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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Rockin' and Rollin'

Overnight, life as the mother of two got much more complicated. BB is officially on the move.

Almost two weeks ago, she rolled over for the first time. This week, she mastered rolling several times in a row, fairly quickly, so she can now cover an impressive amount of territory. I'm very excited for her, and she's obviously incredibly proud of herself. She looks up at us from the floor with that wonderful, wide, toothless grin of hers and waves her arms excitedly, as if to say, Did you see that??

I confess: part of me really misses being able to put her down and know she'll stay there.

In other news, BJ has become a Beatles fan. Toddlers and Rock & Roll are a ton of fun. Whenever he hears a song he recognizes, he has great fun announcing, "John, Paul, Ringo, and George are Singers!" He first started this after discovering their song "All Together Now," which is a natural hit for any toddler. Yes, I focus more on the first verses: "1, 2, 3, 4, can I have a little more? 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 -- I love you. A, B, C, D, can I bring my friend to tea? E, F, G, H, I, J -- I love you!"

It took some time (and a few fits) to convince BJ that no matter how many times he insisted otherwise the song would not continue through the rest of the alphabet. Even now, he will still occasionally ask, "K? K?"

"No K," I'll say. "But that's OK." And we sing on about sailing the ship and skipping the rope.

S will do the whole song, including the part about the colors and bringing a friend to bed, but I tend to skip that part. Prudish Mom, I suppose.

(S will also do things like teach BJ to say, in his best pirate voice, "Blow me down!" and be amused when it comes out as only, "Blow me!" He doesn't worry about being judged a poor parent for doing so. It's sad to admit it, and it says something about the remaining strength of gender roles and parenting responsibilities, but I do worry about the looks I'd get if BJ started yelling that at the park. I laugh, too. But I shake my head while doing so. Sigh.)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Etsy Love

Ever since starting to sell my Baby Friendly Beads (over a year ago now!) I have been impressed by the creativity and kindness of other Etsy folk. There's a lot of talk about Etsy love, what with the "I heart Etsy" slogan, the abundance of hearts (a way of marking favorites), and logos like this:

I first encountered the full force of Etsy Love when I had the pleasure of participating in the Coproduction contest. This was back when I was a new seller, one who compulsively looked at my hearts, my views, and the forums on an hourly basis. (In truth, hourly checks only happened when I held myself in check.) This was waaaay back when, before BB's arrival, when BJ was still napping a fair amount and I still had time to do things like read online forums and actually post every once in a while!

Back then, I had the time and energy to be part of not one, but two Coproduction teams. StoryBlox headed up one team, which produced a set of blocks that included my silly little poem, "A Musical Menagerie." StoryBlox was gracious enough to offer reproductions of the blocks to the team members at a discounted rate (there's some love for ya!) and BJ and I have lots of fun playing with them.

I was also part of the team that submitted a mobile, Botanical Balance, which won second place. It was such fun working with Dea Terra (who seems, alas, to have closed her shop) and Clever Kitty. Finding out we'd placed second among so many amazing entries was even more exciting than making my first Etsy sale.

So up until a few weeks ago, I thought I'd been as lucky as I could be in getting my share of Etsy Style Lovin' so far. But once again, I find myself overwhelmed by the generosity of the Etsy community. Just by opening my mailbox!

Lucky, lucky me -- I was part of the most recent Etsy Baby Shower. Where else but Etsy would you find a bunch of strangers ( 90 0f them, to be specific!) willing to donate amazing, handmade gifts for a virtual baby shower? Talk about love!!!

Each Mom gets five gifts, and two of mine have arrived. Turns out both of these wonderful gift donors were also EtsyKids sellers! (What is EtsyKids, you ask? It's a group of amazingly talented sellers who all sell incredible stuff for babies and kids. Click here, or go to Etsy and search the tag "EtsyKids" to see what I mean.) Bumblebeebaby Boutique sent me this lovely taggie blanket. BB adores it!

And ALaine Designs sent me two super cute onesies. One says, "Sweet" with a picture of pea pods, and the other says "You are My" with a smiling sun.

Since "You are my Sunshine" is one of the few songs I actually have memorized well enough to sing to the kids, I especially like that one. And they were both packaged up in her signature Twosies Tin. Just too stinkin' cute, I tell ya. I'm a lucky, lucky gal.

All this, and I have three presents yet to arrive! Is it any wonder that Etsy is so addictive? It's all about the Etsy Love. And today I'm feeling it a heartful!

Monday, June 25, 2007


BB turned 5 months old yesterday, and this evening we introduced her to "solids" (a term I've always chuckled at, since the consistency at that first feeding is anything but). She gobbled up her three tablespoons of breastmilk mixed with one tablespoon of rice cereal (Earth's Best Organic, of course). Most of it made it into her mouth, too -- a far cry from the enormous mess that was BJ's first solid feeding.

Maybe it's because we first tried solids with BJ at four months. I was hesitant to start that early, but our pediatrician was pretty insistent that we ought to give it a try, and with me being a new mom I bowed to the professional's pressure. The doctor had all sorts of reasons, from the dubious "he's just so big!" to the more plausible explanation that it could help prevent anemia. (Since breastmilk has almost no iron, and since we don't do vitamins, the cereal would provide an iron source.)

This time, though, I felt more confident waiting those extra 30 days. Sure, there was some tongue thrust (that always seems such a risque term for such innocent behavior) but most of the time she was begging for more and grabbing the spoon and putting it in her mouth herself. If she could have gotten at the bowl, she might well have quaffed the whole thing! I was really proud of her for doing so well. Weird, I know, to take pride in my child's eating habits, but there it is.

Pride mingled with sorrow, though. It's sad to be moving on from breastfeeding exclusively. It's one step on a long path that will end with her weaning. And since she's my last child (unless we get a huge surprise) that will be the end of my breastfeeding days.

Plus, eating "real food" (not that mama's milk is fake, thankyouverymuch!) is a lot more hassle, that's for sure. More mess, more time, and harder to do while keeping a toddler occupied. When I'm nursing BB, at least BJ and I can read a book together!

But more than that -- there's something really lovely and satisfying to look at BB with all her chubs and folds and to think my milk did that. Her physical presence, now that's something solid. It hardly seems possible sometimes. If it wasn't so blatantly biological, I'd call it magic.

I'd hoped to get some really good photos of her in all her Buddha baby glory before introducing the rice cereal, so that I could have a permanent visual reminder of what mother's milk can do. Alas, life with a toddler just didn't allow the time and space for that to happen. S got some snapshots tonight, and I tried to last night, but none of them got what I'd hoped to capture.

So I took a good look at her beautiful body last night as I was bathing her, knowing that today would be the day that she first ate something other than my milk. As I was sudsing her perfect skin and after, while massaging every yummy inch of her amazing baby body, I told myself -- Remember this. Remember this.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Potty Mouth

I'd be the first to admit it -- I have a terrible potty mouth. I can curse up a storm that would put a sailor to shame. (And sink his ship in the maelstrom, too.) It's an unfortunate habit, and one that I reigned in significantly when I was teaching high school.

But when I took a break from teaching, those four letter words slowly crept back into use. So in the last two years, I've tried once again to stop cursing because I don't want the kids to pick up any nasty new vocabulary words. (And because it's extremely unappealling to hear myself exclaiming expletives with a baby on my hip. Just.... ew. It's only happened once or twice, but each time has made me cringe.)

I read somewhere that there is an excellent reason kids are so likely to repeat profanity -- often only needing to hear it once before it becomes a new favorite word. Two reasons, actually. First, it's the reaction they usually get. Saying it gets our immediate and vigorous attention. So if your kid does let slip something you don't want repeated, it's better not to provide a huge reaction. Correct, of course, but do so in a calm manner.

Second, it's the way we tend to say curse words when they do slip out. Unless you're a casual curser (inserting The F Word like a favorite modifier in every sentence -- and if you are, you have larger issues than I can help with!) then you probably shout out your curse words under duress. Like after slamming your finger in the door. In such situations, the curse word is said by itself, with great emphasis and enunciation, and at high volume. Of course it gets a kid's attention.

So if you do end up letting a four letter word slip around a little kid, one way to keep it from being repeated is to immediately follow up the single curse word with a lot of other sounds, even nonsense sounds, so that the curse itself gets lost in the babble. And end with something harmless. This is why you will hear savvy parents shout out: "F*ck! Aluckalingadangadingdongringrongsingsong!"

This is more satisfying, I find, than simply replacing a four letter word with something more innocuous. (The old "Sugar!" for "Sh*t!" substitution trick.) Though I do try to rely more on substitution, or just stomping my feet. That works, too. (And imitation results in, at worst, your kid looking like Lord of the Dance. Embarassing, yes. Cause for calling CPS? Hardly.)

So between stomping, shouting "Sugar!" and making up pseudo-profanity whose beginnings sounds suspiciously familiar, I thought I had been pretty good about keeping my language clean since BJ started talking. Recently, however, S thought he had reason to bust my chops about my swearing in front of the kids.

He works as a college professor, and he occasionally takes BJ in to campus with him. Apparently, S and BJ were wandering around near the dorms when they ran into one of S's students, a typical indie type with visible body piercings. Including one through the middle of his lower lip.

S introduces BJ, and they make small talk about the end of the spring quarter. All the while, BJ stares at the student, transfixed. Finally, he points up at the student and exclaims, "F*cker!"

S looks at him, stunned. BJ keeps jabbing his finger towards the dumbstruck young man and repeating, "F*cker! F*cker!!"

(S was trying not to laugh as he told me the story, so I figured he couldn't be too mad about it, but still -- as soon as I heard this I thought, "Oh, sh*t." Or, excuse me. I should say, "Oh, sugar.")

The student looks at my husband, his expression somewhere between suppressed laughter and outright horror. "No offense, Professor, but what the heck are you teaching your son?" he asks.

S kneels and manages to get BJ to stop shouting The F Word. Surely he can't be saying what I think he's saying, S tells himself. Cringing, he asks BJ to say it, one more time. "In your inside voice," he pleads.

And then, blessedly, both S and his student hear the missing consonant sounds that BJ had been trying so hard to make.

"Fweckle!" he says (in his inside voice) still pointing to the student's amused face.

"Freckle," S repeated, relieved. BJ had thought that the student's lip piercing was a freckle.

So I now have a new substitution. When you hear me shout out, "Mother Freckle!" you'll know exactly what I mean.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Summer Solstice

Tonight is the shortest night of the year, made even shorter by sharing a bed with a breastfeeding baby. To make the situation even more unstable, my two year old is currently fighting his nap with every tactic available to his toddler's imagination. Since my writing time comes when the kids are sleeping, this seems an ironic time to try to start something as daunting as a blog.

Yet, here I am. At least the baby is asleep. (Thank you, little BB.) Having resolved to write, I will try to do so while BJ sings the alphabet song, backwards, yet again (thank you, They Might Be Giants).

It seems a more authentic alternative to repeatedly telling him, "It's time for sleep, sweetie," through clenched teeth. Besides, my other option right now is useless longing for the time, energy, and space to make some sort of recognition of today's Midsummer magic. In truth, the longing will be there anyway. No point mulling over it too much.

So. Either he will nap, or he will not. Kids and sleep are like horses and water -- you can't make it happen. Though, with my son, it often feels more like oil and water. They just don't mix. When he fights his nap like this, he'll either be a cranky mess for the rest of the day and have trouble falling asleep at bedtime as well, or he will crash right after dinner and be up with the dawn.

A wise parent once told me you either get good sleepers or good eaters with your kids. Given how much BB is nursing, and how much BJ can pack away at a meal, the conclusion is obvious.

It's going to be another long (short) night.

Blogging & Jogging

Perhaps it's my introverted nature, which prizes my privacy; perhaps it's simply how the poet in me cringes at the word "blog" -- but I've resisted blogging for years. I feared it would clog up my channel to the muse, hog up my free time with more compulsive computer tasks, bog me down with worries about who was reading what, and fog up the lens with which I view the world.

From what I've heard from friends who blog, all of these fears will most likely be realized. But I'm giving it a shot anyway. I'm hoping that starting a blog will jog my writing habits into some sort of shape.

After keeping a regular journal for more than a decade, I've been woefully inconsitent about journaling ever since the birth of my son. That was more than two years ago. My writing muscles are pathetically flabby. I need to stretch, strengthen, and (because life with kids never gives you enough time) learn to sprint.

With luck, I won't lame myself on the way.