attempting to be wiser, I’m trying to not let it happen again for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But the fans at TWoP’s Buffy forum are not making it any easier for me.

I spend a lot of quality internet time at Television Without Pity and I’ve met all sorts of wonderful, weird, and wacky folks there. I’ve discussed everything from American Idol conspiracies to the differences in Captain Jack Harkness on Doctor Who vs. Torchwood. Everyone is welcoming and smart and respects unpopular opinions.

So when I’m watching an old show for the first time, I like to post my thoughts on each episode in the relevant thread. It’s fun for most fandoms to relive a series through the eyes of newbies, especially if it’s arc-heavy. I’ve certainly enjoyed it for shows that are old hat to me. And I made no exception to that habit for BtVS. Mr. b bought me the first season for Christmas two years ago because I’m such a Browncoat. I really enjoyed what I saw but for some reason stopped watching for a year and a half and only got back to it this week.

The welcome I received from the Buffy fans this time around was far from warm. They seem to have forgotten the "without pity" aspect. My one criticism of the episode was the only thing discussed, despite my many good things listed. My frustration with this was treated with disdain; it’s merely "debate" and "opinions". How can I possibly participate in a debate when I’m told that I’m wrong and the evidence used to support that argument is from future seasons?

I’m trying to remind myself that maybe I’m overreacting. I certainly know folks that are lovely in real life and complete assholes via email. And perhaps the Buffy forum has been taken over by similar jerks. I know I spend less and less time in the Trek forum because of the constant presence of one particularly argumentative, unpleasant poster. Maybe something similar has happened there and caused a mass exodus of the kind and friendly fans that greeted me a year and a half ago.

I’m certainly not going to run off and start my own anti-TWoP movement such as the one mentioned in the article Cecile discusses. But it is definitely affecting my desire to continue watching this series.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Litany Against Fear

On Wednesday I had a circuit training class at the gym. I spent all the next day being sore. Today the aches subsided everywhere but for one new location - my extreme lower abs. I haven't been so aware of that region since I was pregnant.

It's really odd because I can feel the muscles slightly contracting and flexing and it feels just like fetal movements felt. It's the same kind of fluttering. I stood in the breakroom today, nuking my lunch, and contemplated just where my uterus lies within me. It's hard to believe how much abdominal space was taken up by carrying a baby. I tried to mentally picture how big my belly had gotten by the end. And then it hit me: that anonymous fetus I was envisioning is Kirk.

It's strange how easy it is to separate pregnancy from the actual child. But I wonder if it's another maternal coping mechanism to get us to do it again? As we get closer and closer to September and the much joked about going-off-the-Pill-while-in-France trip, doing it again becomes a much bigger possibility. Am I ready for that? Even having been through it, pregnancy still freaks me out. Just because I can remember what it was like doesn't make it any less odd. Sure, there's no fear of the unknown like when facing down childbirth for the first time. But now there's something worse: fear of the known. I'm going to have to focus on my Bene Gesserit training to get through it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Before and After

Long Haired Hippie
Kirk's hair was out of control. It is still very fine and thin but it frizzes and tangles and was just a mess when he'd get up in the morning or after a nap. Mr. b said that it was long enough that he was asked several times if Kirk was a boy or a girl - when he was wearing jammies or some other gender neutral outfit. So on Friday we bought a set of clippers. Mr. b put it on the second highest setting, Kirk sat on my lap, and a haircut occured. He was such a good boy during the whole thing! And I think he looks really cute now, though I can't decide if it makes him look older or not.
If you can't have a fauxhawk when you're 2, when can you?

Friday, June 08, 2007

Bite Me

Kirk’s been a bit bitey of late. He thinks it’s hilarious. We’ll tell him that it’s actually naughty but he’ll exclaim, "Funny!", laugh and run away. So we’ve been trying to point out that he doesn’t like it when the kitty bites him and we don’t like it when he bites us. All bites are naughty. Apparently at least some of it is sinking in. This afternoon I received the following email from K, subject line "Did Kirk get into a tussle with the cat?"

Kirk just woke up from nap a little while ago, and when he had finished his juice and found the popper and generally woken up all the way, he started on his story. It seems to go "morning, kitty, bite... naughty." : ) So I don't know who the kitty bit (or if it was even today!), but apparently he's feeling pretty strongly about the kitty getting in trouble right now.


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

June is Merc Rage Month!

Is it against the Mommy Rules to get a babysitter in secret, that arrives after your kid has already gone to bed? I just feel like it would be too much to go out on Friday to the Mercurial Rage CD listening party, even though I really want to. Tonight my entire family met for Chinese buffet and Kirk got all hopped up on sugar and cousins. Tomorrow we're getting a sitter so Mr. b and I can go out for steak dinner and a movie to celebrate my birthday. Then Saturday the girls are sleeping over. The poor boy needs a break! But still, I want to go out on Friday night, too.

Friday, May 25, 2007

You Could be a Beau Brummell, Baby

Last week I found myself dressed rather like my college self. Mod plaid hat, head band, Farscape sweatshirt (OK, that would have been an anachronism), punk rawk belt, plaid pants, red sneakers. Me of 10+ years ago would have loved to have that outfit! But it's mildly out of character for the me of today. Now I tend to wear things like wide-legged, cuffed, grey linen trousers/black, satin, capped-sleeve, ruffle-front shirt/grey silk headband or black tulip shirt/three-quarters sleeve light blue button-down shirt/pearl necklace. But since I was at a programming class, I dressed down instead of how I normally look at work. Not that I couldn't wear that to work. Hell, most of the people there dress extremely casually. However, I've been consciously wearing more career appropriate (What Would Jan Wear) and age appropriate clothing since I came back from maternity leave.

But that phrase "age appropriate" sure is loaded! I don't know when it became an insult. Hipsters love to snark on the old guy in the club but they still all wear the current uniform of skinny jeans, wrinkled T, and artfully touseled hair. Khakis are for The Man, man! Don't interfere with my creativity! But just how creative is it to find a funny t-shirt online, buy it, and add it to your collection?

I think my problem is that I am just finally getting to the age I wanted to dress as all along. Even as a kid wearing hand-me-downs from my older cousins I wanted to be sophisticated. I can remember specific purchases from The Limited and Express that I bought in junior high and wore despite their being completely wrong for me. I wanted to wear luxe fabrics with intricate detailing - basically the ideal presented in my brain from too many viewings of The Gay Divorcee. Once I realized that was quite simply unattainable (and yes, my innate laziness was/is most definitely a factor), I kind of over corrected and, as Mr. b so lovingly put it, started dressing like a clown. I wore the most garish colors and prints I could find. I layered anything together with anything else. Pucci prints and Lady Miss Kier catsuits and 60s mod mini-dresses and enormous flower earrings and plastic children's barrettes and tiered peasant skirts and patchwork hats and garlands of plastic beads. I was every fad from every time period, chewed up and puked out. My love of fashion and history combined to overtake my common sense. Sudden weight gain after college did nothing to break me of years of bad dressing habits. I could no longer pull off the 20s Flapper drop-waisted dresses, 90s Raver tiny tops and big pants, or the 60s minis that my old curveless body fit so well. So instead I just hid under piles of boy clothes. Styles and trends don't matter when you're doing fieldwork anyway. I had always sewn for myself (probably another reason for my chaotic satorial choices) but I suddenly stopped because I was no longer my own perfectly sized model.

Since joining the ranks of corporate American, I've come to remember my inital, tailored desires. Part of me wonders if it's because I now have the curves required to fill out the skirt suits of the 30s and 40s. I love the look of what Katherine Gerdes termed the "Target Girls" and totally hope to attain that level of chicness myself. The catch is that if I begin wearing slacks and jackets, the assumption is that I am giving up my "creativity", either due to corporate zombie-ism or because I'm a mom and moms always stop dressing cool. Or else they shop in the Junior's department with their daughter and that's just sad.

But I don't think that being a mom has anything to do with my love of being on trend. I don't think that following the adage of "dressing for the job that you want" proves you can't think for yourself. And I don't think that being stylish means giving up your individuality. I think dressing my age is empowering. As much as Stacy and Clinton have hammered into the heads of legions of women that you need to dress for your size, regardless of what that size is, I find their secondary message of mature style much more gratifying. I was browsing through a thrift shop a few weeks ago and realized that I'm just not interested in those over-the-top vintage items anymore. Give me classic clean lines anyday. Betsey Johnson is fun in theory but I'd rather wear Chanel.

The problem with voicing this opinion is that you come off as bitter. Bitter that you're old and used up. That you're tied down domestically and can't run amok. Bitter that you can't fit into slutty hootchie clothes. And I think that's extremely unfair. I remember an episode of Sex in the City where some woman at a bar was saying that she doesn't need to go out and canoodle with any random guys that cross her path and that she's happy to be settled down into a predictable pattern. The words were nice but her bitchface and her harsh voice implied that it was all a lie.

I had a lovely conversation with a friend several months ago, reminiscing about all the fun times, fun shows, fun parties. We agreed that while it was nice to remember, it's so much better to be in the now.

So the trick is to not get distracted by naysayers and doubters and try to put all this sartorial philosophy into action. Shopping is hard. Off the rack never really fits well and while I hate doing my own tailoring, I'm also too lazy to bring pieces to a proper tailor shop. And I'm cheap. And I've got the cliche mom mindset that I should spend money on everything and everyone but myself. So the first step is to purge my wardrobe of those plaid pants. The legs are too short, the waist is too wide, they're totally 90s (check out early season Rachel on Friends, no butt pockets look good on no one), and completely unflattering.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Most Important Meal of the Day

Kirk doesn’t eat breakfast. He’s just not hungry when he gets up. This is totally foreign to me as I need to eat something within 30 minutes of getting out of bed. On weekdays I have to make myself get dressed and mostly ready for work before having a bowl of cereal. And I still need second breakfast a couple hours later! Mr. b, in contrast, is sickened by the very idea of eating sooner than several hours after getting up. I guess I know where Kirk gets it from. He’ll have a glass of milk but that’s it. I’m not going to even try to force it anymore. Yesterday I made "candy" muffins (apple-oatmeal with mini-chocolate chips) and Kirk wolfed down one in no time. I presented a muffin to him this morning and he had maybe four or five teensy weensy little bites off the top before he was done. So I’m not going to fight this battle; it’s not worth it.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Martian and Floridian True Love

The first John Carter of Mars book that I read was actually the 11th one in the series. Mr. b had bought me a used copy and I greatly enjoyed it. I could tell that despite the self-contained nature of the story, I was definitely missing background info. So I started looking for the rest of the series whenever I was in a used bookstore myself. Gods of Mars is the second book in the series. It totally ended on a major cliffhanger! I don't remember the first one, Princess of Mars, doing that. Carter saved his love, Dejah Thoris, by sacrificing himself. End. Did it come out before Tarzan? Maybe Edgar Rice Burroughs wasn't famous enough yet to leave a new series hanging like that? Regardless, it was perfectly in keeping with the feel of the book. Each chapter really was a Saturday afternoon serial installment. I can totally understand why this type of storytelling had such a following. Even the obvious things that are telegraphed to the reader only serve to ramp up the tension while you're waiting for John Carter to figure it out already! And there were plenty of taboos mentioned (overtly: cannibalism, covertly: sex, rape) though never, ever shown. But the action! It was plentiful and bloody. Hand-to-hand combat! Sword fighting! Aerial battles! Prison breaks! Slave revolts! Awesome. Very exciting and completely compelling. And it makes me want to find out where Harry Knowles' pet production of Princess has gotten. I hope that movie gets it right.

In contrast to that pulp fun was last month's book club book, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. It was slower and much more deliberate but no less amazing. I love well written dialect and she nailed it. The speech patterns really brought the characters and the time and the place and the economic condition alive for me. I had been slightly concerned by one of the blurbs on the back that declared the book the first honest tale of "Black Love." Huh? Isn't love color blind? Hasn't that been a major point in literature since at least Shakespeare? But after reading it I have to wonder if the reviewer simply meant that here, finally, was an honest portrayal of true love between two black protagonists. Whatever the intention, it didn't affect my enjoyment of the moving tale of Janie's life and love and loss. I was in tears by the end. Eve though I think she's too young for the part, I'm really curious to see the recent Halle Berry made-for-TV adaptation of this book. It truly was marvelous and I'm glad that it's getting the post-humous recognition that Hurston didn't receive in her own time.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Cow Says, "Mooo!"


On Sunday we went to the historic Kelly Farm. Moms with their kids got in free and they had baby animals out for interaction. Kirk had been looking forward to it for days. He would excitedly ask, "An'mals?" I explained exactly how many nigh-nighs, mornings, and naps he had left before baby animal farm. When he got up from his nap on Sunday he was spazzed out with anticipation. He ran about the house grabbing our shoes for us and getting annoyed when we weren't moving fast enough for him!

We picked up my mom at my brother's house on our way there and had a lovely time petting horses, cows, chicks, oxen, and pigs. But there was a pall cast upon the proceedings because Kirk's cousins weren't there! He kept asking after A1 and A2 and we kept explaining that they weren't going to come to the baby animal farm. I find it interesting just how attached he is to his cousins. Is it just because of spending nearly his first year with my sister every day? We do all see each other frequently but I don't know if it's that simple. Then again, he talks about Nana and Papa quite regularly, even if we haven't seen them in a few weeks.

Regardless, it's clear that Kirk's memory forming abilities are quickly solidifying. Even today we could ask him, "Where did we go?" "An'mals." "What did you see there?" "Pigs. Horses." "Who came with us?" "Nana." That's real, live sentience. Both Mr. b and I have extensive and extremely early childhood memories. Will this be one for Kirk? Even if it's not this event specifically, we're getting close to his brain making lifelong memory connections. I think it's also evident in his story telling. Sure, he may not know very many verbs, and even fewer adjectives, but he still tells you about his day. He totally recaps his events using noun repetition, but it's very deliberate. Language is cool.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Thank You

I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to every one of my kindhearted friends that donated to the MS Walk. I appreciate your generosity more than words can express. My mom was also touched that you were willing to give for someone that many of you have never even met in person! The walk was a lot of fun and I look forward to doing it again next year.

Yay me!

I had my official 6-week measurements today. I’ve lost 3 pounds, 1 ½ inches, and 3.4% body fat. And I’m only halfway through the program! I’ll have the rest of this baby weight licked by the time I’m lounging on a beach in the Riviera. And it’s about time, too. Sheesh. I had always heard that the average time it takes a woman to loose the pregnancy weight is 18 months. I had thought that was ridiculous. And now here I am, well above that average, and still trying. Though now I’m actually working at it.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Morbid Thoughts

Mr. b recently booked our tickets to France for our 10th Anniversary in September. And then I said that we needed a will. I wasn't trying to bring doom upon our trip, because honestly I can't wait and it's going to be loads of fun. But it just strikes me as the responsible thing to do now that we're parents. I remember that when my parents and I went to the USSR in '87 but my sister and brother stayed behind, they set up a will. And with one of the Merc Rage members about to graduate law school, it was pretty easy to find out what we need. Apparently there's a simple form that we can fill out and get notarized; we figure Kirk will go to my sister and my dad will take care of the "estate".

But I've been extra aware of my own mortality these last few weeks anyways. My dad found out that a classmate of mine from my dance studio passed away. And it's not like we were particularly close, but we were in the same competitive troupe for years and traveled together and had sleep overs and practiced together and so I certainly knew her well. And 31 is just too young.

What I found interesting is that my dad thought that the fact that she didn't have kids was a blessing. There were no youngsters left without a mother. Whereas I thought it was tragic that she died before she had a chance to experience the utter joy that is being a mother.

For me it's less about the "immortality" of having a part of you continue after you're gone. Though I definitely grieve for her parents loss and for the grandchildren they'll never have. And as much as I'm fascinated by my own and Mr. b's genealogies, continuing the line is not of the utmost priority. (Thought I confess to loving the "heir and a spare" expectations for the royal family.) Yet if something were to, goddess forbid, happen to Mr. b, I would be comforted by the idea that I have a part of him still with me in Kirk.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Multiple Sclerosis

My mom has MS. She's lived with the diagnosis for nearly 2 decades. She doesn't let it keep her from doing anything, she just does it slower than she used to! Next weekend I'm joining her in the MS Walk at Boom Island. If you'd like to support me, please donate here. Thank you!

Suite Devils

I was chatting with K this morning while dropping Kirk off and we circled around to books. As I was recommending Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky I started feeling guilty about not keeping up with my book reviews. Suite Française was one of the most incredible books I have ever read. It was written in the midst of World War II and was just so alive and fresh and immediate and modern. Sometimes it seemed so contemporary it was hard to remember it was written during the actual events taking place in the book. The first part is during the evacuation of Paris on the eve of the German invasion. The second part is set in a small village in Occupied France, but near the border of Vichy France. The characters change from part to part and yet there are subtle interweavings that are so current in serialized story-telling. The characters don’t know about their connections, only the reader, much like viewers of Lost. The feelings evoked by these personalized historic events are of course filtered by the knowledge that the author died at Auschwitz. She had originally envisioned this masterpiece in 4 or 5 parts and only got as far as outlining the third part. That’s included as an appendix but it’s not the same. Just one more tragedy during a time of countless tragedies.

Besides book club books I’ve been delving into the rather Gothic. I read the Whedon future Slayer comic Fray and a fantastic alt-history comic The Five Fists of Science. I also decided to catch up on all the Hellboy one-shots and have been reading the Darkhorse compilations where there is a Hellboy story. I also read the Hellboy / Goon crossover and now think I need to read more of the Goon! All that horror put me in the mood to read more vampire stuff so I finally got around to the next Anne Rice book.

I have mixed feelings about that Vampire series. Part of the problem is that I honestly just don’t really like Lestat. That's why it has taken me so long to get around to the next one. My favorite has been Queen of the Damned and I think that’s largely because Lestat is relegated to minor character status. So I wasn’t sure what to think about Memnoch the Devil. Lestat’s vampiric nature wasn’t completely central to the plot, and yet it totally was. And he was still the stubborn, childish, annoying Lestat that he always is. Yet the concept was very interesting. The Devil’s case against God was quite enjoyable, though I came away thinking that they’re both wrong. The biggest problem is that there was far more talking than doing and that’s always tricky to pull off. I found myself frequently wondering if Christians would be offended by the narrative or see it as correct Biblical interpretation. It could definitely go either way.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Dirty Boy

I really love Kirk's toddler accent. His mispronunciations are so much fun. My current favorite is his own name: Dirt. HA!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Wit's End

This latest schizophrenic phase of Kirk’s really sucks ass.

Kirk spends all his time of late pushing boundaries. He goes into my bedside table and steals my necklaces even after I take them away and point out he has his own “noodles”. He says “No” without even thinking about what his actual response might be. “Honey, do you want juice or milk?” “No!” He demands one thing but tries get around the cause and effect – he’s done with his bath but doesn’t want to be dried off.

He’s also starting to play favorites. Or maybe it just seems that way since Mommy’s left out in the cold? I remember when he was a little baby and seemed to occasionally favor me over his father and Mr. b would feel sad. People always told us that babies prefer their mom in their first year and their dad in their second. So far that definitely seems to be true.

Kirk is ignoring any commands that I give. Mr. b claims that he’s ignored, too, but at least Kirk looks when he hears his daddy call his name. Yesterday morning I was across the living room, getting Kirk’s coat before we left for daycare. I saw Kirk on the floor with the container I had filled with soup for my lunch. And he was tugging on the lid. And I yelled “No! No! No! No!” as I raced across the floor. But he didn’t listen. And he deliberately spilled the soup all over the floor. I grounded him from pans for after daycare but it’s not like he noticed since we went to the park after eating dinner.

Now, the loss of the soup definitely upset me. I mean, it was really kickass soup! But there was still some left in the refrigerator. Yet what if he was doing something that could have hurt him? What if he had figured out how to open the childproof lock on the drawer with the chef’s knife? Or if he was reaching for the flames on the stove? His addiction to pans has already led him to pull a stool up to the counter to try to grab dirty pans sitting next to the sink, waiting to be washed. There’s no reason why he wouldn’t try to grab one actually filled with hot oil or boiling water. I’ve only used the back burners for well over a year but how long will that be good enough?

As much as it may seem like it when he’s so defiant to me specifically, I have to remind myself that it’s not like he actually hates me or anything. But his sweetness seems to remain confined to when he’s tired. He cuddled with me last night before I put him to bed. He snuggled a little bit when he got up this morning. The inconsistency is just so frustrating!

All last week he was upset about being left at daycare. Previously he would start shouting K’s name as soon as we’d turn the corner onto her street. He’d wave bye-bye to us after getting his coat and shoes off and we’d have to steal hugs and kisses before leaving. But last week he would freak out and scream and yell and cry and just generally get angry and upset about us going to work. Today? He was back to not caring. Maybe the new baby starting today helped. He’s been really into babies lately.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Chloe's a good kitty but she's LOUD.

I woke up about 3 this morning. I couldn’t get back to sleep and just had this feeling that I needed to check on Kirk. The cat was in the crib with him! So cute. But she jumped out like she was doing something naughty as soon as I peeked in. When I told this to Mr. b this morning he peeked in and she was back!

I’ve been waiting for that to happen for a while now. I’ve busted her in the crib in the middle of the day when no one’s even in his room at all. And since she’s only lived with us for less than a year, she certainly didn’t have the no-bassinet-EVER rule drilled into her head like the Squirrel. Besides, she and Kirk are totally friends. They pick on each other and love each other. When Kirk’s sitting on one of our laps before bed, she’ll pile on, too. Sometimes much to his dismay. So I always figured she’d end up sleeping with him when he graduates to a big boy bed. She’s just starting early!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Potty Time

Kirk went poopy in the potty.

I was in class all day today and Mr. b and Kirk are in South Dakota, visiting my FIL who’s up for a friend’s funeral. So I called to wish them bon voyage this morning. And that’s when Mr. b told me the news. Kirk went poopy in the potty!!

Kirk's been very aware of his pees and poops for quite some time. We taught him sign language for poop and fart so he could let us know when he needed a diaper change and when he was just stinky. He would often announce that he was pooping or if his diaper was hugely soaked with pee. So we bought him a potty chair maybe about 2 months ago.

He’s been pretty good about sitting on his potty chair after pooping, before his diaper gets changed. So he’s at least been associating it correctly, even if he doesn’t quite have the order down. He always sits on his chair if one of us is using the bathroom, too.

A week ago we bought Elmo’s Potty Time. Kirk’s only watched it a handful of times (not like that Ernie addiction!) but we figured it would just be good for subliminal teaching. We noticed him miming washing his hands during that particular segment so that was nice proof that he was paying at least a little bit of attention. And both Mr. b and I have been asking Kirk if his body is telling him that he needs to go potty as soon as we’d see him start to make poo-face.

Another element that I think makes a difference is that all the kids at daycare are in various stages of potty training. So it must come up frequently, and be something very prominent in his life there. I always hear anecdotally that younger siblings tend to potty train themselves because they see their big sister or brother doing it and just follow suit.

I also always hear that boys are so much harder to potty train and that they take a vastly longer time. So even if this is a fluke, I feel really positive. And I need to think about investigating Pull-Ups. Just when we’ve finally figured out the pros and cons of regular Huggies vs. Pampers vs. Luvs…

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Intuition or Paranoia?

What do you do when you have nothing to base it on but you have a nagging gut feeling that your son is sick? He’s been warm the last two nights but not feverish during the day and sleeping through the night. He’s been sticking his fingers in his ears. Both of those things could be due to the new teeth pushing through. The ear thing was also during the long car rides to and from visiting Great-Grandma last weekend so it certainly could have been simple pressure changes. The kids at daycare have been rotating around having ear infections but ear infections themselves aren’t contagious. It’s just a virus that spread into the ears. Kirk certainly hasn’t been prone to that. But any kind of virus is contagious. My internal logic synopses are going ‘round and ‘round and ‘round like I’m a robot that’s been Captain James T’d. Mr. b says he’s going to investigate; his intuition about the boy’s health has been accurate to date. I’m happy to pass the buck if it means my head won’t blow up.