Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I just remembered I'm going to have a baby.

So yesterday morning I sat in my bed and ate my box of Valentine chocolate until I felt pretty sick. So then I thought, I should stop eating chocolate, or I might throw up. (Is very real concern, as of late.) So then I ate some heart shaped sugar cookies. Medicinally, of course. To my great surprise, I didn't feel better. I don't get it. (I need to go practice looking mystified in the mirror, for when I get on the doctor's scale tomorrow.)

So then, I got in the tub, and lay very still. This sometimes makes me miraculously healthy and well about the belly. Pretty soon, the baby started jumping around, and water was sloshing all over the tub. It was sort of creepy. But it made me think, wait a second: there is a real baby in there, with a mind of his own! And he is coming out soon.

I mean, I almost never forget I am pregnant, but I totally forgot I'm going to have a real, live baby, in like, a month.

He is going to want something to wear, something to poop in, a place to sleep! He is going to look to me, his mother, to procure and arrange these things! And if I forget to prepare them, he is going to feel very unwelcome! (He IS welcome. Please come out, baby.)

So yesterday I got out all my infant boy clothes, plus the ones from cousin Charlie, who was very well dressed, terribly stylish and couture. Turns out there are way too many clothes. This is what happens when you have lots of kids, and your peers in your age cohort stop having kids: you get lots of fabby hand-me-downs. I'm not talking about old light-up Winnie the Pooh sandals from Wal-Mart, with the tread all worn down on one side, cause the original owner was bow-legged, neitha.

Plus, when you've had lots of kids, you don't much want to dress them up like you did your black Cabbage Patch Kid from 1980-something that you named Diana Ross. Sure, you spent hours putting corn rows in her hair, unbelievably small designer jeans on her bum, and tiny running shoes on her feet. You did that for a couple of real live kids, too (minus the corn rows. Your kids were baldy). You don't find those size 2 Nikes so cute and ironic when the 3 month old has kicked one off somewhere in the bowels of Costco, and you feel you should retrieve it, cause you spent 30 bucks on the them. Now, white onesies and those socks that have cowboy boots printed on them have become church clothes. Sometimes the white onesies have faux neckties sewn to the front. it doesn't much matter what they wear, because you keep them swaddled up tight like a rolled taco from Filiberto's, in the hope they will fall asleep. It will likely be 90 degrees by mid-March, so I worry more about heat rash than keeping the infant warm.

I've got cribs and bassinets and strollers. Don't try to tell me I need something to strap the baby to my front or my back. Cause I don't like them things! You can't make me wear one! I am old, and I know what I like. I will just carry the baby around in my arms, like some sort of old-timey cavewoman, and I won't ever do the dishes. Is nothing new.

Now I just need the baby to come out (like 3 weeks hence would be nice. I don't want any undercooked lungs.) Cause what I could really use is some sleep. (Yes, I think I will get more sleep after the baby is born. Is bad news. Am muy cranky.)

P.S. I hate science fairs. We've got assorted cheeses on the window sill that refuse to grow mold, someone counting unpopped popcorn kernals at all hours (house smells like fake butter all the day long), and another child who would rather play wobot wars (lego mindstorm), than figure out about why some metals are magnetic.

I can't do this on 3 hours of sleep.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The one in which I attempt to be one of those lifestyle bloggers.

So you know the beautiful blogs? With all the pictures that make you salivate and wonder how other people's lives can be so lovely and perfect all the time?

I was thinking: I can totally do that. Is cinchy.

So here goes.

Yesterday I awoke early, and after my morning 5k (down from 10k, since I'm 8 months along. Being pregnant is so easy and fun) and bowl of muesli that I made at home with high protein Turkish oats, I looked around my spotless house, glanced in the mirror at my unreasonably perfect hair and thought, hey, I have some time to whip up a batch of tangelo marmalade. Marmalade is SOOO simple and easy to make, especially since I happen to have a bumper crop of fruit growing in my own personal citrus orchard on the side of my house.

(It is essential for every woman to grow all of her own food. If she doesn't, it is pretty much the same as purposely poisoning her children with pesticides, probably damaging her daughters' eggs whilst they are still in her tiny ovaries, and thus making her grandchildren dumber than they really need to be. (I am not trying to make you feel bad. I'm just saying that everything in the grocery store might kill you. And you should go to jail if you feed it to your family.)

So I plucked the dewy, ripe fruit from the tree, feeling not unlike Eve in the garden,except you know, for no guilt, and the robe instead of the nudie, then flew inside my (super clean, you'll remember) kitchen, donned that apron that I whipped up on Tuesday (I'll post the how-to here later, but it is very difficult, you won't be able to do it, it will only make you feel bad and inferior, so there is really no hurry, right-o?), and cranked out a batch of marmalade before Tom even noticed. Then I read him stories for approximately 2.4 hours, put him down for a nap and re-read the Pulitzer-prize-winning social history I chose for book club this month: A Midwife's Tale.

Just as I was finishing up page 400, the kids tiptoed into the house waving their straight-A report cards, and were quiet as mice while working on their Valentines (I had arranged all the craft supplies on the kitchen table before they arrived. Then they whispered to each other for like an hour: I love YOU, Jane. No, I love YOU, Sam!), while I took a well-deserved nap before a grueling night of spinach dip and gossip, and high-brow intellectual discussion, with my book club girls.

The end.

How did I do?

Cause I had to go outside in my robe and climb the swing set (that will teach those golfers to hit over near the canal, they probly wanna poke their eyes out) to take that picture of my tangelo tree. And it was hard to move all the crud around in the kitchen to get that picture of the marmalade/book. See what happened when I zoomed out?

And you can't even see the mess on the kitchen table left from the Valentine-making. I'm not that good a photographer. Yet.

And who knows why I decided marmalade would be a good project for the morning? Cause I didn't finish re-reading the book club book. But it was okay, cause nobody else read it all the way through (although Melanie gets a gold star for pushing through the first chapter on medicinal herbs used in post-revolutionary Maine, to get to the juicy stuff like rape, murder-suicide, and bastardy), so I still seemed like I knew what I was talking about. Which is the most important part. Anyone actually enjoying the book is a tertiary consideration.

I guess I could blame the marmalading on nesting, but you've seen the kitchen. It doesn't look very nesty. Just nasty. Really, what happened is my neighbor asked me if I'd ever tried making marmalade, cause she has a couple trees as well, (I have a tangelo and a navel) and I started get post-traumatic-stress flashbacks from that time when the sugar shot out of the pot like bullets and I burned the whole mess black. You can read about it here. I have no kitchen secrets.

So anyhow, I took her question as a challenge. Was I going to let the fruit win? Or was I going to dominate it, as is my right as the used-to-be-medium-foxy (and perhaps will be again in like 1.5 years) steward of the earth that I am?

Well, you saw the photos. The marmalade is not black. I spread those tangelos on my toast so fast, they didn't know what digested them.

And the victory was sweet. (But also a little bitter, cause of the rind. Which is how it is supposed to taste.)

Now I am going to get dressed, clean my kitchen, make pies for Church Valentine's dance party tonight, and probly leave the mess to clean up for tomorrow. I'm not sure I'll be dancing, unless I wear my support hose. Is very sexy and romantic, like the card I got Jake. (Don't worry, he won't see it before Sunday. He doesn't read my blog unless I tell him I've written inappropriate/potentially embarrassing things about him):

The nap was fictitious. And since I got home a la one a.m., I am pretty groggy.
And if you know me at all, you know there was no running.
And I don't know if they grow oats in Turkey.
And Jane and Sam loathe each other. Jane kicked out one of Sam's teeth last month. Luckily, it was already loose.
Oh, and Ross really did bring home a straight-A report card. He finally ran out of novels to read in class.

P.S. again. I hope nobody is offended. I LIKE food blogs, and looking at crafty things that you can make and I can't keeps me humble. Thanks for that.

Monday, February 08, 2010

He looks like a Larry.

We had a visitor yesterday to Primary (kids' program, at Church) who would NOT give up his name. The chorister went at him for awhile, with no luck; then some teachers started to work on his friend and older brother, kids who apparently thought, hey, if he can hold out under such intense pressure, who are we to rat him out? In my experience, such solidarity is quite rare in the under-8 set.

To be fair, the friend seemed to be saying something, but he was a 5-year-old with a frontal lisp and an r-deviance, complicated by a refusal to phonate (although, I'm sure a dog could have heard him), so it was the same as not helping. Teachers were repeating what they thought they heard: Hunter? Turner? Brigston? (Fer rills. Brigston.) You get the idea. Also, to be fair, it wasn't immediately obvious to me that the 'friend' getting the 3rd degree actually had any previous acquaintance with the visitor at all, but was maybe just unfortunate enough to be sitting next to him before the investigation began.

This went on much, much too long. Kids were getting nervous and bored, Sunbeams began to wander the room and lie about on the floor. There was so much squirming, 25% of the panties in the room were visible. (Lots of Dora the Explorer).

Tommy, meanwhile, is sitting next to me (also, at 3, nominally a Sunbeam, but refuses to go anywhere near his class, and got kicked out of the 4B class, where he sat next to cousin Claire), but I am unable to stop him before he yells into the escalating chaos:

Hey! He looks like a Larry.

Most of the teachers giggled into their hands, but I saw lots of kids nodding to each other, like, sure, why not? LARRY!

Which somehow drew the interrogation to a rapid close. We sang the Hello Song to 'Larry', who, looking stricken, went to find his seat right after We're glad you came our way. Soon thereafter, he burst into tears and got hauled out.

Junior Primary is the best. But not when you're the chorister.

(I had that gig, once. After church is over, you need a Snickers bar, a Unisom, and a nap. After that, you'll be mostly recovered, but your left eye might still twitch until Wednesday afternoon.)

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Don't be jealous

Don't be jealous, but Jake does almost all the laundry at our house. He always has, ever since we came home from our honeymoon, and dragged our dirties down to the coin-op machines at our first apartment in Provo. I found this, along with his vacuuming skills, quite shocking and liberal, since my pater familias grew up where women did the inside work, and men ran the farm and took care of livestock. Since we lived in suburban Los Angeles, Dad was short on livestock and acres of alfalfa. (We did have a smallish but brilliant mutt, Barney, who was clearly my Mother's domain. Father occasionally snuck him treats from his nightstand.) Maybe Dad considered the 2 hours a day he spent on the 405 freeway, commuting in and out of the Valley, equivalent to a cow, a sheep and 4 horses. I don't really know, but it seems reasonable.

Anyhow, since Jake is at the bottom of one of the world's most famous natural crevasses this week (Grand Canyon, not Mariana trench), the laundry room is full. I decided I better fold Clothes Mountain, which is looking more like the Rockies than the Appalachians every day, since this is my chance to prove that even a simple woman such as myself is capable of choosing hot or cold, delicate or heavy duty. But now that I think about it, perhaps I should play this thing all damsel-in-distress. I dunno. He'll be home tonight, so I've got a few hours to weigh my options.

Also, don't be jealous, but I had to turn on the air conditioning in my car today.

And, don't be jealous, but I have an entirely empty drawer in my bathroom. I haven't filled it, because it makes me feel very happy to know that if I wanted to stock up on toothbrushes or buy 200 bars of soap, I totally have a spot for them.

Who does what at your house? Do you stick to traditional sex roles, or is he the cook and you the plumber? Somehow, I got delegated the job of Pool Boy, which isn't working out so well, due to my delicate condition. I may need to trade for laundry, temporarily.

Monday, February 01, 2010

People just liked it better that way

I like to quiz my kids about historical trivia in the van on the way to school.
(This is to keep them super nerdy so they won't get too popular in high school, which could cause all kinds of worries and headaches for me.)

The kids? They just want to listen to They Might Be Giants
Flood. At top volume.

I have effected a compromise.

You know, kids, I queried this morning, even old New York was once New Amsterdam. Why'd they change it?

People just liked it better that way! They respond in unison.

See now, this is where my history degree comes in real handy. (And people said it was good for nothing.)

No, kids. People did NOT just like it better that way. Holland traded Manhattan to England in exchange for a little spice island called Run (near Indonesia), because the Dutch East India Company wanted to keep up their super lucrative nutmeg monopoly. At the time, it seemed like England was getting the raw deal. You can read all about it in Nathaniel's Nutmeg, a spicy little book by Giles Milton.

The kids are not very thrilled with this news. Cousin Jack mumbles something about nutmeg and York with his best British Colonial accent, but Sam just begs for track 7 (
Particle Man).

So I didn't get to ask them the follow-up question:

What did the Native Americans call the island?

Cause then, I could have told them:
Manahachtanienk, meaning "Place where we all got drunk." (Nobody much lived on the island, but when some nearby Indians came over for some hunting and fishing, the early Dutch settlers shared their booze, and the poor tee totalling natives didn't know what hit 'em. Seems like maybe an early version of fraternity hazing.)

Anyhow, tomorrow we discuss how one might "filibuster vigilantly" (From track 1,
Birdhouse in Your Soul). Then I can tell them how Senator Strom Thurmond conducted the longest ever solo filibuster, a non-stop 24 hours and 18 minutes, against the Civil Rights Act of 1957.

Which, I think, will segue nicely into a discussion of track 6:

Your Racist Friend.

Happy Monday to you.