Thursday, April 29, 2010

Choose your own adventure.

I sat down to write with a topic in mind but once I typed the first sentence I realized the story could go three completely different directions. Or, at least two and a half. Rather than try to weave them all into one post that made sense (that sounds HARD), I decided I'd try my hand at a choose your own adventure story. Remember those from the elementary school bus? (I guess you didn't have to read them on the bus but that's the only place I can ever remember reading one.) They always kind of sucked but were thrilling nonetheless because YOU got to CHOOSE how the story ended. That's got to be good for something, right? Anyway. Here you go. Choose wisely...

The other day I was at coffee with a friend when a super cute family we know showed up and joined us.

If you want to know what the dad did that totally inspired me, read here.

As the kids ran around the grass together and played ring around the rosy, Dad chased after them beaming and snapping photos with his iPhone. "Meh," I thought, sipping my coffee and not attending to my child. "Camera phones are so hit and miss. I bet he's not getting anything good at all." But then he showed me one of the photos and I was like, "What, what, what?!"

That came from a phone? But that's adorable! I mean, sure, Liam is totally grabbing his junk but the photo! The photo looks AWESOME! He told me he uses an app called "Hipstamatic" that makes his iPhone, I don't know, magic? I couldn't wait to get home and download it for myself. I was sold!

Sadly, when I went to download Hipstamatic I found it was only available for the iPhone. Go figure, right? I mean, why do the Apple kids get all the fun? Some day I'll be cool enough for an iPhone but for now, I'm more than happy with my Droid. Especially after a little research turned up a Droid-friendly app like Hipstamatic called Vignette. I downloaded it (for free!) and have been crazy obsessed ever since. I seriously CAN'T. STOP. TAKING. PICTURES!

It has the power to make normal everyday things look exciting while making me feel like both an artist and a cheater all at once. I love it!

If you're wondering how Liam got along with the two little girls in the family, read here.

Hmmm...perhaps I should have labeled that photo of Liam and his super cute new girlfriend, SPOILER ALERT? Forgive me. This is my first choose your own adventure story.

As you already guessed, Liam got along with the girls just great. Even though he had just met them. And they're kids. KIDS HE JUST MET. No? Not making any sense? Wait! Don't choose another ending yet! Let me try harder.

See, Liam used to be really shy. Or, maybe not shy exactly but, I don't know - socially awkward? Like when I took him out of preschool a year ago, the school director said he was probably the most sensitive child she had ever met and that he would most likely benefit from being educated at home. WHERE THERE WEREN'T OTHER KIDS. When we'd go to the playground, he'd only want to play with me. If I wasn't in the mood to climb around on the jungle gym or push him on the swings, he'd sit next to me and watch the other kids. But I want to do whatever you want to do, Mama. If we went somewhere with kids and grownups, he would naturally gravitate toward the grownups. He had friends, of course, and would almost always warm up to new kids eventually, but social situations with Liam were not exactly what I'd call fun.

Well. I can't pinpoint it exactly but there has been a sea change in young Liam's life. If you want to read EVEN MORE! Click HERE.

If you're like, "Huh? I thought you were at coffee with a friend. Who said anything about Liam?" Read here.

I hate to break it to you but this is kind of the bummer choice. Like the one in the choose your own adventure book that says, "Then the narwhal speared the hero and he died. The end."

It's just that I wanted to say that the reason I forgot to mention my son in that very first sentence is because he was so occupied with his iPhone that it was almost as if he wasn't at the cafe with me at all. "What's that," you say. "Your four year old has an iPhone and you don't?" Yep, that' right! A friend handed it down to us after our iPod died and Liam's been skating for team Apple ever since. (In case anyone was doubting that he was the coolest one in the family...)

"The Babysitter" rocks. Once you download all your kid's favorite shows and music to it, it becomes a secret weapon you can keep in your purse at all times just in case. I find it especially handy if you get stuck out and about and could use a moment of reprieve. Just stick the ear buds in his wee little ears and you can have a (mostly) uninterrupted conversation with a friend over coffee. Or go to dinner and stay for drinks. Or hop on a flight that lasts longer than an hour without packing the Xanax! As long as you don't mind listening to your son sing along with Courtney Jaye (which is, by the way, adorable), you're in business!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Inspired design.

When shopping for our home, there were only a couple criteria we deemed critically important: 1) We couldn't have two stories (our old dog Chelsea had back problems that made climbing stairs a painful, yelping experience); and 2) We had to have two bathrooms (our first house only had one and that was just not okay for a couple of newlyweds who wanted to maintain an element of mystery regarding all things #2).

So off Bill flew to Nashville to find and buy a one story, two bathroom house in 4 days ALL BY HIMSELF. I was stuck behind my desk in Reno, searching through real estate websites, calling him every two minutes with a perfect house he just had to see. "It's right where you're looking and it's sooo cheap! Just buy it. Buy it right now! Okay. Call me back." When he'd call back it would be to tell me that the perfect house I found had a spiral staircase to the master bedroom that partially blocked the front door and a jacuzzi in the kitchen. And it backed up to a liquor store. "I honestly don't even know how they took the pictures you sent me..."

The real estate agent showed him every available property in our neighborhood. And there were so many bad houses. It was hard to wrap our west coast brains around. We were used to cookie cutter neighborhoods where if you've seen one 3 bed 2 bath, you've seen them all. This is not the case with historic homes. (And totally explained all the screaming deals I found online.)

Time was running out and Bill was starting to feel like he was in over his head. (Not to mention it was the middle of July and he was experiencing sweat he didn't know he was capable of.) The pressure was on. And then suddenly, miraculously, he found it. Our house. Our house. He sent me the link to the listing and I immediately fell in love. After a quick tour he made an offer. It was accepted and holy crap! we were moving to Nashville.

Because he had seen a million different houses in a very short amount of time, his memory was a little fuzzy when it came to details. I wanted to mentally arrange and re-arrange our furniture in our new home yet had no idea what the layout was like. I'd press him for details but it just made me nervous. "Is the 2nd bathroom in the hall, like this?" I'd show him the listing photos I had taped together and the sheet of graph paper I was working on. "Um...yeah. I think so. I mean, that makes sense. Right?"

It wasn't until September when we pulled up to the house with all our earthly belongings in tow and hacked our way through the seriously overgrown yard to get to the front door that I could finally see what our new old house was really like. It was a pretty surreal feeling. I had imagined myself inside the house so many times and suddenly, there I was. It was just like being in the pictures!

Well. Sort of.

Because the house is old, it has all sorts of "charming details" that didn't quite come across in the staged photographs. Like...two front doors. And a random step into the kitchen. And floors that are a little less than level. As I wandered around the house trying to square what I was seeing in real life with what I had seen in the pictures (and, even more so, in my imagination), Bill followed me around saying things like, "You should have seen how uneven some of the other floors I saw were! And there were some crazy layouts, too. Like, I told you about that kitchen with the jacuzzi, right? If you think this house has a lot of doors, you should see the one down the street!" Poor guy. I'm sure he was scared out of his mind.

When I found that the second bathroom was not in the hall like I had suspected but squeezed into the laundry room as a totally obvious afterthought, it was hard to keep pretending that "charming" was good. "This is our second bathroom? But it's like a bathroom on a boat! Have you gone in there? I swear to God I have vertigo and I didn't even sit on the toilet!" I think he was just as surprised and disappointed as I was. There was just no way around it: the boat sucked.

We've pretty much been in protest ever since. The only time we admit that the boat exists is if it's an absolute emergency or we have guests staying at our house. I'm sure they're excited when we tell them they have their very own bathroom but, oh, how the boat deceives.

Until about a week ago I would have found it nearly impossible to come up with a single redeeming quality for the boat. But that was before the mud.

And the sand.

And the...chocolate.

And allll the water.

Suddenly having a shower just steps inside our back door seems absolutely genius.

Laundry room | backyard (at the bottom of a big flight of stairs...)

No matter how dirty Liam gets playing in the yard, he can just step inside, strip down and hose himself off.

Why not wipe your sandy hands on the wall?
I'm pretty sure that's why people call it a mud room.

And while my boy is getting nice and clean, I can throw all of his wet and dirty clothes straight into the wash.

Clean child, clean clothes, (relatively) clean house...God bless the boat!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The name game.

When I got pregnant the first time, we knew what we were going to name our baby before I ever so much as set foot in an OBGYN's office. If it was a girl she would be Charlotte Anne Conran; a boy, William Victor Conran III (or, obviously, Liam for short). That was it. Done. No need to discuss or second guess. Just bring on the baby!

This time around has been totally different. Besides the name Gretchen which Liam stole from our cat and gave to our baby the second we told him I was pregnant, we've been sort of at a loss. I mean, of course I keep an up-to-date list of potential baby names in my head at all times (I am a woman after all), but taking a name off the list and giving it to an actual living breathing human being is really hard to do.

First of all, you want to choose a name you LOVE. And, even though it shouldn't matter what other people think, yada, yada, yada, you kind of want to choose a name that everyone will love. I mean, let's be honest. You don't want to get that look when you introduce your child to someone. Ohhhh. How...interesting. How do you, uh, spell a name like that? At the very least you want a name that you love SO MUCH you can get the look and just not care. You can't be lukewarm about the name of your child.

You also need a name that fits in with your family. No one wants to be the black sheep from birth. These are my kids Claire, Henry, and Krystal. Obviously Krystal is going to feel out of place. And for good reason! You don't name your daughter Krystal when it's perfectly clear she's an Elizabeth. I mean, that's just common sense. So every name we've liked has had to be run up the introduction flag pole: These are my kids Liam and ____. I'm not ashamed to admit I've also practiced signing Christmas cards: Happy Holidays from the Conrans! William, Maggie, Liam and _____.

No wonder the first child is easier to name - there's less to fit in to!

Once we found out this baby is going to be a boy, the stakes got even higher. I mean, talk about pressure! We'd need to find something that would be cute for a baby, tease-proof for a child, cool for a pre-teen/tween/teen/whatever they're called, hot for a college co-ed, and totally versatile for a full grown man. I wanted my son to be able to grow up to be a rock star or a CEO and have a name that would be equally appropriate for both. My original litmus test was, Could this name be elected President of the United States? But Bill pointed out that Barack (Hussein!) Obama put that one to rest once and for all. Still - I wanted to be sure to cover my bases.

So I started making lists and doing research and getting as much input as I possibly could. Everything I saw or read or heard was boiled down and searched for names. Suddenly I knew all the names of the commentators on NPR, all the editors and writers and photographers of the magazines in our home (if you're looking for slightly highbrow but cool and unusual names, check out interior design mags), and all the cast and crew on Nick Jr and PBS Kids. I read through the social security name registry's top 1000 boy names from 2008 not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES. I clicked "Wish Again" on the Baby Name Genie name generator again and again and again just hoping my baby's name would magically appear. I re-read the chapter on baby names in Freakonomics. I poured over online lists of popular names and unusual names and famous names and literary names. I had no idea what I was looking for but felt confident that when I found it, I would know.

Finally, I pared down my ridiculously long list of boy names to several I liked and sent it to my sister for approval:
Beckett (Becks for short) - Love this, very cool, love the abbreviation
Oliver (Ollie) - Ditto from above, sounds great with Conran
Finn (like short for Finnegan, Finneas, Finley...?) - Yeah, I like Finn
Oscar - No, not my favorite (...the grouch? ya know)
Killian - Yes, very cool
Kenley - Sounds like a girl's name
Griffin - as in Brian...JK I like this (*Brian is the name my mom suggested - totally random, out of the blue)
Alistair - Ooh, I like that.
August - Um...
Camden (that was one of our favorites before) - LOVE this, totally forgot!
George - No
Julian - Yeah, I like it
Harry (could be short for Harrison or Harold) - Seriously?
Getting my sister's input helped but we were still struggling to nail something down. Then Bill saw his sister for dinner while traveling for work and let her in on some of his personal favorites, Finn and Alistair. She immediately made the connection that Finn could be short for Griffin, their Grandmother's maiden name. After dinner he called to tell me and as soon as I heard it, I knew: that was our baby's name.

I had been loving the name Finn (and, specifically, Finnegan) since long before I got pregnant but was having trouble pulling the trigger. On paper it worked great but felt somehow fraudulent coming from my mouth. It was like I had completely pulled it from thin air. I wanted a name I felt more connected to. Something that made me feel like Yes! This is my child's name. There is no other name that would have made sense.

The fact that a family name could be shortened to a name we already liked gave me the connection I'd been looking for. And I love that Finn is the second half of Griffin (plus an extra N for good measure) just like Liam is the second half of William. Hooray for consistency! I love both Griffin and Finn and feel confident he'll be perfectly suited as a baby, child, teen, young man, president, movie star, revolutionary, etc. Not to mention, we've got great nickname potential. Bill has started calling him Finneus Maximus. I tend toward Finny Finn but am looking forward to busting out a, What up, G? as soon as he's born (and when I pick him up from school, of course). Liam slips once in a while and calls him Finn (soooo sweet) but generally prefers to call him Bird. And once we decide on a middle name, the possibilities will be endless! (We're like 95% sure we know what it will be but I'm thinking it might make a nice surprise...)

But what's even better than all that? Griffin is like the male equivalent for Gretchen! A friend of ours pointed this out and it totally sealed the deal. How could we not name our baby Griffin? It's like we've (sort of) been calling him that all along.

So, there you go - Finn it is!

Photo by Liam.

Friday, April 23, 2010

School daze.

You know how most parents have no choice but to learn to appreciate the crack of dawn because their children wake up REALLY EARLY expecting to be fed or changed or nurtured or parented or something? I don't. At least, I didn't until just recently because, well, Liam just wasn't that kind of kid. He was the rare child who actually liked to sleep in. And on the days he stumbled out of bed on the early side, he liked to take his time waking up. While he was getting cozy on the couch with White Bi, I could have a nice cup of coffee or check my e-mail or gasp! take a shower. By the time he was ready to start the day, so was I. We made a good little team.

Unfortunately, it appears that ship has sailed.

Suddenly he's an early riser. Not like crack of dawn early (anything before 7:00 is still unacceptable in my book) but earlier than we're used to. On weekdays his wake-up trigger is Bill leaving for work. The synchronization is actually quite impressive. No matter how quiet Bill is getting himself out the door, Liam can sense when he's left the building. The second Bill steps a foot off our property, Liam shoots out of bed with a shrill and desperate, "Dada?!" He runs to his window to make sure Bill's car is still there (all the time screaming, "Dada?! Dada?!") and then runs into my room naked ("Mama?!" Mama?!) to get permission to go outside. I jump out of bed in a fit of confusion, throw on my robe, scoop up Liam and White Bi and waddle out the front door with my naked son dangling from my arms yelling, "Hug?! Kiss?! Goodbye, Dada! Goodbye!"

Yeah. We're those neighbors.

He even managed to wake up to say goodbye to Dada when Bill had to leave the house at 4:30 one morning to catch a flight. I'm telling you, this kid is IMPRESSIVE.

And unlike the old days, once he's awake now, he's awake. Like immediately. Boing! He doesn't even need a little chai to get going anymore. Yesterday he jumped into bed with me and started throwing 'bows (is that still street for "elbowing my relentlessly"?) saying, "Get up! It's time to play! Let's play school. Okay, student? Student!" until I gave in and got up to make coffee.


And it's not like he forgets that he wants to play while I shuffle around rubbing my eyes for a few minutes. The second I plop down with my cup of coffee he's like, "Good morning, student. I am your teacher..." and then he forces me to actually play school! It's like a bad flashback to high school when everyone was forced to start the day half asleep (did anyone learn anything in first period?).

But unlike high school, Liam school is pretty thrilling once it gets going. Today he started by saying, "Let me go talk to my friend Polar Bear really quick because she's been the teacher before and can help me remember how to do it." Then he ran off to his room for a few minutes, returning with an agenda that he listed for me and then drew on the white board so I wouldn't forget: 1. Painting (he drew a perfect set of water colors I should have taken a picture of), 2. Playing with markers, 3. A little rest (he drew a bed), 4. Snack time (he drew an apple), 5. Circle time, and 6. Playing with friends. Then he got out the painting supplies and away we went!

He's the goofy teacher all the kids love.

For as much as this new morning routine has thrown me for a loop, I actually think it's Liam's way of being helpful. For one, there are just 15 short weeks until new baby arrives and forces me to be awake and responsible at all sorts of unreasonable hours. The desperate screaming wake up call is probably good training for that.

In the meantime, Liam has me convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that he is more than ready to start school. This is a very good thing indeed because come the first week of June he will be an official twice a week preschooler! And while this isn't the first time we've started down this road, I have to say it feels completely different. Because this time is the perfect time and it's going to be awesome.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A moment in time.

Stepping outside to harvest spinach for dinner, I happened to catch that perfect time of day right before evening officially sets in. The sun was still shining but the light was soft and pink. The air had turned cool. Light rain fell like mist, rinsing the leaves in my garden and making a sound like glitter all around me. The wet soil and pavement actually smelled like rain (a rarity here).

I wanted to high five someone like, "Can you believe all this? I mean just look! Listen! Breathe it all in!" But I was alone. And that made me appreciate the moment even more. Because my husband had taken my son to the pool and asked me not to cook dinner while they were gone. Just gather some spinach from the garden and start the rice. I like to make this meal a special way so just wait for me... And they were off, swimming together underwater, while me and new baby stayed home and didn't start dinner.

See the new baby?

And now the sun has set and the moment is gone but the gratitude I felt standing in the garden? That will take a heck of a lot more than a sunset to ever fade away.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

What a dog.

When Bill and I first started dating, I was 17 years old and fresh out of high school. We had already been friends for a couple of years so once we admitted that we liked each other liked each other, our relationship sort of took on a life of its own. It was serious right from the get-go and a little more than I was ready for. By a few months in, we were beginning to self-destruct. By our six month anniversary, it was over.

Since I'd been so crazy head-over-heels in lerve, I had totally neglected my high school friends and not bothered to make new friends in college. What did I need friends for? I was in LOVE with my BEST FRIEND and we were going to be together FOREVER. Geez. When it all burned out in a fiery crash, not only did I not have a boyfriend anymore, I also felt like a complete loner loser with a super bruised ego that made me want to climb under a rock and hide.

It was right about then that I decided I needed to get a dog.

What I got instead was Cloey. A constant companion who loved me unconditionally and wanted little more than for me to love her back. She really did take "man's best friend" to a whole new level. She was my dog for 14 years and as much a part of our family as any other member.

It's unbelievably hard to say this but Cloey is gone. Last week after quite a bit of struggling (her with being old; us with letting go), we finally made the toughest decision any pet-owner can make. After talking with our favorite vet who helped us immensely the last time we had to go through this, we knew without a doubt that it was the right thing to do.

There were two things our vet said that really struck a chord with me: 1) While we were probably waiting for Cloey to really suffer before we made the call - for her to whimper all the time or cry out in pain - we had to understand that most dogs would never do that. Instead they do a number of other things (pace, pant, wander, limp...) - many of which Cloey had been doing for over a year. 2) She had been in veterinary medicine for 25 years and could count on one hand the number of dogs she knew who died in their sleep. It just doesn't happen very often.

Once we realized what was going on - that our dog was suffering and we had to help her die - we were finally able to see clearly again. And for the first time in a long time, I was able to remember who Cloey really was. This restless creature who kept us up all night and dropped poo nuggets wherever she went was not really my dog. And she hadn't been for some time.

It's been years since I walked in the front door and heard a thump! as she jumped off my bed to come greet me. Or heard her howl as a firetruck drove by. Or watched her herd the shadows of birds flying over the backyard. Years since she took her own leash in her mouth and dragged me down the street. Since she got in between Bill and I during an argument and forced us to speak nicely to each other. Since she saw someone crying and put her paw on their arm for comfort. Since she kept Liam company while he played in his room alone. Since she playfully nosed the cat or got down in play position and wagged her tail. Since she did the scorpion dance. Since she saw someone put on tennis shoes and ran in circles until they grabbed her leash. Since she saw a suitcase and started moping. Since she looked into my eyes with that look that said, "I know. I understand." Because she did. She really did. And oh, how I'll miss her.

Thanks for everything, Cloey. We love you girl.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Queer as a straight Southern man.

There’s a Southern phenomenon we discovered upon moving here that, until today, I believed could only be fully appreciated by an outsider. It’s what Bill and I typically refer to as "Southern, not gay" and is, well, exactly as it sounds.

Imagine you work with a guy who from the second you meet him seems absolutely, positively, 100% gay. Now I'm not talking your average, "So I dabble in a bit of manscaping from time-to-time and like to wear nice shoes" kind of gay. I'm talking the kind of gay that sashays up to your desk with a breathy, "Hey girl..." and then stands there with posture the Buddha would envy dishing office gossip - with a lisp! - while one hand rests gingerly on his cocked hip and the other hand dangles meaningfully in the air from his obviously limp wrist. You're like 30 seconds away from asking him to tighten your bra strap and making him your best friend forever when he's like, "My wife is meeting me here for lunch today. I can't wait for ya'll to meet!"

I'm telling you, that is the kind of blindside that deserves an Oscar.

Corky St. Clair from Waiting for Guffman is a perfect example of Southern, not gay.

Remember Corky? He's completely on fire gay but makes sure to mention his wife Bonnie (who no one ever sees) as often as possible. "I do all my wife Bonnie's shopping," etc, etc. It's really funny in the movie because, hello?!, he's obviously gay and there is no Bonnie. But if he were a real man in the real South, you can bet your biscuits Bonnie would be a woman who didn't like to shop and Corky would be a straight Southern man. And "I'm going to go home and bite my pillow!" would not be a euphemism for anything at all.

None of my Southern friends seem to have any idea that this sub-culture of straight men exists. It's probably because they grew up with ultra-fem uncles or neighbors who taught them at an early age that the whole, "if it looks like a duck and acts like a duck" way of thinking is just a bunch of silly hogwash. Some Southerners I know can actually tell the difference between "gay" and "Southern, not gay." This completely blows my mind. I'm telling you, my gaydar hasn't worked since I met my (gay) co-worker's wife and kids!

Up until today I thought only transplants or people passing through the South could spot these mind-benders. That a true Southerner would never for a second think a genteel Southern gentleman was actually gay. But my son, born and bred right here in good ol' Nashville, Tennessee, officially proved me wrong.

He had his evaluation with a school psychologist this morning to determine whether he was academically eligible to enroll in the Encore program. As we sat in the lobby waiting for the doctor, I wanted to prepare him for what to expect but was just as clueless as he was. I mean, how exactly would a psychologist test for giftedness in a four year old? Would Liam have to take a test? Play games? Engage in conversation? Would he cooperate or know the right answers? Would he even talk to someone he didn't know? What if the doctor wanted me to leave the room? Would Liam freak out? If he grabbed my legs, would the test be over? Since there was no use speculating, we just thumbed through a couple of magazines and put together a puzzle. Suddenly, Dr. B came out to the lobby to call us back to his office:

Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration but you get the idea. Gay? Southern? Dammit! If only my gaydar was still intact. Not that it matters at all but you know how it is. As my sister once told her husband, "I either have the greatest gay workout buddy in my kick box class or I've been inappropriately flirting with a straight man for the past six months." Not that I was super psyched to gay-flirt with a child psychologist at ten in the morning or anything. Sometimes I just like to know what I'm working with.

The evaluation went great and I was so super duper proud of Liam. Not only was he cooperative and perfectly fine when I had to leave the room, he spent the better part of two hours answering questions and didn't start to get antsy until the very end. When I came into the room between tests and said, "Hey Buddy! Are you having fun playing games with Dr. B?" he was like, "Oh, yeah. We're having a great time. How's your magazine?" And even though Liam got a big fat ZERO points for one out of the three categories (you can't have a teacher evaluation if you don't go to school...), he scored high enough in the other two categories (academic testing like letter and word recognition, simple math, etc. and a verbal and non-verbal IQ style test) to make up the points and qualify for the program. Woo hoo!

I tried to play it cool and not bombard him with questions but I was dying to know what went on in that little room. After several hours had passed, we were sharing a juice box on the front porch when I casually mentioned I had just talked to Grandma and she was really proud of how well he had done at his meeting with Dr. B.

"Dr. B? Oh yeah. He was really funny."

Sweet! He was talking. "Funny? What do you mean?"

"I mean, he was sort of a man/girl hybrid."

Fruit punch nearly shot out my nose as I tried not to laugh. "What do you mean?"

"Well," Liam said seriously. "He looked like a man but he talked like a girl."

Yes! Exactly!! OMG! I wanted to launch into a lengthy discussion of the whole "Southern, not gay" phenom but decided instead to define the word feminine and leave it at that. It was a much better teaching moment than earlier in the car when we went over the word crap in as much detail as you could ever imagine possible ("Mama, don't forget, Oh, crap!" "Right, Liam. Good one! Now don't you forget that crap is not the kind of word we should say around other kids. Or grownups. In fact, let's just see if we can keep crap on the downlow..."). Which is just to say, if you're looking for tips on how to raise an intellectually gifted child, DO NOT ASK ME.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday morning fever.

I just got out of a killer shower dance party and noticed the bathroom window was open a little. I'm almost positive no one can see us when it's open so it's not that big of a deal but I am kinda curious if anyone could hear me getting low to Little Jon while I was in there. Da-dum-dum-dum...

Normally I wouldn't even think about something like this but our neighbors are having a birthday party for their four year old son today and their house has been teeming with family all morning. We'll be at the party later this afternoon, but for now I guess it's just all the out-of-towners hanging out with the birthday boy before the big event. If I sound a little jealous or bitter it's because I totally am. I would LOVE for Liam to have all of his aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents travel here for his birthday party. I know it's our fault for moving so far away but I still can't help but feel a twinge of envy when I look out and see generations of neighbors hanging out on the back porch, sipping coffee and watching the kids play in the yard.

But I swear that's not why I left the window open. Forcing someone else's Grandma and Grandpa to listen to me take it to the windows... to the walls... was not some half-baked way of getting revenge on my geographically challenged family situation. I just wanted to get my dance on and couldn't bear to close the windows on such a pretty day.

At least by keeping the dance party confined to my shower I can avoid a scene like this:

I'd be like a two-for-one deal if I tried to go clubbing - old and pregnant!

If it wasn't so nice out, I would totally watch that movie for the 768th time today. Instead, I think I'll go fall asleep in the backyard. Hopefully I'll find a spot where none of the party people have to see me.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Disclaimer: This is not exactly a real post.

It’s just a quick note to say that A) I’m alive, and B) Yes, I do realize I disappeared again. Also, maybe C) I’m sorry about that. Did I really just apologize to a computer screen? Ewww. Now I’m sorry about that.

D) Blogging is weird.

It really is weird, and not just because it encourages sleepy pregnant women to chat with The Internet late at night. It’s weird because it is both a creative outlet and a public forum. Can you see how that easily creates a conflict of interest? As a creative outlet, blogging is a great way to work through difficult issues or vent frustrations or try to make sense of things that absolutely do not make sense otherwise. But, as a public forum this can be wholly inappropriate. I mean, who wants to air their dirty laundry for all to read? Oh, most bloggers do? Right. Good point. I have to admit, there is something very freeing about airing things out. Like once you are completely honest about something, it no longer feels like a problem. But still. There are many exceptions to this rule.

Say the issue you’re wishing to work through is not exactly your issue. Something is happening to you, sure, but only by way of somebody you love. You want to turn to your creative outlet but know that the hopes and fears and triumphs and tribulations of other people are definitely off limits. No matter how much you experience their joy or pain or devastation as if it were your own, you know it’s just not your story to tell.

While I am sure there are lots of people out there who can write about one thing while not writing about another, I don’t know that I’m one of them. To me it’s like the elephant in the room. I know there’s an elephant there that I’m not supposed to mention and I’m trying really hard not to mention it, but all I can see in my mind is ELEPHANT, ELEPHANT, ELEPHANT!!! If I were to sit down to write, you can be pretty darn sure I’d come up with a story about elephants.

I mean, if I had to write several times a week no matter what kind of crap was going on around me, I’m sure I could work it out. But I don’t. So I don’t. Instead I turn to my other creative outlet: watching TV while I wait for things to work themselves out on their own. That’s creative, right?

Anyway, I think the elephant has finally left the building so hopefully I’ll be able to get reacquainted with my old friend Laptop in the days ahead. Although my new friend 48 Hours Hard Evidence is pretty hard to say no to. “What’s that TV? Another woman was murdered and it turns out her husband was the killer? No way! I never woulda seen it coming…” I’m telling you, that show just won't take no for an answer.