Hot Timbale
Give Me Your Hands

Punchline

Just when I was absolutely convinced that our pediatrician was crazy and Edward did not just have a virus and he was not going to just get better on his own... Edward got better. Thursday he was hot and damp like the tropics; Friday he was cool and grouchy like a Scottish isle. So I guess I was wrong when I chewed my bottom lip and said, "I just KNOW he has some weird bacterial infection; I just know it!" In defense of my hand-wringing and pointed referral to biotics and that which is anti, the week played out a lot like June only with the part of "Patrick" being played by a shorter but similarly featured newcomer we call Dreadward. There was the fever that was high and continued to be high. There was the lack of any other identifiable symptoms. There was the fact that no one else in the house was sick or had been sick or gave any indication that they might be getting sick. And it's not like Edward carpools to Cub scouts on Tuesday nights - it is still a mystery how he managed to be felled by a germ that bypassed the rest of the family; especially Caroline aka Licky McLikerson. But there it is. His doctor swore it was a virus and that he would be better by Friday morning and he was. Which is good because Friday afternoon we packed up the whole family and took them to spend the weekend at a waterpark.

Just typing that sentence made me laugh. I know, I know; that's some Grade A parenting right there, isn't it? But the weekend was a gift - a very generous gift - from Steve's birthmother and his one (birthhalf)sister was flying in from California to meet up with us while the other was coming up with our two (birthhalf)nieces... there was no way we could have missed this weekend if it was at all possible to get there. So we went and we had a lot of fun; even Edward. Although at times he was a bit more blue than a non-Smurf mother likes to see her non-Smurf offspring; he rallied admirably and he absolutely loved the midget slides.

"Mooooore? Mooooooore?" he would bellow, wrapping his arms and legs around me like a baby chimp and kicking his heels into my flanks in an effort to get me to canter.

I was anxious about the waterpark before we went. Second only to what might happen if I let Caroline and Edward eat unquartered grapes while bouncing on a trampoline, I worry most frequently about the twins and water. The idea of taking them to a massive, public, partially submerged playground originally struck me as absurd; but it was such a nice offer and it is so rare that the families are able to be together that I decided to suck it up. Besides, his birthmother treated us to two babysitters (one while the twins napped so we could all go on the big waterslides with Patrick; and then one on Saturday night so we could go out to eat like civilized people) and apparently my maternal angst can have the crap beaten out of it when confronted by my maternal desire to ditch my children for three hours in a row. So we all had a very nice time and with seven adults there was always someone to hold Edward or share a raft with Patrick or take Caroline on an Atlantian adventure.

-- Last night I went up to Caroline after bedtime and realized that for the past week or so she has been making a joke. You should have seen her relief when I finally got it. It goes like this:

Caroline (standing in her crib, arms up): Ah!

Me (or Steve): Bedtime.

Caroline (pointing toward the floor): Cat?

Steve (or me) (crouching to peer under her crib): What? Is there a cat in here? Is Kelvin under your bed?   

Caroline: NO!

And then she would laugh. We, naturally, thought she was making us crawl around on our hands and knees just for the hell of it but when I laughed last night and said, "Oh no, I'm not falling for that one again" she laughed so hard she fell over.

Edward favors more physical comedy. Namely, I say, "Come here so I can change your diaper" and he runs away as fast as his stocky legs can take him, laughing like a maniac. Today I was folding clothes (oh FINE. I never fold clothes. I simply cram them into drawers. but I do sort them)... so today I was sorting clothes on my bed and Edward came to get me. It was obvious I was supposed to follow him so I did. He went into the living room and around the couch and then into the kitchen and around the table and then into the laundry room. He started laughing as we walked and when we got into the laundry room Caroline leaned out from her favorite hiding place on the bench and said "Bo!" Then she and Edward DIED with how funny it was.  

Speaking of being highly amused: my last book ad was for something that looked very civilized and book-clubby; three generations of women tied by music etc. So I pointed out the book ads in that last post and adjusted my horn-rimmed spectacles and said something highbrow about how nice it is that we have been collectively recognized for being bookish. Then five seconds later I got an ad for the novel Viking Heat. Steve read the blurb and was, like, "WHAT? Navy SEAL time-travels to become a Viking whatnow? Are you kidding me?" He opined that this must be the dumbest premise for a romance novel ever. I pointed out that the Outlander series did ridiculously well and that was basically the same thing (World War II nurse and the Scottish rebellion but hey, I read it AND the sequel AND the next sequel and I think the one after that until I got to some part where they were on a river on a boat in America and... my eyes rolled back into my head.) Anyway, I mean no disrespect to either Viking Heat or the genre and if you feel like anything between a fond chuckle and a roaring laugh I invite you to check out the excerpt via the handy link. Although my taste in romance lies squarely in the Regency period (lots of dampened muslin and rules. I like rules) I can see the possible appeal of Vikings. No, really.

--  A few things, mostly about Edward:

Edward has a very deep voice. I was wondering if I had just been noting this in comparison to Caroline who essentially squeaks rather than speaks but a friend a few weeks ago mentioned it when she saw him and this weekend the subject came up again. His voice is a little raspy and a bit chesty and I suspect it is related to his previous troubles with aspirating (yes? maybe? all that stuff going down and coming up and going down again?) but it is adorable in its own way. My fantasy is to set Caroline and Edward up as an anchor team with Caroline covering the serious pieces like floods and triple homicides in her helium chipmunk voice and Edward doing the fluff pieces from the mustard museum in his serious little growl. They would rock the Saturday morning slot.

Edward likes cars, as I have mentioned, but I think he was born to ride a motorcycle. There is virtually nothing he cannot do on his pushcar and the way he makes that thing corner at top speed by kicking out one heel and pulling up on the handlebars is nothing short of genius. One of my absolute favorite moments is when I am sitting on the living room floor and Edward pulls in going backwards. The look he gives me as he pauses in the archway is pure Steve McQueen. In a word: Edward is cool. And speaking of cars Edward thinks that everything with wheels is a car, unless it is obviously a truck in which case he calls it a tractor.

Every time Edward sees an animal he waves and says, "Hiiiiii!" and then he blows a kiss. When a deer shows up in the yard he runs to get his stuffed deer so he can hold it up to the window. I have yet to figure out whether he is showing the real deer his deer or his deer the real deer. Either way it is beyond cute.

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Edward is very good at looking thoughtful.

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When he is very amused by something he wrinkles his nose.IMG_5846

Caroline likes to give Edward sneak attack kisses. He loves it.

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(the first and last ones are worth a click to make them bigger. her expressions are funny and you get the full force of Edward's nose wrinkle.)

During dinner last night Patrick said "Caroline, say knock knock" and, in much the same way she would cheerfully leap off a bridge or plunge into a burning building if Patrick indicated that such actions would please him, she obliged.

"Nok nok!" she said

"Who's there?"

"Nok nok!" she repeated.

"Who's there?"

"Nok nok!" Every time she did it Patrick laughed. So she kept doing it. After fifteen minutes I considered throwing a napkin over her like you might do with a parrot.

Edward is adding more recognizable words daily (peach, again, slide) and Caroline has moved on to slang. As Edward and I read the 100 trucks book for the 10 millionth time (he likes the car transporter) Caroline sashayed over to us, "Whoah cool" she said. It is possible she wasn't being sarcastic but I dunno, there was an edge to her voice that sounded like pure junior high. When I called my mother and asked Cricket to repeat the whoah (it is a cross between wow and whoa) she said, "No way no no no" and shaking her head she picked up another phone handset and pointedly started having an imaginary conversation with someone who was neither me nor my mother. Thirteen (give or take twelve years) can be such a difficult age. 

Finally, returning to the subject of potty training, I don't mean to brag but Caroline seems to be displaying a genius in this area that borders almost upon the occult. Her ability to tell you what has just happened is unparalleled. Like when she says, "Wet! Pee!" and races for the bathroom it means that she is wet because she has just peed. Or when I take off her diaper and let her run around in the altogether she will unfailing start tugging at my knee and say, "Wet!" And sure enough it IS now wet under the dining room table. I know! It's totally spooky. Just imagine the implications. Seconds after the officials blow the whistle Caroline will be able to tell you who won the big game. Moments after a politician finishes his concession speech Caroline will be able to announce that his rival was elected. The horses will scarcely be back in the barn before Cricket's trifecta winners will be picked.

Seriously, I am trying to have faith. I believe you when you say that she has both the desire and the capacity but... could you talk me through the specifics a little? When Patrick was finally ready - oh let's just say "around three'ish" - the what and the how of potty training were evident to him; it was the why of the whole thing with which he struggled. Oh certainly I could do that, he would say, but I prefer not to do so. Caroline in bright-eyed contrast is more than willing to give it the old pre-preschool try but something seems to be losing in the translation. I keep trying to tell her that she needs to let me know before she goes but it turns out "before" is kinda an esoteric concept. Do I just keep letting her run around making puddles like a puppy? I did buy her a pair of underpants at Target (speaking of which, do they make these things any smaller than 2T/3T - the label says it fits down to 20 lbs but they must mean 20 lb children whose weight is in their spare tire because Caroline can barely keep them on, elf maiden that she is) and she just as cheerfully wets those as well. I don't know. Please help me. Oh and I SUPPOSE you can yell at me if you like (I am looking at you, late commenter) but you should know I actually don't very much like being yelled at.          

Caroline brings over books and shouts "Singing?" while thrusting both arms into the air. Not sure what the arms are about but the books she brings always have some parts that are sung (Boynton, mainly, although like with my beloved Frances books I always wonder what the songs are supposed to sound like - what do dinosaurs singing a dinosaur song really sing?) So I sing and she and Edward dance. Caroline is a great dancer. She has rhythm and she moves her shoulders and undulates her hips (over Christmas the family decided that Steve is most likely just nominally Latvian in origin and more than a touch gypsy - this is an observation that is a lot less loaded in the States than in Europe, just so you know, and also we were only partly kidding; he has a Romany look about him as does Cricket, don't you think?) Edward dances by shaking his head and picking up his feet without bending his knees. The word lumber was coined just for him.  

Finally finally a picture of Edward again because I think he is so pretty. And because he dances like a bear.

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PS As always I appreciate your checking out my advertisers. Viking Heat! Rwoar.

PPS I have an essay in October's REDBOOK which should be hitting newsstands right... about... now. I'm thrilled to be all national and public even if the piece is about my loserish inability to make friends for, like, a decade.

PPS I am truly sorry it took so long to update.

PPPS Huh, my ad expired. Nevermind. Next time!

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