Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Trouble with Gay Marriage

I know, I know. Everyone who knows me just knows I support gay marriage because they think I have this lofty ideal that people ought to be able to pursue happiness, so long as it doesn't harm someone else. They probably also think that I foolishly believe that two people who love each other cannot possibly threaten my marriage to Ed. In fact, they probably go so far as to think that gay marriage is an absolute, non-issue to me - as in, I cannot fathom a reason that people get all anxious about this subject (explained more eloquently by Therese).

And guess what? They're right - or at least they were before November 1. Because before November 1, this issue was largely a theoretical one to me. But on November 1, that all changed because on November 1, my friends Nikki and Jana tied the knot in a lovely church ceremony in DC. I was lucky enough to attend the ceremony and much of the reception. I left during dinner to feed Helen and attempt (in vain) to put her to sleep for the night (sorry babysitter, I thought I was being helpful!) and pick-up Ed (who had spent the day with the kids opting to do something other than sit quietly for an hour, since that is something neither he nor the kids do well).

But when the serious partying started, on an unbelievably gorgeous November day, at my friends' unbelievably gorgeous new home, I finally figured out why some people disagree with me and think that gay marriage is wrong.

No beer.

Wine, hard cider, and pretty much every alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink you can imagine were served with seemingly no end. But beer? Ed and his friend Dan reported that there was no beer at the reception. that's the trouble with gay marriage. I get it now. Thanks for pointing that out! And guess what, it can be solved - easily in fact.

So now, let's get back to letting people love each other and get that stupid Prop 8 in CA overturned, and get gay marriage legalized across the country.

Why do I care? Because the more of my friends who get married, the more opportunities I have to pursue a hobby I took up when I was planning my own wedding - cake baking!

(And yes, this is the cake I baked for the occasion that was absolutely devoured by their guests. I set aside a piece for Connor - who helped bake and decorate this cake - only to find a particularly unscrupulous guest who came into town just for the wedding eating it. Thankfully, I was able to snag another and Kellee kept her mitts off it.


Monday, February 23, 2009

My litte orthodontist

Proving that Connor forgets nothing...when Ed received a pair of pliers for Christmas, he made a wisecrack about how he could use them to pull teeth. Two months later, he was using the pliers to fix something around the house and Connor decided to pick them up.

Connor, be careful with those pliers.

But my tooth needs to be pulled out.

Well...OK then. Sorry to interfere.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

In a nutshell

Daddy, why can't we leave Helen alone?

Because we can't trust her.

Does that mean she'll eat rocks, try to go down stairs, play in the toilet, throw toys in the trash ...?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Happy Month 16!

Dear Helen,

A few days ago, you turned the ripe old age of 16 months. I remember exactly what Connor was doing at this stage A quick look back reminded me what was going on, and you know what? As different as the two of you are, there is one thing that is the same. You LOVE playing peek-a-boo. How you have not managed to smash your fingers, I do not know. You are constantly going into a room, closing the door, and then peeking out and saying "boo". And then you laugh, oh, how you laugh.

Your vocabulary is exploding and while I wouldn't say non-family members understand your words, I do, and your dad does. But most of all, Connor seems to understand, and that is probably the most important. Last Sunday, we were playing at an indoor park and Daddy asked you if you'd like to play or eat and plain as day, you surprised no one by saying "eat", except it was a bit of a surprise that you could say "eat". You also picked up "Mike" instantly and a bajillion other words and you have also, infrequently, strung a couple of words together. Your most reliable communication tool is still your made-up sign for more, which is you pointing with your index finger of your right hand into the palm of your left hand. It's often done rather insistently, and is equally likely to mean you want to continue getting something as you'd like to have something. The confusion this universal sign causes has been noted frequently as your dad or I say "what, what? Can you point to what you want? Can you show me?" while you scream that we are incompetent fools.

We spent a week away skiing and you cried quite tragically the first morning we went to the mountain without you, but it lasted fewer than two minutes (I know, because I was standing outside the door ready to save you, if needed) and I'm not even sure you noticed our departure other days. And really, who would? On the days we took Connor with us in the morning, you had two grandparents willing to play peek-a-boo almost endlessly, read books to you, play with your dolly with you, and generally indulge you in just about anything you wanted. Except the stairs. It was a spiral staircase and for my sanity, you were not allowed to climb it. And amazingly, you understood this rule. You often would go to the stair, look around, and then say "sit, sit, sit" (only we all know from last month that your "sit" sounds like something else) and sit down on the bottom step. It was a fairly convincing act, pretending like you had no desire to climb higher. A few times each day, though, you would somehow con your dad or I into following you all the way up that gigantic staircase and it was frightening every time because you could easily have fallen out the bannister - or even between the steps. You loved getting about halfway up and then calling out the names of everyone you could beneath you so they could either faint or applaud you.

You found your first friend, and no surprise, it's Mia - or MiMi as you call her. You see, our au pair decided to leave with ONE DAY'S NOTICE - two days before we were moving - and I almost had a heart attack. Lucky for me, THREE women in my mom's group totally saved me from losing it (Susan was willing to share her nanny, Ellen followed-up on an au pair ad she'd seen, and Laurie said we could drop you off at her house). Ultimately, you and Connor went over to Laurie's home 4 days each week and as Scott put it, Zoe adopted you, and you adopted Mia. Each morning you would arrive and Zoe, or "ZoZo" as you call her, would feed you breakfast. Never mind that you had already eaten breakfast. Then you and Mia would do whatever it is babies do all day, and then all night long you would chant "MiMi, ZoZo" over, and over, and over. And when our new au pair finally arrived, it took a little getting used to not seeing your girls each day, though we still see them quite often.

You learend the words to an Sandra Boynton favorite, Moo, Bah, Lalala - and even added your own actions to the last page. When the reader says "It's quiet now, what do you say" you shush everyone very gently. You can identify most of the animals in Brown Bear, Brown Bear, and you walk around saying "book, book" all the time, even though often you only wish for the first couple of pages to be read. Either that, or you think the reader stinks and you carry off the book as soon as possible to stop the displeasure you are feeling.

You are excellent at anticipating things, and this is naturally a problem, because you DO NOT want to be left without me, and if that happens, you would like your dad near you. On the ski trip, everyone was shocked at how quickly you seemed to pick up that you were being left behind. Eveyone, except me, because I'm around you enough to know that if you even begin to smell a rat, you start to nurse and cling.

You got eight new teeth. All at once. While we were on vacation. It wasn't pretty. But, given the circumstances, you seemed to do remarkably well.

You toddle everywhere you go, you are indignant whenever someone suggests you can't do everything your brother can, you make friends everywhere we go together, and your smile lights a room. You grunt all the time, get mad when you are not understood, yet you remain the BEST SNUGGLER EVER. You like to clean things, carry bowls of snacks around, and if dinner does not appear on time - watch out, chef, because you and your brother are like buzzards circling roadkill.

When your brother was this age, I heard the song "You Ruined Everything" and Helen, it's true with you too.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Start Your Engines!

The runway in our home that extends from the living room, through the kids' play kitchen area, through my kitchen, through the dining room, and finally into the sitting room has made for some excellent drives through the house by the little people. It is also possible to make a loop through the first floor, so drivers need not stop to back up and turn around. At this point, Connor looks like Richard Petty compared to Helen's old lady on a Sunday drive impression. Eventually, I suspect the races will be a bit more thrilling than they are now.

At some point on Sunday, Connor decided he no longer needed the little white bar on his vehicle of choice, because he didn't want Helen to be able to stand up and push him from behind. This has resulted in him falling off the back more times than I can count. I mentioned to him he might want to put the bar back on and he stubbornly told me "I like falling off the back" and then promptly did it and went so far as to pretend it didn't hurt when he landed on his tail end, just to prove his point. You got me there, big guy.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Dinner time!

In our last house, the kitchen was tiny. It was impossible to open the dishwasher and the refrigerator at once. We had so few countertops that we kept our microwave in the basement on some utility shelves, rather than devote any of our precious counter space to it. As our realtor described it, it was a "one butt" kitchen. The driving factor behind our decision to renovate or move was the kitchen.

Our new kitchen is spacious. It even has an "eat-in" area, which we converted into Connor and Helen's kitchen. Thanks to my parents for this gift - because the two of them have already spent hours in it. They start cooking almost whenever they see an adult cooking in the main piece of the kitchen.

They bring me all manner of delicious treats. And both Helen and Connor love pretending to eat the food they create (and I love that Helen no longer stuffs all sorts of inedible items into her mouth). In short, even though it is a large and pricey item, it is definitely going to be a winner in terms of both space consumed per hour of play AND hours spent per dollar spent on the item. And I have no doubt that it will stand the test of time.

Connor's friend Zoe has been over several times. So far, their favorite game to play together is hoard and then consume. Once they see the kitchen, one of them grabs the shopping cart and the other one grabs a shopping bag. They quickly set about pulling every food item off the shelf and from the cabinets, as well as the pots, utensils, and anything else they see. Then they sit near their chosen stovetop (we have two) and start making stuff.

After Zoe left, Connor and I put the items back where they belonged, and Connor remarked to me how nice it was that his new kitchen has a washing machine, because he needed to wash all the dish towels after all the cooking he and Zoe had been doing. Several loads later, he pronounced his job complete.

Sadly for Helen, she didn't stand a chance at getting many items with the 3 years olds grabbing whatever they could. No matter, she made her own fun. She secured a few special items (probably the marbles) and set about cooking them on the floor, rather than risk getting hip-checked away from a stove.


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Making way for the next generation of poets

Last week, W.D. Snodgrass died. And for certain, the world of poetry felt the loss. I guess Connor did too, because last Thursday, he created his first poem that wasn't simply replacing rhyming words from various well known books. It might not be quite the Pulizter Prize winning variety that Snodgrass was known for, but you've got to start somewhere.

Here is the playground.
Here is the snow.
Here is the hill.
And down we'll go.

His inspiration?