Tuesday, August 18, 2009

08.18.2009 -- Taller

Anyone ever read that story, Thinner, by Stephen King? Millions of us wish we were thinner every day, don't you think? Maybe a lot of people wish they were taller, too.

These thoughts came to me tonight as I watched my wonderful husband on the trampoline with Lucy. Lucy barely makes the surface of the trampoline dip down. Brian could easily send it to the ground just by jumping normally. So, of course, he doesn't jump normally.

The weight limit for that tramp is 200 lb. Brian is over 200 lbs., but isn't overweight. He's not skin and bones--but he doesn't have a lot of extra on him. I watched them and realized that he probably felt uncomfortable jumping on the tramp--that "jumping" on that tramp is a totally different experience for him than it is for me. For him, the tramp is almost rickety and unsafe. For me, it's just fun.

Watching him "jumping" with his three-year-old daughter made me wonder how it would be to be too big for most things. (And not for the first time.)

Can you imagine ducking your head to go through most doorways? Sitting in chairs that are too small? Stretching out in bed only to have your feet stick out the bottom?

Of course, being tall has it's benefits. One good thing about being taller is that a longer body makes it easier to children to nap comfortably while being held.

I love my tall man.

Monday, August 17, 2009

09.16.2009 -- Successful Parenting?

Lucy had her first visit to the dentist this morning.

During the visit, Lucy:

*Asked me why there weren't very many toys in the waiting room.
*As I filled out first-time-patient forms, asked me to read "Jonah and the Whale" from the stack of kids books.
*Listened to me read the book and asked two questions while I read: "Is that Jonah?" And, "Where is God?"
*Followed the assistant who called her name and climbed up in the dental chair with no fuss.
*Beamed when she got to choose a Disney Princess toothbrush from the toothbrush basket (she's never had a princess toothbrush).
*Was quiet, but mostly responded when people spoke to her. (When two new kids were loaded into the chairs beside her, she watched them intently (stared) and was so focused on them that she didn't answer the technician's attempts to engage her.)
*Happily wore the sunglasses provided while she lay prostrate in the dental chair under the light.
*Told the dentist (whom I would recommend to anyone) "Thank you, Dr. Nelson!" loudly and clearly when she was done.
*Chose a small plastic "Fairy Wand" out of the prize basket.
*Unwrapped the wand right away and left the building saying "bobbity boo," while waving the wand.

Lucy has a slight underbite, minimal damage from grinding on her molars, a chipped front tooth and.........

No cavities!
The dentist told me that her teeth look really great.

Successful Parenting! (I will take partial credit for no cavities. For everything else, I give credit to Lucy.)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

08.15.2008 -- A Couple of Things

First Section

A few days ago, some really wonderful and beautiful people confided in me that they have read my blog. I had mixed feelings. I really don't mind when people read my blog. Frankly, I'm flattered that anyone would spend their time here. What I don't like is the sort of performance anxiety that sometimes besets me when I realize that people are reading my blog.

That's the major reason why this blog doesn't have the option of leaving comments. (If I don't have a place for people to leave comments, then I don't have to deal with disappointment from people not leaving comments, and I won't write things in order to get comments. See how that works?)

With that explanation, maybe you'll understand when I make this request: If you read this blog and I don't know it--don't tell me. Please.


Second Section

Ah, the weather. It's yummy.
It makes me want to spend more time outside, but actually accomplishing things outside is a little difficult with Gabe. He, normal kid that he is, wants to eat everything (except baby food): Grass, bricks, bark, dirt/mud, hair, wood, rocks, buttons.

Now, for fun--and because I'm all about giving back, here's a little learning opportunity for us: A chance to assess yourself and, at the same time, to learn about me. Let's say we line ourselves up in one happy line of people who do or do not allow or feel comfortable letting babies put things in their mouths. I would be left of center. (Left being more permissive.) I think that it's sort of how being a baby goes. I cringe when I think of babies putting things like dirt in their mouths, but mostly because I think it's got to taste awful--not because I think it will really harm them.

There are a few modifiers to this that I should probably put out there in order to really make myself understood. I am aware of pollutants that could make normally innocuous things pretty harmful to babies. Weedkillers, dog poo, industrial or nuclear waste: These are only some of the things that I don't want in babies' mouths.

And where are you in our line-up? (Rhetorical question--please refer to the first section of this post.)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

08.09.2009 -- Jiggity Jig


Six days ago, the kids and I came home from a two-week summertime adventure.

To me, the trip was a big one for a number of reasons:
all of them boring, probably, to anyone but me.

This was my first trip (involving planes) traveling as the only adult with two little ones. It went about as you would expect. We were all very tired when we reached our destination(s). Lucy and Gabe are good travelers. Gabe is very good. He does tend to reach a certain point where time in the carseat is insupportable, but up to that point he is easy. Lucy is good natured, too, and can endure long, long periods of sitting. The major sticking point with Lucy and with me this trip was that she wanted me to carry her much more often than I had the will and sometimes strength to. We get around this sometimes by using rolling suitcases as a makeshift stroller, but mostly, we just got through it. Sometimes I ended up carrying two children and sometimes she walked, crying.

This was the first time in YEARS that I've spent more than a night at Silver Lake. Silver Lake is where my parents took our family growing up. It is my quintessential happy place. It was typical for our family to spend a few weeks at Silver Lake in the summer visiting family, but this family time didn't quite survive college and early marriage. It was just too hard to schedule.

Silver Lake is where I discovered the impossibly cute vermillion creatures called newts that came out in the rain, crawling so slowly that a three-year-old's less-practiced fingers could safely scoop them up. It's where I cultivated my love for swimming in quiet, cool fresh water. Where I learned the sounds loons make and how they can transform twilight into pure magic. Silver Lake is where I learned that my favorite sources of light are not acessible at the flip of a switch and that people can survive happily without television or radios or movies--for weeks at a time. It was wonderful to step back into those unscheduled days as an adult and parent.

The first time Lucy "caught" her first newt, she declared, "Oh, I love you! You're my best friend for ever and ever!" Lucy named the newt "Heart." When it was time to head out to the airport, Lucy said she didn't want to go--even though she missed her daddy. And Gabe. Gabe developed a habit of falling asleep IN the lake while swimming with Lucy and me. This happened twice in one day.

On August first, at Silver Lake, I had my first personal experience with a "flash mob." Actually, it may not be technically a flash mob because it was organized face-to-face and the venue was private, not public. But the intent was the same. Our "flash dance" involved "Postcards From Italy" by Beirut and about 40 - 50 people. It was a good first time effort. I sincerely hope to be involved in more flash mobs in the future.

What else?

Ah. Driving in the East. There might be some people who read this blog who are not yet aware of the differences of driving in the East and the West. (I'm about to commit an act of wanton generalization, so be advised.) In the west, you can see where you are headed. In the East, you can see trees and a little sky. If the west is a baseball field (destinations and directions easily distinguishable), the east is a labrynth.

Up until now, a few basic facts have prevented me from driving in the East. First, I am a youngest child. Second, I am female. (Female is too clinical, yes, but if I use "female," I can avoid the problem of deciding whether to refer to myself as a girl or a woman.) Last but not least, I have had no desire to drive in the East. This trifecta has made it so that at the tender age of 33, I had my first real driving experience east of Utah.

I am happy to report that I sucessfully navigated myself, Lucy and Gabe around New Hampshire, through Vermont, New York and into Ontario. I also drove to and in (gasp) BOSTON! Uneventful trips, all of them.

With all this driving, I found a paradigm for driving in the east that worked for me. It was this: In the west, when I drive, if I am headed toward my destination as the crow flies, it usualy works out fine. I can see just by looking where a certain road is likely to take me because there are rarely any instances where my view as a driver is blocked. In the east, I can almost never see where a road is leading. Roads twist and turn in the east with tall densely-treed borders. This has always been unnerving to me...until this summer. I should also note that the GPS app on my phone was a HUGE help in all of this.

Maybe it was because having a GPS handy allowed me to relax a little, but this trip, I realised that it was okay to lose my orientation, and that I didn't have to know where I was at all times during the trip. I just had to have the junctions right. So instead of, "I have no idea where I am, I have completly lost my orientation" type thoughts, I enjoyed thoughts more along these lines: "I've passed Burlington, now I have to keep my eyes out for 219E." Easy peasy. Or as my good friend Emilie would say: "Nema Problema."

Another first on this trip, I drove, docked, and didn't sink--didn't even ding--boats at Silver Lake. For the same reasons that I've avoided driving myself in the east, I havn't really driven boats there either. Again, it went really well.

Imagine that: 33 years of worrying--all for naught.

Lucy, Gabe and I enjoyed spending time with family on this trip. We had a few extended visits with my Granny, which were priceless. It's likely now that, whatever happens, Lucy will remember time she spent with two of her great grandmothers. She and Lucy had tea together and talked about jewelry. We'll have to wait and see if Gabe will get to remember time with his Great Granny, but I will always remember how she watched him crawl and affectionately called him "a menace," and "a tiger."

So you can see, this trip was good on a number of levels. I experienced a number of shifts of consciousness: the last being that I realized that I really, really love where I live. I love the weight and distinction of the Wasatch mountains. I love the sunsets--how they warm the hills and reflect in the lake. I love how precious green is in the desert. I love how friendly people are here in Utah. There are a lot of places in the world where only "wierdos" make eye contact with and smile at strangers in public. (Most of Boston?) I love how clean the streets and parks are here. I love how close I am to gorgeous public lands and wilderness. I appreciate that I know who my neighbors are and that our neighborhood is a safe place for Lucy to play.

A couple of weeks away (minus one weekend in Canada with Brian) was also enough to renew my appreciation for my husband. He's wonderful. (Extreme understatement.)

It was so nice to come home. I love a lot of people in the east, I love a lot of places in the east, but I love home more. It's where I belong.

(Hey, I know this is goopy, but I'm entitled to a little goop now and then.)

10% as beautiful as the real thing.