“Tri, tri again” follow-up


This is pretty much how I looked while crossing the triathlon's finish line.

Readers of my “Tri, tri again” post will be (hopefully) pleased to hear that I met my physical goal for the summer last weekend, on August 15, when I completed a triathlon sprint in Novi.

Not that I was remotely organized. I signed up only days before the race, vacillating between the Novi race and one scheduled the following weekend in Brighton (but since Joe and I would be out celebrating our upcoming seventh anniversary the night before that one, I thought better of it); I got lost trying to find the packet pick-up place the day before the race, while Lily was napping, and then I helped Joe’s brother’s family move into their new home in Ann Arbor; and minutes before my heat got into the water for the swimming leg, I heard about a chip we were all supposed to have on our ankles – there had been no such thing in my packet. Oops.

“Just shout your number wherever you’re making a transition and see one of us with one of these,” a woman said, pointing at what looked like an adding machine. Um, OK. Seemed unlikely to happen, but I nodded and thanked her anyway. Continue reading

Translating the world for a two-year-old

Late last week, as Lily stood on a chair at the kitchen sink and “washed” some dishes and silverware – a recent obsession I love, because I know precisely how much she’ll hate this chore one day – she pointed at a cocktail shaker and asked Joe, who was overseeing things, “What’s that?”

Joe, of course, didn’t give her the item’s proper name, fearing that she’d turn Sunny Day Care into the set of a “Mad Men” episode by way of martini references. So instead, he said, “Sometimes Mommy makes a special drink for herself, because she works very hard, and this is what she uses to make it.”

Hearing this while sitting in the next room, I cracked up. And in fact, some of our funniest moments of late involve translating the world for our curious two year old.

But some of the hard questions have already started coming, too. Continue reading

“Online action” news

I thought that those following my ridiculous, but kind of hilarious, online saga – wherein, in March, a college acquaintance started a late-night Facebook chat to try and get me to engage in cybersex, and I REPEATEDLY failed to understand what he was driving at – might be interested in an update.

First, after previously hearing from two men who’d been urged by this same guy – I’ll call him PJ, for “Pervy Jackass” – to exchange naked wife photos, and a woman who’d also been directly propositioned, I recently heard from yet another man, who I’ll call B, with whom I’d gone to college. (For those keeping score, that brings our current member count for the “I’ve-been-inappropriately-propositioned-by-PJ-via-Facebook” club up to five – though my guess is there are plenty of others out there who don’t know he’s doing this TO EVERYONE.)

B reached out to me via FB chat, too – which, admittedly, I’m now wary of, but nonetheless responded to – and he said wanted to talk to me. Now, I hadn’t chatted with or seen B in more than 10 years, so I was curious as to why. Then he wrote, “Do you remember PJ?”

“Oh,” I thought. “Now I know precisely where we’re going.” Continue reading

Vacation II (in which things get better – mostly)

As noted in my previous post, our recent vacation to Camp Michigania got off to a rough start.

But eventually, that first night, Lily was snoozing deeply enough on my shoulder that I got her into her crib – none too delicately, I’m afraid – and Joe and I got to sleep, too. Finally.

The next morning, we walked past the horses (which Lily, riding on my shoulders, was very excited about) on the way to breakfast, and then we made our first visit to kids camp. Sets of parents holding babies and tennis rackets were trying to drop off their little ones for the first time, so there were tears and pleas and tension in the air, despite the playground setting.

Not surprisingly, because we were in a new place, Lily was a little unsure at first, too, so we stayed while she went down the slide a few times and got to know one of the counselors. Then she spotted a corner where kids were sticking their foot in red paint and making a print on a big piece of butcher paper. Once Lily saw that, she got in line and was happy as could be, waving to us as we kissed her and told her we’d be back in a while.

So Joe and I went for a short run together (a rarity these days), cleaned up, and got a cat nap. At around 11 a.m., we picked up Lily to go to the beach – her first-ever beach experience. She LOVED it – especially playing with the new bucket with a water spigot I found at Costco – and we soon noticed camp employees setting out food and firing up a grill in the nearby shelter. Lunch AT the beach? Hot dogs and fruit, two of the handful of things that Lily willingly eats? Yes, please!!

Continue reading

Does this fainting couch come in a size 4T?


Lily, wearing three layers of dress-up costumes this morning

I’ll say this for two year olds: they know how to do the drama up right. They’re like little Norma Desmonds – minus the makeup, marabou, and pet monkey (though Lily would ask for the latter in a New York minute if the idea ever occurred to her).

One morning last week, Lily woke up at 6:30 a.m., which is about 30-45 minutes earlier than usual. We got her dressed, fed her breakfast, and she asked to watch “Sesame Street.” I let her see it for a while, warned her when she had only five more minutes left of TV time, and then turned it off. Despite the warning (which is usually effective), Lily cried and begged for more, saying, “Again! Again!” I said, “No,” and she weepily stumbled away from me toward the couch, where she grabbed one of the large pillows, pulled it down onto the floor, and then flung her little body onto it for a good, long sob. (In these moments I wonder whether instead of being a little critic-in-training, Lily will end up on the stage herself.)

After a few minutes of what is clearly trumped up whimpering – you can HEAR the effort – she went quiet, and her breathing steadied. She’d fallen stone asleep while splayed tragically on this big, red pillow. (By the way, in case you’re wondering, this had never happened before, and it felt like Christmas morning for this mommy. I grabbed the New York Times and read for a while, quietly cleaned up the kitchen, and retrieved my book from my bedroom to read a chapter or two before she woke up. There’s nothing like having stolen time you weren’t expecting fall into your lap. This may, in fact, be my idea of heaven.)

"Do you think the rain boots with six scarves and a bike helmet is too much?"

Lily’s also a big fan of the melodramatic reunion. Because she’s the Norm Peterson of Sunny Day Care, staying until closing time each day, we tend to rendezvous with Joe as he’s coming home from work. Often, Lily and I will turn the corner at the end of our block, and she’ll spot Joe’s car in our driveway. Joe will stand there in his suit, waving, and Lily will yell, “Run to me, Daddy!” And then she sprints toward him and he does the same, finally catching her up in his arms and spinning with her.

It’s as if Sandra Bullock and Julia Roberts rom-coms had played on a constant loop in my womb, teaching her that this is how we always greet the ones we love. Continue reading

See that light at the end of the tunnel? Let’s consider turning around and heading back into the dark…

Generally, over the past two years, parenting Lily has gradually become more fun and more manageable. Yes, there are still bad, bang-your-head-against-a-wall times occasionally; but she’s more self-sufficient than ever, sometimes amusing herself with sidewalk chalk, her kitchen set, or something completely random like a broom, thus leaving me and Joe with tiny stretches of time to take a breather and steal a glance at a newspaper or magazine.

Which is nothing short of bliss. I’ve missed these small pleasures desperately and have been anxious to have them back – if nothing else, so I can go back to being conversant in something other than the ways in which giving a moose a muffin is probably a bad idea.

But in addition to these tantalizing stolen moments of freedom, we usually all sleep through our nights peacefully. Plus, taking Lily to the zoo or the park these days is a joy, and we now have a routine that works pretty well, despite the fact that our schedules are often packed. Joe and I trade off time to exercise; we get a babysitter for an occasional night out; and Joe takes over Lily-duties on the evenings when I have to work, while I cover for him when there’s an evening event he’d like to, or has to, attend.

So a kind of equilibrium has been established within our cozy little family, and the promise of greater liberties for both Joe and me shines like a beacon. Why on earth would we do something to disrupt this delicate balance and have another child?

A good question – one I’ve neurotically obsessed over, and wrestled with, for months now, and yet I’m no closer to an answer than when I started. Continue reading

Fellini post addendum

After thinking more about my last post, I experienced a couple of “bad absurdity” moments with Lily, so I thought it only fair to add this to the official record.

I gave Lily some smoothie in a blue sippy cup last night, and she drank it right down and asked for more. OK, give me your cup, then. “No! I want it in the purple cup!” 

Now, I had just washed what felt like 82 sippy cups by hand, since we were running low and the dishwasher wasn’t anywhere close to full. So although this doesn’t technically qualify in the “causing harm” exception to my rule regarding Lily’s absurd requests, I said, “No. Absolutely not.” (One could argue that it would cause ME harm to make the already Sisyphus-ian nature of housework feel even more pointless, but that’s stretching it.)

She raged, she whined, I refused to budge. And she eventually used the same cup again.

Similarly, we went to the grocery store today. After making an extra little jaunt home to pick up her toy grocery cart, I followed Lily as she raced down the aisles, having a ball – which was the fun part. But then, suddenly, she stopped, got worked up and upset, and tried desperately to pull off two of the wheels.

“What are you doing?”

“I want the oh-nitz (orange) wheels!”

Huh? What the hell was she talking about? And where on earth did the idea come from? “There are no orange wheels.”

“I want the pink wheels!”

“Sweetie, the cart has green wheels, and they don’t come off.”

Here we were, that cliche couple with the screaming kid at the grocery store. Ugh. (Things had started out roughly getting her into the store, when she’d said, “I want to go to the park!” and I’d responded, “But this is kind of like a park with food!” And when she’d gotten riled up about something else 10 minutes later, I’d picked her up to remove her from the store and get her to settle down.) Regarding the cart’s wheels, Lily struggled mightily against the inevitable for a while longer before getting distracted by a roll of brightly-colored wrapping paper – which we bought for no other reason. Continue reading