You hadn't noticed. I'm kind of done blogging. For now.
Like a bear crawling from her den . . . yes, like a mother bear, I've emerged, squinting at my last blog post title. How did that happen? Life intervenes. There is only so much space on the desktop. Swivelheader and NYC Moms have both gotten crowded out, by other writing projects, Christmas, improv, less babysitting time, singing, starting a law practice and the illness and passing of an childhood friend. It feels good that I'm not under contract here, but nonetheless I feel an obligation to update. So here, in no particular order, is a list of events that have happened since fall:
Bennett got potty-trained; they realized Santa is real and giving them presents; they learned how to climb on a stool to access my party shoes/the computer/the kitchen knives; started giggling uncontrollably whenever we said grace; Bennett let go of the Humpty obsession, pretty much, and developed one for trains; we stopped using the double stroller, which was held together with twine anyway; Ruby decided she only wants to wear pink dresses and skirts, at the same time; they say, "where did you went?"; we removed the sides of their cribs to make them "beds"; they stopped napping; people keep commenting on the extension of Ruby's foot and how she should have dance instruction; we got into the preschool of our choice (yay), but in the afternoon (bleh); we stopped using shampoo on their hair, which made it much healthier, weirdly; they're bored of almost all their books; their clothes got too small; they turned three.
So, in other words, growing is their business, and business is good.
Welcome to spring!
Our beloved neighbors, the B's, handed down a princess costume for Ruby a little while back. I'll be confessing to them through this post that we kept it in a closet for a bit and then took it to the Goodwill store. Ruby never even saw it.
If she had, she'd have loved it, of course. She probably wouldn't have taken it off for two months. It was sooooooo pretty: white and yellow with glittery layers of chiffon forming the long voluminous skirt, puffed sleeves, not a stitch of a natural fiber to be found anywhere. This is the kind of dress that makes little girls go apeshit because it makes them feel like a princess or a fairy or whatever. I remember having a couple of the old school versions of these from the Sears catalog when I was little. I wore the blue one one until the silver fell off the sequins and the tulle skirt was a rag. Girls love these getups because they feel really special in them, like a magical creature of light that we all probably all felt like when we entered this world but have subsequently trained ourselves to believe is childish.
So I have nothing against the fairy princess dress. The problem is the boys. I kept thinking about bringing that dress out of the closet in front of Bennett, who's the same age as Ruby. Because they're twins, they have a pretty well-developed sense of material justice. Not quite "an eye for an eye" but more like "if he gets an eye, then I better be getting one too." So if I bestowed this beautiful, dramatic, sparkly, shiny, colorful fantasy on Ruby but told Bennett that it wasn't for him, only girls like Ruby, what does that tell Bennett about the specialness of boys? He doesn't understand yet the cultural norms we've developed based on gender. He would just get that he is less . . . special, sparkly, beautiful, colorful.
It reminds me of a mom whose son wanted to dress up as Hannah Montana for Halloween a few years ago. Really, how can you blame him? She's one of the most exciting characters out there for kids. When we tell our little boys that all the lightness, magic and beauty is only for the girls, I think we're doing them a real disservice. In fact, if I was a little guy, I think I'd be jealous and mad about it. What do the guys get to make them feel special when they dress up? Not much. They get trained to be little tough guys, before they're anything like tough. This Halloween, I looked around. Cowboy . . . Jedi . . . zombie . . .Transformer . . . and, no lie, a four year-old pimp with fake money coming out of his hat band. And people wonder where misogyny comes from?
Bennett's costume did actually manage to fulfill an almost life-long dream (he's two and a half). For at least a year, he's been obsessed with Humpty Dumpty: books, videos, acting out his brief story thirty or forty times in a stretch. We thought it would go away after he learned to walk really well, but apparently that's not what his fascination is about. So I found him a shiny, colorful plush Humpty costume that made him into the eggman himself, with a little hole for his face and a tiny red hat on top.
When I revealed it to him, he was speechless, and remained so for the better part of a half hour. At one point, he and I were sitting on the bed so he could see himself in our mirror. He turned to me, and in the quietest, most reverent little voice, said: "I wanna break."
So Bennett managed to feel his version of magical at Halloween. I'm not sure how to do that for him on a regular basis, the way little girls can with their trunks full of princess costumes. For now, my plan is to do what I always do when I don't know the answer to a parenting question: I'm gonna kick that shiny can down the road.
It's been a magical summer. Sure, we've had daily temper tantrums, but that's the age we're at. I'd much rather deal with the maddening tyranny of toddler willfulness than the distressing mystery of a baby's constant wailing. We've discovered that as a family we all love fresh tomatoes and corn on the cob, which is a big relief, since that's one of my favorite parts of summer. We've also had our first amusement park foray this season, which was truly one of the high points of my parenting. The particular one we visit is near where I grew up. It's kind of my Adventureland; it still has the a bunch of the same rides that were there when I was a kid. It also has tons of trees and shade, which is one of the things that makes it so great and very different from almost any other theme park I know of.
The looks on their faces when they took off on their first kiddie ride (stupid-cute fire engines) will stay with me till my last breath. The joy in parenting for me really stems from merging with the pure, uncritical joy of your kids. And at two and a half, those moments seem to come so easily. Granted, they just as easily freak out when you won't let them bake their pillow in the oven, but like I said, managing that kind of, um, unreasonable demand is something I can pretty much take in stride. Did I mention I spent a number of years working in the music business?
Ruby is into dressing herself (someone really needs to tell her that boots and angora aren't summer wear; she won't listen to me) and Bennett continues to need music in his life every day (he still plays his guitar every morning; it's atonal but enthusiastic). They are also huge - it's becoming one of those situations where other parents on the playground expect them to behave beyond their years because of their height. Oh well. Maybe they'll be supermodel/basketball stars. Just kidding. I'm no sadist.
I just saw the subject line of an email from the company I do law work for. I was furloughed from my last assignment with them a few months ago and haven't done a stroke of legal work since. But I'm still on their distribution list, so I get the same mass email everyone else does.
My eyes grazed the screen: "Please Read: Playdate Change!"
Why is my law firm sending me email about playdates? I wondered. Then I realized that it actually said "paydate change."
Just goes to show that our context can really skew our perceptions. I think I understand a little more about Sonia Sotomayor.
I think I've mentioned that J is a reformed goth too old to wear black head to toe any longer. But we can still celebrate the brothers and sisters of the dark side. Yes, they still exist, and they're really starting to sweat it out as the summer solstice approaches.
As they say, "what in the name of the Sisters of Mercy is going on here?"
See more at www.gothsinhotweather.com
I am cleaning my closet. And no, that is not a euphemism for a colonic. I have lost at least 200 pounds, though. Most of it is clothing that I wore when I was, ahem, a few pounds thinner and younger and not sporting a postpartum baby belly. Although I am keeping the black Gap Maternity rollneck sweater. No embarrassing label can get me to part with it (And I hate cutting out labels. Something about possible product liability and tracing the source. Speak to my subconscious about if you're interested.). When I am parting ways with articles of clothing, it's surprisingly emotional and conditional.
Sure, there are those easy calls that head to the ignoble pile called "donation." Thereon lay all the remaining body-hugging Lycra v-necks I used to throw on under size 6 Theory suits in my days as a corporate entertainment lawyer. So long to that white cotton halter dress still in its dry cleaner's plastic, worn only once, at an audition that I'd longed for. The tiny miniskirt I wore on the opening night of my first go at producing is also there.
There are sub-piles: a series of shorter stacks that go like this: Heavy Winter Sweaters (take to our new storage space downstairs), Homeless Hoodies (figure out where to hang them once and for all - doorknobs are not a solution), For Ruby (take to the cedar closet in Mom and Dad's attic), So You Think You Can Go Dancing? (take to storage space and seriously think about whether you should ever wear sequins again, and whether you ever should have to begin with) and Sacred But Unwearable T-Shirts (is it frivolous to obtain a lockbox for these?).
The For Ruby stuff is fun. There's the gold dress I wore to a law school graduation party, the crocheted shirt I wore to everything and the giant David Byrne suit that surreptitiously passed as law firm attire. Or so I thought.
As much as I'm unloading here, I'm really only struggling with a tiny portion of it. It's that part of the closet that I could and would wear but for this nasty bit of pregnancy hangover (to wit: my gut). I love and respect my body as it is but I am having a hard time with giving up the idea that I can't wear the same stuff I used to, even though I wouldn't buy these things today (I'm not stupid). I don't want to be that PTA president with the handles that aren't for holding. I wonder what other moms (and dads) have done about this. I mean, if you set it free, will a size 6 ever come back to you?