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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:


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.


lacachet at 2014-12-01 00:14 (UTC) (Link)
Good lord, Pokey. Had I been there, I might have died

Died laughing--that is hilarious!

The kids are so cute--particularly love Ace's "underpants" look. Seems like you are good at letting them be themselves :)
heebie_geebie at 2014-12-06 15:41 (UTC) (Link)
I did too! (Died laughing, that is, when I heard the story later.) I just cannot believe that.

And thanks!
Kelly Jennings
Kelly Jennings at 2014-12-01 19:15 (UTC) (Link)

Four babies!

I just love all these kids. And their outfits!

New little Rascal is so adorable.
heebie_geebie at 2014-12-06 15:41 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Four babies!

Thanks! I kind of love dress up, myself. :)
parodie at 2014-12-02 07:28 (UTC) (Link)
Baby! Brand new squishy baby! Very cute, especially the brother-holding-brother picture. How lovely. I also really love Hawaii's dressed up look, your kids really know how to pull together an outfit. :)

Do you think your crazy energy is due to your doing Crossfit right up until the bitter end, or is it just circumstances/dumb luck? One does hope that continuing to exercise will have some tangible benefit given that it feel so very miserable to do when large and lumbering and can't-tie-my-shoes awkward.
heebie_geebie at 2014-12-06 15:40 (UTC) (Link)
I think so, yes. I mean, each recovery gets easier, so it's hard to tease apart, but things seem to be going extraordinarily well. I was musing on this yesterday, when we walked down to the park for the town's Christmas festival - the walk alone would have creamed me three weeks ago, let alone wandering around there for a few hours. Having muscle tone is making a huge difference.
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