knits & plants

aah, the simple life. almost.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

to the limit

"Liam, put your penis back in your pants or I WILL take it away."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

oh, the things I'll grow

I thank my lucky stars for Carmelita. One of my first friends when I came to Vermont, Carmelita was the means by which I became a farmer. She talked about garlic scapes and open-pollinated seeds. She tasted dirt. And in the garden, she moved like a dancer. I was enchanted. I wanted to know everything about this strange world, and I pestered her through the years until she taught me. It was the only way she could shut me up.
Growing things has developed into one of my biggest passions, and one that defines the passage of my life from season to season. I'm delirious with anticipation as the seed catalogs come rolling in around the holidays, when the Vermont days are four hours long, and the temperatures plummet into the negatives. And then in March, when I've still got four feet of snow in the yard, I start sewing little seeds into flat of dirt. As the months progress, the emerging seedlings require more space, and my tiny house is slowly overwhelmed by baby tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, herbs, and lettuces.

Yellow Brandywine seedling. Brandywines are notable for their smooth and oval leaves, unlike the usual jagged leaves common to tomato plants. 
Observe my four new raised beds! Hallelujah. Already planted, although not always yet visible, are three cultivars of peas, GARLIC, fingerling potatoes and purple potatoes, spinach, onions, arugula, beets, kale, radishes, carrots, and one lonely tomato seedlings test-driving the odd turquoise teepee on the right. That's a wall-o-water, and can apparently keep seedlings insulated from our changable spring weather patterns. We'll see.

By this time of the year, I'm pretty tired of seeing all these seedlings all over the kichen and living room. I'm tired of schlepping them in and out so that they can harden off in the real air, and learn to deal with wind and direct sunlight. I'm tired of planting seeds, only to transplant them a few weeks later into bigger containers. And most of all, I'm tired of catching whiffs of the liquid fish emulsion that I use to fertilize. I feel like the parent who can't wait to get the kids out of the house so they can take care of themselves for chrissakes. 

When there was a job and a baby to take care of, my love of farming was sometimes in conflict with the real world. It was a struggle to keep up with, and harvest time brought me close to tears. However, there's an unexpected perk to being laid off right as the growing season commences. 

Now, after I've finished the daily chores of feeding chickens, prepping compost, planting, weeding, watering and (hopefully) keeping track of what has gone in where all while minding Liam, I get to retire to my favorite spot under the crab apple tree.

Instead of sitting behind my desk, fretting about my workload and deadlines, early afternoon finds me here, sitting in my hammock (a prized keepsake from my time in South Carolina). Hearing nothing but cows and chickens and kids and dogs, I can survey the late spring scene in Goose Green and think about all the stuff I'm not missing anymore.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

tap tap tap This thing on?


Welcome back to knits and plants, returning from a year-long hiatus that I don't really have a terribly good excuse for. What I can tell you is that the energy required to resuscitate a dormant blog is tremendous. Obviously, the site needs a good dusting, but if I begin with that, you won't see any new content for another three months.

I'm writing from my porch at noon, while looking over the early garden and trying to figure where to begin bringing you up to date. Since I stopped updating this site, here's the short list of things that have changed:
  • We got another Springer Spaniel from Murphy's breeder. Zeke just turned one this week. He's cute, happy, adores Liam, and is as dumb as a post.
  • Liam turned two. Anything I write describing that will be hopelessly redundant.
  • Now that I am no longer pregnant or spending my summer in pediatric intensive care, I am back to gardening. The greenhouse is gone, but we built a number of new raised beds closer to the house (and a water source). I am stoked.
  • I lost my Lola cat. There are no words.
  • After walking on tenterhooks for seven months, I lost my job. I told you people you needed to buy more beautiful, insanely-priced, Vermont-made furniture!
  • The day before I lost said job, we adopted Eiby, a half-Springer, half-Setter 2-year-old who needed a better situation than she had. She and Zeke are made for each other, and the fact that she's a lovely sweetheart who adores me isn't too bad either. 
So that's the rundown. At least it's a better list than 2007. Now I've got to figure out how to survive as an unemployed intellectual in a back-of-beyond corner of Vermont. Thank god summer is coming. And speaking of summer:

It's almost here!! 

And this is where you can find us this summer. Boulder Beach in Groton State forest. A half-hour drive from my house, and heaven on earth.


Liam will come with if he has too, but he'd be just as happy on the tractor with a Budweiser.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Still here. Kinda.

So, when you neglect to pay your internet bill for a couple of months, they turn off your service. Go figure.

I'm not finding the time to get to my blog at work; I'm just too swamped. I hope to return to your regularly scheduled programming before too much longer. But that's where I am, for those of you who were asking.


Monday, March 31, 2008

An elegy to nursing

Ladies and gentlemen, I have been weaned. Can we please all observe a minute of silence.

Thank you all for you kind sympathies. I am still sorting through all the shock and mixed emotions. I keep thinking, "This can't be happening! He was so young!" and "What did I do wrong?" "Are my boobs not good enough?" And the sad truth is, we may never know. We sought a comment from the involved party. As of publishing time, he was not responding to inquiries.

All the nursing mamas I know tell essentially the same story. Babies having to be weaned at 24 months, or beyond. And not willingly. My baby? At 13 months. he's too busy for food that's not portable. I just...never expected him to wean me. I'm so depressed. What am I going to do now with all those hard-earned skills? Where does it fit on my resume that I can initiate and conclude a nursing session in a crowded restaurant without attracting notice or ever flashing the public? Le sigh.

This baby doesn't even want to nurse at night before bedtime. Not that he's relinquishing his grip on my boob though. He doesn't want it, he just wants to know that it's still there.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to the Mothers Without Milk support group.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Letters to Liam - Months 12 & 13 (delayed due to a severe case of writer's block)

Dear Liam,

At 5am morning, I woke up to a chorus of MAMAMAMAMA.MA.MA.MAMAs coming through the monitor. I poked your father. He didn't move. I pried my arm out from under a cat, shoved another cat off the blanket between my knees and climbed out of bed. I made my way upstairs, brushed my teeth, and opened up your bedroom door. You were sitting in your crib, talking to the stuffed doggie. You looked up when I entered and when you caught sight of me, your face became suffused with delight and you breathed, 'Mama'. I picked you up and you began the morning ritual of tucking every available part of your body into mine. I stood smelling your baby goodness, looking at all the new snow and thought, yes, this is what life is for.

Your job, it seems, is to teach me how little I really know about life. So much has been unexpected this year. Right from the start, you began to take apart THE PLAN and reshape it. It wasn't always fun, and I wasn't always willing to go along, but now that we've arrived on the other side and I'm getting a solid seven hours of sleep every night again, I can begin to regain perspective on the whole adventure.

It's not possible to prepare for an emergency birth. And no one can be prepared for the double whammy of finding out that your new peanut of a baby will need two major surgeries before he turns four months old. For a while, I simply walked around in a fog of incomprehension. What finally shook me out of it was realizing how little you were going to pay attention to any of it. You had more important things to do. For those of us who never left your side in those dark days after each surgery (your Daddy, Gigi and I) it was a remarkable, life-altering experience to watch you cope with pain, confusion, innumerable needles, bleeping machines, and the inability to see for four days. Your fortitude, and your stunningly quick recuperation are things that I will never, ever be able to forget. You are an inspiration to us. And we treasure you.

This month, you have discovered being naked. You are a born naked baby. But since you have not yet learned how to take off your own clothes, your favorite time of the day is the ten minutes you are allowed to run around stark before your bath.

You are your mother's child and you get very very angry when you pick out books to read, but we can't read them right away. This inevitably happens right before we have to leave for school. Your brand new bookcase is already full. This makes me happier than I can say. 'Goodnight Gorilla' is still the hands down favorite, but your handbound, one-of-a-kind 'Liam & Lulu' is coming in a close second.

Your favorite word? Cracker. Or more precisely 'cRACK-errr'. You know where they're kept and you're willing to wait. Also, because it was your birthday this month, you got to try ice cream. Which you liked vastly more than the Amazing Time Consuming and Complicated Birthday Cupcakes that took Lulu and I an entire day to whip up.

Oh wait, did I mention your birthday? We gave you a vintage 1975 Fisher Price Sesame Street Clubhouse complete with Little People. Your reaction was precisely what I was looking for. It's the first thing you head for every morning. God, I love that toy.

Your actual birthday party was postponed for a couple of weeks while Grandpa finished his chemotherapy. We knew that he would be finishing around your first birthday. The last few rounds were really tough, and I needed to celebrate you turning one along with his being done with it all. It felt right. Your party was riotous and so much fun. It felt really good to collect all those people together. And you know what? It was worth the wait. Because your Grandpa is ALL BETTER! YAHOO! I feel like I can take deep breaths for the first time since August.

This coming month is going to be busy. For starters, we might get to see the ground again. There's still over two feet of snow in our yard, but one can hope. Second, the wonderful Megan who takes care of you is going to have a baby sometime in the next 35 days. And once that happens, you'll be going to a new school. It's going to be tough kiddo. Hang in there. You're also going to your first Sheep & Wool Festival. I'm hoping that carrying you around will prevent me from buying mad yarn.

Last month, I entered you in a photo contest. Imagekind was inviting entries for the best baby firsts. I sent them this and this and this with this entry:

To: Imagekind Contests
Subject: First Moments Contest

Today, February 18th, 2008, our son Liam turns one-year-old. Being our first baby, we're a little camera-happy. We've taken a whopping 2094 shots of him this year! With so much raw ammunition, it wasn't easy to select our favorite 'firsts'. In addition to celebrating the first step, the first solid foods and the first bath, we have a lot of pictures that celebrate the fact that Liam underwent two major neurosurgeries before he was four months old...and came through them just fine. In the end, we decided that our favorite firsts were the ones that chronicled the huge experience life can be in your first year. They are: 'Liam's First Day at the Beach', 'Liam's First Experience Touching Grass', and 'Liam's First Funny Face'. Hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

It kind of sums up this whole year, the first year of your life. And guess what? We won! It's kind of proof that I am not the only one who thinks you are that most beautiful, most remarkable, most perfectly individual baby who ever was. I am so glad you are mine. Happy birthday, little bean.



Labels: ,

Because we've been through enough already.

My father is cancer-free. Clean CAT scan. I'm walking on air. That is all.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

songs for bedtime

If I have to listen to another inane CD of lullabies sung in an unsteady soprano, I'm going to lose my mind.

Love Minus Zero - Eliza Gilkyson
The Wind - Cat Stevens
Crazy Love - Bob Dylan
Under African Skies - Paul Simon
Blackbird - The Beatles
Wading in the Velvet Sea - Phish
Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters - Elton John
Sweet Baby - Macy Gray
Rue St. Vincent - Yves Montand
When You Wish Upon a Star - Joe Henry
Everybody Hurts - R.E.M.
Guyute (Orchestral) - Trey Anastasio
Takk... - Sigur Ros
Mockingbird - Peter, Paul & Mary
Sitting on the Dock of the Bay - Otis Redding
All the Tired Horses - Bob Dylan
Jamaica Farewell - Dan Zanes & Angelique Kidjo
Waiting on an Angel - Ben Harper
You Will Be My Ain True Love - Alison Krauss
Redemption Song - Bob Marley
Forever Young - Bob Dylan

Monday, February 18, 2008

I never thought it possible

I never thought it possible to spend over ten hours making spaghetti sauce, meatballs, ziti and cupcakes...until I had a baby. Ain't no thing, though. I love being busy.

To Liam on his first birthday

Happy Birthday my love. Your letter is in the works. By the time all the photos are processed, you might be two.

So, in the meantime, I'll post these snippets.

You are never, ever, going to eat sugar again. That is all.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

mid-February reality check

Every year around this time, I'm astonished to realize that I still have almost two more months of winter to slog through. It always seems like we've already had more than our share. I like winter, but man, you should see what it looks like around here. My four-foot tomato stakes are still up in the garden from last year, and last night the snow finally overtook them. That means there's 48 inches of snow cover in the backyard. And once it's here, it stays put until we get a really good thaw, say around July 1. 48 inches. I shudder to think of this year's mud season.

Anyway, for those of you who still labor under the supposition that it must be so idyllic to live in Vermont, I'll share the view that I wake up with every morning.

Think I'll go open another bottle of wine.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Yell Fire!

I've been a devoted fan of Michael Franti & Spearhead for over five years now. Yes, I'm a technocratic hippie, and yes, I still listen to Phish. Whatever, people. The music that moves you is the music that moves you.

Michael Franti has the gift of gab. And by that, I mean that he has the rare ability to capture you attention in the middle of a concert by his words, and not just by the excellent music. It certainly helps that he's super cute. If you're even just a little cranky with the way the world is headed, download Everyone Deserves Music, and you'll begin to tap into the positive movement for change.

Something today caught my interest. There's a video posted on youtube of a two-year-old toddler rocking out to Michael Franti. Now some of his music is perfect for kids. He even turned one of his songs into a children's book which we own. However. Franti calls it like he sees it, and this particular song is a protest song, created after Franti's trip to Bagdhad a few years ago. (He made a movie called I Know I'm Not Alone. Go watch it.)

The song in this particular video, however, has a message. An adult message (read: Fire! Fire! The world's going to hell!). As I started watching it, I felt a little queasy. I don't agree with using babies as a vehicle for activism. Liam doesn't even own clothing that sports sentiments such as "I hate peas" or "Grandma's little angel" Blecch.

Anywhoo. As I watch the video, I get eerie flashbacks to the Santaland Diaries (you haven't heard of them?? Then I don't know you) where David Sedaris recounts the little boy who arrives at the North Pole with a special message for Santa. David writes:

You know? That is so wrong. And so is using your infant to further your own political agenda, whether the music is good or not. But then about a minute into the film, I changed my mind. I began to realize that this child was not being manipulated, he was rocking out! He knew the words! He was having a blast, and I decided that not everything had to have an agenda. Sometimes, it can just be about the music and having fun.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


My parents are having trouble watching the Quicktime videos I sent them of Liam walking, so I am posting them here so they can see. The video quality is pretty poor, but hey, it's what we got! Enjoy!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Letters to Liam - Month Eleven

Dear Liam,

You're walking! Cheeky boy--I knew you would be. Three days before Christmas, you let go of the coffee table and planted that foot and stepped. And then you fell down hard. Ooof. Then you did it again. Then you took a two week hiatus from taking another step. All over the holidays I kept telling people that you have stepped, and then you set about to make me look like an overzealous fibber. I'd stand you up. You'd sit back down. I'd stand you up again, and you would lean forward and freefall, forcing us to grab you to avoid spectacular episodes of sobbing.

You're way more into food that you can eat yourself, and you've learned how to get it. You can now sign to eat, and you sign it A LOT. Especially if you catch sight of a banana. Or Cheerios. Or peanut butter. Signing is beginning to come in handy. This month, you've picked up EAT, MORE, BALL, and THANK YOU. Since all you could sign last month was LIGHT, it's a relief to finally have a bit of variety.

Of course, you're also terribly proud of yourself for talking. You're so happy to see me and have a reason to yell MAMA! Your father was not amused that MAMA came first. So for weeks, he walked around with you whispering DADDY in your ear. The result? DADA was your next work, but you would only whisper it for weeks. On Christmas day, Gigi finally got it that when you yelled OW, you were saying MEOW, which was totally neat because I never told you to call the cats MEOWS. I told you that they were KITTIES, but you must like their noise better, because OWS they are. OWS are also what you call small dogs that you can't yet distinguish from cats. And while we're talking about language, you also say HI. And something that sounds like GAO GAO GAO, but I have no clue what you mean.

One day last week, you came home from daycare. Daddy and I were both home with you. We played with you until dinnertime. You were your normal, happy, active self. I made you dinner, put you in your high chair, and you refused to take a bite. You shook your head no, then you performed the most spectacular vomiting episode I have ever witnessed. It was surreal in how long it lasted, nor could we figure out how so much stuff could have fitted in your little baby belly. Because apparently you hadn't digested anything all day. Diced grapes came back up, and cheerios and massive amounts of fluid. I was a little frightened. But once it was all over, the only frightening thing was tackling the cleanup. Ew.

This month was topped by the festival of Liam's First Christmas. You were AWEsome. It was so much fun to tell you all about what nut jobs are in your family. We were all ridiculously excited to give you presents, and watch you open the presents that Santa left for you. Note: You've got quite a market share for such a little guy. My goodness.

You sort-of figured out how to open things. And you were impressed with Christmas trees and cookies. We had such a blast watching you figure out your toys, but the poor doggies at Grandpa and Gigi's house were beside themselves. No one told them that bright fuzzy things that squeaked and rattled were not necessarily always dog toys.

But mostly, you just thought we had all lost our minds.

On Christmas Day, after all the presents were opened and appreciated, we took you outside for a holiday sledding event. I think you had fun. We sure did. You and Aunt Lulu sledded up and down, and you thought that having someone pull you around in the snow was pretty cool.

Then we made a snowman and ate snow.

Then you got cranky and we went inside. Later, after dinner, you and I packed up and headed to meet Daddy at the resort he works at. We had a special suite to make up for the fact that he had to work part of Christmas Day. We got room service and played with your toys. By the time you fell asleep, all I could do was think about how much fun you were, and how Christmases are just going to keep getting better.

Next month you'll be turning a year old. I mean good god, child, how can it already have been a whole year?? My life has been changed completely, and every day is overflowing with all the remarkable things that you do, and say, and see. You are the best thing ever, and I can say that as your totally impartial (and adoring) mother. I love you. I love you. I love you.

Did you know that I love you?


your Mama

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Nora sent me this, and just love it.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

all is not lost!

Dudes! Okay, I know this is going to be hard to believe, but I actually finished something.

I present to you the Majestic Mohair Throw from Fiber Trends. This purple mohair boucle yarn was one of the first things I ever purchased, once I got beyond the basics. It cost $75 for a hank, and I was astounded that yarn could cost so much. A beautiful, local yarn. And I have been knitting at this dratted thing for, oh I don't know, decades. It is the most boring, boring patterns in the world. AND the yarn splits easily, so you have to pay attention. AND I had to knit it on metal needles (which I hate) because of said tendency to split.

Oh, but it is a cozy, cozy thing of beauty.

Monday, December 31, 2007

Good Riddance!

This year is finally over. Can't say I'm sorry to see it go. Not that I would ever write one of those obnoxious yearly letters to family and friends, but if i did, I would have to send a strong shot of bourbon along with it.

This year:
  • I birthed a beautiful baby boy
  • I had a c-section in lieu of natural childbirth
  • We found out my son had a tethered spinal cord
  • My dog was attacked by a rabid skunk
  • My sister's heart was broken
  • My furnace broke and filled my house with carbon monoxide
  • Winter snows extended into mid-April
  • My company froze all salaries indefinitely
  • We found out our baby had saggital synostosis
  • My husband found a better paying job
  • Our dog suffered from renal failure and was put to sleep
  • My son endured two major surgeries
  • I got to take my son to work for six months
  • My sister's heart was broken again
  • My dad was diagnosed with cancer and had a tumor removed, then began chemotherapy
  • I got a new car
  • My grandfather died
  • I got a fantastic digital camera
  • We took a family vacation to the beach
  • I maxxed out two credit cards
  • I gained fifteen pounds postpartum
  • Our hospital debt load (four surgeries, seventeen days inpatient combined) got sent to collection
  • I lost fifteen pounds
  • However, no one in my family was maimed by wild dogs, so I guess we should consider ourselves lucky.
Heaven knows I'm no pessimist, but this year has GOT to go! Please please please let it be over, and please let next year just be normal. We need it. Vacation is close to a four-letter-word right now because every time we try to plan one, something calamitous happens.

I actually got invited to a party tonight, and guess what? My tummy is having a really bad day. Bad enough that I think I'm going to skip it. Figures. And since Glenn is working, it looks like Liam and I will be watching Battlestar Galactica and eating popcorn.

Okay, I am definitely feeling sorry for myself. Bah humbug. But it's a fitting way to end the year. It can only get better, right?

Happy New Year everybody. Tomorrow, I am going to sit down with the new Fedco seed catalog and order up my garden for next year. Then am going to do a stash inventory and find something to knit, goddammit. Then, I will drink wine or tea, depending on the tummy situation. Then Liam and I will attempt another snowshoe in the backyard. And with that, I will hopefully air out all the bad juju and get back to the stuff that really matters in life. Hope to see you there.

PS-Congratulations to the lovely JBQs for holding off on the birth of baby Harper for a full week so she could be a NYE baby. Way to go!! I miss you all. Send pictures ASAP!!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Letters to Liam - Month Ten

Dear Liam,

When I sat down to collect my thoughts and remember all the things that have happened this month, I am astonished by all the things you have been doing. You are SO close to walking. I'm still betting we'll see a step by Christmas.

This month, you endured your very first cold. Nothing major, just a stuffy, runny nose. But man, were you ever cranky! Our plans for sleep training went up in smoke, since you went back to getting up twice a night, and I didn't have the heart to ignore you when you were so miserable.

Despite your cold, you went to visit Santa Claus. While I can say that you were much better behaved than many of the older children there, I have to admit that you were mostly just puzzled by the entire event. You went on Santa's lap, and sat quietly for the pictures, but I have just under a hundred pictures, and you're wearing the same bewildered expression in each one.

I needed some early cheer this year, so we went to get our Christmas tree right after Thanksgiving. It was fun. You'll be wanting to help Daddy cut down the tree next year, I imagine. Between the time we put the tree in the truck and the time we got it home, it had grown another three feet, and some judicious pruning was required before it would fit in the house.

The tree is gated. This does not deter you. You've discovered how to move the gate. I have sixteen new white hairs from the time I turned around from washing dishes to see you with a narrow glass icicle in your mouth. But you love the tree. You especially love my collection of silver bells and balls, that you tell me to ring so you can hear them.

You are totally at home in the cold and the snow. I love this about you. You are a child of Vermont, and your father couldn't be happier. It has snowed tons this month. Your cousins from Maryland came to visit, and they were not as impressed with the snow, or the cold. They must have thought I was practicing a particularly evil form of child abuse every time I took you outside to get in the car. Bulky outerwear makes you immensely cranky, and since the car is always warm before you get into it, I typically only make you wear a fleece pullover and a hat. No coat, no gloves.

It's a measure of how much I have become a Vermonter that I mentioned to your Aunt Brandy that our day trip to Burlington would be nice since it was pretty warm that day. It was 28 degrees out. There is a BIG difference between 28 degrees and 8. She was nice enough to stop laughing when she saw I was earnest, but she still thinks I'm insane.

You and your cousin Dylan are only two weeks apart. It was a real treat to see the two of you interact. Dylan is BIG. And he made you look like a peanut. You retaliated by trying to eat his head several times a day. Poor Dylan. He is so big, he's not crawling or standing yet. He was more or less helpless against your onslaughts.

One day, it snowed so much that it came up to my mid-thigh in the backyard. Being that sort of mother, I took you out of the sled and deposited you in the hold made by my leg. Anything for a picture! I thought I might get one or two off before you started screaming. Instead, you started eating snow.

Your cousins Dylan and Rachel came for a visit and left their coughy plague behind. With three rugrats sharing a small house for three days, it was inevitable that you'd catch it. My poor little Bean. You're a coughy, feverish mess, and I missed almost a whole week of work between snowstorms and sick baby. You are immensely cuddly, though. It's a good thing too, since you've got me up all night.

You've just said your first word. I couldn't be prouder every time you say, "uh-oh". Or "uh-uh-uhhhhh-oh." You're incredibly delighted with yourself. You still need to work on your timing though. Grabbing a handful of Cheerios from your high chair, you hold them over the side, pronounce "uh-oh" and then let them fall. Cheeky monkey. It's almost as hard not to laugh as when you grab onto the Christmas tree. I'll give you my sternest "no-noooo" and shake my head. You'll shake your head emphatically back at me, then produce the most mischevious grin and head right back to whatever trouble you were trying to accomplish.

Christmas is only a week away little man. Ready?



Thursday, December 13, 2007

just great

After an absence of a year and a half, it has returned. Today, I woke up with my period. AND a pimple. How's that for irony?


My cousins are here from Maryland with their little kids. Dylan is only three weeks older than Liam. They arrived at 5:00 this morning, so Liam hasn't even met them yet. I can't wait for this day to be over so we can go hang out with them. Will be so much fun! Rachel is 4, and on Saturday, we're taking them all to Santa's Village. She's the perfect age for it. I don't know who's more excited, her or me.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Rite of Passage

Three weeks after starting daycare, Liam has come down with his first cold. We've been inducted into the neverending drippy-nose club. yecch. He's been mildly feverish since last Wednesday, so we stayed home on Friday to try to get it under control.

He's been pretty whingy and we haven't been able to put him down in five days. He's learned to avoid the handkerchief and knows all about the nose sucker, the poor wee wain. He's determined enough to keep nursing, but the noise he makes is enough to raise the hackles on my neck. It's like a cross between Darth Vader and the boy who sat next to me in third grade who unconsciously cleared his sinuses every five minutes.

When the warm steam humidifier seemed to give him relief, I replaced his nightly bath with a shower. I brought him in with me, much to his delight. He'll dabble his fingers in the spray, point to the blue and green spots on the shower curtain, then he'll tuck his little head under my chin and settle in. We stand there under the warm spray until we turn pruney. It's the perfect excuse to take incredibly long showers twice a day.

Liam enjoyed the shower so much that I've repeated it twice a day for the past three days. I can't help loving it too. Holding that snuggly little body to mine, while it's still little enough to hold. It's quite a sensation. And I get kisses! A little girl at daycare loves to kiss Liam, and he's catching on...slowly. He gets the mouth-to-face thing, but he's yet to learn that kissing involves puckered lips, and not so much a gaping lamprey mouth. Except on very rare occasions, Liam will not give kisses when asked, except I've discovered, when in the shower. Which is fine with me, because it cuts down on the amount of nasal seepage that comes along with the kiss. Hey, it's my kid! It's only gross to you.

Moving on, yesterday morning we had breakfast, and played a bit, and then I stripped him and we took a shower. He wasn't quite as excited as before, and didn't want to play in the spray. He just tucked his head under my chin, his hands under his belly and...hey, wait a second, is he sleeping??

Asleep after two minutes in the shower. While still in the shower. His mouth was closed and he was breathing through his sinuses. Not wanting to interrupt a good thing, I wandered around the shower for twenty minutes or so. When the water started to cool off, I got out, wrapped his towel around him. Bringing him into his bedroom, I laid him down in the crib, naked and damp. I slid a diaper on him, piled a heap of blankets on top of him, and he slept that way for a hour and a half.

Nighttime sleep has become a rare commodity again since Liam's been sick. Now when he wakes in the middle of the night, I have one more strategy to sooth him back to slumber.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Letters to Liam - Month Nine

Dear Liam,

We've just concluded the Month of the Snuffy Face. It's a particularly fine combination of scrunched face and heavy breathing through your nose. Lulu taught it to you and you can't get within twenty yards of a camera without putting it on. Then we all laugh so much that you'll probably still be doing it in your graduation photos.

Halloween was fun, for us anyway. Your bear costume was built to ensure that if you were ever shipwrecked while looking for the Northwest Passage, you would be able to generate enough body heat to keep all your companions from freezing to death. You were a miniature Easy Bake oven. While I was giddily toting you around work, showing you off to all my coworkers, your lower half was beginning to liquify, and your nose broke out in actual sweat beads. So for most of the day, I just made you wear the hat.

We had no trick-or-treaters, as usual. You debuted your costume in the grocery store after work, and we stripped it off you as soon as we got home. No one wants to clean up a puddle of what was formerly your baby boy until you roasted him at 250 for a couple of hours.

As your mother, I feel compelled to point out that you eat tofu, and you love it. And because I'm your mother and you don't know any better, I'm also feeding you broccoli and Brewer's Yeast and powdered kelp. Mwahahahhhahaha!

You started Day Care this month, and I miss you so much! You, however, are so busy that I don't think you notice my absence for some time. You spend your days with two older women. Both are blond toddlers who dote on you and live to squeeze you. You get to play outside a lot, while I am stuck inside working on databases. Once we get to the weekend, I have trouble planning anything to do other than staying home and playing with you for two solid days.

I had to buy a storage bench to keep you from sticking every shoe and boot in the house in your mouth. You are currently fascinated with the remote control, rubber duckies, the toilet, and any available cats. You're surfing all the furniture, and you've begun freestanding for a few seconds before you plop down. You will totally be walking by Christmas. How on earth are we going to keep you from taking down the Christmas tree? Oy.

We've begun what I'm afraid will be a lifelong habit of being made to take pictures of you with dead game. Ugh. Your father is ecstatic. I find it morbid, but I'm smart enough to realize how little a chance I stand of being able to avoid it. See the glazed, beatific look on his face? That will last for days. So, I deal with it as best can. And insist that you need your hat with the fuzzy blue ears while you're out in the cold.

I might as well point out that you're already in love with everything your dad does. Yesterday, you insisted that I hold you up at the door so you could watch him cut and stack firewood for TWO WHOLE HOURS. Thrilling.

You've slept through a few nights, tantalizing me with thoughts of regular sleep that lasts more than three or four hours at a stretch. Then you'll get me up twice a night again. I'm pretty much living in loungewear, which is as close as I am going to come to a good rest, apparently.

The next time I write to you, it will be almost Christmas. Life will never, ever be the same. Think your Dad is pretty cool? Just wait until you see what Santa can do!