Merry Christmas to All!

Christmas with a 14-month old...

Means that the bottom third of your tree lacks ornaments.

Means that every time she passes by the front door, we have to open it to see the lights hanging from the porch.

Means that we don't know who gave what to whom, since the gift tags to most of presents under the tree are scattered throughout the house.

Means that the Christmas cards are also scattered throughout the house, which is actually kind of nice because I see the smiling faces of our friends' children in odd places throuhout the day. Under the kitchen table are Kyle, Lucas and Olivia, and on the stairs are Gavin and Grady. Lucy was spotted in the sofa cushions.

Means that taking the picture of a very wiggly little person for our own card took nearly two hours and almost resulted in divorce due to the different artistic visions held by the parents.

Means that if you listen carefully, you can hear Baby C sing "la la la" during Deck the Halls.

Means that I have an excuse for listening to John Denver and the Muppets (best Christmas CD EVER).

Means that squeals of excitement and delight ring out over the boxes and wrapping paper.

Means it's all wonder and none of the want... pure magic!

Merry Christmas.

Nota Bene

This is what I learned this past weekend.

When describing someone who plays devil's advocate, just for the sheer fun of being contrarian, one often says that such a person enjoys baiting another.

When describing someone who is an expert in the field, one often says that such a person is a master.

When describing a person expert at playing devil's advocate, however, one should probably not say that the person is a master baiter. Just sayin'.

Please Don't Squeeze

The hottest toy of the season? I'm looking at it. It doesn't tickle or giggle, but it is rather... absorbent. Move aside Elmo--you've met your match. 2008 shall heretofore be known as the Year of Cottonelle.

As in the toilet paper. Specifically, the jumbo-pack of 24 double rolls. Encased in plastic, the Cottonelle forms a cushy, crinkly block that, to watch Baby C, is pure joy to climb over, push, and bounce upon. I'm quite confident that her exuberance over the TP is unmatched (at least in the Western world); she puts those women in the Charmin commercial to shame.

You may want to stock up. If this catches on, crazed parents may start lining up at 4:00 a.m. so their child isn't disappointed on Christmas morning. There will be a rush on the product, perhaps a shortage. Consider yourself warned.

Sew Slow

Though I've been a mother for over a year, there are some basic realities that I apparently haven't yet realized. Free time, for example. I once spent it reading, catching up with friends, jogging, or various other recreational activities. Emptying the dishwasher wasn't on that list. It is now. My free time is when she sleeps, and I spend that time trying to clean the kitchen, do laundry, make meals, address Christmas cards, decorate the house, make shopping lists, take out the garbage, clean the cat litter, and other activities that make the hearts of stay-at-home mommies sing for joy.

So me thinking I had the time to make some little gifts for my nieces and nephew can only be attributed to being remedial at the whole realities of motherhood thing (not to mention remedial at the whole crafting thing). Those little gifts are the reason my house is in shambles and the laundry is piled up. As I stitch away in the ruins of my house, I realize that adding just one, tiny activity makes my whole day unravel. I should have started in July, in order to accommodate other activities I once considered non-negotiable, such as showering. Speaking of which, please excuse me. I’ve got to go brush my teeth.

Why there is (usually) a month between Thanksgiving and Christmas

One might think that at least one out of 13 adults attempting the feat would manage to shoot a picture of six children. But you would be wrong. Last Saturday, a scant two days after giving thanks en masse, we gathered at my inlaws' house for a Christmas kick-off party. The eight parents, two grandparents, one grand aunt, and a great aunt and uncle were handily outmaneuvered by the six cousins, four of whom are three and under.

Perhaps our timing wasn't right. Maybe trying to photograph small children after a long car trip, a round trip ferry ride to an island for a woodland hike, and a family dinner was overly ambitious?

Picture all 13 adults yelling conflicting instructions to the kids. Baby C has a few words, but I'm pretty sure the directive to "turn right and look up!" is beyond her at this point. She started wailing. On top of the stage directions, some people tried to entice the babies to look up by making animal noises and clapping. Some people decided that the three year old could be scolded into smiling. (A surprisingly ineffective tactic.)

We may not have gotten a decent picture, but I think we did manage to capture the sights and sounds of family holiday togetherness.

Toot Toot Chuga Chuga

Four teeth in two weeks, five first steps, and a cold that left Baby C sounding like a haggard old diner waitress with a two-pack-a-day habit.

There, now you're caught up.

The cold left Baby C (and me) too miserable to enjoy all of her milestones. For the last week, she's been clingy as a koala and just plain miserable. Diversions are hard to come by after a week inside, and one sleepless night I succumbed. I propped her up in front of the computer and started Googling. Dora didn't do it for her. Neither did Barney. Even more reluctantly, I started typing "W.. I...G...G...L...E...S".

For the first time in Baby C's life, the Australian quartet's songs rang through the room. Her glazed eyes focused. She clapped. She laughed. She offered the ultimate sacrifice: her paci placed gently on the computer space bar at the feet of her favorite band.

I suppose that's a milestone of another sort. The first time Mommy's high ideals regarding crap kiddy music and no screen time before age two fell in the name of buying five minutes of peace and quiet. Well, it had to happen at some point. Mommies can't live in ivory towers forever; at some point, they've got to face the real world, Wiggles and all.


If you should be the lucky recipient of a kit that lets you imprint your child's hand in plaster of Paris at ages 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, I humbly suggest waiting until the child is at least 10 years old before undertaking the project. True, you won't capture the sweet outline of your baby's wee digits, but you will probably avoid said wee digits gleefully plastering the kitchen floor, the cat, and the baby’s own hair. You will probably also avoid the baby stuffing a plaster-covered-fist in her mouth and sucking down the glop as it sets.

Rather than set her hand gently on the plaster, Baby C squirmed away from me, scooped, and ran. Instead of her little handprint, the kit showcases a gaping hole. All is not lost, however. If you squint at the cloudy waves of plaster on my hardwood floor, you can sort of make out her fingers. And they appear to be permanent.


I carefully set out three pumpkins on the front porch, one of which is a toothless gourd Greg carved in honor of Baby C. I dump three bags of candy into a bowl and resolutely set it by the front door. Then I worry that the chiming doorbell might wake the napping baby, so I grab a book and a glass of apple cider and sit out on the porch, ready to oooh and ahhh over the little neighborhood goblins.

And I wait. And I wait. Then, crunching leaves--here comes somebody! Nope, just a dog walker.

Where the heck are the trick or treaters? When I was a kid, we trick or treated all the way home from school, and kept going well past nightfall. Today, though, my neighborhood is quiet.

I resist the urge to pass out candy to the commuters walking home from the metro. I eat a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Then I read my book in the mellow afternoon, watching little bugs glint like dizzy dust motes in the last sun of the season. And I relax, for the first time in... a year?

Happy Halloween.

'Twas the 28th of October

The Playgroup is coming!
The Playgroup is coming!

I gallop through the house, alerting all and sundry that we are about to be invaded. Baby C doesn't look up from the Cheerios she's eating off the kitchen floor. The cat opens one eye and goes back to scratching my sofa. Their message is clear: any preparations will be my responsibility, unless you figure (as I do) that the baby eating food off the floor negates the need to mop it.

I'm not worried about the six babies. It's their mommies who may not come in peace. Our playgroup met for the first time last week. Our hostess' abode sparkled. Current baby pictures hung on the walls, and dinner simmered aromatically in a crock pot. Now, it's our turn.

The only aromatic thing in the kitchen emanates from the garbage can. I glance at my bare bookshelves and calculate whether I can shelve all the books that have been in our basement for the past year. Probably not. Then I debate the merits of cleaning and decide against it. If I start mopping for this crowd now, there's no telling where it might lead by the time Baby C hits kindergarten. I settle on sweeping up the crumbs the baby missed, banishing the cat upstairs, and replacing the Pearl Jam CD with Kindermusik. Now, we wait.

God Bless Us Every One

Tore myself away from my new Facebook addiction to inform my loyal readers about the issues of the day. According to the parenting listserve to which I subscribe, the issues of the day are how to keep squirrels from eating one's pumpkins, and the distressing news that the local mall pink slipped a favorite Santa Claus. Apparently, the guy had his own beard and has been delighting the kiddies for 18 years. He's even a carpenter during the off season, although no word on whether keeps elves. One mom lamented, "That Santa was particularly twinkly."

Upon reading the news, Miracle on 34th Street flashed through my mind and tears started to form (I've been very teary since weaning the kid, and that's my favorite Christmas movie).

Then I dug a little deeper. Turns out the mall broke Santa's contract because Santa and his real whiskers wanted $175 an hour this year. No wonder he was twinkly.

With the pumpkin problem solved (spray WD40 or blood meal to detract squirrels, or, as one woman suggested, you could always get your husband to shellac it), there is now a local campaign underway to bring back Santa. Did I mention that Santa hired a PR firm to aid his cause?

Is it too early for a holiday drink?

One Year Ago

Today marks the one year anniversary of the last movie I saw in a theatre. Michael Clayton. Greg and I went to take our minds off the imcomprehensible idea that we would be parents the following morning. I remember shifting uncomfortably in the seat, unable to find a position to ease my backache. As I half watched George Clooney, I wondered what kind of mother I would be.

One year later I can tell you I'm the kind of mother who has every intention of baking her kid's birthday cake from scratch (it will be her first dessert), but who finds that her baking powder expired SIX years ago mid-way through the process. Sigh. I had thought that mothers automatically turned into organized women with freshly stocked pantries. Then again, one year ago, I was also convinced that Baby C would be a boy.

Carpe Diem

My first blogiversary, like much of the past year, passed without me even realizing it. I've emerged from the shell-shock of very early parenthood, and events that fill my days seem to me to be less interesting to others. I treasure them nonetheless, taking mental notes that would be tragic for me to forget.

Must remember: the feeling of Baby C's warm hand on my chest as she falls asleep during these last days of nursing; how her legs kick in excitement when she sees her "da"; how she squeezes my arm when she's tired; her love of "dak" (rubber duckies); how she smiles at her six-month pictures that line the staircase wall; how she waves "bye-bye" long and solemnly; how she claps when I say "yay!"; the smile cracking her face when she swung for the first time at the playground; how she gives "kisses"--open mouth with more tongue than a 13-year-old boy; how she hums "nummmmmmm" as she eats; how she stationed herself under my parents' end tables to play; that her favorite toys are her stacking cups and her ball; how she grabs the poor cat’s skin in both fists; how she chortled and giggled as my father chased her under the dining room table; how she loves yogurt; how I was afraid she would never roll over and now I wish she would stop, at least during diaper changes(it's like trying to put Pampers on a squirrel); how frightened was when my uncle proudly presented her with a hobby horse, and how it took her a week to work up the courage to pat it; how the German lady in the Nordstrom's elevator noted Baby C's serious observation and said approvingly, "It's good that she's reserved, but I can see a smile in her eyes"; how she held up her arms for my mom to hold her tight; how every little thing is a cause for wonder that begs to be shared with her mama.

She's learning faster than we can teach her. Today, Greg's mom asked her where her mouth was. I was in the middle of saying, "We haven't learned that yet" when Baby C pointed right to it. Huh. Wonder what else she will show me she knows in the years ahead?

She still has her gummy smile. We thought she was teething as early as last spring, but she has nary a tooth. I don't need to make a mental note to remember it, though. We have over 1000 pictures from the last year. I just need to figure out how to keep on top of them all. Any ideas?

We Made It

Baby C's little digestive system held for the duration of the flight back to Chicago, but her littler store of patience did not. The flight was full, the woman next to us was large, and the man in front of us tilted his seat back as far as it would go. Baby C ate through her snacks before we took off then turned her attention to screaming and writhing. I'm pretty sure the woman next to me (and perhaps all of Seating Group 3) decided never to have children.

Now, we're settled in my younger sister's former bedroom, both of us thoroughly spoiled by my parents. Greg's coming out tomorrow. Life is good.


Greg is a super dad, so I really shouldn't complain, but, well, without hapless husbands and their long-suffering wives, the mommy blog world would cease to exist, right? So, here goes.

Poor guy stumbled off the red eye and into bed where, to my credit, I did let him sleep for a few hours. But I wasn't feeling well again; Baby C had been up from 1:00-3:00 the night before, and my cold was on its way back. So when he woke up around noon, I decided to take a quick nap myself. Just for a few minutes, you understand. Accordingly, I didn't pass along the baby instructions that are usually conveyed during a changing of the parental guard (contents of last meals, time of last poop, and estimated time of next nap).

Three hours later, I awoke. Greg was valiantly trying to watch Baby C while working from home. I surveyed the kitchen and playroom and my eyes fell upon the one banana left in the fruit bowl. Before my nap, there had been two.

"You gave her a banana?!" I screeched. "She had one for breakfast! What were you thinking?!"

Greg, expecting accolades for letting me sleep, was taken aback. "She loved the banana. She ate almost the whole thing."

The man didn't know that bananas are a rare treat for Baby C. With their tendency to, well, stop things up for a while, I pump her full of fiber for the rest of the day and we're usually okay. But the implications of two bananas in one day rendered me nearly speechless. "No... no... no. Greg, I'm getting on a plane with her on Friday!"

So far, my fears have been well founded. Two jars of prunes are nothing against two bananas. So, do I give her a third banana before boarding and hope she holds? Or should I just accept my fate and bring several extra clothing changes for both of us?


You know what I most miss about my pre-kid life?

It's not the luxury of carrying a tiny purse.

It's not being able to fly to Greece on a moment's notice.

A kitchen floor not covered in Cheerios? Clothes not covered in stewed fruit? Eyelids not covered by yogurt? Close, but wrong.

It's Sudafed. God, I miss it.

Baby C picked up some lovely waves-of-snot-producing cold from somewhere--I think it was the communal train table at the Barnes & Noble, but when your kid puts everything that crosses her palm into her mouth, it's hard to say with any degree of accuracy where the germs originated. She's finally on the mend, but I am down for the count today.

Supposedly, a nursing baby is protected by "mother's immunity", but ours seems to have expired. True, she's eating almost all solids, but I'm still nursing her a few times and therefore am forbidden from consuming most over the counter meds.

At least I know how to blow my nose. But that's another post. Probably best read when hopped up on cold medication.

Typhoid Mommy

Odd. Just returned from my weekly Target run, where folks saw us coming and cleared a path through even the most crowded of aisles. One lady practically dove into a display of Brita water pictures when I steered the cart towards her.

"Well," I reflected, "It's not a busy time. Most of my fellow shoppers are other mommies. Perhaps they remember what it's like to have a curious, grabby baby in their cart."


Or perhaps they feared contamination. Right before checking out, I caught a glance of myself in a makeup mirror. An oozy white crust appeared to be growing from my eyelids. I was horrified and confused. . . then it dawned on me. Desperate to get all of my errands done between Baby C's two naps, we left the house immediately after her lunch. Part of which (the yogurt course, apparently) was still drying on my face.

School Supplies

DC weather lacks a certain crispness that would be appropriate this first week of September. Despite the mugginess and high temps, I feel like sitting down with a fat issue of Seventeen magazine, gazing at the Benetton ads, catching a whiff of the Babysoft perfume insert and plotting out my school year. (The facts that I'm all grown up with no classes to attend except Gymboree seem even less consequential than the weather).

Of course, in Illinois, we went back to school in August. It was too hot to wear our new fall clothes; the girls who tried always looked flushed and miserable by lunch. I think I owned one very special Benetton sweater and couldn't imagine affording another. Locker rooms smelled like hairspray and aerosol deodorant more than anything else. But, the August issue of Seventeen hinted of a more glamorous existence that might be mine with the right shade of lip gloss. Fresh school supplies promised that this would be the year I stopped procrastinating. And perhaps my class schedule would match up with the boy I liked, and he would be dazzled by my cool mastery of Language Arts or Social Studies! (Shockingly, that scenario never played out.)

I miss the anticipation September brought. Maybe I'll buy a new spiral and take some notes during Gymboree.

I Jinxed It

Following a textbook bedtime, Baby C woke up around 9:30 tonight. After an hour of screaming (her) and crying (me), I decided she could watch Hillary's speech with me on CSPAN. Technically, she's not allowed to watch TV, but I'm willing to bet CSPAN incapable of actually shortening anyone's attention span. Plus, I was sort of taken by the sentimental significance of watching Hillary rally the troops with my daughter on the anniversary of the 19th Amendment’s ratification.

Baby C was ecstatic to find thousands of people wearing funny hats and clapping—her two favorite things! Bathed in the light of Hillary’s orange suit, she gazed up at the TV with a look of adoration rivaling Bill’s (bleh--was anyone else completely grossed out when he mouthed “I love you” to his wife as the camera focused in?) and beat her hands together throughout the whole speech.

Because this blog is nothing if not fair and balanced, we will see how she reacts next week when the Republicans gather in the Twin Cities. Although I suspect that Greg might actually enforce an earlier bedtime.

August Adventures

August brought our first baby-related trip to the E.R. Baby C had been nursing a slight head cold for a few days. One night, (on the eve of a flight to Boston, of course), her breathing became very labored and she sounded like a baby seal coughing in her crib. A quick Google search revealed that she probably had croup. Croup?! I thought croup had been eradicated along with the mange. I remembered that in Anne of Green Gables, Anne saved croupy Minnie May's life with her nursing skills. Lacking a spunky, red-haired orphan of our own, we called the doctor.

The doc gave us two opposite home remedies of a steamy bathroom or cold air, but Baby C’s Flipper-like cough just got worse. So, at 1:30 in the morning, we went ahead to the E.R., praying that Clark was at a kegger or otherwise off-duty. Luckily we saw an actual doctor. Baby C got a shot of steroids, which made her feel much better (despite derailing her ‘08 Olympic career). I don't advocate hospital trips prior to travel, but she did sleep through a two hour delay on the tarmac the next day.

On that note, God bless the sound machine. I don't want to jinx anything by spelling it out, but it seems to be working! Amazing stuff, sleep. I feel almost human again, or as human as someone can when she's got stewed peaches drying in her hair. (Actually, the peaches seem to work just about as well as mousse.) Bring on the wipe warmer and the big plastic toys: I'm a believer!

Attention Target Shoppers

Had you been at my neighborhood Target this evening, you would have seen lots of over-tired children melting down in the check out lane, and you may well have wondered, "What kind of parent drags their offspring out to a big box store so late?"

I do. I am that kind of parent. And I will tell you why.

She's Not Sleeping. Three weeks ago, Baby C started waking up at least four times a night. She also dropped her afternoon nap. As you can imagine, this doesn't do wonders for either of our dispositions (or my ability to post a coherent blog).

My standards did start higher, which perhaps makes the current situation even more painful. Before Baby C arrived, I airily assumed that we were not the kind of people who would have their baby out past a decent bedtime. I didn't want a house full of big plastic toys, I scoffed at the wipe warmer, and I thought a white noise machine for the nursery was overkill. The baby would sleep to the background noise of crickets (or of the TV downstairs) like her forefathers.

I have, shall we say, revisited several of my opinions. Tonight, after three weeks and two hours of infant insomnia, I concede that a 10 PM search for a sound machine at Target with a yawning baby beats listening to her shriek in her crib.

Unfortunately, Target carries neither sound machines nor infant barbiturates (kidding about the latter. . . sort of). I asked a gap-toothed employee about the sound machine. His English was more broken than his smile. “Sound machine? What is this? A machine that makes a sound only?”

I was aware at how ridiculous I sounded. “Yes. It makes sort of a quiet background noise. It helps babies sleep longer.”

He chuckled. “I have never heard of this. In my country, we just [he made a rocking motion with his arms].”

“Yes, I do that, too. I rock her. But, lately, she’s been waking up several times a night. She can’t sleep in my arms the whole time. I’m so tired. . . . Anyway, thank you.” I skulked away, never feeling more like the spoiled American consumer that I undeniably am.

I should have explained to the nice man that my stance on wipe warmers remains firm. On second thought, who knows what next week will bring?

Baby C Has Two Mommies

Our friends have a theory that, sort of like a gosling will follow whatever it imprints right after it hatches, their toddler imprints which ever one of them happens to go into the nursery first thing in the morning. Some days, their kid is all about dad; other days, he only has eyes for mom.

They may be right. Around here, this was the weekend of Greg. Baby C wanted nothing to do with me. Unfortunately, her vocabulary hasn't kept pace with her fickle preferences. Sitting in her high chair, she cried "Mama!" I rushed to her side, only to have my arms pushed away. She held up her chubby hands to Greg. "Mama! Mama!"

"I'm Daddy, honey," he said as he picked her up.

"Mama," she said back and snuggled in. He shrugged, clearly thrilled to have been chosen. Let's hope he's as receptive to the label around 2:00 this morning.

You've Got Mail

I shared baby at the beach pictures with my family and friends today. Kodakgallery informed me that my grandmother's email address is no longer active. She passed away last winter, but I didn't think to delete her from my address book. I don't think I will. Perhaps there's an automatic mail forward that Kodakgallery doesn't know about.

The Stroller Smackdown

The first Monday after vacation was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Every task I tried to accomplish somehow spawned 10 more things to do. Frustrated, I headed out of my Sisyphean house of horrors to go to the library, get an oil change, and assuage my frustration with an iced latte.

The library book I wanted (Barbara Kingsolver's The Bean Trees) was checked out. In the parking lot, I strapped Baby C into her car seat and tried to collapse her stroller to put in the trunk. The button that folds the stroller had fallen off. For fifteen minutes, the Peg Perago Aria MT and I wrestled in the library parking lot, with bemused patrons looking on and Baby C wailing from the car. We were evenly matched - I have opposable thumbs, but the stroller is bigger, stronger and more cunning. I finally won the throwdown. Exhausted, I detoured home to trade strollers before the oil change.

I loaded our newish all terraine stroller in the trunk and headed off for an oil change. I pried the now-sleeping baby out of her car seat, only to discover that stroller no. 2 had a flat tire. A lesser mommy would have despaired, but I laughed triumphantly. Was I not at Jiffy Lube, staring directly at an air hose?

My triumph was short-lived. The tire was not only flat, but had a severe leak. It has to be replaced. Still on a mission to get my latte, I lurched down the block with the bum wheel to the coffee shop.

At home, I couldn't get through to stroller no. 2's customer service, although the Peg Perago people offered to sell me the missing part for $5.00. "Didn't you try to get it for free?" Greg innocently asked when I told him my woes. I stared off into space and wondered about my life. Felt like sobbing, but couldn't muster the energy. I didn't make dinner. According to Web MD, I was depressed. I figured I'd have to go talk to someone, maybe get some meds. Whatever.

From the nursery, I heard Greg reading Baby C her night-time story. He selected Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and personalized it just for me. Soon, both the baby and I were laughing. Some days are like that. Even in Australia.

*post script* I got some sleep. All is well. Turns out that stroller no. 2 just needed a new tire tube. The people got back to me Tuesday.

Vacation Inventory

Pink cheeks (all)
Sunburnt shoulders (Greg)
Sand (car)
Sand (suitcase)
More sand (purse?!)
Cheerios (car)
Cheerios (stroller)
Cheerios (in my shoe?!)
Sand (it's freakin' everywhere)
Great pictures (still need to be downloaded)
Wonderful memories (all)
Sand (I give up)


Greg's family spent summers at the Cape when he was a kid. July and August were tan and sandy days at the beach with lunch out of the cooler and, if the four kids deserved a special treat and Nan was buying, fries from the concession stand. The Atlantic was his playground. He learned to swim and sail and dive, and he can still hold his breath under water longer than anyone I know. The Cape is Greg's favorite place, Fenway included.

Last Saturday, we packed the car to bursting and headed to the beach. With Baby C so small, we didn't drive eight hours up to the Cape but are hanging out in Delaware for a week in a rented beach house with some friends. (They're brave enough to vacation with a nine month old because they have two sweet-hearted and impish girls, ages six and two.)

Greg couldn't wait to show Baby C the beach. He took his baby, sticky with sunscreen, up to the wild Atlantic waves. "See, baby." He held her out, let her feet get wet. She screamed at the surf and clung to him. "It's okay, baby. This is the ocean." Later, under the shade tent, she slept covered in sand. I pulled out sandwiches from the cooler. Greg swam past the breakers. It's summer.

Going Fishin'

We're headed to the beach tomorrow. If Baby C stops eating sand long enough for me to post, I'll let you know how it's going. We're not off to the best start, considering that I haven't started packing yet. But, I have a list. That counts for something, right?

New Beginning

Uh, hello? Is this blog on?

My long silence here is Baby C's fault. After nearly nine months of playing fast and loose with the kid's soul, we finally had her baptized last week. Her grandmothers are much relieved. The renouncing of Satan turned out to be the least of our worries. We had to clean the house for all the family who would be in town, so we also decided to throw a big party, sort of a baby-house-warming. Which meant that we finally had to unpack those boxes from our move last August. And hang curtains. And get pictures framed. And figure out what to feed all the houseguests. And repair the hole in the deck, weed the garden, buy a grill, rent a tent, discuss our ambivalence towards organized religion in hissed whispers to avoid alerting the more devout members of our family that our views may not be exactly orthodox, and, well, you get the idea.

Greg had emailed people to say “no gifts, please", but I got one anyway. We spend a lot of time as guests in our parents’ houses in our original hometowns (his: Boston, hers: Chicago), where it sometimes feels that real life unfolds without us. Baby C’s christening brought our families together for the first time since our wedding five years ago. Most of our local friends (and even a couple of long-distance ones, too) joined us. Having everyone together in our freshly-curtained house made me feel more established, somehow. I realized for the first time that our life in DC has a weight and substance of its own.


Moving. Baby C is the move and she hasn't looked back. Which is a slight problem, given that backwards is the only direction she's mastered. Her legs aren't in the game yet; she basically shoves herself along until she hits a chair or the wall. She spends a lot of time backed up into the furniture these days. We really must childproof soon.

Eating. Why they call it blowing raspberries, I don't know. But if you replace "raspberries" with "rice cereal" or "avocado" or "banana" or "apples" or "squash", you will have a good idea of how mealtimes are going around here. Forget taste. Food is mostly tactile experience for the 8-month old. She likes to squish it between her fingers, then mash it into her hair, then cram what remains into her face, where some of it might land in her mouth, which she likes to forcefully expel onto whatever is unfortunate enough to be within raspberry range. My floor and her high chair are covered in the cement-like remains of her meals. NASA could use dried brown rice to keep tiles affixed to the space shuttle.

Sleep. Baby C is remarkably bright-eyed. My sleep deficit, however, rivals the national debt. This morning, I ran the coffee maker. Without coffee in it.

We Wish You Much Success

After nearly eight months on duty, the time has come for New Mommy to dip her pinky toe into the treacherous babysitting waters. Around here, before making any parenting move, parents consult with a list serve called DC Urban Moms. On DCUM, one woman wrote that her nanny was interested in babysitting another child occasionally to supplement her income. We exchanged emails and set up a time for all of us to meet.

At the door, the nanny's charge greeted us. He was one and a half years of blond little boy with a mouth purple from blueberries. He was very excited about the baby--or, at least, excited about her car seat and pacifier, which he tried to climb into and chew on, respectively. I felt a twinge of doubt.

But he calmed down, and the nanny was lovely and capable - a Mary Poppins by way of Peru, where she had been a registered nurse. The Other Mother seemed like someone I could deal with. Their house had been professionally baby-proofed (toilet guards - who knew?!). I repeatedly raised the issue of the kids' age differences, but Other Mother and Nanny Poppins assured me that all would be well.

As a dry run, I handed Baby C to Nanny Poppins and left the room. Baby C's separation and stranger anxieties both kicked in immediately, and she started wailing. Eventually, Nanny Poppins distracted her, and both she and Other Mother assured me this was normal and that she would be fine, the Nanny would be fine, and the little boy would be fine. Finally I believed them and permitted myself to think about having a few hours once a week in which to get things done without toting around a baby over half my size.

I got home to an email from Other Mother.

"Dear Elizabeth," she wrote. "It was a pleasure meeting you and your adorable Baby C."

Uh-oh. I sensed what was coming next.

"Unfortunately” – yep, there it was – “after thinking it over, Nanny Poppins and I realize that the age difference between Baby C and Blueberry Boy is probably too great after all. I promise this isn't because Baby C cried. Blah, blah, blah, We wish you much success in your future endeavors."

Okay, I made that last sentence up. But it was a rejection nonetheless. My dreams of grocery shopping without a stroller crashed down around me. I looked over at Baby C. "They didn't want us after all, honey."

"Bah," she said, stuffing her foot in her mouth. Indeed.

Greg's Anatomy

When I found Greg lying outside the back door in a blinding thunderstorm, my first thought was that he had been hit by lightening. Turns out that he merely fell down the wet deck stairs... on his back. When he didn't outright refuse my suggestion that we go to the E.R., I knew it was serious.

At the ER, they asked him to rate his pain on a scale from 1 to 10. He said 8. Three and a half hours later, we were seen by Doogie Howser's younger brother, Clark, the physician’s assistant. Clark looked like he wandered off the quad to meet his fraternity's philanthropy requirement at the local hospital. He pressed on Greg's back and gave his prognosis: "The good news is, it's muscular, bud."

Greg said, "As I was falling, I was sure my back was breaking... but when I could walk I thought maybe a disk or something?"

Clark said, "Nope. It's muscular, bud. Pretty much the only people who break their back when they fall are little old ladies." Then he looked at me. "No offense."

Ummm, bud? So not cool, okay? I admittedly wasn't looking my finest. My hair was frizzy, and I'd just spent three and a half hours in the waiting room tending to my husband and baby.

"Actually, I am somewhat offended. I'm little and female, but I'm not that old!" I protested.

"Oh no, no, no. I meant someone much older than you," said Clark unconvincingly. "Anyway, I'll give you something for the pain. If you pee yourself, you need to come back and see a doctor right away."

Frighteningly enough, Clark has the authority to write a prescription for Vicodin. Greg is feeling much better. Baby C is the only one who peed herself. And I'm thinking seriously about Botox.

All I Want for Memorial Day Are Her Two Front Teeth

Tired. So very tired.

Baby C is teething. Last night turned into a marathon session of rocking and nursing and, when those tactics failed, trying to distract my whimpering babe with books and toys. At first, I kept her room dark and quiet to induce sleep, but around 3 a.m., I tripped over a wayward copy of Stellaluna, and spectacularly crashed into a rattle before my leg banged into the dresser. After that, I turned on the light.

I proffered cool teething rings and frozen washcloths to numb her little gums, but she spurned all things cool or cold. I attempted to administer Children's Tylenol, but she spit it all out. Twice. By "spit out", I mean that she spewed the saccharine pink syrup down under the front of her sleeper, requiring a sponge bath and change of clothes – which went over about as well as you might expect at 4:00 in the morning.

Even more painful than my bruised shin, Baby C recently learned the "m" sound. Even though I know she's too young to associate the sound with me, last night she kept bleating, "Mmmmama." "Mama." And I obviously couldn't do anything to make her feel better. Ouch.

Coffee Coffee, Buzz Buzz Buzz

Late Sunday morning, and all my charges are asleep.

Baby C snores in the middle of our giant bed, worn out from the rigors of teething.

Greg snores on the sofa in the living room, exhausted from revising a brief all night (and let that crazy fun Saturday night activity serve as a warning to the legions of readers considering work at a large law firm).

Kona snores on the off-limits chair, drowsy because, well, because she's a cat.

And I, bone-tired from enduring the rigors of teething with my daughter, setting up Greg with snacks and coffee, cleaning up after the cat who can only cough up hairballs on my comforter, and seven months of parenting boot camp, am WIDE awake.

Perhaps I should have resisted drinking the dregs of the coffee I brewed for Greg?

After over a year of very limited caffeine consumption, half a cup of Hills Brothers has left me wired. The energy shocks me. I realize that the fog in which I've been functioning is probably due more to caffeine withdrawal than sleep deprivation. The hit is fantastic: I feel alive! I have energy! I'm afraid I'm off the wagon for good. Now if only my hands would stop shaking, perhaps I could get something done.

She Who Will Not Be Ignored.

Over all, we're surprised at how well Kona the cat adjusted to second-class citizenship. Absent-minded pats on the head have replaced the attention we once lavished upon her. She's still heartbreakingly hopeful, meowing around her favorite ball of yarn, hoping to entice us into a game of catch or chase-the-string. Sometimes she leaves the ball of yarn on my desk, as a pointed reminder of just how long it has been since we played. The other day, she upped the ante a bit.

I was trying to get through the Laundry Mound (a geographic phenomenon found on our bedroom floor). I opened the washing machine door and grabbed the wet clothes to stuff into the dryer. But something was wrong. I couldn't pull the clothes out--they were somehow stuck. I tugged a little bit, and discovered sweaters tied to sweat pants, intertwined with jeans. Kona's ball of yarn. She dropped it into the Laundry Mound, and it went all the way through the spin cycle, twisting around buttons and looping through sleeves. In the end, I had to cut the clothes free from each other. We're still picking out little bits of yarn from our pockets.

Kona isn't talking about the incident.

Beer Makes You a Better Mother

We're home! Okay, we've been home for a week now, but I'm only now feeling motivated to do more than laundry and basic baby upkeep.

Munich was wonderful. The chestnut tree canopy over the biergartens filled in every day we were there. Imagine . . . restaurants with a supervised nursery and a fully stocked changing table! Though there aren't as many stroller-friendly ramps as in the ADA compliant US, someone always grabbed the front of Baby C's stroller to help me get it up the U-Bahn stairs. And I didn't feel weird nursing her in public, considering that there were naked sunbathers in the city park. Several of our friends had new babies, also. We compared notes, but I had nothing to top the advice from my friend's German pediatrician: "Beer makes you a better mother." Sauerkraut, however, does not - at least when the mother is still nursing. Poor Baby C and I learned that one the hard way.

The motivation for our trip was the wedding of one of our friends. For their first dance, the bride and groom waltzed, then most of the guests joined in. Not a we-just-learned-how-to-dance-in-the-living-room-last-week shuffle, but a full-on "shall we dance" capital W-waltz that would have made Yul Brynner proud. It was fantastic. Greg and I sat that one out.

Now we are back to suburban sprawl and too many choices at the supermarket. I know my memories of Munich are romantic and idealized, but all the better when life seems like one long round of diaper changes and stain removal. Some people have Paris; I will always have Muenchen.

Muenchen Redux

Guten Tag from Munich! Greg and I got Baby C a little passport and brought her with us to Germany for a week. So far, so good... although traveling with a six month old has been interesting. No time to write all about it now, though. We spent nine months here two years ago, so I'm re-running part of an email I sent out then, with a quick update at its end. Enjoy!

Number of German classes skipped: 4.

Number of German words taught: 400.

Number of German words learned: 4.

German teachers may be the bravest people in the world. My intensive class contained around 9 students from all over Europe, if you include Turkey (which the student hailing from Turkey did, but those from traditional Europe disdainfully didn't), one from Japan, one from Korea, and one from Australia. Oh, and one from Morocco who insisted that he was "a photographer and a world citizen." Seeing as he spoke about 6 languages, I didn't giggle at this. Brian from Arizona was my only compatriot. He had moved to Munich to marry his German boyfriend and listed his occupation as "hausfrau" which our dear teacher, the sweet and somewhat conventional Frau Rosemary Schmit, finally understood was not a mistake after he showed up in black leather pants.

My apologies to all of you, but Brian and I confirmed every horrible stereotype about Americans' linguistic inabilities. We were, clearly and unavoidably, the class dunces. (It makes one very crabby to be the class dunce. I skipped a few classes, didn't do all my homework, and considered smoking in the girls' room, but figured that cry for help would go unnoticed here).

One day we had to say where we'd gone to school, and I laboriously said something to the tune of "I go to University, then I go to law school for 3 years" -- we hadn't learned the past tense yet -- and the class looked at me with naked incredulity on their faces. "That girl couldn't possibly be a lawyer! Poor thing doesn't even know what she's saying!"

The rest of the class zipped along, the German tripping merrily out of their mouths. Frau Schmit would occasionally try to include me in the conversation by slowly enunciating "Elizabeth, Wie viel Uhr ist es [What time is it]?" with a compassionate look on her face. I would mangle the numbers which told her that it was four past half before eleven (and this is how they express 10:34 a.m. here), and the class discussion would resume. They may have been discussing Nietzsche. I will never know.

Frau Schmit did face massive resistence the day she attempted to introduce divisible irregular verbs. As I understand it, the divisible verb consists of a verb and a prefix, but one puts the prefix at the end of the sentence for purposes that are not entirely clear. On that dark day, I was seated between Fauod the world citizen and Maximiliano from Verona. I didn't pick up the whole conjugation thing, but did learn a few good Italian and Arabic swear words. Even the teacher's pet from Turkey looked a little surly. Most of the class shared its angst over Glühwein later - usually, it was just the English-speakers who were driven to drink after class.

UPDATE: I just tried to order two bottles of a drink called Apfel Schorle (apple juice mixed with sparkling water - very popular). The woman came back with two pieces of Apfel Streusel. Not so thirst quenching, but I'm encouraged: at least it's the right fruit.

Yes, Virginia, there is a difference between Lee Highway and the Leesburg Pike.

Greg and I are transplanted Yankees, doing our best to navigate our little patch of Dixie here in Northern Virginia. Despite Greg's truly impressive internal GPS, sometimes the South takes revenge. This past weekend, we set out on a jaunt to investigate a mega-sale on patio furniture. After an hour passed, Greg realized we were on the wrong road. (To my credit: I had no navigational duties. Full confession: if I'd had navigational duties, we would probably still be driving).

Baby C voiced her displeasure at being cooped up in the car seat, but the call of the patio furniture was strong, and we persevered. We found the right road, only to discover that the store moved but hadn't updated its website or Information with its new address. Because of the mega-sale, it took 15 minutes on hold before we got through to someone at the store (who told us that the new location... was across the street).

We straggled into the store, sweaty and smelling like Burger King (which we don't usually eat, but when our errand somehow morphed into a road trip, we applied road trip rules). We gazed silently at the collection of fire pits and giant umbrellas that stretched as far as the eye could see.

Baby C was hungry, and clawed at my shirt like a little monkey. Greg asked to hold her so she would cover the ketchup stain on his shirt. At that moment of complete and utter dishevelment, I heard someone exclaim, "Elizabeth?"

I blinked. Slowly, the wheels turned. The woman with the neat blonde ponytail was a former colleague from my old law firm. She's still practicing. Her perfect husband and adorable son stood by. All of their shirts were stain-free and neatly tucked. Former Colleague laughed, "We just happened to be driving by when we saw this store - we're looking for a little bistro table. What are you up to?"

I'm still not sure how I should have answered that question. On any level.

6 Months Tired

Who's getting it. How they're getting it. Techniques for getting more. Sleep. It would be all I dreamed of, if only REM weren't so damn elusive.

(Yeah, that resolution has gone the way most of them do).

Baby C isn't a bad sleeper, but I've always needed at least eight hours. Six months of skimping have caught up with me. Yesterday, I followed the advice to "sleep when the baby sleeps" and crashed at 10:00 in the morning. The two hour nap didn't even dent the depths of my exhaustion.

So I was perhaps not the most patient or loving wife last night. We finally got to bed around midnight, but Greg couldn't put his Crackberry down. I asked him a few times to stop, and he solicitously blocked its dim light. But I lay there, listening to the little scroll down button whine on and on like a hamster wheel, and I lost it. From under the covers I arose like the ghost of Christmas past. I grabbed the front of Greg's tee shirt in my two hands .


I rolled over, contemplated feeling bad, but conked out before it could happen.

Baby C gets furious when she can’t sleep. Wonder who she gets that from?


I know I’ve mentioned that Baby C favors her father, but it’s getting ridiculous. Greg is finally home after a horribly long business trip, and he’s making up for lost time – I have to pry the baby out of his arms just to feed her. He was sporting the Baby Bjorn on a recent shopping trip, and all the saleswomen fell over themselves to coo at the pair of them.

“Oooh, she looks just like her daddy!”

“What a pair of cuties!”

I approached the counter with a dress I wanted to buy. “Wow,” said one of the saleswomen, looking me up and down. “She doesn’t look like you at all.”

Hula Woes

My talents are few. I was never the best athlete. I was one of the worst singers in school. I can't draw or do crafts. Math continues to elude me. But one skill was mine. I could hula. In fifth grade, I was the hula hoop champ of Longfellow Elementary. Really. We had a field day, and I won that category. Obviously, that victory has stayed with me. I would hula hoop whenever the opportunity presented itself. (You would be surprised at how infrequently it did, but I was always ready.)

My friend's kindergartener recently showed me her new playroom and my eyes widened when I saw two hula hoops propped in the corner. We both took one. I popped mine over my head and began. The hoop shimmied down to my ankles. I gasped. I tried again. And again. The hoop fell to the floor every time. Maddie hula-ed solemnly, sympathetic to my distress as the truth finally dawned on me.

It was never skill. It was because I was the flattest kid in my entire elementary school. Now, après Baby C, I have an undeniable pot belly. I was actually somewhat okay with the potbelly until that moment in the basement. But no figure and no hula hoop? That's just not fair at all.


Whew. Two and a half weeks in Chicagoland. Yep, Chicagoland. That's what we call it: Chicago and her vast suburban lands, including the lovely town in which I grew up. My observation that the Midwest is a friendlier place than the East coast isn't terribly original, but the difference always shocks me the first couple of days I land in either place.

At the post office in Virginia, the workers talk amongst themselves and seem mildly annoyed by the interruption of customers. At the post office in Wheaton, I was greeted at the door by an employee who invited me to use the automated system but, when I declined, handed me a number and ushered me into a short line. The lady behind the counter debated the merits of express mail for my shipping needs and noticed that I needed to re-write a suite number on my package. We chatted about her two daughters, and she ooohed and aahed over the baby. Despite our conversation, she had me out the door in three minutes, and that's with an impulse buy of some Forever stamps.

Outside, I noticed a police officer writing parking tickets (even in Wheaton, one must feed the meter). The unusual thing was that she was talking and laughing with passers-by. She even put down her ticket book to come and admire the baby, and informed me that she knew another person with my daughter's name, and that person was a lovely 16-year-old who played the viola. (Doesn't that sound auspicious!).

At this point, I started looking around for a bluebird to alight on my shoulder and sing Disney tunes. My mom's friend informed me that she spotted a bluebird the very next day in the forest preserve. No word on what it was singing, though.

Stomach Flu at 34,000 Feet

It's amazing how the stomach flu concentrates the mind. With every fiber of my being focused on not throwing up, I forgot to worry about navigating the airport and our flight to Chicago without Greg. Wedged into our window seat, next to a man 6'5" tall (I asked), I couldn't even fasten my seatbelt, let alone try to disguise the fact that I was nursing Baby C. When she kicked our tall neighbor, he merely smiled and said he'd been kicked by taller women before.

When we finally landed, we straggled into the ladies' room so I could decide whether to hurl before facing baggage claim. I decided I could hold off, but that Baby C's diaper could not.

The airport bathroom changing table was half-hidden behind a wall. "You were such a good girl", I said as I changed the baby. "Good job on that flight." A concerned face popped around the corner, looked at me, and then relaxed when she saw the baby. "Oh, thank goodness" she said. "I thought you were talking to yourself!"

Maybe I was. Maybe I was.


I know all the words that Bono has penned, but when it comes to nursery songs, I'm a little lyrically challenged. I just put Baby C down for a nap, with something along these lines:

Hush little baby, don't say a word
Papa's going to buy you a mockingbird.
And if that mockingbird don't sing,
Papa's going to buy you a diamond ring.
And if that diamond ring don't . . . don't... shine?
Papa's going to buy you a, er, a circus mime.
And if that circus mime should speak
Papa's going to buy you a ... chimpanzee.
And if that chimpanzee should... should... sneeze,
Papa's going to buy you a new set of knees.
And if those new knees should ... crack?
Papa's going to buy you a juicy Big Mac.

Funny how she doesn't seem to like it when I sing.


Baby Girl,
Know that, once upon a time, you awoke every morning with a smile of pure glee on your face. The sight of your mommy made you laugh with delight. Your feet kicked with the excitement of a new day. Can you remember this? Can I?
Love, Mommy

12 (baby) Steps

My post-partum Pilates instructor noted that Baby C was pacifier-free in class and asked if she used one. "Well, yes, sometimes," I admitted. "But it's not like she has a problem. She could quit any time she wants."

But can I? My mom saw me pop it in Baby C’s mouth as we buckled her into her car seat. "Why do you give her that pacifier when she's perfectly happy?" Knowing that there was no right answer to that question, I kept quiet.

Truth is, Baby C does enjoy her paci, and I do use it to keep her quiet at times. She used to go on real benders, but now she only uses in the car seat or the crib unless she's really upset. I fear, however, it was a gateway to habits that may be harder to break. She’s sucking on one fist right now, and I’ve seen her eyeing the second one.

Business Trips Suck

You know you’re in a difficult profession when the talk around the water cooler (or, more accurately, the talk on the Starbucks run) is what kind of webcam provides the clearest picture of your kids, and whether you should upgrade from Skype to keep you connected to your family. Greg’s been traveling a lot lately. Missing the baby is killing him. He did buy a new webcam but also posted 8x11 pictures of himself over Baby C’s changing table to ensure she would recognize him when he comes home. Apparently, he wasn’t concerned about the association I might make between his face and her dirty diapers.

While Greg's been away, I've devoted my scant free time to sleep and laundry rather than blogging. Thrilling though they may sound, these activities don't lend themselves to exciting blog posts, either. It's really a vicious cycle that I am only now able to break since my parents are here for a visit, providing me with a little reprieve and ample material. For now, let’s just say that I can’t find anything in my kitchen, and that my electric toothbrush keeps conking out on me mid-molar because my dad keeps unplugging the charger in an effort to save electricity.

Why It's 80 Degrees in My Car

My last car, a Geo Prism, was over 10 years old. I referred to it as my Flintstone-mobile, because one was tempted to open the door and use footpower to help it up hills. Only one gas station in town let it pass inspection, and the local carwash owner gently suggested that we not return after my license plate flew off during the rinse cycle. When I used to be a lawyer and had a hearing somewhere not Metro-accessible, I took perverse pride in driving it to work and parking it next to all the BMWs in the garage. After bumming rides throughout high school and college, I bought it my third year of law school. It was low-maintenance and ran well, if you weren't in a hurry. I loved that piece of crap car.

With the baby on the way, I reluctantly conceded that my Geo should be retired. It just wasn't safe. (I also suspected that the extra weight of a newborn would prove too much for it.) I donated the Geo to Purple Hearts, and we bought a Honda: safe with no personality and a big blind spot.

While it’s nice, albeit anti-climatic, to be able to merge without heart-stopping adrenaline, I still end up sweating every time I drive. The heat dial is located where my radio tuner used to be, so I inadvertently jack up the heat every time a bad song hits the airwaves. Baby C and I arrive everywhere hot and thirsty. I miss my Geo.

Baby C Hearts New York

When New York is good, it is very, very good,
But when it is bad, it is horrid.

We got off the train at Penn Station late at night, trundling along the platform with stroller and bags, hunting for the elevator. When it finally arrived and the doors parted, we were greeted by several smells—wet feet being the most prevalent though the least offensive. We got in and tried not to breath. Leaving, we almost tripped over the homeless man who had fallen asleep in the rarely used corridor. “Welcome to New York, baby” we whispered, as we pushed her past his boots.

But the Big Apple thrilled Baby C--recumbent in her stroller, New York was all glitter and no grit. When we taxied through Times Square, her jaw and eyes opened wide. (Unfortunately, both stayed open for most of the night—she was a true New Yorker and cranked up around midnight.)

On the train out to my college roommate’s house, I tried to breastfeed Baby C surreptitiously in the near-empty car. After collecting tickets, the conductor circled back to us, plopped down in the seat opposite, and started chatting about his nine-month-old daughter as Baby C smacked away. My friend Kelly laughed when I told her I was slightly mortified by the encounter. “Trust me—that’s not the worst thing he’s seen on the Long Island Rail Road.”

With the exception of our hotel room neighbors, whom we thankfully never met, the New Yorkers seemed charmed by the baby. Bell-hops and cabbies, barristas and conductors—all tried to coax smiles out of Baby C, cooing at her (then turning around and yelling at the other patrons). And Baby C gurgled and smiled right back, enchanted by the lights, the noises, and the smells that masked even her worst diapers.

Is there a Mommy in the House?

A few weeks ago, I signed up for the obligatory Mommy and Me class. (Am I the only one who finds the name "Mommy and Me" annoying? It's named from the babies' perspective, but they can't talk yet. When I say it, I feel like one of those parents who pretend to channel and then speak for their baby. Anyway.)

The group facilitator passed around a form requesting basic contact information.
Baby's name? No problem.
Date of birth? Got that.
Pediatrician's phone number? I keep his card in the diaper bag.
Mother's name? JoAn… Wait a minute. Four letters in, and I realized my mistake. I was writing my mother’s name.

After three and a half months, I still don’t feel quite like a mom. I love my baby more than anything, but I lack the skills I think a mother should have. A mother is the kind of woman who can effortlessly get dinner on the table, clean the house and keep a gaggle of kids entertained, no problem. Her dresser has lovely perfume bottles on it, not old dry cleaning tags. She knows how to unpack all the boxes that ended up in the basement, and how to pick a paint color for the kitchen. She knows where the circuit breaker is, and what to do with it. Her linen closet does not look like a college student's laundry bag. She can negotiate successfully with customer service representatives. She is the finder of lost things--she shouldn’t have to hunt for her car keys before leaving the house.

Is there a class for all that?

Attorney Work Product

Baby C visited Greg’s office today. She donned her “My Dad’s a Geek” onesie for the occasion – pandering for a laugh, no doubt. I covered it with an adorable ducky sweater set, which meant that if anyone wanted to read her top, we had to lift up her bib and sweater. I squelched an image of her doing the same thing 18 years from now at Mardi Gras. She’s my daughter, after all, and collecting beads was never my priority. (It must be admitted that my taste veers towards the Puritanical).

Then again, if looks are any indicator, Baby C won’t take after me one bit. All of Greg’s colleagues commented on her strong paternal resemblance, which – frankly – is all I’ve heard about since she was born. Even the woman who cleans our house, who knows Greg only from the picture on my dresser, told me in halting English that “Baby has face of father.” As I left Greg’s office, Karen summed up the past three months of comments. “It was nice of you to be the carrier of Greg’s genes for nine months."

White Knuckles

Our flight back home was the last one out for the night. As we boarded, the pilot announced that the plane was headed to Nashville. All the Washington, DC-bound passengers looked up, then at the person next to them. "Did he just say Nashville?"

A minute later, the pilot made a second announcement. "Sorry, folks, if that sounded like I said we were headed to Nashville. I actually said National. But it's been a long day."

Calling us folks did not make his explanation any more reassuring. I began to wonder if we should try getting off the plane.

As we taxied down the run way, we heard a weird thunk. It’s not paranoia when the flight attendants look worried, too. Our flight attendant disappeared for a minute, and when she came back, she whispered to us that the pilot took out a light on the runway but that he didn’t want her to tell the whole cabin. I bet he didn't.

At this point, we were in the air, so getting off no longer seemed like the safest option, although I did consider it.

One very tense hour later, we landed, unscathed, in the right city. Folks, if you happen to fly out of Boston at night and the runway seems a little dark, you'll know why.


December 31, 2007 - 11:00 p.m. New Mommy announces to the room that her new year's resolution is to stop swearing. I've sworn like a sailor since college, but dread having to report Baby C's first word with asterisks, so have decided to clean up my act.

December 31, 2007 - 11:59 p.m. "The ball is dropping!" my husband called from the next room. "5...4...3...2...1... Happy New Year!" Clink, clink and kisses all around.

January 1, 2008 - 12:00 a.m. "Remember 8 years ago?" someone asked. "Yeah, we were all afraid of Y2K," someone chuckled. "We were in Boston," I said, looking at Greg. "Freezing our as*es off."

As soon as the word was out of my mouth, I realized my error. "Oh, no! Oh, NO!!!"

Ron checked his watch. "Well, you made it to 12:01," he offered.

Happy New Year, everyone.