February 28, 2010


I’ve learned that a good tool in a mother’s coping arsenal is acceptance. I used to see acceptance as quitting, giving up. Now I see that acceptance is a pause, a moment of “I’m taking this off the radar for now, and I will get back to it when conditions are better.” For example, I accept that young Master B is nearly 3 and still drinks milk from a bottle. I accept that he will not use the potty. I accept that Vivian will not eat pureed food even though she has just 4 teeth. I accept that she is as much of a “never napper” as her brother was.

Why am I thinking about acceptance? February 2010 is 28 days long. I posted 11 times. Oh, and I cheated once by back dating a post. Of course, by virtue of Murphy’s Law or the fact that I am a Ford by birth, I initiated the post-a-day challenge; and I am the one who posted the least.

Still, I posted probably 11 more times than I otherwise would have, and I enjoyed reading Apparently’s wry sense of humor and diversity of topics (toasted marshmallows anyone!); Clio Confidential, who always grabs me with her keen insight; I started following On Being Blythe, I dug her Flashback Friday segments; and I saw the revival of Storkbite Stew. Go ladies! Each one of you is an awesome bloggin’ momma. Bertram serenades each of you with a little Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.

Repeat Worthy

Certain songs grab me at the core of my being. Similar to the way the character Elaine on Seinfeld deemed a select group of men as “sponge worthy,” I deem the songs that affect me—either by melody or lyric—as repeat worthy. These rare songs can get set on repeat for—I am embarrassed to write—hours.

I mean, I have to get into the zone with these songs--absorbing every nuance. Thank goodness for headphones as otherwise, Parental Unit #2, would look at me over his desk and say, “Really? Again?”

“Mykonos” by Fleet Foxes is one of my current repeat worthy songs. I am a sucker for the group's Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young-type vocal harmonies, and it just fits as the melancholy, but somewhat uplifting soundtrack to these constant grey, snow laden days.

So I have to wonder what makes The Fall’s cover of the Kinks “Victoria” so doggone repeat-worthy for young Master Bertram? I’ve posted about this song and Bertram’s love for it in January. Yet, I swear if I loved that song as a teenager, back in 1988, I think I can honestly say that I do not need to hear it again for the rest of my life. Young Master B requests the song by demanding, “Tick! Tick!” And, woe to the poor parental unit who tries to put on another song or, perhaps, be so bold as to let “Tick! Tick!” play only once.

What is equally amazing to me is that Bertram cranks out some major toddler boogie each time he hears the song. Mind you, the act of listening and getting down to the song is only to be undertaken by young Master B—parental units and siblings cannot shake their respective tail feathers unless Bert says so. On the occasion that Bertram invites us to join in the fun, he wants us to do a move that I call “air dribbling,” which involves raising your arm up and down to the ticking sound of the drum sticks.

So, 8 people who visit this site regularly, do you or your child have a repeat-worthy song? I’m interested to know what songs move you.

February 23, 2010

More Teeth!

The post-a-day challenge has met its match, one front tooth twisting its way through Vivian’s gums. At 4am, a very agitated young Miss Vivi cries out for her Parental Units. Poor Parental Unit #2 (saint that he is!) gets up and soothes the young lass. Even though I am spared this 4am ritual, my body still wakes up. Sometimes, I am up for the day. And sometimes, just as I am about to fall asleep, I hear Bertram calling for “Daddy,” but what he actually wants is for one of us to change his diaper. So after hearing both children wake, fuss, and settle back down, then I am on high mother alert mode. By the time I settle back down, suddenly it’s 8am.

Teeth-- you’ve won this round, but you haven’t won the game!

February 15, 2010

Keep on Going

The picture above was taken on Christmas Day 2009. It is one of the rare photos where the four of us are together in one shot. Usually, young Master B demands to play with the camera, which results in extreme close up shots of him reaching for the camera and no candid shots. In looking at our pictures over the last half of 2009, you would think we only had one child: Vivian.

Anyway, I like this photo even though the kids aren’t looking at the camera. I like that Hal and I chose to wear pants with crazy patterns. (Personally, I think my psychedelic print beats his plaid. What do you think?) I like that Hal and I attempt to keep smiling in spite of the fact that our son is throwing a tantrum because he couldn’t have the camera. I like that young Miss Vivi appears highly amused by her brother’s antics. I like this photo because we tried to capture the impossible: the stillness of four human beings. We’re failing miserably, but we seem to be having a grand time. We keep on going.

A long time ago, my friend Matt told me a story. (Matt recently joined the Cult of New Parents. Welcome, Matt!) I can’t seem to remember the exact plot, but at the end of it, a character said, “sometimes, you just got to keep on going.” This probably does not translate well—since it comes from a fuzzy memory of a story and character I can’t recall. Yet, that line has always stuck with me. The line sticks on days like today, when I have these kinds of thoughts:

I got to see my kids for two waking hours, and those two hours happen to be when they are cranky and whining.

Keep on going.

I work and my to-do list doesn’t seem to get any shorter.

Keep on going.

It’s 10pm, and I’m so tired I could fall asleep on my laptop.

Keep on going.

February 10, 2010

Aw, Siblings

Bertram, Vivian, and I successfully managed to read a book together, which is to post that both children sat on my lap while I read When Winter Comes (a current fave). Young Master B does not approve when young Miss Vivi grabs at the pages, and usually will quickly push her hand away in a panicked cry of “Vivian!” Tonight, Vivi’s grabby-ness seemed more subdued. So I suggested that Bertram hold Vivian’s hand instead of just pushing her Grabby Girl paw away.

I’ve offered this option previously and it ended up with much squawking by young Miss Vivi because she will put her hands where she likes, thank you very much. Well, lo and behold: success! Brother and sister together in my lap holding hands! I mean that’s the kind of thing that makes you want have a whole gaggle of offspring. The funny thing is that Vivian kept pulling her hand away, so Bert had to tell me, “Vivian’s hand. I want Vivian’s hand.”

And, just to bring a little tear to my eye: Just before I turned out the lights, Bert also insisted on snuggling with Vivian in his big boy bed. Of course, young Miss Vivi took the opportunity to sit up and swat her brother in the face.

February 9, 2010


And, here is the companion photo to the Trains! post. She's only 10 months, but young Miss Vivi is fascinated by dolls.

February 8, 2010


212 A quick update to say I’ve re-entered the world of the living, but I am still very much recovering. And, now back to our regularly scheduled post-a-day challenge post.

I think every boy goes through the train phase. I feel like just yesterday, young Master B had one contained train set, nothing fancy—three wooden trains and a figure-8 track. Then, over the holidays, he acquired another a Thomas the Tank Engine set and then another set with loads of track and suddenly I feel like we have to install the train set and de-install the train set in the living room EVERY DAY.

We live in an urban apartment, so room is at a premium. We can’t just leave the train set up for young Miss Vivian to trip over while she attempts to cruise the entire perimeter of the play room.

The thing is, Bertram likes the train set, but Parental Unit #2 loves the train set. By far, I believe that Parental Unit #2 goes out of his way to make crazy configurations that sprawl across our main living space. I guess you can take the boy away from the trains, but not the trains away from the boy.

February 5, 2010

A Sick Day

I'm old enough to know that I can't do it all--work full-time, be a mom, be sick, and participate in this post-a-day blog challenge. So while I take a day or two to recoup from this rather nasty cold, take a gander at this post on Clio Confidential. It made me think about how we use blogs, and I, too, am guilty of trying to present the more positive aspects of our family's life rather than those issues that are more painful, and harder to express via the blog form.

February 3, 2010


When I saw Vivian for the first time, I was shocked by her tiny mane of dark brown hair. Before she came into our lives, all we knew was Aryan race poster boy Bertram. I could not believe that we had produced two children who looked so different. At 9 months, Bertram was still kind of a baldy. By contrast, Vivian at 9 months is either ready for a haircut or ready for her mother to purchase infant girl hair accessories.

Baby barrettes are a sham. I know this. The clips look good for all of two minutes until the kid starts to futz with them, and then they just kind of dangle precariously—threatening to drop to the floor. The other option is a stretchy hair band that makes the baby appear to be an infant version of Olivia Newton John circa her “Let’s Get Physical” phase.

Helen’s Mom over at the sadly defunct Storkbite (join us for the February post a day challenge!) says the solution is Aqua Net. Thusfar, hair spray has done the trick, but young Miss Vivi’s hair is starting to get into her eyes.

I vascillate between wanting to let her hair grow and being practical. I do like those little bob hair cuts. But, what compares to the vision of a little girl running around with a snarl of hair flowing behind her. Or with silly braids! Or crazy ponytails sticking up every which way. As a theatre person, I never liked musicals, but I can’t help that these lyrics spring to mind when I think about Vivian’s hair--

Gimme head with hair
Long beautiful hair
Shining, gleaming,
Streaming, flaxen, waxen

Give me down to there hair
Shoulder length or longer
Here baby, there mama
Everywhere daddy daddy

Hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair

February 2, 2010

Language Is a Virus, Part 3

I saw this guy on the train
And he seemed to gave gotten stuck
In one of those abstract trances.
And he was going: "Oo-ah...Oo-ah...Oo-ah..."

These lyrics, particularly the bit about the man on a train in a trance spouting gobbley gook, remind me of young Master Bertram and his current obsession: Curious George. I’ve already noted that mimicry is one of young Master B’s specialties. Mimicry serves Bertram well when he imitates the way in which my fellow Parental Unit and I read books aloud. For instance, when we read Beatrix Potter’s Tale of Tom Thumb, does Hunca Munca merely squeak with joy upon seeing the doll’s food laid out upon the table? Oh no, she squeeeaks with joy! So delighted is Bertram at this pronunciation that he repeats it to us as, “Mommy squeeeks with joy! Daddy squeeeks with joy!”

Where this toddler mimicry becomes a problem is when Bertram decides to imitate that cartoon monkey George. So instead of words, I get to hear, “oooh, ahhh, ahhh, ahhh, oooh aaah.” That’s right, young Master B speaks monkey. When I remind Bert to use words, he takes that as a cue to repeat his monkey declarations, only louder and with stomping and jumping for extra emphasis. Thank you, PBS Kids.

What I want to understand is why so many kids'shows feature shouting unintelligible creatures like George or characters like Sesame Street’s Baby Bear, who speaks with a lisp. Many of young Master B’s contemporaries seem similarly drawn to mimicking, so I have to wonder what the thought process is for the child education experts (supposedly working for these shows) who create these characters with speech impediments—yes, I am looking at you Elmo: Parental Unit One wants to introduce you to her new paper shredder.

February 1, 2010

Getting Serious for February

In honor of the short month of February, I’ve issued a post-a-day challenge to Adrian’s mom over at Apparently. To show that I am 100-percent committed, I have posted a serious picture of young Miss Vivian.

As predicted, the dental storm has arrived. Young Miss Vivi now sports two bottom teeth—perfect for treats such as super-ripe and peeled pear on a fork or the rice cereal puffs that Bertram calls “squishy flowers.” With her new chompers in place, Vivi seems to believe that food is for the taking, be it your food or her brother’s food. You truly do not want to be the poor parental sod who decides to take away the food before young Miss Vivi is done. For then, you will awaken Vivian the Bad who will scream and shake her sticky fists at you. And that is not good.