Tuesday, March 31, 2015


We take the kids to the Y on Tuesday evening almost every week. Nico has a half-hour private swim lesson and I try to get Elliott to practice swimming skills with me for at least fifteen minutes of that time. MB takes N through the men's changing room and gets him dressed, and I take E into the women's with me. He usually spends the time after his post-swim shower running around in his wearable towel, chatting with anyone who will listen while I get dressed. Last week, there were a half-dozen ladies changing after an aquacise class while we were getting dressed to go home. E ran around and chatted with some of them, they joked that they were ready to put on their pajamas. It was one of those times when the shared-jokes togetherness of a crowd feels inclusive and happy rather than awkward and odd-one-out, if that makes sense. And then, as I laid E on the bench to put him in his diaper and footie pjs, he started to sing the ABCs and the whole locker room joined in. Ladies of the YMCA changing room, you are what's right with the world.

There was a peaceful rally organized in town on Monday to protest the ridiculous new Religious Freedom Restoration Act signed into law last week. (Summary here for those who don't follow George Takei on facebook.) After some thought, I decided to take the kids to the rally, even though they're too young to truly understand why we went. I settled on telling Nico, "We are here because we believe everyone should be treated fairly," and "It's not fair to be mean to someone just because they're different from us." Other than one guy, the crowd was friendly and polite, and wonderfully diverse. Dozens of drivers honked and waved or gave thumbs-up as they drove by. People were really sweet to the kids. I'm very glad we went, even if Nico mostly seemed to think we were there for a fun picnic and has been asking when we can go on another picnic.

I recently friended one of the other moms from Nico's preschool class on facebook, after finding out her very sweet daughter is in the same public school district as we are and will therefore be going to Nico's elementary school next fall. The two of them showed up at the protest, too, so you can imagine my joy at discovering I managed to make school-friends with another social justice-leaning liberal. At one point N and his school friend and another little boy were running around with sidewalk chalk, drawing lines and maps to X marks the spot. A woman came over to the X at the end of their line and put some money down, and told them it was their treasure. Come on, now. Nicest political protesters of all time.

It was pretty great to have my faith in people's general goodness and generosity of spirit confirmed many times over in the wake of a week of frustration about the appalling new law. Sometimes it feels like the universe knows when some balance is dearly needed.

Reading:  (just finished) I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Playing: this song, whenever my kids aren't around requesting their beloved Sesame Street album again:

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


1. The fabulous @aprilbapryll found a very nice little blue truck option on eBay (thanks, April!). After pondering for an entire morning I ended up ordering one for each of the kids. They were a little spendy, but the boys like them so I'm happy.

2. Spring weather has finally arrived! We are practically drunk with it after a long snowy winter that overstayed its welcome. The first day I put Elliott in a T-shirt for his nap, he was perplexed by the short sleeves. He kept trying to tug them down over his arms.

3. Work has been crazycakes for a little while now, and I suspect when the last two weeks are tallied up, I'll have logged a few hours of actual overtime in each of them. Since I'm supposed to work no more than 32 hours a week, logging 42 is kind of significant. I'm glad to be doing the things I'm doing, but I'm tired and hoping things ease up once we make it through this week.

4. Due to working late / bringing extra work home, I have once again failed to complete a photo book before the Shutterfly code ran out, but I did have fun going through pictures from 2013 for the attempt. The year that Nico was three and Elliott was wee!

5. We went to the zoo on Sunday, where the boys spent the afternoon looking huge and capable and handsome.

6. I took the boys to the mall on Monday to use Elliott's free birthday carousel ride coupon and to get the warranty inspection done on my engagement ring. The jewelry store had closed since our last stop there back in September, and while we were wandering around looking for it, I noticed a hermit crab kiosk. The hermit crab lady was way less pushy than the foreign makeup / lotion / nail treatment pusher guys, but I ended up impulse-buying a hermit crab for Nico. I can't even blame him, because he was clueless and didn't even notice them until I asked him if he wanted one. It seemed like a good idea at the time. The one he picked out is feisty and missing one claw, which it will supposedly regenerate the next time it molts. Now I'm concerned because once we got home and read the paper that came with the crab, I learned that hermit crabs typically use their small claw to eat and drink and their large claw for defense. I'm going to be pissed if our crab starves because he's missing his small claw. The paper also says they're social creatures that do well in groups, but I told Nico we have to wait a month and see how this one is doing before we buy another one. Maybe I need a small tattoo somewhere that says "Seemed like a good idea at the time" to remind myself that I occasionally do these things and then wonder why later. Crabby is pretty cute, though, in a crabby sort of way.

Reading:  I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Playing:  the Sesame Street CD from Elliott's birthday

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

ten in ten

1. I'm extra glad I managed to record Elliott naming the animals in Bear Snores On, because the week after I did he abruptly shifted loyalty. He now requires all three Beep Beep books at bedtime, also known as Little Blue Truck, Little Blue Truck Leads the Way, and Little Blue Truck's Christmas (Elliott title: Beep Beep Trees). Luckily for me I kind of adore the Beep Beep books, for they are easy to read and have utterly charming illustrations. In fact, if you find yourself buying a gift for a child between birth and age three anytime soon, I would definitely recommend any or all of the set. The original tale is only $3.97 on Amazon right now, which is almost criminally cheap. It's such a great book! Amazon also informs me there's another Beep Beep installment due out in September (the #1 upcoming release in children's farm life books, apparently). I will now await its debut with nervous anticipation...will it live up to the other three? Will Elliott still love Beep Beep in the fall?

2. I discovered Beep Beep when Nico was a toddler. I had checked out another book from the library illustrated by Jill McElmurry, Hound from the Pound, and loved the pictures. A few weeks later I was at Barnes & Noble and the title Little Blue Truck caught my eye due to Nico's vehicular obsession. I recognized the illustrations immediately and bought the book that day. We have loved it ever since, so I guess sometimes it's safe to judge a book by its cover.

3. I'm disappointed that there aren't any reasonably-priced toy little blue trucks on the market. Nico has a larger-than-Matchbox diecast vintage pickup truck that could easily pass for Beep Beep, but it's black. I've scoured the internet and checked at the three stores where we typically buy toys, to no avail. So if anyone happens to come across an old-fashioned blue toy pickup truck, that doesn't cost one meelion dollars, please buy it and I will pay you back for cost plus shipping.

4. Nico has a nice secondhand jacket that he started wearing in the fall, seen here. Apparently he had no idea the coat had pockets, because yesterday we were at the credit union depositing tax return money into the kids' accounts when he discovered them. He was putting away the little prize he got for making a deposit (a tiny plastic butterfly finger puppet) and announced with obvious amazement that hey! This jacket has pockets! Then, with even greater amazement, he cried, "Mama, there's MONEY in my pocket!" I think the $4 he found must've come with the jacket. His mind was completely blown and it was the greatest. I can remember getting $5 for my birthday when I was around eight years old and thinking that was awesome. I can only imagine the majesty of $4 at age five. I told him, you could buy a Matchbox with that and he exclaimed "RIGHT NOW?" So we went to Target, where he carefully examined many options before settling on a $3.99 Monster Jam truck (I always pay his sales tax).

5. Elliott received a CD of platinum hits from Sesame Street for his birthday and it has been the biggest hit with both kids. They especially love C is for Cookie, Monster in the Mirror, and I Love Trash. Even though I never watched Sesame Street much as a kid, I'm a fan of this CD as well, and particularly like I Don't Want to Live on the Moon, though I thought it was Kermit singing rather than Ernie.

My plan to come up with ten things in ten minutes did not work - it ended up more like five in fifteen. I think I'm happy with this compromise.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

A thing I want to remember

One morning last week, I was driving Nico to school while he chattered away in the backseat. The snow we'd gotten the week before had gone through many cycles of the very top layer melting and refreezing, so there was (is) a giant continuous block of frozen snow covering everything. "It looks like a big cake," Nico said, "like a big snow cake." And it really did. "I don't think just one kid could eat it," he mused. "It would probably take a thousand kids. If it was just one kid having a little slice of the cake, he would never be able to eat the whole thing."