Monday, December 28, 2009

Clio Grace, Florist

To her long list of creative pursuits, Clio has recently added flower arranging. I believe she had a lesson on it at school, after which she asked Dave to buy her some flowers to work with; he took her to the supermarket and let her pick out one of those mixed, $10 bouquets.

Here's what she came up with:

Not bad, huh?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

School Performance

Yesterday we attended Clio's first school holiday performance. As we ran out the door, we discovered that the video camera battery was dead, so you'll just have to imagine her class's rousing rendition of "Favorite Things" from the Sound of Music. I love that Clio, at 3 1/2, actually sang the whole thing. And that, when the curtain first opened, she spotted Dave, waved excitedly, and called out "Hi Dad!" And that, at the end of the song, she bowed from the waist but kept looking up, her eyes trained on the audience.

After the performance, there was a christmas cookie pot luck, and someone had the good sense to bring a jelly belly 100-falvor variety pack. The children swarmed to this like those seagulls that steal your hot dog at the beach, and the sugar high was instantaneous: Clio ran in circles around two rows of chairs for many long minutes, stopping to refuel every third or fourth turn.

It took some major maneuvering to get her out of there and up to her classroom to retrieve her backpack and her holiday gift- a snowglobe swathed in cotton and housed in a paper bag for safe transport. she explained to us that "it is glass because it is breakable" and was unmoved by the parental and teacher suggestions that perhaps she had this backwards.

I'd say she's a big fan of the holidays already, and we're only getting started. Unless, of course, it turns out that I did not manage to get tickets home to MN- an issue I just confronted when I went looking for our flight information and found none.

Fingers crossed that, this time tomorrow, we will be just landing in Minnesota.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Happy Birthday to moi

Well, I'm 35. Thirty-five. That's basically, practically, nearly 40.
But you know what? I'm okay with that.

The last five years, my birthday hasn't been much of a celebration. I turned 30 two weeks after an emergency appendectomy (and the loss of Dave's grandmother). The next four years went like this: pregnant, nursing, pregnant, nursing. And not just pregnant, but first-trimester, so tired I could hardly keep my eyes open, so sick I subsisted on cheese toast, pregnant. Then not just nursing but pumping-around-the-clock nursing. (I know I complained of this just a few posts ago, but hey, years of both Thanksgivings and birthdays and Christmas holidays have been compromised by the rigors of growing and rearing babies).

In fact, I haven't been much for celebrating much of anything about myself. When I left my job after six years, I refused all offers of Board dinners or cocktail parties, and only reluctantly submitted myself to a staff breakfast on my last day at the very last minute (and then turned the whole thing melancholy with my tears.)

But you know what? It's time to celebrate. This year, I feel as if life is moving forward. I feel like saying, okay, let's celebrate me.

I had a preview tonight when Dave and his parents cooked up a delicious dinner to my specifications: flank steak with chimichurri sauce, mashed potatoes, spinach salad with hard-boiled eggs and bacon, butternut squash (Dave's addition), and, for dessert, pumpkin cupcakes and mint-chocolate-chip ice cream. Oh, and Pete got me a bottle of Mommy's Time Out red wine, which I am polishing off right now (don't worry, I shared.) Clio and Eleri made me drawings. Dave got me a throw pillow I was dying for but which was cost-prohibitive (he got it 70% off!), and I got to open early Christmas presents from Barb and Pete. And it's not even actually by birthday yet!

Tomorrow, I get to indulge in one of my favorite activities: sitting on an airplane, reading a book, with no obligations and no one to bother me. (That's right: the girls are staying here with their grandparents. Perhaps one of the greatest gifts ever, though not actually intended for my birthday.) I'll surely watch the movie, no matter how bad, and drink the complimentary diet coke. (It's the little things).

Then, I get to spend a weekend in NY, with my husband, and to remember what it is like to go to bed when we feel like it and wake up when we feel like it and feed ourselves whatever we want, whenever we want. I get to do some Christmas shopping in an actual store. I get to get my haircut. I get to have dinner with my mom's group. And another dinner with my aunt and uncle and cousins. And then, when all of the celebrating is done, there's one more celebration to come: we close on our house on Monday.

And then, the following week, reunited with my children who will almost certainly be even cuter and smarter and funnier and sweeter than even I ever knew, we will all head off to MN, where I will celebrate again with (more of) my family.

And to all of that, I say:

yes, please.

A Dave's-Eye View

Dave is a wonderful photographer- he is the reason that we end up with beautiful photo books at the end of the year, and why about half of the photos on this site are a pleasure to behold (he thinks about light and mechanics, I think about narrative and composition). Before he trained his lens primarily on his daughters, he took pictures of the world. Sorting through photos from the year, I was reminded that he has a very particular point of view.

These pictures were taken last Christmas, at his grandparents house, and they capture both the sense of melancholy we felt then, when Eleri had pneumonia and PaPa was in the hospital, and that we feel now, with PaPa passed on, MaMa in a nursing home (at 93), and Barb and Pete preparing the house and 40 acres for sale.

So much of this blog tells of his life through my point of view. I wanted to share a bit of his.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Too Much Information

Want to freak yourself out?

Just head on over to the parenting section of your local library or neighborhood bookstore. There you will find titles like Your Dieting Child: Is She Dying for Attention? And Too Much, Too Soon: The Rise of Early Sex in Youth. And Early Puberty. And Why Kids Lie (actually, considering Clio's recent penchant for Little White Lies, I might actually read this one.) For every phenomenon we fear, and for all those we never thought to fear, there is a book.

I suppose this is a good thing: should one of the girls (god forbid) become a "cutter" or battle an eating disorder, I'll be glad for resources. But for now, it is simply too much information.

I did, however, take out a book called Your Three Year Old: Friend or Enemy, and I'm planning to read it today.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The 500th Post

I will never forget the day that my college friends Dina and Jocelyn uttered two words that changed, in short order, the way I thought of myself.

We were on the path from the campus townhouses (or "THs" if we're going to use Vassar lingo). It was winter. I was wearing baggy pants, a vintage blouse, and a tight little sweater vest and I had recently cut my hair short and dyed it aubergine and topped it with my silver-sequined beret (it was a look.) I was telling a story about some crazy thing that had happened over the holiday break. We were probably heading to a Sociology class. But maybe Ijust remember it that way because they were about to give label to my essence. The words they uttered: Drama. Queen.


I literally stopped in my tracks. I probably rolled my eyes or flipped my hair (oh wait! no hair to flip) or stomped a foot or two for emphasis, or planted my hands on my hips and harumphed my shoulders, all the while protesting, "I am not a drama queen."

They laughed. In my face. Then asked me, in disbelief, if this was the first time anyone had ever told me this. As if it was impossible that I did not know this about myself. As if it was so obvious, they could only be shocked by my shock.

Allow me to consider.
I do think of myself to be an altogether practical, down to earth sort of a girl (oh, okay, cue laugh track), but I suppose I do, on occasion, embellish for dramatic emphasis. Dress for dramatic entrance. Make use of the dramatic pause. Sigh, dramatically.

If a girl can be labeled in this manner based on the number of feather boas and wigs she owns, or the percentage of her wardrobe that includes animal print or metallic thread, or the wind power generated by her hand gestures while telling a story, or the number of semi-colons and colons she uses in a single blogpost, then fine, perhaps I have had my moments in the drama queen department. Although I prefer the term "Maximalist."

I hadn't given this much thought recently, until I saw these pictures of my own progeny.

And I thought to myself, oh my, it's genetic.

And then I realized that I had been plotting for weeks (months!) what to do with this, my 500th post (500!)

And now, with it written, I feel I should have done more. But there's no special effect in blogger for glitter, for feathers, or for a sidelong glance coupled with a STAGE WHISPER.