Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Yours to command

Calvin will put up with any kind of humiliating treatment if it means he can bask in the glow of Audrey's attention. Today, forced to don a Tupperware shriner's hat. Tomorrow, a tulle skirt and tiara, plus promising to address her only as "Your royal highness?" with a deep curtsey?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Overheard: You Blessed

The other day as I was taking Audrey upstairs for nap time-- a hopeful exercise on my part which seldom, if ever, results in sleeping-- I offered to read some stories to her before she got into bed. She told me, "Mama, I'm going to read you a story. It's called, "I don't want to take a nap." Did you spot that little piece of subtext there? With just a hint of sass? Yep. Outmaneuvered, again.

One more: Calvin sneezed several times in a row yesterday (a habit he inherited from Scott whose normal sneeze pattern is seven or eight convulsive sneezes in as many seconds) and Audrey said to him, "Bless you! Bless you! There: you blessed."

Monday, March 22, 2010


Pointing skyward while out riding in the stroller: "Look mom, an airplane! That's where Daddy lives." (I almost didn't tell Scott about this one.)

Objecting to having her hand held tightly as we walk through Sears, because of infractions against the Don't Run Away From Mom rule: "No, honey! Don't hold my hand! Never again!"

And while holding Calvin on the couch, with my help:

Me: "You love Calvin a lot, don't you?"
Audrey: "Yeah. He's a natural, just like me!"

Friday, March 19, 2010

Calvin: now with new ROLLING OVER action!

A friend of mine was watching Calvin play with toys on the floor the other evening and observed that he is at that stage where a baby apparently unable to hold his own head up for longer than a minute is somehow able to move several feet across the carpet through some combination of wriggling, grunting and will-power. How do they do that? And how are they so cagey about this locomotion, doing it only when you aren't looking, crossing the living room in the time that it takes to read one column of a newspaper article? And when you spot them at it they look at you with the most casual expression, "Oh, hey, I just happen to see a cuff-link under the couch, no big deal. Keep reading your New Yorker."

And then, this Sunday morning as another friend and I were chatting and drinking coffee, Calvin rolled from back to front while neither of us was looking! So now he rolls. And soon, if we are to believe the fiery look in his eyes, he will also crawl, walk, read and drive.

I'm posting this photo of Audrey holding Calvin because it has been one of the joys in our exhausting life to see how much Audrey truly loves her baby brother. Going on five months and she's still excited to see him every morning, still wants to hold him, still has "conversation" (her word of the week) with him. And he wants nothing more than to watch the Audrey channel, all day long.

It is a quieting thought that these two will have a relationship that long outlasts their parents, and they will be their own tribe to one another and keep each other company in bad times and good. And they will call each other up on weekends and say, "Mom is making me crazy. She's doing that thing again. You know?" And the other one will be able to say, as no one else on earth can, "Yes. I do. I know exactly what you mean."

No offense, Mom. Janna and I never say this to each other, I swear.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A travelin' man

You might have thought that both my kids, and my husband, have red irises. That's just the bad, bad photography. Here you can see Calvin's deep blue dreamy eyes. He's a little small for the front seat of the Phil-and-Ted's "fancy stroller" that we bought, but since we were on our way to get Audrey from nursery school, he got to ride up front for a while. Audrey was quick to tell him that his regular ride will be in the rumble seat behind hers.

It has stopped raining, at last. And the basement, or should I say in-ground pool, is draining. Still a lot of mucking out to do down there, but I'm no longer making panicked calls to plumbers and the gas company. I'm waiting to find out when the awards ceremony will be for the Keeping Your Cool, Mostly, In a Crisis Award (with help from friends and qualified professionals-- thank you, Sarah!!)

Funniest moment of a not so funny day: Audrey said, "Mommy, why those guys pumping in our basement?" And I realized that the only kind of pump she's ever seen or heard about is a breast pump. She thought they were down there with their trusty Medela's, just like mom, removing the flood waters five ounces at a time and placing each serving in a freezer safe zip-lock bag.

Today Audrey tested her new sidewalk chalk on the patio. Sun was shining and the crocuses are up. We made it.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Jump in the Muddles

Child/adult ratio at our house this week: 2/1
Number of night wakings by Calvin: 4
Inches of rainwater accumulated in the basement: 2
Hours of sleep had by Scott before leaving this morning: 3.5, at the outside
Bites of cereal consumed by Audrey over a twenty minute period, under near-constant nagging and bribery: 5

But it's going to be O.K. because...

Minutes late to nursery school this morning, despite downpour: zero!
Victory screeches given by Calvin: lost count by 8:00AM
Number of small people who told me this morning that it's a great day for "jumping in the muddles": 1

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Audrey's Mahna Mahna

After this riff on Mahna Mahna, she sang one of her original compositions for us, a song called "Elephants are from Cuba."

Yes. Cuba.

And no, we have no idea where she came up with that. Or when she's even head of Cuba. No idea. At all.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spring is here: there are baby birds in the stove vent again.

The sparrows-- or maybe it's house finches?-- are back and nesting comfortably with their new babies in our stove vent. Soon their heads will be covered in a greasy film of cooking oil, like a nest full of downy little hash browns. Because of their proximity to our microwave, we hope there is only one downy head on each of those chicks... When you stand in our kitchen it sounds as if the birds are right in the microwave oven-- a mostly pleasing but occasionally freaky aspect of our kitchen.

Audrey said, "Listen, Mommy! They saying peep, peep, peep, peep, peep, peep, peep, peep, peep, peep, peep..."

Hooray for warmer weather. Peep!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Postcard to Daddy: We're ready for rolling

Overheard, this morning on the way out the door to nursery school, which was the usual tumbling over each other mad rush for shoes and keys and coats and wait! where's the baby? oh, there he is, under the shopping bags and I hope I didn't just lock us out of the house again...

Audrey: Calvin, are you ready to roll? Okay, Mom-- we're ready for rolling.

How are we rolling on our own? We're rolling along okay, thanks. Today it never quite felt like the wheels were coming off the bus, although this vehicle does shake pretty badly when we take a corner. I've discovered that successful single-parent days are mostly about setting the bar really low, and then aiming even lower than that. By which I really mean just being kind to myself, and trying very hard only to get upset with Audrey if there is a safety issue, and remembering that Cal acts like a baby because he is one, and all he wants is to have his face three inches away from mine all day long, just like that picture up there.

We miss you, Scott. Oh, so, much. Sleep tight.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Who won the dinner table summit?

Ellen wants to know who won the dinner table summit-- Audrey, or her parents? It was a draw.

Like the U.S./Canada gold-medal hockey game, our dinner table show-down went into overtime. Audrey dragged out the battle until almost bedtime when she asked for her plate to be taken out of the fridge one more time so she could eat her casserole. She finally finally FINALLY ate four bites, but not before being reminded that a bite must 1) be placed in her mouth with a utensil, not her hands, 2) remain in her mouth and 3) be swallowed, not just "chipmunked" in the pocket of her cheek.

Audrey got her pineapple in the end. And today, when she saw me eating some of the same casserole for lunch she said, "Mommy, eat all that yucky and you have dessert!"

Is this a win? I don't feel quite like a winner somehow.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

This is not a restaurant. I am not a short-order cook. And other things my mom said to me a lot.

We're sticking to our guns on the same dinner table rules I had as a kid, which I think are totally reasonable and fair: you are not forced to eat anything, but neither will you be served alternate choices. Audrey understands this but is still a tireless negotiator, and uses every procedural method she can think of to stall things and wear us out. Last night, she did not want the casserole, but she did very much want pineapple for dessert. Here was one of her last ditch efforts to avoid eating the required four bites of casserole that would qualify her for dessert:

Scott: Audrey, eat your casserole. This is your last chance. I'm not going to tell you again.

Audrey: I can't right now. My teeth are too tight. I need a band-aid.