Thursday, May 26, 2011

Reading, chalking and looking for trucks with Gramma Jean

We're all about Gramma, of course, but Dad coming home from his trip is also headlining tonight. And Gramma Jean is willing to stay outside and supervise chalking!

Is that the mail truck? Wait... I think it's Fed Ex. No! Call the papers! It's the men in brown! UPS! Gramma, if the street sweeper drives by after this I'll be so psyched I'm going to, like, need a diaper change. This is just incredible.

Gramma, I have to tell you that although the ninth and tenth readings today of The Big Orange Splot really had energy, this eleventh reading is taking it to a whole new level for me. You are totally making it your OWN! Love it, love it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Audrey and Margaret create another garden together

Just as they did last May, Audrey and her Aunt Margaret planted a garden out on our big rambling 10 x 10 foot estate complete with raised bed. Margaret, Larry and Ruth came through Boston during the time of Mom's visit. This year, they were on their way back from Ruth's college graduation which I also had the distinct pleasure to attend. (Marlboro College graduated 64 this year. At a ceremony that size, you can't help but feel you know everyone personally by the end.) Back in Arlington, Margaret helped Audrey put in a few lettuce starts, as well as some spinach, chard and herbs. Seeds have been planted in pots, and Audrey checks them carefully each time we're in the driveway for signs of progress.

They were at their gardening work for about two and a half hours, in steady, drizzling rain and there seemed to be no flagging of energy -- impressive for a three year old, and an adult spending that much time in the rain with said three year old. I watched appreciatively from the kitchen window, glad that they had this time together and happy to see that Scott's raised bed-- held together by over a 100 screws and buckets of engineer sweat, our very own piece of Shaker furniture left to "cure" in the yard-- is now full of edible plants.

I hereby solemnly swear that these plants will get the water and attention they need.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Oh, the conference swag!

What do Kate Spade and Northrup Grumman have in common? Absolutely positively nothing except that both companies give away BAGS to attendees at events that you and I will never be invited to. But I’ve got a connection, and a whole lotta swanky Tyvek totes from defense contractors to carry my Whole Foods purchases (DON'T BLINK or you'll miss the locally-made goat cheeses!). Scott just came home with a suitcase full of conference swag and it’s all very glam, in a military-industrial-complex sort of way.

While you won’t find a bottle of Calvin Klein’s latest scent in your grey-black camouflaged tote from NG, you might get a cool little wind-up robot, or a rubber duck in snorkel-gear (Navy SEAL duck? No clue). Or a coy little camo cosmetics bag that will allow you to freshen up on the go without giving up your location (in the Stop ‘N Shop parking lot).

Leafing through the magazines that came with all this kit, I couldn’t help noticing how compelling-- how riveting-- the language is in advertisements for tanks and M-16 scope mounts and robotic arms. I think the makers of baby and kid gear could take some lessons. Seriously: throw down some vocab that will speak to the parents of small children. Make me believe that my very survival depends on your product. I give you just a few example from the spring issue of Defense Standard:

Mission Assurance Delivered. I don’t know where we’re going or why, but I will buy anything if you tell me that we’re on a Mission, and that Assurance is going to be Delivered. Just saying that makes me feel like things are under control.

They Don’t See Us. But We See Them. Protection Without Detection. This isn’t baby monitoring; this is full-on infant surveillance. Plug in this sucker and you will not only be able to see and hear your child, you will also be able to plot his next move.

Enhanced Situational Awareness. Now available in fingertip-sized brain implant. What every mother of a preschooler on the playground needs.

Power... Speed...Agility...Stability...Protection...Endurance... OMG, I would totally buy that diaper bag!!!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A surprise nap for Audrey, and Calvin spent the day trying to self-destruct

Today included the unexpected sweetness of sharing a nap on the couch with Audrey. She hasn't napped in almost two years but this afternoon, when Calvin was finally down for his nap, I felt a wave of fatigue hit me and I told Audrey I simply had to lie down on the couch for a few minutes and "rest my eyes." After trying to peel my eyelids back for a minute she asked if she could cuddle with me and-- surprise of all surprises!!-- promptly fell asleep. After a short snooze, nose to nose with Audrey, I was able to extricate myself and worked for about an hour while BOTH of my children slept. What peace! It'll never happen again!

And Calvin. He has no fear of falling, no respect for gravity, his actions are not informed by a sense of caution at all. I don't even know how to communicate with such a being-- my whole life is about managing anxiety. Today he fell on his face or the top of his head no fewer than four times, and attempted a jump from the top of a playground structure that prompted me to stuff him under my arm and say, "That's it! We're leaving! Everybody back to the stroller. I'm done."

Picture me at the top of the slide, smiling and cooing, waiting to assist Calvin on a safe trip down. He runs up the stairs. He runs toward the top of the slide. He runs-- still standing!! not slowing down at all!!-- down the twisty slide. His neck is not broken but if you think this is helping me put it all in perspective than you must not have met me. I'm not sure we're ever going to the playground again. I've cast myself forward to Calvin's first driving lesson and our explanation-- as no sense of self-preservation will lead him to this conclusion automatically-- that it is customary to slow down when taking a corner.

In the bathtub tonight I was still washing out bits of mulch that got pushed up into his nostrils when he ran out the backdoor, straight off the end of the porch and into the flower beds. Then a few seconds later smacked his face on the flagstone patio. This was after jumping off the couch and landing on the crown of his head while I tried to talk an RCN technician (the combination of screaming on my end and heavily-accented English on his made the conversation tense for everyone).

But we're doing all right. Bookending all these kamakaze maneuvers, the first thing Calvin did upon waking and the last thing he did before bed was to give Audrey a kiss.