Thursday, September 30, 2010

Last Days of Summer

I hope, anyway. It's been in the 70's and rainy this week, lovely Fall weather that I am ridiculously happy to see. I took these on a day when the temps were still in the 90's, but the light had changed to be more...well, Fallish. I don't know how to explain it exactly, but one day you wake up and the outside looks a little different. Even if the temperature has you sweating and drinking gallons of iced tea.

Man, it was hot that day. Hence the wet dress (we were playing in her wading pool). I am not sorry to see this summer go!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Conversations With Piper: Poop and Parts

We've now reached the poop stage, I think.

I thought we could avoid it, because we are not the sort of people who find poop jokes funny most of the time, and we don't usually spend a lot of time talking about poop. I thought there would be a few questions about poop, maybe, but had no idea that this subject would occupy so much space in my daughter's brain. I think it comes out of a growing awareness of bodies (her own and others'), body functions, and discovering how many creatures share characteristics. Whatever the reason, we have been discussing poop and body parts a lot lately:

While petting the cat:

"Mommy, is this Mei-Mei's belly?"
"Yeah, but don't...just...just - pet her gently, okay? GENTLY."
"I'm pettin' Mei-Mei's belly."
"Yes, you are. GENTLY. Don't squeeze."
"Yes, Baby?
"Do you think there's poop in Mei-Mei's belly?"
"Well, yeah, I think there's probably some poop in there."
"Do you think she's going to poop in the litterbox?"
"Yes, that is where kitties are supposed to poop."
"Do you think there's poop in her belly?"
"Yes, I imagine so."
She paused and then looked at me. "Mommy?"
"Yes, Piper?"
"Is this your belly?"
"Do you think there's poop in your belly?"
"But do you think you're not going to poop in the litterbox?"
"No, kiddo, I don't think I am. In fact, I can say that I am definitely not going to poop in the litterbox."
"You're gonna poop on the potty."
"Yes, I am. Because that's where people poop, they poop in the potty. But kitties poop in a litterbox."
"Yes, Baby?"
"Do you think there's poop in Ellie's belly?"
"Yes, I think there poop in Ellie's belly. Don't whack Ellie on the head like that..."

Before we go to the playground:
"I'm going to go potty before we go, okay? You really should too."
"Are you going to poop?"
"No, I'm not going to poop."
"You should poop! Please try to poop!"
"Kiddo...oh, you know what? Never mind. Just find your shoes, okay?"

When I'm giving Ellie Benadryl:
"Is that Ellie's medicine?"
"Yep. It's for her belly."
"Does Ellie have scratches on her belly?"
"Yes, she does. That's why I'm giving her medicine."
"Did Ellie scratch her belly? And that's why she has to get medicine?"
"That's exactly right."
"Mommy? Do you think Ellie has poop in her belly that she was scratching?"
"Yeah, Kiddo, I think there's probably some poop in her belly..."

At least every other day, we have a conversation similar to this. We also talk about how other people do the same things we do; that is, if it's bath time at our house, she speculates that one of her classmates is probably also taking a bath at their house. I can see where her little mind is going with this, and how she's realizing the world is so much bigger than what she sees and touches every day. It's pretty damned cool, actually. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Purple Poncho in Action

I finally got a photo of it where she's not naked or blurry. I realize that the poncho itself is slightly blurry in this photo, but trust me, it's better this way. This is the only one where she wasn't making some really freaky face. Wait, I did find one where she was only making a face that was merely a little weird and not really freaky:

She is exactly like her father; every time I pull out the camera he starts making strange, freaky faces too. Trying to photograph the two of them together usually causes me to pull out my hair, kick things, or give up and buy myself a gigantic sugary latte instead of shooting pictures.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

For a Brief Instant, I Almost Got a Warm, Fuzzy Feeling

A couple Saturdays ago, for 90 minutes, I didn't hate our neighborhood.

A helicopter was hovering just past the woods that border our subdivision. Our best guess was that they were filming whatever was going on over at the Whitewater Center. It was interesting, but hardly cause for alarm.

The neighborhood kids, however, were pretty wound up. Particularly the little boys, who whizzed around on their bikes trying to get a better view of the hovering aircraft. The best view could be had from the sidewalk next to and in front of our house, which led to a cluster of kids hanging around my mailbox. It also meant I got to hear all their theories on what the helicopter was doing there.

"Man, it's the cops. They lookin' for somebody. I'm out."

"I heard a horse from the stables back there got loose. It's running around in the woods and they're trying to catch it. They're gonna shoot it, I think."

"Somebody said a prisoner got loose. He was cleanin' up the highway and he escaped. He murdered a bunch of people. He's gonna get us."

"Maybe it's a tiger or something. Maybe a truck with animals in it crashed on the highway and now they have to find all the animals in the woods."

I found all this amusing and somewhat charming, which is a refreshing change from the stress and irritation I usually feel when I think about where we live. For a few minutes, it was a neighborhood I wouldn't mind staying in for a few more years, instead of one I can't wait to move out of.

The kids gradually lost interested and drifted away. The rotten kid from next door went back to throwing rocks at cars and his friends. Even though we were standing in front of our house, at the end of the driveway, I could hear teenagers screaming "Fuck you motherfucker, that was my fuckin' shot, you fuckin' motherfucker! FUUUUUCCCKKKK!!"  as they played basketball on the court in the park behind our house.

Ahhh, I thought. Back to normal.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


This is as close as it gets to an action costume in the "girls" section (WTF, must EVERYTHING be segregated by gender?!) of Halloween stuff. They also had a "Sailor Sweetie," so you can encourage your daughter to be a tramped-out parody of a demanding and noble profession by land OR by sea. Modern womanhood really is all about choices.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Snapshots: Not-August 2010

I thought I had all this written down already, but either Blogger ate it or I am starting to dream about blogging. Either way it means that I'm re-writing it from memory, so 80% of this post is only 75% true. Guess what I re-read lately?

I am a note-writer and list-maker. Our house often looks like some Notepad Fairy came through and sprinkled every flat surface with oddly-sized and brightly-colored mini books of paper. I love to write things down...and then forget about them. This leads to finding weird notes I've written to myself, one or two tiny pages of an itty-bitty spiral-bound dollar-store notebook filled up with my huge scrawl. I always tell myself to just get basic ideas down, because I'm sure I'll remember the details later. When, weeks or months later, these forgotten works of genius re-emerge, I stare at "beans pumpkin onion ball glitter SAVE!" or "Forget try NPR birTHdy" and have no idea what it means.  The most baffling one I've found lately was in the kitchen, on a page torn from a mini-notebook with Sailor Moon on the cover. It said "wicked witch thought promo snatched away by fresh-faced no idea how works." I am completely clueless as to what I was talking about, but my writing is so frantic it must've seemed really important at the time. I spent 10 minutes yesterday staring at the note as I slurped down my morning coffee and wondered if I could turn it into a haiku.

Always with the questions these days. At bedtime yesterday: "Daddy? Do you think food makes my nose grow?" At lunch: "Mommy, do you think some strawberries could be purple?" Playing outside: "Do you think bugs could eat some dirt?" Any time of day: "Mommy, do you think we have three cats here in this house? Just three and not four?" "Mommy, do you think pumpkins are good to smell?" "Do you think the kitty's belly smells like food? Or does it smell like candy? Do you think cats like gum? Do you think Mei-Mei has gum in her belly?"

I am finally getting around to reading those Stieg Larsson books. If they're as good as everyone says, I expect to spend a lot of nights staying up way too late reading them. I do not understand why they feel the need to re-make the movies, though. I think I'll be skipping those.  I am still working on Consuming Kids, although since I find it too upsetting to read right before bed and that's when I get 99% of my reading done, it's been slow going. Very much enjoying the author's blog, though.

There has been a paper explosion at our house. I was doing a pretty good job of keeping the in/out flow of paper, junk mail, bills, and stuff at a steady pace, not allowing things to accumulate on flat surfaces and in piles around my desk. In the last month, either the rate of intake sped up or I slowed down. There are now piles and piles of paper on every flat surface in the house. I believe part of the blame rests with my mother-in-law, who not only brings a stack of not-that-useful papers, articles, magazines, and books every time she visits, but also sends thick packets of junk every month as well. Expired coupons, magazines totally unrelated to our lives, color-copied magazine articles, puffy foam glitter-shedding stickers, detailed instructions for craft projects we will never get around to doing. She sends it all and more, and we have to at least keep it and look through it all, because she will phone up and ask about each item. I am trying to repay her in kind by sending folder-fulls of Piper's artwork to her house, so that her floor can be covered in crusty flakes of dried tempera paint, stickers that never come off, and crayon-shavings the same way mine is. I take special pleasure in giving her the papers covered in glitter.

I keep subscribing and then un-subscribing to the Wardrobe Refashion RSS feed. Some days I'm all inspired and some days I'm like "aaahhhh too many posts oh the crazy embellishment helllp!"

Piper started preschool last week (which is why it's been so quiet on this blog), and so far she loves it.  This is a 100% improvement over the school we had her in last year, where she cried and begged us not to take her every morning. We are getting to know the other parents. It's awfully cliquey, since most people there have already had kids in for 1-2 years, and the 2-year-old class, where all the other newbies are, doesn't meet on the same days as Piper's class. It's a non-profit, so they rely heavily on parent volunteers. I decided to jump in and immediately signed up for 4 or 5 things. I'm hoping I haven't bitten off more than I can chew.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Another New Header

It's still not quite right, but I do like it much better, and I didn't scream this time. It didn't even take me very long.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Summer Can Suck It.

Okay, so I'm sure I'm not the only one tired of the heat.

Not everybody lives here in the Southeast, which is apparently the sweaty armpit of the U.S., but ye gods this has been a hot summer. I am so ready for it to end. The end of scorching days and nearly passing out every time I mow the lawn and ozone alerts and the hostas I worked so hard to plant in the spring and which looked so nice for 6 weeks getting crispier and deader every day. The end of not being able to drag myself out of bed and go for a run because it's 85 degrees at 8:30 a.m. And I am definitely ready for the end of stratospherically-high electric bills.

Which is why the trees in our back yard presented me with a VERY welcome sight earlier this week:

Now, if the weather would just follow suit, I'd be a really happy camper.