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4 kittens

Kissed a boy but no one cried.

Posted on 2014.12.20 at 13:24
Last time we chatted, Jammies was receiving berating yells in Korea, while I was parenting a five, four, one and a half, and a newborn. Actually, while Jammies was gone, the baby aged from three weeks to four weeks, so things matured.

Weirdly enough, this week kind of built my confidence. I have four children, like a boss. More importantly, the week is over!

Hawaii and Pokey wrapped up their soccer seasons:

December 20, 2014 (4) December 20, 2014 (3)

They each got tiny, out-of-focus trophies from across the gym. (I had to super-zoom to crop the other kids out.) They both played great and I fawned over them.

We celebrated taco cababanakkah:

December 20, 2014 (5)

which might be a new yearly tradition. Fiesta of lights, the miracle of gilt.

For the second time, Hawaii got in trouble for kissing a boy at school. She kissed him on the hand. Jammies and I kept strict poker faces and only snickered a little, dicreetly, off to the side.

Hawaii's class had a Christmas book exchange (at public school, no xmas war here), with the explicit instructions that "Boys bring in a boy book, girls bring in a girl book." I got pissy and emailed the teacher over that one.

Ace started peeing in the potty. They discovered it at daycare and we're all terribly excited.

** ** **

Meanwhile, my parents visited Madison. With my aunt and uncle, they set about devouring Grandma's old files and papers. They discovered a 3" stack of love letters from M. Aaron and my grandmother, written while he is still married to the first Beatrix.  So that settles one question - did the second Beatrix, my grandmother, know about the first Beatrix? Emphatically yes.

Lightening bolts have struck them both to their core, and they are powerless against the force.  They are in graduate school together. Much "I long to hold you in my arms again" and "oh darling, if only for an hour" and even a little "can you ditch your wife for a little bit on some fool's errand so we can hang out?" and "she must get the car when you guys split up. It'll be rocky, financially, but we'll darn our own socks and it will make us love each other even more." Those last two are paraphrased.

Then seventy-five years passed, and Grandma suffered what everyone thought was a heart attack, but was actually a brief, strange episode of sky-rocketing blood pressure. But she is still weak and recuperating. Afterwards, my uncle wrote this, in an email:
I want to tell you again what Mom said to me, because it was such a departure from anything she has said before:  "Rickey, when you were little you were afraid of dying. I told you that this wouldn't happen for a long long long time. Well, its been a long long long time for me." She said this with a quite peaceful, calm expression. We chatted and joked around. I asked her if she had any physical discomfort. She said that the only thing was that her right shoulder was cold, so I tucked her in. "There, how's that? Anything else you'd like to change?" She grinned at me: "I'd like to be young again."  I'll visit her in the morning and again the afternoon tomorrow and let you know how things are, but I think things will be fine now.

which makes me cry. Yes, yes, it's a terrible violation to quote someone wholesale without their permission and broadcast it on the whole web. But the rules are suspended if it makes you cry.

** ** **

Now we're in Denver:

December 20, 2014 (7) December 20, 2014 (6)

Will I write about my children equally? Hokey Pokey had his first trip to the dentist. I certainly wrote about Hawaii's first trip, possibly because she had four cavities. Would I bother to document Pokey's first visit if I weren't simultaneously musing about fairness? Everything is new when Hawaii does it.

Everything that happens to Rascal is the last time ever, and if I don't document it, maybe it gets lost forever and never recorded. Like Jammies, reclining with Rascal, cooing "Tummy-to-tummy time! Tummy-to-tummy time!" It's a fond memory, and I can swap out any of the Geeblets interchangeably.  He also admonishes, "Don't be cross-eyed!" when the newborn is still trying to get their focus straightened out. That is pretty much over.

Rascal: his baby acne is so intense that he leaves face dandruff all over my sweater. I claimed he didn't spit up, but I was wrong. He spits up all the time, like the rest did.

December 20, 2014 (9) December 20, 2014 (8)

Baby, that skin is ridiculous.

Sometimes Rascal looks like Obi Wan Kenobi:

December 20, 2014 (1)

and sometimes like the Dalai Lama:

December 20, 2014 (2)

Merry Cabanakkah, and to all a good night.

4 kittens

Well this is hairy.

Posted on 2014.12.15 at 11:04
I wrote this on Friday:

Jammies is going to Korea tomorrow. We found this out yesterday. He is going in order to be yelled at for a week. My understanding of Jammies' company is that they make broken parts. Then the clients complain, and then Jammies helps the patch the part for the clients. But this particular part is so irrevokably FUBAR that the client wants to yell at someone in person, for five days.

I'm a bit petrified about single parenting for the next week. It is very good that I didn't have any advance notice, or I would have fretted myself into a tizzy. Rather, I launched immediately into planning the hell out of the next six days.  (I went ahead and hired a babysitter to help out for Sunday.)

I'm also a bit curious what Korea is like. It would be fun to be the one to go, sort of, and document the whole weird experience of being so yelled at. Plus great photos. Plus fourteen hour flights.

Jammies gets back Thursday night, and then on Friday we head to Denver to be with Jammies' family.  I will feel entitled to relax at that point.

I wrote this on Saturday:

7:30 am:
Single-parenting has begun. The days are ordered from hardest to easiest. But the kids slept in until 6:30 (for real, that is great) and we'll see how everything goes.

2:30: Today is not going very well.

I wrote this on Sunday: (nada)

Today is Monday, and I suppose I should just post this self-explanatory thing. I have my standard list of accumulated notes to write about, but today is Dentist Day, and I have exactly one hour by myself at home before it's time to get the kids to go to the dentist, and other needs take precedence.

4 kittens

How Rascal Was Born

Posted on 2014.12.06 at 08:58
How was Rascal born? Easily.

Recall, if you will:
1. With Hawaii, I had a natural, unmedicated childbirth out of dogged determination. It took about fourteen hours, and the two hours of pushing was brutal.

2. With Hokey Pokey, I wanted an epidural, so traumatized was I by the pushing. I got the epidural right at transition, and then took a nap. Then I pushed for a few minutes, and he was born.  There was plenty of hard labor pre-epidural, but the whole experience was ok.

3. With Ace, I thought perhaps I could try a tub birth. But she arrived before they'd even turned on the water. So she was also unmedicated.

"I do not enjoy unmedicated births" was my opinion in the waning days of pregnancy. (It is still my opinion.) Dr. K said I had a better chance at a tub birth than an epidural, time-wise, but we'd try for whatever we could. I was braced for another fast, unmedicated birth.

At three days overdue, I had a check-up. (All my babies were overdue.) They watched for five signs on the sonogram to make sure that Rascal was doing fine, and Rascal did not pass - he failed to "practice breathing" within a thirty minute window. So Dr. K said that we were inducing. (Actually, she said "He's got his eviction notice!" and the phrasing was so out of context for me that I had no idea what she meant.)

I was...pleased. I'd never request an induction, maybe out of force of habit, but to have one thrust upon me? Yes, please, let's get this baby out. Plus: guaranteed epidural.

I went home, we packed our bags and ate some lunch, and generally took our leisure getting to the hospital. (That is probably not how Jammies would describe things. I think he'd say, "I raced home from work, in a mild panic. I hate the whole L&D process. It's out of my control and things can go so wrong." Poor stressed Jammies.)

We checked in - my mother, Mimi, Jammies and I - and I got hooked up around 12:30. And then gradually the pitocin got cranked up. The nurse said that they couldn't administer the epidural until contractions were 2-3 minutes apart, and hitting level 5 on whatever yardstick they use for contractions.

But when Dr. K showed up, she shrugged and said I could have the epidural, despite not yet being at the target.  So I got one.

(With Pokey, the epidural was painless. Possibly because I was distracted by transition, but I do remember feeling pressure. With Rascal, the epidural was excruciating. Brief - maybe all of twenty seconds - but brutally painful. Off the pain scale.)

And then we hung out. We watched TV - mostly renovation shows on HGTV, which work perfectly well with the sound off. The pitocin was gradually increased to full blast, which is level 20 (so many numbers for which I don't know the units!), but aside from one leg being totally dead, everything was pleasant. I think I get a buzz of well-being from the epidural.

I slowly dilated. By 7 pm, I was maybe 6-7 cm. We wondered periodically if he'd even be born that day. We wondered, "If labor is this slow to be jumpstarted, how much longer would he have stayed in there on his own, exactly?"  We chatted at leisure.

Dr. K broke my waters - another first. All the rest just made a big mess when they burst on their own, but when your waters are broken, there's a little collection bag that keeps things less out of hand. It turns out.

Finally, Dr. K came back and said, "Oh, his head is right there. Ready to push?"

Sure. It's odd to push when you don't feel a thing, but the pushing muscles are lodged in my deep memory. And so a minute or two later, Rascal was born. His hand was up by his head. He was blue for a second or two, but nobody fretted. His Apgar score was a 9. His weight was 8 lbs, 7 oz. His time was 8:41 pm.

And that was that.

The whole labor and delivery was so...casual. Chatty and relaxed. Even pleasant. Unlike the previous, which were shot through with adrenaline and pain. There was no urgency or, well, pain.

A day or two later, I developed embarrassing problems, which were excructiating for about a week. And then resolved. And all was fine in time for Thanksgiving, a week later.

Here are our babies:

May 3, 2013 (3)
Hawaiian Punch

May 3, 2013 (4)
Hokey Pokey

May 3, 2013 (5)
Ace

December 6, 2014 (1)
Rascal

Now we can start the business of raising them.

4 kittens

Brothers holding brothers.

Posted on 2014.11.30 at 11:18
I approached telling my mom about M. Aaron with great caution. Her initial reaction - possibly in part because I was being so delicate - was to be voraciously thrilled with the news. We called my aunts and uncles, who were more mixed in their reaction.  Confused and stunned, but not exactly upset.

On the Jewish identity question, my mom kept saying, idly, mournfully, "I really liked being a mongrel."

(There was some fighting, too. Instigated by Mom! She brought up how I used to claim she was an assimilationist, and I took the bait, "Used to? I just learned to keep my mouth shut."
Fighting occurred.
"We were just like every other family in Kansas! I wasn't rejecting anything, it's just how we were!" argued Mom.
"Your grandparents lived down the street and spoke Yiddish," I protested.
"They were international!" protested Mom, "Not Jewish!"
"That's because they were communist!" I said, "Wasn't everyone else Christian in 1950s Kansas?"
"Yes - but it wasn't a big deal!" said Mom.
"Christianity wasn't a big deal? It was the only deal!"
And so on.)

I wasn't trying to argue that she should have felt Jewish. Just that she cared about...fitting in? That she likes secular Christianity? I don't know what my point was; it fell apart each time I tried to identify it.

(We semi-resolved the argument when I said,  "Look, superficially our upbringing was very similar. You were in Lawrence, Kansas, and we were in Gainesville, Florida, right?" I'm paraphrasing, I was upset and not eloquent at all. But eventually I made this point.
Mom agreed.
"But growing up, I felt like our family was fundamentally different than other families. There were lots of nonstandard families! But ours felt nonstandard to me," I said.
Mom agreed.
"But you keep saying that you felt that your family was like the rest of the families in Kansas," I said.
Mom agreed.
"I'm just saying that you and me grew up in similar situations and interpreted them very differently."
Mom agreed. Later she said reflectively, "I always felt like I personally stuck out and didn't fit in. I just didn't attribute it to my family.")

(Will this moment of comity be retained, in our memories? No.)

I'm aware that I come off as an asshole in that exchange. Mom seems exhausted, and just agreeable because it's expedient.  But when she was agreeing, she was doing so by cooing "yes, yes! I agree!" in falsetto to the baby. I was trying as hard as I could to stay composed.

Heebie? Let Mom have her opinion, and you can have yours, and stop trying to impose your narrative on her.

******

Mom recalled a letter from M. Aaron's high school, which she'd snuck off with when my grandmother moved away from Kansas in 1996. But just its existence, no details. She went hunting for it when she got home.

It was from his high school art teacher, who was now a professor at City College. The art professor was responding to a letter from M. Aaron, apparently asking about Jonas Salk, but it's hard to figure out much else.

Now, my grandfather went to high school as M. Weitzman, but wrote this letter in 1961 under the name M. Aaron, and so the letter is full of lines such as:



I have tried valiantly to recall you as a boy, but without success. I did not see your name in the 1930 Crimson and Gold, which I managed to keep...Perhaps you were an L.A. student at the time, and I do not have the 1931 issue. Will you not please send me a snapshot of yourself so that I may search your features for the presently elusive image of the good and brilliant boy you must have been.




(What marvelous diction.)

M. Aaron kept meticulous carbon copies of all his letters (which my grandmother threw out). We hypothesize that he sent his former teacher on this fool's errand, because he knew my nosy grandmother might read the letter.

******

Remember that Jammies took the kids to a wedding in Kansas? Hokey Pokey was a ring-bearer:

November 30, 2014 (16)

It was the kind of wedding where the ring-bearers wear Wranglers and cowboy boots. Where there are decorative bales of hay behind the ceremony. Where Pokey went to goof off, behind the bride and groom, after making it down the aisle and handing off the ring.

During the ceremony (apparently): once Pokey was behind the bride and groom, in the bales of hay, he began to screw around. He pulled some hay out of the bale, and pretended to wipe his ass with the straw. Sort of dancing around, butt out, wiping his butt with the straw.

Good lord, Pokey. Had I been there, I might have died.

*******

But Pokey has had a big week! On Wednesday he turned four years old and also got his cast off.

Cue normal marvelling at how he's growing up - I'm slain! but of course I'm slain. Mothers are supposed to be slain. (But really, FOUR.) This year he is passionate about sports, paw patrol, ninja legos, and teenage mutant ninja turtles. He may be more of an anxious kid than I recognize - I tend to project my own childhood self onto Pokey. But he frets about going to kindergarten (two years off), that opportunities will be missed, that things will vanish before he has a chance to play with them.

November 30, 2014 (2) November 30, 2014 (3) November 30, 2014 (5)

Brothers holding brothers

Years ago, my friend said "Can you believe that some day, our little boys will be so big and tall that they'll stoop at the waist to bend down and give us hugs?" I think about that, with my cuddly little Pokey. Who is so affectionate and huggy to me as a four year old.  But will someday be tall and teenagerly, and will bend down to hug his short mother.

****

Rascal has lost his umbilical cord. We are done with umbilical cords forever. All Geebies are old enough to bathe. Proof:

November 30, 2014 (17) November 30, 2014 (18)

Clean and pissed off.

Rascal had this enormous blister on his hip:

November 30, 2014 (9)

We are supposed to keep an eye on him.

Rascal is the first of the Geebies to hardly spit up or need to be burped.

Rascal nurses more than the earlier Geebies.

Rascal poops with an unholy frequency.

November 30, 2014 (14) November 30, 2014 (13)

Sleep, stretch.

The grandparents, who stuck around for weeks after Hawaiian Punch was born, scattered quickly off this time. Mimi left Friday morning, the day after we got home from the hospital.  My parents left very early Sunday morning. And so the Geebies began to function on their own, as a family of six.

(How do the Geebies function as a family of six? I am concerned that Jammies is keeping us together by being chronically overextended. This is not really blog fodder so much as a periodic topic of conversation between Jammies and me. I'm just sharing it here because I fret.)

*****

A canonical image of Ace at this age: trying as hard as she can to get someone to laugh. She locks onto someone, and and crams a napkin in her mouth, grinning broadly. Or rocks back and forth saying "Bee...bop! bee...bop!" like a metronome.  Or putting one leg through the hole in the hemorrhoid* pillow, pulling it up and walking around. Or just trying things - shoe on my head? clapping you on the knee? - each time checking to see if you're laughing yet. She is very attuned to whether you are laughing or not, yet.

I find it incredibly charming to be around someone who is trying to make me laugh. We get along very well.

*Shut up.

November 30, 2014 (10)

I wear Hawaii's Minnie Mouse underwear on top of my pants, when we go out for ice cream on Hokey Pokey's fourth birthday.
"Mee Mau! Mee Mau!"

November 30, 2014 (20) November 30, 2014 (19)

I will wear them always, if possible.

*****

At her piano lesson, they opened up the book to "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." Hawaii looked at the illustration and said, "Angels don't have anything to do with Christmas."

I looked up to see how Diano Piano would respond. "Oh yes they do!" she chirped, eternally merry, and went right on with what she'd been saying. I was amused.

(I hate the sensatiion of being mad at someone with good intentions. I keep getting madder and more annoyed with Diano Piano, whose intentions are pure wholesomeness.  It drives me nuts that she tells Hawaii what notes to play, instead of patiently giving Hawaii time to sightread the music.  I'd switch teachers, but we've found it very hard to locate anyone besides graduate students. Graduate students graduate and move away, and then you're looking all over again.)

November 30, 2014 (8) November 30, 2014 (7) November 30, 2014 (6) November 30, 2014 (4)

*****

Goodbye old icon, of many many years:

kittens

Hello new icon, for many many years to come:

Four little kittens

******

My energy level is through the roof. Let me record this while its still fresh in my mind. Two weeks ago, I had to metally gear up to go to the back of the house, or to get off the bed, or to pick things off the ground. All I wanted was to lie down, always. Laden with sandbags. Plus, distended and uncomfortable, lurching and skin stretched taut. Pregnancy is the worst! Now I'm like a regular person again, instead of a constantly-plotting-my-escape-to-lie-down pathetic mess.

This is my fastest recovery. I'm essentially back to normal (save fitting into my clothes). (Yes, I had a bout of embarrassing, excruciating back end problems. But they resolved in about a week.)

It's hard to overstate how happy I am to be on this side of L&D. FOREVER with an asterisk.

November 30, 2014 (12) November 30, 2014 (11)

We partied so hardy that all Geebies were asleep when we got home. Aww.

3 kittens

Fourteen! Fourteen! Fourteen tigers!

Posted on 2014.11.23 at 20:31
I've got two simultaneous feelings:
1. My ducks are all in a row. All the babies are born. All the house renovations are complete. The weather is cool and bright. Vhat utter contentment, quoth my inner Eastern European.

2. Oh god, what have we done. (Rascal hasn't exactly made this worse. It's more how I feel when the big kids are stampeding around like a herd of whooping orangutans. You kids are harshing my mellow.)(You kids are harshing my ability to form a coherent metaphor.)

I will write out the details of Rascal's birth, but not in this entry. This entry is for catch-up and snapshot observations. (Such as: why on earth do we have family rules like "no tongue high-fives" and "no putting Legos in your underpants"? Obviously these kinds of gross rules are common to all families, happy or unhappy. But good grief.)

====================================


We are reading My Father's Dragon during storytime, (which I highly recommend). At one point, Elmer Elevator found himself in a clearing, surrounded by fourteen bright eyes. I asked Hawaiian Punch how many tigers there were.

She did great, concentrating and asking me to hold up fingers, and pairing them off. She sat and thought and tinkered with my fingers and hers for a few minutes.

Through the whole thing, Hokey Pokey was excitedly saying, "I know! I know how many tigers!" The first time, I actually looked at him in surprise. Perhaps he knows! "How many?" I asked. "FOURTEEN!" he squealed. "Fourteen! Fourteen!"

And then he wouldn't shut up, while Hawaii was concentrating as hard as she could, keeping track of pairs of fingers. "Fourteen! Fourteen! Fourteen tigers! Fourteen! I know, it's fourteen!"

"Can he please be quiet?" asked Hawaii, sounding like a tired parent. Eventually she kept track of her units - fingers represent eyes, pairs of fingers represent tigers - and correctly counted out seven tigers. I was proud of her and amused by the whole situation. Anyway, My Father's Dragon is great.

====================================


One night at the hospital, our nurse was all of maybe 24 years old, in contrast to most of our grandmotherly nurses. She was very sweet but very rigid about rules. She asked me, "Did you sign the form to get the DTAP and flu vaccines?"

I said, "Yes, I'd like the flu vaccine. But not DTAP - I got that vaccine when our last baby was born, a year and a half ago."

She said, "It's standard procedure to give the DTAP vaccine with all births."
I said, "The other one is still good. I only got it nineteen months ago."
But she would not budge. In theory, the DTAP vaccine was my choice, but etiquette-wise it was fast becoming rudely confrontational for me to decline.

So I got re-vaccinated. That whooping cough will be positively repulsed by me.  My arm is really sore now.

====================================


How is Ace with the new baby? She points at him and pronounces "Baby!" triumphantly.  It makes me think that she may have actually realized what we were trying to tell her, back when she would point at my belly and say, "Baby!" in agreement with us.

Sometimes when Rascal is nursing, Ace comes over and says, "Baby all done. Baby all done," and points at his chair. So she makes her opinions known.

It looks like we dropped the baby in an anthill:

November 23, 2014 (1)

but that is just good old-fashioned newborn rash.

I am so happy and content to be on this side of life, not pregnant and home with a healthy baby. (What have we done.)

3 kittens

Hi Everybody!

Posted on 2014.11.21 at 09:47
Introducing Rascal Geebie! Born on Tuesday, 8:41 pm. Weighing 8 lbs, 7 oz, and 21" long.

November 19, 2014 (2)

"I was born in the same room of the hospital as Hokey Pokey," says Rascal.

3 kittens

Birthright to assimilation

Posted on 2014.11.16 at 08:08
It looks like I made it to 40 weeks. In your face, doubters. Procreators are gonna procreate.

I actually went to xfit for the entire 40 weeks. I am much more muscular going into this L&D than I've been with the last three, for whatever that's worth - I assume not much.

Look what Panisdead made for us:

November 16, 2014 (1)

This complements the three exquisite hats she made last year, for the three existing children:

December 7, 2013 (17)

Seriously, her hats are the most gorgeous.  In addition, she must understand my need for symmetry and completeness.

A different friend gave us this print after Ace was born, when we had three children:

November 16, 2014 (2)

I love this print, but my very first thought was, "But where is our fourth bear cub?"   It eats away at me that it has  only three bear cubs. (My plan is to scan and print out a fourth bear cub, and tape it somewhere on the glass.)

Mimi arrived on Thursday, and my mom arrives on Sunday.

*****

Charleycarp is an Unfogged commenter who is amazing with the internet. I asked if he wanted to hunt down my grandfather, and he dug in.

The family story goes: (oh, I've used pseudonyms for this before. I suppose I should look them up. Here I called my grandfather M. Aaron, and my grandmother Beatrix.) M. Aaron was always super secretive about his past. At that link, I told the story of an old newspaper article alleging that M. Aaron Lastname and Beatrix were divorcing, a few years before they supposedly had even met each other.

Now Charleycarp has turned up copious evidence that M. Aaron basically changed his identity altogether. Not a farm kid from upstate New York who was protecting my grandmother from antisemitism (as the story went), but a Jewish kid from Manhattan who married a different woman, also named Beatrix, and divorced her, and then married my grandmother.

But I thought he was part French, Scottish, and English? And I thought he brought Christmas to Beatrix and her family, who doggedly did not celebrate anything - even birthdays - out of a dedication to Communism? And that my mother one time found a family bible? (And, most ludicrously, that he could trace his ancestry to Mayflower times.)

Nope - Charleycarp produced a senior in high school photo of M. Weitzman, and it is absolutely one and the same person as my grandfather.

High School portrait, alone

So our beloved grandfather was actually Jewish along with everybody else, all along. And had a brief first marriage. (The beloved part is real, not scare-quotated. People uniformly revered his wisdom. They rave about his wisdom and gentle demeanor. He sounds like a deeply lovely person.)

(I would like to someday be considered wise and gentle, but I'd have to sacrifice being a cold jerk with great boundaries. It's a trade-off, perhaps not worth it.)

My mom arrives in town tomorrow.  I think she would want to see a photo of her father as a teenager. Without the photo, I'm not sure she'd want to know the rest. I'm going to try to broach the topic kindly, sensitively.

This raises a lot of complicated issues of identity and religion. My grandmother and my mother are two dyed-in-the-wool assimilationists. My mom will say things like, "I just love Christmas carols!" out of the blue, with no prompting. If Passover comes up, she'll (predictably) say, "I just think it's so awful to have a holiday based on the murder of all first-born sons." (Uh, yes, that is a part of the Passover story, and no I'm not going to defend some complicated Old Testament epic, but Mom, it really is a bit odd to focus on that one gory detail.) And my grandmother, with her awful "Why don't the Jews embrace Jesus?" entrapment.  Pity be the fool who thought they could easily field that bomb.

My grandmother had one daughter, who had one daughter, me. My grandmother dumped stuff on my mom, which then got dumped on me, which no one else in the family seems aware of. The uncles, the brothers, the cousins - they all easily say they're ethnically Jewish but not religious. I alone seem to carry the burden of all this assimilation and asterisks and fraudulence, so that when asked my heritage, my most honest answer is "I practice Fraudulence." I can't say Jewish without cringing, even though I say it anyway.

One pillar of their claim to assimilation has always been M. Aaron. He was a pastor's son! My mom grew up with Christmas! (and Christmas carols.) Mom is ethnically only half-Jewish. Where as I, being all of three-fourths, should have felt perfectly comfortable claiming a Jewish heritage, but again, the burden of assimilation, and Christmas carols. To deny my assimilation and fraudulence is to deny the gentle wisdom of M. Aaron.

With that photo above, M. Aaron's ethnicity has now been flipped upside down. It undercuts the premise of a lot of identity shit that's trickled down on me. I'm not sure what to make of it. My mom may find this very upsetting. (But I'm sure she'd want to see the photo.)

*****

I've got my normal accumulation of Silly Things the Kids Said, but somehow I think I'll here.

3 kittens

Pretty deft with the shoes

Posted on 2014.11.08 at 20:54
Jammies took all three kids to Kansas yesterday, for his cousin's wedding. I cannot imagine flying with a five, three, and one year old, but Jammies is amazing.

My goal is not to talk to a single person for three days. So far I'm off to a great start! (I didn't used to be quite this anti-social. I was more balanced, but both pregnancy and living in a rambunctious household have heightened the Go Away Everybody side of me.)

I am so deeply relaxed. All is quiet and still and probably holy and bright. If I were a holy-observing-type.

1.
November 8, 2014 (4)

Hawaii can suddenly read, and with inflections and such. She was reading Hop on Pop the other day, and she got to this page:

November 8, 2014 (13)

She stared at it for a beat, and said, "But 'wet' and 'git' don't rhyme."

Oh god my kids are Texan. (Why don't Texans pronounce 'wet' as 'wit'? I declare thee inconsistent, O Texas, along with the rest of the English language.)

(For the record, she can read harder stuff than Hop on Pop. I mean, who cares, except that it's been neat to watch it suddenly click into place.)

Have a montage:

November 8, 2014 (3) November 8, 2014 (2) November 8, 2014 (1)

Hawaii has gotten a ton of frowny faces, since the kick-off penis event. On the one hand, it's all for goofing off and being rambunctious - the same sort of thing I got in trouble for - and she still seems happy and excited to go to school.

On the other hand, we checked with some of our friends who have first and second graders, and they uniformly said, "What? I don't think our kid has ever gotten anything but a happy face."  Either Hawaii's behavior is way outside the norm, or her teacher just plays fast and loose with the frowny faces.

2.
November 8, 2014 (5)

Ace has had several nightmares lately. In general, we're pretty strict overnight about what gets us out of bed, and even stricter about what gets you actually picked up out of your crib. These nightmares have been sufficiently bad that we've picked her up to comfort her.

What are these nightmares about? She is wailing and crying and crying out, "MINE! MIIIIINE! My wawa!" or "My mommy! Mine!" or "My apple! MINE," and so on, cycling through the many objects that someone (presumably Hawaii and Pokey) is trying to take away from her. So distressing and adorable! What a nightmare!

And here is her montage:

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Someone is a whiz with a pair of shoes. Actually, she's quite deft even at putting on her own shoes.

3. Pokey is now wearing a cast:

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He fell off a playscape on Monday. He wore a splint for a few days, and then the orthopedist put a cast on him on Wednesday, saying "It might be fractured. With kids, you see these shadows on the x-ray, and you have to play it safe."

Wednesday was also the first day of soccer practice. We were braced for epic tears from Pokey, over missing soccer. But he was rather chipper and upbeat, mostly because the two of us were spending the afternoon exclusively together. Also the actual injury seems to be exhausting to him - he's sleeping a ton, so I assume his body is working on healing or some other woo-science.

Now: Jammies is coaching two teams - Hawaii's and Pokey's - since the kiddie league is chronically short on volunteers.   (Hawaii doesn't much want to play, and is already in an absurd amount of activities. But...I mean...soccer and one more why not...)

And Pokey, with fractured arm, will miss most of the season. So Jammies is essentially stuck coaching two soccer teams for one remaining Hawaii (who does not want to play), during the month in which he is also having a new baby. It seems a little suburban-Kafkaesque.

Here's Hokey Pokey's montage:

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This is when we were waiting for them to put the cast on. You can see he's not using that one arm, so I guess he's not faking after all.

........

One more week. It's starting to seem like some day I really won't be pregnant.

Watching Hawaii's piano teacher teach drives me nuts.  About halfway through the lesson, they turn to some new pieces. She basically asks Hawaii to sightread the new piece, and she wants to focus on dynamics, legato, holding your hands in the right position, etc.

This is ridiculous, of course. Sightreading itself is hard. So while Hawaii is concentrating as hard as she can on figuring out the next notes, the teacher ends up just telling her the next note to play, to keep the song going. This is the part that drives me nuts - that Hawaii is seeing the music for the first time, and the teacher is basically too impatient to let Hawaii figure the notes out on her own.

It's just such a terrible trait in a math teacher - to feed a student answers, instead of twiddling your thumbs while they work through it themselves. Maybe it's not the end of the world in a piano teacher, but it drives me nuts.

The obvious solution is to invert the process - Hawaii should see the song for the first time at home, where she can learn the notes at her own speed, and then at the lesson they can focus on technique and so on. Unfortunately, that sounds like a terrible conversation for me to undertake with the teacher. Easier for me just to let it go. So, go.

Look what I'm doing today:

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Here is a soul-deadening aspect of parenting, if you aren't a parent: Each spring and fall, we undertake pruning all the kids' closets, packing up all the clothes, getting out all the hand-me-downs, and re-populating all the closets for the new season.

This is the first purge-and-repopulate where I've ever been able to get rid of clothes. Last spring, we didn't know the gender of the last baby, so we were still stuck saving all the clothes. But now I can get rid of nearly two years worth of explicitly-girl clothes. That's amazing.

This big pile of clothes is getting given away:

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I filled up five hefty bags of clothes to give away. Are you impressed?

3 kittens

Gone like yesterday.

Posted on 2014.11.02 at 19:23
Last week Hawaii got a bloody nose. A very mildly bloody nose - thin trickle, stopped nearly immediately - but still freaky to her. Then she got a scab, which tugged weird if she touched her nose. Then the scab became enmeshed in a big booger, which is when we had our showdown. I wanted the booger, bulging out of her nose, gone like yesterday. Hawaii swore it was the scab and it would hurt and bleed again.

First I thought, "Heebie, it's Hawaii's body. She gets to control her body." But then I realized: nope. Too gross. I told her (three days post-nosebleed) that if the booger wasn't gone by dinner time, I was yanking it out. (It was very loose-tooth-reminiscent.) And that was that, she got  it out. The end, and good for Hawaii.

(you get no photo.)

()()()()()()()()()()()

There is a show called Paw Patrol, which Hokey Pokey loves very much. "No, it's called Paw Patrol," I found myself pointlessly saying, "Paw as in puppy paws, and patrol as in a cop beat."

"No, it's called Pop a Troll," he countered, "Pop is another word for pup, and they catch bad guys. Pop a Troll." He won by attrition. Anyway, I find it imminently satisfying when two phrases are said the same - see my eternal substitution of Snoopies for snow peas.

November 2, 2014 (2)

Poor cricket died inside the gas pump register, spread open on his back like a taxonomist had his way. We can only assume he'll be there forever.

()()()()()()())()()()()()()

My sabbatical got unexpectedly more satisfying. I showed up to fake my way through yet another meeting - "Here is how much I understand, and here is how much I don't" - which isn't faking it, exactly, except that it's consistently misheard by L. as "I have a great grasp of the material and you should talk really fast for an hour." Then I record what he says, go home, listen and try to grasp it all, and show up the next week with questions.

Finally L. acknowledged that this is not exactly a productive sabbatical - I should be doing something new, not perpetually scrambling to catch up, or as he put it, "walking three paces behind, nodding and saying yes, yes, yes."  Which is actually a generous description.

As a full-fledged adult, I should actually be capable of finding my own research problems, but anything I can come up with would be too frankly babyish and uninteresting to hold L.'s attention.  This is basically why all my attempts at the beginning of the semester fizzled out - my ideas just sounded unappealing to L. (Of course, this is a terrible way for an advisor to behave. If a student hands you a shitty idea, you say something appreciative and try to salvage it with the student, any way you can. Nudge them on how to develop it, and let them struggle to come up with something better, built out of their own nugget.)  The point being: I'm not capable of finding my own research problem that is up to L.'s standards.

Last week, we acknowledged the futility of my eternally catching up, and I performed my best trick - let the silence grow and become uncomfortable. (You should always do this trick, when you want something from someone. Customer service representative? Let the silence stretch. Break all social norms on dead space. Someone with information you need? Just be quiet with a pleasant, expectant expression on your face. Let them squirm. Be one with eternity.)

With L, it is actually not manipulative at all, because he most likely that doesn't notice, and just gets buried in his own thoughts. But finally, he spoke, and had a fully formed new idea for me to explore. Oh thank god.

Coming up with ideas off the top of your head is a neat trick. I can do this for undergraduate research, so it's not a crazy trick, but god am I glad that he just finally coughed up a problem for me to work on. And that is why I'm enjoying myself - I have a new problem to work on.

()()()()()()()()()()()

We carved pumpkins for Halloween. (Not me. I probably took a nap.)

1. Hawaii named her's Priy, pronounced "pry", and actually did all the carving herself. Below the face, she actually carved the letters P-R-I-Y.

2. Pokey wanted a messy face, so he drew some squiggles on the cheeks, and Jammies kind of carved them out.

3. Ace drew on hers with markers.

4. Jammies carved his with a power drill in all of twenty seconds, so done with the project was he, by that point.

A lesser parent would dutifully post pictures of each of these pumpkins, but I am not that dedicated to duty. Plus I don't have them convenient.

They rotted extra-quick in the unusually warm October air. They molded over, and swarmed with gnats, and stunk. We threw them out.  They lasted three days, not even to Halloween.

November 2, 2014 (1)

Jammies' minimalist pumpkin. Legitimately gross! Those eyes are black with rot. The gnats are super-swarmy. Eventually they collapsed in on themselves and we euthanized them.

On Halloween itself, I poked some fake fingers through a t-shirt and put on some fake blood. (Not my real costume, just my Crossfit costume.)

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Hokey Pokey started crying when he saw me. "I don't like it," he wept, "I don't like it." I showed him it was fake and lifted up the shirt, but he still wouldn't come close. I felt kind of awful.

At Xfit, everyone (predictably) swooned and loved my costume. They're young college kids, and obviously old pregnant mom is too stodgy to do something like this, and I played them like a fiddle.

For Halloween proper, Hawaii was Brave Merida, Pokey was a teenage mutant ninja turtle, and Ace was Elmo:

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Oh kids, you are cute.

For Halloween proper, I was the Bee Girl, from the weenie group Blind Melon twenty years ago:

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All I can say is that my life was pretty plain, until I got knocked up.

November 2, 2014 (7)

Jammies' costume was Given Up. He wore a sign around his neck that said so, and was adorned by kid and baby crap, and generally looked beaten down by life. A photo would be nice, Heebie! Maybe later, when I acquire one.

I suppose I've given up all pretense of anonymity over this past year, and am just recklessly posting photos of myself now. A few things have changed over the years: one, I'm tenured. Two, pre-Facebook, the narcissism of blogs was looked at like a minor perversion. But now all sorts of shlubs are over-sharing, and it has become normalized. Being caught isn't quite as terrifying as it used to be, largely because I doubt anyone would care much now.

(I don't want to be caught. My main concern is that knowing my audience in real life would make it harder to write freely. I do not feel very free on Facebook. But if I were, the world would not end.)

How much longer will you be pregnant, Heebie?
Two more weeks.
Two more weeks.
Two more weeks.

Today is the very last weekend day when I have to parent, pregnant, without extra grandparents around. Next weekend, Jammies (poor bastard) will take the kids to Kansas. By the following weekend, at least one grandparent should be in town to help out.

And then we can sit around and stare at me expectantly for days, while I lumber around, all eyes waiting until I produce a baby. I love that part.

3 kittens

A couple of blue-hairs

Posted on 2014.10.26 at 10:03
Three more weeks of being pregnant! Ever, in my life!
Obviously not, because:
1. None of the babies have arrived on their due date. Hawaii and Ace were about five days late, Pokey was two days late.

2. It's conceivable that I could get accidentally pregnant in the future. I'm full of Never Again! statements about pregnancy, like "I will never fly pregnant again!" and "I will never be pregnant in the summertime again!" and my little superego homunculus has to insert an asterisk, and remind me that I could always get accidentally pregnant. What would I do, abortion-wise, if I got accidentally pregnant? I'd probably get one. But let's really, really assume that we won't have to cross that bridge.  The point: Humor me with my never again statements; I am clinging to them at the moment.

(Three more weeks and then never again! Nine more pregnant Xfit classes! Never again will I lumber around with this medicine ball belly. I will have energy and spark and be effervescent. Never again, maternity clothes. It's hard to overstate how much I loathe maternity clothes.)(And since I basically did not lose any weight after Ace, I will be able to fit right back into those clothes, at least.)

(I will only have my ladyparts for about eighteen more months, before oophorectomies and mastectomies render this fear of pregnancy moot. So it is reasonable not to fret unnecessarily about getting pregnant accidentally.)

The eldest:

Hawaii got her first frowny face at kindergarten.  She wrote the word "penis" on the board. Isn't that great? Then she got in more trouble for smirking and having an attitude when the teacher talked to her and her partner-in-crime. That part is not so great, but exactly what five-year-old Heebie would have done in that situation, too.

The next day she got another frowny face, this time for nothing interesting - being disruptive at music class, that sort of thing.  After two months of anxiety-driven best behavior, clearly Hawaii now feels at home at kindergarten.

The middlest:

Pokey: "We don't drink ink because ink is a paint."  Good advice!

Pokey also has an imaginary friend, a squirrel named Cutie.

On the whole, Pokey is doing a bit better with anger management. He still explodes, but he seems to get the strategies that his teacher is working with him on.  She has taught him to get a stress ball, or something sanctioned to destroy, and calm himself down by tearing at the destructible object.  At school, he'll regulate the whole process by himself.

At home, we've kind of half-assed supplying him with these stress relievers. We've got a bucket with some plastic poppers and stress balls in it, but frankly: when the teacher was rattling off useful stress relievers, they all sounded terribly messy. "Give him strips of cardboard to tear up! Give him a balloon filled with sand! Set up a water table! Moon sand out of flour and I forget!" and so on. All these wonderful tactile things and all they sound like to me is giant messes to be cleaned up.

Also the cat eats plastic, so the bucket is high up on a cabinet where Pokey can't reach it, at the moment. Because we're model parents.

Jammies took the big kids to watch a women's soccer game. Pokey spent the entire two hours practicing the following soccer move: you put your foot on top of the ball, then pull your foot back and roll the ball on your foot, so that you can kick it up in the air. He sometimes does it, sometimes fails, but I'm just pleased as punch that he practiced it for two hours straight.

(Jammies is, too. Jammies is more passionate than I am about sports. As a ten year old on the football field, his coach would occasionally yank him off and bark "JAMMIES! WHY ARE YOU CRYING!" and Jammies would breathlessly respond, aggressively swiping the tears away, "Put me back in coach! Nothing's wrong! I'm just worked up! I want to play!")

The littlest:

Is so delightful and happy. And a ham.  Ace calls Hawaii "Ree-ree" and Pokey "Mahl". Which are loosely derivative of their real names, but mostly I'm just recording these so I don't forget them.

When Hokey Pokey was born, Hawaiian Punch was nineteen months old.  I wasn't particularly worried about displacing her because she was so tightly bonded with Jammies.  When Ace was born, Hokey Pokey was two and a half years old. I was a bit worried about him, but he was old enough to talk to.  Next month, when new baby arrives, Ace will be nineteen months old. She is equally bonded to me and Jammies both, and has no clue what is coming, and I'm a bit sad about displacing her. It's a little heart-breaking.

Here's a thing I muse about: Pokey and Hawaii have a full, complex sibling relationship.  Ace is just now starting to have relationships with each of them, but for the most part she's a baby still.  So right now there is one intact sibling relationship.

Someday there will be SIX sibling relationships! Hawaii-Pokey, Hawaii-Ace, Hawaii-New baby, Pokey-Ace, Pokey-New baby, and Ace-New baby. That is a lot of complexity yet to come.

The imminentest:

I'm super excited to cuddle a little newborn during the winter months. Such a cozy state. I love Thanksgiving and pretending that the weather is cold. I bought swaddles, orangey-yellow and brown. They seemed like fall colors and also old-fashioned football team colors.

Remember the tension between pregnancy ending and sabbatical ending? That  the former necesitates the latter, but only one of them makes me happy?  The arrival of new baby is trumping the end of the sabbatical. I'm more excited for the new baby and end of pregnancy than I am unhappy about going back to work.

Going back to work will be okay. The only part I'll hate is trying to make time to pump milk at work. That is awful.

Our old secretary got transferred, and we got a new building secretary.  She signs all her emails "Have a blessed day!" so I assumed she was in her fifties.

On Friday I met the new secretary, who turned out to be a be-pierced PYT of about 25 years old.  Who signs her emails for us to have a blessed day? Weirdo. Anyway, she seemed sharp and helpful.

The Jammies:

On the plane last weekend, Jammies sat in between Hawaii and Pokey, and had Ace on his lap. I sat across the aisle by myself. Ace went back and forth between the two of us, but truly Jammies took three kids on the plane and let me sleep.

The reasons I love Jammies pre-date his super-human parenting and household skills. He was great before we shared a household and started to raise kids, and I wanted to spend my days with him for all the personality and appealing things specific to Jammies.

But! Good lord, the super-human parenting and household skills are amazing. I don't want to reduce him to those service-based personality traits, but I don't want to take those parts for granted, either.

(It's a good thing he can handle all three on a plane, because he's taking all three to his cousin's wedding in Kansas in two weeks. I am not attending that wedding. Never again will I fly pregnant!)

More about me!

I stopped running at Xfit. I managed to run until last week, when I bailed three-quarters of the way through a mile.  I feel pretty good about all this.

I mentioned to my dad that I've been putting on muscle, that my old personal best records are currently easy for me. He confirmed that this could be due to pregnancy - "You've got extra androgen in your system, along with everything else. You could easily be putting on extra muscle, if you're lifting weights."

I got very excited. "Tell me," I asked, "Will I keep all the muscle, if I keep up this training, post-partum?"

"Of course not," he said, dismissively. "You'll go back to your pre-pregnancy muscle mass, from training alone. You won't keep any boost you're getting from the androgen."

I find this unbearably depressing. Nine months of killing myself, and it's not going to make much of a difference post-partum, compared to my other pregnancies where I half-assedly used the elliptical machine for nine months.

Even more about me.

Occasionally I'll get asked, "Is this your first?" (meaning my first pregnancy, baby, etc.) I don't get asked it very much, probably because I'm 36 and have no zing left in my step. I remember getting asked it a lot more, six years ago.

Anyway, this time I have an answer all lined up: "No, it's my last!" which I think is hilarious but no one else cracks up very much.  Until Friday! I was at Joann's Fabrics, being chatted up by two old ladies, and they duly asked if this was my first. With a celebratory fist pump, I wryly delivered my line, and they both cracked up and laughed really hard. (I was so pleased. All I want in life is for people to laugh at my jokes.)

I wonder if it spoke to them on some generational level - "when we raised our kids, everyone knew it was a shit job, but today's parents all pretend that it's rainbows and Pinterest boards" - and so struck them as the right sensibility. (I really wanted to call them "a couple of blue-hairs" in the paragraph above, but that would obscure the story and be bad narrating. Perhaps that can be the post title.)

I'm 36 and have no zing left in my step. How has motherhood changed me? I used to have more interest and energy in being whimsical and sparky.  I'm still very silly, but not so...youthful.  I'm more like a pillow now - if you make the effort to come sit on me, I'll engage and be fun and silly.  But I'm not going to get off the couch and put myself out there.

I'm not unhappy with this evolution. Just saying that most of my time and energy is responsive instead of proactive, if that makes sense.

Oh and:

When we were flying home last weekend, the bride texted me: her parents had each written her a letter, running about five pages, which she described as "horrifying and cruel".  The letters had been in the mailbox for a day or two, but neither the bride nor her fiance had bothered to check the mail. Clearly they were intended to be read on or just before her wedding day.

This is just shockingly cruel. I can't imagine setting out to wreck your child's joyful day. I know her parents pretty well - they came to visit a lot when we were in graduate school - and they were loving, supportive, and so on. What I mean is that they haven't been alienated from each other aside from this one, gay issue.  But holy shit, way to scorch and salt the ground behind you, parents. 

3 kittens

Heebie the Bridesmaid

Posted on 2014.10.18 at 11:38
Another weekend, another wedding trip. This time we're in Atlanta, and my dear friend is getting married. I'm a bridesmaid, not wearing this:

October 18, 2014 (1)

because it is heinous. (Jammies: "It looks like you have no neck.") The online photo pretended I'd look like this:

October 18, 2014 (2) October 18, 2014 (3)

(Now I'm mid-dispute with the credit card company and the sellers. You are going to take your fucking heinous dress back, bitches, and refund my money. For a long time they refused to give me a return address. Eventually I spent $40 mailing the dress back to China. It is still in transit, or maybe disappeared forever.)

Instead I'm wearing this:

[Maybe I'll insert a picture, later. Right now I'm fed up with pictures of myself.]

Sure, fine.

Hawaii is wearing this:

October 18, 2014 (9)

as the flower girl, and Hokey Pokey is wearing this:

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as the ring-bearer. So you can see we are all in.

For the bachelorette party:

We went to a Korean spa, the kind where you are naked and get manhandled. First we were given hospital scrubs, essentially, for the coed areas. There were six saunas in the coed area, which were beautiful. Little huts with ceilings of embedded amythists and jade and white stones.

I didn't take photos, because please, but snagged these from their website:

October 18, 2014 (4)   October 18, 2014 (5)

The floors were all heated.

Then there's the naked parts. In the gender-segregated areas, you can soak in hot tubs, roast under heat lamps, shower, or enter the body scrub arena. The body scrub area had about 15 masseuse tables, with older women scraping and buffing away on other women. "See how red that woman's skin is?" the bride pointed out, as we walked by. The woman in question was lying on her side, and her back was white on the yet-unscrubbed parts, and lobster-red on the already-scrubbed parts.

I was very apprehensive about the body scrubs. I don't like being touched, I don't like being naked, I don't like being scraped, and so on. On the other hand, I like to talk about things I tried one time.  Also, maybe they'd scrub the zits off my upper arms and thighs.

I got naked, and felt self-conscious, and signed up on a dry erase board. Then we were supposed to soak for a while. The women who work there will bark at you to get back in the tub if you try to emerge too soon. I'm not really supposed to soak in hot tubs, so as not to cook the baby, but they did not hassle me about getting fully submerged.

When our numbers were called, we were taken to our tables. Our scrubbers were clad in bra-and-panties sets. They had big bowls of warm water which they sloshed over the tables to keep the plastic slippery and us, too. They put wash rags over our eyes, as though we were about to relax. Or maybe to hide the carnage.

It was not relaxing. It was abrasive and unpleasant. The scrubbers used loofah-ish oven mitts and went over the same skin again and again and again. As you rolled from side to side, per instructions, you could see yourself become covered in little gray serpentines of dead skin. They seemed to focus most on the thinnest skin - side of your breast, underarm and under-belly of upper arm, etc.

Eventually she switched to a soapy washcloth. After that there was a quick massage. Of the three: loofah mitt, washcloth, and hands, my favorite is a washcloth. Now I know.

Then there was a painful hairwashing (why? Quit yanking my scalp) and then we were done. Now I know better and will never be scrubbed again. (The bride did admit that she enjoyed the scrub and found it relaxing.)

I did feel smoother and softer afterwards? maybe? Let's pretend I did.

The next day (Friday) was dedicated to decorating the venue:

The venue is an aerial dance studio, because the bride does aerial dance. So she invited us to start the day with an introductory class in aerial ballet.

Each person got two long silk(?) lengths of fabric, suspended from the ceiling. We tied the two strips in a knot in the bottom, as a seat, so that you couldn't really fall out.  First you put the knot against your lower back, and lurch back and forth, using the knot as the fulcrum and yourself as the see-saw.

If you keep rocking, then you end up upside-down, with your legs outside of the fabric so that you are supported by the fabric as it cuts across your thighs. I did get upside down, which I was very proud of.

From being upside down, if you straighten your legs and wrap them this way and that in a knot, then your legs are your anchors. You then pull yourself up and over your legs, to the standard sitting position that one does fancy tricks from.

I followed instructions, and had some assistance, and got up above my knotted legs.

October 18, 2014 (6)

Lumbering but up in the air. (Maybe I actually don't have a neck, in real life.)

Everyone took a lot of photos, which we then admired.  Every time we got to the lurching manatee wearing my clothes, tied up in the ropes, I felt self-conscious, compared to all these lithe, slim contorting bodies.

Today I am a bit bruised and sore, but kind of pleased with myself.  (At crossfit, I have become some sort of unwilling class mascot. People cheer as I lumber around, or run my last lap with me. I get that they're being nice but I also want to disappear.)

Before we left for the trip, I met with my former advisor, L. Since he knows the bride, we started chatting about her wedding.  I mentioned that her (conservative, awful) parents are not attending the wedding, because the groom is also a bride.

L. said "I can understand that," and I was shocked. I sort of went after him, asking him what the problem was, and he basically shrugged and said "If one of my kids ends up marrying someone of the same sex, I'll be there and support them, but it's not what I want for them." He said it grossed him out. I really thought there were taboos against that kind of confession, amongst self-identified liberal people.  I mean, taboos don't mean the problem is gone, but I had a secondary surprise that he felt so comfortable disclosing his homophobia to me.

Today is the wedding itself. I wrote a toast, which I'm not at all clear on whether or not I'm supposed to give, but better to be prepared.

Yesterday was also Jammies' and my five year anniversary. Both of us forgot, entirely.  (Not entirely - we exchanged gifts and went out to dinner last week. But on the actual day, it escaped us.)

He got me this watch:

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which is exactly what I wanted. I got him this iced coffee cup:

October 18, 2014 (8)

and he also got himself some sort of gadgety speaker thing.

(Jammies is truly the best, in every sense (sexual sharknado) and I am unfailingly happy to be married to him. Here's to five more years!)

Several things I failed to write about, when they were current:

From my visit with Grandma: she asked me if I knew a song, which she sang for me. I didn't, but I remember she sang it to Hawaiian Punch when Hawaii was a very little baby.

Then I remembered I had the internet in my pocket, and so I looked it up. It turned out to be "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree" by the Andrews Sisters. From 1948:



She sang another song, which turned out to be "Show Me the Way to Go Home" by Frank Crumit, 1926:



Show me the way to go home. I'm tired and I wanna go to bed.
I had a little drink about an hour ago, and it's gone right to my head.


We both marvelled over technology. It is surreal that a dotty old intellectual can retain a few scant phrases from her youth, and my magic little pocket-computer can almost instantly find and play the song for us.

***

When my parents were in town (in June), my mom commented, "I was noticing during story time last night that Jammies' reading has gotten so much better!"  On the one hand, there's a kernel of truth. When Hawaii was born, Jammies probably hadn't  read aloud in decades, and he was probably more monotonic and stumbling than he is now. But on the much funnier hand, she basically called out Jammies for being quasi-illiterate, and then doggedly maintained that she was paying him a compliment when I started laughing.

(There is something essential about my mother being conveyed in that story. About trying to frame a complicated statement as a compliment, and then absolutely refusing to deviate from her position that she'd been saying something kind. But mostly, it's just really funny.)

****

Oct 12, 2014 (1)

Once I cleaned off the blood, it just looked like an eye. But underneath that lid of gold is a nice corneal abrasion.

*****

We upgraded Hawaii to a booster seat, so she uses a regular seatbelt instead of a five point harness. She can now let herself in and out of the car. (Before she could buckle in, but unbuckling required a bit too much hand strength.)  It's so...independent. It's like having an adult in the car. I just pull up to the curb, and she joins me on the sidewalk, like a person. It's stunningly simple.

Lately Hokey Pokey talks about manhole covers a lot. This is due to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Manhole covers are everywhere, but only some of them are used by our Heroes in a Half Shell as entry points to the maze of underground tunnels.

I'm always tempted to pose the question, "Why are manhole covers round?" to him, but I don't think Pokey is old enough to understand the answer, which is "It's the only shape that can't pass through itself." In other words, you can't drop a manhole cover down the tunnel, but if it were square, then you could mistakenly let it fall through - the diagonal of the hole would permit a side of the square fall through. If that makes sense.

*******

Oct 12, 2014 (2)

Hokey Pokey hams it up, after finishing a big puzzle at school.

*******

I think it's called adaptive hedonism? Where you get used to big improvements in your life, and they don't make you as happy as you think they will? Ie, a few weeks after you get the raise or build the addition, and you get used to it and go back to your baseline of happiness. The cheeseball self-improvement articles always wrap up such discussions with an admonition that you ought not wait to live your life until [X] happens. Live your life now, they exhort. We've all been exhorted: don't wait until you achieve [X] to start your life. Life is a journey, blah blah blah.

I feel like life will start when I have this baby, a little bit. (Because I'm a maverick! Bucking the self-help articles!) Just: such a big landmark! All forseeable members of our family will be present and accounted for.

(Maybe it's due to being the youngest child myself: the family started before I arrived, and I was vaguely jealous and sad that in the photos, they seem to be so happy and content without me. Once I was born, I can supply my own memories, and everything becomes more decidedly mixed. They should have waited for me to start the party, and then it should have actually been a party.)

Another landmark in my head is when I turn 40, partly because a bunch of friends are turning 40 now. When we turn 40, new baby will be 3. Hawaii will be 9. We'll have all kids and no toddlers or babies, all of a sudden. It seems like a stark division between life stages.

*****
Ace is so much fun. So happy.


Oct 12, 2014 (5) Oct 12, 2014 (6)

I am at war with my body. The starkest moment is trying to roll from one side to the other, in bed. It's when it most feels like a big, heavy medicine ball, tugging at your skin, and you need your arms to hoist it up and over your body to the other side.

*******

Oct 12, 2014 (4) Oct 12, 2014 (3)

We goof off in the shower, before swim lessons.

*******

When Jammies' aunt died (in July), we went to Kansas (as you may recall). Jammies' aunt has a granddaughter, H, who is six years old.  The granddaughter and Hawaii get along very well.

The granddaughter was in good spirits for the first few days we were there. After the burial, at the reception, the granddaughter broke down, inconsolable, sobbing, the whole nine yards. She had been very close with her grandmother. It was really heartbreaking to watch this child grieve.

Then a few months passed. Then Mimi told Jammies some more details.

[Hawaii: I need to interrupt this story and talk to you, directly, should you be reading this.  You're about to read about some damage that you did, as a five year old. I can imagine you feeling awful. To the rest of us, your role is innocent.  At worst, you wanted H to appreciate your knowledge, because you liked her so much and were devoted. To the rest of us, you are a player in an awful story, but not a culpable one. Social etiquette around death is too complicated for a five year old to grasp.]

It turns out, that at the burial, when the little girls were crouching by each other, Hawaii was whispering, "That's your grandmother in the box. Those are her ashes. She's all burned up and her ashes are in that box." And so on. The granddaughter revealed in the months since that this is what triggered the meltdown.

Ack. Oh god, what a mess, and I'm so sorry. We have not shared this with Hawaii (until now! HI SWEETIE) because it's been months, and she wasn't trying to be hurtful, and maybe we'll talk about it before she next sees the granddaughter, in constructive guideline terms.

Listen: I'm pretty conflicted about recording this story here. Although I've told it elsewhere. Elsewhere, it has the tone of a forehead-smacking KIDS! AMIRITE! lament. Those kids and their inability to grasp the subtleties of death-related etiquette!

But here, it's being recorded permanently, and maybe this story should not be remembered permanently. Maybe it should be buried and forgotten. Not just for Hawaii's sake, although her feelings are my priority here, but because the whole story is stark and sad - the grief of a child, the missteps of another child - and why keep it alive? Maybe with time it will turn back into a forehead-slapping lament, even here, even to Hawaii, but I'm not confident of that.

I suppose I'm including this out of a desire to adhere to reality. You take the good, you take the bad, you sing the theme songs, etc.  Life makes you cringe, and you want to use those parts to set off the beautiful parts.

3 kittens

Crying about my cornea

Posted on 2014.10.05 at 09:52
Greetings from Vegas. Aren't I a little travel-pants. You see: we are knee-deep in wedding season, where we actually have six weddings to attend within twelve months. Lots of happy couples.  Three of them are in this last six weeks of me being pregnant; I will not be attending that last of the three.

This Vegas one is one of Jammies' very best friends, but I don't know anyone here.  I'm just screwing around in the hotel room because I'm antisocial.

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Mimi is watching the kids this weekend. She is truly a national treasure.

The hotel room's minibar says that you have 60 seconds to investigate the ingredient list of any item from the minibar before your room is charged for the item, so you can bet I'm whooping it up in 55 second intervals. Also, there is a $25 surcharge for keeping personal items in the minibar fridge. Fuck your leftovers!

I had some fun with photoshopping, because VEGAS BABY living it up:

September 27, 2014 (3.1)   September 27, 2014 (3)


The linen missing TV is kind of growing on me, to be honest.

**************

Three of my afternoons each week are spent screwing around on an uncomfortable bench while Hawaii is at her piano lesson, or dance class, or swimming lesson with Hokey Pokey. All three of these places are so fucking uncomfortably hot. It's invariably 90° out, the room is not necessarily air conditioned, and to be honest I am sweating through my clothes at 75°, in my distended state.


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At my OB appointment, she solicited complaints and so I told her that I'm really fucking boiling hot, constantly.  Dr. K responded as though I were a travelling Yankee: "Oh, we're used to the heat down here! This isn't even the worst of it!"

She went on and on, and I was exasperated. First, I've lived in Texas for fourteen years. Before that, I was mostly in Florida. I'm fully acclimated. But I don't expect her to remember all that. What I expect her to remember is that she's actively listening to the heatbeat of an 8 month old fetus that resides inside my core, while chiding me for my yankee-hood.

"You twat, you're not pregnant" is what I should have said, but instead I just said "This is different..." which is both weak and not even grammatically coherent.

The one solace I have is the wind-tunnel strength ceiling fan, in our bedroom.  It's the best.



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About 4 am, Thursday morning, I was actually chilly, and so I reached up to turn off the wind-tunnel fan, using the wall switch. In doing so, I knocked my iPad off the headboard, which fell on my face. The corner of cover - a stitched leather hem - landed on my open eyeball. I shrieked and moaned and fell back asleep.

In the morning, there was dried blood around my eye and it hurt horribly bad. I came to believe there was a flap of cornea which sometimes laid flat, and was tolerable, but then would flip up, and was excruciating. Periodically I had to pause and just sit and wait out the horrible pain. (We were supposed to fly to Vegas that afternoon.)

I got an appointment with an opthamologist. "A nice corneal abrasion!" he confirmed. I tearfully told him how excruciating it was, and he put some magic drops in my eye that numbed it up.

"What we do with this is give you some numbing drops and some antibiotics. I just want to go look up whether these things are contraindicated for pregnancy," he said, and left me alone for ten minutes while I deeply enjoyed my newly numbed up eye.

When he returned, he had that awkward lurching bad-news rhythm, and said something tepid like "In the absence of painkillers, the most important thing is to keep your eye from drying out. That's what makes it so painful."  My heart sank. Apparently magical numbing eye drops are made from prostaglandins, which is one of those things that induces labor, and so you don't get them in your last trimester.

My personal opinion is that this is bogus building-a-fence-around-the-rule. I mean, there are prostaglandins in semen, which is why they recommend sex to jumpstart labor, which they also say is not going to work particularly well, but have fun trying. If semen applied directly to the cervix barely does anything, I don't see how eye drops applied to my poor corneal abrasion would do anything either.

Let's all keep our jokes about applying semen to my eyeball to ourselves, shall we.
The point being that topical medicine doesn't tend to invade one's whole body very well.

But whatever, I'm not going to endanger this little baby, FINE. So I got nothing for the pain. My two options: an eye patch or a thick lube, to squeeze on my eyeball and help keep it moist.  (He did say that there was no little flap of cornea flapping around, the way I imagined. Just an abrasion.)

I tried both and hated both. Moisterizing drops seem to wreck my eyes' natural ability to water. They just get gummy, instantly. The lube was the same: gummy and dry, and I was quick to realize it was a terrible, terrible idea.

So next I patched myself up, as instructed. (At Walgreens: "Do you guys sell eye pads? I know it sounds like iPads, but I mean the other thing." They do.)  That was differently awful! My eye roamed around, under the patch, it was uncomfortable and I looked like a tool. It muddled my thinking to have an eye covered.

So natural was best. It's the only state in which my eye watered freely. Which caused my nose to run and gave me a light headache, as though I'd thrown a big tantrum. Time to head to the airport!


IMG_2782

I was exhausted and cranky and miserable. We flew Southwest with its asinine boarding policy, so we each got lovely middle seats and couldn't sit next to each other. I bounced my legs and cried and kept my eyes shut for most of the flight.

When we got off, Jammies was horrified: "Your eye looks really red." We had a brief scare about it getting infected, which would be the worst.

(The opthamologist had given me extensive instructions. "If it starts to feel worse, don't go to the ER. You need to call the ER and ask who the on-call opthamologist is. Get ahold of that person directly. If you go to the ER, they won't know how to treat it, and they'll do their best and then tell you to wait a couple days and go to an opthamologist. But this will get worse, fast, and you don't want to wait a couple days. You need to find an opthamologist who is willing to see you on the weekend, fast.")

It was just super dried out. The redness went mostly away when I applied a cold washrag. I went to sleep early, and the next day it felt much, much better. These things do heal fast, like everyone promised, but it's hard to believe it when you're steeling yourself for the worst.


IMG_2764

Here is a fun detail: I will presumably get a bill from the eye clinic, since I haven't yet met my $2K deductible. Yet if you remember, my OB made me prepay my $2K deductible, in preparation for the November delivery. The OB is presumably just housing this money - there hasn't yet been a bill to apply my money towards.

So when I get this bill, I will have to take it to my OB and politely ask for my money back, so I can pay these other people. Assholes, you seem to have stolen money that isn't owed to you. May I please have it back?

Observations about Vegas:
1. There are no hipsters here.  Which is odd because irony abounds.
2. There is no coffee maker in our room, but there is a scale.

Here are some light fixtures I've enjoyed:


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The wedding itself was lovely - the ceremony rang in at under ten minutes. I really like the bride and groom, and found the strangers basically easy to talk to. When I was done talking, no one cared because I'm eight months pregnant and everyone is happy to let the pregnant lady turn in at 8 pm.

Here is some general Vegas Sheesh:

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IMG_2781

Nope, nothing depressing to see here:

IMG_2780 IMG_2779

Sigfried and Roy's lions used to be housed in the lobby of the Mirage, which we found ourselves near. But now there is a small sanctuary, and they charge $20 to see the lions. And some cubs.  Which seems pricey if you hadn't also spent $30 on some frozen yogurt.

IMG_2774 IMG_2773


IMG_2767 IMG_2766

A nice carpet:

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and some nice carved emergency exit doors:

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The main problem with Vegas is their ability to charge you $30 for some cold hashbrowns with a straight face. Oh, did you want a side of toast? $50.

I'd like to clarify something: last week I said that my goal is to dress like a fancy lady from the 1960s. What is actually truer is this: during the winter, my goal is to dress like a fancy lady from the 1970s. The green purse happens to represent the 1960s, and I love it, but I'm compromising.  (In the summer, my goal is to look like some sort of maverick lady artist from the 1940s who lives in the southwest: rolled up cut-off jeans, perhaps ill-fitting, and men's plaid button-down shirts with the sleeves rolled up. I don't do turquoise jewelry, though.)(To what extent I achieve any of this is debatable.)

3 kittens

Pushing the button in the elevator

Posted on 2014.09.27 at 23:05
Here is a beautiful rug that I passed up:

September 27, 2014

It was priced at $1000 at an estate sale, and then reduced to $665 on the last day of the estate sale. That is a very reasonable price. But it is still a lot of money.

Here is a table of beautiful necklaces that I didn't pass up:

September 27, 2014 (2)

and here is a bag that I ordered off Etsy:

September 27, 2014 (5)

I love this bag so incredibly much that I fretted about it. Specifically, that I'd (neurotically) ration my use of the bag, and not use it, that I may save it for perfect occasions. So I ordered a back-up, for the sheer psychological relief. It's an inexpensive bag.

All I ever want is to feel like a fancy lady in the 1960s, without having to deal with crumbling, brittle lining and fussy, aging zippers. I do so love this bag.

When I'm pregnant I buy a lot of accessories. I suppose it's a rebellion against these shitty maternity clothes barely stretching over my distended, distorted self.

********

On Tuesdays I am now meeting with my former advisor, L. from graduate school. We've met twice now. Before we met, I was having a very lazy sabbatical, chock full of naps and guilt. Not unpleasant, but a bit slothful and indulgent.

Now I am having a very productive sabbatical, chock full of math and homework. Emotionally it is easier - no more guilt - but it's unpleasant in all the traditional back-to-school ways. I don't feel guilty anymore, but at what cost.

Three major things have changed, since I graduated in 2006.

1) L. published an introductory book in our obscure area. So there is now a resource, other than papers, to check for definitions and background and examples, and it's written for a graduate student audience, not a brilliant genius.

2) What with smartphones and apps, I can now record our meetings with only a modicum of embarrassment. Obviously recording devices existed in 2005, but it never occurred to me to go buy a dedicated tape recorder in order to record our meetings.

It took me two days to work through everything L. said in forty minutes on Tuesday and more-or-less understand what was going on, and be ready to tackle the problem he recommended.

In grad school, I generally embraced the idea that I was responsible for my own learning, and my failures to understand were my own, and so on. Now, trudging through the recording, it occurs to me to be angry at L. for talking so massively fast and being stupidly out-of-touch with how much I don't understand. I do try to ask questions. Generally for the first ten or fifteen minutes, I weakly ask for clarification. Asking a question just seems to redirect the fire hydrant of information in ways I can't connect to what confused me pre-question. After about fifteen minutes, I just give up and start nodding.

Now I listen (with shame) to the recording, my weak pathetic questions and his steamroll answers. Can't he hear how little I understand, and answer accordingly? This is not how you handle someone who is confused, and I feel angry about it in a way I didn't used to.  (On the other hand, Heebie, can't you just understand a bit better? Do keep up.)

On this coming Tuesday, I'm expected to do the talking, on the problem he recommended. "These other mathematicians and I got stuck on this point, and it was quite illuminating for us to work through this example. I recommend it." Ok, I can comply.  I'm a bit embarrassed at how poorly I will inevitably do.

3) The third thing that has changed is that I'm eight years older. In some ways I'm better at thinking about math, in some ways I've forgotten everything. Maybe this is a net wash.

Here's what will happen: I will sort of understand this stuff in the next seven weeks, and then I will have a baby and be done. At some point, I will ask L. a question, a naively complicated question.  He will chuckle or something, and acknowledge that that area is poorly understood. Then he will go home and come up with a bunch of new theorems which elucidate this area. He will write these up into a paper, because he is prodigiously prolific and churns out papers constantly. My original question will allow him the to maintain the polite fiction that I helped on this paper, and he will put my name on it as a coauthor. I will protest weakly, with embarrassment, and will not understand the paper I supposedly coauthored. I will shamelessly put it on my CV and use it when I go up for promotion, though. Fine.

***

Last week, L. and I went out for lunch after we met. As we were waiting for the elevator, another senior mathematician got off an elevator and said hi.  (I don't think he recognized me, which is reasonable. What is unreasonable is that this guy perpetually wears his bike helmet throughout the day. He unstraps the chin straps, so it sits an inch or two higher than normal, and goes about his business. Does he wear it when he teaches? Who can say.)

Dr. Bike Helmet says, "Ok. How many mathematicians does it take to press the button on the elevator?"
L. gamely says, "I don't know, how many?"
Dr. Bike Helmet, "THREE!! One to make the request, one to press the button, and one to say thank you!"

We all stand around in perplexed silence, which drags out. Eventually Dr. Bike Helmet explains, "Just now, that happened.  I requested the 9th floor. Another person pressed the button. A third person said thank you."   L. and I dutifully laughed, hollowly, now that we understood the provenance of the non-joke.

***

We have a beloved housekeeper. We are pretty much unpacked. Not only are we unpacked, we turned a critical eye on a bunch of bowls and cups and so on, and repacked them, to be taken to Goodwill.

On Wednesday our beloved housekeeper was here, and she kindly unpacked all of these boxes and returned the items to their various cabinets and drawers. Comedy of errors. Oh well.

***

We've switched from time-outs to time-ins with Hokey Pokey, which I'm deliberately phrasing to make us seem insufferable. (What do you mean 'seem'?)  It just seems to work better if we call him aside when he's losing his shit, and talk to him and stay with him, rather than sending him to the couch, isolated, furious, while we throw escalating punishments his way.

Do we do this with Hawaiian Punch? Not so much. She doesn't respond favorably to closeness and connecting, mid-conflict. I think Hawaii is slow to change directions, emotionally - if she is not on the same team as us, the part of her that desires reconnection has no sway on her behavior. She is determined to be a single united Hawaii front.

********

Here are the curtains, finally hung:

September 27, 2014 (3)

I...like them? Am I communicating my ambivalence? I do like them. I can't decide if I love the linen rectangle.

Jammies' says: "It looks like we forgot to put the TV there."  Dang? But maybe that's okay?


September 27, 2014 (4)

Open, they just look nondescript. The wooden blinds will be removed, and used to replace other broken wooden blinds elsewhere.

3 kittens

What colorful everything.

Posted on 2014.09.20 at 17:42
What season is it in Texas? Hot and drab. Brown and dead. I do find the dead brown sort of pretty, in an "all the leaves are dead" winter's way, except for it being so fucking hot. But I'm not in Texas - I'm in Wisconsin, visiting Grandma. This is ornery Grandma, who remained super ornery until her early 90s. Now she is 96-going-on-97, and really the fight has left her. She's basically only loving and forgetful at this point.  She wears an ankle bracelet, and the Alzheimer's wing of her retirement home has airlocks with codes and alarms at all points of entry, to keep the adults safe.

In Wisconsin, the season is Vibrant and Alive and beautiful. My aunt and uncle took me to the Madison Farmer's Market this morning, and it was a mess of unnaturally large vegetables in unseemly bright colors. Also tons of people.  I tried chokeberries and seaberries - neither are that good.

September 20, 2014 (1)

From there I went to meet Grandma for lunch.

So: the farmer's market was extremely over-stimulating: too many noisy people, throngs of them, tart apples, rhubarb, fingerling potatoes, odd colors like purple cauliflowers and rainbow tomatoes. Samples of squeaky cheese (hey you, Wisconsin), bold revolutionary coffee, and so on. Very big. I indulged a kind of country mouse mentality where I oohed and aahed over the abundant luxuries. (It really is a giant farmer's market.)

Then I walked to Grandma's retirement home, and the lunchroom was equally-and-oppositely under-stimulating. Very quiet (which is nice when people are hard of hearing). Large, wide aisles. Also sensible. Muted colors and bland mushy food - just plain bad taste, but not egregiously so. Grandma is now in Level Three care, so this whole wing is populated by people who are in varying stages of Alzheimer's and need significant care throughout their day.  The adults were slow-moving and confused, and I tried to imagine living here and how it might seem okay in a certain light.

Now we are back in Grandma's room, watching Ken Burn's documentary on the Roosevelts, and Grandma has dozed off.

September 20, 2014 (2)

Is Grandma still ornery and curious?

Like the evil little bunny personality she cultivated her whole life, is she still that? Vestigially so. Last night at dinner, and then again today at lunch, she asked how birds reproduce. So we went over bird sex - corkscrew penises, cloacas, I can't really put the pieces together but I know those vocabulary words - and fertilization of an egg that is then laid. She asked "But how do they know which is the male and which is the female?" and we talked about sexual dimorphism, roosters and chickens, peacocks and peahens, and so on. That is the curious side, not the ornery side.

She asked what we are naming the new baby, and I told her, and she pointed out that the name rhymes with Nosy, and she doesn't like mocking. That is the ornery side of Grandma. I replied that every name can be mocked, and she disagreed. "Not Erik," she said, which was my (sainted) grandfather's name. "You can't mock 'Erik'."  A younger Heebie would have taken this as a challenge, but modern Heebie merely agreed that Erik is a nice name. A minute or two later, Grandma said, "Jim. You can't mock the name Jim. Erik and Jim are both nice names." I agreed. She continued, "Well, work on it. I'm sure you can come up with something better." I laughed.

She keeps bags of chocolate all over her room, although I don't think she can find them terribly easily. Still, bags of chocolate strewn seems like a rather pleasant way to spend age 96. I'm uncomfortably full; bags of chocolate isn't a great fit for Pregnant Heebie in her 30s.

September 20, 2014 (3)

Tonight we are all going to the symphony orchestra.

We apparently have amazing seats that are ostensibly "obstructed view", but are actually really cool box seats, muppet style. I am worried about being excruciatingly bored. I find it hard to drift mentally when there is music or speech going. Live music shows feel like someone is saying "Now you must have your thoughts sabotaged, but you also can't chat or explore. Sit still and be sabotaged."

I'm boiling hot at the moment. What's up, retirement home.

September 20, 2014 (4)

My other uncle - not the one here in Wisconsin - is on a course of steroids.

The steroids are in the context of a larger ongoing fight against cancer. The steroids are affecting his personality - a calm, loving, steadfast type now has problems with impulse control and anger, and bouts of disorientation. It's all distressing.  But this bit is funny: he got it in his head that Grandma needed a robotic baby seal. They sell them in Japan, apparently. People there who can't have pets buy them. They are furry, and have some artificial intelligence learning capacity. They don't swim, but they interact. They cost $6000.

The uncle asked the family who would like to split the cost of such a thing, and everyone declined, and so fed up, he just up and purchased it, which itself was not an easy task.  Along the way, the family convinced him to give it to the retirement home, and not just Grandma.

So now the Alzheimer's wing here has a very expensive robotic baby seal. It is a huge hit with the staff and patients. The patients dote on it, and the staff like having it in their arsenal of activities. Grandma herself is lukewarm on it - "I played with it once, and once is enough," she said. She explained to me that if you touch its whiskers, it talks to you, and if you place it in a shadow, it goes to sleep.

September 20, 2014 (5)

On the plane here, an iphone gave a whistly-chirp, of the kind you've heard a million times. A woman near me asked her partner, "What was that? I heard that sound the other day, and another time before that!" He hadn't heard it, and they had a perplexed, charmingly innocent conversation about what it could be.

Ugh I'm so hot and uncomfortable.

Did you know I had a minor car crash last week? I hit our baby-sitter's car. Just drove right out our driveway and into it. That was a major doltish move of mine. I had to confess, and call the insurance company and file a claim, but at least it was very convenient to just put him on the phone directly with Allstate.

September 20, 2014 (6)

Will you still read me?

I wonder what it might be like if I'm blogging when I'm 96 years old. All three of my grandparents who have died basically of old age, all became very docile and agreeable and relaxed in their final years. I know other people find senility to be very stressful and anxious and unpleasant - there was an agitated woman near the door of the dining room. She lurked in the doorway for a while, explaining periodically she was supposed to meet someone there. Finally someone came over and escorted her to a table, reassuring her that she was in the right place. Clearly not everyone finds it relaxing to become senile.

But if I were 96, I'd have seventy years of blogging under my belt. My grandfather could play bridge long after he became senile, because it was such a rehearsed routine. Perhaps I will have so internalized the process of blogging by then that I can blog senile.

Will I find it a relief that someone brings me my medicine, and I could offload such tasks? Would I comment on such things? Would I be able to write coherently about the encroaching mental fogginess? I like to think that I'll still be blogging, even if it's depressingly Flowers For Algernon-esque.

September 20, 2014 (7)

I laid down and took a nap on the rug,

When I woke up, Grandma was topless. It sounds undignified, but it was not particularly. She was just hot, as was I. We turned on a fan, and she put her camisole back on. She no longer wears a bra, so I do mean absolutely topless.

On the one hand, Younger Grandma would be embarrassed caught topless. It's clearly a sign of her mental decline. But on the other hand, who cares. She's hot, she's 96 years old, why on earth not go topless.

Because she's not doing it as an activist, Heebie. She'd doing it in confusion.
Younger Grandma would be upset.

But Younger Grandma had to deal with Young Heebie, and Young Heebie had to deal with Younger Grandma. Middle-Aged Heebie is happy to deal with this Grandma instead. And I'm glad that Grandma was not distressed.

September 20, 2014 (9)

What colorful tomatoes. What colorful everthing.

September 20, 2014 (8)

3 kittens

Unanimated gifs

Posted on 2014.09.14 at 10:51
Hokey Pokey has started peeing standing up. "Miguel started it," he explains. I don't care who started it; my little baby, all growed up.

On the other hand, he's started leaving his bedroom and crawling in bed with Jammies and me. He lays perfectly still (as opposed to Hawaiian Punch, who would compulsively fuss and mess with Jammies or me, escalating in intensity until we throw her out).  Sometimes if I am up and about, I'll say to Pokey: "Who put this small child in my bed!" in faux-consternation, but then I'll mug on him. It's all very mushy and sweet.

He's having some anger problems at school - his temper spikes, and all of a sudden he's a tornado of throwing toys, biting, shoving anyone nearby, etc. It spikes briefly and then he calms down, but it's still a problem. In my muddled thinking, the sneaking into our bed and cuddling will help refill his cup so that he can tone down the explosive temper.

Sept 14, 2014 (10)

There was a chicken in our pecan tree. Cluck cluck cluck.

Hawaiian Punch: "I don't like this new school."
When pressed, it's because there are too many rules and too much structure, compared to daycare. I'm sure she's basically right. There's a whole lot of "Everybody be quiet, so that we can be quiet during lunch, in preparation for being quiet while we walk quietly back to the classroom, in order to be quiet while you sit in your chair." It's probably excessive. (On the other hand, consult me when I'm required to teach twenty five-year-olds. I'd be huffing valium by the second day.)

Here are the kindergarten rules for coloring:
1. Stay in the lines.
2. Only true colors.
3. No white spaces.
"But when I'm at home, I can color however I want, right?" Isn't that woefully poignant? Don't worry, Hawaii herself enforces the first two rules naturally, so I think it amounts to "do I have to keep coloring in the boring background?" No sweetie, it's the weekend. Live it up.

She has a new friends named Mercury, which is a word that is hard for me to say. You know how you pronounce the second syllable to rhyme with "pure" and not "purr"? Somehow my brain wants to apply that to the first syllable and not the second: myur-curry. Which is not right.  Anyway, Myurcurry comes over and kisses my belly and talks about the baby inside whenever I pick Hawaii up from the after-school program.  Five years old might be the upper bound of how old you can be, and still kiss your friend's mom's belly.

Hawaii to me: "If you were younger, and skinnier, and not pregnant, and your skin was darker, you'd look like Pocahontas." I think there's a compliment buried in there? Of the form "you have long dark hair"?

Also: "Dry cleans up wet, wet cleans up sticky." Somewhere Hawaii has learned this aphorism, and quips it professionally as she goes about cleaning up messes. She's right, and has also surpassed my degree of sophistication for cleaning shit up. Quite right, never better.

Wee Ace with a scratched up nose:

Sept 14, 2014 (2) Sept 14, 2014 (1)

For 9/11, they were invited to wear red, white, and blue to school. Hawaii tried about five different outfits before declaring them all unfit and returning to her regularly-scheduled outfit.

I told them all about 9/11 - the four planes, the box-cutters, the hijackers, and so on. They were fascinated. I kept it pretty matter-of-fact. They asked me to re-tell it several times. I included a bit about going to war afterwards.

Later, on the local mother's board on Facebook, someone posted a question about how to discuss 9/11 with your kids. My approach is not a popular choice. Most wanted to preserve the kid's innocence. A few had answers like "I emphasized all the positive things that came out of that day." (Huh? Like the groovy war?)(No, like the cooperation and how it brought us closer as a nation.)(Sure, why not. Is that's what we're pretending?)

The mothers all seemed to think that since we adults found 9/11 very scary in 2001, that it will be super scary for our kids in 2014. Which seems like nonsense to me. Nothing from before you were born is scary unless you get the idea that it could happen again, imminently. Otherwise it's just history.

(That said, the full question asked was "At school today, they showed the first-graders the video of the towers being hit...how do you handle explaining 9/11 to your kids?" Showing six year olds the actual footage is a whole 'nother kettle of fish from talking about the facts. That's like comparing apples and lightbulbs, as an old math professor of mine would say. I think he said it in a Russian accent, but I'm not sure. Definitely an eastern European accent.)

Sept 14, 2014 (4) Sept 14, 2014 (3)

State of unpacking

So: I can be pretty sociable, but also be pretty awkward. (Just like you!) Lately, it takes me longer to warm up socially. Like the neural pathways are a bit overgrown, and have to be re-pruned each time. By "awkward" I mean: someone tells a story, and I'm only paying half-attention, and I'm wearing a perplexed expression that matches the digression in my mind, but is nonsensically mismatched for the charming story I'm being told, about buying new mixing bowls, or whatever.

When I'm in a social groove, it's easy to pay attention. Funny stories and rejoinders spring to mind. During the awkward warm-up period, it's a struggle to pay attention, and I can't figure out things like "if I sit down, will it be odd and I'll immediately want stand up again? How do people hold cups without slamming their drinks? Are we still talking about Pyrex?"

*************************

Right now I am helping Hawaiian Punch make a cootie catcher. She had one, and used it until it fell apart. She alternates between explaining to me, authoritatively, how they work and asking me for my expertise in making a new one. The disconnect is amusing.

Question: how long does it take for a public school to initiate fundraising drives?
Answer: in the second week of school.
We got a shitty catalog full of shitty items that nobody wants, and an incredibly enthusiastic (exploited) kindergartener telling us that if they sell ten items, they get to squirt the principal with ketchup and mustard. The logistics are fascinating to Hawaii - are they allowed to squirt his clothes? Will he be naked?

We filmed Hawaii explaining about the catalog and the prizes, and sent the video to our exploitable-relatives, who dutifully bought wrapping paper. The consensus seems to be that the only useful thing in that whole goddamn catalog is the wrapping paper. I think Hawaii will get her ketchup and mustard dream.

Let's go to Taco Cabana, where we shall all cram in the same chair. An unanimated gif:


Sept 14, 2014 (5)
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Sept 14, 2014 (7)
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3 kittens

Back In Ballet

Posted on 2014.09.06 at 20:47
Now, most of the world lives in pretty tight quarters. Our house is about 1900 square feet. During the renovations, we were living in about 1200 square feet. Which is plenty of room, by many standards. People actually live in apartments in New York City. (People actually live in New Delhi slums, too, but let's not pretend they wouldn't prefer a 1200 square foot apartment in New York.)(Probably they'd prefer a 1200 square foot apartment in New Delhi, not New York, given the choice.)

I wish I could recieve sympathy while saying something completely un-sympathetic: boy was that renovation period awful. It is so nice to have our whole house back. With our TWO living areas. I like to sit in one, quietly by myself, and look down the hallway at the commotion at the other end of the house. My head feels clear and glorious.  Tra-la-la.

Having a kitchen back is the best. (That part at least doesn't sound particularly privileged.) I can chop vegetables on a cutting board at countertop height, instead of lowish table height. I am no longer using a camping stove. There's an oven, instead of merely a toaster oven. (I'm kind of sold on steaming things in the microwave, though. Maybe I'll stick with that.) There's counter space and a dishwasher. Ain't life grand.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Hawaii said, "I'd like to play soccer" when asked to pick one extracurricular activity. We were pleased and surprised: she loved her ballet teacher last year. We said, "That's great!" but also "how come?" and she answered, "Well, I know what ballet is like. I don't know what soccer is like yet. So I want to try it, and then I can go back to ballet if I want."

We were buoyed by her maturity and planning.  (She did play kiddie indoor soccer last year, but this is considered big kid outdoor soccer.)

Then: at back-to-school night, the beloved ballet teacher had a sign-up table in the cafeteria. Hawaii saw her and ran over to give her a hug. Jammies sighed with forboding.

When Hawaii returned, I mentally counted 'One - one thousand. Two - one thousand. Three - one thousand--' "Mama," Hawaii interrupted me, "I think I changed my mind about soccer. I want to do ballet instead." And so that was that. We're back in ballet.

(Later Jammies admitted that he nearly steered Hawaii away from the ballet teacher, when he first spotted her, so as to preserve the tenuous commitment to soccer. Ah, well. Ballet is nice, too.)

Ballet is not her only extracurricular activity - just the only one she gets to choose. She's still in piano, but the Hairy Gru-like Italian moved away to get his PhD, and we've located an elderly-seeming instructor who I think is actually in her 40s. Her demeanor is ridiculously grandmotherly, a visual mismatch, in a way that I find endearing. She's also a much better instructor than Gru.

Finally, both Hawaii and Pokey are going to stay in swim lessons. Because next summer, we'll have two babies under two years old; the older two have got to be safe-ish in the water. So Hawaii, in kindergarten, has extracurricular activities three days a week.  That is possibly excessive, but I want them all in her life.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

For my sabbatical self-imposed structure, I made myself email my old graduate advisor with three possible research ideas. He and I are tentatively collaborating, so this isn't completely out of the blue.

As the week went on, I knew how dumb my ideas were, but I also saw all kinds of risk-taking encouragement on Pinterest. Great things never came from comfort zones! Successful people take big risks, knowing that they might fail hard. So I went ahead and emailed him on Friday. (To compensate, I liberally used words like "I know these ideas are terrible" and "this is just an exercise" and so on. Also "feedback is welcome but not expected." I know he's super busy at the beginning of the semester.)

Anyway: radio silence, and I'm climbing the walls. (The beautifully wallpapered walls.) I know he's busy and I explicitly said he shouldn't feel obligated to respond. And yet, emotionally WHERE'S MY VALIDATION PLEASE TELL ME I'M OKAY.  I'm wringing my hands and concluding that these ideas must have been embarrassingly awful. Secretly, of course, I'm hoping he's thrilled, but that is nine kinds of unlikely.

I don't very often feel this kind of insecurity anymore. I guess that's nice?

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

A regular fight that Hokey Pokey has with either parent:
[Sobbing] "I can't wear these socks. They're too tiiiiight."
Either parent: "I don't know what you mean. They're the right size. They're thin socks. You wear them all the time."
Repeat for ten minutes.
Usually I end up forcing him to put them on, and saying "If they're still too tight when it's time to leave, we'll change your socks."
(He never does. Even when I ask him if he'd like to change his socks, he still declines.)

A gross/funny thing Pokey said:
"One time I had diarrhea like water. It came out of my butt like raindrops. Except it was brown."

He said this while having more diarrhea, from the toilet, with the door open.  Last night he had a dramatic black eye, diarrhea, and was frothing at the mouth and crying from the taste of the bitter nail polish we put on his nails, since he bites them down to the quick.

The frothing was the worst. He'd nibble his nails, and then just start drooling and spitting and, well, frothing. And tearfully sad. It was a rough night to be Hokey Pokey.

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Here I am, sticking with Crossfit in month seven of pregnancy. Because I am obedient, I record all of my significant occurances in lifting weights. And my lack of progress. The trainer who gave me the introduction classes told me to, and hey, I'm obedient.

In July, my one rep max strict press 65 lbs. (That is pathetic, by the way.) That's about the same as I could strict press in January. On Friday, I did three reps of five at 65 lbs. Aren't I ever so fluent in the lingo? Anyway, that's ridiculous progress. In the last month, I'm suddenly much stronger and more awesome.

Here is my theory: I'm in the human growth hormone phase of pregnancy. My hair is thick and luxurious and I do not lose a single strand in the shower. I think I'm sort of on steroids. Packing on muscle.

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Here is a horrifying thing that happened: I went to hang up this photo of my dear, sainted mother:

September 6, 2014 (1)

She is fourteen years old in that photo. Isn't she cute?

This pus-stuff ran down the wall, starting from behind the picture:

September 1, 2014 (1)

Then this ran up the wall, starting from the top edge of the picture:

September 1, 2014 (2)

I popped a spider. Isn't that the grossest thing that's ever grossed? I was super nauseated but I feel the need to preserve this moment for posterity. 

3 kittens

First we had flies.

Posted on 2014.08.30 at 12:37
Omg, it has been a very exciting week. Where to start.

1. It's impossibly hard to photograph wallpaper:

August 30, 2014 (1) August 30, 2014 (2)

When I try to include the window inbetween those photos, the wallpaper turns into a dark indistinguishable mass, instead of looking like pretty reflective herringbone feathers.

Here is one of the curtains that will go in between those photos:

August 30, 2014 (3)

All together now:

August 30, 2014 (1)August 30, 2014 (7) August 30, 2014 (8)August 30, 2014 (2)

I don't know that that helped.  Maybe if I add in the light fixtures? And some math?

August 30, 2014 (6)+August 30, 2014 (1)+August 30, 2014 (7)= the new dining room.

In the other little sitting area, we now have this wallpaper:

August 30, 2014 (4)

In the rest of my photos, it just comes out looking like a plain white wall. I dunno. It's paintable; I'm hoping putting a glossy white on it helps to bring out the texture.

On Tuesday, the wallpaper guy stormed out in a huff after seeing the flat drywall. He had a shouting match with the contractor and everything. "You think this counts as flat?" "I didn't know! You're the wallpaper guy! I asked you how flat it needed to be and all you would say is 'It doesn't need to be perfect'!"

Following the quitting/firing of the wallpaper subcontractor, the contractor hired a very sweet, nice hippie, who did a great job, and just hand-sanded the unacceptable patches of drywall. (Major parts of the past three months of delays have been due to the first wallpaper guy - he spent a month in Europe, he had a lot of other jobs, etc. Would that we started with the gentle hippie.)

2. On Monday, the doctor's office called and asked if I could come in for more blood draws. They wanted to do an anemia panel.

Hallelujah, there is a clinical reason I have felt so drained and awful. Being validated is the best!  But on the other hand: anemia treatments will destroy my fragile gut. Iron is well-known to shut down all digestion, which is not what I need.  So I was conflicted - elated and fearful, both.

Anemia panel yielded a B-12 deficiency. HOORAY. So I have been on some mega-pills, and the placebo part has kicked right in, at least. (The real test is being home with the kids over the weekend.)

Is this new surge in energy more exciting than the wallpaper? It's a toss-up: both are amazing.

3. Hawaii was petrified as I walked her to her classroom on the first day of kindergarten. I don't think she said a word the entire time I was there with her.

Welcome home Hawaii! How was kindergarten?
- I love the after-school program more than life itself.
- Did you know that some kids get lunch in the cafeteria instead of having their parents pack them a lunch in a lunch box? They get spaghetti and corndogs and enchiladas. Why don't we do that?
(I'm paraphrasing.)

We have learned nothing about her actual kindergarten experience, but priorities.

(More seriously, kindergarten seems to seriously drain her superego of all its energy. I think she must have her executive brain on overdrive the whole day, because she is a crabby, exhausted, spent mess at the end of the day. I assume this is a transition period and I should have sympathy. Poor Hawaii.)

4. I pick my skin compulsively. It's gotten much worse since having kids, for two reasons: first, something about pregnancy put lots of tiny pickable pores all over my arms and legs. Second, I log so many hours coaxing kids to do whatever task at hand, and it's boring, and I'm sitting there, and I pick at my arms and legs out of sheer boredom.

Hawaii picks at her bellybutton until it bleeds, and then asks for band-aids. It's kind of gross. Hokey Pokey chews on his toenails until they're down to the quick, and then asks us to cut them so they'll be smooth. We're going to buy the bitter polish. It's also gross.  The point being that they both have inherited my compulsive pickiness. I'm sorry kids: it's not my best trait.

My grandmother used to find my picking horrific - she thought it meant I was disturbed. She would tell me that it was a form of cutting. I briefly flirted with the idea that I was disturbed and cutting, and needed help, and it all seemed romantic and desirable. Fortunately I was sensible enough to recognize that actual depression is awful and not romantic nor desirable, and that I was neither depressed nor unhappy, and that I just found picking zits to be super fun.

(Then the internet came along, and zit popping videos exist, and I discovered that I really do not have the passion. Those videos are gross.)

5. First we had flies in the house.



Then came the spiders, which were better, and the flies receded. The spiders kept mostly to themselves.

Lately we've had lizards in the house. Technically they are anoles, and they are generally all over the place but normally they stay outside.

August 30, 2014 (9)

Sometimes they are bright green.  We even had a moment where we realized that Hokey Pokey was not playing with a plastic toy lizard:

August 30, 2014 (10)

but rather a dead, desiccated anole.

The flies were the worst.

6. Ace has a sign which we could not figure out. She would rub her hands up and down her sides, whenever we were getting her dressed or getting ready to go somewhere. It was inscrutable.

Finally we figured out that it meant sunscreen, as is "I dearly love to put on sunscreen and please can we do that constantly forever?"

3 kittens

Panelling of Golden Brown

Posted on 2014.08.23 at 12:24
When the family is driving me up the wall, I finally discovered the best coping strategy: go do the dishes. You get to turn your back on all the chaos, and stare out the window at some trees and birds, and you're being A Good Adult - obviously dishes need done. It's the best.

Our kitchen is set up around the laundry sink in the back of the house:

August 23, 2014 (4)

The commotion, screaming, crying and provoking each other continues, but it is behind your back.  Isn't that a nice window to gaze out of?

Quit provoking each other.

Progress in the front of the house! The contractor put up the wood panelling, and the painter painted and stained. It was an awful week - the fridge was tucked away under drop clothes, and the area was blocked off by plastic with a cumbersome zipper. The house stunk like paint and turpentine and whatever other fumes, so we had the windows open, and I wilted from the heat. Don't worry, I didn't hold back from complaining.

But now! The panelling is beautiful, the fumes have dissipated, and I can waltz to the front of the house and access the refrigerator without having to reach to the floor to unzip a fragile plastic wrap zipper (with my hands full of food and a baby and bending over itself has become a difficult exercise in air-expulsion.)

August 23, 2014 (1)

August 23, 2014 (2)

What remains to be done? Wallpaper, mostly.

What about the kitchen?

Of all my pleasure, I still have some indigestion about the kitchen counters. Here are the opposing facts that I struggle with:
1. Of the choices available, these counters are my favorite.
2. If perfect counters were unavailable, then I should go cheap. Which we didn't. These were expensive. (Not crazy expensive like the blue marble I mentioned at one point. But not IKEA cheap.)

Part of me regrets buying expensive counters, when they're not my perfect pink marble vision of counters, but I don't like any of the other options as much.

Here's the dilemma: Jammies wants to seal the marble on the imperfect, expensive counters. In other words, they're currently unsealed counters. They will never be unsealed again! This is the one and only opportunity to experiment! If the truly perfect counters are pink marble, couldn't we try to stain these counters? I'm picturing spilling red wine on the counters for a few hours, but there's probably a more established methodology. I proposed this so many times that finally Jammies said, "Look, are you actually being serious? There is no way we're dying the counters pink."

(If Jammies called my bluff, I'm not sure what I'd say, but I'd probably research it at least.)

Here is the kitchen:

August 23, 2014 (3)

I know that is a violent shade of green. It's intense. Some will get covered up by the refrigerator, stove, and dishwasher. But I still feel a bit apologetic, like I'm hurting everyone's eyes.

However, listen: I love it. Against the violent green, I'm content with the counters, even. (The counters are still wrapped in the photo above, though, what with the yet-unsealed state.) It is my picnic, my outdoor patio, and hey, I log an awful lot of hours in the kitchen.

Not redone for resale value

Hawaiian Punch wrapped up daycare last week, and she starts kindergarten next week. She and I spent the week together running errands, buying school supplies, visiting IKEA, and so on. We met her kindergarten teacher at Back to School Night. (My brain kept chanting "Joey and Janice's Day of FUN!" which is an embarrassing reference to Friends that you should be relieved you don't get, or ashamed if you do.)

On Wednesday, Jammies and I took Hawaii and Hokey Pokey to Schlitterbahn, the local water park. (Sorry, future Ace. You got sent to daycare alone.) What is there to say about Schlitterbahn? We all had lots of fun. Hawaii liked the rides, Pokey liked the kiddie areas (but cried about spilling his Dippin' Dots and then got down and tried to eat them off the nasty green outdoor carpet, which I put the kibbosh on.) We were all beside ourselves with exhaustion afterwards.

Which is all to say: Hawaii starts kindergarten on Monday! I know it's supposed to be momentous, but I'm like "Eh, she's mature enough to start fourth grade." (Except for not knowing how to read or any of the content between kindergarten and fourth grade.) Mostly I think she'll really enjoy herself.

Five going on Forty

Here are two canonical images of Ace at sixteen months:
1. Rustling around Hokey Pokey's closet and putting on his shoes and walking around proudly. Or my shoes. Or anyone's shoes.
2. Saying incessantly "A-dat? A-dat?" and pointing, by which she is saying "What's that? What's that?" and inducing her companion to name and describe different aspects of the environment.

Pokey hates the penis pocket in his underpants. (I've mentioned this here before, I think.) So we turn them around and he wears them backwards. Which yields the extra following "perk" - he uses the penis pocket hole to dig in and scratch his butt directly.

It's hilarious and gross, and kids really don't wash their hands very often. But so funny to look over and see him rooting around through the hole in the underwear over his butt.

3 kittens

Forever with a slope of one.

Posted on 2014.08.17 at 09:49
"What's inside here?" asked Hokey Pokey.
"Those are your testicles, inside your scrotum," I said. We've been talking a lot about reproductive organs again, what with being pregnant.
"That's where the sperm is made?" he asked.
"Not yet," I said, "not till you hit puberty. But that's where it will get made when you grow up."
"No," he said. "Mine make sperm. Because I'm a SUPERHERO. So I have sperm in my testicles."
Isn't that great? We called him Sperm Boy! and Pokey Sperm Boy! and he was totally on board. (We also reminded him that this was a private conversation and that he should not be Sperm Boy at school.)

"What's your superpower?" we asked.
He struck a Spidey pose, palm out as though shooting a web: "The power of BUG SPRAY!" he declared. "I kill mean bugs."
We all agreed that that was a really great superpower.
"Not bees and wasps, because those are scary. And not nice bugs. But mean spiders and mosquitoes." That would be a really great superpower, no contest.

This summer Hokey Pokey has discovered the world of little boy toys, and he is joyfully beside himself. "They are turtles! They're ninjas! And they fight bad guys!" It's all more amazing than he ever dreamt.  Superheroes in particular are really ringing his bell.

Remebery foam

I am 27 weeks pregnant. (I stopped and counted.) My back and hips basically feel...fine. It's amazing. I attribute this to the memory foam mattress pad and to the strength training of crossfit. Aren't you used to me complaining? Isn't this nice for a change?

The memory foam is hot. To compensate, we turned our ceiling fan up to "wind tunnel". I had no idea it had a destructively powerful wind tunnel setting, but it does, and I love it. I actually feel comfortable and not-hot at night. More amazing not-complaining!

Banalogy Ann

Unfogged has an analogy ban, instituted probably six or seven years ago.  You are not allowed to argue by way of making an analogy. The reasoning was that the discussion gets derailed on the aptness or flaws of the analogy, and is no longer on the actual topic.

The analogy ban has made me work much harder to find words to say what I mean. I'm much more rhetorically skilled as a result. I used to use analogies as "This situation reminds me of another, clear-cut situation, and so I'll just stop now." Now I have to identify what the resemblance is, and translate it into the context of the actual discussion, and sometimes it falls apart in this process. Saying stuff is hard.

Foulsicle

One of my best friends came to visit. It is the type of friendship where, mid-discussion, you say "Where's our list of topics? I just thought of a few more things for us to discuss, but let's finish this first." We do keep such a list, starting a week or so before the visit.

She convinced me to hit up a GNC-knockoff type supplement shop, after I complained that I have no energy. There may not be anyone else alive who could get me to buy $90 of powders to mix in a concoction and pretend it tastes like a creamsicle. (It doesn't. Maybe a gross creamsicle.) The reason why is that she operates from the premise that this is all placebo and any normal person would also roll their eyes, but isn't it fun to experiment on yourself? Won't this be ridiculous and fun? This is also the approach you should use if you want me to drink more alcohol than I was planning on drinking.

This concoction of three powders - protein powder, veggie extract, and fuel blend - was originally prescribed by her chiropractor. It has thirty-two grams of protein, and all sorts of thousands of percents of recommended daily allowances. Honestly, I am not sure about this. At 27 weeks pregnant, the baby is pretty damn developed, but still. I seem to get a burst of energy for a few hours, but it hasn't affected the crashing-and-needing-to-urgently-nap routine.

For funsies

This is a graph I made:

August 17, 2009 (1)

It shows the average age of Geebies over time. So, from April 2009 to November 2010, we had just Hawaiian Punch. All of a sudden, Hokey Pokey was born, and the average plummeted from 1.5 years old to .75 years old. After growing steadily for 2.5 years, the average plummets once again with the birth of Ace, in April 2013. We now move into the future, anticipating the plummeting arrival of New Baby in November, 2014. After that, the moving average will grow linearly with a slope of 1 year per year, forever (god willing).

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