Sunday, January 28, 2007

Baby it's Cold Outside

In case anyone notices that there are no new posts to the blog this week, it's because we're going to Quebec tomorrow not because I had to go back in to the hospital to have my other appendix removed. Only kidding! I know you only have one appendix, unless maybe it's a really long book. Not kidding about Quebec though - Great White North - here we come and yes, we know that it's cold up there.

song: Baby It's Cold Outside • artist: Frank Loesser

Cuts Like a Knife

Little kids abuse band aids like some adults abuse cigarettes, scratch tickets, or credit cards. Don't need 'em, but you gotta have 'em.
My older son has a legitimate finger injury but he's got band aids over two injury-free digits. His younger sibling has one finger covered in an effort to keep up with his older brother. He doesn't even know what a band aid is, he just knows that he wants one.
Tomorrow they'll be magically removed and they'll be pleading to have them reapplied. Perhaps snowmen this time instead of santas.

song: Cuts Like a Knife • artist: Bryan Adams

Saturday, January 27, 2007

travel couplet

Preparing to go on vacation?
Pack everything in creation.

Dear Yoko

A pilfered ode to my son's stuffed turtle Eco, on what is his fourth birthday (so my son informs me). With all due respect to John Lennon and the lovely Yoko.

Oh Eco
I'll never, ever, ever, ever, ever gonna let you go
Oh Eco
I'll never, ever, ever, ever, ever gonna let you go

Even if it's just one night
I miss you and it don't feel right
I wish you were here tonight dear Eco
Even if it's just one hour
I wilt just like a fading flower
Ain't nothing in the world like our love dear Eco

song: Dear Yoko
artist: John Lennon

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I can see clearly now

And speaking of the On The Water vest, it sports the On The Water logo of the two people fishing from a boat - the very logo Chris said, because of the big bend in the fishing line, reminded him of Jimmy Durant's nose. I was wearing the vest while putting my toddler to bed the other night when he reached up, pointed to the logo and distinctly said: "boat."
Of course he doesn't know what Jimmy Durant's nose looks like. Maybe if he did, he would be confused too.

song: I can see clearly now • artist: Johnny Nash

Star Wars

If you take a toddler, say thirty inches tall, and you put your extra-large, On The Water fleece vest on him, and it reaches down to the floor, and the toddler walks around the kitchen, from the back he will look just like Yoda!

song: Star Wars theme • artist: John Williams

Monday, January 22, 2007

Gimme Three Steps

One of my vices is not having the patience to read instructions; either at all, or all the way through to the end, before starting a project. This has stymied many a knitting and sewing project over the years but the domestic chore it interferes with the most is following a recipe.
I often think that recipes are written to purposefully trip up people like me. I'll be elbow deep in egg stirring when I'll read the following: "crack and whisk four eggs, after having separated the yolks." Or it's something like: "mix all ingredients, except for 1/2 cup of flour and a tbsp. of oil." If it says to mix all the ingredients - I mix all the ingredients, no questions asked. I'm not looking for some kind of surprise ending to the story.
It happened again tonight with green bean casserole. A recipe which is a staple of many a recent college graduate and of mothers with young children. I don't know why this happened because I know exactly what the finished dish is suppose to look like so I can't explain why I fell for, "mix all ingredients, except 2/3 cup French Fried Onions.

song: Gimme Three Steps • artist: Lynyrd Skynyrd

Hey Look Me Over

I dressed my son in the living room on Friday before leaving for work. I realize, then, that I am the person who left the wet diaper in the living room. However, after myself, there was a virtual parade of other people passing through the house who all failed to dispose of the diaper.
First where my parents, who, after returning from taking the kids over the bridge for lunch, proceeded to help make a floor puzzle in the living room not six-inches from the diaper.
Later Ken came home, lay on the couch and watched the game, overlooking the diaper which was positioned between the couch and the television.
Now that I've guaranteed no visitors will be unexpectedly stopping by to relax in my living room any time soon, I'll confess that the diaper didn't get thrown away until Saturday morning when I finally noticed it lying on the floor near the coffee table. I'd convinced C to pick up his floor puzzle and even he conveniently failed to notice the diaper.

song: Hey Look Me Over • artist: Cy Coleman

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Night Moves

It's now been two weeks since I had my appendix removed. Today my son asked me this question: "When you were in the hospital and I had to stay overnight at Nana and Papa's house, why didn't you pack my pajamas in a suitcase?"
Perhaps I should just keep a packed suitcase in the car at all times in the event any minor emergencies come up, because obviously the real emergency is having to sleep at your grandparent's house without having brought the proper attire.

song: Night Moves • artist: Bob Seger

What I Like About You

Some of my fellow children's literature classmates remarked during our last class that Dr. Suess was a communist. Why is it that everyone who is just a little bit avant guard gets labeled a communist? In reality, Ted Geisel was a life-long Democrat. He even enlisted in WWII though he was in his late 30s at the time. He went to California and, among other things, made propaganda films cautioning American soldiers not to fraternize with the natives while they occupied Germany after the war.
But what I like about Dr. Seuss is that according to his biography by Judith and Neil Morgan, when approached by a sales manager at Random House who had "worked himself into an absolute frenzy thinking about merchandising Dr. Seuss," the author declined. "He was wary of anything - product franchising, most of all - that might cheapen the Dr. Suess image."
I also like this, in the town of La Jolla, CA, where he lived for more than half his life, Dr. Suess petitioned the town council for a local billboard ban even though it cost him an advertising contract with a sugar company. His appeal consisted of a story about two stone age business men who litter the countryside with signs. The short story ended with the following rhyme: And, thus between them, with impunity/They loused up the entire community.../And even the dinosaurs moved away/From that messed-up spot in the U.S.A/Which is why/our business men never shall/Allow such to happen in La Jolla, Cal.
And one last piece of trivia: what was Dr. Suess's best selling book? It's not the one that comes to mind first - it was Green Eggs and Ham.

song: What I Like About You • artist: The Romantics

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Nothing but the Wheel

Today my son created puppets out of paper and popsicle sticks in order to put on his own performance of "Peter and the Wolf" from behind the living room couch. His younger brother and I were required to sit on the floor and watch it in its entirety.
It was better than "Scarface."

song: Nothing but the Wheel • artist: Peter Wolf

Mayor of Simpleton

My 20-month old calls every type of barnyard animal a "cow," every vehicle with wheels a "car," and every animals with wings or fins a "caw caw." A "ball" could be an egg, the sun, an orange, or a button.
I envy his ability to simplify things.

song: Mayor of Simpleton • artist: XTC

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

I was thinking of Lucy today. Lately I'm terrible with names and details of any sort. I can read the most interesting article or hear the most fascinating NPR segment and then be incapable of articulating what I read or heard to Ken later in the day.
Therefore, remembering that her name is Lucy feels significant.
Lucy is a nurse, or maybe an aide, who works nights in the hospital's maternity department. She was working after my first son was born. The first 24-hours after they are born, babies sleep a lot, but after that they're up, and to them, two o'clock in the morning doesn't seem like an unreasonable time to be awake. As it happened it was two o'clock in the morning. My new son and I were alone and he was crying. I was tired and sore and I couldn't make him stop. There's nothing that makes a new parent feel more insecure than finding themselves completely unable to console their baby. I didn't know what to do, so I did what I now know lots of new mothers do, I buzzed for the nurse. By this time I was crying too. Lucy came in. "I can't make him stop," I said. She took him - and instantly he was quite. I got back into bed. Lucy put my sleeping baby down. She said nothing and left the room. She was my hero. She was my baby whisperer. She didn't offer me any advice, perhaps because I would have been too tired to comprehend, but perhaps because she knew that figuring out how to console a baby is something we all learn for ourselves and something we all do differently, whatever works best depending on the situation.
Lucy was working when my second son was born as well. From the beginning H seemed to understand day verses night. The baby who came out crying, slept great at the hospital and has continued to sleep well ever since. I told Lucy the story of how she quieted my older son and how enormously thankful I was. She smiled and nodded and continued taking my vitals. She didn't remember, why would she? It was over two and-a-half years ago, I was one distraught mother out of hundreds she's helped. What was significant to me was routine to her.
I don't know what made me think of Lucy today. Maybe I'm on the cusp of forgetting her name, or of forgetting the entire incident, and writing it down is the only way I have of cementing her story as part of my story. Already I look at my four-year-old and can hardly believe he was ever the baby in the photos that hang in the stairwell. If that can happen in just four years what hope have I of remembering a nurse who came in my room in the middle of the night and helped get my son and I off on the right foot when I was drugged and groggy?

song: Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds • artist: The Beatles

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Hungry Like the Wolf

My son is really taken with Peter and the Wolf. You know, the half-hour long musical piece where the different instruments represent individual characters in the story, the duck is oboe, the bird is the flute, Peter is the strings, and so on. C loves to cue it up in the CD player but then he gets scared half-way through when the wolf appears, even though when it's over he likes to tell me stories about all the ways he would capture the wolf if he were Peter. The story of Peter and the Wolf is not for the faint-hearted, at one point the wolf catches and eats the duck, lock, stock, and barrel. Not like the watered-down versions of fairy tales and nursery rhymes most kids get these days, where the farmer's wife gives the mice cake instead of cutting off their tails, and Old Mother Hubbard kisses her kiddies instead of whipping them all soundly before bed. I don't think it's the wolf eating the duck that scares my son, though. I think, to Mr. Prokofiev's credit, it's the very frightening wolf music which causes him to vacate the living room and come up with some weak excuse for why he needs to be in the computer room with me. But the next time I ask what CD he wants to put on, the answer is the same: "Peter and the Wolf."
The whole thing reminds me of the movie American Werewolf in London. Both feature toothy, canine, antagonists; and instead of those weird villagers in the Slaughtered Lamb warning the Americans not to go in the moors, we've got the over-cautious grandfather cautioning Peter not to go in the meadow.

song: Hungry Like the Wolf • artist: Duran Duran

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Teddy Bear

What is it about children and their stuffed animals? Long after my son is asleep I find that I can't carry his favorite teddy bear upstairs by the ear, for fear I might be hurting it. I guess we feel this way because the love a child feels for a favorite toy is so intense, it needs to be respected. We parents can only hope our children feel the same way about us as they do about Big Teddy, though how can we compare - Big Teddy isn't the one denying candy for dinner or forcing them to write odious thank you cards. As parents we are indebted to the stuffed animals who hunker down under the covers at night with our children and provide reassuring friendly faces after we've said good night and left the room.
Favorite stuffed animals also give children someone smaller than themselves upon which to exercise some control. Around our house, teddy bears and other animals have suffered the indignities of being diapered, getting imaginary shots and real band aids, eating wooden food, and being forced to lie down for naps in the middle of the afternoon, tired or not.
Of course you never know quite how much a child loves his favorite teddy bear until that teddy is accidentally left in the back seat of Nana and Papa's car.

song: Teddy Bear • artist: Elivs Presley

Saturday, January 13, 2007

rainy saturday in january haiku

walking in the rain,
straight through all the mud puddles,
with our umbrellas.

U Can't Touch This

There is a nest in our living room. To the untrained eye, it might not look like a nest. It might look like just a bunch of scrunched up pieces of scrap paper. It might, in fact, look like someone haphazardly emptied their wastepaper basket in the middle of our living room floor. Someone who doesn't recycle their paper products that is. That's what it looked like to me at least, until my son told me it was a nest, and that not only was it a nest, but one of the scrunched up pieces of paper was a refrigerator, and one piece was an oven, and that, "everything you need," was in there.
Then little brother came into the living room and ruined the nest. It was hard to tell it was ruined, it still looked like scrunched up pieces of paper carelessly assembled in the living room, but I could tell by the crying - it was ruined.

song: U Can't Touch This • artist: MC Hammer

Friday, January 12, 2007

A Case of You

“All you do is yap yap and say bad, bad, bad, bad,” said Dr. Seuss’s Oncler to the Lorax. The Onceler then lit into the Lorax and told him he was going to go on “doing just what I do.” Which is par for the course for most of us isn’t it? Today, however, just to prove that I’m not always Ms. Negative, here’s a positive observation. I shuffled into town from work for lunch this afternoon and stopped to make appointment with the surgeon who performed my appendectomy. Be forewarned: this is a digression and not the positive observation. I had to physically show up at the doctor’s office to book the appointment because all week I’d tried to call and either gotten the answering service or a busy signal. By stopping in, I was merely checking to see if the doctor’s receptionists were, in fact, alive. Anyway, continuing on my short journey I then stopped at the coffee shop. While standing in line I was delighted to note that both the customer in front of me, the customer behind me, and myself, had all brought our own travel mugs instead of having to use a disposable cup for our afternoon pick me ups. It's guilt-free chai. Bottoms up!

song: A Case of You • artist: Joni Mitchell

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Lay, Lady, Lay

My son gets the same amount of enjoyment from having me incapacitated as he gets from seeing the cat in her travel box. It's not as good as if I were down on the floor building towers and bridges with him, but while I'm lying on the couch recuperating, at least I'm a captive audience. I can admire what he's building and he's assured that I'm not going off somewhere to perform unnecessary tasks like making dinner or cleaning the breakfast dishes.

song: Lay, Lady, Lay • artist: Bob Dylan

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Four Seasons

Our house is not keeping up with the seasons. Or more to the point, we can't seem to part with any of the seasons. There's a construction-paper pumpkin tacked to the kitchen bulletin board, pipe-cleaner spiders and a witch hidden in the dining room plants, and a falling-leaf collage taped to the front door. There's a garland of glitter-glued Christmas trees over the sink, and as of today, hearts tied with yarn to the dining room cabinets.

song: The Four Seasons • artist: Vivaldi

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Start Me Up

Last week I couldn't write because back pain made it uncomfortable to sit at the computer. This week I haven't been able to work because of abdominal pain. At least that's what I'm telling myself. Actually I'm perfectly happy to write drafts upstairs, long hand, while prostrate on the bed. I'm called upon to do this frequently when my son can't fall asleep unless I'm in the next room. I can spread notes and reference books and steno pads out more effectively on the bed than on the computer desk.
So what's the real problem? I don't consider myself a real writer, given that I don't write real news, so can I really have writer's block? There's plenty I could be getting done for work but with a break for the holidays and then for unforeseen hospital stays I can't seem to get things kick started again.
Could it be that the writing gene is contained in the appendix? It's true that doctors don't know what function, if any, the appendix serves and yet strangely it does double as a literary term.

song: Start Me Up • artist: The Rolling Stones

Sunday, January 07, 2007

What I Am

Dear Gentle Reader,
It may be that I was hard on some people in my posts last week. Taking in on the chin were people who talk on their cell phones at the expense of their children, as well as people who leave their cars running needlessly at everyone's expense.
Perhaps I was a little curt, though in my own defense I'd like to offer that I was suffering from acute lower back pain which later became acute abdominal pain - culminating in an acute appendicitis at the end of the week. And so - my condition may have clouded my judgment and made me crankier than usual.
Yes, I'm aware that there are times when parents must make important cell phone calls in the presence of their children, thereby needing to shush or ignore them. However, I was there and this wasn't one of those times. Plus, I was not rude to this woman. I didn't so much as raise an eyebrow at her because if I had, I'd have to go about with my eyebrows permanently raised since we all talk on our cell phones ad nauseam. My point is, couldn't we all try to do it a little less?
Likewise, I did not stop and chew out the fellow with his car pulled to the side of the road, its engine still running, while he talked to his neighbor as I walked by on my way to drop off my son at daycare.
Nor did I say anything on the return trip ten minutes later when the car was still parked and running. Frankly, it's nice to see neighbors conversing. I do, however, uphold the right to complain about it here in the pages of this blog, which is entitled, incase you've forgotten: The Mommy RANT.
Now I don't always rant mind you. Sometimes I tell warm and fuzzy stories about my adorable children. But, given the title of this blog I reserve the right to rant, defined as "deliver a tirade," whenever I feel like it, inflamed appendix or not. That said, you, gentle reader, are welcome to call me on it when you feel I'm not being fair but I request you come up with an actual argument, something better then "stop worrying about what other people do."
And so, since I'm still pretty sore and grouchy, here's yet another reason not to like Disney.

song: What I Am • artist: Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Baby Talk

At the playground yesterday we met a mother and her little girl. That is we might have been properly introduced to them if the mom had extracted her cell phone from her ear for at least part of the time her daughter was playing. It was fine with me, I'm not much for making small talk with other mothers, but I felt bad for the kid who was trying in vain to get her mum's attention. There used to be a bumper sticker admonishing drivers to "shut up and drive." Now as a mom, I'm against the phrase "shut up." My old K-car sported the more polite, "hang up and drive," but I think it might be time for one that advises, "shut up and pay attention to your kid."

song: Baby Talk • artist: Jan & Dean

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Tonight my son wanted me to tell him some "good news that was in the paper." After thinking for a long time I told him I cut out a recipe for root vegetables and garlic. Then he wanted to know what a root vegetable was.
Next he wanted to know some "bad news that I read." It was hard to pick; the 14-year-old recently shot in Boston, that football player in Denver, backlash from Saddam's execution, plane crashes, global warming in general. I finally settled for this: "the state legislature might allow a vote on same sex marriage." Then he wanted to know what legislature was. I explained it was the people who represent us and luckily he must have been very tired at this point because he didn't take it any further and went back to bed.
I don't know where any of this came from as I never distinguish "good" news from "bad" news on those rare occasions when I read the paper. I suspect it was merely an effort to stall bedtime. On the other hand perhaps it's my punishment for reading Alex Beam's column during dinner.

song: True • artist: Spandau Ballet

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Stop! In the Name of Love

Here's a resolution for the new year. Stop idling your car's engine. It's bad for the environment. It's bad for you. It's bad for me. It's bad for my kids - and - it's a waste of gas.
Waiting for someone inside the library? Stop idling your car's engine. Parked by the side of Quaker Road while talking to a neighbor? Stop idling your car's engine. Waiting in a line three deep for the drive-up window at Brooks Pharmacy? Stop idling your car's engine. Waiting in the no parking zone while your spouse goes into the post office for the mail? Move your car, then stop idling your car's engine.

song: Stop! In the Name of Love • artist: Supremes

Monday, January 01, 2007

Ode to Momma K

We at the Enterprise will miss you, Momma K,
now that we've celebrated your retirement day.
Your well-put-together outfits often put me to shame.
Some might say you are one classy dame.
You have charm and integrity and even some gall.
And you brought ads to production on time, I recall.
Oftentimes you were full of advice that was good,
helping novice wives and moms behave as we should.
So here's to those grandkids, how lucky they are,
With a Nana like you - they had better go far!

Same Old Lang Syne

My son can't understand why we need to buy a new calendar. Why can't we just turn the old one back to January? I feel the same way, I'm not finished with 2006 either - how to move on to 2007.
Last night Ken took the kid's over to Alex and Laela's house. I stayed home with a bad back and even worse disposition. Alex is from the country that invented democracy, works tagging whales for WHOI, and likes to set off fireworks. This morning I asked C about the show and he conceited that it was good, and big, and loud. But what really made an impression on him was Lu's soup bowl. It had a built-in straw. "So she could suck up all the soup, but none of the lentils would fit," he explained.
"That does sound cool," I agreed.
"Yeah, you should have been there," he said.
I accomplished but one of last year's resolutions and I only made two, so how can I, in good faith, resolve anything new for 2007? They weren't even good resolutions like, "learn something new," or, "rediscover a lost passion," they were very specific resolutions that involved finishing long-overdue projects - more of a "to do" list than resolutions, really.
Better to profess to something vague and noble, that way, on January first you can look back over the previous twelve months and try to figure out if anything you did qualifies.
And why do we even need a new year to make resolutions? Like my son, I don't need a new calendar to know that I should be trying to improve myself, or a special day set aside for beating myself up over my shortcomings.
You should just be there, advises my four-year-old, and so, I resolve to take it one day at a time and to try and get those big firework-like projects done while still baring witness to those little things that make big impressions. And if I can keep a sense of humor about it, then that would be something.

song: Same Old Lang Syne • artist: Dan Fogelberg