Monday, September 13, 2010

A Lesson in Fear

Zoey has recently transitioned from diapers to panties. To be exact, panties with Elmo on them. And in case you have never potty trained another human being before, believe me when I tell you that the initial panty wearing period is HELL. Basically, you are just waiting around for an "accident" to happen. Will it happen on the new rug in the living room? Will it happen in the car? Will it happen in isle 3 of Market Basket? And here's the thing: YOU NEVER KNOW.

So we are going about our days in terror. And one way I try to minimize that terror for myself is to get my 2 year-old child to shoulder some of it. It's only fair. So, to help along the potty training process, I have told my daughter that if she pees or poops in her Elmo panties, Elmo will get wet. Wet and, here's the clincher, scared*.

"We don't want to scare Elmo, do we?" I say. Zoey's eyes widen, she looks at me solemnly and shakes her head no. "So we don't want to pee or poo on Elmo, do we?" Again she shakes her head. "So we only pee and poo on the potty, right?" She nods, her eyes still big and, it must be said, the tiniest bit fearful. Then we go about our business. Zoey is building a tower on the living room floor. I am putting away laundry. The clink of wooden blocks slows and then stops. I hear Zoey muttering to herself. I peak around the door and see her holding out the waistband of her pink pants, gazing down at her crotch. "It OK, Elmo. It OK," she whispers. And I, temporarily (and stupidly) blinded by my own evil-genius, think, My plan is working!

A few hours, and several successful trips to the potty, later we are having dinner. Zoey has finished her meal and is playing under the table. She is talking to herself and engaging in an elaborate game that involves a tissue, a stuffed kitten, one of my shoes, and an acorn. All of a sudden Zoey says, "Mommy? Daddy? I have tummy ache." This might be a good time to point out that for the last two days, each time Zoey has said she has a tummy ache it has been followed, within minutes, by massive amounts of diarrhea. So, Zoey declares she has a tummy ache. And what do Demetri and I do? We sit there. LIKE TOTAL DUMB-ASSES.

A minute later we hear a gasp from under the table. Then a shriek, "I POOPED! I POOPED!" Then there is a high pitched wail. A long high pitched wail. "ELMO IS SCARED!!! ELMO IS SCARED!! ELMOOOOOOOOHHHHHH!" Next, there was flailing. And kicking. And general panicking. Which is not what one wants when trying to contain poop to a specific and small location. I'll save you the details and just tell you that several rugs and multiple items of clothing had to be scrubbed and then washed.

The lesson: Never ever think that your evil-genius parent plans will work. Poo gets everywhere and you have to shell out 6 more bucks to buy new panties that don't have Elmo on them.

* I swear I got this idea from another mom. So I'm not as evil as I sound. But, the thing is, I can't remember who. Which leads to some important questions. The first of which is, Am I crazy?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Totally Ridiculous Conversation (On Many Levels)

me: Wait . . . How old am I? 33 or 34?

Demetri: Uuuh . . .

me: HOLY SHHHHHH....! Am I turning 35?????

Demetri: No. No way. You must be 33.

me: Ok. Wait. How old are you turning?

Demetri: Fooooorty . . . five?

me: WHAT? no. It must be 44.

Demetri: Wait ... do you know what number Super Bowl it's going to be because I'm the same age as the Super bowl?

me: Uh, OF COURSE I don't know the number of the super bowl.


Me: Crap, I'm going to have to do math.

Zoey: Grrr..... My parents are idiots!

The Lunch Box Incident

Zoey starts her new Spanish immersion school tomorrow. And I am a nervous wreck. Even though the instructions sent to me by the school specifically instruct me not to be "anxious". Apparently my anxiety will create anxiety for my child and her first day will be ruined. RUINED! Well, the "ruined" part may involve some interpretation on my part. Just a wee bit. As in total fabrication. But it could happen. I could ruin Zoey's first day in many ways. We could get there too early. Or too late. I could drive in the wrong side of the circular driveway. I could take too long to get her out of the car. I could forget the camera, Zoey's back pack, and her lunch. Oh my god, her lunch! I am a quivering pool of anxiety just about the lunch. The lunch box to be exact.

There was a lunch "box" incident at the school Zoey has been attending this summer. Yes, my child was attending a morning day care program 2 days a week and did not (gasp!) own a lunch box. A few weeks ago I walked in the door to pick Zoey up and saw her sitting at a table eating oyster crackers and raisins. Which was not what I packed her for lunch. The (new and young) teacher rushed over to me and gushed, "OhmygoshIamsosorry! I couldn't find Zoey's lunch box! Did you forget it?"

"No, I put it in the fridge . . . But that's OK, she can eat lunch when we get home."

"I checked the fridge," the teacher insisted, "I didn't see a lunch box in there."

Now may be a good time to point out that when I see other kids arriving and leaving the program, they all seem to be banging a lunch box against their little legs: Tinkerbell, Thomas the Train, Spider Man, Dora the Explorer. So when the teacher said she didn't see a lunch box in the fridge she was technically right. "Well," I began, "Zoey's lunch is in a . . . a . . plasticlwalmartbag." I said this last part fast and quiet. And I might have had my hand over my mouth.

"What? Her lunch is in a what?" The young teacher flipped her blond hair.

I sighed. "The lunch is in a bag. A plastic bag."

There was a pause, the teacher couldn't even look me in the eye for a moment, and then she said, "Ooooh. I guess I didn't think there would be a lunch in . . . that." I grabbed the lunch, stuffed it in Zoey's very stylish backpack from the Kennedy Space Center (thanks Gramme and Pop-pop!) and got the heck out of there. If I had a tail it sooo would have been tucked between my legs.

So anyway, I vowed that Zoey would start her new school with a new lunchbox. And she will. It's purple with psychedelic cats on the front. At least she didn't pick the princesses. Well, actually, she did . . . but I told her we didn't have the right "special" money for that one. And yes, you may totally steal that line for your own use. You're welcome.

Monday, August 30, 2010

In Which I Learn that I am Slow

We were driving through Boston over the weekend -- right on that stretch of road by the river where there's a paved trail, beautiful grass, and a great view of the city. There were also about a zillion walkers, runners, and bikers. We were stopped at a light and an older runner shuffled and dragged and gasped his way past us. He was tired, out of breath, and, well, not so graceful. Ha! I thought, Ha! At least I'm faster than that guy! Except that I accidentally said it out loud. Like, in front of other people. But thankfully only in front of my husband (who already knows I'm the tiniest bit crazy) and my daughter (who was sleeping). But still. Thinking crazy, selfish, overly competitive thoughts is one thing; Saying them is another.

Demetri, assuming I was talking to him, sort of paused, made a soft humming sound, and said, "Well . . ."

I whipped my head around from the window and the pitifully slow runner to look at the profile of my husband. My husband who was very intently looking at the traffic light. "WHAT?! I'm as slow as that 70 year-old guy? That one right there?" I pointed out the window. We both looked. Mr. 70-year-old-slow-runner-guy was now stopped in the grass bent over, one hand on his knees, one hand clutching his chest.

"Whoa. Is he ok?" Demetri asked*.

"I'm sure he's fine. Stop avoiding the question -- Am I as slow as that guy?" I demanded.

"Well, it's hard for me to tell exactly. We're in a car and everything . . ."

"We're in a car THAT'S NOT MOVING! So . . . so . . . so you're trying to tell me," I slumped back into my seat, "that I am as slow as that guy." And, a part of me knew it was true.

I know, at least on some level, that I am a slow runner. I know that some people can walk faster than I run. Some people can even hula-hoop while walking faster than I run. The Silver Sneakers, the over 70 running club at the Y, has a few members that can take me. But, the thing is, I don't feel slow. When I run, I feel fast. Swift. Nimble. Dare I say, lithe (hi Lisa!). Even after someone passes me, blows by me, crushes me. As soon as they are out of sight (which usually happens pretty quickly) I am back to feeling like an Olympic runner prancing nimbly down the path. And, well, yes, pushing a stroller. But still.

The day after driving through Boston and recognizing myself (by force) in Mr. 70-year-old-slow-runner-guy, Demetri came running with me. This was only the 4th time he's come. And I could tell my pace was painful for him. I encouraged him to run at his own pace and, finally, he agreed. My husband took off and left me and the stroller (with Zoey in it) to prance lithely through the dust behind him**. In no time at all he faded into the early morning green-black smudge of trail and trees far ahead of us.

Part of me, yes, was a little bitter that he has been running FOUR TIMES and already is much, much faster than I am. But most of me was happy that we were all out on the trail at the same time. I was just happy to be running on a summer morning on a shaded trail. I was happy to be the fastest and most graceful runner in sight. And happy that fast is a feeling, much like beautiful is, that can be kept in my head and in my heart.

* Why yes, Demetri is the more caring and kind spouse.
** Please note who has the stroller FOR THE ENTIRE RUN. I am also nice. And very, very modest.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Upon Closer Inspection

We have a contract on a house up here (pause for appreciation and applause) and today is the inspection. Demetri and I are both anxious about this process and we each are imagining catastrophic scenarios. But in different ways. Very very different ways. While I am worrying about structural instability, roof leakage, and/or evil wire-chewing bunnies in the basement (Hi Carla and Josh!), Demetri has . . . other concerns. Mainly, hobos. That's right, hobos. Not tramps, who work only when forced. Not bums, who don't work. But hobos, as in wondering workers*.

Now it's possible (but not probable) that a little background on the house will help explain Demetri's concern. The house backs up to woods -- preservation wetlands. But on the other side of the woods there is a train track. I think it's important to point out that it's a commuter train. But Demetri, apparently, thinks the type of train is irrelevant. He states, "The type of train is irrelevant. Hobos can be on any kind of train. They're probably all living back there in the conservation wetlands. Right behind our house." My response was in 3 parts: 1. Laughter. Whether or not it was in his face is somewhat irrelevant. You know, just like the type of train. 2. Questioning his fear of hobos (based on the idea that hobos don't really exist anymore) and 3. Wondering if we should proceed to buy a house that may or may not abut a blossoming hobo city in the conservation wetlands.

Demetri assured me that he is not afraid of the hobos, per se. He is more worried about them. I jokingly said that I had better not bake a pie and then set it on the windowsill to cool. And . . . Demetri nodded his head in fervent agreement saying, "Yes, it's probably a good thing you don't bake that often." He then added, "If someone comes to the door carrying a stick with a red and white polka dot bag tied on the end, DO NOT ANSWER THE DOOR." Eventually, we came to an agreement that the existence of a hobo community between our house and the commuter rail would be a deal breaker. So . . . we'll see what happens.

But on another note: I knew that one day my lack of baking skills would be seen as a huge asset. I knew it! VICTORY IS MINE!

OMG! Wagon Riding: the gateway mode of transportation to train hopping! Nooooooo!

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Good Stuff

With all the crap that's happened in the last few weeks, there was some good stuff. Some funny stuff. Some I-don't-want-to-forget stuff. And here is some of it:

1. This is a picture Zoey drew for me while I was in the hospital. It is, in fact, a picture of me. At the hospital. Distended belly? Check! Scar from surgery? Check! Belly button? Check! It's surprising with all that attention to detail that I have only one arm and no hair. Especially since a certain hot husband with a fine ass and a degree in art helped with the rendering. Boomer, our now deceased cat, and Zoey are also pictured.

2. When I went to the first ER Zoey came with me. Once we had secured ourselves a room, I was told to change into a hospital gown. After I put it on, Zoey looked up at me, gasped, and I swear she did the thing where she holds both her hands up in the shape of a square like a picture, "Oh Mommy! You look goooooood! You pretty! Pay for that dress with the monies!" That's right people, I rock a hospital gown.

3. On the day after the first ER, I lay on the couch most of the day. Zoey kept coming over and tucking my feet in the blanket. She would pat my feet with both of her hands and solemnly say, "You OK Mommy. You OK now." And I ask you, what is more comforting than having someone pat your feet and tell you that you are OK?

4. In the second ER, we were in a room that had a glass patio-like slider door that separated us from the chaos of the hallway. Zoey would peer out the glass and whenever she saw anyone wearing white or wearing scrubs she would screech, "HERE COME THE DOCTORS! H-I-I-IDE!" My sentiments exactly.

Monday, August 2, 2010


So . . . it's been a while. And, man oh man, do I have some good excuses. I was at the ER 3 times in one week. The first time so they could put me through painful and humiliating tests and then fail to diagnosis my apendicitis. The second time was for more humiliating tests and a correct diagnosis of apendicitis . . . and then a 5 day stay in the hospital. (Side note: after my suregery, because the first ER and then my surgeon messed up, I couldn't/can't pee on my own. And let me tell you -- there's nothing that makes a girl feel sexy and confident like a warm bag of your own pee strapped to your leg!) THEN I was back at the ER the day after I got out of the hospital because I couldn't breathe. THEN our car broke. THEN the house we are trying to sell broke (while people were looking at it) -- the AC went out, the downstairs toilet leaked all over the hardwood floors, and the fire alarm was beeping. And then over the weekend our cat got hit and killed by a car.

If any one or two of these things had happened in isolation it would be manageable. Doable. It would be life being life. But all these things at once is a bit much. I know there are people out there in the world - in this country, town, and block - that are experiencing much worse things. Terrible, horrible, inhumane, unimaginable things. And yet . . . I still feel beat up. I feel scared. I feel like something is going to jump out and get me.

While driving, I am certain each and every car is going to hit us. While walking down the block I'm sure I'm going to get side swiped by a truck. Or stung by a bee. At the grocery store the lady in the produce isle in the red tank top with a sequenced cat on it is looking at me funny. I think that she and her sequenced cat are going to push me down and steal my cheese and tomatoes. Somehow it is not reassuring to me that this actually does not happen. On Sunday we took Zoey to a farm to see the animals. I was convinced that the yellow-eyed goat was going to paw at the ground, let lose with a foamy snarl from his mouth, and chew through the fence to attack me with rabid, spiky teeth. Now, as far as I know, goats don't generally have spikey teeth. Or rabies. Or even exceedingly violent outbursts. And yet . . .

The world just seems to be a dangerous place right now. More so than usual. For now, I'm holding on and going through the motions. For now, I am lucky to have people that love me when I'm a little bit crazy and a little bit scared. And when I have a sexy bag of pee strapped to my leg.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Wield Your Powers for Good

Earlier today while I was hiding in the pantry eating pretzel M&M's* and attempting to ignore the tortured sobbing coming from my child who was in time out for hitting me, I had a thought. Perhaps it is possible to bend the will of the universe. No, no, not bend the will of a toddler. That's an exercise in futility. I'm talking about the universe. You know, the totality of everything that exists. Unlike toddlers, the universe, apparently, has been "governed by the same physical laws and constants throughout most of its history"**. So we have that going for us. And I say "us" because I am enlisting your help with this whole bending-the-will-of-the-universe thing. Now, before you get all twitchy and run away screaming, "No, no! Stop the madness!" let me remind you that a similar experiment already worked for Carla over at Adjustment and Disorder. She got the powers that be (AKA, her readers) to bend the will of the universe and move her placenta. And if we can accomplish that, well, we can for sure get someone to buy our house. You don't even have to know anything about anatomy for this one. So, please, pray, meditate, do Jedi mind tricks -- Whatever is your bag and help us sell our house. Please. By the end of July.

'Kay? Thanks.

* I am not normally a fan of pretzels. I mean, I'll eat them if I'm about to die of starvation. Or if I'm on an airplane. But pretzel M&M's? OH. MY. GOD. Yum.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Club* (Dad, do not read due to unsavory language)

Meal times are often "challenging". By which I mean hellatious. And painful. Literally, physically painful. There is whining. Pouting. Yelling. Full body protesting. And that's only Zoey. Demetri and I also add a certain . . . how to describe it? . . . je ne se qua. Something like angst. And frustration tolerance that is more appropriate for our shoe size than our wizened age.

But then Demetri came up with a brilliant idea: The Clean Plate Club. On night one of the Operation CPC , Demetri and I sold The Clean Plate Club like nobody's business. As I took my last bite of peas Demetri gasped and pointed at my plate, "Look! Mommy is the The Clean Plate Club. That is AMAZING!" I was high-fived and fussed over. And . . . I felt pretty gosh darn proud that I cleaned my plate. Demetri finished his last bite of salad. I clapped my hands, "Daddy's in The Clean Plate Club! He cleaned his plate! Woo-hoo!" High-fives were exchanged again, Daddy's eating abilities were complimented, and I might have even done The Clean Plate Club Dance (and no, you will never see it). Then, once the raucous celebrations had ceased, a small voice from the end of the table said, "Zoey want Clee Plate Club." VICTORY WAS OURS!!!

Thus our lives proceeded for a few wondrous nights in pain-free dinners. There was laughing and smiling. And more dancing. Dinners were eaten. No one was hurt -- emotionally or physically. Clearly, we were genius parents.

And then last night happened. I slaved in a kitchen well over 90 degrees making baked apples, pork chops, and mashed potatoes. Which, BY THE WAY, is a well-known favorite meal of Zoey's. Dinner was served. 30 seconds later my charming child declares, "Zoey in Plate Club NOW!" The fact the she left out the word 'clean' demonstrated a fundamental lack of understanding of The Clean Plate Club laws. So I clarified: "To be in The Clean Plate Club you have to eat all the food off your plate." Zoey pointed her finger at me, rolled her eyes, and said, "No. Zoey in Plate Club. NOW." And I swear she spoke slower than usual, like I was too dumb to keep up with normal conversational pace. Demetri clarified. Zoey apparently decided we were too dumb for verbal communication so she she turned around in her chair and put her back to us. "ZOEY ALL DONE. IN PLATE CLUB." And then she covered her mouth with her hand for emphasis. Let me be clear. At this point, Zoey had eaten EXACTLY NOTHING.

Demetri and I ate our dinner. Which was DELICIOUS, by the way. I started eating the mashed potatoes off Zoey's plate because I was too lazy to get more from the stove. And, let's be honest, she was soooo not going to touch them. As I spooned the last bite into my mouth, Zoey whipped around in her chair and screeched, "NOOOOOO! Those ZOEY'S! WAAAAHHHHH" (pause for her to refill her lungs) "Noooooo Mommy!!!!! THOSE! ARE! ZOEY'S! WAAAH!" Demetri got her more from the stove. Which she didn't touch. At this point, driven to insanity by the heat (and maybe by someONE else as well), I muttered, "You are NOT even close to being in The Clean Plate Club, kid. And it's too bad because The Clean Plate Club is FUN. In fact, Daddy and I are going to go have fun and you can sit here and eat your dinner. BY. YOUR. SELF." And, of course, you know what happened next: "ZOEY HAVE FUN TOOOOOOOO! PLLLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEZE! WAAAAAH!"

But guess what happened after that. THE KID ATE HER MOTHER FUCKING DINNER.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

No Pictures for Obvious Reasons

We decided to celebrate the 4th of July this year with a triple almost-drowning. Yup, it was super festive! We went to Comet pond, which is legendary in Demetri's family. He grew up swimming there with his sisters and cousins. And now he was going to swim there with his daughter. Comet is great for many reasons. One of which is an extended family member has a house on Comet that sports a huge screened in porch and a private dock. The cooler was packed, a Dora the Explorer life jacket was purchased, and sun block was applied.

We arrived and picked our away along the worn path down to the water. Demetri held Zoey's hand as she tripped over roots and pine cones yelling, "Water! Zoey see water!" At the edge of the path we dumped our stuff and clipped Zoey into her life jacket. We walked to the end of the dock, I held Zoey's hand and looked at Demetri expectantly. For the 5 years I have known Demetri he has talked about Comet. About how great it is. About how he loves swimming there. "Well?" I said. "Aren't you going to get in?" Demetri shuffled his feet, gazed out across the water, and shrugged. "Eh. It might be cold."

Let me pause here and point out that my husband is a native New Englander. He regularly swims in MAINE. Where the average water temperature in July is 60 degrees. SIXTY. I, on the other hand, am used to swimming in South Carolina where the average water temperature in July is 84 degrees. I ask you, WHO SHOULD GET IN FIRST? HM?

My wimpy husband dipped his toe in the water and made an odd, stretchy face which I assumed meant the water was a bit chilly. I rolled my eyes. And I may have muttered something like some New England boy you are, looooooser. But on second thought, no. I probably said something sweet and endearing. Because that's the kind of wife I am.

So I got in. That's right: I GOT IN. Mad props to the non New Englander. Zoey was handed to me. And, let me just say, she handled the water like a true New Englander. Unlike some other people I could mention. I clasped Zoey (and her Dora life vest) to my chest and began to swim towards the floating dock that was a little ways out in the water. Swimming with a 27 pound toddler held to your chest is not as easy as it sounds. I began to sink a bit lower in the water than I would have liked. Zoey began to contemplate panicking. I smiled for Zoey's sake and grunted between gasps for air, "Honey. Get. In. Here. NOW." And to his credit, Demetri got in. And somehow we all 3 made it to the floating dock. But then, our mood disordered toddler decided she did not want get up on the floating dock which moments before she had begged, begged, to swim out to. Cries of "NOOOOOoooooOOOOOOoooooo GOOOOO BAAAAAACCCKKKK" echoed across the pond.

As commanded, we started to head back. At this point I noticed a kayaker near by. Well, that looks fun, I thought. I continued to do a kind of flailing back/side stroke with Zoey held to my chest which, of course, meant I didn't have the use of my arms. About half way back to land I began to go under. "Demetri," I sputtered, "I don't have her." And, then, so as not to alarm Zoey, I spelled out H-E-L-P and took water into my mouth. I hoisted Zoey on to Demetri's back, yelled, "YAY! FUN ON DADDY'S BACK!" just as I slipped further under the pond water. I popped up immediately as my arms were freed. Again, I noticed the kayak which was now within a few strokes of us. Now instead of realizing the kayaker had come closer to offer help as we flailed more and more hopelessly in the water I thought, Geeze, you have a whole pond here HOW ABOUT A LITTLE SPACE. Yup, I'm a few Crayons short of a full box. (sigh). Zoey is on Demetri's back smiling that she gets a pont ride in the water. Meanwhile Demetri is sinking lower and lower in the water, his mouth constantly dipping below the water line. I have one hand pushing Zoey's butt up and out of the water so she feels supported. And so her head remains above water. "MUST. BUY. RAFT." I gasp. Demetri sputters choking on some water, "CAN'T. LAUGH. DROWNING." And we still don't ask the kayaker for help -- WE ARE IDIOTS. We make it to the dock, hoist Zoey up, and pull ourselves up onto the sun-warmed wood. Demetri and I lie gasping for air, exhausted. Zoey laughs and chants, "So funny! That so funny!"

Demetri and I look at each other and, perhaps making the smartest decision we have ever made as parents, decide not to come back to Comet until next summer. At least not without a raft. With sides. Otherwise known as A BOAT.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Princess Pusher

We made it to Massachusetts. And, well, I've been afraid to blog. At times it feels like I have too much to say and at other times I have nothing to say. Plus, I'm certain I've lost the ability to write anything worth reading. Yup. Pretty certain. So, instead of telling you all that has happened and not happened, I am going to tell you about The Princess Pusher.

Less than 48 hours after Zoey set foot on Yankee soil, we needed to take her to the doctor (swollen adenoids, snoring, baaaaaad sleep). And, as there is only one pediatric group in the town, we took Zoey in. We met with Dr. S. Right away I got a bad feeling -- the man has an oddly shaped head. Think upside down eggplant. With a puff of fluffy hair on top. Yes, I know one shouldn't judge a doctor based on the shape of his head but . . . but . . . I did. I am a terrible human being. Okay? Happy?


Dr. S initially seemed nice enough. He said hi to Zoey and her baby. Then he asked Zoey, "Are you a silly girl? I bet you are a silly girl!" He proceeded to ask her that exact same question exactly 576 times during the appointment. And in the tone one uses to speak to small animals. Small, caged animals.

Then things really started to go downhill. Zoey let the doctor look in her mouth which earned her a sticker. Dr. S ran out of the room and came back with a (. . . wait for it) DISNEY PRINCESS STICKER. Dr. S hands Zoey the sticker and says, "Oh! You're a princess aren't you? A silly, silly princess! This princess looks just like you!" Now, to be fair, Zoey was wearing a tutu over a pink skirt, and, for some, this conjures images of princesses. But this was the princess on the sticker:

And this is a picture of my daughter:

Um . . . notice anything? Anything at all? Like, oh, say, Belle is WHITE and my daughter is OF COLOR. As in NOT WHITE. As in BIRACIAL that doesn't include Caucasian. And Belle has STRAIGHT HAIR and Zoey has VERY VERY CURLY HAIR. Zoey does not know that she does not look like Belle. But in the next year or two, she will. And I know it's my job to make sure that those differences are just that -- differences. Not bad. Not good. But here's the thing, I don't want Zoey to think she is supposed to look like Belle. Or Cinderella. Or Jazmin. So, I don't appreciate a doctor telling my daughter that she does look like Belle and/or insinuating that she should want to look that way.

And maybe if Dr. S had let the princess thing go, maybe I could have left without thinking more unkind things about his unfortunately shaped head. But no. That's not what happened. Dr. S continued to push the princesses: : Oh, you're a silly princess! Oh, you look just like Snow White! Oh, you're Sleeping Beauty aren't you? Oh, you silly, silly princess you!

So clearly I have some "feelings" about Dr. S, his silly, silly princesses and his silly, silly shaped head. I miss our old pediatrician. And I miss the safe familiarity of a place called home.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cool Moms Care: PPD - Reach for the Light

This week's Cool Moms Care post is up. I'm just a little ray of sunshine this week - I wrote about Postpartum/post-adoption depression. It's an important topic so click here to read it. Share your own experiences. REACH OUT.

Monday, May 24, 2010


Apparently, Zoey and I have become a unit, a single entity. Like Brangelina, but less hip and with less skeezy facial hair. I catch my self saying things like, "We're working on sharing" and "We just started potty training." And yet I know how to share (Demetri may be laughing his shapely ass off right now). And I know how to use the potty. It is, in fact, my lovely daughter who is learning to do these things. I am already a functional member of society; I don't walk around with crap in my pants or hit people on the head when they so much as look at my My-Pretty-Pony.

But I am a SAHM. I spend almost all day every day with Zoey. And somehow, with all that time spent being Zozo's mom, I have lost some of who I am. I love my daughter and I would gladly give up at least half of who I am for her, maybe even more. It's when I start giving up all of who I am that I get a little less glad. Frustrated and angry might be better descriptors. And then I feel guilty. I feel like I should be grateful for every minute I get to spend at home with my daughter. I feel like I should be cherishing things, and baking pink cupcakes, and scrap booking. But I'm not. And then a thought wafts into my mind, a teeny, tiny wisp of a thought: maybe I don't like being a stay at home mom . . .

Usually I turn my back on that thought. Brush it away. Pretend it never happened. But then I'll be forced to go to some kind of schmoozing/mingling event and find I have nothing interesting to say beyond, "Yes, I have a daughter. She's 2. No, I don't work outside the home." Or I'll get my high school update in the mail -- the one where they tell you what everyone from your class is doing so you can feel inferior about your own life: "Susie started a school in Afganistan! Chad is running for congress! Janet just purchased a home in the Bahamas!" And that teeny tiny thought will come back.

Lately that thought has been more insistant. What was a wisp is now more like a brick hitting me on the side of the head. And I wonder, Is it OK? Is it possible to love my daughter and not feel fulfilled by being a SAHM? Am I allowed to want to be something other than Zozo's mom? I have to be honest, a lot of times it feels like those things are not possible, are not OK. It feels bad to want more than I already have because, well, I have a lot. But when I can think instead of feel, it seems OK. At least I think it probably is. I hope it is. OK, fine. I still have a lot of guilt. Here's the truth: I really want it to be OK.

So I'm thinking that maybe once we're in Boston and we're settled and Zoey is in a school program and everyone is feeling OK about the world, I might get a job. Maybe. Or I might not. But I might. I might try and use my graduate education that I'm still paying off. Or I might volunteer at a worthy non-profit. Or I might enact my plan to take down the republicans. But whatever it is, at the next cocktail party I want to be able to say something like, "Yes, I'm Zozo's mom. She's 2. We just mastered the potty. And I'm writing a book."

P.S. - If your a SAHM, I'd love to know how you feel about it. If you get paid to work, I 'd love to know how you feel about that to.

Friday, May 14, 2010


I am in a foul mood. FOUL. So, what better time to do a blog post! Wheee! I am sitting on my parents' screened-in porch while Zoey is napping (finally). And I am trying to improve my mood/console myself/get really, really fat by eating Oreo funstixes. That's right, funstixes plural. And no they are not as good as regular old double stuff Oreos. And putting an 'x' in stix really doesn't make them more fun. It makes them ANNOYING.

It was a hell of a morning here. Shortly after waking up Zoey decides to blatantly break the one and only rule that exists at Gramme and Pop-pop's house: no jumping on the couch. She knows this rule. She knows it well. And in fact I had just said, "Zoey. NO. JUMPING. ON. THE. COUCH." I even used my stern mommy I-mean-business voice. So what does she do? She jumps from the couch to the coffee table. Which, by the way, is glass. After she lands, and somehow miraculously does not break the glass, she raises her arms triumphantly above her head and yells, "TA-DA!" She does all this while looking directly at me.

Ta-da my ass.

So Zoey goes into time-out. Her butt is in the chair faster than you can say 1-2-3 Magic. Then she looks at me, while I am giving her the mean mommy stink eye no less, and laughs. She laughs. I begin to tell her that it's not funny, that she is in trouble, and that she had better shuthermouthandstayinthatchairORELSE. Zoey stands up and begins jumping on the chair. While pointing at me. And laughing. I was not amused. I set her in the chair again and decided to go look busy so she has less of an audience. Zoey promptly climbs out of the chair, runs over, and hits me in the stomach. Hard. So I become A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH. I potato sack her into her room, put her on the floor, and perhaps yell something about not wanting to see at her, not wanting to hear her, and not wanting to be in the same room as her. Thank god she does not yet posses the vocabulary to point out that the last part of the previous statement was repetitive and, well duh, obvious. I slammed her door, she on one side, me on the other. Zoey cried. And for at least 30 seconds I felt good -- somehow vindicated that I had made her cry, that I had made her feel punished.

Then, as what I was feeling started to sink in, I felt . . . shitty. Shitty and ashamed. What kind of mother wants to make her daughter cry? What kind of mother suspects her daughter of being spiteful at times? And what made it all a bit worse was the fact that my parents witnessed all of it with something, I suspect, close to horror.

After two minutes (standard time out protocol) I went back in to Zoey's room. Even though she was sniffling into her arm and wouldn't look at me, I picked her up. I hugged her. I told her that I love her. She clung to my shoulders and cried into the soft cradle of my neck. When she finally looked up at me, shame softly wafted between us, and then blew away. I wiped away her tears and she murmured, "Better."

And although Zoey has forgiven me, I'm still thinking about what I could have done differently, done better. I know I could have done a lot worse. But something about the whole thing was less than good-enough. And now I have a tiny little hole in my heart. A tiny little hole which the Oreo Stixes don't seem to be filling up. I think, and I hope, that it's one of those holes that will fill up with time and with practice. And with doing better next time.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Let It Be Known

Dear Joslyne,

I just turned two. 2. T-W-O. Yes, I know you were there. But, much to my disappointment, you still don't seem to get it. Please, allow me to clarify:

This year I shall rule with an iron fist of TERROR. The two's are called the Terrible Two's for reasons that go beyond alliteration. "Terrific" also starts with 't' and yet it is rarely associated with the two's. Know that every single day I am getting bigger, faster, and more whiney.

We are 10 days into my Reign of Terror and I think it's high time I stop calling you by the sentimental title of mom. In fact, I can't believe I've let it go on this long. Instead, when I choose to acknowledge you, I will use your first name. If I do not choose to acknowledge you, please, for the love of god, TAKE. THE. HINT. I am ignoring you as I do not wish to be tainted by your meager presence or pithy demands. Subtle hints that I do not wish to recognize your existence include slamming the door in your face, pushing, and the freakishly high-pitched screeching of "NoooooOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

As Ruler of All Things I reserve the right to make absurd and profoundly disturbing demands. That's right, I will only eat macaroni and cheese in a tent in the living room and I will wear your underwear on my head whenever I choose. And WOE IS TO SHE who does not immediately do my bidding. WOE IS TO SHE.

I also expect you, and all whom I rule, to become fluent in Whine. Please learn the various meanings for "EEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!" and "UUUUHHHHHHHeeeeeeeeAAAAAAAAAAAA!" immediately. It should go without saying that when I choose to converse and communicate in Whine I still expect to be adored and revered, as I would be at all other times. I am adorable. Always. Yes, even when I fling my poop across the room. ADORABLE.

I decide when I am finished eating, not you. And I may sit and play with my food for as long as I like. It addition, I expect to be offered up to 5 different meals at any one meal time. Also, I do not need to sit in my chair. I can stand in it, climb on it, lick it, and/or push it over at my discretion. You, of course, must ensure that I do not scathe myself in any way. If I do incur any kind of injury, no matter how small, know that you are a FAILURE and a SHAM of a parent.

Please take note and respond accordingly.

Your supreme and most adorable ruler,

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Cool Moms Care: A True Mother's Day

This week's Cool Moms Care post is up. I'm kind of nervous about it and would appreciate some love. Click here to read it.

Monday, May 10, 2010

I'm an Adult! And I Have the Wallet to Prove it!

For Mother's Day Demetri gave me a wallet. An actual, real, live, adult wallet. It has all these sperate compartments for . . . stuff. Like cash. And credit cards. And all the other important cards I might want to carry. Like, the Lenny's Sub Shop sandwich card (buy 5 and get one free!) and the business card of my former (like 5 years ago) therapist. I don't see her and I don't talk to her but it somehow makes me feel better to carry around her card and stare at her name every once in a while when things get really tough. Plus, it's purple. The wallet, not my therapist. The thing that is most adult about the wallet is the comparent for change -- it doesn't zip shut, it clasps. You know, like an old lady purse. Every time I clasp it or unclasp it I feel very mature. Very in control. Very Hey look at me and my new adult wallet with a snappy clasp thingy!

But enough about that. My favorite thing about the wallet is the coupons it came with. That's right, my delightfully charming, kind husband with a hot ass made me home made coupons. And one of them entitles me to WIN AN ARGUMENT. Not that I generally need help with this. But, man oh man, do I have big plans for this coupon. True, I can only redeem it once and it has a rapidly approaching expiration date, but imagine the possibilities (especially with our upcoming move):

Scenario 1:
Demetri: Oh! I really want to live in ______ town.
Me: I don't.
Demetri: Well, I do!
Me: WELL TOO BAD MISTER! (waaa-tsshhhhh!!!*) Say so long to that little dream!

Scenario 2:
Demetri: I think we should have another baby.
Me: No way.
Demetri: Yeah, it'll be so fun!
Me: WELL TOO BAD Picasso! (waaa-tsshhhhh!!!*) Did I mention that you have a very special doctor's appointment next Monday?

Scenario 3:
Demetri: Hm. I think I'll buy these peg leg jeans.
Me: But why?
Demetri: Because I'll look good in them.
Me: No you won't.**
Demetri: Yes I will.
Me: WELL TOO BAD BUCKAROO. (waaa-tsshhhhh!!!*) Tim Gunn wants me to tell you you can't make it work.

Ah yes! I can rule the world! Bwhahahaha! I am now taking suggestions for coupon use.

* This is the sound of me 'whipping' out the coupon. You know, in case you didn't get it.
** Because NO ONE does.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Cool Moms Care: Cliff Jumping

A new post is up at Cool Moms Care. Click here to read about a "discussion" I won (!!) and about change/fear.

And click here to go to the Cool People Care site to learn about how you can help victims of the flood.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

In Which I am the Mother of a 2 Year Old

Today my daughter, Zoey, is 2 (!!) years old. And she is already making the world a better place:

She teaches birds to fly . . .

She tends a garden . . .

She has excellent fashion sense . . .

She shares her chocolate . . .

She is safety conscious . . .

She excels at hand-holding . . .

She's not afraid to get her hands dirty . . .

She helps people celebrate . . .

She remember to stop and chat with animals . . .

She comforts babies -- Shhh! Shhh! Shhh!

And she dances like she means it . . .

Happy Birthday Zoey!!!
We are so lucky to have you as our daughter!

We met you the day you were born . . .

And have loved you every day since.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Birthday Eve

So, I'm in the middle of writing a post for Zoey's birthday tomorrow. There's some things that don't quite fit in that post but that I don't want to forget.

I want to remember how Zoey says "Thank you very much" when she hands me something she no longer want and how she grabs for my finger when we're walking. I want to remember how when Zoey clunks her head, stubs her toe, or barely grazes her elbow on the table she pushes her bottom lip out and says, "Kiss please." Once she has been kissed she nods her head and says, "That's better." She pats my cheek and pulls on my ears during story time before bed. I want to remember how it feels when she grants me a kiss -- like silvery stars, like unicorns exist. I want to remember how her lips form a tiny 'O' when she sleeps. And how she flails around during the night so that her feet are over the bed rails and her shirt is up to her arm pits. I want to remember how she hugs me when she's half asleep and her back is sweaty from the car. The pitch of her voice when she says "Mommy." The exact temperature of her hand casually perched on my knee -- like I'm just a bigger extension of her body. I want to remember how she looks scrawny in the bath and how she tilts her head back, eyes squinted shut, to let me rinse the shampoo from her hair. How she eats strawberries -- with huge drippy bites and golden joy. I want to remember the soles of her feet. The tiny half moon birth mark on her lower back. The smell behind her ears. The tiny pink poke of a tongue as she makes faces at me. Her laugh. Yes, I always want to remember the trill of her child laugh -- like the magic and surprise of a firefly cupped in my hand.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Lesson at the Playground

So I'm at the playground with Zoey. We're having a perfectly lovely time -- strolling from the slide to the swings, pausing to pet a tree. The breeze is gentle, the sun is sunny, and we can smell the ocean (which is about 50 yards away). Zoey is singing 'Do-Re-Mi' from the sound of music as she holds my pointer finger and leads me towards the twisty slide.

In quick succession 3 mini vans pull up. Before the first van is fully stopped the the side door is flung open and 3 boys jump/push/climb out. Zoey and I stop in our tracks, alarmed to see kids launching themselves out of a MOVING VEHICLE. The next two vans pull in and more boys pile out. All 8 boys are now running directly towards us as we are between them and the playground. Zoey is clinging to my leg. The boys are yelling. Mostly just making noise like ARG! and YAAAAA! Except for one boy who is inexplicably yelling, "Die! Die! DIEEEEEEEEEEE!" The boys, none of whom have a sense of personal space, run within 2 inches of us. Zoey hides her face and begins to mutter, "No no no no." Several of the boys pick up large sticks and begin to hit them as hard as they can against the side of the slide. Two of the boys are wresting on the ground. The mothers, wearing over-sized sunglasses and toting ginormous Coach purses, climb out of the vans and teeter across the playground in their high heeled flip-flops.

I pick up Zoey and take her to a part of the playground that is clearly designed for the under 5 set. But the boys swarm us. The boys are running (!) with sticks (!!) pretending they are guns (!!!). One of the other mothers comes over to us. She waves vaguely in the direction of the sweaty mass of running/wresting/yelling boys and sighs. "Three of them are mine." "Wow. They certainly are, um, energetic" I offer. The woman does a half smile and looks longingly down at Zoey. "You sure are lucky to have a girl. You and your daughter are at home having tea parties and my boys are out picking up dead animals." Before I can even think what to say to this, the woman is charging across the sand to one of her boys, "I told you not to hit him on the head or the face! Give. Me. That. Stick. AndImeannowmister!"

I take Zoey's hand and lead her towards the car. She's holding on to me tighter than before and I'm feeling sort of smug. My relatively mellow girl child and I are headed home where she won't pretend that anything is a gun and she won't be roaming the yard for dead animals. I am happy with my one daughter. Who isn't a boy. Or three.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

In Which I Fall Off the Face of the Earth

So here's what happened:
Demetri got a job in Boston. But we couldn't tell anyone about it until his current job announced that he was leaving. Which wasn't until last week. But we had to pack up all our crap*, have a garage sale, ship the animals off to generous relatives in New England**, make arrangements to paint the house neutral colors***, and pick out new carpet for the upstairs because the cat ruined the carpet with his razor sharp TALONS. And then Zoey and I had to get the heck out of there while painting and carpeting occurred because, seriously, can you imagine doing all that around nap times and with a toddler under foot? Well, probably you can. We, on the other hand, are wimps. But wimps with options. So now Zoey and I are in South Carolina wreaking havoc at The Grandparents beach pad while Demetri is at home dealing with manufacturally defected carpet and sleeping under 7 sets of sheets because he packed all our blankets into a pod that is now being stored in Nashville. Awesome. Being at the beach is awesome. But being away from Demetri and having a rushed goodbye from good friends and missing our comfortable little routine**** and being sick (sniff sniff) is a little less than awesome. My inner therapist is screaming, TOO MUCH STRESS! POOR CLOSURE! TOO MANY BIG CHANGES! LOTS OF LOSS! And then my inner therapist gets some control and serenely repeats, You do not do well with changes. You do not do well out of your routine. Learn. The. Lesson. But moving is messy. And chaotic. So for now I'm sticking to my primitive defense mechanisms (sleep, denial, passive aggression, etc. etc.). And stealing Internet from a neighbor.

* "Crap" is defined as clutter and excess junk that makes the house less likely to show well. We have a lot of "crap".
**Neither the cat nor the dog puked or pooped in their crate. VICTORY!!!
*** Apparently very few people appreciate a bright yellow kitchen, a red library, a blue dining/play room, and a green bathroom. THHPPPTTTT to them!
**** Have I mentioned that I am big on routines? As in You can pry my routine out of my cold, dead hands.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pretty Good!

Last night we were preparing for our after dinner ritual of ice cream. Ben & Jerry's Creme Brulee anyone? Demetri was scooping out the ice cream into three little bowls. Zoey was hanging off the kitchen counter with her finger tips while bouncing on her toes, "Ice cream! Ice cream!" I was pretending to be a cool, restrained, patient adult. That lasted about 11 seconds. I gave in and joined the chant, "Ice cream! Ice cream!"

Usually, once we all have our bowls, we sit around the kitchen table or sometimes hang out on the couch. But last night, due to some wack-a-doo toddler thought process, Zoey perceived us as a direct threat to her ice cream. She clutched her bowl to her chest with one hand while she waved her other hand in front of her in the universal signal of Get Away From Me. Zoey looked up at us through narrowed eyes and said, "Mommy, Daddy, NO! Zoey ice cream!" And then she fled to the safety of the play room.

Demetri and I sat on the couch, put our feet up, and prepared to enjoy our creamy deliciousness without the presence of The Vulture. The Vulture usually downs her ice cream and then comes and begs for ours. When we offer her a spoon full, she puts it in her mouth, slobbers all over it, but actually doesn't take any ice cream off the spoon. Nice.

So there we sat, Demetri and I on the couch, and Zoey huddled in defensive mode in the playroom, all enjoying our tasty frozen treat. We sat in silence savoring each heavenly spoonful. As the ice cream melted in my mouth I could hear Zoey scraping at the bowl with her spoon and slurping the ice cream into her mouth. She smacked her lips, paused, and yelled out, "Pretty good!" Demetri and I shook with silent laughter. Then, from the play room, a clank, a bang, and "Uh-oh! Mess! Mess! Messsssssssssssssss!"

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Art and Victory

Some moms cherish rocking their baby back to sleep at 3 AM -- the quiet of the house, the sweet smell of the baby's neck, a moment of snugly peace. Me? Not so much. I cherish my sleep. I also madly cherish my daughter's refrigerator art. Behold!

And yes, that is in fact the turkey that has been up since Thanksgiving. But it is the very best hand turkey I have ever seen and I can't bear to take it down. Now the turkey has company! Like this abstract interpretation of nap time. Notice how the pink and green work to create a feeling of comfort and sleep while the orange mirrors the loss of missing out on play time.

Next we have a shamrock. A BEDAZZLED shamrock. Do I need to explain the searing brilliance of glitter? I think not.

And, hello! Hand tulips! Note the precise placement of the fingers to mimic petals. GENIUS!

Here is the piece de resistance, "Duck". Notice the vertical placement of the feathers -- a subtle commentary on hope and freedom as represented by flight.

Finally, you are probably wondering, Hey, what is that thing in the upper left corner of the fridge that doesn't look like art? Well, it's a Scrabble score sheet in which I, J, beat my mother-in-law, N. My MIL is also known as The Scrabble Goddess. It is rare that I beat her. It is rare that anyone beats her. So, although this game occurred about 6 months ago, the proof of my amazing Scrabble victory shall remain a prominent feature of our kitchen until the paper disintegrates. Or until I laminate it.

And yes, I am a very gracious winner. For the record, I am a mom who cherishes sleep, my daughter's refrigerator art, and VICTORY.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Fight the Power

I am in the front seat of the car anxious and ready to leave because oh-my-god-if-we're-we're-not-at-least-5-minutes-early-we're-LATE. Demetri is attempting to wrangle Zoey into her car seat. Zoey is attempting to negotiate her terms of travel*:

Demetri: Yes, you can bring your baby in the car.
Zoey: (kicking and flailing) Car seat! Bay-BEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!
Demetri: Baby doesn't need to go in a car seat . . . Although you're right, it would be safer for her. And safety is important.
Me: (audible eye roll that, sadly, isn't heard because of all THE SCREAMING)
Demetri: Well, I could put the booster seat in the car and then baby can sit in that!
Me: (massaging temples and whispering) Iamapatientperson . . . Iamapatientperson
Zoey: Baby. Seat. Car.
Demetri: Yeah, I'll put the booster seat in and baby will always have a safe place to sit! And you can put her in her own seat every time we go in the car! Yeah! It'll be so fun!
Me: (swivels around, locks eyes with Demetri) If you put that booster seat in the car We. Are. No. Longer. Friends.

And then I had to explain why I didn't want to booster seat in the car. I HAD TO EXPLAIN. I mean, you get it right? Right?

* I, as the Mean Mommy, do not believe in terms of travel.

Here, baby is being taught to smell the flowers. And fight The Power (aka Mean Mommy)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Swimsuit Issue

Dear Lands' End,

I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate your swim wear collection. I'm a fan of the 157 options you offer. It's great that you realize that women are not just one body type (i.e. - that of size 2 pre-teen), but instead offer us 5 types to choose from. I'm still not sure what a "star" body shape is, but it doesn't sound too bad. I'd rather be a "star" than, say, a "rectangle". And it's great that you allow a shopper to shop for a suit via her "anxiety zone":
Minimize Bust (4)However, you seem to be missing one anxiety zone in particular. May I suggest, "Enhance Ass"?

You see, those of us with a no-butt face a particular difficulty during swim season. NOTHING looks good on us. Take the swim skirt:

Beach Living Wide Waistband Mini <span class=
Sure, it looks all fetching and cute. Until we exit the pool. Then the fabric clings to the flat/board-like extension of our lower back (technically, our butt), making it all the more horrible to behold. No one needs to see that. And getting a regular a 'regular' swim bottom like so:
Beach Living Tummy Control Swim Bottom or Solid #1 Leg <span class=

is also out because our gluteus is simply not maximus enough to fill it out. The extra fabric is not exactly flattering. True, it might be handy for storing swim toys, a life vest, or an extra soda or two but really, no one wants to see that either.

Perhaps you could add something like this to your suits?

Just an idea. Although I'm not sure if they float or sink. That would be something to look in to.

For now, I'm just going to have to order the striped bottoms:

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Cool Moms Care: 'Member?

This weeks post is up at Cool Moms Care. Click here to read all about how Zoey now has a memory . . .

And I will have a new! original! exciting! post here on Zozo's Mom by tomorrow. But in the meantime, check out my latest Stinkerbells post on feminism.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cool Moms Care: Zoey's Song

This week's Cool Moms Care post is up. You can read all about my secret life as a song writer here.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Not My Fault (Again)

Behold! The latest toddler haute couture! This little ensemble was put together for a birthday party Zoey attended over the weekend. And, in all fairness to my lovely and creative daughter, Daddy may have had some input on the outfit.

Yes. Well. . . .

Didn't you know? A moose shirt works well for any occasion! And sweat-pants aren't just for the gym! Oh no! They can double as sassy, loose leggings under any dress or skirt! Pink and brown with red and purple? Why not! We're not afraid of a little color in this house. (Ahem!)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Supreme Annoyance and #8 on The Suck It List

It takes my husband 37 minutes to make a salad. THIRTY-SEVEN MINUTES. I find this . . . excessive. And yes, he does make an excellent salad -- complete with tomatoes, cucumbers, feta, sunflower seeds, and croutons. He even makes his own dressing. But somehow the goodness of the salad does not erase my SUPREME ANNOYANCE that it takes 37 minutes to make. I think my annoyance exists on two levels. Well, actually my annoyance is so multi-leveled that it could be a skyscraper. But my supreme annoyance exists on two levels: 1) I can make the same salad but way, way faster and 2) I can finish making the main course, clean off the table, make my daughter dinner, feed the animals, load the dishwasher, wash the remaining dishes, check Facebook, and set the table and Demetri WILL STILL BE MAKING SALAD. In fact, our conversation often goes like this:
Me: Honey? Dinner's ready. Is the salad done?
Demetri: Nope. I'm just about to start washing the lettuce.
Then my head explodes.

Now, if my husband had to go dig up the lettuce, toast the bread for croutons, or press the olives for oil I might be able to give him a break. But he doesn't have to do any of those things. So, he suffers my loving and well-intentioned wrath. See, in a recent and oddly domestic turn of events, I have started doing a lot more cooking. I generally have a reputation as, well, a bad cook. But lately I've made some good soups. A loaf of bread without the bread machine thankyouverymuch. And a creamy chicken thing that involved the thickening of a delicate sauce. In some ways, this new culinary arrangement works out well for Demetri. He gets to eat good food, etc. etc. But in other ways, this turn of events might not be the best thing that ever happened to him. Because, as it turns out, I'm a bit of a kitchen bitch.

See, my domestic partner and I, we have different kitchen/cooking philosophies. His is more of the food-is-fun, let's-enjoy-our-time-in-the-kitchen variety whereas I'm more of a I-must-follow-the-recipe-exactly-or-die-in-the-attempt type. And to say that I am anal about time and timing in the kitchen (and, sadly, in life) would be, at the very least, a massive understatement. If I had an apron it would say, "No Pain, No Gain." Or maybe, "Do it my way and do it according to my time table or get yelled at." The second one is less catchy but more accurate.

My other "issue" is that I can hold a grudge. If grudge holding was a sport I would medal. So the fact that the last 37 minute salad making incident occurred over a week ago is insignificant. Time does not dull my rage. When I go out for a run I use this rage and pound it out on the pavement with each step, "Thirty. Seven. Minute. Salad." My times are dropping like nobody's business. But I love my husband, despite his obvious salad-making faults. And I recognize that my annoyance, anger, and grudge may be the merest bit "unhealthy". Another word for it may be "cray-zee." So my new apron says, "Salad Can Suck It." And my new philosophy is that steamed vegetables make an excellent side dish.

(BTW, Check out a new recipe blog that I'm part of, The Flaming Toaster. Because, clearly, those who can't cook should be teaching others how.)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

4 Hours

Zoey started school this week! Yes, I know you know. Yes, I know I've written about it ad nauseam. And yes, I'm going to write about it again. Right now.

Zoey started school this week! She goes two days a week for two hours each day. In some ways this is not a lot of time. It's not even enough time for me to really go home and accomplish anything. So, instead, I go to a nearby bakery/coffee shop, order a tea and a pastry, and lounge on the couch. Oh, and I also look very busy and important typing on my laptop. Very busy. And important. Did I mention that I'm important yet? Part of my typing was, naturally, updating by Facebook status to "Child FrEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeEEEEEEEEE!" But for all anyone knew I was finishing up my book, single handedly bringing down the republican party, or any other number of important things.

Then I go pick up Zoey. She smiles hugely when she sees me. She tugs me around by the hand to show me her art work, the dolls she played with, the sink where she washed her hands. She points and then pulls on my hand just a bit more for emphasis. She looks up at me and her face, her entire body, is glowing with pride. Pride. It's an amazing thing to see my daughter full of herself in the most wonderful way. It's an amazing thing to see my daughter walk hand in hand with her new friends.

And that 4 hours that in some ways isn't a lot of time? Well, it's just enough time to help me remember all the things I love about my daughter. It's enough time to make staying at home with Zoey today, a non school day, seem relaxed and, dare I say, special. We went grocery shopping this morning. We didn't hurry. We sang songs. We chatted. I enjoyed having my daughter gaze up at me, crinkle her nose, and laugh. I payed attention to how it feels when she holds my hand, when she buries her face in my neck.

We're all just feeling so proud and appreciative around here that we're thinking of putting Zoey in school for 3 mornings a week over the summer. Imagine how busy and important I can pretend to be then . . .