Monday, November 30, 2009

Dirty job.

The other morning, while I was nursing Baby N in her room, T - still in his crib - called across the hall to me:

T: Maaaaaammaa, I wna wr my rhynocrs shrt!

Me: No honey, you can't. It's not clean.

T: I wnt mine futball shrt.

Me: No, it's still in the wash too.

T: Mine airpln shrt.

Me: No, honey. I'm sorry. I think that's dirty too.

Finally, after flipping through his Rolodex of shirts that he used to like to wear, T offered up one more option. This time, T's query was not quick and casual. Nor did it escalate in demand, like his other requests. The question lacked any hope that the shirt would soon be slapped onto his body. No. This time, T's hesitant,"Tgr one?" puffed out like a brand new medical resident offering up a diagnosis.

Poor kid. "Tgr one" has been at the bottom of the hamper for weeks, even months. I'm surprised T even remembered that he once possessed a shirt with a big tiger head on the front.

I racked my own Rolodex. Dragon shirt? No way. That was deep-sixed weeks before the tiger. Other football shirt? Maybe. Lame baseball shirt with tiny fake cardinal and three-quarter sleeves? Probably.

You know you're a terrible laundress when a two year old can't even find anything to wear.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


I'm thankful for a dark kitchen and a Tupperware full of real whip cream that isn't flat and watery yet.

I'm thankful for loads of salt. Especially finishing salt, introduced to me and supplied to me in addictive volumes by a dear friend.

I'm thankful for light, sweet wine. Both white and red.

I'm thankful for holidays with cousins. All the fun, no baggage.

I'm thankful for a gaming system. It makes everyone happy, especially my husband.

I'm thankful for chocolate turkeys on a stick. They were gone in a flash. I think Dee inhaled hers.

I'm thankful for the Duplo hitch and wagon set for T to drive around the coffee table about 60 bajillion times.

I'm thankful for cranberries with cardamom spice. It makes everyone feel a little more Swedish-American.

I'm thankful for remembering the rice this time. Ten years and my husband finally feels at home.

I'm thankful for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Wow. Three hours of babysitting.

I'm thankful for a day of blissful cooking while dear hub cleaned up after me.

I'm thankful for my hazelnut and persimmon salad. Validation for a year of just about vegetarianism. Also, there was finishing salt.

Of course, I'm thankful for my three little babies, sleeping now after a day full of lots of attention from loving people, sweets and not-so-age-appropriate 4 wheeler video games riddled with headers and crayons. Especially when it was Mama's turn.

Also, did I mention the finishing salt?

Happy Thanksgiving Day, dearhearts.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Rock and rumble.

Those first morning cries are not urgent or sad. Steady, measured bursts of sound come from my baby daughter's mouth to wake me up. I retrieve Baby N from her crib and am greeted with a smile and the sounds of gulping. She starts moving her arms and legs like a challenged octopus and gives me the look of pure glee that is reserved just for me. We settle in with the Boppy and the blanket and she curls her body toward me.

Every morning, my Baby N and I nurse and rock in the same place. It's the bright red rocker that has harbored the spills and snuggles of two newborns before her. The rocker stands out as the "eclectic" piece in my gender neutral, jungle themed nursery, which adeptly reappeared for each kid in three different houses.

Baby N stretches her legs straight as planks and pulls her arms high above her head, fists tight and eyes closed. Her chin is tilted up and her lips pucker out and downward, reveling in the stretch. It's the newborn stretch that stands out for me in the blur of newborn hood. Baby N is now full and satisfied, and its as if she's telling me that the day can now begin. She's received the jump start required for a relatively seamless transition to the car seat (not to mention the spit up that inevitably appears when I squeeze her stuffing out with the five point harness).

From here, Baby N will take extra long naps while I scurry to her siblings' engagements or succumb to the siren song of the grocery store. She's ready to bump along, without complaint, over three flights of stairs to her brother's toddler school. She'll readily accept lunch in the snug fit of a non swiveling chair secured to a table at the local bowling alley. Later, Baby N will endure the "narrows" between the van and the garage wall as I make a a muddled attempt to get from car to house while carrying her, the diaper bag, T-Bone's plastic dinosaurs and various food and drink vessels. Once we reach the threshold, she'll patiently wait - inside or out - while I escort her sister to the bathroom to avoid a potty accident. From there, her next meal is any one's guess. Baby N may get top billing in the living room because my latte is still hot and I need a reason to sit down. Or she may have to wait, fretting at a low rumble in the bouncy chair while I tear up cold cuts for lunch or read T-Bone a story and get him down for his nap.

Throughout it all, the one constant my baby doll can rely on is a good rock in the red chair. One might expect a bang and rumble, quickly escalating to thunder in this unjust existence. Strangely, up to this point, Baby N has elected to take the high road. She sleeps soundly through the night swaddled as tight as flannel stretches and coos and giggles with her daddy and I after her sibs go to bed. It's a treasured time, like easy summer evenings or the bright days of September. Yet even now, as we delve into Baby N's third month of life, her personality is unraveling a calm and patient nature, not the Japanese "thunder" that the name Nari (Baby N), is supposed to embody. Perhaps she'll save the storms for teenage-dom, or even tomorrow. But for now, I'm happy to rock along in her quiet existence.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

That jiggly bit.

So, I'm back at the YMCA. This time, I'm not bobbing around in the zero approach pool with swim diapered kids or suffocating in the sauna-like atmosphere of the indoor pool in late July watching swim lessons while 15 months pregnant. No, this time, I'm putting myself first, trying to run off the baby weight while learning the intricacies of locker room etiquette from the retirees who seem to have established - and rigorously enforce - those rules. At this point, I'm mostly failing on all levels. Mainly because I don't have time to wait my turn for the curtained showers (the preschool clock is ticking), and because of all the cookie variations that are available to me.

I imagine the exercise helps, but I believe I expend more energy getting to the gym than any cardio that actually happens on the proverbial treadmill. I'm also finding that while the 2 hour per Diem/who cares how many kids you have/in-house daycare is worth the gym membership alone, I'd rather sit at the Y Cafe with my friends - kid free - than don Lycra and "feel the burn."

The other day I learned, while naked in the open showers and scrubbing away with my new travel size carrot-flavored shampoo (for avid gymrats), that 38 is actually the old 12. A superfit thirty-something mom (who - in a fair world - would have kids no younger than 10), didn't have her shower essentials. I, per subtle instruction from the gym grannies, offered up my gymrat shampoo. This exchange alone required me to talk to another person while naked. And when Superfit Mom accepted my offer, I was then required to traverse across the shower area for the hand off. All the while aware that someone other than my husband could now fully observe the muffin top that has become an impressive layer cake.

Ugg. I'm back. Lamenting a flat chest, butt zits, or whatever other body image issue that was causing me to pine for the curtained showers in the mid '80s. Ugg again. At this point, aren't I significantly closer to that red hat and purple clothing that serve as signs of self acceptance? Haven't the years of ladder climbing, successes, tears, love and labor moved my little pink car closer to a win in the "Game of Life?" The answer appears to be a quiet, but persistent voice in my head mouthing, "no."

Damn. I thought maybe the carrot shampoo would do the trick this time.