Wednesday, April 6, 2016
I know it’s not as cool as being a Leap Day baby, but Jack’s half birthday is February 29. Aaaaand we had to throw a party to celebrate. It was more of a glorified afternoon at the park, but I’ll take any event as an excuse to mail an invitation.
I put The Best Confetti Ever in glassine envelopes, wrote the party details on the back, used this year’s Valentine’s Day stamp, and had them hand-stamped at the post office. I think it’s my favorite thing I’ve ever mailed. A couple friends texted me pictures of their kids having a mini-party with the confetti, which never even crossed my mind as a possibility. I don’t think I’d ever knowingly open an envelope with confetti in it because I hate cleaning. Hate.
You can’t really have a “theme” for a park day, but for a bit of a visual we had funfetti cupcakes, and few of those confetti balloons that completely took over Pinterest that one time.
At 18 months, Jack didn’t care about any of those details. But I’ll tell you what he did notice: we spent three hours at his favorite park, and Chris took the day off work (“He’s a Mormon, you know how they are about Leap Day”). That was enough for him to feel happy and loved, and that was the whole point.
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
I love poetry, but I’m no poet. Most of the time that doesn’t upset me, but a while ago I wished I had the poet's heart because I wanted to write about the way Jack loves his dad.
It wouldn’t include the routine stuff, so it would miss out on the hundreds of father-son walks and the hours of early-morning board books while Mommy sleeps in the next room. All of that is beautiful to me in its quietness, but it’s not the poem I’d write if I could.
This poem would be about one morning two weeks ago. Chris kissed us goodbye and when he turned to wave from the driveway, Jack realized his dad wasn’t taking out the recycling or getting a toy from the car. Dad was actually leaving. In a panic, Jack scrambled to the door, grabbed one of his little blue shoes, and leaned against the window crying, “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy…”
His face contorted with a tiny lifetime’s worth of regret. If only he had thought of his shoes sooner, Dad might not have left without him. They could be walking down the street together, and he wouldn’t be standing here alone by the window, holding one shoe, begging Daddy to come home.
My heart broke, and I wished I could write that poem.
Thursday, February 25, 2016
|This is the last time we went bowling together. It was 2013, and I banged up my finger in a pretty intense game of air hockey. As you can see, this injury left me no choice but to bowl like a child.|
A few months ago I got a babysitter, we planned a very fancy night out, and then everything went wrong. Traffic was apocalyptic so we decided not to drive up to the De Young in San Francisco, then we got derailed trying to buy some theater tickets for a different night out, and then the bowling ally we impromptu visited was “full.” After almost an hour of driving around, Chris and I just went grocery shopping.
For a few minutes I was frustrated that nothing went right, but then going to Trader Joe’s felt like old times: just two kids, running errands together, and Chris commented that grocery shopping together on a Friday night felt luxurious.
At some point in college I learned that front lawns used to be a symbol of luxury. Because land was a source of income, having a front lawn that produced absolutely no strawberries, no grains, no grazing for livestock, said that you already had so much money, you could basically be wasteful. “You see this plot of land in front of my house? I DON’T EVEN NEED THIS.”
And I guess that’s what I’m doing now, being ostentatious about our night. We already had so much that we DIDN’T EVEN NEED to go to bowling. What a luxury.
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
I’ve talked before about my (previous, since-abandoned) fear/disgust of pregnancy, but I left out some stuff because I come across as a horrible person. For example, in college I said that when I got pregnant I wanted to be locked up in the attic and not come down for nine months. I said it would be like “The Yellow Wallpaper” but instead of covering up post-partum depression it would be to hide my freaky-looking body.
There’s a part of me that believes that I cursed myself a little bit. Which, if you read that charming anecdote, I clearly deserved. In my first pregnancy, it was seven months before I could really go anywhere but the doctor’s, and every day I could hear 22-year-old Brittney saying, “Lock me in an attic.” Well, I wasn’t in the attic, but I still got what I essentially asked for. For months I cried next to a bucket, and I wondered if I might have been spared the pukes if I had just been a little bit less terrible when I was younger.
We’re almost four months into this second pregnancy, and I have no ambition to do anything, but I do I have a renewed desire to apologize to the universe or God or karma, and anyone who ever heard me say that stuff. I’m sorry I didn’t respect the miracle of life. I’m sorry I made insensitive jokes. I’m sorry for being such a turd. And even though I HATE the pukes, thank you for limiting my punishment. You could have made it much worse.
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
|This is the kind of wholesome Halloween stuff I was raised to love: teddy bear costumes and trick or treating.|
Here’s an exhaustive list of what I like about Halloween: candy, dressing up in fun costumes, and watching Chris carve a pumpkin. All that gory, frightening nonsense? Pass.
Let’s start with scary movies.
People always want to watch scary movies around Halloween, and I feel like the lone crazy person who doesn’t want to watch [fill in the horrible blank]. I cannot watch the PREVIEWS for scary movies. I get creeped out looking at the posters. I don’t have to explain this to little kids. For a long time, my friends and I were trick-or-treating in peace. But scary movies got cool in high school, especially around Halloween, and so fifteen years ago this month I watched the scariest movie I ever saw… The Sixth Sense. I knew the entire plot from the very beginning of the movie, I was in a giant cuddle ball with like fourteen of my most supportive friends, but I still have nightmares loosely based on that terrifying kitchen cupboard scene. No more scary movies for me.
Then there’s haunted houses.
In college I went with an otherwise reasonable group of friends to a haunted house that ended in a corn maze. As we left the house (where the very worst nightmares are sent to prison), my roommate and I got separated from the rest of our group, and a dude with a chainsaw chased us into the cornfield. We took a wrong turn, faced a dead end, and as we screamed and clung to each other I was so distraught that I genuinely, sincerely believed I had to choose between escaping this madman or actual death. It’s a funny story now, but I cannot emphasize this part enough: one us literally went home with pee-soaked pants that night, and I’d rather not say who. So that was the last haunted house I ever went to.
I do not understand all the “fun” Halloween things. I’m really happy to stay home and pass out fun-size Snickers bars to cute, tiny Iron Men. I realize that admitting to all this makes me the equivalent of a Halloween Grinch, so my apologies to Jack Skellington for having a Tell-Tale Heart that is two sizes too small.
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
|A favorite picture of us joking around at our wedding - by Matt McDaniel|
I am exactly that kind of girl. Is that not cool? I genuinely believe that eating brunch together on a Saturday morning while Chris and I talk about this week’s obituary from the Economist is the absolute coolest thing in the world. A significant percentage of our emails are discussing some article or blog post we read that day.
And if that’s not cool, then getting-to-know you questions are probably way, way less cool. I take to those silly questions like a duck to water. It’s not like we do it every day, but sometimes when we’re lying in the hammock or walking Jack through the neighborhood, I’ll ask Chris about the first CD he ever bought, or the first movie he remembers seeing in theaters. He is so thoughtful in his answers that the questions don’t feel contrived. It's the sweetest.
So. A small sampling of what we've been talking about over the last week.
- If you could have ten acres to run some kind of family farm, what would you grow?
- If you had to be trapped inside one giant food and the only way to escape was to eat your way out, which food would you choose? (Stolen from Cup of Jo)
- If you or I were president, what would our secret service code names be? (Stolen from the GOP debates)
- Would you rather be crazily wealthy but live in relative obscurity, or struggle financially but be known for good throughout time?
- This article about the actual data we have about pornography
- Making these brownies, which we did, but first we had to read the article and talk about it extensively.
- A million awesome airplane things from this 747 book. Chris read it first, and now I want to.
- And all the legends in The Once and Future King.
And maybe it's just because we're so close to October, but I'd want to have an apple orchard with a tiny pumpkin patch out front. And I wouldn't need to grow the orchard for money because I'd also MOST DEFINITELY be living in secret, fabulous wealth.
p.s. I like to post my favorite articles over on twitter, if you want to be friends there too :)
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
|Chris bought me the first Harry Potter as a present when I got induced, and that's what I read while we waited for Jack to arrive. And this is the best picture I have that actually includes me and the book. This is the best one, you guys. Labor.|
I read The Indian in the Cupboard when I was in the second or third grade, and (racially insensitive title aside) it was the first book to give me that thrill where you just have to know what happens next. I was reading in my room, and my mom called me to dinner right after Little Bear shot Boone with an arrow. I remember being so swept into the story that couldn’t bear the thought of leaving it behind for a minute. It was exhilarating.
At that age, I hadn't felt that page-turner feeling before, but I still loved reading. The summer before, I remember sneaking into the kitchen to have one little spoonful of brown sugar during the “sugaring off” in Little House in the Big Woods. I don’t know what maple sugar tastes like, but the way she describes it melting on her tongue is so vivid and delicious. I figured having a little brown sugar would make me part of the party too. A few years later I probably read Ella Enchanted a dozen times in a row. And, of course, there was every single page in all of Harry Potter.
Those first few books are so significant to me, but I own almost none of them. Do you own any of yours, or they all in your parents’ basement like mine? Anyway, I want our kids to have a small library of their parents’ childhood favorites so we can all read them together. The To Buy list right now includes:
- Peter Pan
- So much Roald Dahl
- Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the Attic
- A few of the Garfield comic books
- Every single Calvin and Hobbs comic
- The Wayside School series
- The Little House series
- The Anne of Green Gables series
- The Boxcar Children series
- The Lord of the Rings series