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, apr├Ęs 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.