Thursday, October 25, 2007

disturbed sleep = disturbed dreams


o, benevolent miracles & milestones™ select-a-show soother™, what would we do without thee?

with the ever-emerging teeth in otto's mouth, even a pre-emptive strike in the form of children's motrin at bedtime cannot prevent him from waking once the sweet drug's magic has worn off. he'll sleep well for eight hours, but after 4:00, all bets are off.

my sleep this morning was pockmarked with warbling shrieks and, consequently, two visits to the nursery. at some point after having gotten otto reasonably soothed, i had the most awful and disturbing dream.

i found myself at a sales presentation. i sat there and listened to the rep's spiel about some kind of infants' and children's hibernation chambers. there on the floor were what looked to me to be cheerful little caskets. some were pink and glittery and shaped like a fiberglas canopy bed, perfect for your little sleeping beauty. there was a thomas the train model, all glossy and blue. there were green jungle ones with fiberglas bananas hanging from the corners and sports-themed units with baseball bats welded to the base. there was even a tiny, creme colored bassinet sized chamber and my fellow audience members gushed over how sweet that was. each one was capped with a heavy, color coordinated lid.

i observed the presentation but i was totally confused; what the hell are these things? there was no mention of how exactly these chambers were used, so i leaned from my folding chair and asked my sister and a few other people seated around her, "hey. i don't get it. what do people do with those things?" everyone looked at me like i had three heads. my sister kindly replied, "the best time to put them in is when you know they're going to take a long nap already."

i thought, hm. okay, well, some days otto naps for two and half hours but...what am i thinking? my eyes bugged out at the heavy coffin-like doors that adorned each model.

"but wait," i asked, "people just put their kids in those? and shut the door?"

"uh, yeah," another patron replied with knitted eyebrows, looking me up and down. "for, like, six weeks!" the others tittered. "ah, duh!"

"but why?" i pleaded. i could not understand it. you just plop your baby in this box and shut the door and hope he likes it? that he'll just shut off like a doll until you're ready to take him out? i didn't see any cheerfully painted oxygen tanks or feeding tubes nearby.

the other women glared at me and then gave my sister a stern look and she politely replied, "uh, you know. so you can get things done, go on vacation, whatever..." she rolled her eyes a little and the presentation went on.

i awoke at a reasonable hour to hear otto in his crib, rocking out to his lights-and-sound machine, and sighed in relief.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

wanted: toddler-size sleeping bag


otto in daddy's backpack on a walk in the woods


though many have likely already seen these photos on casey's blog, here is a link to the album from our most recent camping trip to wisconsin. this time, we went with some friends. fortunately for otto, amongst them were owners of many, many nascar matchbox cars.

if i look slightly more pallid in the 'do rag shots taken the next morning, that would be because i groggily stuffed my small one into my sleeping bag in the middle of the night, and he was not unlike sleeping with a small goat. throughout the night, he would reach up and grab a fistful of my unruly, growing-out hair, then drift back off into slumberland, still clinging to my head.

note otto's level of dirtiness as the trip progresses. even though we made great use of the acid-trip fleece blanket given to us by the canton hesses, it was no match for the sheer scooting force that is our son. he would not be contained, but he'd occasionally return to the blanket to clutch it to his chest and coo lovingly. even after we washed the booties and brand new pants [thanks, nana and gamper], we were still picking clods of dirt, leaves, and burrs from the seams.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

for the love of dog

i just saw this article and accompanying video of ellen degeneres. very sad. i understand why a stipulation would prevent people just giving their rescued dogs up, but in this instance, it seems like the organization should consider the circumstances and recognize that the spirit of the law is not being challenged here. i know that what will really need to happen is for the family to start double-dutching that red tape: immediately apply to adopt that dog right now. do the little dance. speak the little language. it will be worth it.

this incident reminds me of the movie casey and i saw on sunday, into the wild. like requiring someone to wait twelve years to receive a permit to kayak down a river, had someone used a human ear to listen to ellen's plight instead of just dogmatically [pardon the pun] marching down and yanking the little dude away, it seems to me that this heartache could have been avoided.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

crazy cathy: when mothers attack





i absolutely commiserate with women who are eager for the opportunity to make friends as adults. from almighty oprah to the lowly chain email, girlfriendships are rhapsodized every where you turn. not having female friends? why, that's just unamerican!

i myself recently fell into a friendless stupor. fed up with feeling bled dry by some of my more parasitic pals, i declared myself a friend-free zone. the song 'circle of friends' by edie brickell & the new bohemians became the new national anthem for the nation of perdedora, population 1. as i luxuriated in shivasana at the end of my weekly yoga class, a tear of self-compassion rolled down my face and on to my very un-sticky stickymat.

unbeknownst to me, some small message was cast out into the galaxy that i need alliances. old buddies of every stripe were emailing, calling, and inviting me to lunch. i got a call from my best friend from junior high who now lives nearby with her toddler. a very close friend of mine may be moving back here pending the precarious state of her marriage. another former co-worker moved back here from new york.

i think the heavens may have been a mite bit too fruitful, however. on friday, our little family unit set out for sushi. we like a little place in lincoln square that has good parking and is pretty kid-friendly; usually, all the high chairs are occupied by toddlers brandishing chopsticks while parents gleefully swill their sapporos with little concern. our food had just arrived and we were about to dig in when in comes a woman and her toddler, about the same height but a good ten pounds heftier than otto. his name is willy. she chose a table next to us and plopped her progeny into a high chair facing ours. at first, the interaction was standard and benign: how old's your baby? what's his name? isn't his hair cute? say hi to your new buddy! she introduced herself: cathy.

just as i would begin digging into my rolls, cathy would sip her cocktail, then wheel around and ask me question after question:

where did i live?
what did we order for otto tonight?
what size clothes is otto?
do we need any hand-me-downs?

she insisted repeatedly that she got my number because she just has loads of clothes and they're barely worn. casey and i admitted that, though we have been fortunate enough not to have had to buy any clothes for otto thanks to gifts and loads of clothes from his four cousins, we were experiencing a gap in cool weather items aged 12-18 mo. this was met by another insistance to get my number, so, when she turned to order her big willy some of what otto was chowing down on, i asked casey for a pen and paper. i figured why not give her my number? maybe she's really nice? if anything, we can score some free clothes. casey's eyes darted to the table and back to me. he hissed, "get her number. get her number."

i scrawled my cell on a tattered ATM receipt and passed it over. her eyes lit up and she slowly crumpled the receipt into her pocket. that was it. in retrospect, i now know that was like feeding a wild bear some succulent delights you have hidden right here in this flimsy old tent.

her husband arrived, but you'd barely know they were dining together. after a few more sakes, the questions to me were coming fast and furious. this time, each answer to her question was nonsensically trumped. for instance:

"isn't it frustrating to figure out what they want to eat?"

"oh, my gosh, yeah. so much of what he loved he will no longer eat. i have a whole freezer full of pureed broccoli and sweet potato ice cubes that i have to bury in pasta sauce to get him to..."

"oh, yeah. i did the whole organic make-your-own baby food thing. i did that for a while and then... [rolls eyes and turns to sip sake, then turns back]. i'm gonna call you."

or there's:

"who's you pediatrician?"
"town and country."
"so's mine."
"oh, okay... which office: lincoln or clybourn?"
"clybourn! we see pappas. who's your doctor?"
"i hear great things about pappas! we were seeing lundquist, but we switched to jameston. lunquist wasn't very supportive of our vegetarianism."
"oh, i did the whole vegetarian, vegan, raw-foodist thing for a while, too, yeah. and then i... oh, waiter! can i have another sake? i'm totally calling you, just so you know."

at this point, our friend cathy must have been buzzing to beat the band. she was practically screaming as i hurriedly woofed down my food and casey paid the check. this is when the showstopper, the pi├Ęce de resistance finally occurred, thus culminating any further bizarre fumblings for common ground:

"where'd you give birth?"
"northwestern prentice."
"so did i. didn't you just love the birth?"

at this point, casey lobbed one in to the rally.

"she gave birth in the tub."

"[pause] you did? wha-it? they didn't have that when i was there, or i totally woulda done it. when did you do that?"

"um, thirteen months ago.

"they totally didn't have that when i was there and i was there... um... when was i there?"

"uh, isn't willy fifteen months old?"

"uh, yeah. uhhh... nice meeting you."

i'm learning to be receptive. we spent all yoga today opening our heart chakras and concentrating on receiving goodness, breathing it in and out with each loving breath... but i will totally fucking cringe if i get a call from crazy cathy.