Friday, August 26, 2011

Not So Funny

I should be vacuuming right now, but I'm not.  It's been so hot that Milo is dropping hair faster than a starlet drops panties and there are tumbleweeds of dog hair blowing through my house.


What I mean to say is that I'm discombobulated.  Took the girls to the dentist this morning for their six-month check-up because I am a responsible and luckily-insured parent.  I expected a clean report just like always.  E.?  Fine.  Nolie?  Fine.  Myself?  Fine.  Addie?

Not so fine.

The kid has two cavities.


She has one cavity and then a monster cavity.


Because that means she needs one filling, and one "pulpectomy."  Otherwise known as a baby root canal.  Otherwise known as making pulp of her sweet little gums, which have been hurting her for the last two weeks.

What could have caused such a thing?

Well, it turns out that while everything was totally fine one year ago, now her enamel is eroding at some sort of alarming rate.  Dr. Jeff, who is a good dentist but not exactly tops in the charming department, informed me that it could be that we're feeding her too frequently.

Has he seen her?  I can't get meat on that child's bones to save my life.

Anyway, "frequent feedings" might just be leaving gunk on her teeth too much.

I asked about sugar.

Cue:  guilt, guilt, guilt.  I'm the one with the sweet tooth and have often taken my family along for the ride.

I asked about protein.

Cue:  guilt, guilt, guilt.  I'm the vegetarian and really would rather not make chicken. Maybe having more protein would have strengthened my baby's enamel.

Also, I have not made Addie floss every night.  I get tired around bed time and am sometimes a very lazy person when it comes to getting people ready for bed.

Things like this upset me.  I hate to know that my kid is going to have to go through this and be in a bunch of pain.  I hate to think there is something I might have done, or not done, to cause this.  I'm also bummed about by this judgmental side of me.

Off to the specialty children's dentist we go, though, guilty or not.

After leaving the dentist's office this morning, we went and bought Addie Harry Potter 7, which she earned through good behavior (that's another blog post) and the girls were hungry, so we hit Whole Foods.  Normally we'd buy muffins and juice.  Today they just got to have a peach each.

peach each.

I was still feeling distraught, that uneasy and unidentifiable anxiety, and though I had child care for an hour, I thought about canceling and not going to yoga.

But I've been around my own nonsense for long enough to know that I needed to go.  So I went.  And here's what I realized:

I'm most upset by the fact that I can't control this situation.  But, it's not as if I haven't tried to control things.  So, welcome to your life.  There will be things that happen that you couldn't prevent, my dear, and there will be pain and bummers and this is a useful thing to have happen because, again, you get to practice patience and grace.

I've calmed down a little bit.  We'll see how I do when they give my baby laughing gas.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Random Cell Photos

It's time for another installment of Random Cell Photos--pictures taken on my camera over the last few weeks that I'm only just pulling off now.  The girls just had their first day of school today, E. gets back from Sweden tomorrow night (thank Christ) and I start classes tomorrow.  I was a mixed-up ball of emotions today, swinging from excitement for my kids, to an odd bereavement at watching Nolie go through that kindergarten door, to fear that I had skin cancer (I don't, just a weirdo spot on my cheek), to annoyance with a coworker (so soon!), to gratitude for everyone I work with, to boredom at a meeting (so soon!).  Anyway, on with the images.

Nolie, way back in June, at the beginning of the soccer season:

Perhaps hands-in-pants helps you to play better.  We signed both girls up for more soccer this fall.  Nolie is a beast on the field, going after the ball with much aggressiveness and focus.  Addie likes to play goalie, which enables her to coach her teammates.  They love that.

Shots from Bogota.  Our hotel was art-deco-themed--the hotel was called Casa Deco, which we quickly changed to Casa Loco--and each room was decorated around a particular painting.  Here was ours:

Baby on Mama.  I remember how that felt.

From the tram up a very steep hill to Montserrate, a chapel at the top of a mountain overlooking Bogota.

The tram, seen from above:

Bogota, from Montseurat:

And, at night, after dining at a lovely french restaurant, where I mistakenly ordered a friend pate instead of stew.  God bless my french:

My lovely, funny, and kind roommate for the trip, Chris, and my friend Juan, who is Colombian and an amazing interpreter, tour guide, and dance instructor:

Addie, holding the first of two teeth lost this summer.  This was when E. was in Switzerland.  She tried to brush it so it would be clean for the Tooth Fairy and ended up dropping it down the sink.  She wrote a lovely note, though, and the Tooth Fairy still paid her for the tooth.  The Tooth Fairy got very, very tired one night and forgot to pay her on the second tooth, however, and had to write a note of her own apologizing:

Everyone who knows Addie was relieved when she lost that little front tooth because that other front tooth is positively GINORMOUS and it looked a little strange:

Wicked fashion sense.  Her face looks freaky here, but check out the fearless denim-on-denim action, paired with the Paper Moon hat:

Nolie, playing soccer on her fifth birthday, in her ladybug antennae:

Appreciating Rupert being outside my window every morning:

B.B. King, playing the Botanic Gardens at 85 years old, flirting with the ladies in the front row:

Girls, on their first day of school (Nolie, kindergarten, Addie, second grade):

And, summer?  That's a wrap.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


At yoga this morning our teacher reminded us all that this is a time of transitions, and that we will be better off if we can be mindful of that fact over the coming weeks, rather than wondering what the hell is happening to us.

Uh, no shit.

I registered the girls for school today--Addie for 2nd grade and Nolie for kindergarten.  I'm getting ready to go to Utah for a few days to write/drink/hike/whatever with some scholarly-types (this will be an interesting experiment in socially working.  Working socially.  Working and socializing.  I don't know).  I get back Sunday and E leaves for ten days for Sweden.  I have a week to finish prepping for classes, then school starts for all of us.  I don't feel as crazy about this as I usually do (thank you, running.  Thank you, prepping for classes early).  But, you know, all piled seems a little big.

Roundabout way of saying I forgot to post my usual birthday paean to my girl Nolie, who turned five on Saturday.  Well, I didn't forget.  I felt a little lazy (again, thank you, running).  And unsure of what to say.  Maybe a little weepy, too.  I mean, check this kid out:

But there are some things I want Nolie to know about herself someday, about how she was when she was five, and they are these things:

You have a heart as big as the world.  You speak whimsically and sweetly and openly about your love for me, your dad, your sister, your other family members and your friends and teachers.  You want more than anything to be liked and loved by others, and when you are feeling unloved, you are openly devastated.

You taught yourself to read a few months ago.  You explain it this way:  "I decided that I wanted to read one day, and so I picked up a book and, well, I just did it!"  That explains a lot about how you move in the world.

You believe in your strengths.  You want to be a rock star, because you "love singing and dancing just sooo much."  Or, you want to be a nurse, or a massage therapist, because "you know how to take care of people just right."

You are head over heels in love with Justin Bieber.  "Baby" is your favorite song.  You go on and on about how it makes you blush.

You are the pickiest eater on the planet.  It drives me completely bonkers, and I worry about how you are going to survive on only plain pasta and crackers for the rest of your life.

You are kind.  You are feisty.  You have a light touch.  You are a wrecking ball.  Your personality is irresistible.  You are relentless.

When I don't pay you enough attention, you break something, or hurt yourself, or do something otherwise "naughty" to get it.  Then I use a harsh voice with you.  Then you collapse into a million tears.  Then we have a lovey moment of reconciliation.  I'm sure I'm training you to have horrible relationship dynamics later in life.

You played your last soccer game of the season wearing your ladybug antennae, and scored three goals in a row.  You are fearless, physically.

You have grown almost two inches since New Year's Day.  You still have a sweet round tummy.

You are sleeping through the night most nights now.  Thank GOD.

You miss your friends from preschool fiercely, especially Sophie.  You are terrified of going to the new school.  You are really excited to go to the new school.

You are still shy in group situations, and I have to always promise you that you can stay in my lap until you feel comfortable enough to venture off on your own.  Then I can't get you back.

The big girls hurt your feelings a lot by not including you.  More than anything, you want to be included.

But you are always a part of us, no matter what.  You are so, so loved, my little bug.  What a blessing you are, to all of us.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

How to Love the Bad Mother In You

Amy Pearson has a really good post up over at Martha Beck's blog on how to deal with the shame you feel for not being the perfect mother.  I think it's good advice for moms who have a basic, healthy sense of themselves and of how to treat their children.  For those who are struggling to be healthy, shame can sometimes keep us from doing things that shouldn't be done and I think can protect our children in some cases.  But otherwise, and provided you are a healthy (i.e., non-violent, non-addict) mom, I agree with Pearson--if you don't bring your expectations and judgments out into the light yourself, they come out in other, weird ways you don't expect.  Like, in my case, as back pain or overwork.

I think most of you know that I'm training for a half-marathon right now.  This week's training schedule looks something like this:

Monday: 3 miles
Tuesday: 6 miles
Wednesday: yoga
Thursday: 6 miles
Saturday: 9 miles

I'm really enjoying the practice of getting ready for the race (even though I haven't actually signed up for a half-marathon yet, I am signed up to do a 200-mile relay with some friends in October).  The interesting thing about running regularly and doing things like speed workouts and endurance workouts is that you have to sort of detach from your judgments about how things are going to go.  Last Thursday I ran 6 miles, and it felt totally easy. I felt strong and fast and like I could go forever.  It was actually fun.  Yesterday, I ran 3 miles, and it felt like the longest, hardest 3 miles I've ever run.  In the past, that would have been a sign to me that I was not a runner and should just quit, and I would have.  But I don't really give myself that option now.  Instead, I just get cool with the idea that I never know what the day is going to be like.  I just know that I have to keep going and finish what I started out to do.  And the dividends are nice:  I feel less stressed because of all the exercise.  I've lost a little weight (though not a lot, thank you, hormones).  And I feel like someone who can do intense exercise without pain and without giving up.  This last one is the best part.

But doing this much running is also something of a time commitment, and it has meant letting other things go.  Things like having a nice dinner on the table every night.  There have been nights that the girls have had hot dogs and apples for dinner and E. has had to heat up a burrito when he gets home from work because I just didn't feel like dealing.  I think I would normally feel shame about this, but the running seems more important right now than the perfect healthy dinner OR the shame, so I've let both go.  E. also has had to step up and deal with things like getting the girls to soccer on his own, which he hasn't loved.  And he doesn't get why I'd want to run like this.  So there's a little tension there.  But it has otherwise been a good exercise in letting go of expectations.

Of course, it's a thin line between having a good new practice, like the running, and letting it add new stress to my life rather than relieve it.  I don't know if I'll be able to keep it up once classes start in two weeks.  I hope so.  But if it becomes a new tyrant in my life, then I'll have to adjust that then, too.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Old Toddlerspit Posts Now Available for $9.99

In case the three of you have nothing better to do and would like to go revisit all the good times (poop on the walls!  exploding corn fritters! lighting my bathrobe on fire!) you can now check out vintage toddlerspit blog posts.  My friend Kevin helped me transport everything from (blerg) to blogger so that I could get my blog-to-books printed up.  The last few posts weren't loading pictures ( but after that all the pics and comments are intact.

Anyway, here's the link...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

My Latest Addiction

This blog.  She has Aspberger's, she's a famous career coach, and she's blogging about her long-term relationship with a farmer maybe falling apart at the same time she gives career advice. You might start with this particularly harrowing post.

I don't know what it would take for me to be that honest in this blog, but I'm pretty sure I don't want to go there.

A Longish Post on Dropping In

Man, the times have been interesting lately.

I mean, there's all the outer stuff:  the debt ceiling debate, in which the poor are completely erased from the discussion except as a means of extracting more and more from those who have less.  There are the heat waves, discussions of Denver being the new Phoenix.  There is football, which apparently is going to happen this year, thank God for E.

But also, interesting times on the inside.  If I see you in person at all, I've probably unloaded on you in the first five minutes that I'm experiencing some sort of Total Hormonal Realness that I don't understand.  It started earlier in the summer with some fun unexplained weight gain, nighttime hot flashes, and huge clumps of hair falling out, then marched on through the exciting terrain that is horrific chin acne, getting my period every two to three weeks, emotional loop-di-loops, and a libido that would make Larry Flynt blush.

Sorry, people.  Just keeping it real.

I'm going to a new gyno tomorrow to have things measured and poked and prodded just to make sure this isn't some thyroid thing, or some sort of growthishness messing things up.  I'm guessing it's not.  All of those symptoms above have mellowed considerably in the last week.  I'm guessing I'm flirting a little bit with peri-menopause, even though I'm kind of young for that.  It does raise some interesting questions about what to do.  I like being off the pill.  Been off for a year now.  But I'm not a fan of these new symptoms.  So how to proceed is interesting.

One of the more annoying symptoms I'm having is a return to pregnancy brain, where all I'm really capable of intellectually is looking at the new Company Store catalog and watching Sex and the City reruns on VH-1.  I'm doing my reading and writing for work, but it's slogging, painful, torture.  My brain really just wants to waterski on the surface of life right now.  It's not interested in scuba.

So I decided to go see Kate, my amazing tuning-fork-healing-touch-goddess, for my usual tune-up, and she did some sort of spiritual-endocrine flush on Monday, which gave me a very interesting set of cramps afterwards.  I complained to her beforehand of feeling completely scattered, unable to focus.  Delaminated.  No actual laying on of hands of fluid manipulation occurred--this is all above-the-pants-type stuff.  But whereas during my last session with her I "dropped out" into some other plane and listened to some beings having conversations around me, like I was a kid in some sort of cosmic beauty shop (interesting), this time, it took me forever to give myself over to the treatment.  Monkey brain kept wanting to think about the new fall line at Boden (cute cord dresses) and about why Khloe Kardashian isn't getting pregnant.

But then, I became pancake batter.  I don't know how else to describe it.  One minute, I was getting angry at myself for not focusing on the treatment, and the next minute, it was like I had turned viscous and was being poured through a funnel onto a flat surface, where I just pancaked out.  Everything mellowed, and then I noticed a pulsing ache in the ovary area.  I became aware of having suppressed the ache for a long time.  Kate wondered later if it has to do with some old injury I sustained.  I don't know.  Maybe around the girls' births?

Probably just my mind playing tricks.  We'll see what the doc says tomorrow.

Except then this other weird thing happened.  My friend Nancy responded a few weeks back to my sad Bogota post, emailing me something like, "you do have community, and I'm dropping off Krishna Das's book to you right now."  And then she appeared with it, we had lunch, and she took me to church the next Sunday.  She's something of a big-time blessing in my life.

Anyway, in case you don't know, Krishna Das is a formerly-Jewish guy who went to India and studied with a guru and now leads awesome chants here in the US.  Nancy and I went and saw him a few weeks back (also her idea and her treat).

So I was chanting along to his cd this morning, which I've never done before even though I've had the cd for about a year and really love it.  I usually just do yoga to it.  The problem this morning was I felt like meditating but had antsy pregnancy brain and thought I'd try the chanting to see if that helped.  Here's the song I did:

He's also a major blessing.  And his book is very, very interesting.

Anyway, so I'm chanting, and I just drop in right away.  This happens to me some times when I meditate.  I'll meditate for a cumulative hours and hours with nothing, only struggle to stay in, and then POP, I'll drop in and be totally connected and get interesting messages and sensations and things.  Then it won't happen again for a few years.  Maybe if I meditated more regularly I'd drop in more regularly but that's for another post.

My point is that I dropped in this morning and my body started doing all this crazy gumby stuff.  Like my limbs got all big then very, very tiny.  My feet would seem to be right in front of my mouth and then would move miles away.  I was elastigirl, or a Botero figure, or the Michelin man.  I was all of those things.  And it was totally effortless and refreshing and godly.

So, that's what's going on with me.  Summertime, getting ready back to go back to school, running 25 miles a week, and dropping in to gumby-universe-land now and then.

Interesting times.