Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The one where she loses a tooth (in a pretty prominent location) ...

Last week Chach took a digger on one of the more routine obstacles at the park, caught herself, mostly, but came down on her front teeth. She cried a bit. Insisted on being carried halfway home from the park.

Chuck gave her a medicinal popsicle when they got home, which went well, until he heard something that he described as sounding like a Tic Tac drop on the kitchen floor. Then there was a gush of blood and that was that: She's down to one front tooth. And her baseball-style T-shirt now has a pretty memorable blood stain.

She still has the right one. It's more pronounced now, without its partner in crime, but it's a pronouncement befitting the double chew-duty it has been assigned. The left one, and it's massive root, are in a baggie on top of the refrigerator while we iron out the logistics of a conversation we hadn't planned on having with our daughter for years. The one about the Tooth Fairy. [One would think this would be easy. It's like Santa with wings monkeying with your pillow and leaving shiny circles while you sleep before he (she? I've lost track) flitters out the window. But Chacha has recently begun referring to the Easter Bunny as Bob The Easter Bunny, so we will just let it the Tooth Fairy business rest for a bit.]

If I've learned anything from reading Dooce, it's that when a kid has a dental sitch involving baby teeth, no one is going to do anything about it. Still, when your kid gushes blood from her face hole, the inclination is to go to Urgent Care.

So we did and, as expected, a very smug doctor looked at us like we had asked her to give our kid a head transplant (read: Throw away the old one! Start over!) and said:

"You know we can't do anything about this, right?"

And so I, equally smug, replied:

"Yes. And I'm sure we aren't the first parents to bring you a kid who knocked out her front tooth."

To which she answered in the affirmative.

It took a bit to get used to, it has increased her comic stylings, like, tenfold, and she can no longer say words that start with the letter S. But she's happy, despite the impolite gesture she keeps making with her tongue.

"All else is otherwise normal." -- Bob Easter Bunny

Monday, September 14, 2015

Vacation Days 7-10: The Rest of the Story ...

"It is easier to resume a habit of not-blogging like it's 2004, than to resume a habit of blogging like it's 2004." -- Wham!

We were in a bit of a state on Friday morning. A real Oof-er, if you know what I mean. It started with a glass of wine at dinner on Thursday night, followed by the quiet reading of new Jonathan Franzen and a sneak peek at the September Mixtape I'm making for Chuckers. We sipped responsibly, but we sipped far into hours neither of us have seen in our current status as Adults with a capital A.

Unfortunately, there is no way to convey to a toddler that Mama invented a post-midnight snack involving sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing and a cheese alternative that I won't say will assuage the stigma of lactose intolerance, but certainly makes dietary restrictions taste pretty freaking good -- especially when paired with sauerkraut and Thousand Island Dressing at 3 a.m. after a couple of Gin Old Fashioneds. So, anyway, Chacha woke at her regular time (singing, of course, a montage of hits from the movie "Frozen" and things with the same tune as the Alphabet Song and classic Styx) and we stared at the ceiling.

The day was already set to be a Choose Your Own Adventure of sorts. My friends would all be spending the weekend on Gull Lake, near Brainerd, for our annual Gull Lake Weekend. Both my parents and the Norwegian Wonder weren't available to babysit our Pet Monkey. But there was chatter among the friends that maybe Chach could just ... come with us. To an adult getaway with a handful of other people who have kids, but wouldn't be bringing them along because they are polite.

It was hard to tell if the invitation was sincere or if they were saying: We'll offer it, but you're a real jerk if you take us up on this because YOU CAN'T TAKE A BABY DANCING AT ZORBA'S.

So we hemmed and hawed and sometimes we were going and sometimes we weren't. Then, for a while, we were going to stay at a hotel in nearby Nisswa so we wouldn't rain on the drinking games and 90s tunes and Simon Says dance party that could potentially erupt, but we could stop in and say hello and return in time for the pontoon ride the next day. Then we just stopped thinking about it and sunk into the couch to do something we have literally never done in years:

TV marathon. With non-animated TV.* Adult TV where sometimes someone swears when they flub a Mystery Box Challenge. We queued up MasterChef Season 6 and ordered two zas with gluten-free crust from Papa Murphy's.**

Ohh, it was the most delicious bit of gluttony. Until, after about 3 hours of this, Chacha finally went over to the TV, turned it off and started crying. The jig was up.

Around the same time, the friends sent a barrage of texts and reiterated that it was okay to bring The Bug to Gull Lake. So we looked at each other, shrugged, and hit the road.

I had, fortuitously, gotten Chach's life jacket from the Norwegian Wonder, which makes it seem a lot like fate.

We got to the area around 10 p.m., stopped to pick up snacks, and the only Rice Crackers available in the grocery store had expired in June 2014.

We were greeted by a festive crew at the cabin, though, and Mr. Z. performed all manners of hi-five with the tot and the friends even added "Mr. Roboto" to the playlist.*** I tried putting the girl to bed after a chocolate chip bar and mega attention and it didn't take too well. By the time she conked, everyone else was lights-out, too.****

On Saturday we took a pontoon around the lake. Chach stood at the front of the boat in a very Winslet way and snacked on something called Beanitos that left an orange rind around her lips. We sipped and basked***** and got back to the cabin just in time to watch the sun start to set.

We left that night with a load of new iPad games that Mrs. Z. recommended, including one with robots ("Domo. Domo.") It didn't seem like her presence salted anyone's game.

The vacation was over for Chuck on Sunday, so The Girl and I went to Target and went for a run and went to the park like normal, non-vacationing people do.

Today we wore out our welcome with each other just in time for my vacation to end.

1. We left the park.
2. I didn't leave the park in the direction she wanted to leave in.
3. I did not have a bar for her to snack on in the stroller.
4. Our neighbor R wasn't on his porch and I didn't know where he was.
5. I had no intention of making Noodles and Peas and Sauce and Toast (because we had that last night)
6. I only let her watch two episodes of "Word Girl"
7. She fell asleep while I was running, so she didn't know we had gone running.
8. She didn't want to go to the Co-Op.
9. She DID want to go to the Co-Op.
10. She didn't want to ride in the shopping cart.
11. She didn't want to walk.
12. I wouldn't carry her through the store.
13. She wanted to get out of the cart.

But we were pretty much cool after that for the rest of the night.

* We aren't complete monsters. First we watched "The Last Unicorn."
** Long story, this gluten-free thing, involving a thyroid. As for the crust: Is it supposed to stick to your teeth? I'd totally order it again.
*** Though when they played "Let it Go," Chach looked around as though she expected Elsa to glide into the room on ice and turn the cabin into a castle.
**** We were awarded a King-sized bed, still everything people tell you about sleeping with a toddler is true, between the mid-night face slaps to the bed hogging, to the reality of sleeping as a family sentenced to create a letter H. She also woke at the crack of dawn and when she saw me open my eyes, she pounced on me with: "We go on boat now?"
***** And ate all sorts of stuff including REAL LIVE CHEESE.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Vacation Days 5 & 6:

It sounded like a creepy kitty-caller, wandering around in the middle of the night. A cackler with a steaming pot of green brew.
"Did we lock the door?" I asked Chuck.
"I think so," he said, already unwrapping his legs from blankets. "I'll go check."
I heard it again while he was gone and then the thuds of him sprinting up the steps. He ripped open the bedroom door.
"You have to look outside," he stage whispered, then went on to describe a scene resembling the slick poncho-wearing feral personality from "The United States of Tara."

We turned off the lights and I peered out from behind the shade.

She was crouched on the sidewalk studying the contents of our Little Free Library. She had hair down to here and so many legs. When she finally stood up, I saw that she had selected a pre-Scott Pilgrim Bryan Lee O'Malley. She tottered a bit. She walked away with a drunken tilt.

Stupid gravity. But nice get.

Also: I saw a snake today (in its natural habitat).
Also also: Chacha has a mega-mosquito bite that is big enough to host its own mosquito-bitten face.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Vacation Day Four: $14 ...

Captain Stubing
It all started with a time machine. A 92-foot, 3-deck modified yacht with a distinctly 1980's flavor, which was only enhanced by the busload of senior citizens from Bemidji who helped fill it to capacity. They were rumored to be a class reunion.

"What if I yelled BINGO?" I whispered to Chuck as we settled into a table with a view of sweet, sweet Lake Superior.

A table full of woman had already raided the gift shop for sequined caps in an array of colors. They were killing it. Someone bought the YOLO sunglasses from the spinner next to the Fritos. As soon as we boarded, a bunch of men made for the bar -- purchasing full rounds of beers for tables. They were inspiring.

I saw celery salt and said two words that improved an already great situation.

"Bloody Mary?" I asked Chuck and his face lit up. It was 12:15 p.m. somewhere.
The bartender asked which vodka I wanted and I said "whatever is a step up from gross."
He mixed in a shot and poured from a pre-made mix poured from an oversized Tabasco container. He asked if we wanted the fixings and I answered in the affirmative.
Pickle. Olive. Cheese cube. Salami. Celery Salt.

"This is the best day of my life," Chuck confessed.

It was amazing. Could have used a snit of something lukewarm, but carbonated, but shrug. A singalong soundtrack played, they sounded the horn and we made for the Aerial Lift Bridge for a 75 minute tour full of Duluth history and deep sea winds.

Chacha only tried to jump out the window once.

This was so much freaking fun.

Bed bugs, probably.
Somewhere near a grain elevator I received a piece of great news. I noticed a charge for $14 from my student loan company, and wondered if someone forgot a digit in this month's auto payment. Then I stopped, startled: I'd paid it off. Finally. Twenty years later. I'd paid off my final student loan. I remembered that day in my mid-30s when I realized it wouldn't be paid off until I was 40. And now, well, I'm ... 40.

So, yeah.


Drum solo
We had sushi, which was on my Vacation To-Do List, but it wasn't great sushi, so blerg-diggity.

Mixed response on the avocado role, A-plus on the soy sauce, tho. 

Charlotte and I had a talk about how she is growing up and how she can run fast, jump, eat pizza, paint pictures ...

"Do puzzles," she added.

... and so she's not a baby anymore. So maybe I don't have to carry her everywhere.

"I little," she argued.


Crap. I just Googled to see which season of MasterChef we're watching and saw who wins it in a headline. I HATE MY LIFE RIGHT NOW SPOILERS HELP NOT COOL.

In other news, if anyone wants to see a pretty sweet impression of Cutter from Season 5, please stop by. Chuck has it on lock down.

"This is spare rib, with toothpaste in it. Seemed like a good idea to me." Shrug.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Vacation Day Three: Wet pants ...

The third day of vacation can be summed up with this:

A mere toddler sprawled, truly pained, on the living room floor, face smooshed into a pouf ottoman, bare legs kicking at air and screaming with such sincerity:

(bedtime ensued.)

Also: I ran on a trail on purpose. Not this trail, a real trail with rocks and dirt. And I made chickpea burgers with guacamole.*

* We bought 2 more pounds of sauerkraut, so watch out world!

Vacation Day Two: That's my fun day ...

The air felt armpit-ian this morning, as though we were living among the droplets that collect in the wiry strands in the concave of an athlete's arm. Thick, dewy, hot. Though I had abstained from the abuse of cedar gin that felled me the morning before, I was reluctant to leave the bed.

There is this daily morning conundrum: The almost-uncomfortable bladder. The "I could pee, but I don't have-have to." It's like being on a road trip and stopping at the Little Store in Hinckley so one's companions can go, then retreating to a stall to push on one's lower abdomen to hurry along the function that, without this self-force, will strike in North Branch. It would be hard to fall to sleep again, but to void means shaking oneself from the hazy-laziness of waking.

Ultimately, I expelled the fluids and, of course, was never again able to find my sleep-spot.

The Girl slept on. She's become a teenager in her sleep patterns, pushing her wake-time to dang-near 10 a.m. I opened her door to hasten it, then again returned to our bedroom to listen to her first gusts and groans through the monitor.

It wasn't Chacha who woke, it was Witta, Chacha's alter-ego. A tiny puppy in a state of constant panting who requires an imaginary red leash and frequent bathing. This is nice. Witta does all sorts of things that Chacha will not easily do: teeth brushing, diaper changes, baths.

"You pet my fur?" Witta asks.

A few days ago, I was standing over her bed when she woke. The first thing she did is stick her tiny tongue out of her mouth and begin her doggy breathing. I laughed so hard I scared her and she began to cry. Anyway, this is how she woke again today. I can hear her quick pants as Chuck lifts her from the bed.

When she comes into our bedroom, she refers to Chuck as her "puppy dada."

Over lunch we work on a family version of the song "Manic Monday," but Chacha, she's Chacha again, refuses to be a backup Bangle.

"I sing Alphabet Song," she suggests.

Chuck and Chacha play imaginary hockey, which has complicated imaginary rules.
We eat Tempeh Reubens because now we are addicted to them and maybe we'll eat them every day.*
Chuck goes to work and Chacha retreats to her bed with the iPad to watch PBS Kids while I do laundry, fill her pool, empty the dehumidifier and otherwise allow her to be babysat by Word Girl & Company.

It becomes impossible to leave the house. I want to exercise, but Chacha wants to stand in her kiddie pool dumping water on my foot. She wants us to race from a slab of rug to the front door and back again. Again and again and again. She wants us to put together dinosaur puzzles, which she refers to as "my work," and spends most of the time muttering under her breath about missing pieces.

"Don't throw puzzle pieces at me," she says. "It hurts my boobs."

Time out: It's weird when she says things that I know she must have gotten from me. I will admit that I've told her to maybe stop stepping on my chest because it hurts my boobs. But worse than this one is when she wanders around the house and uses a sort of dizzy tone to ask "Where's my phooo-ennnn?"

Time in: We go for a walk-run and at every other corner she tells me to "ready, set, readysetgo!" and we take off. We stop in the park just long enough for the sky to turn ominous, like Destination Oz-ian and I sprint a half-mile home to avoid an important lesson about lightning.

There is a bath.

As I'm rubbing Chacha's back before she goes to sleep I hear her tiny voice say: "Get out."


Chuck gets home and now we're both on vacation.


* As a family, we've eaten two pounds of sauerkraut in the past few weeks. Has anyone -- other than us -- ever finished off a 32 ounce jar of the stuff? It seems unlikely. Possible we hold world record?

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Vacation Day One: No dignity ...

On the first day of vacation we woke up very late, probably because we were overserved cedar gin on the eve of the first day of vacation. By me. I overserved us. There we were, zombied out on vintage "Master Chef," and leisurely sipping when I suggested one more drink to KEEP THE NIGHT ALIVE NEVER SAY DIE, NIGHT. (And then there was another.)*

Also, I'd accidentally turned off the Toddler Monitor, so I wasn't awoken by the chirpy version of "Let it Go" that usually sounds from the room down the hall. So we ate breakfast at lunchtime and lunch at late-lunchtime and after Chuck made us very delicious Tempeh Reubens**, the world felt a little more bearable. I had the opportunity to create a new state of mind: Hangxiety: hangover-induced anxiety.

I met Chuck and Chacha in the Rose Garden and we coaxed the girl into her stroller with the promise of train viewings and horse sightings. Then we wound our way to Bayfront Festival Park for Pride Fest. Chacha, Bounce House curious, couldn't pull the trigger on this balloon-shaped fun factory. She was on the threshold when she began flapping her hands no-no-no:

"I too little," she said.

She fell asleep millimeters from the car, lost her mind when we transferred her to the carseat and then was rewarded with a $1.11 ice cream cone from McDonalds.

I put gas in my car.
Chuck bought the makings for ramen.
I ran back into the store and bought eggs and after we got home I went back to the store to get broth.
We ate delicious foods and my nose ran from chili sauce abuse.

I changed into my pajamas while Chuck laid on the bed and suddenly I became aware that I was performing a robotic dance version of the classic song "No Diggity." In my head I looked cool. Sort of retro. My moves felt fresh.

Chuck showed me what my face looked like. Ouch.

So I Dubsmashed it and it looked like a lost scene from "Beetlejuice." I fired it off to Fannie. Her anniversary is tomorrow, so she deserves nice things. So far: No response.

"More like 'No Dignity,'" Chuck said.

Now: Tube Time.

* Still not sure who was booted from Season 5, Episode 6.
** These sandwiches are, without a doubt, the heroes of The Summer of 2015.