Thursday, March 20, 2014

Greetings from the mall parking lot!

Roo Bear's molars are coming in and poor girl has been struggling to nap this week. She fell asleep on the way to the mall and I'm not touching her or turning off the car engine until she wakes. Normally I could easily transfer her from her car seat to the Ergo without waking her but I am not taking any chances today! 

Well, not yet, at least. It is lunch time. And my bladder is not exactly made from steel. I have a cheap model, made from doilies and dust bunnies. It's basically a colander. 

But for now, I'm good and so grateful for my iPhone. How did my mom's generation of SAHMs handle the boredom? I try to minimize my use of the iPhone so Pippa doesn't think it's an appendage but when I'm stuck waiting in a mall parking lot while she naps, my iPhone = sanity. I can read on my kindle app, surf the web, run my virtual shopping errands, and of course, blog. 

There's a car nearby with a vanity license plate that reads: ITIPSZ. What does that mean??? Aaahhhh it's driving me crazy. I think it means "I'm tipsy" but that seems like a really dumb thing to put on a license plate. Doesn't that count as a confession to drunk driving? 

ITIPSZ probably is shorthand for something really obvious that my mommy brain can't handle. I am getting plenty of sleep these days (thanks, Roo) but a huge chunk of my brain is devoted to my girl's well being. Yesterday, I stopped at my local Starbucks drive thru while Roo napped. She of course woke and started wailing as I was paying. Distracted, I started to drive away without my drink. Fortunately the barista reacted quickly and shouted for me to wait, but I still had to do the walk of shame back to the window to fetch my drink. 

If you have an indecipherable vanity plate, you should have the decency to post an explanation on a bumper sticker. Otherwise any upstanding citizen should be able to have your lame license plate, and any car attached to said plate, towed to another state. 

The classical station is playing Copland. I dated a guy in college who sneered at Copland for dumbing down music. He also hated the movie Fantasia for the same reason. Well, I don't care if Copland Hater is right or not. Maybe Copland is "too accessible" or "direct" but I love his compositions. They make me feel like I'm on an adventure. Right now, my body is in a parked car at the mall but my soul is exploring the frontier. I love you, Mr. Copland! (And I hate you, ITIPSZ.)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Mommy merit badges

I believe there should be some sort of Girl Scout-esque organization for mommies. Instead of camping, we would go to spas and instead of selling cookies, we'd eat a lot of cheese. Otherwise it's just like the scouts. We would do craft projects, learn how to fashion a diaper out of twigs and leaves, and braid each other's hair. But really, the whole point of this group can be summed up in two words: merit badges. 

Even though this organization does not yet exist (to my knowledge), I am earning a new mommy merit badge as I draft this blog post on my iPhone: sit in parked car while baby finishes nap. 

Some other mommy merit badges I have earned this past year include:

- ER visit (Pippa got dehydrated from a nasty stomach bug)
- plane trip
- road trip
- reading Go, Dog, Go to the baby for the hundredth time 
- sleep training
- pulling the plug on sleep training
- sleep training, take two
- letting baby sleep in crib while sitting up because doctor says that's fine

Oh, how I long for a green vest decorated with mommy merit badges. Except let's substitute a diaper bag for the vest, ok? Even in the sixth grade, I knew how lame that damn vest was. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Green Eggs and the Serial Killer

Pippa loves Green Eggs and Ham (the book, not the cuisine). I have read it aloud to her so many times, I only need about 12% of my brain to read it now. The other 88% of my brain is free to wander and think weird thoughts. 

Sometimes I think about the fact that the two main guys are Sam and the Cranky Guy Who Does Not Like Green Eggs and Ham. Why does only one main character get a name, Dr. Seuss??? We all know the Cranky is the unsung hero of this tale and he should have kicked Sam in the shins. Since you could not be bothered to give this hero a name, Dr. Seuss, I will: Friar Octavius Van Basass. There, that's a much better name than Sam. 

Sometimes I think about the story's message. It seems like the moral of the story is "keep an open mind because you might like green eggs and ham." (Or chess. Or cliff diving or disco. Or polka dot umbrellas and stinky cheese.) But there is also another moral: "browbeat someone enough, and they will finally eat green eggs and ham." (Or have sex when they just want to make out. Or smoke pot because their friends insist. Or go cliff diving or listen to disco.)

Most recently, I found myself thinking about how I would adapt this classic for the silver screen. First, I thought in terms of animation directed by Tim Burton with Johnny Depp as Sam and Bruce Willis Friar Octavius Van Badass. Then I thought, no, this needs to be a live action film with Javier Bardem as the Friar and Amy Poehler as Sam. Can't you see Amy chasing after Javier across the top of a train careening toward a cliff? And then the train crashes into a boat captained by Clint Eastwood?! Best. Movie. Ever. 

But my brain was in a creepy mood that day and my live action romp turned into a serial killer movie. The first victim is killed in a house by a hoard of rabid mice. The next is eaten alive by a fox in a box. And the killer always leaves behind a plate of green eggs and ham. I can't decide if the killer should be played by Kevin Spacey or Javier Bardem but Kevin Costner needs to be the detective investigating the crimes (his wife played by Marisa Tomei.)

Note to self: now would be a good time to give Green Eggs and Ham a break. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Some Random thoughts on time management

I love being a stay-at-home mom, but the job involves a lot of drudgery: changing diapers, endless loads of blueberry stained laundry, scraping dried banana bits off the floor, etc. The drudgery was starting to drag me down. It felt like I spent the entire day racing through domestic tasks during any odd free moment, but nothing got done. At the end of the day, I was exhausted and feeling bitter about the endless chores. And worst of all, since the domestic tasks were always on my mind, it was tough to fully enjoy my time playing with Pippa. 

Something had to change.

So I made a huge change: I stopped worrying about chores during the day. Now I just perform the bare minimum to keep the house safe and hygienic. I clean the highchair after every meal, but the dirty dishes spend all day in the sink. I might start a load of laundry, but nothing gets folded until after the baby goes to bed. 

At the end of the day, after Pippa is asleep, I cue up a podcast and tackle the chores. I no longer feel like Cinderella! Instead, I enjoy this new evening ritual, and even find myself doing extra chores in order to finish a podcast. My to do list is dwindling; the house is tidier than usual; and I still have energy when Nathan gets home. 

Best of all, playtime with Pippa feels more joyful than ever. I'm not fretting about dishes or dirty sinks. And when she is happily playing by herself, I sit back and read a book or do a little writing. My chores are no longer chores. They are an excuse to listen to a podcast!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Monday Omnibus Post

The baby is obsessed with blueberries, so the edges of my fingernails are stained  purple. Note to self: paint fingernails to conceal blueberry stains. 

Nathan and I completed our first 3d puzzle this weekend:

When we started, we thought it would take weeks to finish the puzzle (assuming we could finish it at all!). But it only took two evenings. It was soooo much fun and I can't wait to do another. That might not happen until after the Winter Olympics. 

Before we start our next puzzle, I am painting the kitchen tabletop green. I've been meaning to do this for years but was intimidated by the idea of painting our table. What if I ruined it? Then I ruined the table recently while crafting (don't ask). Now that the table is covered with green chicken pox, the table MUST be painted. (My interim solution - a tablecloth - does not work. The baby wants to yank it and pull everything on top of herself.) I went to Home Depot yesterday and bought supplies for this painting project. Wish me luck!

the baby just woke up from her nap. Time to go to the zoo! Happy Monday!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


It is an absolutely gorgeous day in Pasadena. Our weather has been particularly spectacular this winter. I am starting to take it for granted! I don't want to complain, because I know the rest of the country has been experiencing a hellish winter, but I'm ready for some cooler temperatures. I want to cook some comfort food dammit! There is a Ragu dish that has been on my bucket list for ages, that involves pork butt, but I can't spend an entire day making a fancy ragu when it is 80° outside. Okay, enough grumbling from Paradise. (Pork butt - sorry, couldn't resist saying it once more.)

Pippa and I recently started taking a music class and we love love love it. Love it! Forget all those toys that make annoying beeps. I want to hook my daughter up with an awesome music box. With symbols and tambourines and bongos and those awesome triangles. When friends and family visit, I am going to trick them into joining our music circle. Music is one of the most joyful things out there, and making music is even more joyful than passively listening to it.

I play the piano. I'm no Elton John, but I do love playing. Pippa is now getting into banging the piano keys and she looks so pleased with herself when she makes some music. The piano is in our guest, a room we rarely use. So I forget about the piano for days and days. Methinks it is time to get back into the piano! I have bought some sheet music for old children's songs, and as Pippa gets older, I would love to play tunes while she dances.

So you have fair warning: if you visit the cranky pumpkin household, be prepared to shake a tambourine and beat a drum!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Babies Are Weird

Pippa wanted to sleep tonight while sitting up. Every time I put her in her crib, she would scramble to a sitting position and fall asleep that way. I would sneak back into the nursery and try to lower her to her back... and then she would wake up and give me a look that said "if you are not going to let me sit up, then at least have the courtesy to hold me all night." This happened six or seven times.

Once, I let her sleep for about thirty minutes while sitting up, hoping that if she got into a deep enough sleep, I could finally transfer her to a supine* position without waking her. After thirty minutes, I checked the video monitor to see how she was doing. At that very moment, she toppled over and woke herself. This was not funny at all. (Just kidding. It was hilarious.)

Finally, after two hours of playing this fun new game, I was able to get Pippa in an appropriate position for her nighttime slumbers. Hopefully she will stay that way for the rest of the night! If not, hopefully she will at least stay that way until Nathan gets home. (On the night our baby decides to be extra weird, Nathan of course has to go to a charity event for work.) I am sure he will be totally thrilled to play this game at 3 a.m.

Why the hell did Pippa want to sit up in her crib and fall asleep that way? It was not a teething issue, our usual scapegoat for sleep issues. (If she was teething, she would not be sleeping sweetly in her crib as I type this.) Ah well, babies are weird.

*It took me about 30 seconds to summon this word from my "Vault of Words I Rarely Ever Use." And now I send "supine" back to the Vault. Don't worry, he's in excellent company with words like "kerfuffle," and "panacea."