Tuesday, June 30, 2009

All grows up

S and I have both survived her first day of school. S insisted on carrying her own backpack and lunch box. The irony here is that I have to beg H to carry her backpack and lunch box, but for some reason I try to carry S's around- she won't have any of it. All of a sudden S looks so big to me. She carries her own bag. She opens her own granola bars. She doesn't want to take a nap. Even though she needs one. I gave her a hug today and she said "Stop, Mommy!" She then grinned and hugged me but still. I didn't like hearing that.

H is looking so grown up these days too. I am not sure what is going on. How is it that I am shocked every time my kids grow? What am I an idiot? Of course they're going to grow.

H is entering an endearing...um... how shall I say... snarky/flippant stage. She now says about a thousand times a day- "Um.. hel-LOOO? Knock knock? Anyone home?" complete with teenaged eye roll and sigh. She does the whole thing in response to EVERYTHING. For example, "Why is there a PENCIL on the BED?! Ummm.... Hel-LOOO!? Knock knock? Anyone HOME?" Sigh, hair flip.

Monday, June 29, 2009

S. School. Tomorrow

S starts school tomorrow. Monkey can't come. I know its going to be good for her- but its kind of making me nauseous right now. Its just 3 hours. Its just 2 days. She made me pull my hair out all the live long day today. Must go fret about it and try not to. My baby.

This pretty much sums them up

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Transitional Wednesday

During the summer, H spends Wednesdays with my mom. This summer, S will too. Today was the first of the summer Wednesdays. My slight uneasiness of how S would do, and how my mother would do, was trumped by my near giddiness at the idea of a day to myself. I spent a lot of it being overwhelmed, and thinking I should be doing something other than what I was doing, despite telling myself that kind of thinking is an energy drain. Despite making a serious effort to convince myself that what I should be doing is whatever it is I am doing today. So what did I do? I went to Ross. But I hurried. I sat in my studio and stared at the walls. I went through a stack of papers. I made a few lists. I had a sandwich. This may have been the highlight of my afternoon- to make and eat a sandwich with out jumping up to stop ten things from happening. I went back into the studio, decided I was going to print something I didn't care what. I couldn't find any plates that weren't huge. I didn't want to print anything huge. I need to order more huge paper. Instead of taking studio inventory and cleaning out my flat files, I decided to indulge this sewing bug thats crawled in my head. My thread kept breaking- I'd forgotten I had the machine set to zig zag and spent some time ripping out thread. This is not productive! I mentally screamed at myself. I went to the grocery store, excited for a trip alone, but slinking a little because I made it a rule, broken on the first day, that I wouldn't go grocery shopping or do any house maintaining on "my time". Then I came home and re broke that rule by making dinner.

The girls did fine at my mothers house. My mother did fine, too- I assume because it makes me feel better. If she wasn't fine she'd never admit it anyway. The girls are in bed- I'm sitting on the porch being eaten by mosquitoes but enjoying the fireflies. I'm listening to the ice cream trucks richocheting around the streets, sounding like they're closing in. They're out in force to make up for all the rainy nights we've had lately. Thinking I should take the trash out. Just another Wednesday.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dan Koo and wa ca ca

S has been thanking me. A lot. I know it seems odd to complain about your childs manners- and yes I am thankful that she says thanks you, its very endearing- but shes starting to say it about everything and I feel its creating the illusion that she never gets anything, which of course is not true. When I buckle her car seat, "Dan koo, Mommy" as if I usually don't strap her in. If I give her a drink of water. If I hold her hand. Definitely if I give her the pacifier. If I ask H to hand S something, "dan koo H." S will repeat her thanks yous, louder and a little more violently each time, until you say "your welcome, S." I haven't figure out a way to explain that loudly growling/snarling DAN! KOO! MOMMY! kind of cancels out the original sweet dan koo. And when S does something nice, she waits for her thank you and gives a little over the shoulder glance, smiles a little smirk and says "wa ca ca, Mommy"

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Craftin' it up oldskool

H and I made Sculpey necklaces today. I smell a new obsession.

And the living is easy

Well, not really, but I think I have embraced our summertime lack of schedule. I can get used to this not bolting out of bed and out the door stuff. I will get used to it and have transition melt down again when its time to switch back to our scheduled life- but I'll try to not dwell on that.

Today is the first day in a while that it hasn't rained (so far, and I don't think its supposed to) but H woke up with a fever. We were supposed to meet some friends at the arboretum, they cancelled due to illness- we were going to go anyway...but. I told H yesterday that if it didn't rain we could go- she just remembered and got excited to go from her subdued state on the couch. I told her we should take it easy today since she's not feeling well "I DON'T WANT TO TAKE IT EASY! WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? OOOOoooooooHHHHH!" Might be a long day. Might be a good day for a craft.

I have been abstaining from craft lately, under the misguided theory that anything crafty/creative would take from my "real" work. I have been stifling the dresses I want to make, the blankets I want to knit, the tiles I want to learn to fire, the jewelry I want to make, the house I want to paint, thinking that by oppressing my creativity, I'd just HAVE to get up to the studio and print. Printing is hard right now, it feels like work, like real work. Usually I am clamoring to get into the studio and will jump hurdles to get in there. Now I avert my eyes as I walk past the door to my studio. I'm having trouble differentiating between outlet and avoidance. Thus the craft cut off. But then I find myself nauseous with envy at all the people I know creating beautiful things. Yesterday, after I caught myself mass producing beads out of Sculpy, I decided to release the hounds of creativity. I went to a stitch and bitch a friend of mine started, as of yesterday, and actually did equal parts stitching and bitching- started sewing a felted cashmere rabbit I've been thinking about for some time. I am hoping the rivers of creativity will flow into an ocean which will carry me up to the studio willingly. Soon. I feel it.

In the meantime, the girls and I will craft like theres no tomorrow. And try to take it easy.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

babies having babies

I am starting to feel like I have a third child in the form of S's baby. Baby requires cereal in the morning, and a 'poon'. Usually a 'Daddy poon' which means not a plastic kids spoon. (Why not a Mommy poon? I don't know. Maybe because Daddy sits down and has his cereal with a spoon while I tend to have toast for breakfast. Sans spoon.) S would like baby to have NUK! (milk) in her cereal as well and we have the same argument every morning that baby has to pretend she has milk in her cereal. Why I didn't insist that baby pretend she have cereal too is beyond me.

We are all instructed to look at baby throughout the day. Baby sweepy(sleepy)! Baby west(rest)!

S is not that particular in her babies, any baby will do, but she does seem to have a slight preference for a baby that happens to be H's. H has not paid her baby any mind. Well, hadn't paid the baby any mind until S adopted her. Now H will sometimes dress her, usually (hmm...coincidentally) at the same time S wants to hold the baby. Thats where it ends though- H has no interest in babies- dolls or otherwise. S spots a baby, a real one, and everyone knows about it. "Baby!Baby!Baby!" S is the one who plays with the doll house, the babies. She covers them up, feeds them, cuddles them- she makes sure they have chairs. She doesn't like her babies to have clothes. H dresses them, when she feels so inclines, and S undresses them.

I wonder about this baby gene. This caretaker thing. I love watching S care for her babies, but find it shocking at the same time.

Meanwhile, while S is caring for her little family, H is planning her wedding. I was helping her get ready for a birthday party over the weekend (by 'helping' I mean standing there seeing what she'll decide to wear) ,a tea party where she could wear fancy clothes and jewelry. She actually has a lot of jewelry, not only for someone whos 5, but for anyone, and I was attempting to edit what she was wearing. I opened her drawer and picked up a white satin envelope "NOT THAT!" She yelled, "Thats my wedding jewelry" She opened it to look at it, turned her back to me so I couldn't see. Clearly for her eyes only. I did catch a glimpse of a pair of earrings. (her ears are not pierced.) She went on to say "I know who I'm going to marry. M. I love him SOOOO much. Well, maybe H. I love him too. I don't know which one I'll marry." I told her she had a loooong time to figure it out.

Monday, June 15, 2009

No school and happy accidents

Lets see how today goes. After the first day of no school for H I admit I panicked and was millimeters away from calling the director of the school and seeing if they had room for H and S to start summer school two weeks early, as in tomorrow. I am kind of ashamed by this. I purposely skipped the first session of summer school to give H a break from school. She doesn't want a break from school, in many ways summer school is a break as it is 2 mornings as opposed to the 5 she's (we're) used to. I need those two weeks before I send S to school, though. This right here is the problem, the inflexibility of my mind. To go from school to no school. Jolt. To go to no school ever for S to 2 mornings a week where I won't see her every move. Jolt. I need to figure out a way to get some springs in my head to ease these transitions. Link
I am attempting to reframe- do things these weeks that I always wish we could during the school year. Remind myself that next year H will be in kindergarten which is all day.

H just asked me to draw a picture of curious George to give to her favorite teacher, who she won't be seeing again until the fall, maybe, and that will be randomly. I have explained this a million times if I've explained it once. I drew Curious George, and before i could figure out what didn't look right about it, H exclaimed "Curious George doesn't have a TAIL!" Well, no, I guess he doesn't. What kind of monkey doesn't have a tail? H sighed and said she'd cut him out so no one could see my mistake. This reminded me of Bill Zeman's hilarious blog, Tiny Art Director. I came across it last night and am still laughing.

H is generally pretty forgiving of my drawings- thus far. I'm always telling her to incorporate her 'mistakes' in her drawings. If she slips with her marker and yells that she has ruined her picture, I'm there to tell her its not ruined, just that now the clouds have lightning, or the giraffes have spikes. Last night we went out to dinner and she spilled some salsa onto the place mat she was drawing on- she was getting amped up that her drawing was NOT THE WAY SHE WANTS IT, when J told her to make it part of her picture. I had to laugh. This is going to be the kind of those parental things she makes fun of, I know it.

Friday, June 12, 2009


It's the first morning of the summer schedule and I'm a bit lost. We wouldn't have even been on our way to school yet and already I'm wondering what we'll do today. My hope springs eternal and I still think I'll be able to sleep in a bit on days like this. What ends up happening though is I don't sleep in, in fact I sleep out as S always wakes up even earlier on days we don't have to be anywhere in the morning. I need to wake her up to get places. Thats how she rolls. What ends up happening is that I wake up earlier than usual and I don't shower.

H's preschool ceremony last night was great. The bittersweetness expected from the last day of a school with kids I've watched grow into their personalities for the last 3 years. The slide show brought everybody to tears, and it was wonderful watching all the kids be excited to see themselves and their classmates. What really got to me though was the last minute scramble outside to pick flowers from the garden to give to Hannah after the ceremony. I wanted them to be a surprise which translated into me crawling through the muddy yard while everyone else was in the car waiting to go. I was all of a sudden struck with awe that I was doing this for H. Mainly because I have done this for nearly everyone I know at some point or another. It made me think of H as grown up, that I was picking secret flowers for her. That was the part that nearly made me cry.

* I am as ready for June to stop being so mopey as I imagine anyone reading this is. July. July will be my glass half full.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Today is H's last day of pre-K. She'll be going to school a couple days a week through the summer, I think the part that will really get to me is the last time she goes to the school. She's been going there for 3 years, it was her first school experience and it was a great one. Its her last day with her favorite teacher who moved up with the class last year. I loved H having a teacher who knew her so well. There is a moving up ceremony for her class tonight. I have tissues and won't wear mascara.

The parents in H's pre-K class all chipped in to get each of the three teachers they have a sizable gift card, in an attempt to spare us all from the coffee cups and scented candles. I wanted to do something for the teachers that H could be a part of and was at a loss for what. Finally yesterday I decided to make them each a big cookie. H and I made heart shaped cookies, and I wrote each teachers name on the cookie and 'Love, H'. I was very pleased with myself for getting these done before midnight. I put the cookies on a rack, put the rack inside the microwave. This is something I bring with me from my childhood. Any food of importance that doesn't go in the refrigerator must be stored in the microwave to protect it from dogs. My mother to this day not only stores food in her microwave, but also in her oven. And in her dryer, but I'm not that bad.

J worked late last night- he came home and went to heat up some dinner. He asked if he should put the cookies back in the microwave, or would that make them smell like the dinner he just heated up. "Just leave them on the counter" I said. He worried aloud that the dogs would get them. "Not while I'm right here", I said. The dogs would totally have a keg party and trash the house while we were away, but they are honor roll when we're home. Or at least they were.

Let me interject here to say that my dogs are on a diet, and S shares her food with them all the time. The combination of these things has made two previously well behaved dogs complete scoundrels around food. Ruby in particular had a giant sweet tooth and loves the carbs.

J went to the kitchen to put his plate in the dishwasher- he paused. I felt him stop more than I saw him. Then I heard "Oh Bec. You're going to kill her." Ruby had taken a tiny bite out of one of the teacher's cookies. A nibble, which actually showed great restraint on her part, but I didn't care about that at the time. I haven't been so angry in a long time. I exploded. Through the roof. I channeled my tantruming 2 year old. I hurt my feet from stomping. The dogs slunk upstairs and didn't come down for a while.

J was valiant in his attempts to save the cookie. He suggested I cut bite marks in each one, "that could be our gimmick!" He even cut a bite mark out of the bitten cookie with a steak knife- which made me laugh, and let me tell you- to have made me laugh last night, thats some powerful stuff.

I re made the cookie. And some spares, this time. I was finished about midnight. As per usual.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

There are no accidents

Yesterdays post was a premontion, it turns out. A pee-monition.

I had been trying for a week now to cut the grass in the backyard, and had gotten as far as giving the yard a mohawk. That night, the day before last, I dragged the mower outside, unwound the cord, but every time I stopped mowing to move a rock, a bone, a jump rope, which is every 5 seconds, I heard girls calling for me from upstairs. After the third time upstairs to see what the matter was this time, H sobbed that she didn't want to be lonely while the mower was running. "Who will stay with me when the mowers on? WHO?" I agreed to give up trying to cut the grass. I was loosing daylight, anyhow.

Today, after the bulk of the day was behind us, I decided I needed to cut the grass. Its is supposed to rain for the next 2 days, the grass was already long enough to fold in half and still be too long. I decided to let the girls stay inside and watch TV while I cut the grass. We had a rehash of the rules, no answering the door or going outside, making sure to come get me if anyone was upset or needed anything. All was going swimmingly, I checked back in a few times, the girls were sitting on the couch under blankets (even though its very warm and muggy) I got the grass to a 'good enough' level, dragged the mower back down the stairs to the basement, but before going back out to wind up the cord- I heard S calling me- Thomas had just come on. She has gotten past a lot of fears, but not this one. Then H looks up from the couch- "I had an accident." "Did you not want to go up to the bathroom by yourself?" I asked, "No", she said " I didn't want to miss Thomas." So, there you have it. Whatever comes around pees around.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


I am too tired for monsters. I mentioned our house is dark, and today its stormy. Now its a dark and stormy night, and you know that never ends well. H is afraid of the dark in S's room. Its sadly always dark in S's room, but on sunny days it doesn't bother H until dusk. On rainy days, however, its a problem. A problem because the only bathroom is upstairs and S's room is at the top of the stairs, looming like a big monster trap. We have not replaced the hallway light's bulb that burnt out about a month ago. You would think this would be a priority with how much I dislike going up the stairs, especially and the end of the day when its for the gazzilionth time.

Its always a losing argument when a five year old has to go to the bathroom. H will gladly pee on the landing downstairs rather than go past the monster room. I sat (for the first time in hours- this is the only time it seems I'm called upon to go monster slaying), weighing my options- would I rather clean up pee and do the immediate laundry peed in clothes require, or just go upstairs? I couldn't decide.

At this point, S takes H's hand and led her up the stairs. I feebly mostly to myself spoke my warnings of be careful on the stairs, call me when you're ready to come down, make sure S sits to come down the stairs... thinking 'really? you're going to let your 2 year old take your 5 year old to the bathroom?' Yes. Thats exactly what I'm going to do.

They came down, carefully, sitting, slowly, got to the bottom of the stairs. S looked up at me, "Monkey?" She'd left him upstairs. So up I went.

The storm

Its morning. Its storming. That means I have no personal space. I am a planet of cowering dog and squealing girl. We are not a fan of the thunder in this house. The last few thunderstorms have been at night, and I am grateful at least that this one wasn't. The girls sleep through thunder storms, but Tamayo does not. He alternates between shaking and panting standing on my head to huffing in my face from the floor, to going into the bathroom and rearranging the rug. I get pissed that dogs are keeping me awake- which does nothing for dog neurosis.

I wish I had enough arms to take a picture, and am limited in enough hands to keep typing- I have S in my lap, Ruby trembling at my feet, and arm around H who is trying to climb in my lap, and Tamayo on the other side of me also trying to climb into my lap.

Its sweet, actually, when H yells from the thunder claps, Tamayo tries to reassure her- Tamayo who is the most scared. And who is now trying to stand on the table.

We'll be braving the storm soon to go to school. Why is it I keep the umbrellas in the car?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Dark and strawberries

My house is so dark. I love my house, except that its dark and the fact that it has one airline sized bathroom. The darkness is getting to me, though. We thought about moving- mainly to be in a better school district, but then we jumped off the private school plank and moving took a back seat. I hated the idea of leaving this house anyway, although mostly it was because of the garden and the street itself. The darkness makes me reconsider. Every night at bath time when I have to ask the girls to move to the side of the tub where I can reach them- I reconsider then, too. My eyes have always been sensitive to light, but I think they've gotten more so from living in darkness. I am feeling like a cave dweller.

We came out of the darkness yesterday to attend H's school to be's yearly fund raiser- which takes place in the form of a strawberry festival. I have been to this event for the last 4 years, which is kind of strange come to think of it. It is fun. You can feel the love- its very kumbaya, but it a good way. This years strawberry festival was the first one I've attended where I knew a lot of people, and felt a part of the love instead of just a spectator. Chalk one up for the no doubt this is the right school column. Actually, the only thing that isn't in that column is the big heavy can we really afford this?

We were accompanied to the festival by 2 grandmothers and a grandfather, so the girls made out. T-shirts, rag dolls. One with purple hair for H, pink hair for S. H decided to name her doll Dolly, and asked what her last name should be. Llama, I answered. Groans and raised eyebrows from J. I have to amuse myself and what is more amusing that a five year old yelling around the house "DOLLY LLAMA! Where are you?"

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Trash milk cup

I am still not sure how I feel about this.

The above is H's creation after insisting on bringing some "beautiful things", Some "found objects", some "mixed media", home from the park.

On our way home H was getting more and more excited telling me how she was going to make a cup with her treasures. I recognized the process- the swelling inspiration, the need to make it happen. The mom in me was saying "Please throw it away. Its trash." The artist in me was rationalizing... "yeah, but... at least its not totally gross trash.. like bandaids... "

My first year in art school, I had a teacher who lectured the class and said he didn't want to hear that we didn't have money to create art when "there are dumpsters full of great stuff out there." She'll be ahead of the curve. If H were in art school, she could say her cup was a commentary on our wasteful society. How 'now with side pockets and longer length' refers to our insatiable greed. She'd get an A.

I feel frustrated at not being able to create. I get it. I argued that she could make the cup, but not drink out of it. Because its a trash cup. "BUT ITS A MILK CUP!" H yelled/wailed.

Oh ok, fine. Art prevailed. The cup was made. It was used. Functional art.

I did dismantle the cup after H went to bed, however. I found it put away, unwashed, with the rest of the girls dishes. It was all about the creating, the cup wasn't missed and has never been mentioned again.


In addition to being and artist and a mom, H announced that she will also be a chef when she grows up.
Here is her first recipe:
Ice Cream
Chocolate Syrup

She calls it a milk shake. Whatever.

She wrote the recipe down for her favorite teacher, Miss Patty. As J says, correctly, Miss Patty gets all the good stuff.

I wish I had checked the focus before the recipe was passed on, but its documented.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Its been coming, but today was the day S demanded to wear mismatched socks like her sister. She also insisted on wearing a purple shirt. I had her dressed, peach colored shirt and matching socks. We came home from taking H to school, the shirt came off, the shoes came off. No shirt No shoes No service, so I relented. S found a basket of laundry that has yet to be put away, found 2 socks to her liking, and fought every shirt I tried to put on her, saying "No! purple!" Until I found a purple shirt.

H was 2 when she decided to unmatch her socks, and has kept it up for 3 years. I suppose the day will come when she decides to match them again, and I will be sad.

For now, I love her trend setting ways, and enjoy every second of not having to put pairs of socks together after doing laundry.

Monday, June 1, 2009

fevers and birthday

It is a gorgeous day. I am sitting on the couch trying to keep a only recently unfevered kid rested. H is squirming, fidgeting, wiggling flopping all while moaning, whining, "Mommmmmeeeeeee! I'm sooo tiiiirreed...."

A few days ago, H said "Mommy? I need some quiet time" That can only mean one thing. I reached for the anti bacterial hand gel. Sure enough, she developed a fever shortly after that.

I have learned, over the years, that I need to watch carefully for clues when H is coming down with something. It used to be that she'd be in a horrid mood for days- just when I was beginning to accept that this was the new H and love can conquer all, the sun would come out and she'd say "Mommy! My ear doesn't hurt any more!" So now, when she slows down a bit, or does something so way off her radar like says she wants to lie down- I casually ask if anything hurts, making sure not to lead the witness. "No.", she said this time. "Just my ear."

This fever bout coincided with my birthday, and H ended up sleeping most of the day. I can not stress enough how unlike H this is. Not even as a newborn did she sleep during the day.

Despite H feeling under the weather, she woke up first thing and remembered it was my birthday. She made a big production of presenting me with a gift she put together for me, weeks in advance, and hidden in a gift bag under my bed: A stuffed robin that she wrapped in silver paper using a whole roll of tape, a zip lock bag with a quarter in it, and 3 cards she made that she had carefully signed her name, and S's and Daddy's too. She made sure I knew the gift was from the whole family, and made sure I thanked everybody individually.