Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Play Time

Kirk tattles on his daddy. I don't really know what it is that Mr. b does (it can vary from not letting Kirk play in the toilet to strapping Kirk into his carseat) but it's stuff that he's not into.

Kirk: Mama?
Me: Yes honey?
Kirk: Dada!

It cracks us up so hard. It's such an accusation the way he says it. Sometimes he'll even point.

He's also started singing and telling jokes. Now, we have no idea why the jokes are funny. But you can say "bobo" to him and he'll die of laughter. He goes into full on laugh attack mode after repeating it and giggling a few times! His songs generally revolve around one word that he knows (like [ba]nana) and nonsense syllables. But Mr. b overheard him singing lyrics consisting of "Mama Dada hat hot" and was so amused that he had to start repeating it right away.

I'm glad that Kirk's already showing such love of music. We go downstairs and listen to one side of a record almost every night. His dance moves continue to be super fly. Although last night he spent the entire time cooking. I have some old Tupperware Toys down there and he was playing with the mini-pitcher and measuring cup and stirring and chattering away, saying "hot, hot, hot." He was totally hosting a cooking show!

He's also developed an Elmo addiction. This is relatively recent, the last week or two only. He's got the Kid's Favorite Songs video in which Elmo does his top ten countdown and various Sesame Street characters sing songs like Row, Row, Row Your Boat and John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt. Each song has a different genre arrangement. It's actually pretty good. And he frickin' loves it. As soon as he comes home he heads straight to the drawer with his movies and pulls it out. "Em-oh!" He cuddles his Elmo doll and dances and points and gets so excited.

It's actually gotten to the point where we're starting to wonder if he's watching too much TV. And just a couple of weeks ago we were complaining about his non-stop book demands!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Golem, Giants, and Gold

In 2004 I started reading the Hellboy comics. I had heard of them from my former co-worker, Sharyn, but it wasn't until I started seeing ads for the movie that I decided to pick them up. The movie was brilliant and I blasted through the entire series.

But I never caught up with the sister title, B.P.R.D. I'm not sure why. I read the first volume that same year but as Mr. b bought the following ones, I never got around to them. That's all changed now. I read the remaining 5 volumes and it was frickin' fabulous. Man I love that world. Even with Hellboy still retired, the cast is just fantastic. I love the backstory that's been given to Abe. Liz continues to amuse. The new guy, Captain Daimio, is a great fit. Who doesn't love Roger? Or Johann? Mr. b spoiled me for a major character's death but it was still very enjoyable to read the lastest adventures of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense.

The ads for the movie prompted me to read Bridge to Terabithia. I thought maybe I had read it in elementary school. Mr. b remembered it but I did not. It was so good. But tears are unavoidable. Both of us were bawling by the end. I am not sure how the movie can be reviewed as "heartwarming" without changing a major element of the story. Regardless, I think it's essential young adult literature and I definitely see why it won so many awards. It's a little dated (calling parents by their first names, 70s fashions and songs) but I thought it was fun and almost like a period piece in a way.

I did not enjoy Silas Marner, however. Now and again book club will assign a dud. My aunt thought maybe it was a potboiler. Not having read any other George Elliot, I can't reference her style, but I can see how it's possible. I didn't like the eponymous character. He was so passive and when he was about to be robbed yet again, I couldn't take it. I didn't want to be forced into feeling any sympathy for the guy. So I checked the plot synopsis on Wikipedia to see if it had a happy ending. It did so I finished the book. It took way too long to get to the adopted daughter's arrival after his gold was stolen. And then the golden-curls-as-replacement-for-lost-gold element was beaten over the reader's head pretty much constantly. Actually, I thought a lot of it seemed like it had been written by Mojo Jojo. I didn't hate it. I think you could probably do a decent film adaptation. But I don't know why it's considered a "classic".

Monday, February 19, 2007

On Fertility

I can’t believe I forgot to pick up my prescription. I thought of it after the pharmacy had already closed. I got it this morning before going to work so I ended up taking my no-siblings-for-Kirk pill less than 12 hours late. But still. It only takes one fuck-up. Because if there is anything I know about my genetics, it’s that the women of my maternal line are extraordinarily fertile.

Fertility is a weird thing. I’ve spent more time thinking about it over the past year or so than I ever have before. Certainly more than when I was "not trying but no longer trying to prevent". I’m moving out of the phase of life when everyone’s getting hitched to the phase where everyone’s starting to make procreation decisions. And for several of my friends and relatives, the ability to make that decision is being denied to them due to flukes of biology.

What does it feel like—-emotionally, physically, psychologically—-to endure getting your period month after month after month when it’s no longer a relief? I got knocked up less than 3 months after going off the pill. I truly can’t relate, though I can certainly empathize. How long do you try before you start testing? We’re brought up as children of the women’s movement of the 70s to believe that we can Do It All, and that means we can take as long as we want, working on our careers and other personal interests, before we get down to the business of self-replication. But biologically, we can’t. There’s a cut-off date. And all the celebrities that have secret help aren’t doing anything to mitigate that myth.

I finally gave in to Mr. b’s longstanding desire for kids because I wanted to start trying before I had turned 30. If there was something amiss, I wanted to have plenty of time to investigate before the magic expiration date of 35. Most of my friends that are trying are already over 30. Do you take an entire year to let nature take its course? Or do you get checked out after only 6 months, so that there’s more time for next steps, should they be necessary?

And what about those next steps? Why is adoption always a last resort? My own grandmother was adopted, though she didn’t learn about the mother-auntie switcheroo until she had adult children of her own. Times have changed. I grew up with adopted cousins that knew they were adopted and it made no difference in their standing as members of the family. Before I met Mr. b I always considered that I would adopt at some point when I was older and ready to raise a child. Even after meeting him, I held off on the idea of having biological children and talked about adoption. I still keep the option open.

Yet for most, it seems like the next step is instead insemination. Not too invasive. You have the option of donor sperm if necessary. I guess I can see going that route. Particularly if carrying and delivering your child is of great importance. What about in vitro? There we’re getting into science fiction territory. I’m not sure I could go through that laborious process of tricking my body via multiple injections into not rejecting the foreign matter that’s been implanted in my womb. Surrogacy? How is that different from adoption, besides the genes?

It all comes down to choices of course. Like so many aspects of reproduction. Right now I choose not to get pregnant before I go to France in September for my 10th anniversary. While on the Riviera? All bets are off. And what of my friends and cousins that are struggling? Can they find it in their hearts to be happy for me if I do get knocked up again? Will there be inevitable secret jealousy? I don’t want to have to watch what I say and tiptoe around the issue. I can provide support and empathy despite not understanding that particular struggle.

And I can also provide a different sort of support and empathy to my sister, who is pregnant for the third time. Now I’ve been through it. Now I can truly understand what it’s like. And I’m excited to witness the development of my new niece or nephew with that deeper knowledge. And I hope I get to meet the little cutie before I jet off to Europe!

Thursday, February 08, 2007


In 9th or 10th grade my friend and I decided to throw a formal dinner party for ourselves. Morrigan and I collaborated on a dress (me) and hat (her) combo for our hostess involving lots of black velvet trim and cranberry beading. It was awesome. I decided to try my hand at a sari for myself. I found a bolt of fantastic gold lamé with a mauve flower print. Though I'd never been to India at that point, I thoroughly examined National Geographics to approximate how to wrap it. I wish I had a picture of the 7 of us in our finery, dancing to the Jackson 5.

Several years later Mr. b and I moved into our first official apartment together. We were on the second floor of a duplex (Johnny and Wife1 would later inhabit the first floor) and our bedroom had glass French doors. Clearly curtains were necessary. I dug out my old sari fabric, whacked it in two, and hemmed the ends for the top and bottom curtain rods. It looked really great against the wood trim and white walls.

Another few years passed and I was taking Hindi my senior year at the U of M. Some of my classmates and I started the Culture Club of India. Then we got it into our heads to do a fashion show. I took the lead on that of course. I supplemented my own formal sari and several batik shalwar kamis, purchased during my trip to India that winter, with loaned clothing from local stores. Then I also designed some updates of traditional outfits with a rave-girl's sensibility. My master piece was a pair of extra-wide pajama pants, a slim kurta with gold frogs, and reversible vest. One side matches the pants (a metallic rusty orange -- and I later modified them into a full length skirt for myself). The other side of the vest? Part of one of the old curtains, formerly my first sari. It was nicely full circle for the fabric to be used as Indian clothing again.

This Christmas I made a cute little pleated wrap skirt and pouch purse set for niece A2. I used the remnant I had bought to cut out a teddy bear for my Kaylee costume. I felt bad that I didn't have time to make something for A1 but told her I would for her upcoming birthday. I had decided I wanted to try my hand at the infamous bubble skirt. Going through my boxes of fabric, I rediscovered the old sari fabric. Perfect! I even had tons of muslin left from Kirk's curtains for the lining. So last week I made a bubble skirt with a matching round-bottom, draw-string purse. They turned out simply gorgeous. Coincedentally, my sister's Indian friend adored the fabric.

I still have an entire curtain left untouched. Eventually it'll get used for something new. It's anybody's guess what that will be. I think this fabric is the most recycled of anything in my vast collection of raw materials.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Daycare Dossier

We found out earlier this week that K had to fire a family from daycare. It’s the first time she’s had to deal with that. I can’t say that I’m surprised, though I don’t have anything more than a general feeling to point to as explanation. And as tough a decision as it must’ve been for her to make, I do feel a lot better about Kirk’s behavior, comparatively. Especially since K asked us just the other week if we were trying any new discipline techniques at home. Because he had been so naughty, screaming and deliberately repeating actions that he had been told not to do. He’s actually much better now, just-a-phase and whatnot, but I had been doing nascent Time-Outs with him at that point.

Around the same time Kirk was also loosing footwear on a daily basis. Each afternoon we’d pick him up and he’d be missing a sock, or both socks, or a shoe. K always successfully found them—eventually. We took him home without socks a couple of times.

But it’s not all bad and/or weird at daycare. Kirk loves it there so much that as soon as we arrive in the morning he runs off, often before we can even remove his coat! If we pick him up early he’ll crab about missing time with his friends. I’m glad that he’s so well socialized and that he truly enjoys his time there.

Maybe he just enjoys his time there because he has a crush on one of the other Mommies? I got an email from Angelmamma the other day. Her niece goes to K for daycare, too, and her sister said that when she drops her daughter off, Kirk will run to her and stare at her and smile. And once he even brought over a toy that plays songs and started dancing for her! I teased her when I passed her this morning, saying that she’s Kirk’s girlfriend. Kirk’s always liked the ladies; he flirts shamelessly with waitresses and clerks. Hee!


Oh my gods there are still more American Idol auditions?!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Family Bed

Kirk’s been on a kick this week where he’ll only snuggle into Daddy’s lap for his bedtime juice-water. Previously he wouldn’t have anything to do with him and would only sit with me before bed. Which is great because Mr. b was feeling unloved. But coinciding with this trend is an increase in sleeping in Mommy and Daddy’s bed in the middle of the night. I’m not sure the connection.

At least it’s getting easier to sleep with Kirk in the bed. He’s able to lay independently. He doesn’t have to have Mommy’s arm under his head. So then I get a chance to roll over to my other side or lay on my stomach or whatever. I still worry about him getting smothered. Not necessarily because he’s in the middle but rather because Mr. b is a pillow clutcher and I’ve definitely busted him laying a pillow across Kirk’s legs before. But Kirk’s much bigger now and can fight back!

Kirk’s also developing bad morning breath. It’s not like gas-mask worthy or anything. But it’s definitely there. His cousin A1 has The Worst Morning Breath in the History of Time. Mr. b claims I am stinky in the morning but really, nothing can compare to that girl’s mouth. So as long as Kirk doesn’t get much smellier, I’m not worried.

His butt, of course, is another matter. Boys. Sheesh.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Top Bully

I can’t believe that they gave it to fucking Ilan. This feels even shadier than when Ruben beat Clay. Sure, Marcel is a bit of a tool and a douche. But he’s mostly just a self-aware geek who’s been bullied his whole life and has adjusted and doesn’t let it phase him.

Because that’s what Ilan is. A bully. He took glee in tormenting Marcel. He set other people up against Marcel. He wasn’t playing to win for himself but rather to beat Marcel. Marcel may be cooler than Rimmer (though he’s certainly no Ace Rimmer!) but Lister still never bullied Rimmer. He hassled him and teased him but there was no bullying. Same with Gareth (who isn’t half as cool as Dwight). Tim may have played pranks but he never actively wished harm on him. And he didn’t want to frickin’ PEE on him.

I also can’t believe Elia. She was the only one that stood beside Marcel, her former co-worker, throughout the competition. Until the end when Ilan started mackin’ on her real hard. He moved in to her room? Yeah. That was selfless. I have to wonder how long before his girlfriend dumped him after viewing those episodes. Because Ilan and Elia were so sleeping together by the time they got to Hawaii. I started out rooting for Elia to win. By the end, after her whining and bitching and tattling and lying, I wished that Mia had never sacrificed herself.

And then there’s Sam and Mike. Sam is a passive-aggressive dick. He took credit where credit wasn’t due. But I don’t think he was actively trying to sabotage Marcel. That honor goes to Mikey. I shouldn’t be surprised that he would do something as awful as leave a fucking main ingredient behind. That was cold, dude. Cold.

I can’t wait to hear about Marcel’s rising star. Ilan will be forgotten. As well he should. What was with that fake gold chain and the thick red suspenders in the talking head at the end? Gross. Also? You do not bad-mouth Harold. Ever.

Giant Grasshoppers

Eifelheim, by Michael Flynn, was yet another book recommended to me by my aunt-in-law. It was amazing. In 1348 an alien spacecraft was stranded in the woods outside of a small village, as yet untouched by the Black Plague, in southern Germany. The village priest, local skank, and head of the lord’s soldiers discovered the survivors and, after initially thinking they were demons, realized they were hurt and succored them. The lord allowed them to stay as vassals while they worked on ship repair.

The main story was bracketed by occasional chapters set in the near future or an alternate present. In them a couple, he an historian and she a physicist, were poised on the edge of individual theoretical breakthroughs, that just happened to intersect. And the village of Eifelheim, neé Oberhochwald, was the key.

This book was completely engrossing. There were so many philosophical discussions, both natural and religious, between the aliens and the priest as they struggled to understand each others strange ways. And there were so many surprising revelations, such as the aliens completely misinterpreting Christianity and thinking that Jesus himself was an alien overlord who could possibly save them. It was a fun device to have the Paris-educated priest assign Greek terms like "mikrofon" and "atom" to the vastly superior alien technology and scientific knowledge. But also realistic that he would be able to grasp the ideas and see them as something real and not magic.

And the ending! I was reading the final chapters on the bus and just quaking with joy-infused excitement. The way that everything came together was so beautiful and perfect and right. Truly awe inspiring.