Previous month:
March 2009
Next month:
May 2009

April 2009

Shot Put

The consensus seems to be that I cannot get rid of the stupid curly hair that is currently surfing above the normal wavy hair; I can only try to cram it down somehow. Damn it. Meanwhile Steve assures me that it actually is a big deal to replace all of the tacky brass fixtures in our bathroom (I did not mention this before now - I don't tell you every little thing you know - but I was lobbying for a 'quick cheap and easy' bathroom refresh.) So there I was bursting with the need to make something in my life look less dated and... goodbye purple blog; hello ivory.

It is a work in progress so feel free to tell me what you think. I like the griffin, like the photo, like the font... not sure about the color. My primary goal is that the text needs to be readable so you tell me if you think the background in the main column should be white. I cannot decide. We can vote. I vote maybe.

The left side of my face has been going numb off and on for a week. It feels like that last thirty minutes before the novacaine wears off completely. At first I was concerned (really. really concerned) that I was having a stroke but as we enter day eight or nine that seems less likely. Everything I know about CVAs I learned from google but I do not think they happen quite so gradually. Maybe a compressed nerve in my neck? I don't know. An hour ago I noticed that I was slapping my own face repeatedly (as one does when something goes numb) and I decided to finally call the doctor's office and schedule an appointment. However about a year ago I switched from my old primary care clinic to a new one where Steve goes. I had all of my records transferred (three whole visits worth - I saw my OB/Gyn so often for eight years it made other health care feel superfluous) and then I waited to get sick enough to need to go meet my new primary physician. It never happened. So when I called today to see about coming in for a physical with an emphasis on the nerves (between my tingling jaw and my chilblained toes I am losing control of more personal real estate than I am gaining - it's like these parts are seceeding) I qualified as a new patient. And this guy's new patient appointment slots are filled for the next couple of weeks. I am scheduled for two weeks from Thursday. I hate to call back and schedule a faster appointment with someone I have never seen before and never plan on seeing again just to have them tell me that I carry tension in my face. On the other hand, my cheek is numb. It's a pickle.     

Although I did think it was a little mean to say in the comments that Edward looks like a sad little middle-aged man with a comb-over (also a bit misleading: sometimes he looks like a happy or an angry or a puzzled little middle-aged et cetera) I am reluctantly compelled to agree with the woman who asserted thusly. The problem though is not the haircut; it is the fact that Edward's hairline begins here and then swoops to New Jersey. He recedes like the Nile. In photos his cascading Fabio locks sort of concealed this fact but in person it was obvious. I thought pre-haircut that he was starting to look like the balding guy who lets what little remaining hair he has grow to his shoulders. I should add that my friend Noelle emphatically disagreed - she was anti-cut from the beginning. All of which is to say that I hope Edward's hair can be a topic - like whether war is ever morally justified and discussions on whether cilantro tastes like soap - about which reasonable people can disagree.

I am biased but personally I find Edward so delicious (Tyra Banks forehead and all) that I just want to wrap him in a crepe.

IMG_2491

Caroline with her dirty face.

IMG_2456

Caroline with her ballerina toes.

IMG_2477

And the Pirate Ship Sweet Potato sails again.

IMG_2497


Poor Dear Silly Spring

Spring!

At last Caroline and Edward are able to go outside and gnaw on dirty rocks collected in their natural habitat rather than picked off the mud room floor. Turkeys are yet again treating our backyard like Woodstock. Steve can finally rake up all those dead leaves that somehow don't fall in Minnesota until after the snow starts. And Patrick is able to spend his afternoons alternating between the stalking of deer and the digging of worms.

Yesterday Patrick tiptoed up the hill towards a particularly blasé white-tail. As he crept along he held up a large branch - all Birnam Wood - a camouflaging technique only marginally offset by the fact that he was wearing a tie-dyed shirt that ranged from scarlet to bright blue and passed through lemon yellow and emerald green. Oh, and no matter how carefully he placed his steps he still sounded like a bowling ball crashing through fifteen glass shelves. You go, Chingachgook. Needless to say he was not able to pet the deer as intended but I was surprised by how close he got. Within forty feet maybe. One of these days I am going to find a deer curled up on the foot of our bed. Shameless creatures.

Edward and Caroline go bananas when the deer show up outside the window. Like, fifty million times a day.

"DEE!" they shout and pound on the glass. "DEE-ur! DEE DEE!"

In recognition of their budding interest in Nature my mother brought Caroline a stuffed toy deer when she came to visit and she brought Edward a toy gun. No. I'm kidding. She brought Edward an electronic alphabet board; a purchase she agonized over beforehand, wondering if she needed to buy two boards. You know, one for each twin.

"Oh heavens no," I said. "They can share."

So my mom came and she brought the deer and the board. And Edward took the board and liked it. And Caroline dutifully gave the deer hugs and kisses but often forgot about it, leaving it stuffed under the couch or head-first down the ball popper thing. Then one day Edward became wildly attached to the deer. He carried it with him everywhere and could not be parted from it. And although Caroline did not seem to care that Eddybear had bogarted her stuffed animal this didn't seem quite fair to me. So I called my mother and asked if the place where she had purchased the deer might have another just like it?

Three days later a small package arrived, and now

IMG_2366_2

Edward has TWO deer. Eardeer and Legdeer, so named (by me) because he always carries one by the ear and the other by the, well, you know.

"Should I send another one for Caroline?" my well-meaning mother asked.

"No, I really don't think Edward needs three," I said.

You can understand, though, why Caroline steals stuff from him just to hide it. He needs a bit of a lesson in meum vs tuum.

As I mentioned, I started catching myself halfway through How Deep is Your Love on a daily basis so we decided to get Edward's haircut. Immediately afterwards I was contrite because I had apparently destroyed his curls forever, and doesn't he look reproachful?

IMG_2389_2  

But a bath and a night of bedhead (cribhead) and we were back in curls. I'll just link this picture since the post is going to be even longer than the last one if I don't start showing some restraint every now and then.

Speaking of curls both desirable and un- remember when Caroline and Edward were born and all my hair fell out? And you said oh yes that is perfectly normal? And I said ok but it looks really stupid, particularly around the hairline? And you said just wait until it partially grows back in and you have four inches of hair sticking out around your face - then you will REALLY look stupid? Remember when you said that?

Well, I now have four to five inches of insanely curly hair sticking out all over my scalp and guess what? It looks REALLY stupid. Steve is particularly fond of mocking the curly horn-like things that protrude from each temple. I need to take steps. Summer is never kind to me under the best of circumstances and this is ridiculous. However, I got my hair straightened a couple of years ago and it was tremendously refreshing for the three whole weeks it lasted. I mentioned this at the time and some nice person said oh honey you cannot get the flower merchants at Aveda to actually straighten your hair; you need CHEMICALS.

So what gives? Any thoughts on straightening one's hair with extreme prejudice? I don't mind having wavy/curly hair; quite like it, usually. But the Bozo inspired hair cloche must go.

Back to Patrick in the springtime and two tupperware stories (and by tupperware, I mean plastic storage containers with lids - probably in truth made by rubbermaid, a la kleenex for facial tissue:)

When he is not watching deer leap nimbly away from him, Patrick has been assiduously collecting worms for anticipated fishing expeditions down at the creek (not our creek; the neighbors' - if we had a creek it would be very pretty but I would worry more or less constantly about short person drowning risk. I roll like that.) I pointed out that the fishing opener is still weeks away and it is unlikely that the worms are going to survive that long.

Patrick said, "Well, we eat turkey and that's dead. The fish won't care."

Somehow this put me off both turkey and fish. And worms.

"Besides, I like to dig them up."

Which, ok, I suppose. A harmless enough childhood indulgence. But with this new no-limit worm philosophy the jelly jar I had given him seemed insufficient for collection purposes. Or so he informed me when I answered his polite knock at the door.

"Would you get me a tupperware container please?"

"OK," I said and started to walk toward my stash. "Wait. Why?"

"I need it for my worms."

"No," I said. "Use the jar I gave you."

"It's not big enough. Please? Just give me one of your tupperware containers. You have a billion of them."

And this is where I think I fail as a parent. Rather than starch my spine and repeat my original refusal, I waver. Because I DO have a billion of them. And Patrick can tell that I am wavering and every single time he goes in for the kill.

"Have you EVER used all of those containers at the same time?"

"Well no."

"So you always have at least one free?"

"Well I suppose."

"Give me that one then."

What's a sucker with a billion tupperware containers and no debating skills to do? I wrote WORMS on it first, though. In permanent marker. I only hope I remember later that this wasn't just a euphemism for something edible.

I once read that a joke is anything that builds to one expectation and delivers on another. This seemed very apt to me and has gone a long way toward explaining why I - and I alone in the universe - find Steve so incredibly funny. His humor always comes out of nowhere and it never fails to startle me into laughing. Because technically he is not a funny person. Really. And yet...

Last night Steve was cleaning the kitchen. He got to one of my billion tupperware containers that I had filled with leftovers.

"Does this have a lid?" he asked.

"Yeah," I said. "It was on the counter."

"Oh, then I have put its lid in the dishwasher already."

And he stood there.

"Get another lid from the cupboard," I suggested. Like, duh.

"Julia!" he said with just the right amount of censure. "They mate for LIFE!"

I literally (can I say literally if I am writing it?) sat down on the floor and cried with laughter.

I took Caroline and Edward outside to play yesterday. After about five minutes I realized they were going to get charbroiled without adequate sun protection. So I screamed STEEEEEEEVEEEE! a couple of times and he finally appeared on the porch. I did a pantomime indicating that the children needed hats and sunscreen. He disappeared and finally emerged.

Thusly.

Hats for all. It occurs to me that neither of these things are probably as funny to you as they were to me. Without the expectation - Steve with his pretty face and his broadcaster voice and his steadfast ability to deliver a monotone lecture on wild mushrooms until an entire dinner party curls up like so many potato bugs and whimpers - the silly must fail to deliver. Oh well.

When I pointed out that Caroline's hat should be smaller on him he said, "It IS small."

I just shook my normal-sized coconut in pity.   


Here Be Heretics

I am torn.

As it so happens I agree that the boys and the dominoes and Patrick and the scene at school was about childhood / exploring power / fumbling around with friendship / ins and outs. Briefly hurtful, maybe, but all very normal. We've had one of the kids over to play; Patrick frequently speaks with affection about the other kid... there is no history of grievance or suggestion that they are consistently ganging up on Patrick (or anyone else in the class) to make him (them) miserable. So my initial conclusion was that they were just being little jerks on Monday. I ended the conversation with Patrick that night by telling him that I think he handled it exactly right: I'm glad he said that they weren't being fair, glad that he repeated his request to join them and glad that when they continued to be mean he went to find someone else to play with. He seemed pleased with my response so I came downstairs to finish what I had been writing and to ask what you thought.   

And this is the part where my current post goes in four different directions, not linear like Escher's staircase but centrifugal like a starburst:

* I do not believe the boys were being deliberate in their decision to use a specific subset of Christian beliefs to hassle Patrick. I mean, I think they were playing odd man out and as far as they were concerned it could have been the No Patricks Club rather than the God Jesus Group. In the comments people presented analogies that included social clumping based upon the color of one's shirt or wearing barrettes. And as far as the boys (the excluders) were concerned it might as well have been. But I do respectfully disagree with the notion that these things are actually analogous. Conformity and acceptance based upon clothing is a very different thing than delineating at religion or - and forgive me, but it is hard not to go here - race. I truly do not believe that the children were intending to be exponentially more hurtful when they decided to play the Christ card but it is more hurtful. As more than one commenter observed, what if we were Jewish and Patrick had been rejected in the same way? Two of the kids in the class sat me down to explain Hinduism (about which I am shockingly ignorant) toward the end of December - how might they have felt? It was (I believe) unintentional but it is still unacceptable. The domino thing was in the classroom during class time with class materials (math, surprisingly; they get to choose activities and the school uses all sorts of games to teach math skills - I feel utterly cheated in my own worksheet-based education) so I think it almost fell under the school's aegis and needed to be corrected there. I believe there is a difference between "you cannot play because you are wearing sandals" and "you cannot play because you are black or Christian or from another country." One is arbitrary and somewhat silly; the others speaks to deeply rooted notions of identity. The intentions are no worse (nor better, but ok) but the possibility for damage is greater. At what point does actual racism or... good heavens, is there even a word for this? secularism? veer off from kids-will-be-kids? I think in the schools it starts at point zero.

Example: Caroline bites Edward because her gums are sore and he keeps putting his fingers in her mouth. She doesn't intend to hurt him but I keep saying no no no no biting until she get it into her little lemon that biting is unacceptable. I don't think the children in Patrick's class had the slightest idea that they were crossing lines. But they were. So I decided that perhaps the whole class could use a gentle reminder about how we treat our friends.           

My plan, without naming names because I don't think that is the point, is to casually mention to the teacher that there has been some hurtful talk concerning religion and exclusion and to suggest that maybe a quick review of the class rules would be in order. She can take it as she will but I assume she will take it well. 

So I think that I handled (or will handle tomorrow) my greater community obligations. This left Patrick to deal with.

* I have finally learned (no doubt through your gentle counsel) to wait until bedtime to discuss anything of importance with Patrick. Since I still had no idea whether he was confiding in me because he wanted my assistance with his school chums or if he was seeking more information on faith or if he just wanted to talk and for me to shut up and listen or maybe he was just seeing how I would react to his newest stimuli and he planned to record his notes later after I leave... sentence too jumbled; must abandon. I didn't know what he wanted from me. So last night I said that I was thinking about talking to his teacher about the fact that Nice Kid et al were not playing very nicely on Monday.

Patrick looked surprised.

"Oh I took care of that already."

"You did?" 

"Yes I already took care of yesterday's accident."

Accident? I think he means incident but ok... "What did you do?"

"Well after morning jobs we were at the table and I said to [Nice Kid] that I thought he was being mean yesterday when he said I couldn't play because of God. He said he was just kidding. And he apologized."

I honestly do not think I have ever been prouder of Patrick in my entire freaking life.

"Great," I said. "I'm glad you two are friends again. I'm proud of you."

"So did you ever believe in God?" Patrick asked.

I was able to cross out Needs Help Negotiating Social Disturbance and circle Wants To Discuss Spirituality, thereby bringing us to yet another jutting arm of this narration.

* My family did not attend church when I was growing up. Well, maybe once or twice we went with my grandparents but it was not a regular occurrence and there was certainly no formalized religious education. Meanwhile, I was a superstitious, easily spooked kid who worried a lot. I slept with two sharpened sticks nailed together in the event of a vampire attack. I spent a lot of time fretting about death. My death, that of my brother, my parents, Katie down the street, the dog... I was anxious about it all. I read a lot and I began to notice that people who had religion in their lives seemed to be a lot more peaceful about the whole death thing than I was. The idea of an omnipotent, kindly-disposed Creator and a corporeal heaven became very appealing to me and I started to tentatively explore how one might go about believing in such things. When I was seven or eight I spent the night at my friend Mandy's house and I saw her wall-hanging (printed with the Now I Lay me Down to Sleep prayer) so I borrowed it (the prayer; not the wall-hanging) to say every night. I thought prayer might be a good place to start and if nothing else it seemed like a way to pass all of the insomnia time that I had been spending worrying. So I prayed, fervently and nightly, that everyone I had ever met would be fine forever. And that was it for religion for a while. Then around fourth grade I decided I wanted to sing and our neighbor sang for her church... not sure how this all transpired but I somehow joined their choir; so my mother dutifully drove me to the Episcopal church every Sunday for months and months. It was pleasant but I never really felt like I belonged to their church. Hey! Maybe because I didn't really belong to their church.

In the meantime my parents would take us every so often to different places of worship, almost like field trips. We attended Quaker meeting (did you know Steve was raised Quaker? bet you didn't see THAT coming did you?) We went with friends to their temple. My father contemplated seeing if we could visit a mosque but since the hostages were still being held in Iran and the closest mosque had a line of protesters ten deep my mother vetoed that outing. When I was fourteen I started dating a Catholic kid and went to Mass with him every so often. Gosh I liked the Catholics. So much so that I kept attending Mass for years and even met with a priest a few times in college to talk about converting. Didn't go anywhere. The priest kept telling me to come back with my fiance for pre-cana and skip the conversion. As many times as I insisted there was no fiance and I was not planning a wedding he just repeated himself. An older fellow, you understand.

In time it fizzled and eventually I came to the conclusion that perhaps being part of a church community just wasn't for me; not in the least because I continued to struggle between my childhood desire to believe in an interventionist deity and my inability to actually do so. I gave up and decided to try to just focus on being a good person. I am still an insomniac. I still worry. I no longer sleep with anti-vampire weaponry. But the habit of saying a prayer every now and then has lingered; mostly just a quick thank you to the universe for everything in my life that makes me happy and the occasional prayer that people I know vaguely (internet people usually) and who are suffering might find peace.

Oh, in case I have never said thank you, the fact that people prayed for me over the years and for the twins when they were in danger of coming early meant a great deal to me. Oh wow, look at that. I am getting weepy all over again just thinking about a comment good kind Terri left saying that she and another chaplain spent one quiet midnight when I was hospitalized sending good thoughts our way.

Back at the rancho hippo, though, Steve makes Nietzsche look like an organizer of church Sunday suppers. I know! A nice Quaker boy like that, too. So when Patrick asked about the tooth fairy the other day I said "Have a little faith, Patrick." Steve said, "Do you want to know what I think?" And I said, "NO!" Patrick said, "You know what, don't tell me. I want my dollar." 

Huh. Well that was more than you ever wanted to know about penguins, as my mother would say.

Anyway, once I sussed out that Patrick is starting to articulate his own quest for understanding faith and religion and the universe and his place in it all I was a little more firm in my footing. I realized that the poor kid knows nothing about any of it (note to self: get library books tomorrow) so I tried to summarize the major religions for him and finally offered to take him to church this weekend. And maybe our friends will let us visit their synagogue later. And we could try a different church after that. See what he thinks.

Patrick held up his hand. I love it when he does this. It is the most quaint, antiquated gesture ever.

"So you know how usually when someone is like two or something? And they tell their parents 'Hi. I believe in God now'? Well, the parents do not rush the child off to church right away. They give it a few days. That's where I am. I am just starting. I am easing into it."

"Oh. OK. Let me know," I said, slightly disappointed because - as I said - I quite like church. "Do you want me to get you some books on religion?"

"Yes," he said.

And thus endeth our third lesson.

* Caroline's word of the day is car.

"Do you want to hear her say car?" I asked my mother. "Caroline! Car! Car, Caroline!"

"Cccccccccaaaaarrrr?" she squawked.

"Oh how cute," my mother said.

"Yes. So anyway..."

"Car?" Caroline repeated like a strangulated parrot. "Car car car car car car?"

She ran around the living room, yelling CAR and then went to get Edward.

"Car," she said.

"Da da dee do dee dee da da," Edward agreed.

They bumbled around like bees in a bottle, Caroline repeating car and Edward pointing at the table where the shoes are kept.

Whoops.

"Sorry. No car. No. Bedtime yes. Car no."

Caroline was confused. But... hadn't I just said... she thought... oh. How disappointing. Edward was annoyed, of course. He is like living with an opera singer: "This is Infamous! We were distinctly promised, my sister and I, a car ride! A ride in the car! CAR! I shall complain! I shall speak to the management! Unhand me! Put me down.... nooooooooo." Then half a minute later he is sound asleep.

Which brings me to photos from Monday (pre-haircut. we got Edward's hair cut. he started to remind me of Andy Gibb on a daily basis and I could no longer handle it) and a series I like to call:

Ninety Seconds With Edward

Pensive

IMG_2325                 

Wounded

IMG_2326 

Angry. Really Angry.

IMG_2327

Amused

IMG_2328

All in a minute and a half. Caroline in contrast (and recent photo notwithstanding) reminds me of that Far Side cartoon, The Many Moods of an Irish Setter. Each picture shows a bug-eyed dog with his tongue hanging out, one labeled 'Happy' the next 'Mad' and a third 'Suicidal.' She has her moments but compared to living with Edward the sea, wine dark and ever-changing; she's as calm as a fruit stand.

PS I wonder sometimes if I should change my blog theme. Less about me and more about... something interesting. Can I explain the blog title by the way? I have been dying to mention this again because it's been years and I always feel like a fool for having julia at julia dot julia forwardslash julia with here be hippogriffs all bracketed. But way back in the day I wrote a "diary" for an online parenting site and they were all identified by first names. When this Australian woman named Liz linked to her web log at typepad one day I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen. So I started one and just kept Julia as the title since that was what I had been writing at the other place. And my original banner featured a picture of the fourth chromosome (which is one of the two Steve has affected) and an arrow pointing at the breakpoint with the notation Here Be Hippogriffs. This was a play on the olde tyme maps that cartographers drew to indicate they knew something bad was going on but they were not entirely sure what the fuck it was. Dragons, hippogriffs, riptides. When I got rid of that first banner I was going to ditch the hippogriffs but by that time a few people had linked to me with that name and I thought it would look weird.

And now you know... the rest of the story.

On the strength of the past three posts maybe I could become a religion blogger. Then I could leave thoughtful comments everywhere that begin "As a noted theologian... ." I'd like that. Oh! Maybe I could do a blog into book approach like the Julie and Julia woman, only rather than working my way through a cookbook Patrick and I could do an Around the World's Religions in Eighty Days thing.

Steve has seduced me with his hedonist wiles and I have promised to watch in two seconds the newest episode of Deadliest Catch. WITH an intelligent interest and WITHOUT scorn. Time to go arrange my features into a look of superhuman fascination.

Hope you are well.


Unintentionally Redundant

Sometimes I write a post and then I worry that I did a poor job of explaining myself. So I have kinda been following the comments on that last one with my face half-averted, lest someone blow up at me. My concern was that you would think I was mad at the very nice kid for mentioning eternal damnation to my superspecial snowflake; when in fact my fear was that Patrick might have behaved like a lemonhead and upset the very nice kid. In my world what you believe is a whole lot less significant than how you treat people. But I needn't have worried. You were more than capable of connecting the dots for me and shoring up any inadequacies in my narration. I think Marsha summed it up nicely in the comments by saying it was a teachable moment and the only question was: what did I feel like teaching? Since Patrick was obviously well aware of the sizeable gap between our beliefs and that of his schoolmate it seemed like the right moment to don my magnificent grey hat and go the R-E-S-P-E-C-T route. I talked about how lucky his friend is to have such strongly held beliefs and how much pleasure and comfort their faith must bring to their family. It always seems sort of backhanded to me to say, you're wrong... but best of luck with that! So I tried to be honest but positive and talk about what I have always felt with regard to most organized religions - they're not for me but it would be oh so nice if they were. Becky (and later Monica - hi Monica!) pointed out that the child was not trying to be mean or spiteful in stating his beliefs; they are what they are. And I read their comments and nodded like a bobble-head because it was one of the things I wanted to make especially clear to Patrick: these are beliefs - as in that which is held to be true - and they are very important and you do not have to share them to respect them and their importance.

This is not to say that I cannot imagine someone, even a child, using his faith to cudgel someone. I can. Quite easily. I just didn't think that was what was happening here. Furthermore, if I had discovered Patrick lying under his bed in a dark room with a rosary he had constructed from yarn and Cheerios muttering "Can't sleep. God will get me" I would have had a very different reaction. Instead Patrick phrased it in the neutral third person (X says you will go to hell if you...) and he did so with that six year old gleam (you know the one?) that look in the eye that says: I have found something that challenges you; so how do you like them apples of Hesperides, mother?

Anyway, thank you for your thoughts and, as always, for your almost otherwordly civility.

Tonight at dinner Patrick announced that he now believes in God.

"Congratulations," I said.

"It's great; you should try it," he urged.

"OK," I said.

He went back to eating his fish.

I called my mother from the pantry.

"MOM! Patrick is going evangelical on me."

She started laughing.

"It couldn't have happened to a nicer couple," she said and hung up.

Do you know the musical The Fantasticks? It has a song in it called Plant a Radish (something like that) which talks about how bewildering it is to have any expectations whatsoever concerning your children. Unlike radishes they come out any which way - with your progeny it's hodge-podgenee.

This is a sincere question because I just have the one six year old. Are they all like this? Is this a time of testing boundaries and generally effing with you? I feel like Patrick's lab rat 95% of the time. Is he being sincere, silly, serious, sarcastic? I never have any idea. Not just about the religion thing - it's like every conversation I have with him involves my groping along trying to figure out what he wants from me. It's exhausting. 

Things are a lot simpler with the twinkles, especially since they both know "Yeah" (yaaaaaah) but neither of them has yet twigged to "No."

Do you want zucchini? Yaaaaaaah (until Caroline actually gets the zucchini into her mouth and remembers how much she dislikes it - then she scrapes it off her tongue into a gross little greenish heap on her tray. Edward's like, oh, hey, are you going to eat that?)

I had this weird thunderbolt moment the other day as I was going through photographs. I suddenly realized, "Wow, they are REALLY twins." It had nothing to do with looking the same - or not, as the case may be - but as I glanced at a couple of days worth of pictures I suddenly realized how close they are to each other.

Steve's cousin married a guy who has a twin sister and one of the things he said to me after they were born is "They will be grateful for each other their whole lives. It's a relationship unlike anything else. Very special."

And although at the time I was touched by his obvious affection for his sister part of me looked at my little burritos and thought, yeah, yeah, I'm very close to my brother, too.

I don't know though. It is kinda special.

Can you see Edward's anxious little face in the window? He wasn't sure he wanted to go outside but then they sat there staring at each other for a few moments.
IMG_2176
And out he comes.
IMG_2177

Steve wanted to know if they are able to silently communicate with each other, like ants.

---- oh hell and damnation! I just went upstairs to tuck Patrick in and got this story in a whispered, embarrassed rush: today at school Very Nice Kid and Still Nice But Rather More Spirited Kid were playing with dominoes. Patrick wanted to play too. Their response? You can only play if you believe in God Jesus.

I said, "Oh. I. See. And what did you think about what they said?"

Patrick said, "It didn't hurt my feelings! But I said that's not fair. Can't I just play too?"

"And?"

"No, they said I couldn't if I don't believe."

No wonder he became a convert over dinner - only believers get to play with dominoes. I could kick myself for failing to follow up on Patrick's sudden conversion and for thinking he was being deliberately provocative without reason. I feel guilty and troubled.   

So... now what? Now what do I do? 


Five Minutes at My House

I was sitting on the floor of Steve's office tonight; talking to my mother on the phone. Caroline ran towards me as fast as she could, both hands wrapped around one of the billion little things we have in this house that run on batteries and play thirty second bursts of kids' music. When she reached where I was sitting Cricket bent down and stuffed the whatsit under my skirt and then sat on it. Half a second later Edward lumbered into the office, nostrils flaring. He came over and checked each one of her hands, carefully turning them over to see both sides. Then he walked all the way around us, prodding at me with his fat little palms. Finally he inserted his body sideways between her back and my front, forcing Caroline to stand up. She gave me the blandest of smiles and strolled out of the room. Edward continued to rootle around with my knees until he found the music thing.

J'accuse!

He pressed the button to start the ABC Song and the cold look he gave me was pure Javert: there I was - his own mother! - aiding and abetting a common thief. It was only his dedication to right and order that had enabled him to prevail... aaaaaaand Z; next time won't you sing with meeeeeeeee.

[Hey speaking of Javert et al my mother called the other night and made me look up Susan Boyle on youtube. I was amused by the shock (woman sings really well despite sensible shoes) but dutifully cried anyway. Later I decided to indulge in a bonus cry and was just starting the video again as Patrick walked by. He froze.

"Hey! That's your song!"

And it is true. I have sung Fantine's lament - particularly my favorite bit where it drops into a more manageable range and you can really belt out "...soooooooooo different from this HELL I'M LIVINGGGGGG!" - a couple hundred dozen times during Patrick's lifetime. It is my song.

He listened.

"But it sounds different."

He listened some more.

"It sounds good!"

He walked off.

"Yeah, that's definitely not you."]

Right after Edward left with the music thing (no doubt to extract a confession from Caroline, having secured the necessary evidence) Patrick walked in, fresh from his bath.

"Do you believe in God?" he asked.

"I should let you go," said my mother.

"Raise your hand if you believe in God," said Patrick.

"Byyyyyee!" said my mother.

Then Steve walked in the door, fresh from supervising the bath, and said, "Apparently [kid I quite like at school] told Patrick today that people who don't believe in God are going to hell."

And they both stared at me. Waiting.

Ah.

Well.

Now as it so happens, Patrick got briefly into Greek/Roman mythology last year; backdoor'ed as it were by the close connection between cosmology (Patrick's passion) and astronomy; and the looser connection between astronomy and theology. So we have already had exhaustive conversations about pre-modern times and science and gaps in knowledge and the beliefs and stories that arose to fill those gaps. That was easy. When Patrick - I suppose naturally - pressed me about whether Pluto and Jupiter and Neptune were real, I was all over it. No, I said. When he then asked whether there were other gods or a god and do people still believe in them or what; I was able to tell him that, yes, many people, most people I think, do believe in a divine presence although how they define that and how they worship can differ greatly from country to country, from family to family, and from person to person.

Ultimately, back then, I was able to tell him what I believe and what is most important to me. Namely: it is essential to be kind; it is important to do good things for people; and when it comes to discussions of faith, above all, it is absolutely necessary to be respectful when you deal with the beliefs of others.      
So this evening's catechism put me at something of a disadvantage. Not the part where Patrick was fracking with me about my own beliefs (he knows what I believe; he was just amusing himself at my expense because he loves to ask philosophical/fraught questions five minutes before bedtime and watch me struggle to express myself in 300 seconds or less - at least, that's my theory) but the part where he said: "Yeah [nice kid] said everyone who doesn't believe in God is going to hell. Is this true or was he lying?"

My belief (respect all, blur edges - which might not amount to much in the broader definitions of theism but which I nonetheless hold dear) came screaming up against Patrick's need to have everything quantified and parsed and settled True/False.

And I wasn't quite sure how to respond.

What do you think? How does one handle [insert however you want to define the fact that children go out into the world and then they bring home what they find there; seeking parental input on thorny questions]?

PS I have not forgotten the Paraguard IUD questions. I am still collecting data *ahem* but will report back soon. Tentative thumbs up, though.

PPS Oh and I have NO IDEA why Caroline and Edward are suddenly sleeping much better. They have been two to three hour nappers for months (and yes it is lovely - Patrick would sleep for, like, ten minutes) but the past several nights one or the other has just slept straight through until eight or so. Edward's done with the molars, so that helps. Caroline has one molar left to cut but I think she has gotten used to living with her mouth torn up like a highway in the summertime. I have started offering a cuddle rather than something to eat when they  first summon me - particularly when they wake up before midnight - and both of them have been amenable, for the most part. A few times Caroline clawed at my face and smacked her parched lips together when I offered mere love; so I fed her. Ditto Edward. So far, so good.  

PPPS I just walked into the living room where Steve is sitting more or less in the dark.

"What's up with the lights?" I asked as I flipped the switch to walk across the room.

"Oh, Patrick turned them off."

"If Patrick jumped off a bridge would you?" I said, idly.

Steve stared at me.

"Of course I would."

Oh. Right. Of course he would.


William One and Me

I took Caroline and Edward to Target the other day. While it is nice for them to leave the house every now and again (my secret to Raising Twins Without [Maternal] Tears? stay in the living room. seriously) it meant that I had to get in and get out like Delta Force. In my haste it is not surprising that I made accidental purchases but it is particularly unfortunate that one of these missteps involved two dozen rolls of toilet paper labeled Ultra Mega. I guess I thought - if I thought about it at all, which I probably did not - that Ultra Mega referred to the size of the package when in fact Ultra describes the softness and Mega references the size of the roll, where "mega" is a euphemism for "a toilet paper roll the size of a fucking pumpkin."  The upshot is that I now have a billion of these gigantic rolls of toilet paper that do not fit into any holder in our house. Since one cannot throw away perfectly good personal cleansing tissue just because there is too much of it; a new roll has to perch on the back of the toilet until the circumference has dwindled sufficiently to be stuffed into the wall. It is driving me, ever so slowly, insane. I feel like I am living in a goddamned frat house when I walk into a bathroom and see the roll just sitting there. Are we barbarians? What's next? A kegerator?

In other news we paid our 2008 taxes today and I am pretty sure that I now have more money in my purse than we do in our bank accounts. OH MY GOD. Curse you... realized social system of production exchange distribution and consumption of goods and services.

I look back over the past couple years and I could kick myself for all of the money we spent on things like, oh I don't know, Legos and completely unnecessary but pretty kitchen remodels and rugs and extra shoes. It seemed so reasonable to assume that a lifestyle built upon a healthy combination of investment income and business earnings would be able to withstand the normal vagaries of economic shift but now I want to reach back a couple of years and shake myself until my teeth rattle for not putting everything we had into paying off our mortgage while turning our property into a self-sustaining, wool-producing, solar-powered farm. Well, farmette, I guess. Mini farm. Hobby farm. Holly Hobbie farm. But still. I feel like Gatsby would have in 1930 (if he had, well... I don't want to ruin it for you) - wondering if back in '22 it had been necessary to feed quite so many people quite so many shrimp. Do you know what I mean? Like I wish I had recognized the black cloud on the horizon for the plague of locusts it was because I would have stopped spending money and started cramming it into shoeboxes. Back when we had shoeboxes, what with all the extra shoes. The fact that we have sufficient toilet paper to see us through this, the country's most recent darkest half hour, is of but small consolation. 

I do take comfort in the fact that practically everyone in the world is struggling or worried that they may shortly be struggling; although when you think about it, that fact makes me kind of a bitch doesn't it? For what it's worth my mother, our nonresident bellwether, has recently started saying that things are improving and - unless she is just trying to cheer me up - I have no reason to disbelieve her. She knows things. So how are you doing on this domesday? Better than last year? Worse? The same?

On the plus side of the 15 April 2009 column Caroline slept all night, thirteen hours, and Edward just woke up once for a shish kebab around midnight. When you add their seven pm to eight-thirty am nighttimes to their three hour naps you get sixteen hours of solid babyfree time. I have finally attained my dream of an eight hour work day - and they said motherhood couldn't be unionized.

Speaking of things that are vaguely, well, whatever a woman left a comment on the Edward tossing post that asked, oh hold on, I'll quote it: "Just a quick question, and I've got my asbestos suit on: Is there a reason why you stand around taking pictures, instead of preventing one of your children from potentially injuring the other?" I read this to my mother who burst out laughing and said, "Because you take pleasure in the suffering of the innocent obviously. Next question?"

There really is no answer to this since it is less a question than a statement of assumed facts: 1. that I stood there 2. that there was actual potential for injury and 3. that I could have prevented it. One of the joys of my Christmas camera (you'll note that I did not include the camera in my list of lamented purchases) is that it takes a billion photos a second. I never know what I have until I upload the pictures and start to sift through them. When Caroline and Edward and Patrick were playing on the window seat I was all, snap snap snap snap, and they were up and down and over and rolling around. I didn't realize that she had thrown him over the edge until I looked at the pictures I had taken. Then I laughed for about five minutes - Caroline's mighty squat thrust, Edward shooting backwards like he had been launched from a cannon, Patrick with the damned bowl on his face... hilarious. We had made the space as safe as we could and as far as I am concerned they can play with it as they like. I cannot imagine racing over to keep Caroline from knocking Edward backwards any more than I can imagine making Edward give Caroline back whatever it was she was playing with before she started howling in protest for the millionth time. Or vice versa. Do I look like The Hague? They'll work it out, says I.

But I was intrigued by the notion that the image of Edward with his feet in the air bothered someone enough to prompt their first ever comment and an aggressive passive one at that (blog comments can be categorized thusly: aggressive aggressive, aggressive passive, passive aggressive and passive passive - and then the rest of you are normal.) I am always willing to consider the possibility that I am out of step with mainstream thinking on a topic. Believe it or not, while I reserve the right to defend myself, I quite like the comments that make me stop and think about my own actions or assumptions. Is that window seat hazardous? Should I have dropped my camera and made the children stop shoving each other? Is it possible that I am just a garden-variety sexist and the fact that the little girl was going old school WWF on her brother made me think it was cute rather than dangerous? I don't think so, but I guess I'm willing to consider it. If you were their parent (you lucky dog) would you have tried to stop 20 lb Caroline from pushing 24 lb Edward off a 15 inch high bench onto an 8 inch thick cushion? (show your work)  

Edward's molars are finally in situ and he has been a laugh riot ever since. Eating better, sleeping better, wearing bowls as hats... I take back everything I said about his antisocial tendencies.

IMG_2166

Caroline on the other hand... jeesh.

IMG_2109

I state now for the record: the process whereby baby humans acquire teeth is seriously flawed and as far as I am concerned both evolution and intelligent design owe me a written apology.

PS Go on. Ask me why I sat there taking a picture of Caroline's meltdown rather than smothering her with kisses.

PPPS To recap our questions from today: do oversized toilet paper rolls drive you crazy? do you wish you had been burying gold in your backyard since 1999 and/or do you feel poorer than last year? do you think Edward should have been given a bodyguard? do I look like The Hague? don't you hate teeth? isn't Caroline cute when she's distressed?

I think that covers it.


Another More Than Adequate Friday

So far this is a pretty good Friday.

Patrick, for the first time in recorded history, woke up and then (I can hardly type the words) GOT DRESSED before coming downstairs. Usually he prefers to stay in his pajamas until his life is threatened so his appearance at the breakfast table in pants (honest to god, pants!) added an unexpected touch of civility to the morning. He then watched as I syruped a pancake for him and said, "I could imagine having another daddy but I could never imagine having any other mommy but you."

He followed this up with a pair of calf eyes so large and round they looked like dinner plates.

I am still not sure what he was actually after but I am susceptible enough to emotional manipulation that I promised to take him to the indoor playground later in the morning if he managed not to annoy me between that moment and our departure.

"I AM SIGNIFICANT!" he bellowed (a Calvin and Hobbes quote, no doubt, although the exact relevance escapes me.) "But ok."

Steve agreed to play hookie from work (the bright side of a declining empire? more family togetherness! or so I said to Nero) and we were able to take Caroline and Edward to the playground as well. Cricket took one look at the teeming mass of screaming children and promptly lost her mind. She sprinted towards the steepest, slipperiest fake rock she could find and started to scale it like a gecko. Then she was, like, what do you call this thing? A slide? And you plunge down it headfirst? AWESOME. Edward, meanwhile, promptly sat down in the toddler area next to the fake midget rowboat and studied the situation with that somber expression of his; one hand clutching my sock just in case I had any plans to leave him. We sat there for a good fifteen minutes, not moving, while Caroline flashed by every so often - a tiny blur of green followed by a larger panting Steve. You could hear her crazy little giggle bouncing off the walls, which shocked me because she is not usually so loud. Eventually Edward decided that this so-called "play ground" might be worth investigating. He walked around a bit, and then stopped to examine a mural on the wall depicting two foxes. Caroline ran up behind him.

 "KITTY? KITTY?" she screamed, pointing at the wall before she raced off again.

Edward looked after her like she had just made him bite his tongue. 

"Are they... twins?" a woman asked me.

"Yes."

"Is he the careful one?"

I wanted to point out that not every partnership pairs an out-of-control adrenaline junkie with a methodical thinker just five days from retirement when I noticed Steve trying to disentangle Caroline from the rope bridge under which she was dangling. Edward was sitting again; studying a dirty mark on his sock with obvious concern.

"Yeah," I said. "He's the careful one."       

I took them for their fifteen month appointment this week and for the first time ever I had nothing specific to discuss. We had already talked about Caroline's wait-and-see lumpage so apart from an idle interest in their sizes (Caroline is back on the growth charts in the 10th percentile for weight and the - hold onto your bonnets - 25th to 50th for height. the Tiny One is thirty inches high, a mere inch and a half shorter than superaverage Edward. Grow Cricket Grow!) I was prepared for a short visit. And it was:

Do they walk? Stoop? Climb? Yes.

Have any words? Well, sort of. Does incorrectly identifying wildlife count?

Eat? Caroline, like a hungry gazelle. Edward, more emphatically. Just the other night he devoured an Italian sausage meatball that - pieced back together again - would have been roughly the size of his fiftieth percentile head (Edward and I are the only Head Normals in the family. Patrick has always been in the bottom quartile. Caroline has a head like a mini marshmallow. Steve looks like a bottle of shampoo, all shoulders and then... cap.)

"Do they sleep?" asked the good doctor.

I snorted.

"You aren't still feeding them at night, are you?"

"Wow," I said. "This aquarium print you have here is very bright and whimsical. I'll bet ya'll were thinking of children and their well-known love of color when you chose it, weren't you?"

"How much are they eating at night?" he asked.

"I wonder why they call it a stethoscope? Do you know?"

"Stop feeding them at night. They don't need it. Even this big girl," he said and he boop'ed Caroline on her nose. She gnashed her teeth at him, all friendly-like.

"Fine," I said. Meaning, fine, I will consider your opinion and place it with due regard into the context of other viewpoints on the subject; most notably those expressed by my blog readers this week.

Speaking of which, thank you for your thoughts on the subject of sleeping; perchance to dream of not waking up again for another eight hours. I don't mean to brag but I host the most civilized people here at the Sign o' the Hippogriff. You're all "well, this is just what worked for my family" and "there are many colors in the rainbow; we like indigo." I do love you all. So very much. After our pediatrician scolded me, I read all of your comments. And I remembered the fact that Patrick stopped breastfeeding at a year (because we wanted to have another child and my body is apparently capable of doing only one thing at a time.) Since he never (not once. ever. the little fink) took a bottle we can safely conclude that when I stopped nursing him he stopped eating at night. So by fifteen months he must have been sleeping all night, yes? No? Mostly? I have obviously blacked out the entire thing but evidence supports that I have lived through something similar. Thus buoyed by the trifecta of personal experience, medical authority and internety goodness I took the radical step of.... turning off the baby monitor.

Ta Da.

Down at seven. Both up around two to eat (when they REALLY MEAN IT apparently I can hear them.) Quiet until eight.   

Of course all this means is that I have had two good nights in a row. It does not follow that this will continue. But, hey, two good nights in a row is TWO GOOD NIGHTS IN A ROW. If I could I would tango.

A couple of random baby pictures:

Edward, with his love of all things circle, eats round noodles in a very specific way. If they get squished in the process he won't eat them; he tosses the broken ones at Caroline. He's a lovable little loon, in some ways similar to Patrick (aged two in this picture) who had his own funny little quirks.

Finally, easy breezy Caroline, queen of the world.

Enjoy your weekends. Happy Easter if you celebrate it.

Patrick, after losing another tooth this week:

"You expect me to believe in both a tooth fairy and an Easter bunny? No. I won't."

[pause]

"But I still want my dollar."

[pause]

"And the eggs and candy and stuff."

[long pause]

"Wait, what do you want me to believe?"

And another secular humanist totters to his knees. 

PS Not to bite the hand that feeds me but is that ad over there actually urging us to raise "the best" babies? Not that we shouldn't all go check out what they have to say - perhaps via that handy link - but really? Can one grade babies like so many jumbo vs extra large eggs?

PPS True Mom Confessions, on the other hand, could qualify as a guilty pleasure; up there with America's Next Top Model. The opportunities for judging... oh the judging.


Jericho

"Mr Gorbachev," said Caroline, "tear down this wall!"

Baby Jail is no more and a careful examination of this photo will tell you why. Late last week I glanced over from my guard tower, noted that both finkles were present and was about to return to the decadent self-indulgence of unloading a dishwasher without toddler assistance when... hey. Wait a minute. One of those twins is not like the other.

Damn it.

Here I was thinking the shades of the prison-house were sufficiently snug around the growing boy/girl but it turns out that for Caroline stone walls do not a prison make, nor plastic bars a cage.

Once she started shoving around the sides of Baby Jail like ephemeron it became more of a hazard than a model child containment system. Especially since Edward is a born follower (ha HA! he was. born following, that is, and backasswards - a fact which still surprises me) and an awkward climber; not to mention top-heavy with his bowling ball head. So the wall came a'tumbling down. I will miss Baby Jail. The fact that I can no longer safely incarcerate them means that I exist in a state of cat-like readiness, hardly daring to blink lest they, oh I don't know, give themselves black eyes with whimsically styled pushcars or something. On the other hand we did get almost a year out of it and I suppose it will be nice to finally get the baby rights activists off my back: Free the Hippogriffs Two!

Have I mentioned that I find being a parent during the toddler period kinda... oh how to say... is there a word that means "that which is simultaneously stressful and yet tedious"? Because, yes, it is a magical period of daily growth and discovery, and being able to share each and every precious moment of dazzled childlike wonder is a gift beyond measure but singing I'm a Little Teapot fifteen times in a row is a drag. So is not being able to turn your back for a second because even the smartest under-two has the intellect of a suicidal Pomeranian and in the time it takes to pull a pair of socks onto chilblained feet your child can fall backwards off a miniature golf-cart and then pull the entire thing down on her face. And when I say "miniature" I mean it is obviously not a real golf cart but, still, the damned thing weighs at least ten pounds.

Mistakes were made.   

Now that the jail is gone the children can access the window seat at the end of the kitchen. As far as they are concerned this is the greatest thing that has ever happened to them. Edward was a little slow at realizing he cannot fly so we threw some couch cushions down to minimize the head trauma. Which is fortunate since Caroline seems to have intuited the rules to King of the Mountain (was it Joseph Campbell who wrote about archetypes and the notion of the collective subconcious?)

Observe where her hands are in this picture:

IMG_1912  

Yes, that would be one hand palming the back of Edward's head while the other grips his face. She then used the leverage thus gained to do this:

IMG_1913  

She tossed him like Gimli. Patrick, to add a touch of the bizarre, narrated the battle in a vaguely Spanish-sounding accent from behind a Rubbermaid container.

Sometimes my children amuse me more than others.

Caroline and Edward have both been sleeping terribly, presumably because Caroline and Edward are getting all of their molars, but it is also possible they are out to get me. Just because you're paranoid et cetera. Edward has been incredibly cranky during the days; so much so that I finally asked Steve over the weekend if he thinks it is possible that Edward might be a sociopath. Something about the way he had been following me around for hours - screaming and beating on my kneecaps with board books - had me worried. Why are the pretty ones always insane? But about the nighttime. It's like my life is divided into two wholly distinct parts: one is the pleasant if somewhat dull round of food preparation and food procurement and laundry and dishes and whatnot (whatnot includes keeping heavy objects from landing on Caroline's face; you may judge for yourselves how successful I am at this.) The other is a murky Tim Burton'esque netherworld in which it is perfectly reasonable for weeks to go by during which I get up with one child or another three or four or five times between the hours of midnight and six am. And after about eight or ten days in a row of this I think, "Oh my gott in hummel figurines! Enough! Tomorrow I will Take Steps." But then tomorrow rolls around and I will have had a solid two or three hours sleep before the carpool leaves and everything will feel shiny and new again. Like, I will have forgotten how much I hated everyone and it will no longer be my personal mission to make sure they all rue (rue) the day (day).

The other night (pre attack of the molars) I went up to Edward at four in the morning. He wasn't hungry. He didn't want to be held. He didn't want to hear me sing something from the Old Country (hail to the redskinsssss, hail vic-tor-eeeeee... .) I was, like, what what what WHAT DO YOU WAAAAAAANT? And then I pieced together the evidence (he was sitting in his crib crying and holding up a board book, all piteous.)

"Oh," I said. "You want me to turn the lights up so you can see your book? Even though it is four in the morning? Fine. Done."

So I did. And he stopped crying.

I thought it was pretty cute. I mean, cute for a book obsessed potential sociopath, and I decided to just hand him a stack of books at bedtime, ratchet up the dimmer switch and see if that would cure his need to summon me at all hours. Have I talked about how much Edward likes books? Well he does. A lot. Edward can spend enormous quantities of time flipping though books. Unlike a young Patrick, however, he does not particularly like having someone read to him. I cannot quite figure out the appeal but I am also not going to argue with anything that involves so much quiet sitting and so little hitting me.

IMG_1675    IMG_1677    IMG_1676          

Caroline likes books, too, but she's more of the MacGyver type and sees them as a good way to climb higher, particularly when stacked. A more literal interpretation of the old Books Can Take You Places maxim.

Anyway, my attempts to gain some extra sleep (did I just write "extra"? that is sad) via the all access library met with some initial success and then hard sharp pointy things started erupting everywhere (Edward had an actual bloody mouth; I've never seen such a thing) and it all went to hell again. 

So, a question for you my-children-sleep-all-night types: what happens when your kids get sick or feel like their gums are being shredded by broken glass? This is - hand to my heart - a sincere question. Like if you have... previously Taken Steps to enable your child to return themselves to slumber without room service on speed dial (note how carefully I am avoiding specifically referencing the C, the I, and the O) does this carry over into times of increased neediness? Caroline has wanted me to hold her while she sleeps for the past few nights but when she is feeling well she tends to be able to sleep without a spotter. I expect when the teeth are through she will go back to her old habits again. Edward, though, is another mackerel altogether.

And now I have basketball to watch. I am rooting for the underdog but I suspect that North Carolina will prevail.

PS Thanks for the nice comments. I was feeling out of sorts and insecure and I was very touched that you all took the time to cheer me up.

PPS Yes. Law school. Dropped out like Frenchie, pink hair (or black liver) and all. Not much of a story there - or rather a Cheeveresque one, steeped in alcohol and disenchantment - but I'll tell it to you later, if you like.   


Six Thousand Words

You might be right about the weather affecting my mood. The sun is out, the snow has melted and I no longer feel like lying on the floor with pennies over my eyes: when Cameron was in Egypt's land; let my Cameron gooooooooo. There was also a comment on that last post - and now I cannot remember what it was exactly or who left it, sorry - but it made me go, hey! She's very clever. It was something about... I can't remember damn it,  but it prompted me to think about how I had once believed (naively. or arrogantly. or both) that I had traded my early adulthood worries (money, mainly, and my inability to ever earn more than I spent) for middle adulthood worries. No give-backs, Thelma. Now, however, the economy is smoldering in a crater and I looked at those old pictures and I looked at some new pictures and I thought, "What the fuck? I am worrying about money again AND the skin around my eyes is losing its elasticity? Unfair!"

But that was Wednesday. This is Friday. I have reassessed my photographic evidence and come to some random new conclusions:

Fourteen. I was pretty freaking cute. I have cropped out my first high school boyfriend because even then it was evident that he would grow up to be a person who would cheerfully sue me for posting a photograph of him without both his expressed written and implied oral consent. Not that he was a jerk. He wasn't. He was just... over-parented.

Sixteen. This picture was taken by That Facebook Guy, he of the Miranda, and it is obvious that: 1) it was a beautiful Spring day in a city where it NEVER SNOWS IN APRIL; but 2) I was unable to appreciate this fact because I was torturing myself over a guy who was about to break up with me. Again. What a waste of sixteen.

Twenty. SUNSCREEN. Jesus. My lips are freckled. Years from now I hope we are all still together and when I complain about the fact that my face is peeling off my skull in strips please remind me that at least I enjoyed that trip to Tela. Thank you.

Twenty-two. Um, what can I say, this picture makes me laugh. Steve said good LORD how drunk were you? The true-false answer is: very. The essay question answer is: this was my going away party. I have no idea who the guys are. Wait, the one who is about to eat me was a bartender... Mike? Matt? I was leaving my waitressing job to go to law school and everyone stole from the restaurant a little parting gift for me. Many people seemed to think that an appropriate offering would be grain-based (see the true-false) but one thoughtful guy brought me the entire case they used to fill the feminine hygiene dispenser. It lasted me for YEARS. Oh, and I just this second remembered that I also received a marble-topped cocktail table and two matching wrought-iron chairs. What the hell ever happened to those, I wonder. They were not the sort of things you'd accidentally misplace.        

I found this picture in a folder with xrays of Steve's hand. Why did I put it there? I don't know. I considered cropping Steve out like usual and just leaving Darwin the kitten but decided that only I would find that funny. I also contemplated photoshopping the sunglasses into a trim Amish beard (who dangles glasses under their chin like this?)

And this is from this week. I look thirty-seven. But you know what? THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH LOOKING THIRTY-SEVEN. So there. Besides, I look happy and I am happy. Elasticity (and finances) be damned.

PS I think this is the only time I said I would come back to something in my next post and I actually did it. Maturity in action, right there.