Monday, July 28, 2014

Spidey sense ...

"I have this thing on my leg," I tell him.
"Let's see," he says.
I show him two pin marks enclosed in a dime-sized area of pinkish irritation on my thigh.
"Oh!" he says, like he's answering a trivia question. "It's a spider bite!"
"Spider. Bite?" I ask. "Spiders?"
"Yeah," he says. "They're all over the place."
He gestures in such a way that I half expect to see us transported to an urban street scene where crowds of spiders -- in business suits, berets, carrying briefcases, cellos -- brush past us.
"Spider bite?" I ask. I'm still not understanding the cause and effect of these two dots within a circle.
"Yeah," he says. "You can tell by the fang marks."
"FANG MARKS?"
He holds his hands up like claw-shaped stingers.
"Or whatever they bite you with," he says.
I scratch my arm. Then my back. Now my stomach. Then my leg again.

Monday, July 21, 2014

One ...


She hums a constant commentary as she crawls. She crawls like a frisky puppy. She eats cheese by the pinch load, opening her mouth wide and burying it knuckle deep. She insists on listening to the radio -- Classical MPR, though you're not sure it matters -- during every meal.

She prefers the Norwegian "Itsy Bitsy Spider" -- a version that includes a hat? -- but she's the only one in your house who speaks Norwegian so she's on her own. She does a slow motion "down came the rain" even with her eyes closed, a last bit of movement before she falls asleep.

She likes kittens, red balloons, monkeys and Max from "Where the Wild Things Are." She always smiles when she hears Sophie squeak. Her love for Orin could be measured in fur-filled fistfuls. Hal is tougher; She chases him from room to room.

She's got round cheeks that push her eyes to slits when she grins. She's got six teeth. She's growing a mullet, with curly blonde locks. She's taller than they say, because she's always on tiptoes. Her toes are weird. It's like someone grabbed 10 and put them on two feet in no particular order. Her hands, it seems, have tripled in size. Her skin is so soft and sometimes sticky with sweat. You will have to struggle  to not burst with a single operatic note when she throws a puffy arm around your neck.

She likes to sleep with her butt in the air.

"Dat?" She asks. 
"That's a light."
"Dat?" She asks. 
"That's a light."
"Dat?" She asks. 
"That's a light."
"Da--" She starts. 
"We talked about this."

She roars like a lion and pounds her chest like a gorilla. She oo-oos like a monkey and always barks back at dogs. You had no idea she could baa. She can. You can tickle her if you want, but she can tickle herself.

When you burst out laughing, she does too. 

She'll slap your face to point at your ear. She doesn't kiss and only hugs when she's tired, but she'll bite your nose. She'll suffocate you in curtain and play Peek-A-Boo until infinity. 

"Life lesson," Chuck said. "Before you freak out about something being horribly wrong with your baby's belly button, make sure there isn't a Cheerio stuck in it."

She's got a guttural roar that's a perfect soundtrack for when a soccer ball is mid-flight. She bucks her body with excitement.

She's a hit at the grocery store, on the Lakewalk, at Target. She points at people  like she's calling her home run, then she gives a throaty chuckle to get their attention. 

"Is she always so happy?" They ask. 
"Yes," I say. "Well. Not at 3 a.m."

When she falls or is otherwise bested by inanimate object, first she cries. Then she 
stops just as suddenly and tries again. She's a cross between Popeye's Sweet Pea and the Rubbles' Bam Bam. Sometimes you call her Boom-Boom.

She thinks wind is hilarious. 

She says a few word-words and one is "shit." Another seems to be Russell, the name of a favorite neighbor. She stretches her face as long as it will go in order to make her mouth say "Elmo." She says "water" like her breath is the wind: "Wah." 

She will only eat what you're eating and prefers to do it with her fingers. She'll rip a toothbrush out of your hand and chew on the bristles. She hates being strapped into strollers, high chairs, car seats, loving embraces.

She will wander into a corner and spend a half hour reading to herself. Sometimes you have to repeatedly throw her into the air, until your chest muscles burn like a heart attack. Other days you will have to chase her up the stairs, ten, eleven, thirty-two times. 

She'll stop everything to listen to the theme song from "Adventure Time." She smiles at the theme from "Rocky" when it plays on a commercial. It's the Norwegian Wonder's ringtone.

Sometimes she wakes seven times in one night. She throws her body like she's mid-exorcism. She tugs the skin beneath your chin and makes tiny pinch bruises on your arms and demolishes your nipple. "I'm not sure I've met someone more annoying," you'll  think, irritated, so so sleep deprived.  Then she passes out again. 

She chirps herself awake in the morning. Stands in her crib making high-pitched squeaks.

"I'm not sure I've met someone who makes me happier to wake up in the morning," you'll think, still so, so sleep deprived. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Samples ...

I love free grocery store samples. I will always, always get in line for a toothpick-full of what's cooking. 

Chuck thinks this is disgusting. He can't even watch me pinch a donut hole from a perma-sample at this swank shop across town. I made for the bowl the other day; He damn-near doubled over with a gag and veered away from the bakery toward dairy. 

Today I cut through the deli and saw a bowl of cheese. I've had this one before. It's a sharp white and flakey. 

I grabbed a toothpick and skewered a small piece for the girl. Then I skewered one for me. 

I went to toss the toothpick and realized I'd been using one from the dirty toothpick container. 

That cheese just sat all gross in my mouth as I considered what that toothpick might have gone through. 

Best case: it was used to poke at cheese, which was then lifted from the toothpick with freshly sanitized fingers and put into mouth. 

Pretty bad case: the toothpick was briefly hugged by a stranger's dry lips. 

Dry heaving here: the toothpick delivered cheese to a stranger's mouth, but was then used to liberate chunks of BBQ chicken from his teeth. 

Kill me now: Stranger eats the cheese but then uses the toothpick to clean beneath his fingernails AFTER using a high traffic Porta Potty on a hot day. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Our Pet Human (Less than a week before her first birthday) ...


It has been almost one year since the PBG slid into this world, pushed along by the same muscles that it requires to take a massive dump. I'm sorry. That was vulgar. But the reader who sits on my shoulder and keeps this site relatively clean is in France hopefully face-first in a chocolate croissant taking selfies in front of the Eiffel, so it's time for some poop jokes.

A poop joke. Just that one.

The Timehop app gathers your blasts from various social media hubs and shows you, on a daily basis, what you were doing 1 year, 4 years, 5 years ago on this day. You Tweeted this, you Instagrammed that and here's what you posted on Facebook.

This has become an especially alarming time capsule as we near the babe's birthday. I see these two people who are so ... not ready for a baby. They're cute, though, with their room painting and copy of "Bringing Up Bebe."

We've passed the anniversary of the time I was hospitalized with migraines (and came to discover just how delicious hospital food can be). We've also passed the day where Chuck and I sat on the front glider swing with our feet on a coffee table just being quiet. He hung a drape so our most awful neighbor couldn't see us. My ankles and calves looked like something a serious Ren Fester would gnaw for energy before the jousting match.

Meanwhile, four years ago on this day I told Twitter that my pants had developed muscle memory.

Anyway. I don't want to say too much here because I'm sure that deep within my fingertips there is some sort of epic 1 YEAR OLD post brewing and I don't want to scoop myself. So.

***


I've decided it's time for the PBG to make some lifelong friends. She doesn't spend much time with knee-high people, so I put a call out on Facebook and for the first time in the history of social networking I received only one smartass response in a flurry of good ideas. 

One: Join a "Mommy group" -- a corny-sounding concept I'm willing to overlook so that my daughter has someone to sympathize with about the ignominy of having to, like, eat food and sleep.  

So I find the group, submit my profile for approval, blah blah blah, only to find that the default photo that runs with my profile is of me, a little pie-eyed, drinking beer from a glass that says SHIT SHOW. 

Dear Lead Mommy: Can I be in your club?


***

We three are lazing in the bed when I say something and punctuate it with "LOL" in a sing-song-y voice.

Then, in the same sing-song-y voice, our parrot says "LOL" -- or at least a close approximation. 

She sounds just enough like Gizmo to give me a shiver. 

"Oh, ok," Chuck says. "Her first five words, in order: dada, cat, shit, water, and LOL."

***


We are eating breakfast, the three of us, and Chuck is telling a story. The PBG flicks a Cheerio off her tray that nails Chuck in the clavicle. Hilarity ensues.

***

Chuck: Maybe since we were such great parents yesterday we can be horseshit parents today. 

***

She does this squeezing motion with her hand which seems to be sign language, which Chuck practices recreationally with her. 

"Do you want milk?" I ask, bringing her the small glass she'd been inching away at a few minutes earlier. We had set it aside when she pointed at the sink -- a non-sign language sign for water. 

I helped her take two sips, then she waved it away. 

"All done?" I ask. 
Clear as anything she says "all done."

Chuck and I look at each other and move to the sink where we confur in whispers. 

"Let's get this straight: she made the sign for milk, which we gave her. She expressed an interest in substituting water. Then she said she was all done. Is that how it happened?"

"Yes," I said. "That seems to be what happened."

We turn back and look at her. We are communicating with the Pet Human.



Monday, July 7, 2014

Just ...

I need to be measured for a monarch orange custom-made bridesmaid dress that I'll be ordering from the internet.

Fannie is getting hitched.

I head to a tailor's shop down the street and when I walk inside I get a gust of warm air, a smell I'll call vintage jewelry box filled with Pad Thai

The place is filled with racks of clothes. Floor-length tangerine gowns and two-piece attire befitting a West Duluth coronation. There are brass buttons and rusty broaches. No one seems to care that I could be making off with bedazzled Keds and cigarette stained veils, so I wander to the back of the shop where three women are bent over sewing machines. 

I was right about the Pad Thai. The shop's secretary/bouncer grunts and uses his chopsticks to wave me back in bounds, behind some invisible line. 

"Do you want me here?" I call. I round a corner. "How about here?"

A woman meets me at the shop's counter and tells me she can measure me for $5. Good news. I'd had no idea if this service would cost $40 or $15. Or maybe, I thought, it would be one of those goodwill freebies ensuring that I'll return to this shop if I ever need an aubergine bridal pantsuit.

Heck, maybe I'd charge them for the looksee at my navel, which has come to resemble a cartoon monster mouth. 

"$5. Okay," I say. 

Before she can break out the measuring tape, a guy comes into the store, bushwhacks his way past the Elmo fur stoles and gold spray-painted Mary Janes and says he's here to pay for his tux. 

My Tailor tells him that His Tailor has stepped out. 

"Do you know when she'll be back?" he asks. 
"That's the thing," My Tailor says. "No."
"Can I just pay you?" he asks. 
"It's not recommended," she says. 
"Ok," he says. 
"Ok," she says.

They look at each other. 

"Ok," he says again. 
"I'll tell you what," My Tailor says. "I'll give her a call today."
"Oh! Ok. Thanks," he says. "Thanks."

As he leaves the store, I wonder how long it will take him to realize that nothing just happened. 

She turns to me. 

"Sorry about that," she says and looks at me expectantly. 
I realize that she's waiting for me to take my shirt off. 

"Uh," I say, gesturing. "Here?"

The alternative seems to be the two of us squeezed into a doorless phone booth-sized fitting room. 

Before she responds I've shrugged out of my shirt. Whatever. I seem to have crossed over from someone who is uncomfortable being barefoot in public to the equivalent of just another woman at the YMCA standing naked, peppering herself with talc and giving a play-by-play on last night's episode of "Mike and Molly."

"I guess I'm wearing a sports bra so whatever," I say. 
She measures my underboob and asks if I'm a runner. 
"No," I say. "Yes. No-ish? Yes-ish."

It's so complicated. 
A truthful me would say that I am a runner, yes, deep down. But I'm continually foiled by my own unwillingness to actually, well, run. But this is about my sports bra so I keep it simple.

"I just had a baby and I'm not sure what to do with all these boobs," I say. 
"Ah! A baby," she says. "YOU LOOK GREAT!"

I have to stop saying "just" in the same sentence as "had a baby." I didn't "just" anything anymore. I had a baby. I had a baby. And I don't look great. I just look. It's not amazing that I ran a half-marathon. It's not brave that I shower more days than not. Pesky just. 

"I mean a year ago," I say. "I had a baby a year ago." 

Anyway, there is some confusion over what, exactly, is a hemline. But we get the job done, and my monster mouth smiles politely and now I can order the monarch dress.