Thea had her first trip to the dentist today. It went amazingly well, no crying or fussing, no arguing with the dentist, and no fear, just benign acquiescence the whole time. She was such a big girl.
The only hitch in the plan was that we had to take Liam with us because of an accident in front of his school. If I had waited through the traffic, we would have missed the appointment, so I turned around and brought him with us, bereft of the diaper bag and the usual toddler distractions it holds. While I didn't think the teeth-cleaning would generate the hysteria of the flu shot, I knew it would be tough to keep Liam occupied the whole time. But he did fine. There were plenty of sharp instruments to play with, and he only destroyed a favorite mix-tape Heather made me one birthday, my day planner, a coloring book, and the cover to the motor that made the dentist chair lean back.
I had an appointment for teeth-cleaning right after Thea. While I was struggling both to keep Liam on my lap and to hold still, I felt Thea put her hand in mine and gently pat my arm with her other hand. I guess I did look a little harried.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Thea had her first trip to the dentist today. It went amazingly well, no crying or fussing, no arguing with the dentist, and no fear, just benign acquiescence the whole time. She was such a big girl.
Monday, October 29, 2007
Today is day one of my vacation. Well, it's not exactly a vacation in the strictest sense of the word. More like, I have so much to get done around the house that I took a week off work in an attempt to check everything off my to-do list. It's rather pathetic, really.
I kicked off my "vacation" at a Tori Amos show on Friday. The high point was ditching the kids to hang out with friends. My husband, who rocks in so many ways, banned me from coming home after work, so I got to head into D.C. early for some Kelly time. The low point — and it was low — was almost falling asleep at the show. It was just so warm and dark in the concert hall, and the music was so soothing.
I'm really relating to Heather's Bughouse post today.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Last weekend we took the kids to check out a local dairy farm. Watch as the Os decide to stop eating beef:
"You're gorgeous! What a cute calf you are."
"Yes, you are!"
Liam, however, was deeply suspicious of the cows, much like he is of horses. We encouraged him to moo at them, and when they mooed back, he ran around and hid behind me.
They are kind of intimidating. Here's a calf trying to steal my bag.
We did manage to convince Liam to pet the goats.
But he especially loved the baby chicks. Whenever anyone else walked into the room, he turned to them and said, loudly if unintelligibly, "Go away! Go away!"
We took a carriage ride around the farm, which Thea loved. At the top of a hill, she exclaimed, "You can see the whole world!"
At least a very pretty part of it.
In case you're one of the three people left who hasn't seen this....
Thea keeps trying to talk Todd into letting her have a cat. I was on board with the idea, but watching this reminds me of one of the more irritating aspects of cat ownership.
Each and every one of these blogs is a beautiful, unique snowflake.
Friends on the Intranets
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Liam's profound lack of sleep over the past several nights (and thus mine, as well) is due to an ear infection, oddly enough in the ear that still has a tube. I wonder if this means he'll need surgery again? I really hope not. But as I was getting ready for work, sobbing overtiredly into a soaked tissue with Thea saying soothingly, "It's alright, Mommy, you're okay. Take a deep breath, you'll be fine," the horrible, morbid thought that Liam might have meningitis popped into my head. So I'm glad it's only an ear infection, even if it means he needs surgery again. And, really, whatever it takes to get us to a respectable amount of sleep is fine by me.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
BlogHer has asked bloggers to post today about the MOTHERS Act. It's an important issue, and you can find out more about it on BlogHer.com and Postpartum Progress.
Normally, I'm all over this kind of thing. Today I can't think of a single thing to say, because Liam — not a great sleeper, anyway — has a cold and can't breathe comfortably, so he has been up all night the past several nights. It's ironic (wait, is it really ironic? Damn Alanis Morissette), because I completely understand how raging postpartum hormones can combine with sleep deprivation and jangly nerves from a constantly screaming kid or two to drive a mother out of her freaking mind. Has anyone read that Kurt Vonnegut story, "Harrison Bergeron"? I swear, sometimes having kids is like the handicaps he describes; it almost impossible to finish a thought.
So when I read about a woman who has gone off the deep end and done something tragic, part of me gets it and tries not to judge her. Instead, I'll call my senators to urge them to co-sponsor the MOTHERS Act bill, which will provide funding for research, education, screening and treatment of postpartum depression.
Blogger seems to be having problems this morning, which — along with the devastation in San Diego that has people talking about evacuation procedures and what you'd take with you — has reminded me to remind you again to back up your blog. If you use Blogger or LiveJournal, you can get a Wordpress blog and easily import your blog, comments and all, to a back-up location. (On the Dashboard, go to Manage, then Import.) If you already have a Wordpress blog, you can export it as a file to store on your harddrive. (On the Dashboard, go to Manage, then Export.)
When I was working on my thesis in grad school, Todd and I lived in an apartment building that caught fire a handful of times. We got pretty good at evacuating quickly. At the first sound of the fire bell, Todd would throw the cats into carriers — or, in a pinch, pillow cases — while I unplugged my harddrive. We could be out the door in under five minutes.
I'm not sure what we would do in the event of a catastrophe now that we have kids. It's shameful that I have a plan for my blog but not for my family.
(Speaking of Web 2.0 things, Aimee Greeblemonkey twittered the Henry Rollins show in Denver last night. Check it out!)
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
I took the kids to get their flu shots yesterday, though everything got completely effed up. It's a long story that will interest no one and ends with two hysterical kids, a teary doctor, and orange juice pooling in my bra.
Suffice it to say, I'm never taking the kids to get shots at the same time again. At least not for several years. We were all traumatized by the experience. Thea was the only one who could get her shot and had to be held tightly by an off-duty doctor for it. She was crying and screaming "NO NO NO!" This freaked Liam out, who started wailing "THEA THEA NO THEA MAAMAAAAA!"
Monday, October 22, 2007
This weekend we went to the Renaissance festival with some friends. Normally it's not really my scene, but my friends are fans of a Scottish drum-and-bagpipe band that was playing there, Albannach. They were pretty amazing, and delicious, too, every one of them. (Mmm, tattooed drummers in kilts....) Liam was totally into the music, or maybe it was the belly-dancer in front of us. She did sparkle and jingle quite mesmerizingly.
Thea, however, wouldn't stay and watch the band (too loud for her), but she did like the turkey leg.
And she got to ride ponies (ZOMG PONIES!!!1!!).
This is as close as Liam wanted to get to the big, scary animals with dead eyes and sloping shoulders:
It was kind of funny, all the girls were horse-crazy, but the boys had to be coaxed onto the ponies and even then remained deeply suspicious. What is it with girls and horses?
Friday, October 19, 2007
I was tagged by a very cool blogger for this meme. The rules are:
- Link to your tagger and post rules.
- Share 7 facts about yourself, some random and some weird.
- Tag 7 people at the end of post and list their names.
- Let them know they were tagged by a comment on their blog.
2. My husband and I have been together 18 years. We got married on Leap Day and went to see Yoko Ono perform that night. She may be tiny, but let me tell you, that woman can kick your ass.
3. Most of my closest friends all knew each other in weird, random ways a decade or two before actually realizing it, even though two of them moved to this area at different times from the Midwest.
4. I have my master's degree in art history from a program that required two theses. The thesis in my area was on feminism and performance art in the '60s, '70s, and '80s. The one not in my area was on pendant paintings in the Renaissance depicting two loves of Zeus, Ganymede and Io. I got to do a lot of academic reading on sex for that one, which was frankly not as much fun as it might sound.
5. I was a vegetarian for 15 years before having terrible morning sickness that could only be quelled by a turkey sandwich during my first pregnancy. It's hard to go back.
6. I can paint a room in about an hour, due to years of working at a museum as an undergrad. My job was to paint the rooms and pylons between shows and to set up the art. My favorite exhibit to set up was the Nam June Paik, because it was a bunch of old television sets with instructions on how to calibrate the screens and how to place them in a semi-circle. Best. Job. Ever.
7. My kids are both named after my maternal grandparents and my sister.
I want to know more about these people, all of whom rock the casbah:
Blog Me Mamalicious
N is for Native and Neurotic
Tied to My Apron Strings
And an extra tag for Phil Free
("Phil free" to save this for NaBloPoMo!)
I wondered why people kept finding my blog by searching "liam kelly show":
Let me borrow that top!
Thursday, October 18, 2007
I was telling the kids on the way to daycare this morning, "Thea, when you were Liam's age, we had just brought your brother home." At the time, she seemed like such a big girl, and Liam seemed so little. Almost two years later and they still seem that way: my big girl and my little boy.
Looking at Liam now and thinking back, it kind of trips me out. What were we thinking? Having a toddler and an infant at the same time is HARD! I think things started to get easier when Liam was around a year old, and then progressively better each month. But, man, I have to say, that first year? It's not like I was suicidal or anything, but sometimes I was so tired that I would think, alone in the car, "If I drifted off the road and into on-coming traffic, would it really be so bad?"
This month Liam set aside Go, Dog, Go and now insists on reading Dora the Explorer stories every night. He has just started letting Todd get him down to sleep, which has been a problem for ages, and is even sleeping through the night. By himself. In his own bed.
I've just jinxed it, I'm sure. But having four nights in a row of more than a few hours of sleep has felt pretty freaking good. I'll miss it when he goes back to waking up constantly. Warding off jinxes aside, to be perfectly honest, I do kind of miss my son calling for me and then patting the bed next to him and curling up at my side when I came in to calm him down before he woke up his sister.
My charming little manipulator, I do love him so.
Angela Shultis of Between the Lines tapped me for a meme about your five greatest strengths as a writer. I'm entirely flattered, because she's awesome and a fabulous writer, and because she noted me for my honesty.
It's true, I'm almost incapable of lying, to a fault. When I call in sick, for example, I don't cough and sneeze; instead I'll say, probably too cheerfully, "I'm not feeling well, see you tomorrow!" But in blogging? While I'm completely honest, at least about my version of events, I'm somewhat dishonest by omission. I rarely write about the bleakest, darkest times, and probably never will.
Anyway, we're supposed to morph the meme, so here are my five greatest strengths as a blogger. (If I tag you, feel free to save this for NaBloPoMo! And if you love or loathe memes, please let me know so I'll know whether to tap or skip you for the next one, coming in a few days.)
1. I don't consider myself a writer, so I think posting frequently is a lot easier for me than it is for someone with more training and skill. Tagging this actual writer, whom I'm constantly nagging to write more frequently: K-9 Jelly.
2. I'm a time-management ninja, at least regarding my blog. Tagging this blogger who, with a toddler and twins on the way, I'm sure puts my time-management skills to shame: On the Curb.
3. I'm aware of what's going on politically and how it will affect my family. Tagging this member of the proletariat who will rise up and overthrow the bourgeoisies, just as soon as he gets the kids to bed: Phil Free.
4. I'm concise, and my posts usually have pretty decent pictures. Tagging this amazing photographer: Malaland.
5. As I often say to my kids when they stare blankly at me: Well, I think I'm funny, anyway. Tagging this blogger who actually IS funny: Wrekehavoc.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
The vote to override the SCHIP veto is tomorrow. If you live in North Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia, or Indiana, you have Democratic members of Congress who are voting with Bush:
Rep. Bobby Etheridge (North Carolina)
Rep. Jim Marshall (Georgia)
Rep. Gene Taylor (Mississippi)
Rep. Baron Hill (Indiana)
Rep. Mike McIntyre (North Carolina)
From Bitch Ph.D. and PunditMom, here's a list of the Republican members of Congress who voted with Bush but who are up for re-election:
Rep. Tom Feeney (Florida)
Rep. Steve Chabot (Ohio)
Rep. Sam Graves (Missouri)
Rep. John R. Kuhl (New York)
Rep. John Boozman (Arkansas)
Rep. Thaddeus G. McCotter (Michigan)
Rep. Jim Saxton (New Jersey)
Rep. Joe Knollenberg (Michigan)
Rep. Thelma Drake (Virginia)
Rep. Tim Walberg (Michigan)
If you're feeling especially sluggish, you can send an e-mail or fax to your congressperson through the MomsRising site.
And if you're not properly fired up about the issue, check out PunditMom's post today, What is the Health of a Child Worth?, for some great info.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
I've been getting Thea Groovy Girls at thrift stores whenever I find one that's fully dressed. They're pretty cool, a nice size for playing with, dressed fashionably but not over-sexualized — one is wearing a "Chicks rock!" T-shirt — and they come in a variety of races. I got Thea the Asian, African-American, and Hispanic (or at least brunette) ones, and while she loves her horses most, she does play with them occasionally, which means I get to keep my liberal street cred.
Then I found a princess wearing a purple dress, Thea's favorite color. I originally got it for a five-year-old friend who loves princesses, but had forgotten that her birthday party was of the "no gifts, please" variety. So I gave it to Thea for being brave during picture day last week.
Thea LOVED it, mostly because of the long, purple dress. Now she doesn't like her other Groovy Girls, because "they're not pretty" like her princess is. Her white, blond, girly princess. ARGH.
After an unsuccessful search to buy the other dolls froofy dresses, I tried to make some. Alas, my sewing skills are severely lacking. I even had a team of people helping me on Saturday night, and we still couldn't make anything that met with Thea's approval. I'm out of ideas, but also very irritated that all the Groovy Girl princesses are white. WTF?
Monday, October 15, 2007
Today is Blog Action Day, and despite my ambivalence toward the organizers, I'm participating because the issue is important. I like to think of myself as a generally aware person, someone who thinks about my impact on the world in general and who strives not to suck. But sometimes the issues seem insurmountable. For example, feel good about recycling your computer? Not so fast. Discarded electronics are routinely shipped overseas and dumped in the poorest parts of the world to create horrifically toxic conditions for the people, water, air, and land.
We're all doomed. Doomed, I tell you. Doomed.
The single most important thing we can do for our environment is to reduce our consumption, of resources like water and energy and of material things. We can try to make choices now that will help our kids be less materialistic than we are, to not want the disposable product and lots of it. The changes we make today, even if they seem insignificant, matter in the culture we shape for our kids and grandkids.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
As you probably know, Monday has been declared "Blog Action Day," where we who pontificate are encouraged to blog about the environment. I'm on board with that — talk to me for an hour and I'll have somehow managed to turn the conversation to plastic or China — and I love to see bloggers mobilized for political action. But there's something about the group organizing the effort that gives me the heebie jeebies.
As it turns out, Blog Action Day is less about a particular issue than it is about the blogosphere flexing its muscles, with professional help. Ta'eed is the general manager of Eden Creative Communities, a startup that hosts websites aimed at the artistic demographic. Ta'eed and cofounder Leo Baubata also contribute to blogs that provide resources for freelancers and tips on how to build steady readership, raising the question: How will Blog Action Day benefit Eden and its family of sites?
The article goes on to point out that, regardless, a large group of blogs posting about the same topic carries more weight than the general cacophony of the blogosphere, which is why I post on marriage equality during Freedom to Marry week and am generally supportive of the group efforts for political causes I believe in.
But the idea of a startup organizing an effort for a popular cause that will give them a lot of spillover traffic just creeps me out. To top it off, they e-mailed me a Blog Action Day Reminder, and it included a "what kind of blogger are you" quiz — just a "bit of fun," they say — that seemed more like a thinly veiled attempt at demographic profiling.
Of course, I'm still going to participate.
I think I've found my husband's soul mate:
(Hat tip to Samiya.)
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Pam's House Blend reminded me that today is National Coming Out Day. I should have remembered this morning while flipping through the radio stations on the way to work. I normally never listen to the local rock station in the morning, because the DJs are your typical dumbass jocks, always shouting over each other about some controversy or another. But the jazz station was having a fund-raiser and my other pre-set stations had some '80s lite rock crap that I hate so much.
I caught the tail end of one of the DJs, a graduate of the Sylvester Stallone School of Diction, saying he has a upside-down pink triangle in his office with the words "safe zone" over it. "Because, you know, if you want to show support, you can't just go up to a gay guy and say, dude, I'm cool with you being gay. You gotta have the sticker!" All the other jockos agreed, yeah, totally, ya gotta get the sticker. Then they went on to talk about the meaning of the triangle, how much Hitler sucked, and how cool it was for gays to take back the symbol.
In the spirit of the day, I hereby apologize to idiot jocks for prejudging them. They're much smarter and cooler than I gave them credit for. And, to our gay brothers and sisters who have come out, thank you for making the world a better, safer place. Please consider my blog a "safe zone" sticker.
Its hard to think that people at Passion Pictures did not have this early panoramic of ours in mind when they created this new spot for the SONY Bravia line.
To add insult to injury, someone from Passion Pictures contacted us almost two years ago asking to see samples of our work (including this panoramic) as they were interested in working with us. We sent them samples and then heard nothing from them ever again. (It should be noted though, that the more likely culprit is the ad firm who hired Passion Pictures, Fallon)
Incidentally, Kozyndan have some nice prints for sale. We have this one, the bunny version of Hokusai's iconic Great Wave off Kanagawa, hanging outside our upstairs bathroom. It used to be in Thea's room, but I think it kind of gave her the creeps.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
This has been one of those days that makes working moms feel like terrible parents. Everything seemed great this morning while we were getting ready for school. The kids were mellow and agreeable, and Thea was talking about how much she was looking forward to seeing her friends. In the car, they shared a toy nicely and no one seemed particularly grumpy. Then at daycare, everything went to hell.
We had just finished dropping off Liam's lunch in his room. Our new routine is for the kids to give me hugs and kisses at the door, then to wave at me as I walk to the car. Thea skipped into the main room to get ready to see me off, and her teacher yelled, "Thea, no running! Thea, did you hear me? No running!" Thea stopped in her tracks, came back to me, and buried her head in my shirt. I tried to leave delicately for a half hour before finally giving up, leaving her physically restrained by her favorite teacher and sobbing "Mommy! Mommy!" Of course, I cried the whole way to work.
I kind of loathe the morning teacher, anyway. She speaks to the kids in a cloying baby-talk while the parents are there, all honey-dripping mooshie-mooshie-mooshie. But when she thinks she's alone, her tone is impatient and abrasive, often sharper than the situation calls for.
Lately I've been pondering the whole Motherhood Thing. Is it a choice of doing right by our kids, our jobs, or ourselves, or will you always feel like you're half-assing it all? Can I ever feel secure in knowing that I'm doing the right thing, taking the right path? Tangentially, how do you know when you've learned from an experience or when you've just been scarred by it?
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Nylonthread posted the cutest picture of me and Sue and our boys that I had to steal. Thanks, man!
Monday, October 08, 2007
Yesterday we had some friends over to paint pumpkins. Their daughters are both about a year behind our kids in age, and are two of the sweetest little muffins ever. Thea and Zola had a great time hanging out, and spent a good deal of time hiding in her wardrobe upstairs. I'm not sure why all the girls spend most of their time in there.
Here are Tallulah and Zola together. Oh the cuteness!
Thea and Liam with their finished product. The pumpkins turned out quite nice.
Gorgeous, in fact!
I was impressed that Liam was so good with the paints, which were not the kid-friendly non-toxic type, until I turned around and he was sucking on the end of one.
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Fight Club was this month's book group selection. An excellent choice. But traffic getting home was a mess, and we had the kids up way too late. They both almost fell asleep holding hands.
Friday, October 05, 2007
The marketing machine behind Dove is really quite brilliant. If I have a choice of where to spend my money, of course I'm going to give it to the folks who seem to do the least evil in the world.
UPDATE: Nikita reminds me that just because someone tells me what I want to hear doesn't mean they're my ally. Point taken!
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Yesterday President Bush vetoed a bill that provided funding for the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Bush feels too many middle class families are taking advantage of SCHIP over their own private health care programs, because states are able to set eligibility restrictions at their discretion. For example, in New Jersey, which had the most generous rules, a family of four could participate in SCHIP even if its income were as high as $72,275. (Bush's administration, by the way, has lowered the ceiling to about $52,000 for a family of four.)
That may sound like a lot. Even just three years ago, that sounded like a lot to me, too. Here's the thing: I hold the health insurance for the family. If I were to lose my job and that was Todd's income, we would still be screwed. We're lucky in that my school loans are paid off, but if they weren't, we wouldn't be able to afford groceries for a family of four on that salary even if we gave up every nonessential money drain (like daycare and cell phones). Private health insurance, which is about $1000 per month for a family of four? Forget it.
There's an article in Slate that is worth a read, "Why Bush Was Dumb To Veto SCHIP," and Mombian writes about why this is especially bad news for the kids of gay and lesbian parents. Moms Rising is organizing rallies across the nation, or you can send your congressperson a message urging them to override the veto through the AFL-CIO.
Here are some quick facts from Moms Rising about why the SCHIP program is so important:
- 12% of American Children don't have any insurance coverage at all.
- The U.S. Ranks 37th in the world for infant mortality.
- One-in-five U.S. jobs does not provide health insurance, a pension, or wages high enough to support a family.
- For a family of 4, one year of health insurance costs an average of $11,000.
- Over 1/2 of all bankruptcy filings in 2001 were a result of medical expenses.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Shmutzie and a couple others have declared today The Great Mofo Delurk 2007 day, which kind of amuses me. So if you're inclined, please delurk today and comment on the blogs you read. I promise, bloggers everywhere will think you're the coolest and tell their friends and families about this awesome commenter who said the funniest/sweetest/most interesting thing the other day.
This is also my 500th post. Yay me! In honor of the occasion, I'm going to do something a little different: I'm going to recount a story about my kids.
Since Todd started his new job, I've been handling the daycare drop-off. It hasn't gone smoothly. When I finally extricate myself, peeling a kid off each leg, there's much sturm und drang, gnashing of teeth and flailing on the floor. I usually leave the kids in tears, and I'm in tears myself.
Nylonthread gave me a great strategy for getting out the door. I ask Thea and Liam how many hugs and kisses they want, and then tell them to blow me more kisses from the window while I walk to my car.
It sounds simple, but it has worked like a freaking dream. No more tantrums, just happy kisses and hugs and a "Bye-bye, Mommy, see you tonight!" Thank blog. Other parents doing the drop-off were actually saying to me, "What's going on? They never freak out like this!" What can I say? They're upset because I don't know what I'm doing and have handled everything badly. There, happy now?
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
The kids stripped to their underwear or diaper — Liam accessorized with red gloves from Nylonthread — and took turns screaming into the fan.
Because that is how we roll.
Monday, October 01, 2007
To celebrate, Todd and I bought the kids a copy of the most challenged book of 2006, And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell.
But there are lots of other ways you can celebrate intellectual freedom. Check out what the ALA has planned in the virtual world, which includes Second Life, Facebook, MySpace, and Flickr.
I'm always intrigued by what organizations are doing with Web 2.0. Some things I can't quite figure out their usefulness, like Twitter. Twitter baffles me. Is there a practical application that I'm missing? Everything ends up sounding like haikus by an insane person. But I digress....
The ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom also has a video they've put together on the top ten banned books 2006. It's perhaps not the best use of the medium, but I'd give them high marks for the attempt.