Friday, July 18, 2014

Like Moths to a Flame

On Wednesday, LO had his second ever dentist appointment.

We had a quite a difficult time convincing the young man to sit in the exam chair and let the dentist count his teeth. (We're still not quite ready for a cleaning.)

To reward the young man for doing an excellent job of not biting anyone, the nurse filled up a yellow helium balloon for him, and tied it to his wrist. He was delighted, and looked a little something like this:

LO and I then headed to the Y to pick up BB.

The balloon, of course, was still tied to LO's wrist. It followed him like a bright yellow piece of rubber that has been filled with helium and tied to a child's wrist. (Sorry, I'm a little too tired to come up with an actual simile.)

The babies in the baby room at the Y daycare were enchanted. Babes-in-arms all swiveled their heads to watch the progress of helium-filled joy. Those that could walk drifted, zombie-like, toward the magical balloon.

There was something slightly threatening about it all.

The babies made a circle around LO--who was unconcerned and watching his balloon bob in the air conditioning.

I grabbed BB and hustled LO and his magnetic balloon away from the children, who looked like they were going to start getting grabby.

I'm glad to report that it had lost its helium--and its intense power over otherwise innocent children--by the next day.

Next visit, I'm asking for a sugar-free lollipop for LO.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Back in April, when LO and BB's Little Cousin (who is actually bigger than BB, but that's what happens when I come up with nicknames before all the heads are counted) was visiting, we were introduced to the show Peep and the Big Wide World.

This show features Peep the Chicken, Chirp the Bird, and most importantly to LO, Quack the Duck.

You see, Quack is quite the comic relief in this little show. Bombastic, egotistical, and possessing of a truly funny walk, Quack appears to our young LO to be the star of the show.

Soon after discovering this as his new favorite program, LO started introducing himself as Quack to anyone and everyone he meets. When I call him by his given name, he'll tell me "My name's not LO. It's Quack!"

When going to bed at night, after wishing us good night, LO (err, I mean Quack) will immediately start fake snoring, finishing with a muttered "quack quack quack" as his favorite purple duck does when he sleeps.

But although being Quack has offered many an opportunity for unintentional hilarity for LO, my favorite Quack moment occurred last week, while we were on vacation on Mackinac Island. Our hotel room overlooked the pool, and one afternoon we were putting BB down for a nap while LO sat in a chair at the window watching the goings-on at the pool.

That particular afternoon, there were only two pool denizens: a couple of pretty young ladies in their late teens or early twenties. They noticed LO watching them, so they trilled out "Hi-ii!" in a the flirtatious way that pretty young girls will often talk to children.

"Quack," LO replied.

I've got a way with the ladies....

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Glimpse Inside My Head

BB is named for my Dad (and is middle-named for an important Jewish automotive engineer. Just imagine my consternation when I told J he could pick out the baby's middle name and his response was "I'm thinking about something automotive or engineering related." I'm glad he went with the name he did, rather than giving our child the middle name "Formula One.")

I love that I was able to name BB for Dad. I love that my second child is Dad's namesake and that a part of my father will live on in BB's name (and his ears--see below.)

But I would rather have Dad here. I wish he weren't gone. I wish he had gotten to hold BB and know him. I wish he could be a phone call away for LO to tell him about his bus adventures and call him grandpa--since Dad passed away before LO's explosion of language and never really got to hear about the things that are important to a little boy.

In my head, there is an alternate universe in which my dad is still alive.

But--and here's where you get to see the strange inner workings of my brain--I have no idea what BB's name would be if Dad hadn't died. And that causes me a strange kind of stress.

You see, Jewish naming convention is that children are named after relatives who have passed away. The convention stems from an old superstition. Naming a child after a living relative means the angel of death might mistake the baby for the older relative, and take the wrong soul. So Ashkenazi Jews give names in honor of deceased loved ones.

So, if Dad were with us, BB would have a different name.

But J and I exhausted our entire list of favorite boy names with LO. Before Dad passed (which was before we knew whether BB was a boy or a girl) J and I half-heartedly agreed that we kind of liked Noah.

But BB doesn't look anything like a Noah.

Here's why this is a problem:

When I visit that place in my head wherein my father is still alive and I can tell him cute stories about his grandsons and get his advice on parenting and life and tell him all about my day and basically just be with my father--I don't know what to call BB.

It's so stupid, I know. But some small part of me feels as though it might be possible for me to get to that alternate universe, to burst through into the world where Dad still has years and years of good times ahead of him, if only I could imagine it perfectly. If I believe hard enough and clap my hands loud enough, Dad will be alive and everything will be okay again.

But in those imaginings, I just trip over BB's name. Clearly, I can't imagine the alternative perfectly if I don't know what BB's name would be in that other, less-cruel universe.

I find that my thoughts hamster wheel around this issue on a weekly basis.

Yeah. It's crazy. I know.

I recognize that there is no alternate universe wherein I don't know what a glioma is.

There is no other world where I got to tease my father by singing "When I'm 64" on his birthday this year.

There is no perfect world that would allow BB to know his grandpa as a full and real person, rather than just a collection of his mother's stories.

Even so--I find it easier to imagine that I damned the conventions in that other world and named BB after Dad anyway. The hell with Jewish naming conventions!

It's a strong name.

It's an honor that I wish Dad could have known.

Ultimately, it's my little boy's name.

And he rocks that name.

I just wish I could hear my father say it.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Our Bus Adventure...In Pictures

Waiting for the bus
This is literally the *most* excited that any bus rider has ever been. We need to work on his beaten-down face.

While eating his "just jelly" sandwich at Panera Bread, LO exclaimed "Mmmm...Dewicious!" loudly enough that other patrons started cracking up.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Long Range Bus Planning

Back in March, LO's preschool class took a field trip to the Lafayette City Bus Depot. Not only did the kids get to ride in a city bus, but they also went in the "wash down" (that is, the bus wash), and they received a cardboard piggy bank shaped like a city bus.

LO has been talking about that field trip fairly consistently ever since.

Each time he sees a bus out in traffic, he is thrilled to point it out to me. He loves singing The Wheels on the Bus (even if he does sometimes forget the all-important final N sound for the word horn). It's only recently that he stopped carrying his city bus bank with him everywhere he went.

One of my favorite things about his bus enthusiasm is his insistence on always calling the city bus the city bus and the school bus the school bus. He wants to be sure that we know exactly which bus he is referring to.

Last Tuesday was LO's last day at preschool, meaning he will no longer be taking the school bus twice a week. I have been thinking about how disappointing that will be for him--when it occurred to me that he could still take the bus this summer. Why not start doing some LO-and-Mommy jaunts around town via city bus?

Theoretically, I am a big believer in public transportation. It's good for the environment and financially smart. And anytime I have been in a city with some sort of metro line, I've certainly taken full advantage of it.

But buses intimidate me.

Subways follow set tracks. Buses could take detours.

If a subway train arrives at the platform and you get excited and get on without checking to see if it's the right one (not that I've done that...many many times), then you can simply go one stop up the line and turn around. Get over-excited when the wrong bus arrives, and it's *much* more complicated.

If you're an irregular rider, you pay your subway fare in a lobby-type environment without feeling rushed. You have to pay a bus driver directly, while regular commuters could be lining up behind you getting frustrated at the newbie.

Bottom line, I've always preferred walking or driving (or simply not going at all) if the alternative is taking a bus.

But LO loves buses, and I want to give him some lovely experiences/memories with his mom. So, I've spent a ridiculously long time on the City Bus website to plan out a trip from our house to the local mall tomorrow, where LO and I will have lunch, buy a baby gift for a friend, and play on the indoor playground. The mall is on the 4A line from our house, so we will not have to transfer buses, and it will be an opportunity for LO and me to have some precious one-on-one time.

Enjoying time with him is not the only reason I'm doing this. If LO and I regularly take the bus for special days out, he will grow up feeling comfortable, competent, and confident about taking buses. It will make it possible for him to master the city bus as an older child and capably get himself around town. It will mean he'll be comfortable navigating the cities he visits. And once you have a taste of such competency and independence, there's no stopping you.

Not to mention, if LO can get himself to scouts, karate, piano lessons, and the like in the future, that will be a win for everyone.

However, as much as I am doing this for LO, I'm discovering a wonderful side effect for myself: planning this minor bus trip is making me feel competent and confident.

Apparently, you're never too old to experience the joy of mastering something outside of your comfort zone.

Thursday, May 8, 2014


  • The ubiquity of the loose/lose spelling mistake. I'd get it if it were an occasional fat finger issue, but there are clearly people out there who simply do not understand our English pronunciation conventions.
  • When people are objectively wrong but they describe it as a difference of opinion. (Yes, I know it's entirely possible that I have fallen into this particular trap. But having spent nearly 11 years with an engineer, I usually have at least a few statistics backing me up).
  • The fact that marketing for babies is gendered. I went to buy some more sleep sacks for BB, and I could only find "girl" sleep sacks in his size. Frankly, I don't care if the kid wears a pink sleep sack, but it would be lovely if we didn't have to navigate this sea of rigid gender distinctions. Colors are colors. They don't come with tiny genitals.
  • When I have time to work, and my brain is still farting around in the break room. Looky here brain--we only get so many kid-free work hours. You have to bring your A game. Or at least your D-minus game. Something. Please.
    Image Courtesy of Lisi Rose

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Little things that I love

About LO:

He tells me, "I want to sit this lap" when he wants to get on my lap. Of all the laps in all the world, he wants to sit this one

LO never really took to a comfort object. Instead, I'm his comfort object. He puts his hand on my chest, just below my neck, and snuggles with me when he is sad or hurt. To let me know that he wants to do this, he'll point at my chest and say "I want this one."

Once, when BB was crying, LO came over to us and took the baby's hand and placed it on his own chest, the same way he puts his hand on my chest.

LO has been working on putting his shoes on by himself lately. Not only does he ALWAYS put the shoes on the wrong feet, but he also feels it necessary for one of his shoes to have the tongue hanging out outside of the straps, while the other one is strapped on more traditionally.

He has taken after my singing, which is at best a mixed blessing. I am constantly scatting my way through the music in my head, breaking out into song for no reason. LO has started tunelessly stating "Doo de doo de doo" all through the day. Considering the fact that he doo-de-doos in the same tone that you would ask about the weather, it took me nearly a week of this to realize that he's "singing."

LO also seems to recognize the tunes that most strike me. I have been listening to (and singing) the old Yiddish song Tumbalalaika, only to have the young man belt out "Tunala-tunala-tunaliba!" after hearing it from me.

About BB:

J and I know that BB is most probably our last baby. As such, it's been a little bittersweet watching him grow so durn quickly. Anytime I see evidence that my baby will not be a baby for long, I've had a quiet moment of loss...Except for when BB suddenly sprouted a tooth. I found myself cheering the tooth (and the second one that followed quickly behind). "Yay, BB! You're getting teeth!"

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, LO takes the bus to his preschool, and is dropped off at home at around noon. Lately, since the weather's been nice, I've been bringing BB with me to get LO off the bus. (Over the winter, I left BB chilling in the house while I ran quickly from front stoop to bus and back again). Every time BB sees LO climbing down from the bus, he breaks out in a huge, sun-parting-the-clouds grin.

The way BB lays his heavy head against my chest (this one).

How much the little man giggles when his Daddy plays peekaboo with him or throws him up in the air.

I know all babies have soft skin, but there's something about BB's skin in particular. I'd say it's like butter, but that doesn't do his skin justice. The only thing I've ever experienced that is close to the feeling of sweet softness of BB's skin is when I petted sting rays in Saint Thomas. It's incredible.