Monday, May 31, 2004

Hello, my little pudding pops. MomBrain is back from a long weekend in Victoria BC, which is in the 51st state of Canada. We like Canada. We like Canadians. Except for the monopoly money they are just like us. Oh - I forgot. Their government is sane. (Hm - I wonder how much houses cost up there?)

Here are the highlights:

In a long line of vendors, a vaguely ethnic 50-ish man sat in front of a pen and paper. He held a simple sign: "Personalised. I will to write pomes." For the rest of my life I will regret not taking him up on it. What if the universe was trying to tell me something? Who cares if the universe can't spell? A pome! I could have had a pome!

The surefire cure for a constipated preschooler: Go swimming. Get your swimsuits on, dredge up some hotel towels, pack dry clothes and pool toys, then schlep through the hotel lobby wearing nothing but a swimsuit and a bathrobe. Take the stairs and a lo-o-o-ong hallway through a scary basement full of clanking pipes. You are now approximately one-half mile from your room. Disrobe, toss the toys in the pool, toss yourself in the pool, and convince the reluctant preschooler to join you. It is at precisely this moment he will say "Mommy, I have to poop."

Do not under any circumstances give a disposable camera to a four-year-old. Especially if you have taken only one picture, which you are sure is a priceless one that you definitely want to keep and possibly frame.

The very definition of super-human strength is a pedi-cab driver. These are the guys (and yes, a few women) who pedal bicycles that haul chariots carrying lazy tourists. Our driver (rider? bicycler?) managed to pull our nearly 400 pounds uphill while giving a non-stop discourse on the history of Victoria. No huffing, no puffing, not a bead of sweat. They oughta be in the Olympics.

When the McStarbucks barista says the strawberry cream frappucino is an appropriate drink for a child, do not believe him. He is a child-free hipster who has never heard of the term "sugar buzz."

posted by Marjorie
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Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Happy 4th Birthday, Little Guy!
posted by Marjorie
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Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Shout Outs
A big manly slap on the back to Woodge, who has sired a second child. Whoop! Whoop! Whoop! The world needs more extremely large noggins, and I for one am glad that Woodge is doing his part.

Also, yeehaw and a hearty bloggy welcome to my fishing partner Ruth, who has started her own blog. R and I first met in Sydney, Australia, where she was working and I was on a business trip. We were lifelong friends from the first handshake. Since then we've had many a "sesh" at a local Thai restaurant where we eat too much, laugh too much, and agree that we are both brilliantly insightful. I have only a handful of people who are jewels in my treasure box, and she is one of them - an opal, opaque and transparent at the same time, changing colors when you tilt your head this way and that. Plus she's wicked cool.

Yesterday's conversation with the Little Guy, at Aunt N's house.
MB: LG, why don't you ask Aunt N if she needs anything at the store?
LG: Aunt N, we're going to the store. Do you need anything?
N: Yes I do! Would you please get me some Diet Coke? But make sure it's caffeine free.
LG: Okay. Mommy, what is caffeine freak?
MB: Caffeine freak? That would be Daddy.
LG: Oh.

Confidential to President Bush: Please read this Web site. Perhaps it will carve a little more space in your heart.
posted by Marjorie
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Friday, May 21, 2004

I have a little sister. Actually, I have several, but Sister K is the youngest, and since I am the oldest, there's always been a certain frisson in our relationship. "Frisson" is French for "she always copies everything I do." I have been complaining about this since I was six and she was two, coloring outside the lines in my clown color-by-number book and putting god-knows-what in my Easy Bake Oven. It's an issue. Even now, almost forty years later, she's nothing but a copycat.

So I'm sure you will agree that Sister K is only trying to irritate me by starting her own blog. But damn if it doesn't put mine to shame. While I spend way too much time playing Heigh Ho Cherry O, she's paying attention to world events, considering the story behind the story, and telling the rest of us what to think. Hot damn. I'm especially fond of this post, which I'm tempted to print and keep next to the TV.

Not to be outdone, I tried to turn the tables and copy her for a change. But I have failed. I know what's going on in the world. I am sad, outraged, confused, and worried. But my most fervent political rants reflect my tiny, cloistered world. I think globally, but I live locally. So.

I want family parking spaces right next to the handicapped spaces; a nice wide space where I can load and unload a carseat without sticking my rearend into oncoming traffic; a place close to the store so a potty-training toddler has some hope of making it to the bathroom in time; a space close to the grocery carts so I don't have to leave my child alone in the car while I return the cart. Mark the space with a legal symbol and Lord help the child-free hipster who grabs the space because she needs her latte.

I want more family restrooms, so mothers with sons don't have to endure looks from the lipstick ladies at the mirror. Not to mention dads with daughters who have to scurry past the urinals.

I want my heartbroken sister and friends not to be forced to put their six-week-old babies in day care so they can keep their jobs.

I want the South Seattle schools with no books, no computers, and no art programs to have what other schools have.

I want someone to put grass on our local soccer field, which is now a dust bowl.

I would like the mentally ill panhandlers downtown to have a better place to pee than the alley behind the firestation.

I would like my mom to have health insurance.

Oh, and world peace. Definitely world peace.

posted by Marjorie
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Thursday, May 20, 2004

In what seems to be a weekly ritual, the Little Guy has suffered yet another head injury at the playground, we have spent yet another afternoon at the doctor's, and we have eaten yet another Happy Meal at McDonald's. This time he fell and hit the *back* of his head, which bled dramatically. He now has a shockingly white circle in the middle of his hair where he was shaved and steri-stripped. He looks like an electro-shock therapy victim, and of course we had to (once again) endure the stares of our fellow golden arch patrons.

We were lucky we already had an appointment for his 4-year well-child-visit, so no ER torture. But on top of the pain and indignity of a shaved head, he also had four vaccines. So now he can't sleep. He's feverish, he can't lay on the back of his head or on his right arm, and worst of all we can't find blue silky. This was not the Little Guy's best day.

I have big plans to wax political in my next post, so tune in tomorrow - same bat time, same bat channel.
posted by Marjorie
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Sunday, May 16, 2004

MomBrain is here to tell the Velveeta-eating masses that the rich do indeed live differently than the rest of us. The Big Guy and I attended a dinner party last night with enough silverware to stock Tiffany's. The china was from Tuscany, the wine from France, and the sorrel from the host's garden. A spectacular six-course meal took nearly four hours to consume, served in the Italian style with the salad after the main course, and cheese that I couldn't pronounce but definitely could smell.

But MomBrain was just the teensiest bit out of her element. Of the eleven guests, five were eminent scientists. Two were prominent lawyers. One had competed in the Ironman Triathlon. Several were fluent in Italian, and all were extremely well traveled. Then there was me, the stay-at-home mom with high-school French and a shameful lust for Velveeta nachos.

Our dinner companions tried, they really tried to include me in the conversation. But the contrast was embarrassing. They asked the Big Guy about the physiological processes that underlie sentence comprehension. The astronomers discussed the qualities of observatories in Spain. The atmospheric scientist recalled her Fulbright-winning father. And everyone gushed over the northern Italian countryside. But I was reduced to answering questions like whether it's colder in Maine than Chicago (no), does it really snow a lot there (yes), and how old is the Little Guy (four)? I hung out for dessert and then excused myself to relieve the babysitter. Feh.

On the upside, today was a spectacular, red-letter day. The Guys and I ended up at Alki Beach, where we spent a delightful sunny afternoon throwing rocks in the water and searching for sea glass. I am obsessed with sea glass. I've loved it since I was small and my father told me the cool green rock I found was just the bottom of a 7-Up bottle. Any sea glass collector will tell you that brown, green, and white sea glass is fairly easy to find, but blue is rare and prized. But today, my friends, I found three blue pieces and one PURPLE piece -- a first ever. Purple! Who knew! It's a little frightening how broken beer bottles can make me so happy.
posted by Marjorie
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Thursday, May 06, 2004

That giant sucking sound you hear is the sound of MomBrain eating. Everything. In. Seattle. I am too embarrassed to list everything I have consumed, but in just one day I have made up for three months of virtuous nutrition. This morning I had lost 15 pounds since my birthday. Tomorrow morning will show a net gain, I fear.

I will be fair to myself and say that it's been a tough week. The Little Guy fell face-first on a metal bar at the playground and whacked himself right between the eyes. Much swelling and crying ensued, along with a trip to the ER, where his now-prominent forehead earned him the nickname CroMagnon Boy. Two nurses, two doctors, five hours, and one ice pack later we went to McDonald's* for a very late lunch, where the stares alternated between contempt for me, the clearly abusive mother, and pity for LG, the poor little deformed boy.**

* Let me hasten to reassure the Parenting and Nutrition Police that we do not dine at McDonald's often. In fact, this was only the Little Guy's third trip to the Golden Arches in his four years. But when it's 4:00 and neither of you has eaten since breakfast, and CroMagnon boy (who has been an amazingly good sport throughout the entire ER experience) looks at you and in his sweet little boy voice says "Pwease can we go to Old McDonald's?" there is only one correct answer. And that is "Only if I get to keep the Happy Meal toy."

** Let me hasten to reassure my mother that he is fine, and looks totally normal now except for the two black eyes. Well, they're more gray than black, but he's definitely got a couple of shiners.

Tough day number two of the week was my annual Gyno appointment, which is not my favorite way to spend a Tuesday morning. Apologies to my male readership, but you guys will never know the indignities of KY Jelly on a speculum. And that's all I have to say about that.

Tough days number three through seven were dominated mostly by the pain of rheumatoid arthritis, which usually doesn't bother me so much but this week decided to possess my body like the devil that it is. But the physical pain was nothing compared to the existential horror of realizing that I am 43, I have arthritis, I wear reading glasses, and I have a four year old. It was at this precise horrifying moment that a friend asked me how my energy is as an older parent. Okay, he's 50 and will soon have a stepdaughter. He's worried. But I couldn't exactly reassure him. "Just ... just get enough sleep" was all I could stammer out.

Now. I am going to drink a bottle of water. Brush my teeth. Put on the sack. And scrapbook my guts out.

posted by Marjorie
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