Snow! Around 18 inches of it, which is impressive anywhere, but especially for DC--land of the preemptive school-closing and grocery-store-blitzing should there be a hint of a flurry in the air. I plopped Buzzy in front of my new best friend a Doodlebug DVD and stepped out into the winter wonderland to sweep off our front steps. I did leave the door open in case of emergency.

A few minutes later, I heard a little voice announce, "I weady!" Standing in the doorway was my curly-haired toddler, clad in purple footie pajamas, her boots, her mittens, and a pair of my maternity underwear that she'd pulled from the hamper and put on over the whole ensemble. I was so proud of her for knowing to wear boots and mittens that I have tabled the whole "we wear underwear under our clothes" conversation for another time.

Game On.

It’s time for a fun game I like to call spot the rookie mommy mistakes! Read the story below, and see how many rookie mistakes you can find. Bonus points for finding the biggest one.

Today at the grocery store, Buzzy was perched in the shopping cart seat, giving me a running commentary on her shopping list (bunny noodles, peanut butter and purple food for the cat--in case you were wondering). We talked about colors and numbers and said hi to the dead fish over ice. I expertly steered my cart just out of reach of the canned pumpkin display, and headed to reward my angelic daughter with a cheese sample.

After I skewered the fontina, I glanced over at the cart and gasped in horror. In my two-second absence, Buzzy had reached behind her seat and grabbed the carton of eggs. [Hint!] She had one egg in her grubby little paw, and four more had fallen onto her lap.

I dashed over and rescued the eggs in the nick of time, thanking my lucky stars that I reached her in time to avert disaster. [Big hint!]

Back at the ranch, I unloaded groceries as Buzzy amused herself in the playroom adjacent to the kitchen. Then the phone rang. I stepped away from the pantry [hint] to answer it. Two fateful seconds later, Buzzy dashed to the pantry and dumped a box full of baby cereal. [A full and open box of baby cereal on the bottom shelf?! Hint!] The stuff is as fine as talc, and drifts of it still cover my potatoes and onions and bin of formerly clean towels and bibs.

I yelped. Buzzy met my gaze. "I go right to time out," she said. Yep.

Now, can you spot the biggest rookie mommy mistake? If you selected “thanking my lucky stars that I reached her in time to avert disaster” you are right!

Your prize: a nice time out. Way out. Perhaps to a hotel with high count sheets... without any (preparation of) supper.

I Can't See My Toes, But. . .

My playgroup meets every Wednesday morning. (Ostensibly, it's Buzzy's playgroup, but that's semantics. From my limited observation, apart from the inevitable tussle over toys, two year olds are blissfully unaware that children their own age exist.) We met at a local park today. The moms chased after the kids, conversations starting by the swings and ending in the sandbox.

I was distracted because Buzzy kept stumbling. "I okay!" she'd announce, and trip off to another fall. I finally got her settled with a shovel and tried to remember what we'd been discussing when my friend looked down at Buzzy's sneakers.

"Oh, look at that! Are her shoes on the wrong feet?"

I looked down. Sure enough, Buzzy's purple Stride Rites were reversed.

My friend laughed, "I bet she put those on herself, didn't she."

I laughed. Nope. That proud parenting moment was all mine. Wonder what else I'm missing?

Mommy Dilemma

Today at pre-pre school pick up, I arrived a few minutes early and found myself chatting with a Chic Momma. (There are some moms who manage tasteful lip color and trendy-but-appropriate clothes. There are others of us who may or may not have brushed their hair.) This particular Chic Momma said she was waiting to pick up her twins in the one-year-old class. (Apparently, some mommas can handle the lip color and baby twins, too.) Our differences went deeper than fashion, however. Our polite chitchat threw me into a parenting philosophical dilemma.

I usually pick Buzzy up a few minutes early because she used to have a rough time at the end of the school day. For the first few weeks, she'd cry for the last 10 or 15 minutes of class. It killed me to pick her up sobbing. I figured she was just tired and hungry, but those two things were within my power to fix, and I wanted to fix them. She's better now, but I still like to be one of the first moms there.

Chic Momma said that her twins were having a tough time with the separation, too. In fact, the school called her to pick them up early once before because they were so upset. "Oh, that's good," I said, thinking that if Buzzy were ever miserable enough to warrant a call, I'd darn well want to pick her up early. "I don't know," said Chic Momma. "I think they just have to cry it out. How else are they going to learn?"

Chic Momma had a cute haircut and valid point. I'm a softie. I know it--and if I had to deal with twins, I probably wouldn't have that luxury. But Buzzy's barely two, still so very young and tender despite her occasional sassiness and her amazingly absorbent mind. I don't want her to have to navigate the world without her mommy quite yet, although I'm trying to give her some room by letting her go two mornings a week. Am I nurturing, or too over-protective? How can you know? As Buzzy races towards the next big adventure, New Mommy is still taking baby steps, accompanied by a lot of self-doubt.

O Brave New World!

We are two! Baby C can't really be called a baby any more, not even by her mama. Much as I'd like to deny it, all the signs are there. Babycenter's weekly developmental email title switched from "Your baby this week" to "Your toddler this week." When I tried to purchase a sweet little outfit for her at H&M, I realized that she'd outgrown the baby clothes and was now grouped in with the girls' sizes. . . where the styles are a little, shall we say, less sweet. All of a sudden, it's my kid who yells "Hey, Mom, watch this!" at the playground. I find some relief when she grasps my finger with her still-soft hand as we walk. And, of course, when I comment on what a big girl she is, she sorrowfully reminds me that she can't yet reach the monkey bars, which is the arbitor of big-girl status in her world.

Given all the evidence, I have no choice but to update her name on this occasional blog... Of course, I'm also 7.5 months pregnant and have no real names in mind for Baby No. 2, so I'm not going to agonize too much over Baby No. 1's new nom de plume. I present to you: Buzzy. She's a busy little bee, always humming with chatter and activity, so that's what we're going with. Stay tuned for more of Buzzy's adventures as I try to update more regularly. (Mommy bloggers much busier than I farming and sewing and such seem to be able to crank out a couple of posts a week--or at least a month--so that will be my goal).

First Day

September means sharpened pencils and new notebooks--or, in our case, three clean diapers in a zip-lock bag and a sippy cup with her name on it. At the ripe old age of 23 months, Baby C is off to "school." Technically, it's a program called Mother's Day Out, and it's only two mornings a week. In light of Baby No. 2 due in Janaury, I thought it would be good for Baby No. 1 to have her own thing going on. I just didn't realize it would be so hard to say goodbye at the door. I confess to peeking around the corner before leaving the building. She was on a stool, curly head bent over the sink as she washed her hands with her teacher's help. And she looked so tiny! Gulp.

I'll get to savoring this alone time in a couple of weeks. I'll get to the basement that needs cleaning and the new, "big girl" room that needs decorating. Right now, though, I'm just going to sit by the phone in case the school calls, and think about my little big girl.

Little Miss Me-Do

Baby C's decided that she wants to do it All By Herself, all of the time. Do what? Oh, just about everything she sees. Putting on her own shoes, pouring her own milk, driving the car, and lighting the grill. Lofty goals for someone not yet able to drink from a cup.

"Me do!" She says, pushing my hand away from her shoes and bursting into tears. "Me do!"

"Okay, honey, you try it." Her sobs abate as she attempts to navigate her feet into her Stride Rites. She rejects my attempts to help or direct. After a few minutes, she bursts into tears again.

"Honey, can Mommy help?"

"Ess." She says, giving me a radiant smile and handing me a shoe.

"NO!" she sobs when I try to put it on her foot. "ME DO!"




Eventually, after a good half hour, she is dressed.

At breakfast, Little Miss Me-Do tackles putting the cap on her own sippy cup, which I surreptitiously tighten when she's not looking. All goes well until it's time to get into the car to go to the library. "Me do seat," she says, climbing into the car. Then she sits down on the floor of the car and grins up at me, clearly delighting in her mighty toddler power. I count to three, then lumber my pregnant self into the back and buckle her into her car seat. "No, No, NO!" She screams. "ME DO SEAT!"

"That is enough. We have to go now." I turn the key and she happily sings her ABCs (You know, the version that goes: "A-B-C-6-9-4-Y-Z! Now-know-ABCDS-next-time-sing!"). We get to the library, I unbuckle her, and she refuses to get out of the car. The crying starts again, but Baby C's happily eating old Cheerios off the floor mat. This time, it’s me.

Managing Expectations

The reason for the radio silence over here can be explained by two little words. Morning sickness. I suppose the happier announcement would be that I'm expecting again, or that Baby C will be a big sister some time in early January if all goes well. But January is a long way off. In the meantime, it's morning sickness. Sadly, not the kind that's actually confined to mornings.

I'm slowly starting to feel better, though, so I figured it was time to dust off the old blog.

When I was pregnant with Baby C, we didn't tell anyone until the 12 week mark had passed. It's a bit early for my taste to share such news. Unfortunately, my body disagrees. I'm already showing to the point of getting questions as to my due date, (and I receive looks of shock and pity when I answer 2010.)

While grateful to be able to get pregnant, I've never been enlightened enough to think it a beautiful state. I wonder hourly why men are spared, and I have an earful for God on the subject if I ever get a private audience. In the meantime, Baby C runs wild through the house as I try to entertain her from the sofa by reading aloud from the informational packet my doctor gave me. Chapters include the following:

Excessive Salivation
Varicose Veins

The packet is entitled, "Great Expectations... a guide to enjoying your pregnancy."

I'm pretty sure the irony is unintentional.

Three Strikes You're Out

Baby C goes about her day, clutching the object of the hour (a pinecone, a stuffed cow, a sock she found) until she grows weary of holding it. Then she thrusts it into my hand, and says "Share!" Um, not quite. We're working on it.

Although Baby C knows how to say "All done!" and to sign "all done!", she's taken to letting us know she's all done by more direct means. She starts throwing whatever's left on her tray. For a 19-month-old, she's got a decent arm.

Yesterday, as the remnants of breakfast went flying, I sternly said, "No throwing food", and bent over to wipe up the now-very-scrambled eggs before they hardened into a cement-like glob. I felt something bounce off my back. It landed with a spray of crumbs next to me: a piece of toast. My own flesh and blood threw food at me?

"No. We do NOT throw food. We do NOT throw food at Mommy."

Baby C looked abashed, then she twinkled. "Share?" She asked hopefully.

Any suggestions?

Then and Now

Date: Mother's Day, the late 1970's.
Place: Suburban Chicago.
Time: Early Morning.

While other mothers were festooned with corsages and wooed with brunch, Mother's Day found my mom crawling through the house, following a trail of yarn that led to our paltry gifts. My sister and I had unfurled skeins and skeins of yarn, over and under and through furniture legs and lamps. We thought it was such fun. All the poor woman must have wanted was her coffee, or to be back in bed. But she was a good sport. She always was, with us.

Date: Today
Place: Suburban DC
Time: Early Enough

I'm pleased to report that Greg and Baby C had the good sense not to follow my childhood example. Instead, I awoke to classical music playing, and Greg bringing me my first-ever breakfast in bed! It was lovely and relaxing for a minute, until Baby C wanted to share. Conveniently, she used the sheets as both bib and napkin. Ah, well, it was still sweet.

As I yawned and expressed my gratitude, Greg said, "Sorry for waking you up, but I thought I heard you walking around. Guess it was just the cat using the litter box."

Happy Mother's Day.


Spring is--achoo!--here, and Greg's sneezes shake the roof and rattle the floorboards. The only upside to his allergies is the tiny voice that follows each explosive emission: Baby C's "Oddbessoo".

Bessoo, too, sweet pea. Always and forever.

Head, Shoulders, Knees and. . . .

Head, mouth, ears, legs, arms, tummy, toes: Baby C's been able to name and point to most of the elementary body parts for a while now. It was time to expand our vocabulary. Baby C quickly learned her knees, so I went on. "These are your elbows," I said, pointing to her elbows.

"Elmo!" she said, enraptured, waiting for her favorite character to appear on her arm.

"No, honey--elBows, not ElMo."

"Bow," she said, and pointed to the bow in her hair.

"Yes, b-b-b-bows in your hair and el-el-el-elbows in your arms. Got it?"

She looked at her arms again. No Muppets appeared, but she was not deterred. "Elmos."

Fair enough. We have fingers, we have wrists, and Baby C, at least, has Elmos.

A Suburban American Take on Semena Santa

Three years ago, Greg and I traded overcast and chilly Munich for sunny Seville, Spain. We wanted to see the Semena Santa (Holy Week) processions and celebrate Easter in good Hemingway fashion with a bullfight. (And get out of overcast and chilly Munich.)

The processions stunned me. Pilgrims walked through the stone streets to the cathedral as they had for centuries. The particularly devout trod barefoot. Everyone wore hooded capes and carried candles that stood taller than me. Knowing that tourism was a motivating factor for continuing the tradition did not stop me from feeling a bit voyeuristic as I watched from the sidewalk.

Well, today I took part in my own Good Friday act of self-flagellation. I went to Wegmans. It’s a huge grocery store 20 minutes away. I’d heard it was wonderland. I’d heard the prices were great. I’d heard it was so huge that it never felt crowded. Umm, that last part? That was wrong.

It was vast, but it was packed. The multi-acre parking lot was full at 10:00 a.m. We ventured inside to find masses of people pushing carts into each other. (Apparently, Wegmans changed their grocery cart dimensions recently, and folks misjudged the necessary turning clearance.) I needed a GPS in that place and had to repeatedly ask for directions.

Bruised and battered, we made our way to the butcher counter. The lady in front of me asked for the two pieces of lamb I’d been eyeing. Figures. When it was my turn, I distractedly ordered, then pried a jar of mint jelly out of Baby C’s grasp. The woman who had been in front of me came back and said, “Where’s my second piece?” The butcher, who had just passed over my package, said, “You wanted both pieces? I just gave it to her.” The lady looked at me. Of course, I offered the lamb back to her, but she very nicely let me keep it. I groveled in thanks and continued to try to check off my shopping list.

Over an hour later, we staggered to the check out counter with a few key ingredients still missing. Baby C had mutinied and I couldn’t take it any longer. If Wegmans had fresh rosemary, it was beyond my abilities to find it. As we rolled out to the parking lot, a car immediately started following me. Fine. They would have to wait through a backseat diaper change and an improvised snack for the wailing Baby C.

A good ten minutes later, I backed out, smiling icily at the car who had stalked us. It had been a nightmarish shopping experience, and I was grumpy. As we drove away, I remembered the kindness and patience demonstrated by the lady in front of me at the butcher counter, and started to feel a little guilty at my parking lot snottiness. All of a sudden it dawned on me that, thanks to her, I would be serving sacrificed lamb for Easter. I can only hope that, wherever she is, she got the last of the rosemary.

A Hypothetical

If a purely fictitious Mother A bathed purely fictitious Baby B... er, C, and Baby C subsequently emptied a bowl of applesauce over her head, can Mother A get away with swabbing the mess with a damp paper towel, or must she bathe Baby C again? These are the questions I ponder as I dodge the flying food.

Boring Isn't All Bad

As I've mentioned, swimming with Baby C is Greg's thing. Baby C LOVES it. Nearly every morning, she wakes up and asks, "Bading suit? Daddy?" Every day except Saturday, she's disappointed when I tell her it's not a bathing suit day, and she's stuck with her mama while Daddy goes off to work.

Last week, fully expecting her to reply "bading suit!", I asked Baby C what she wore in the swimming pool with daddy.

"Pee pee," she said.

Thus eradicating any slight jealousy felt by boring, old landlubber me.

Lost in Translation

It's 8:35 p.m. I'm in my jammies. So is Baby C, although she was much less excited about putting them on. She's settled down with the six pacifiers she sleeps with, and I've got a glass of wine in hand. Bedtime, at last. Now that I have a moment to catch up here, I can't think of what, exactly, we've been doing to make me so tired.

Baby C's talking. A lot. And it takes every ounce of concentration to figure her out. Comprehension was easy at first, because her vocabulary was completely in our control. We'd point out a train, and she would sweetly lisp, "twain!" back to us. Now, however, anything she hears any where is fair game--including things that aren't actually words.

"Ooooh, ooooh!" = Fire engine or police car, of course. It took us a couple of days to figure that one out. When she hears laughter (even two rows over in the grocery store), Baby C says "hahaha." She forces the chuckle out with vigor, and people think they're being mocked until they realize the person emitting the sound is tucked into the little grocery cart seat and simply proud of herself for recognizing human emotion. Unfortunately, tears have a similar effect. When Baby C hears babies crying, she wails in solidarity.

She’s mastered the passive voice in the face of a potentially negative reaction. "It fell," she tells us solemnly, after she throws her spoon to the floor. But she is eager to claim achievements: "I did it! Did it!" after a successful run down the kiddie slide at the park. Actually, she will muse "did it! did it!" all the way home from the park, if she was truly impressed with herself.

"Die, die" had me not a little concerned for a while, until I realized it was her word for "drive." "Babewy", sadly enough, means Blackberry (as in Daddy's ever-present email machine). "Bear" which she had mastered, has turned into "ppffftt." We were concerned that she was losing words until the fragment of a kiddie song popped into my head. I think she's actually quoting a (horribly annoying) Wiggles song, in which they sing, "ssh, ssh, ssh, bear's fast asleep." Greg's not entirely convinced, but I think it's worth banning the Wiggles to see whether I stop hearing their lyrics in my head. Er, I mean, to see if her speech improves. Either way, I think it would make life easier.

Getting the Nod

I think it was my law school roommate and dear friend K who first told me about the upsell nod. When she worked as a waitress, she was instructed to upsell booze to her tables by nodding as she presented the drink menu. Her inquiry, "Would you like to hear about our famous drink specials?" would be accompanied by subtle nodding, and the hapless customers were supposed to nod along all the way through an extra round for the table.

Wow! Could persuasion be so simple? I tried it on Greg: "Do you want to order take out tonight [nod nod nod nod nod]?" He agreed, but I attributed it less to my maniac head bobbing and more because he knew the alternative would be Cheerios for dinner again.

Despite my doubts, I find myself using the technique on Baby C. "Ooooh, look! Yummy applesauce! You LIKE applesauce!" [Then I nod vigorously and shove in a bite, nod some more, and repeat the routine.]

Baby C is clearly on to me. Tonight, with bedtime imminent after a bath and two stories, she started to point her mouth--her sign for being hungry. She's been trying to postpone bedtime lately, and I was doubtful. "Are you really hungry?"

She NODDED. "Applesauce!" she said. Then she looked at me, smiled, and nodded firmly again. "Applesauce."

No, I didn't fall for it. But I am a little concerned that I'm out of tricks, and she's not yet two. I wonder what technique the restaurant used to get customers to order dessert?

Water Baby

(Blowing dust clouds off the keyboard.)

Hi-ho, folks. It's not-so-new mommy here after a few weeks when the effort of turning my quotidian activities into something fit for public consumption simply proved beyond my abilities or energy level. A nasty cold shared by all, stitches to Baby C's sweet little face, and a week-long, multi-leg trip back to the midwest will do that to a girl. We're home and on the mend, so let's pick up where I left off.

I believe that swimming is fun only when
(a) it is very hot, and
(b) I find myself next to a pristine body of water that is also
(c) predator-free.

Greg thinks it's fun to swim, period.

He decided to share his love of the water with Baby C, so he signed them up for Saturday morning swimming lessons. I made it clear that this would be HIS deal--I wanted no part of toddler wrangling in a high school locker room, or plunging into a urine-filled baby pool. Greg agreed that he would take care of everthing.

I decided to tag along to the first class... just in case. As we drove over, I asked Greg which bathing suit he'd packed for Baby C.

"Bathing suit? I have her briefs," Greg told me.

I pointed out that little girls don't wear swim briefs and asked for elaboration.

"I have the, um, the swim diaper." He said.

"Yeah, but they also wear bathing suits over their diapers. Remember, I pointed out where her bathing suit was?" I pressed.

Greg turned to me. "I didn't bring it." Long pause. "This is going into a blog, isn’t it?"

The Day the Triscuits Died

Overheard at Mexican restaurant...

"Tristian, have you eaten any of your chicken?"

"Tristian, stop eating crackers and eat your chicken."

"Tristian, that's it. If you don't eat your dinner now, that's IT for Triscuits FOREVER!"

A Somewhat Magical Night of Mixed Metaphors

We left our intrepid group approaching the Convention Center on their way to an inaugural ball. . . .

"Extra ticket?" whispered a bedecked woman furtively out of the corner of her mouth as we passed. Since she sported an updo instead of a baseball cap, it took me a second to realize what she wanted, but by then we were getting patted down in security, sending our little, glittery evening bags through the metal detectors, and finally walking through the doors.

We passed the bomb-sniffing dogs and approached the coat check, mindful of its dangers. (The Washington Post reported, "At Reagan's 1985 inauguration, a seriously logjammed coat room resulted in Mink-gate. Several guests' outerwear went missing, including [an] $8,000 fur. . . ." ).

Would there be a Mink-gate reenactment with my TJ Maxx wool coat? My mother in law took no chances. Earlier that day, she sewed nametags into all of our outerwear, even though there was nary a fur among us. We took our coat chits and headed into the ball room where 1,000 of our closest friends had started to celebrate... or, at least, line up to buy drink tickets. Some of the guests--not us--had paid (well) upwards of $1,000 and still had to shell out for drinks.

We walked by a group of chairs filled with decidedly un-festive people typing at their computers. My first party also attended by the press corps. We chatted them up, hoping for some information about the arrival of the Obamas. "Our ball was bumped," we were told. "The parade ran late, so their ETA is now 11:30 p.m."
Guess we didn't have to rush after all. We got in line to buy a lot of drink tickets, and proceeded to work our way through them.

It was like being at the wedding of someone you don't know very well. Few people danced, although--as at most weddings--there were three little boys who slid around the dance floor and tried their best break dancing moves. The Bidens made an appearance on a little stage, and the crowd roared (it was the Biden States ball, after all). Joe thanked everyone for their support, pledged his undying allegiance to Delaware and Pennsylvania, and kidded that he couldn't dance. He was right. They swayed for about three minutes and disappeared behind the curtain.

By then, the drink tickets had done their work and it seemed that the Obama's arrival had to be imminent. The room got louder, people started dancing a bit, and some started angling for a good spot next to the stage.

"This is stupid, this is stupid, this is stupid," I was thinking as I stood in line for rubber pasta. Then, I noticed some sort of color guard and a brass band setting up. The news swept the room: "They're here!” A crush of people rushed to the front. I flat-out ran up to the balcony, where I would have a chance of seeing.

The emcee announced "Ladies and Gentlemen, I present Barack H. Obama, the President of the United States of America!" Hail to the Chief played. Barack and Michelle entered. And, in that instant, it became a great night.

They paused, center stage, and the women mentally approved Michelle's dress (she looked lovely in person, although the pictures weren't so flattering). President Obama thanked everyone, told us to enjoy that evening because the work started tomorrow and then said, "Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to dance with my wife." And they did, and they seemed to really enjoy it, even though it was probably their 10th dance to "At Last" that evening.

After they disappeared behind the curtain, noise level went up again. Everyone was exhilarated by the sighting. People started exiting. Mindful of our babysitters who had to work the next day, we took one spin around the dance floor and headed out to see what had become of our coats. Thankfully, we had no problems. It had to be the nametags.

We trooped out into the freezing air and promptly turned into pumpkins. The streets were full of formally attired and very cold people who were all headed towards the metro or trying to find a taxi. We headed to the Metro and waited... and waited... a train came but we couldn't squeeze on, so we waited 20 minutes more. Then we had to transfer, with another long wait. You get the idea.

Despite the wait, the lines, the crowds, and the sheer number of used drink tickets, everyone remained in a good mood. It felt like America won the World Series. Holy Cow!

January 20, 2009

O, long-awaited January 20! What a day you were.

In the days leading up to the Inauguration, lofty discussions about policies and political appointments gave way to logistics. The challenge: how to get into and around DC when all the bridges over the Potomac River and all of the downtown area were closed to cars.

High heels and formal gowns entered the equation when Greg announced that a friend of his had four tickets to the Biden States ball and that we and his parents were going.

In the end, Greg and I walked four miles home from Sunday's concert over the closed bridges and deserted highways. Quicker than waiting in a thousand-person line for the Metro. Yesterday, I decided not to subject Baby C to the crowds and freezing temperatures. We had an open house breakfast for Greg, his parents, and some friends who were heading downtown, then I watched history unfold on TV. Baby C obligingly napped through President (!) Obama's speech and Rev. Lowery's right-on benediction. Then, it was time to think of the ball.

A ball conjures images of Cinderella and magic. And, from start to finish, it was sort of a Cinderella experience--minus the fairy godmother. Forty minutes before the doors opened, I was covered in yogurt and chasing my naked baby down the hall before she could pee on the carpet. We somehow got her down to sleep, I squeezed into an old gown, and we called a cab to take us into DC. The taxi we called didn't show, but we found one down the street at the Halal Meat Shop parking lot. (There are advantages to living up the street from the Halal Meat Shop. Good lamb, and plentiful taxies.)

Even Cinderella's magical pumpkin coach probably couldn't have gotten through the closures that night. Military Humvees blocked road after road. We grew anxious. The Obamas were supposed to make an early appearance at our ball—we didn’t want to miss them. After an hour of painstaking navigation, we finally made our way to the Convention Center where six of the ten official balls were underway.

... and she's waking up. More later.

We Interrupt this Mommy Blog

Live. . .
From D.C. . .
It's Inauguration Week!

It the eight years we've lived down here, I've never seen the city so excited. Actually, I've rarely seen the city excited at all; my chief complaint is that D.C. lacks electricity in the air. Well, today I stand corrected.

Greg's parents are visiting, which means that we have two captive babysitters. Basking in the glow of their adoring attention, Baby C barely managed to wave and blow me a kiss as I said goodbye to her. Then, Greg and I headed OUT to the National Mall to see President Elect Obama and the We are One Inauguration Concert. (And to see U2, who happened to be playing.)

Since most of the roads downtown and bridges across the Potomac were closed, we hopped on the Metro. You know you don't get out enough when a ride on public transit excites you. "Oooh, Greg, look! All the station lights are different! When did they change those?" Greg wasn't sure. "Oooh, look, Greg - when did they change the 'No Food' signs?" Greg didn't know, but I think he was relieved when I stopped loudly pointing out the Metro's capital improvements and turned my attention to the exuberant crowd.

Most folks were headed downtown to the concert, and everyone was laughing and talking with their fellow riders. Everyone. That people were talking at all was unusual (Metro transforms ordinary people into silent, dour and sallow passengers), and that they were chatting across racial lines even more so. We traded tips on where to get off with the family next to us and poured out of the station into a city eerily empty of traffic but strumming with foot traffic. (Interestingly, most people stuck to the sidewalks even though the roads were closed.)

The Mall was packed, but people were cool. No pushing and shoving. Screens were placed down the length of the Mall down to the Capitol building. We arrived too late to get through the security checkpoints in front of the stage at the Lincoln Memorial, so we joined the crowd in front of the Washington Memorial and gazed up at the (surprisingly small) jumbotron screen.

The Boss kicked us off, sounding good and scruffy. Movie stars read inspiring quotes between the sets. Someone let Josh Grobin sing. I'm embarrassed to say that Garth Brooks was one of the best performers and got everyone a little bit louder now with his rendition of Shout and American Pie. Stevie Wonder, Usher, John Mellencamp, Pete Seeger, Miss Mary J. Blige—all sounded great.

There was a sweet little old lady in front of us who had a pink scarf tied over her ears and under her chin. When Shakira came on stage, the little old lady gleefully cried out, "Oh, I love Shakira!"

For me, a diehard U2 fan, the highlight was Edge, Bono and the boys singing my favorite song, which commemorates Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Pride (in the Name of Love). Judging from the fact that I was the only person in the vicinity singing and raising my fist in support of the good fight, there were not a lot of U2 fans around me. Or perhaps they just get out more than me. Probably that. I’m pretty sure Bono and I shared some significant eye contact through the jumbotron.

All in all, it was almost like a two-hour sing-along on the Mall. People were unabashedly emotional, earnest, and polite. When Barack Obama took the stage, the crowd stilled. Then erupted. We are ready.

New Year, New Name?

Much as we enjoyed the holidays and hated to see them end, the first day back to our normal routine brings a little relief. Greg and I un-decorated last night, although the pine needles embedded in the floor cracks remain, as do the nail holes in the bannister where I hung up a garland. These little scars make a house a home, right? Or do I need to vaccuum again?

I'm thinking that Baby C may be outgrowing her blog moniker. She's getting to be such a big girl, toddling about with her Charlie-Chaplin-like gait and typing furiously on my new Ipod (albeit while sucking on the pacifier she's managed to find). Stay tuned...