Saturday, September 30, 2006

Third Official Haircut

...and the first time we actually remembered the camera.

Monday, September 25, 2006


Muffin already loves to be helpful (she also loves to be unhelpful, but that’s another story). Last weekend, I told her we were going to do laundry, and she became so vocal in her enthusiasm about this idea that I wondered if she’d misheard me. Could “laundry” be mistaken for “bubble-blowing Elmo cookies?” But no, it was the prospect of clean clothes that sent shivers of joy throughout her little body, as she helped me sort (I use the term loosely) darks and lights, carried each piece over to the washing machine, shut the door, and pointed to the detergent. Then she settled on the floor in front of the washer, and tuned in to The Laundry Show.

I can also tell her to go get her shoes and she’ll bring me a matching pair. Sometimes she even brings several footwear options to choose from. She’ll grab her towel when I tell her it’s time for her baf, as she puts it. Last week the Canuck had a hard day, and I told her that daddy needed a kiss. I had to ask her several times before it clicked, but eventually she toddled over to lean in so he could give her a kiss, which is pretty much as cuddly as she gets.

Now that she’s starting to understand commands and seems so eager to please, my head is swimming with possibilities. Muffin, could you run downstairs and get the paper so I don’t have to get dressed just yet? Sweetie, can you pick up daddy’s dry cleaning on the way home from the playground? Honey, could you get Mommy a margarita, frozen, no salt?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Playdate Politics

Muffin is a Park Sloper, so of course she has playdates. Not just kids getting together, but playdates. It’s funny how you can be annoyed by the pretension of a word, and yet still find it coming out of your mouth. Kind of like how my linguistic crusade against word “nanny” went down in flames about 2 days in.

Playdates are really more enjoyable for the caregiver than the kid, at least at 17 months old. Muffin doesn’t really interact with other kids in any way that could be called “play.” And yet it seems important to give her exposure to her peers. I plan to send her to nursery school next year, and I don’t want it to be a total shock to the system.

I read somewhere that kids can’t truly feel empathy until age 3. That means they probably won’t get the idea of sharing (I share because I’d want you to share with me) until then. And yet you attempt to lay the groundwork. It’s like talking to someone in a coma; it feels foolish and futile but you hope it’s seeping in somehow.

Muffin hasn’t learned “mine” yet. She’ll go for another kid’s toy if left unattended, but generally she seems destined to be more the grabee than the grabber. This leads to some uncomfortable moments in social situations. What to do when another kid steals her pail and shovel at the sandbox? Muffin just pouts, but doesn’t grab it back. How to handle when the other kid thinks every toy Muffin touches is more interesting than the one that she has? You can hardly blame the kid, since they aren’t really developmentally capable of more, but it’s hard to see Muffin getting hassled with every move. The most awkward situation arises when another kid shoves Muffin out of the way. I squirm for the poor parent, feebly imploring their child to be gentle and play nice, and I squirm for sweet, sensitive Muffin, who someday is going to have to grow a backbone.

Friday, September 15, 2006

In My Dreams

I was telling the Canuck about a dream I had the other night. The details are sketchy, but the main, um, thrust of the story is that I awoke to find that Justin Timberlake had crawled into bed with me, wanting to, you know, bring sexy back to my droopy postpartum body. Through circumstances I can’t recall, somehow my husband was in the next room, probably playing Yahztee with Cameron Diaz, oblivious to the fact that I had an *n Syncer between the sheets.

Anyway, after a lot of hemming and hawing, and perhaps a little exploratory making out, I piously proclaimed that I just cared too much about my family to risk their happiness for a little boy-band nookie. JT begged and beat-boxed and even did a little persuasive dance number, but I didn’t cave. I knew that was a line I would regret crossing.

“But I really, really wanted to,” I sheepishly admitted to the Canuck, which surprised me because in real life I’ve never been tempted to cheat. (In real life I’ve also never met Justin Timberlake) “And the worst part is that I’m not entirely sure I wouldn’t have dream-cheated on you if you hadn’t been in the next room. Man, I suck. I’m sorry.”

He started laughing.


“Well, now I feel really awful about boning Nicole Kidman in my dream last night.”

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

This is Your Vacation With Kids

A trip, not a vacation, a trip, not a vacation.

This was my mantra as I got ready for our week at the Jersey Shore. So at least I was prepared.

This is holiday relaxation before Muffin: Refresh my body with luxurious long sleeps, plow through a stack of beach books, cultivate an even tan with careful swimsuit strap adjustment, nurse vodka and tonics all day, and gorge myself on Tasty Cakes.

This is holiday relaxation after Muffin: Try to steal 5 minutes so I can pee in peace without Muffin pulling all the toilet paper off the roll.

I kid (a little). I did have my share of Tasty Cakes. I read some magazines. I drank a few vodka and tonics, although I don't think I ever finished one. The house we rented became overrun with the plastic cups I'd constantly abandon as I scurried to keep Muffin from falling down the stairs. I did get a lot of sleep, as I couldn't keep my eyes open past 10pm.

And yet there are some moments from the trip that will be etched in my brain forever: walking hand and hand with Muffin to dip our feet in the waves. Seeing the huge smile on her face as the Canuck took her into the ocean for the first time. Blowing BUBBLES! off the deck. Teaching her to collect seashells and hearing her "oooooohhhhh" over every one.

And so the push-pull of parenting continues. Our life is infinitely fuller with Muffin in it, but a whole lot more tiring. Next vacation, I'm drinking vodka and Red Bull.

To see photos from our trip-not-a-vacation, click here.

Monday, September 11, 2006


Last night we watched 9/11: In Memoriam, which originally ran on the first anniversary of September 11. The Canuck and I sat through it as slack-jawed as we did the first time we saw it. It brought back that plume of smoke I saw coming from the first tower as I walked to the subway in Brooklyn. It reminded me of how the downtown apartment we were camped out in that day shook when 7 World Trade Center fell late in the afternoon. I recalled the nightmares I used to have about bodies plummeting from buildings. I thought of how for a year afterward, I used to take the bus to work sometimes instead of the subway in what felt like a game of transportation Russian roulette. Death felt as if it hinged on the smallest decisions, and I felt crazy trying to make them.

The documentary contained an image I didn't recall from the first time I saw it. A woman, escorted by a police officer, was trying to navigate away from ground zero with her small daughter in a stroller. Her Maclaren, just like the one I push Muffin around in, was covered in debris. The mom was wearing a mask over her face, but of course her toddler had pulled hers off.

Five years ago, I had been dating the Canuck for less than six months. We were fiercely in love, but we hadn't yet had the chance to create the I've-seen-you-in-Spanx-and-still-love-you superglue bond we have now. And of course these days we have our little Muffin. There are fleeting moments where I wish I had nothing, because then there would be nothing to lose.

Some people say we've been too quick to forget. I don't think anyone who was here could ever do that, although honestly sometimes I wish I could. But I do try to push the crazy-making thoughts down. One cannot contemplate mortality on a daily basis and be a productive human being. I couldn't continue to live that way then, and with so much more at stake, I definitely can't live that way now.

In less than an hour, it will no longer be September 11. Soon I will regale you with tales and photos from my vacation on Long Beach Island. But right now I'm going to sneak into my daughter's room to peek at her once more before bed.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Stormy Weather

We are going on vacation to the Jersey Shore next week with my parents, my sister's family, and my brother's family. says scattereded thunderstorms are expected for most of the week.

I shake my fist at you, cruel, cruel fate! This would be tragic for so many reasons:

--We may be stuck in a non-babyproofed house with a 16-month-old (walker), an 11-month-old (crawler), and a 9-month-old (butt scooter).

--I will finish the summer as Flowers-In-the-Attic-pasty as I started it.

--I will be paying my nanny more than $500 to not watch my kid, all for the joy of watching storms roll in as Muffin takes inventory of all the sharp objects in the house.

--And most gutwrenching of all, Muffin's three bathing suits, two cover-ups and one pair of water sandals will not have an opportunity to make their seaside debut.

That would be a punch in the stomach for all of humanity. Let's all hope it doesn't come to that.