Monthly Archives: October 2011

Anna’s Mobile Adventures

What is it about the camera on Blackberries that makes everything look so dismal and sallow? Is the iPhone camera really that much better? Until that day comes when I feel like plunking down a few bills for something that my daughter will inevitably immerse in liquid, I will continue documenting our heres and theres and where-to-fors through a lens, darkly. And dimly. And typically blurrily. And often without adequate light exposure.

So here’s what Anna’s done this fall so far, according to my phone picture library.

September


Amuse old people at street festival in North Carolina.

Amaze parents with ability to draw representational face on iPad. It’s like the toddler version of Werner Herzog’s The Cave of Forgotten Dreams.

Get a bike for second birthday, but also get a ride. It’s like the best of both worlds.

Amaze parents with ability to construct symmetrical edifices with blocks.

Eat a cookie.

October

Test out Halloween gear.

Test out macaroni and cheese and crayon selection at Zagat-reviewed eatery.

Wear Dora backpack. Non-stop.

Jump off log stumps in athletic inspired outfit.

Master Play-Doh 101.

Be the happiest kid in Boston.

Meet and befriend Bostonian bronze frogs.

Rep the Central Park Zoo in Beantown.

Check out marine mammals.

Get first umbrella, ever.

Eat pistachio gelato at Faneuil Hall. Chat with Dutch nationals.

Pick the perfect pumpkin.

 Walk the plank.

 Perfect pre-preschool posing.

Whew! It’s only halfway through fall. Can my Blackberry camera keep up? Can I? Can Halloween photos be far behind? (No).

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Fixing something that isn’t broken

My life feels intact. Solid. Good, happy, fulfilling, fun, stable, and full of restorative sleep.

So why am I close to deciding to mess with it? I’m so close to pulling the trigger and “trying” for a second baby.

It all feels thrilling, and warm and fuzzy. I can’t wait for our second child to be here on earth, born already. Since my family concept is so strongly based around ultimately having two children, it’s like that second baby is already in existence, just floating around in the ether up there, waiting for us to reel him or her in.

How could this scene not get any better with something fat-cheeked and gurgly in there somehow?

 

But then I stop my reverie and a wave of worry washes over me: have I lost my mind? Can I really handle it all over again, and this time with another set of needs and demands tugging at my shirt?

I know I will never feel content, happy, complete until I have another, until Anna has that sibling she will always be grateful for, even if they hate each other or are best friends or indifferent. Until my husband and I make a family full enough to round out family trips, restaurant tables for four, Christmas card photos.

I just don’t know if I’m stupid not to wait longer. Make sure I’m really, really ready. Ready to give a second infant the same doting attention my first got, ready to mess up my happy little universe. I know the messing up part will be only temporary and soon everything will be smooth, and solid, and stable, but bigger. And better.

What am I waiting for? Will I feel more ready in two years? When baby stuff is long packed away, and I’m used to even more independence and calm from life with an older child? My husband isn’t getting younger, although sometimes he looks like it (he drank some suspicious fount in Florida, once, it was sparkly and made his hands turn to gold, and I suspect soon he will be Benjamin Button). Maybe it’s time for a monkey wrench. In a monkey pajama onesie.

The fact that I audibly “awwed” at that image is scary. And a sign that baby nostalgia and baby cravings may make this dispassionate weighing of pros and cons a little less measured and a little more “WANT BABY NOW  BABY CUTE BABY SMELL LIKE POWDERY ROSES.” Said in Cookie Monster voice, if that wasn’t already obvious.

And Anna claims she wants a girl. Named “Cody,” of all things. If I press her further, and ask where she got the name Cody, she totally backtracks and changes her request for a boy. “Little bro-ther,” she says.

“No, sis-ter. I like sister!”

Good thing she’ll be easy to please.

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Doing It Right

There are a very few life rites that if you do them perfectly, correctly, consciously, and with love and effort, you are rewarded with loss.

The first day of school: if you’ve been doing your job right, the love of your life will smile, kiss you goodbye, say ‘Bye, Mom!” and scamper away.

She won’t need you anymore.

At least for two hours, twice a week.

It’s a happiness that hurts. You know it means all good things: your child feels comfortable enough in their skin, in their world, in the company of friendly strangers and strange friends, in their expectation that you will return, promptly and smiley, to pick them up and carry their Dora the Explorer backpack home.

“Did you like school?”

“Yeah!”

But when she chirped “Bye, mom!” so quickly and scampered away, hot tears backed into your eyes. They didn’t spill over so much. You knew it was a good, happy, sadness pang.

 

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the funk, the slump, the bad bad blahs

I hate days like today.

The stains stare at you from the carpet.

Dog hair lands on your shirt and won’t be shaken away. The weather is too warm but not hot enough nor cool enough. The sun isn’t out enough and the rain isn’t cozy. It’s just rainy. And glum, and so are you.

Your work seems both impossible and silly all at the same time. Impossible nothingness.

You give yourself permission to while away your precious writing time, reading blogs, Facebook, Gawker. You refresh your email a few times. Even Spam gets a check for something exciting you may have missed, something to take this day out of the mildly unpleasant filler category into something good.

Instead of feeling refreshed and renewed by your procrastination, you feel unaccomplished and vaguely dusty and crusty. You wish you had spent time working on something productive.

There’s nothing less productive than those days, though. Nothing seems appealing. You eat 15 mini-meals out of your kitchen throughout the day, with everything tasteless and not quite the right flavor you were looking for. By the end of the day, which is somehow both too long and too short, you can’t quite put your finger on any particular meal or foodstuff you actually consumed.

Your child is whiny; your dog barks too much. Your coffee spills in the car, again.

You try to remember what you want, your hopes and goals and dreams. A mouse pad that exhorts you to Write! with an image of a glamorous vintage typewriter sits half uncovered amidst unstamped and addressed birthday thank you cards and a letter from the insurance company you didn’t feel like attending to, so you read Babble.com instead.

Tomorrow, you’ll shake it off. Tomorrow you’ll get into a new rhythm, a new groove. But today is for wasting your time and your energy worrying about wasting your time. Today is the funk.

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