May 30, 2006

What, me worry?

The very best part of the Hot Mix Incident from over the weekend, is that now I am not scared to give the kid ANYTHING. He‘s ALL OVER those honey-laced strawberries...... Anyway, I realize now how much this whole “solid food” thing was affecting me. Because he doesn’t do formula, I have to watch out for the iron intake and I was starting to worry about anemia. The kid wouldn’t take the “Gerber stuff” and while I would still give him the “adult stuff”, I always felt bad -- as if I was somehow projecting how much I don’t like Gerber and their nefarious corporate tactics in 3rd world countries. Anyway, I will continue to try the Gerber stuff, but refuse to worry about it. Damn. This mothering gig is HARD - there is always, ALWAYS something to fret over.

The weekend was really, really nice. X still worked every day of it, but would come home in the early afternoon. Arun is becoming very attached to him and loves it when X takes him walking around the neighborhood to see the cars. Also, it seems he knows the word “Daddy”. When I say the word, he looks around for him (he does this with “kitty”, too. “Mama”? Nope, the little ingrate - although it’s probably due to the fact that I hate talking in 3rd person like that little red fuck Elmo.).... Anyway, X has already commented on how much it is going to suck the day Arun starts to cry when he heads out the door for work.

This weekend was also pretty productive - we went to Kansas City nearly every day for something (meals, coffee, Union Station gig, Nelson Art Gallery), I started to catch up on my cache of Antique Roadshows on the DVR, I downloaded more footage of Arun then made a new DVD out of it, read some magazines, and read a book. The book, Generation Me by Jean Twenge, was absolutely fascinating. It covered the whole GenX thing (18-35 year olds) and was EXTREMELY interesting - I had a difficult time putting it down. While I would be considered a part of that generation, I am at the very low end, so there were some aspects that I certainly related to and others that I didn’t understand. I am still thinking about this book, so I will write more about it later.

I have the Wednesday Group coming over for a Germ Exchange, um Playgroup, today, so I need to tidy up - at a minimum, I should probably move the fireplace tool set.

Simian Snaps

I rarely take “sleeping” snaps these days because Nap Time is Sacred Time and you don’t mess around with THAT shit. However, we needed to be out the door to meet my friend R and her daughter K, so I took advantage of the fact that I needed to wake him anyway.

Arun bummed his first Cheerio off of K during our lunch at the Nelson. I think he got a little drunk. Maybe he can return the favor in high school when K needs to score some beer.

We went to the Celebration at the Union Station and Arun had a blast just looking at everything going on.

He started to get a little tired of the Celebrating and “insisted” we miss out on the Fireworks. Kids these days. They just suck all the Fun out of everything.

Ah, who am I kidding? Just about everything is more fun with him around. Well, except sex. Ironically. sigh

May 28, 2006

Hello, Operator? May I have the number for Child Protective Services?

Suppose your child doesn’t really care for all that Gerber stuff - you have tried various combinations of rice cereal -- plain, mixed with fruit, mixed with breastmilk. You have attempted in vain to stuff strained fruits and veggies lovingly pureed by Gerber down his protesting gullet. Wholesome things such as prunes, bananas, squash, carrots, green beans, peas and peaches were rejected in rapid succession. However, lentils? He’s all over that shit. Hummus? Check. Chicken saag? Check. Cheerios? Check. Pieces of grape? Bits of aprium? Check and Check. Specks of Indian Hot Mix? Definitely, CHECK. But wait, you say, doesn’t Indian Hot Mix have peanuts?

Blink...... Blink.....

No, I didn’t directly give him a peanut and I was only giving him the rice krispie-sized flecks of the besan flour stuff. However, Hot Mix does have peanuts in it so he was exposed to traces of it. When I realized what I had done, I thought I was going to hurl. These are days when I question whether I should really be left in charge of a gastronomically defenseless child.

May 26, 2006

Mumble much?

I am feeling like not writing a concise post. Parenthetical structure is over-rated, eh?

So, today Olathe Grandma inquired how much it cost to make copies on our home copier. I mentally fumbled around because the latent accountant in me could NOT resist the math. I finally said around half a penny which is probably an overstatement. THEN, she said “Oh, I pay 5 cents at Dillons!”. I could practically hear the wheels begin grinding into motion. So, I foresee some copying in my future because really, how can I refuse my grandma? I’ll just add this to the duties that always start with “You can get on the Internet, right?”

So, lately, I have been questioning my grandma on some of our family history - we have been in the Olathe area for a very long time and I was trying to establish who came when, where, and how. Let me note that while we have been here a long time, unfortunately, that means squat. You see, "longevity" doesn't always equal "distinguished" - my great-grandpa and his four brothers were known for being the "town drunks". While drunken moonshining is Cool History for the current generation, it's STILL Shameful Past for my grandma's. Anyway, I did find out something interesting (or at least to ME and since this blog is for me, by me and about me......) I should start by saying that Arun’s middle name was given to honor my oldest great-uncle who was like a grandfather to me. My great-uncle died nearly 6 years ago and I STILL get teary-eyed because I miss him. I just found out yesterday that my great-uncle was named after my great-great-great grandfather - this “3G” grandfather was born on the Blackbob Reservation that used to be near here (for those interested, it was where Heritage Park is now). And they had JUST moved from a reservation up north near Leavenworth. The current generation has always been curious about the whole Native American connection because it is shrouded in such secrecy. Several of the older relatives “way back when” used to vehemently deny the connection because it was shameful - keep in mind, this was the early 1900s NOT like now when it is hip and cool to be ethnic. Furthermore, I suspect many, many Americans have stories such as ours.

Anyway, this story has NO point whatsoever other than my getting a chuckle that my own little half-breed Indian was named after ANOTHER little half-breed from the mid 1800s. How fucking American is THAT?

A Desperate Housewife Stoops to Desperate Measures

I got about 5 minutes of Entertainment Mileage out of this, then I threw a toy in with him and got another 10. Enough to blow dry my hair, at least.

May 25, 2006

What am I forgetting?

Since my last male reader headed for the hills months ago, I am not going to mince words. It seems I am in possession of a uterus. Yes, I had sort of let it slip my mind. This strikes me as odd because you see, for YEARS, I was OBSESSED with my uterus. Like, would it work? Would it work RIGHT? Would it go the WHOLE 10 yards? When it turned out that yes, my uterus would do its bit for the good of the DNA Project, I was relieved. Then, I sorta forgot about the ole Ute because then I got distracted by my breasts, who also managed to step up to the plate and do THEIR job. Anyway, in short, it turns out this whole Battling the Blues bit was actually PMS.

You do the math. Cripes. Nice touch that it happened over Memorial Day, though.

Damn, he's sure worth it. Especially when he gives slurpy, slimy, tongue-laden kisses. THERE's the love.

Simian Snaps

I like that cat toys can double as baby toys. And vice versa - as evidenced by mysteriously placed toys WELL before Arun was old enough to play with them.

What's so special about this picture is that I could not have posed it better myself. He does this thing where he pushes or tosses toys ahead of him so that he can crawl/scoot after it. It's as if he is playing fetch with himself. And since I am prone to think that just about anything he does is utterly adorable........

May 24, 2006

How late is too late to build a fire in in your fireplace?

Is there a fireplace rule like “no white before Memorial day?” There are birds playing around the chimney and I’d like to show ‘em I mean BUSINESS.

This week is a little out of control - I am trying to fit a lot of things in, including THREE different trips to the vet. Pearson needs his “new n’ improved” tail checked out and Vanessa is going in for some dental stuff that was discovered last week during her checkup. The upside is that I gain some MAJOR Entertainment Mileage for Arun out of these visits. The downside is that herding a cat into a travel carrier is never, ever a fun task. Furthermore, if one more dog owner allows their dog to sniff and nudge at my injured cat’s carrier, I fear the Entertainment Mileage that would result from my kicking said owner in the balls. I wonder if THAT would scar Arun for life?

Speaking of the little twerp - he is SO FUN right now. Object Permanence AND Cause/Effect have set in. For awhile now, we have been playing what I like to call Poor Man’s Peekaboo where I look around asking “Where’s Arun?” - basically, just like Peekaboo sans the blanket. But lately, we discovered the fun to be had when you can afford the blanket and since I received no less than 24 blankets as gifts, then you can just consider Arun the luckiest little boy on the planet. Anyway, he loves to pull the blanket off of my head AND his own head. However, he can’t quite get the blanket back on his head, so burying his face in it garners a good enough result. Hilarity ensues.

Other things this week? I planted flowers last night - new for this year are zinnias and gerbera daisies - I am very excited to see how these turn out. Tonight, is the Veggie Pickup and dinner with friends at one of our favorite spots, The Blue Koi on 39th. Friday is mysteriously Free of Obligation, but I need to visit squeeze in visits to great-aunts and uncles, so I look for Friday to fill up quickly.

I still haven’t decided what to do with the Anti-Vegan Mommies from last week. I may meet with them again, but don’t think I will clear my calendar for such events. I did meet with the the Wednesday Group that I go walking with for an actual playgroup - Arun’s FIRST playgroup. It was basically a baby mosh pit and was quite fun. We’ve decided to keep Wednesday’s “as is” - that is, meeting at the hospital for the breastfeeding support stuff, then alternate Wednesdays for walking. However, we are going to schedule other days for actual playgroups now that the babies are old enough to scramble on top of each other.

Rancid Reads: I haven’t written about any reads lately because I am buried deep into John Irving’s Cider House Rules. I just ADORE Irving and have determined that I must read all of his books before I die and may well have to re-read a few (i.e. A Prayer for Owen Meany). However, his books are serious time suckers and require committment. Anyway, in the midst of reading Irving, I also read Peace Like a River by Leif Enger. I can’t even muster up the energy to bother with linking to it because I did NOT like this book. Read at your own risk. If you like overly religious-themed tomes with miracles liberally sprinkled throughout, then by all means, read this book. It just wasn’t MY cup of tea. Next up? Snow Falling on Cedars........ I am also determined to plow my way through a stack o’ magazines that have piled up that include Consumer Reports, Royalty Magazine, Knit.1, and National Geographic. Funny, how People and US Weekly never pile up.

Jack Bauer ain’t got nuthin’ on MY crime fightin' Treo.

We spent some time yesterday at Olathe Grandma’s house. Arun loves the piano and is quite fascinated by pounding the piano, then pounding the bench. As you can see, he is quite proud of his prowess at doing so.

Taken last week with the Wednesday group while out at Shawnee Mission Park (as you can see, we were so very busy WALKING.) It’s entertaining enough when your own baby is mawing away on his over-priced footwear - but when someone ELSE’S baby decides to get in on the gummin’ action? Even better.

May 22, 2006

Isn’t She Beautiful?

Well, Kind Stranger in Target, she WOULD be beautiful if she was a she. But you see, she is a HE. What part of the little boy bowl haircut and the BLUE outfit did you miss?

It’s amazing how often people think Arun is a girl and it STILL makes me chuckle. As it is, I am still not used to the “cute baby” comments, but I’ve been told by other mommy friends that those go down in frequency once said baby becomes a toddler. Which is fine by me, because sometimes I get a little weirded out by going through Target and getting comment after comment. If I don’t make eye contact, often, I will just keep going as if I didn’t hear. A question for all the mothers - what do you say when people comment on YOUR baby? Saying “Thanks” seems weird - as if I am taking credit for something with which I had little to do. Other than gestate and birth, of course.

Anyway, I am starting to feel GREAT. Apparently, all I needed was some time with my GIRLFRIENDS. Saturday was a day packed full of sangria, rioja, tapas, book discussions, and gabbing. I suspected I wasn’t doing enough with my friends and Saturday confirmed it. I can see now how I have wasted my precious babysitting time by running errands. Here on out, I am going to try harder to do things for ME - like knitting, meeting with friends, hanging out in coffee shops. It’s the right time anyway - I don’t need to run errands as much without Arun anymore because he is at the age where it is fun to take him places. I’ve even put off my flower purchases until I can take him because I know he would really enjoy going to a nursery.

The downside of Staying Home is that you have to make efforts to ensure your kid gets around OTHER kids his age so that he doesn’t become some weird boozing recluse when he grows up. So, a few months ago, I had joined a Mommy Club in the hopes of meeting more Mommies that have babies near Arun’s age. I haven’t actually met up with any of the gals with babies near Arun’s age, so I finally worked it in my schedule to meet up with them at the Deanna Rose farm. I have been going to this place A LOT lately - no complaints, either. It’s only about 10 minutes from my house, it’s free ( although I always throw a few bucks in the till), and it’s a lovely place to just get out and about. So, I was glad to meet some people there. The two gals I met were very nice, but I just didn’t feel a “connection” with them. Not like I have felt with Wednesday group I meet with (the group that I sorta started with gals I met at the breastfeeding support group through our hospital). Anyway, this lack of a connection became even more clear when we started talking about Lawrence and one gal started bagging on her sister-in-law who lives there because “....she is weird. She is not just vegetarian, she’s MORE than vegetarian....”, this is where I said “Oh, she is vegan”. Then, the gal started bagging on the Mercantile (a local health food store) there because they “sell weird stuff in there....”. Then, the OTHER gal started going on and on about a store downtown where it was obvious that the owners were living an “alternative lifestyle” and her husband was just not comfortable with that. ......sigh..... For whatever reason, I really take offense when people refer to gays and lesbians as living an "alternative lifestyle". It implies some sort of CHOICE on the part of this someone living this “alternative lifestyle" and that’s probably what raises my hackles the most. Furthermore, her husband couldn’t buy some fucking SOAP just because the owners were gay?? Oh, and MY reaction to all this? Actually, pretty mild - I had just met these gals and I tend to be muted in my opinions when I first meet people since I know that I can be quite obnoxious. I wait until I get to know people better before going in for the kill. Is that a strength or a weakness? Your pick.

So, I have to make decisions - the gals were very nice and their parenting styles are not super paranoid. And I am consciously trying to surround myself with relaxed mothers. So, in that vein, they fulfill my criteria for Mommy Friends. But the close-minded comments really bothered me. I left that place seriously wondering whether I want to hang out with them. However, after consideration, I realized that this is probably good for me AND good for Arun. After all, I can’t protect him from interacting with people that have so little experience in this game called Life. After all, Anti-Vegan comments will be the least that Arun will hear from his OWN Redneck Grandpa. ...... double sigh.....

Simian Snaps

I tried the mohawk thing, but as you can see, it really didn’t work.

Recently, he determined that no, he doesn’t really want to have his hair washed, NO thank you. Like, DUDE, he pulled out the Lower Lip Quiver which SUCKS because I haven’t quite hardened my heart to it yet. As you can imagine, this presents major issues for me because The Hair MUST be washed every other day. Trust me, it DOES. At least, he is old enough that I can just stick his head underneath the faucet - much quicker for rinsing than the cup after cup after cup after cup of water method.

Fortunately, his daddy’s nappy brush put a halt to the crying.

Look closely for the bird shit in the foreground. But hey, no worries - since he's not in Daycare, he needs to get his germs from SOMEWHERE to build his little Immunity Library.

“Hey, what if I turn out to be a Gay Vegan???”

May 19, 2006

Good GOD, how old is this jar?

Thank you for the nice thoughts yesterday. I am feeling a little better. The nice part about this stage of my life is that I have absolutely no Outside Influences to blame when I am Battling the Blues. My parents? Nope, getting along with them now. An Asshole? Nope, have a great guy now. Crappy job? Nope, I LOVE my job now. Uterus withering away? Nope, already utilized it. In short, I had to look the Blues in the eye and take action. So far, it seems to be helping. I am making an effort to exercise, to get out of the house into nature, and to do more “little” things for myself - like taking the time to knit a little more and read a little more. However, I do need to find a creative outlet. Unfortunately, since I quit doing Raku, I haven’t found something to take its place. Knitting is simply NOT a creative process for me - it is what I like to call “productive meditation”, but I am not actually CREATING something. I don’t have the mindset to ever make up my own patterns from scratch, so I do need to find something that is creatively fulfilling like Raku was for me. I have a box of oil pastels, so perhaps I should be digging those out.......

Last night was our first pick-up from the Fair Share Farm - there is a tiny farmer’s market at 39th and Genessee. This was our Partial Share of this week's take:
Our Fair Share of Fair Share
1 bunch of leeks
1 bunch of Apple Mint
1 bunch of Green Onions
1 head of Butter Lettuce
1 bag o’ spinach

Pretty cool! And I have NO freakin’ clue what I will do with it. Have I mentioned that I am fucking clueless when it comes to American cooking?? So, I see some spinach pachadi, mint chutney, and a nice butter lettuce salad in our future, but I am not sure what to do with leeks except make a soup. So, um, this is a spot where if you happen to have a good recipe for leek soup (say, your grandma’s uber-secret blue ribbon recipe) - feel free to pass it along my way. Anyway, for the 1st week, I am pretty happy with our haul. The bonus of this is that in addition to the Fair Share stall, I checked out the other stalls and picked up some pesticide-free strawberries, banana bread, wheat bread, and jam. The strawberries were a particular treat because I rarely buy them in the supermarket. Did you know that strawberries are the WORST for you regarding pesticides? It is virtually impossible to clean them properly. So, as a rule, I avoid them. Even though I LOVE strawberries and grew up with a patch in which I had free rein....sniff .........Anyway, as a bonus, the entire farmer’s market is in the parking lot of the Crave Cafe which has GREAT espresso. Did you see how I capitalized "great"? Like, I did that for emphasis. Because, that was one killer cup o' joe. It had a very satisfying smoky finish. YUM. Sorry, still thinking about it.....Where was I?........After the farmer’s market, I continued onto Urban Arts and Crafts in the Rivermarket for the Wednesday night knitter’s group I attend. Last night's activities will be a trend for most of my Wednesdays throughout the summer and frankly, it couldn't have come at a better time for me.

A few months back, I had several of X’s business associate’s over for Indian food. One of the wives wanted to learn how to make a few dishes after having attempted to do so on her own with not so positive results. So, tonight, she came over and we made some basic dishes such as chicken masala, chole and dhal. I wanted to teach her a few dishes that she would actually cook again, on her own, and I think I succeeded. I gave her a "tour" of my spice cabinets and at one point, she said "how old is this jar?" when she noticed the label on the lid. Honestly? I remember the apartment, so it was 1992. You see, my #1 cooking tip is to take old GLASS jars, clean them well and keep your spices in them. Never, EVER keep spices in a PLASTIC jar - they will go lose their flavor or even worse, simply go bad. So, yes, I have been keeping my garam masala in the same jar since 1992 - although, obviously, I replenish the spice itself. Anyway, it was a very nice evening. We started cooking around 4:30 and the "guys" came home around 6:30 to eat. It was beautiful evening so we ate on the deck while Arun faked his version of crawling - enough to get him off the blanket at least. Very nice. Very relaxing.

The great thing about having company over is that it necessitates cleaning the house. Which isn’t a bad thing because I suspect having a clean house will make me feel better, too. When my life becomes disorganized, it gets me down.

I feel I am on an upswing and I hope it continues.

May 17, 2006

Can I Confess?

That one of the things I love most about this Staying gig, is that I can peruse the aisles of Costco with leisure and even take the time to sample ALL the food offerings?

That I HATE the Dollar store and every time Olathe Grandma tries to foist shit off on me from that place, I want to scream “You worked your ass off your entire life so that you live the Good Life. For the love of God, go to fuckingTARGET.”

That the last month has been pretty hard? A friend confessed to me recently that she had hoped her body would finally “work right” after being pregnant and giving birth to her child. I know exactly what she means. It is becoming increasingly apparent that my body is going back to its messed up normal self. I have been down lately - more like just Battling the Blues type of stuff, but it pisses me off. Logically, I think my life is pretty damned GOOD. Why am I so sad? I was hoping that the DC/VA trip would lurch me out of this rut. Oddly, being pregnant was one of the happiest times of my life - I finally knew how it felt to be Normal and I had hoped that my body would just stay that way. I LIKED BEING HAPPY. Now that I know what it is like for NORMAL people, Battling the Blues is even harder because I’ve seen the Grass and damn straight - it IS Greener.

That my favorite Americano is the one my husband makes? While in VA, we had to do Starbucks the entire time and by the end of the trip, I was really, really craving a nice cup of espresso from our own machine at home. And to think that I complained when he had first brought the RidiculousEspresso Machine home. NOW, that professional grade machine he is lusting after is looking pretty justifiable.

That I am the worst Pet Mama ever? Last week, our kitty Pearson had a stick or dried poop or something stuck in his tail. I tried to get it out, then got distracted before I could get it out. X finally cut it last night only to discover that the tail started bleeding - apparently, that wasn’t a fucking STICK, but actually a fucking VERTEBRAE. Let me repeat that for you in the back - MY HUSBAND CUT OFF THE LAST VERTEBRAE IN OUR CAT’S TAIL. Fortunately, the vet said that is exactly what THEY would have done anyway. Just ON PURPOSE. Why quibble? So, we Watch And Wait to make sure it heals. And yes, I cried at the vet’s office. What’s it to ya?

That last weekend, I wouldn’t let Older Nephew play with my Wallace and Gromit action figures even though X totally gave me crap for it? Dammit, they AREN’T toys. They’re collectibles. Because I am COLLECTING THEM. Get it?

That I may be the literary equivalent of a Little League Mom? I got teary eyed last week when Arun started turning the pages of his books. I want him to love books as much as I do and would be BROKEN HEARTED if he doesn’t. After all, I have been carefully collecting all the Harry Potter super duper supreme editions just FOR HIM. I mean, I don’t enjoy all that magic crap. No sirree.

That I threw away over half of a perfectly good Tippin’s carrot cake today? A cake that Leavenworth Grandma had brought on Monday. I don’t LIKE carrot cake, yet found myself nibbling on it anyway. So, in the trash it had to go.

That change is always hard for me? Even a GOOD change? I was really worried about this blog design, but for once, this has been an EASY change. I love the new design and it really perked me up BlogWise.

That I am afraid my kid might be one of the Beautiful People and what hell will I do WITH THAT? I am pretty average looking (although X thinks I am HOT STUFF. What? He does!) In college, I was always the Wisecracking Sidekick to my Cute and Bubbly Friends. The thought of having a good looking son? What if he turns into one of those very guys that I despised in college? You know - the ones who thought they were God’s gift to women......Egads.

May 16, 2006

Isn’t all this baby safety crap actually just a
conspiracy against Natural Selection?

I'm surprised BeelzeBush's cronies haven't tried THAT one, yet. Because seriously, dude - if my kid can’t figure out how not to pull the curling iron down on top of his head and just leave the cord the fuck alone ALREADY blah blah blah. Insert a big fucking sigh right HERE, please. I left him for 2.2 seconds in the master bathroom where all 5 doors and 4 drawers are child-proofed YET I managed to leave a dangling, oh so irresistable cord hanging in full grasp. NO, the iron wasn’t even turned on and YES, he immediately stopped crying when I picked him up and NO, it’s not clear whether he actually knocked his noggin or not and YES, accidents happen. Still, I sorta feel like I should return my Bluetooth headset that X so thoughtfully gave me as a thankyouverymuch for birthin’ him a son. Sorta.

So - question for the Internet - what exactly constitutes “crawling”? He’s past the “rocking” stage and is using his knees and hands for transportation for about 3-4 “crawls” before going down on his stomach and just propelling himself forward by pushing with the feet. This is definitely a progression from ole log roll and back scootching that was his prior mode of transportation. In short, this kid is mobile in all directions and is not content with just toys anymore - baby gates must go up, which means my lazy ass must go DOWN to the basement where said gates are covered with dust and spiders. Leavenworth Grandma was over here on Monday and she swears he is crawling, but she also likes to tell people that we descended from the Bourbons of Spain, so there you go. It’s crazy - he just started this “trying to crawl” thing just before we left for DC and now, it’s ALL he wants to do. Why is that? Why doesn't he want to hunker down on toys anymore and just STAY PUT? I guess that's asking for too much when there are cats to be grabbed, cashews and sunflower seeds to be carefully plucked from the floor, plastic bags for sticking his head into, knitting needles to stick in his eye, and daddy’s shoes to gnaw upon. How the HELL is this kid going to survive walking?

Anyway, is THIS crawling? I don’t think it is and of course, it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things WHEN he does actually begin - he’ll probably still get into kindergarten. However it still begs the question - what is the definition of crawling? I think there should be standards for crawling so there are NO MISTAKES. Say, a 3 foot minimum?

More NonCrawling Pics Simply Because I Bought the Flickr Upgrade and Dammit, I Want My Money’s Worth

This was taken just prior to the Journey Towards the Coffee Table.

I love this picture because I suspect it will be only one of many, MANY photo ops underneath the Black Elephant (called so because it needs a Ridiculous amount of $$$$ for repairs). Leavenworth Grandma and my own mother both played underneath this piano (I didn’t because LG didn’t live around here when I was little). Anyway, I see many hours of playing Tent in Arun’s future.

P.S. One thing that cracked me up about the baby panda at the National Zoo is that when said panda was born, they had to "baby-proof" the area to keep him from hurting himself.

Updated to Add:Oh, Holy Crap - just read Amalah's site and I am thankful that my kid hasn't learned how to STAND yet. I just finished baby-proofing the FLOORS - I am not ready for the TABLES yet. Cripes.

May 15, 2006

What's with the freakin' SHEEP?

Welcome to the New and Improved Rancid Raves! Many, many thanks to Zoot for this - she did an AWESOME job and achieved exactly what I was striving for in a new design. I wanted something silly with a sheep theme - I've always loved the irony of cartoon sheep because frankly, sheep are pretty disgusting in real life. Also, fluffy, white cartoon sheep are so sweet, simple and downright cute. Which is SO not me NOR my blog. More irony for you - how cool is that??

One of the new changes you will notice is that I am going back to Blogger commenting - I had debated doing this anyway. When I had switched to Haloscan, Blogger commenting was a real drag.....I really did like Haloscan, but think that going back to Blogger commenting will be easier in the future. Unfortunately, this means that all past comments have been erased which means that my blog now looks like a sad, lonely blog complete with chirping crickets. Of course, maybe some of you nice people will kindly take pity on me and de-lurk to comment on what a great job Zoot did.

Again - here's a huge shout-out to Zoot! Thanks!

Um, Mom. Ever heard of a thing called “web logs”?

To make my Mother’s Day weekend super gooeylicious, it was preceded by what shall go down in our house as Black Friday - featuring the Boy Who Would Not Sleep. I realized by noon, after a morning sans Nap, that we may be in trouble and I cleared my schedule in preparation for focusing on the Afternoon Nap. But NO, that was not to magically appear, either. By 7:00pm, X and I decided to head to Brookeside for some coffee and desssert in the vain hope that Arun would fall asleep in the car, which he did about FIVE fucking minutes before we hit our destination. Coffee and dessert were procured, but not without Arun waking up, so back home we went. He feel asleep briefly in the car but promptly woke up as we pulled into the garage. All efforts thereafter were just futile exercises until he finally gave in around MIDNIGHT. I can, however, report that X and I are still married.

Saturday, I woke up with much trepidation because it was 5:20 am, the Nephews were coming over for the day and Arun decided “Hey, not without ME, you won’t!” May I, just for clarification, repeat the 5:20 am part????? The most frightening aspect of all this? Arun was all Hi Ho Cheerio. Mr. Giggly Happy Pants. Apparently, I have been worrying way too much about toys and Entertainment Mileage, when all he has needed his entire life was two older brothers. He LOVES his cousins. So, even though Arun was dead tired, he managed to keep his sparkling personality afloat because he is utterly fascinated with Older Nephew and Younger Nephew. And they? Are so patient and affectionate with him that by 3:30 pm that Saturday, I was bursting full of Pride o’ Aunt. Seriously. My sister rides their asses like a bank was just robbed and the results are worth it - she has two boys who are so respectful and kind.

So, on Sunday, was Mother’s Day. I guess, for all us Mommy Bloggers, this a big fucking deal. In particular, for NEW Mommy Bloggers this must the equivalent of a newly minted priest on Christmas Midnight Mass. This is a lot of pressure for a Mommy Blogger - no fuckin’ kidding. I truly, honestly, wholeheartedly wanted to come up with a meaningful "I am Mother, Hear Me Roar" post but realized that would probably alienate most of my Reading Public (all 4 of you!) because seriously, most of the time I am muttering under my breath “what the FUCK am I doing here???” This day, for me, mostly turned into a “I am so appreciative that I pro-created so easily and effortlessly.” It was very hard for me to turn this day into a “Worship Me” day. I just couldn’t do it. Fortunately, I have the Perfect Husband to band with me in this effort. I am not one of those women who says Nothing and then stands by her husband waiting patiently for him to do Something. HELL NO. From the beginning of our relationship, I have initiated something I call “Firsts”. First Valentine’s Day? Requires card, flowers, meal, gift. Second Valenetine’s Day? Requires a kickass meal. That’s it. Similarly - First Birthday Together? Again, requires The Works. Second Birthday Together? Requires a cool gift and kickass meal. Non-Milestone Anniversary? Kickass meal, no gift. In short - X is not required to come up with sappy gestures, but IS required to come up with a yummy meal and at times, cool gifts. As a bonus (for me), the Indian genes in him go along with this scheme - to my benefit. So, for my First Mother's Day, I got a nice rose and a sweet “You’re Special, from the Both of Us” card - blank, not signed. Apparently, X missed that part of the equation. I was tempted to give him a pen and make his ass sign it, but realized I prefer it blank because THAT IS X. I’ll just attach a post-it note for explanation. For my gift, I got a Bluetooth headset - I don’t know why I resisted this for so long, but the RidiculousCar came with Bluetooth and I LOVE it, so now I am sold on Bluetooth. It seemed an appropriate gift anyway because I need something wireless and hands-free to keep out of reach from The Reason for My 1st Mother’s day - Mr. Little Grabby Hands himself. So, now I get to be one of Those Assholes who walks around muttering to himself for all to hear, as if he is onto something Very Important. Because dammit, I usually I am. Just ask my sister - she's usually the one I am blabbering on with anyway.

So, um, on Sunday. Like I mentioned, that would be MOTHER’S day and since, well, I HAVE a mother myself, um, I invited Said Mother over. She came over a bit early so that we could walk my yard and I could show her the back yard that I had just furiously weeded the day prior while the Nephews were exploring my back 40 (feet) and traipsing trails through the mulch. So, um, I casually asked my mom if she had heard of Blogs. She immediately launched into a funny cartoon that she reads blah blah blah and ultimately YES, confirmed that she has heard of blogs. So, um, then I mentioned that wow, how I have a blog myself that where, um, I am pretty sarcastic and rememberwhenyougroundedmeinhighschoolforsayingthewordFUCK??hahahahahahaha?? So, um, at first, she was like “Oh, that’s nice.” Then, I told her how I make fun of her and dad - I told her how her archetype (GULP) is that she is sensitive, cries easily and doesn’t laugh at herself and um, then I quickly countered that my dad’s archetype is that of being a redneck and a cheapskate. And, um, I might have mentioned, well, how, um, I have referred to her mother as Crazy Leavenworth Grandma. And, um, possibly could have featured pictures of her her house. Maybe. By accident. So, um, I told her all of this and um, then refused to give her the URL until I proofread my blog again. Basically, it was the sexual equivalent of coming out to your mother by saying ”Hey Mom! I might be Gay! I might be Bi! Guess.”

The weird part is that, frankly, it was getting sorta disappointing to not be sharing this with my mother. We went through hell and back to get where we are today in our relationship and it was one long, arduous path. We may never and probably will never have a traditional Mother/Daughter relationship. And that is okay with me because at this point in my life, I need a friend, a REAL friend. The sort that you know will always have your back. So, while she will never, EVER share my crude, sarcastic, and often, foul sense of humour, I think a part of me feels relieved to finally be sharing this part of myself with her. That is, when I get the courage to give her the URL.

Simian Snap
It is so freakin' hard to get a decent snap these days:

In case he needs a little remindin' about exactly who it is that wipes his ass on a daily basis.

Coming Soon to an Internet near you! A Blog Redesign!
Stay Tuned......

May 11, 2006

You're not REALLY lost if you know which city you are in, right?

So, except for the whole “not enough toys” FIASCO, the trip went great. Arun hardly made a peep on both flights - since he loves to be held while sleeping, he knew better than to peer too closely at the gift horse bestowed upon him. One thing that bugs me, though - every time we fly, at least one person comments on “how good he was”. I find this perplexing - like, if he HAD cried, then what? He was BAD? I particularly hate this comment when it is used to compare him to another a kid on the flight who did happen to cry - it’s certainly not fair. X and I have been lucky - that’s all. Oh, one last thing about the flights - now he is old enough to peer outside the window and realize something is seriously OFF - particularly when landing and taking off. Watching his expressions was hilarious - his eyes would bug out, then he would look at me in wonderment, then look out the window again. It’s very hard to tell when he is scared because he doesn’t cry - I tend to confuse fright with curiousity, so the jury is still out on that one.

Oh, one more comment that bugged me. While waiting for our flight, a little old lady made a comment about “all they stuff we had”. Um, between X and I, we had a laptop bag, our Combi travel stroller, and an Eddie Bauer mini-tote (our suitcase and carseat were checked, of course). I was carrying Arun in the Bjorn. That’s ALL we had with us and we gate-checked the stroller. I felt like pointing out that when she traveled with HER kids, all she probably needed was a bonnet and saddle, but I resisted.

Sunday was spent hanging out with friends. We meet J and L for lunch at an Indian place called Minerva - VERY good South Indian stuff. It’s great hanging out with J and L because they are great parenting role models - they are pretty strict with their kids, yet they don’t get stressed out about the whole thing. I LOVE being around their kids (ages 5, 3, and 4 months). Their kids are energetic goofballs but yet are still very polite and well-behaved. Sunday evening, we met S and M for dinner at the Coastal Flat. This was a great “how much my life has changed” dinner because S and I used to work together at the little Internet startup in 2000. We were part of a group that went out all the time, closed down many bars and basically lived the singleton high life. It was interesting to be meeting with our respective spouses for dinner for a low-key affair. Sunday, we lucked out - Arun was a DREAM the whole day and appropriately smiled and giggled in all the places.

Monday was the Zoo day. For those of you who do NOT live in the DC/VA area, it was a chilly, rainy, cloudy day. That might seem like a crappy day to go to the Zoo but the bennie is that everyone ELSE thinks that, also. In short, there weren’t that many people there. Getting there, however, was an adventure. I had forgotten to get a good map before I left KS - I prefer maps that are small, compact and don’t fold up in a jazillion parts. I did have DIRECTIONS, though, so I thought “why not?” and decided to go commando in the map department. The directions to the Zoo were quite simple. In Theory. According to the Zoo’s website, they were as follows:
By car from Virginia via:
• Route I-66
• I-95
• Route 50

Easy, peasy, right? NOT. Somehow, somewhere, I ended up on some freeway. I pulled into a gas station, asked for directions, then proceeded to accidently go the complete OPPOSITE of the way given to me by the dude at the station. How could I not laugh at myself - yes, you know you are really down and out when you can fuckin’ laugh OUT LOUD AT YOURSELF. So, I managed to find I-66 west and headed BACK out to VA, then got off the interstate to get BACK on I-66 East because DAMMIT, I was determined that I was going to figure out what I did wrong. And I DID - eventually. Sort of. Hey, I got a tour of Dupont Circle AND got us to the Zoo, so hey, that’s a driving success in MY books (I did get us back home with NO problems, too). Anyway, to my credit, I didn’t get a single “What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” honk which I think is pretty impressive considering the car I was driving has KANSAS plates (we shipped our oldest car out to VA for X to drive there). Anyway, it wasn’t that bad because honestly? When you aren’t driving for work or an appointment with a timeline, getting lost can be fun and just part of the adventure. I learned THAT from my mother - she frequently would take us for Sunday drives where we would just drive nilly willy, just exploring to see where we could get to and if we could get home. I always thought it was so EXCITING to do this and my sister always, always cried in the backseat because as she put it “we were lost”.

Anyway, the Zoo was pretty cool and FREE. I only had to pay for parking, so I thought that was pretty fair. The panda was cute and since it was such a crappy day outside, there weren’t hoards of people waiting. I will say that I was shocked at how stroller unfriendly the place was. If it hadn’t been such a crappy day, I wouldn’t have gotten to go inside many of the buildings. I mean, I understand that strollers are a pain, but I am not comfortable leaving my stroller unattended. What am I supposed to do, totally unpack everything from it just so I could go inside? Besides, Arun promptly fell asleep and stayed that way the entire time we were at the Zoo - I sure as hell wasn’t going to wake him just so he could see some orangutan scratching his balls. So much for creating what I refer to as a Perfect Childhood Moment, eh?

Life is pretty damned good when YOU don't have to drive, eh?

Yeah, his mama is a moron, but hey! He got to see Dupont Circle!

By Tuesday, things were getting more tricky with Arun. He was completely and utterly tired of the apartment. This was becoming a theme - we noticed similar behaviour on our two previous trips when it was becoming obvious that he was just outright bored. For future trips, I am just going to have to pack more toys and books. In particular, books - I knew he liked books, but didn’t realize how much so until he excitedly lunged for one while at the airport - which meant I had to buy it because how could I resist THAT? But I digress...... Tuesday, we drove back to DC to meet Amy for lunch. This was a piece of cake driving-wise because we had met at the same place before. Besides, how could I resist another slice of heavenly government-controlled pizza? I knew Arun needed a good nap, so I arrived in the area a good 45 minutes early and just drove around looking at the cool houses in the neighborhood and such. The lunch was fun because we both could see a HUGE different in our children - meaning, the meal was much more low-key this time around. Noah and Arun mostly just sat in their high chairs practicing their Bs and Ds. Later, Noah, being the little Goodwill Ambassador that he is, tried to give Arun sweet, slurpy kisses and Arun, being the little snooty snot that he is, wasn’t having any of THAT. I can report that Noah is indeed one delicious little baby and SO easy-going. I had to shake and rock my kid to get him to sleep on my chest, but Noah rubbed his eyes, then fell asleep on his own.

One Down.......

One to Go........

Yes, this was a nice trip. I am so grateful that Arun has turned out to be a fairly good traveler so far. I want to ride this pony until it freakin' DIES because the toddler years are looming large on my travelin' horizon.

May 10, 2006

Ma’am, could you step aside over here?

Not to mock the whole terror thing, but seriously - if you are headed to the airport for a 5+ hour journey and your kid hasn't taken his Daily Dump? I challenge YOU not to be just a little frightened. I had visions of being  pulled aside in the security line for the apparent pipe bomb emanating from my kid’s diaper. But the real $64,000 question was WHEN? and HOW BAD? During take-off, when there is no hope of changing it anytime soon? And would it be the sort of load that must be dealt with ASAP or all hell breaks loose - literally? Fortunately, he ended up doing his deed before we boarded, but there were some tense moments not to be mocked.

Okay - the results of my Packing Challenge? While I wouldn’t have ran out of outfits, the point would have been moot as I ended up getting drunk on Gymboree at the Fair Oaks mall. Frankly, I am surprised Arun hasn't joined forces with his Daddy to mount an uprising against the wearing of Gymboree   No.More.Monkey.Outfits! However, I made myself a brand spankin’ NEW Challenge by forgetting lots of stuff FOR ME. Like foundation. Eyeliner. Razor. And the worst? SHAMPOO. When I had pilfered my Hotel Stash, I had grabbed two things of CONDITIONER. Even worse, I forgot Arun’s shampoo. Good God - we had an audience with the Queen....... of Everything and most definitely, Shampoo. All X had in his apartment was dandruff shampoo and we’re not even not talkin’ Head and Shoulders - we’re talkin’ STORE BRAND. Eek. So, GoAheadTwistMyArm had to go to Target and do a little guilt-free shopping.

I did learn one crucial thing in my Packing Challenge. Toys. I brought only a few toys. Big Mistake. It worked for awhile to just give Arun crap around the apartment to play with, but the Entertainment Mileage (EM) was limited. Here are the pictures of desperate measures:

Daddy’s shoe provided about 10 minutes of EM.

Empty water bottle, pack of playing cards, spoon, AOL junk mail CD box, empty paper towel roll, and a glass. We eventually had to pull out the Big Guns in the form of junk catalogues, Rubber Maid containers and measuring cups and little stick of EM gold called a flashlight.

Reflection in the bathroom mirror? A good 30 minutes of EM. Ding!Ding!Ding! Folks, we have a winner!

Oh, what else did I forget? A map. Then, in my infinite wisdom I created a new Challenge for myself called Navigation and refused to buy a map even though I was going to be driving to DC twice from Virginia. While I did have directions, um, sometimes I could have used a MAP. Stay tuned, will post more tomorrow. I am afraid to even be NEAR the Internet right now for fear I will find out accidently who caused the bus crash on Veronica Mars.

Flyin' High

One thing is becoming increasingly apparent. We have a little Mama's Boy on our hands. Which is 2 parts Thrilling and 1 part Irritating. OF COURSE, I want my little bundle of boy to love ME more than anything else in the whole wide world.

Just not when I am trying to find out Denise's excuses for steppin' out with Heather's man.

May 6, 2006

Am I Crazy, Just Plain Stupid, or Optimistic?

I have my "panda cub viewing" ticket for the Zoo printed and ready to go - it cracks me up that I had to reserve a spot to see a PANDA. Anyway, the suitcase is almost packed so that we can head out to DC/VA today.

Besides the travel stroller, carseat, Baby Bjorn and normal diaper bag, I have packed the following for HRH:
1 pair of shoes
2 pairs of socks
2 light blankets
2 pajamas
4 outfits
1 thing of baby food
extra baby wipes
22 diapers

AND, since I learned my lesson the hard way in San Francisco, I am including Tylenol and Mylicon for this trip.

We are gone for 3 days. Wish me luck!

May 5, 2006

If Dracula can’t see himself in a mirror, how the hell does he get the part in his hair so damned straight?

This will be a quickie - but hey, doesn’t EVERYONE love a good quickie anyway?

Since we are leaving tomorrow and my normal laundry day is Sundayish, I have to do some laundry today. Since laundry is one of my primary responsbilities in that “Staying” gig that I have worked out for myself, that means I need to get on it TODAY.*

Anyway, today’s topic will be about my very most favorite one in the whole wide world. Yeah, you guessed it - The Monkey. HRH got Haircut #3 yesterday - you know your baby's hair is too freakin' long when you have to TUCK IT BEHIND HIS EARS. He did pretty well and didn’t start freaking out until the end as the barber was doing his bangs. Not bad. I tried to get a picture of it for the Internet, but was fairly unsuccessful and ended up mostly with crappy, fuzzy pictures. It looks like we have a freakin' GHOST living in our house. You see, we are at a point that for a split second Arun looks at the camera when the red eye flash goes on. But then he immediately starts moving. Moving is his NEW thing. Sitting and hunkering down on some toys is Old School - so YESTERDAY - why do that when he can MOVE from a sitting position to his stomach? Because once he gets to his stomach, the world is his oyster. And he is not even crawling yet.

The Heir and his Hair

*I don’t really MIND doing laundry and truth be known, most of X’s stuff is dry cleaning. But don’t tell him that.

May 4, 2006

What would Geronimo say if HE jumped out of an airplaine?

It seems I am going to DC/VA this weekend for a few days. We sort of decided last minute - I only just booked my ticket yesterday. It is nearly impossible to plan these trips ahead of time, because they are dependent upon X’s schedule. If X has meetings scheduled in DC/VA and I don't already have things going on in KC, then we can go. I learned the hard way on our first trip with Arun to DC/VA that traveling with a baby requires you to be flexible and not overly aggressive with planning too many activities. So, for this trip, I am hoping to get in a visit to the Zoo. That’s all. Oh, and seeing about a hundred people. Sigh. That is always the most troublesome part of going to DV/VA - the trying to fit in all of the social obligations. Every single trip involves scurrying around trying to get with people -- don’t get me wrong, these are folks that I DO want to visit (e.g. we will NOT be visiting K&L from last trip’s episode of The Slap). So, for Sunday, we are trying to set up something with our friends J and L, then later something with S and M. If S and S find out we are in town, they will probably want to have us for dinner which would be yummylicious because who can turn down a home-cooked South Indian meal? Also, I have yet to email Amy - I had “warned” her awhile back that I might be coming to town. I suspect it will be way too late to plan something there - her life looks pretty crazy right now. Anyway, hopefully this trip won’t be too stressful - we will be staying in X’s corporate apartment there in Fairfax, so there won’t be the added hassle of dealing with a hotel. Although, can I confess I will miss the free shampoo? I’m the type of gal who immediately sets herself upon all those free hotel toiletries with unadulterated greedy glee. Seriously, I’m like a duck on a June bug when it comes to free shit anyway, but when left to her own devices in a hotel bathroom?....shiver......(Rancid Rambling: Am I the only one with a shampoo fetish? When I quit my job, I started decreasing my “collection” in paying homage to The Budget, BUT I still have 6 shampoos and 5 conditioners littering my shower - not including the freebies nicked from hotels across the country. And I still want more - when Zoot mentioned how much she loves Dove shampoo, it was all I could do to resist buying some during my last foray into Target. Help. ) Anyway.....Where was I? Oh, yeah.

In a departure from my normal baby-oriented snaps, I am going to post a few of our ORIGINAL babies. I was very sad when Christine closed shop and pulled down the blogging blinds. I will be forever thankful for her support during my pregnancy last year when I was going through the process of getting our cats used to all the new shit coming into the house. My mother and sister were horrified that we were giving each cat a “turn” at the new stuff. Crib coming in the door? Each cat was immediately dumped into it one by one. My philosophy was “Let them explore!”. Christine was very helpful when I went to her for advice. I still believe that our relaxed attitude has helped immensely in the cat’s adjustments - we have had no problems with them since Arun came into town.

At our old house, many hours were spent on this rooftop.

Vanessa is our shy cat - I am sure many of my RL friends are going WTF? You have THREE cats? Ironically, she has gotten LESS shy since Arun's arrival and comes out more often when people are visiting. I think it demonstrates to what lengths a desperate cat will go for attention.

This is Harry - as in Potter. In January 2003, he showed up in our backyard and hung out in the pampass grassed corner you see in the picture. We thought he was a neighborhood cat just hanging out. Then, one fine day in April when the door was left open, he scurried into the house and gobbled at the cat food. We were horrified to discover that he was stray all along. Since there was NO WAY in hell anyone would adopt an adult male black cat, we promptly took ownership and hauled him to the vet for shots and "clipping" of his sensitive parts. Even though he has that tendency to leave squirrel scraps, bunny bits and chipmunk chunks at our door, we still love him. He's a very cool cat - tough as hell and smart as a whip.

Pearson is our Pretty Boy. If cats could be gay, Pearson would be, for sure.

May 2, 2006

What’s the opposite of Constipation?

Good grief, everyone tells you that eventually your sweet baby ain’t gonna smell so sweet after awhile. But, nothing, I mean NOTHING prepares you for that actual moment when your baby’s diaper becomes his own personal porta-potty. The only way to aptly describe the aroma of my precious progeny these days is the word “stench”. Or “foul”. Your pick. And the passing of the gas? Certainly, we won’t be capturing that “bouquet” of scents in a bottle any time soon.

Anyway, today is going to be a presentation of Rancid Roundups. I can’t really cobble together an entire entry, so there you have it. A hodgepodge of my sad little life...........

1. The first nosebleed courtesy of a Baby Head Bonk is not that precious, quite shocking and actually pretty painful.

2. Don’t watch Survivor on a High Definition TV. Bug bites, hairy armpits and flaky, freckled sunburns aren’t pretty in real life, much less on your RidiculousTV. Trust me on this.

3. I had mentioned before that nothing says Spring! like fresh bunny bits thoughtfully left at your front door courtesy of your thoughtful kitty. And I was fine with the little gifts that Harry was leaving - okay, not “fine”, but “accepting”, at least. What I am NOT kosher with is the squirrel scraps he has lately been donating to the household coffers. Why? Because, last fall, just a scant 2 weeks before I GAVE BIRTH, I posted about the squirrels who took up residence in our attic (The postings are here, here, here, here and FINALLY, thankthelordabove HERE). That little squirrel problem cost us over $600 to fix. So, why is Harry NOW bringing us squirrel scraps left and right? Grrrrr......

4. I try not to be a Nervous Nellie when it comes to mothering, but this whole “solid” food thing has been under my skin. Arun won’t eat ANYTHING - he liked peas and that was IT. We even gave him a taste of curry last week and he scrunched his nose at that. Then, tonight, I gave him some of my lentil soup. He grabbed the spoon and sucked it CLEAN. And did it again with the 2nd spoonful. Rinse. Repeat. WTF?

5. My days of wine and roses are coming to an end. Arun has been somewhat mobile for awhile now by doing his weird scooting thing on his back. However, it was at such a slow, predictable pace that there wasn’t too much to get worried over. Now? He is rocking back and forth on his knees. Just tonight, for the very first time, he was actually able to propel himself forward on his belly by pushing his legs. Nope, not officially crawling, but frighteningly close.

6. I am pissed. Awhile ago, I had posted about a great book called "The Best Little Coffee Shops in Kansas City". I found out today that the said shops PAID to be in the book. I cry Foul! on that one. While it IS a great GUIDE to local coffee shops, I question “The Best” in the title - utterly misleading considering its complete lack of impartiality. Anyway, on that note, Beanology totally rocks (although I wonder about their tagline of "winding down" - when was the last time YOU "wound down" on some caffeine??) Anyway, not only do they score extra pointage on being honest about the book I just mentioned, they DO make a YUMMY cup of joe. Furthermore, their shop has a great ambience and is very comfortable. You can find them at the NW corner at 135th and Metcalf in Overland Park. Check 'em out if you are in the area. Our favorite place is still PT's, but Beanology is running a tight race.

7. Tonight, as I was rocking Arun, his hairy little head and hot breath made my neck all sweaty. And I couldn’t help but think, “Wow, I wanted this moment for SO LONG.” And here it is. He is everything I wanted in a child and even MORE.

And I will hold fast to that moment when I face the results of that lentil soup later tonight.

Don’t it Make My Brown Eyes Green?

My mom is just OVER THE MOON about Arun’s eyes. It’s apparent her green eyes must have come out a bit here. The green in our little demi-desi's eyes certainly didn’t come from X’s side and definitely not from my dad’s. Did you know that eyes express themselves on three different genes?

How About a “Bring Your Immigrant to Work” Day instead?

I tried to convince X that he didn’t REALLY need to go to work on Monday and that he should just take the day off to play with Arun and me. He wasn’t buying it.

I haven’t said anything at all regarding this “immigrant” thing because I didn’t really think I had much to add to the conversation. Also, X has his green card, so it doesn’t directly affect us anyway. I can report that before he got his green card, I was always a little leery and nervous for him. The INS folks aren’t known for being fuzzy and friendly - it’s a reputation rightly deserved. The time that I, an American citizen, spent in there was not fun - I was nervous the whole time that they were gonna boot MY ass outta the country. Anyway, I feel better now that he is “green”, but will feel helluva lot better when he becomes a citizen. So, while I still think I don’t have much to add, I will say this: I believe most Americans don’t have a freakin’ clue just how much illegal immigrants add to our country. I believe most Americans completely underestimate the economic ramifications that would result from shipping each and every single illegal immigrant back. I believeAmerica has a fragile little house of economic cards here, delicately built upon the back of many immigrants. Do I believe it is right that immigrants are here illegally? Not necessarily. But, this is not a black and white issue. I believe that most of the discourse regarding this issue does not take into account how freakin’ gray it really is. It is very naive to make the argument “ship ‘em back and they can come back in legally”.

Please take a moment and see how many times I just said “I believe” - I even bolded them for clarification, folks. These are MY uneducated opinions, not anyone else’s (namely X’s. He can get his own damned blog). However, 8 months ago? I would have been preaching the whole “ship ‘em back” theory. I have learned enough in the past 8 months to realize that ain’t gonna cut it. While I don't know the answer myself, I do challenge others to also learn more about this issue. Have you bought any tomatoes or oranges lately? Any chicken or beef or pork? Had your lawn mowed by a service? Had your house cleaned by a service? Well, then this probably affects you more than you realize.

May 1, 2006

Grizzly Bear, Grizzly Bear, What Do You Taste?

I‘m thinking that one involves a pair of hikers who are, unfortunately for them, down on their luck.

So, in the file of What They Neglect to Tell You Before You Go About Birthin’ That Baby is that said baby will need to be ENTERTAINED. I am not sure about other’s babies, but OUR baby needed to be amused from the very beginning - pretty much the same day we carted his newborn bony butt home. At first, it was enough to drive him around the car, or just walk him around the house. Ceiling fans and lamps also provided loads of Entertainment Mileage (EM). Unfortunately, this phase didn’t last long and his entertainment needs started getting more complicated. Fortunately, we received the ugly-smugly Lamaze multi-sensory cube as a gift (aka The Most Hideous Toy Known to Man). When I opened this thing, I was appalled and considerered returning it - which would have been a grave mistake on my part. As luck would have it, I am such an easy mark for brand marketing that the word “Lamaze” on the packaging screamed Harvard Bound! so, I ripped open the damned thing. Later, when Arun was around a month old, in a fit of desperation, we sat him in his high chair in the reclining position, placed the cube on the tray in front of him and he sat there for FIFTEEN minutes, just staring at it with his big ole bug eyes. At that point, he didn't even KNOW he was in possession of HANDS, much less have the capability to do anything WITH THEM. Anyway, when he would begin crying, we would just switch the cube to another side and he would sit there staring for ANOTHER fifteen minutes. This shit was better than Baby Einstein! We could never get him to sit that long in front of the RidiculousTV - in fact, we have gotten far more EM out of the CNN newcrawls than Baby Einstein.

Speaking of videos, don’t get me wrong - we are not against them. If it won't make the kid go blind or give him seizures, plug that shit IN. We just haven’t had much luck with videos. So far, Arun would rather hunker down with some toys (although, I'm still stocking up on Jonny Quest, JUST IN CASE). However, when the Sesame Street Beginnings controversy started, I KNEW that my boy needed to be a part of THAT, so of course, I had to purchase one of them. I bought the Make Music Together DVD and honestly? I was impressed. Although, I’ll admit this disappointed me because I was hoping to get a snarky post out of it. But NO, it turned out to be a nice video. The best part of it is that it encourages parental interaction. Arun didn’t really care for it until I sat him in my lap and actually started singing and dancing with him. One thing, though. Does it bother anyone else that Prairie Dawn is so fucking PINK? That's one muppet in serious need of some sunblock. Also, baby Cookie Monster has GOT. SOME. MOVES. ON. HIM. That monster can DANCE. Very hot.

Truth be known, before I had children, I swore I wouldn't litter my house with plastic primary colored crap (I also swore I would let my kid "cry it out", but that's ANOTHER post entirely). Anyway, I quickly discovered that all the cool, uber-Euro wooden toys are fucking EXPENSIVE and couple this with the fact that I stopped bringing home a paycheck AND wellllll, Fisher-Price started lookin' mighty FINE. Hands down, we have gotten the most EM out of the Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium Rockin’ Gym. I bought this when Arun was about 5 weeks old - all he could do was lay on his back and stare in fascination. If he got excited and kicked around it would rock and turn the music on. Then, he learned to bat at the dangling fish, then he progressed to actually grabbing them. Now? He sits at the thing pulling all the toys out and "steering" the little wheel. I love this toy because the music is a fun calypso series. In fact, I love the entire Ocean Wonders set so much, I kinda went “overboard” with it and thus, we are the proud owners of the Aquarium, take along swing , fishbowl , high chair, octopus portable mobile , musical stacker , and even the fish rattle . I think most parents would agree, it is damned HARD to find Noisy Toys that aren't irritating. When you find something that doesn't make you want to rend your garments, you buy ALL of the shit.

Now, let's talk about BOOKS. First, I LOVE books. Not only do I have books from my own childhood, I have been collecting children's books throughout my adulthood - particuarly vintage ones from the 40s and 50s (I love the stylized art and storylines). So, Arun did come into the world already owning a hefty set of books. Throughout my pregnancy, as I lovingly rubbed my big ole baby belly, reading pregnancy book after pregnancy book, I learned how critical it is to read to your baby. Otherwise, he will end up with low test scores, no personality, no job, and ultimately, no eternal soul. So, I harbored grandiose visions of hours spent with my precious progeny poring over classic after classic. And even though I hate Goodnight Moon, how could I resist a book that could so easily incorporate the very name of my son? But alas, my hopes were quickly dashed in the Reading Category, as I ended up mostly with this:

It's only been recently that he will allow me to actually TURN the pages, but ONLY if I do so with an attitude that each page JUST MIGHT contain a thrilling conclusion to the aura of mystery I have already created in the previous page.

Lately, in desperation, I have been visually scanning the house for anything else that might assist in amusing in our kid - I call it Going on the Cheap. Empty soymilk carton? 15 minutes. Wooden spatula? 10 minutes. Spoons? 2 minutes (per spoon) Chess set? 30 minutes (with CLOSE supervision!!! It’s great for fine motor skills.) Empty bathtub with hangers? 30 minutes:

Finally, while I rued the day that all this primary colored plastic crap would take over my house, I secretly hoped I would be able to resist my boy’s baby browns. Ha! We have a veritable Toy Parade of Gay Pride running through our house:

But that’s okay. Like I’ve said before , I may not treat my boy like a Princess, but he can become a Queen later if he wants to. It's all good.

The scariest part of this post is that I have only covered a FRACTION of the toys to which the kid has access. I have what I refer to as Entertainment Kiosks set up through the house - baskets filled with toys and books and then per room, one "big" toy (i.e. a gym, exersaucer, etc). It's crazy. I am just grateful Arun is only one of FOUR grandkids, so my parents haven't gone apeshit buying him crap.

You should see the all the shit littering my SISTER'S house.