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Alter Ego

When Lily is acting up or not listening to me, I often call her Lillabeth. It’s somehow easier to sound stern and commanding when exclaiming, “Lillabeth, get your tiny monkey butt over here this instant” than when I say, “Lily, sweetie, come here before Mommy pops your head off your shoulders and starts bellowing like a howler monkey.” Both have their levels of effectiveness and both include a well placed monkey reference, but somehow, I feel more like “stern mom” when I use the name Lillabeth. Mind you, her name is not actually Lillabeth. Those of you in the know are aware that her name isn’t actually Lily either, it’s just what we call her most of the time*. This Wannabe Hippie, she is an enigma, no?

In any event, at my moms house the other day Lil was acting like a howler monkey and so I hooked my legs around her as she ran by (I was sitting, I’m not that cool) and dragged her into my lap, softly intoning, “Lil-leeee” in an attempt to settle her down. You can imagine my surprise when she clambered up to face me, put her pudgy little hands on my checks and informed me, “I’m not Lily. I’m Lillabeth!” and then flung herself off my lap and started doing summersaults.

Edited to add: Lily is what we call her, but it's not her legal name (and most people can't figure out how we got "Lily" from her legal name). But "Lily" is what I holler when I'm trying to keep her from running into traffic. Is everyone OK now? Didn't mean to cause such trouble...

Kiss and Smack

Kiss: take out the trash

Smack: don’t reline the can with a new bag

Kiss: take down the holiday lights

Smack: except for one strand, left hanging down the wall… going on a week

Kiss: clean up the kitchen

Smack: leave at least one dirty dish sitting in the middle of the counter top

Kiss: put Lily to bed

Smack: forget to brush her teeth

Kiss: install a new shower head

Smack: fail to attach the ring plate… for two years

Kiss: change the baby into a night time diaper

Smack: but forget to put a cover over the cloth diaper

Kiss: Play with Lily and Anya on the deck

Smack: forget to put the gate up at the top of the stairs and allow Anya to crawl dangerously close

Kiss: tell me you love that I’m not into shopping and spending

Smack: make fun of my hand-me-down nursing nightgown

Kiss: tell me you love me

Kiss: tell me you would be lost without me

Kiss: tell me I’m an amazing mom

Kiss: catch your breath and kiss kiss kiss me...

Speaking of...

I got caught up in a fire theme and made a series of postcards with pastels for the upcoming swap. I learned a valuable lesson about fixative: too much puts a funky coat on your work. Weeee! Good times, this whole learning as you go stuff.

Speaking of fire, does anyone know if it would be a bad idea to use a vacuum to clean out your fire place? Part of me wants it to work as it would be so easy but another part of me is fairly certain it would end up being a disaster. Anyone have a clue? And don’t you all hold out on me just to see what would happen and if I’m idiot enough to do it. Because we all know I’m idiot enough to do it.

Speaking of idiot enough, did I tell you that I’m trying to learn to knit? I have a very ugly bit of kitting I did MYSELF! It has holes and is all funky looking and I started out with like 20 stitches and at one point had over 40, so I thought I’d try to reduce them by stitching through two loops at a time and it actually doesn’t look too bad. I’m getting the hang of it and since I don’t know how to stop, I think I’ll just keep going until I feel like a pro.

Speaking of pros, my brother-in-law is going to be running for State Assembly and he's totally not a con (I love a stupid pun). KICK ASS, I say. I’ll likely end up working for his campaign. He’s the kind of person you want in politics. OK, he’s the kind of guy I want in politics, anyway.

Speaking of politics, I’m getting kinda annoyed at the world and their idiotic stance at ecological conservation. This is largely the fault of Barbara Kingsolver and her book Small Wonder. She lays out such simple truths about how stupid we are as a nation that I’m not only embarrassed to be an American even more now, but I want to start yelling at people in power to DO SOMETHING! NOW!

Speaking of yelling at people in power, we’re going to dinner with my sister and her husband who is… dude, if you don’t know, you’re not paying attention. He may not have power yet, but if he gets elected, I’m gonna be all up in his grill on crunchy granola issues. But I love him, so I’ll be nice about it.

Speaking of… never mind, it’s time for dinner! BYE INTERNET! BE GOOD!

Stuck

After our weekly Chiropractic appointment this morning, Lily really wanted to ride the old elevator (or elegator, if you ask her) down the three flights to the parking lot. It’s an old thing, rarely works and I was surprised by her request since only last week she was afraid of the darn thing. Something told me to take the stairs, but the sparkle in her eyes was just too much for me and so I let her press the button and we climbed inside.

Floor 3

Floor 2

Floor 1

Doors should open now.

Anytime would be great.

“Mommy, I want the doors to open now.”

“Me too, honey, but I think we’re going to have to wait.” I said in a falsely positive and cheery voice. I took a look at the yellow Emergency Alarm button and thought better of it. A loud blaring alarm would not assure Lily that everything would be fine and the baby hates noise above all things. With cheerful voice still at the ready, I grabbed my cell and called my chiropractors office. “Hi Catherine, its Elaine. So yeah, we’re stuck in the elevator. Could someone come free us?” She started spewing apologies and made a break for the building guy.

We danced and sang and told stories cheerfully to distract as the elevator went to the fourth floor, and then the second, back to the third, power went out completely, back to the first and stopped again. I took stock: cup of snacks for Lily, extra diapers in bag, boobs full of milk for the baby, heart rate fast but not in a full panic, now if only I didn’t have to go to the bathroom! Weeeee! We sat on the floor and Lily pointed out how you could see our reflection in the door and in the ceiling, “I see you!”

I thought to myself that at least now I’d have something interesting to blog. It was during this thought that the doors finally opened and Dr. Joe stepped into the door way to make sure we got out before they closed again. Apparently he had been trying to open the thing using brute force, but had only got the outer doors to budge a bit. Then he resorted to doing sprints up and door the stairs, chasing our wayward elevator in its random travels, trying to get it to open every time it paused.

Our total time stuck was only about ten minutes. And I managed not to act like an idiot or freak my children out. Will we be riding that thing again? Ah, no. Thank you very much.

Morning

Morning

This morning I took the girls and my cup of Throat Coat Tea out onto the deck to let the girls play in the sun. We’re all sick and I have this odd belief that sunshine makes you better. Anya is so eager to walk, insisting always on standing, crawling only when there is no person or thing to help her balance. It was a beautiful morning, so warm and with a light breeze ruffling my mop top hair, crazy from the lack of a shower this morning. Lily blew bubbles and both girls got filthy on the unwashed deck. I am so tired these days. Mark has been sleeping with Lily after her latest midnight vomit-fest and Anya can’t sleep without thrashing herself all around the bed, practically turning summersaults in her dream state efforts to escape the pain in her mouth. I can’t wait for these freaking teeth to make their appearance. Maybe then I can rest.

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Wannabe Hippie!

1. Wannabe Hippie can only be destroyed by intense heat, and is impermeable even to acid!

2. It takes a lobster approximately 7 years to grow to be Wannabe Hippie.

3. The first toy product ever advertised on television was Mr Wannabe Hippie Head.

4. White chocolate isn't technically chocolate, because it doesn't contain Wannabe Hippie.

5. The average duration of sexual intercourse for Wannabe Hippie is two minutes.

6. The risk of being struck by Wannabe Hippie is one occurence every 9,300 years.

7. The porpoise is second to Wannabe Hippie as the most intelligent animal on the planet.

8. The fingerprints of Wannabe Hippie are virtually indistinguishable from those of humans, so much so that they could be confused at a crime scene.

9. Wannabe Hippie has three eyelids.

10. Medieval knights put the skin of Wannabe Hippie on their sword handles to improve the grip!

Thanks to Rude Cactus for the inspiration. And #5 is so not true; I can get it done in 30 to 90 seconds, tops. But #9... I don't know how they knew that. Seriously spooky.

I am interested in - do tell me about

perfect

Halo girl

My husband is finally home. He doesn’t have another gig out of town until late next month and for that, we go with him. Afterwards, who knows? Maybe no more gigs away from his family. Maybe more than I care to acknowledge. Right now we are flush with touch, smile, support, and comfort, my twin spirit wrapping his strong arms around my big girl or cradling the tiny one off to sleep.

This morning a trip to the beach gave us the opportunity to hunt for treasures from the sea, build sand castles, and watch Maya romp in the channel or chase dogs in the waves. Anya crawling across the sand to chase an errant mother who had run off to take pictures and giggle with Lily at the waters edge. Sand everywhere, down the babies onsie, framing her eyelashes, shoved into her mouth with her own gritty hand. Lily dancing around excitedly in her parrot costume, shrieking with delight at all the dogs tumbling over each other and digging her toes into soft, moist sand, warm at the top layer but cool underneath.

Now I sit and type while Mark and Lily nap. Anya is chatting to and waving a sock around, happy after her own short nap. We both breathe in the smell of wet dog at my feet, salty and dank, sweet and pungent. We have no plans for the rest of the weekend but to be together; the sweetest schedule I could ever hope to keep.

Anya crawling across the beach to me Watching the boats go by Halo girl

Looking for gifts from the Sea Collecting Treasures Showing Daddy a shell

Midnight journey

For the longest time, Lily wanted nothing to do with us at night time. She had her own room, her own routine and we could just get out of the way, thank you very much. When she wasn't feeling well or had too much going on in her head, sometimes Mark would sleep with her but in her room, not in ours. Recently, however, she has discovered the joy of sleeping in our bed. Most mornings I wake to the sound of my door opening and Lily climbing into the bed, usually just before dawn. Since Mark's been out of town, she's been making the trek to our bedroom when the moon is still high in the sky. Last night it was 10:30, the night before that one am.

Climbing into bed with mom and dad is not an unusual thing for a kid to do, but the path she has to take to get here is somewhat unusual. You see, in order for Lily to get to our room she has to go outside to our deck, cross over to the stairs, climb down (including the extra tall one at the bottom), cross the lower courtyard and enter our room; all under the light of the moon and the canopy of stars above. People are astounded by this when I casually mention her travels. Quite frankly, I am as well. But here's what I've managed to remember: with kids, whatever is, is. It's not unusual because this how it has always been for her. I worry about her falling on the stairs or a wild animal magically learning to leap ten feet into the air to wait for her on the deck or an earthquake knocking down the stairs and making it hard for us to reach her or... we'll, I'm a mother, the list is endless. But none of these issues have ever occurred to her. Why would they? This is the path she must take if she wants to slip into bed with her parents and sister. Screaming for Daddy also works, but it takes so much energy and makes so much noise. She'd rather do it, "MYSELF!"

Even though it scares me, I love this about children. I love that they can just live in the moment and go with the flow. I love that they seem to know so much more than us fear-addled adults. Sure, sometimes they're wrong and get themselves in trouble, but do you honestly think we don't often lead them astray? I just keep trying to remember that children learn by doing, not by listening to how someone says it should be done. Sometimes that includes failure. Most of the time it includes a journey under the stars with the moon lighting our path and the cool night air wrapping around us, urging us to hurry to the safety of mom and dads big warm bed.

RIGHT. NOW.

You learn so much about yourself by how your kids speak. Apparently, I am prone to telling Lily, firmly, loudly and often with a clipped tone, to do something RIGHT. NOW.

“Mommy, I want to go to the park. RIGHT. NOW.”

“I’m hungry RIGHT. NOW.”

“I am going pee RIGHT. NOW.”

This last one is often directed at me from the floor while she plays with her books and is clearly not peeing right now. She uses it to try to get out of a chore, like feeding the dog. My mom will be so thrilled when I tell her this because when I was a teen, I had an amazing knack for having to pee anytime something needed to be done. She swears I did it on purpose. I think my body just knew how to creatively time an urgent need to pee, because every single time I said I had to go pee, I actually DID have to go pee. I SWEAR! Mom will see this as an early reward. Who knew this kid of mine would pick up that little trick at such a young age? Clearly she’s gifted.

Oh well. At least I’m about to drop her and the tiny one off at my moms for the evening while Mark and I celebrate the 20 hours he’s home by taking in a movie and throwing popcorn at each other in the parking lot. RIGHT. NOW.

We almost had such a nice day

Mark took off for a gig today and Lily spent a fair portion of the day taking about how Daddy was in an airplane and we’d see him again later. I think she’s under the impression that he’ll be spending the better part of the week in the air doing the elusive “work” we’re always talking about. If anyone or anything is out of her sight, they’re “working.”

Anyway, we went to story time at the library but ended up spending the whole session in the parking lot while the girls slept. Don’t bother me none; ever since I started to listen to audio books I LONG for the opportunity to get stuck in the car. Traffic jam? Right on. Both girls sleeping? ROCK ON! It’s all good, yo. When they both woke we went to Ikea for lunch where I did not scarf down everything on my plate and got a job offer for my impromptu story time. I had all the kids in the café circled around me while I read animatedly from the scattered books they had in the play corner and even had a chorus of ROARS coming out of them at the appropriate time.

I’m the cool mom, yo.

ANYWAY, from there we went home where a nap was fought over and finally achieved. AND THEN we made “stained glass” candle holders.

You’re all exhausted just listening to my day, aren’t you?

So yeah, it was all going good until bedtime rolled around. Lily freaked, big time. First she didn’t want to sleep in her bed, she wanted to sleep in mine. Fine. Oh, not fine? I have to be in there with you? But it’s 8pm and I have “things” to do (read: TV to watch and internet to surf). OK, back in your own bed. Still freaking out? Here’s the dog, she’ll sleep with you. The dog moral offends your sensibilities? Fine, out the dog goes. The world is ending? This is where I lost the parenting award. I told her to “Stop it! Go to bed!” and I walked away, shut the door and ignored her. At least she finally went to sleep. Now if only Anya would stop fussing…

Candy

We went to a birthday party this weekend and Lily got her first taste of candy. She was so enthralled by the experience that she allowed me to take pictures of the whole thing.

lily candy trying candy for the first time happy candy eater

She was so impressed with the cake that when I asked her the next day what I should make for dinner she thought for a moment and said, “ummmm… CAKE!” We did not have cake for dinner, despite my theme for 2006: Eat More Cake. What kind of parent am I, anyway?

Niiice!

Lily’s been having some sleep issues these days. She’s night waking and then making the trek down to our room for comfort. Mark’s been getting really good at hearing her wake and will simply go up to her, cuddling her into her narrow bed and sleeping with her there so she doesn’t wake me or the baby. She’ll ask as I tuck her in to “sleep a me!”

“I can’t, baby. I really wish I could but I need to nurse Anya at night.”

“Daddy sleep a me?”

“I can ask him. Maybe he’ll come in after you’re asleep.”

“Yeah, ask him, Mommy.”

Then we talk about her day and give kisses and hugs. As I head out of her room she stops me, “Mommy!”

“Yeah, boo?”

“ASK HIM!”

“OK!” I giggle and head out of there.

This morning I awoke to find Mark gone. He’s getting really good at this. I heard them stirring and listened to the sounds of ½ my family waking upstairs through the monitor. Dragging my own ass outta bed I left Anya sleeping and stumbled into the bathroom. When I got upstairs Mark asked me if I heard what Lily had said this morning. I hadn’t. For Christmas, I had purchased Mark a couple new pairs of underwear. Yes, our marriage is that hot. Anyway, he was wearing the new blue pair and as Lily got herself up and declared all should wake she threw back the covers of her bed to get Mark going.

“Oh! Niiiice runners!”

And there it is, folks. My kid has complemented her father on his underwear. We can all die happy now.