Mellow’s Magic Super Powers

My daughter Mellow has magical powers.  I know everyone wants to think that their kids are super special and everyone exaggerates a bit, but in this case, it’s all true: Mellow is magic.  She has the power, with the merest touch of her hands, to render any object, no matter how dull or mundane, into the Super-Precious-Most-Desirous-Thing-Ever! 

This power has been demonstrated thousands of times, with everything from toys to clothing to garbage. For example:

The other day, Grandma left a water bottle here.  It was ignored (except for me thinking I should pick it up and put it in the recycle bin) for several hours – until Mellow touched it.  She lifted it up with both hands and immediately that water bottle was transformed into the Greatest!Water!Bottle!Ever!!! That’s why Wildling experienced an overpowering need to have that very water bottle at that exact moment.  She couldn’t help herself and had to take it, it was just too powerful for a toddler to resist.

Unfortunately, there is a finite limit to Mellow’s powers.  It wears off within minutes.  Here’s how that works:

Step 1: Mellow picks up object

Step 2: Object becomes the Most Wondrous Thing in the Universe

Step 3: Wildling announces “I want that!”

Step 4: Wildling snatches object from Mellow’s hands and begins playing with it.

Step 5: Mellow cries.

Step 6: Power fades. Object becomes ordinary again.

Step 7: Wildling drops object.

Hmmmm…looking at this, I now suspect Mellow has an additional power.  Perhaps she uses her tears to telekinetically convert an object she is not touching back into it’s normal state of being. That explains why it wears off so quickly. I’ll have to study this further.  Fortunately, Mellow’s powers show no sign of waning.  She uses them repeatedly every day, and as she grows and can reach more things, her powers only seem to get stronger.

 

 

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A Father’s Love

I learned something interesting this weekend.  My parents really never liked me.

This is a depressing thing to learn.  When I was pregnant with Wildling, Will and I had a lot of discussions as to what kind of parents we wanted to be, and what kind of childhoods we wanted our child(ren) to have.  He grew up in a family without much money, and he never wanted our kids to have to worry and stress over the family finances – but he never doubted that his parents loved him and his brother.  Me, I grew up in a comfortably middle class family that always managed to make it ok financially, but I always felt that there wasn’t enough love.  My parents were too busy, and I always believed that they had more children than they could emotionally care for.  It’s like they had a finite amount of love to give, and they weren’t able to spread it around enough.  Now I’ve learned that it isn’t that they didn’t have enough love, I just wasn’t eligible to receive it.

Funny how I always thought my father was too busy for me.  I can recall very few father/daughter activities, and none that took place between a father/daughter girl scout dance when I was about eight, and the time he drove me out to college for a preview weekend.  That’s it.  No special bonding. We didn’t share anything, and now I know it wasn’t that he didn’t have enough time for it, he just didn’t want to spend his limited availability on me.

Growing up, I never fit in with my family.  I always felt like I was born into the wrong one, and I’m pretty sure my parents wondered what kind of quirk of fate gave them a child like me.  And it’s not that I was a bad kid, or a weird kid, or that I had something fundamentally wrong with me.  I just wasn’t the child they wanted. 

This past weekend, Will and I changed our plans and rescheduled several things so that we could go to my Aunt Shirley’s funeral.  It was only a two hour drive for us; my parents and older brother Ricky flew out for it.  My father was pretty unhappy the entire time, and not just because one big sister had died and his other big sister was too ill to attend the funeral.  He was also upset because his two younger sisters and his older brother didn’t go out of their way to see him.  In fact, other than at the memorial service, they didn’t see him at all.  They didn’t go to the grave, they didn’t go to my cousin’s house afterward, nothing.  In the three nights my parents were there, nobody invited them out to eat, or came by to drink with them at the the hotel bar, or made any attempt to socialize at all. He was bitter about that, and I understand that because I used to feel the same way whenever I would visit my family – nobody wanted to see me either (and now I know why).  

So I guess my father was feeling rather self-pitying and morose, and that’s why he told me that he had never liked me until I finally became a grown-up.  I’m not sure exactly when that was, if it was after college, or after I got married, or what marker he used for my grown-up status.  I know it wasn’t my eighteenth birthday, because he still never had time for me on my trips home from college, and he didn’t actually speak to me on the phone for years after college.  Until now, I never thought it was because he was avoiding me, I just thought he was busy, and he got all his info about my life from my mother.  I never realized that he just didn’t want to communicate with me at all.  I never realized it was dislike rather than apathy.

I always knew my mother thought of me as a burden.  When I was a child, I knew she never really liked me and I knew she thought I was more trouble than I was worth (and I was the good kid!). So I guess it shouldn’t have surprised me to find out that my father didn’t like me either. But I was surprised, and hurt.

But I have to move on and heal.  I’ve spent a lot of mental energy over the years to move past my childhood, to let go of the anger and resentment that built up for so long.  So I know I need to let go of the hurt that my father’s admission caused.  

And I need to make sure I do better for my children. I love my children, and I will make sure they are always secure in that knowledge.

Moving on from exes

It feels good to let go of some social obligations.  It feels freeing to purge some relationships.

I have an ex-boyfriend (actually, several, but I’m going to talk about one in particular). We dated in high school.  He was an exchange student at the time, and he returned to his home country.  I visited him there once, for a month, the summer after my freshman year of college.  To me, I was going to see him one last time.  It was a good-bye, it was closure.  To him, it was a continuation, a sign that we were meant to be together.  

He continued sending me letters (that’s what we did back then, though email was becoming widely available in my country, it was more difficult to access in his. This was the mid-nineties).  He called me occasionally, and we would chat.  I dated other men.  I moved. He moved. We both left our respective countries.  We both went home again.

We lost touch. I was ok with that.

I met Will, dated Will, married Will. Had babies with Will.  Found happiness with Will. 

My ex found me on facebook soon after I joined the site.  I accepted his friend request, and the first message I received from him was an expression of devastation  He couldn’t believe that I had gotten married.  He told me he thought I would wait for him.  I was shocked. Wait for him?  I absolutely guarantee he was not living a life of celibacy and pining for me.  So why would I have done that for him?  He was my first love, yes, but there had been other loves since then, including the one I had chosen to spend my life with.  His feelings were hurt, he was jealous, he was upset to hear that I had only been married about six months at the time – he felt like he was just half a year too late to come for me, to get me back.  

But we became facebook friends anyway, and he would occasionally send me melodramatic messages about the love we once had.  I usually ignored them, but I would send him an annual message on his birthday to wish him well.  I thought it was the nice thing to do. And I do like the guy.  

But I’m done.  His birthday was last week and I was too busy to send him the usual message.  And I feel good about that.  It’s time to move on.  Obviously, in my love life and real life I have moved on.  But I think it’s time to move on virtually as well.  I don’t need to have this particular tie to my past.  

I think past loves would be easier if the world weren’t so interconnected now.  It’d be nice to occasionally think back to my high school boyfriend and wonder where he is and what he is doing and if he is happy.  It takes away from the wistful nostalgia of such thoughts when I can just look at my computer and see what he ate for lunch and where he went on his most recent vacation.  I’d rather live with the sweet memories than with the mundane and virtual connection.  

 

A Tale of Three Yarn Shops

I am a fortunate person, this I know.  Many people do not have even one LYS (that’s Local Yarn Shop to you non-knitters), and my city has three.  We’re spoiled.

LYS #1 is somewhat near my house.  I like it because it is open and bright, and the yarn is categorized by weight.  If I need laceweight, I know where to go.  If I need bulky, there’s a big area devoted to just that.  It makes shopping for a particular pattern easy, because I can compare the yarns easily.  I won’t say they know me there, but they do recognize me, and they recognize Wildling.

Sometimes people are intimidated going into their LYS for the first time, and I understand that. The first couple of times I went to LYS#1 I didn’t like it. I would walk in and there would be a knitting group or something going on, and they’d look at me like an interloper.  I felt like I was intruding on someone’s social gathering, and the employee kept watching me suspiciously.  I later heard from others that young-looking people are often viewed that way in yarn shops, treated as though they don’t belong and don’t deserve to touch the beautiful fibers found there.  I complained to Will about it and, of course, proclaimed that I was never ever going to that LYS again, ever!  But I did, and eventually I stopped feeling unwelcome.

Side note: Don’t ever take a significant other with you.  Salespeople hone in on them. Will once was admiring a yarn, a saleswoman walked up to him, and the next thing I knew he was handing me six skeins and a pattern book and showing me what I would be making next.  On a different occasion, I let him choose the yarn for a hat – and he picked the most difficult one to work with.

So that’s LYS#1.  There’s also LYS#2, the one I went to last weekend.  It was my first time there, and it was awesome!  While LYS#1 is a bright and organized store, LYS#2 is a visual cacophony of color madness.  The walls are covered in yarn, there is yarn of all kinds everywhere you look, so much that it is almost overwhelming.  I don’t know how it is organized – I wasn’t there long enough to decode it (I would have stayed longer, but I had Wildling with me). I was there for one particular thing.

The employee there greeted us as we walked in.  I told her I was looking for a bamboo laceweight or maybe a fingering weight to match the project I was working on.  Wildling immediately stepped in front of me, raised her hand for emphasis and declared “But my mama is allergic to wool.”  The saleswoman was utterly charmed by her, and they had a wonderful discussion about colors and she even let Wildling help her wind my yarn for me.  It was a very welcoming experience, and it’s my new favorite yarn shop.

And that brings me to LYS#3.  It’s in an old house, and the layout is kind of hard to figure out.  What I like best about it is the veggie room, where the yarns are animal free (or supposed to be – I found a wool cotton blend in there today).  I like the idea that i can use anything in that room, and I sometimes find really great stuff.

However, the customer service leaves a lot to be desired.  For one thing, the owner has a big dog, and it is often there. It was there today, and the owner tried to invite Wildling to see it.  But Wildling is scared of dogs, and this great big creature was taller than her, so I understand her intimidation.  I’m not an animal fan in general (allergies!) and I think having a shedding beast in a fiber shop is just a bad idea.  But it’s not my store, so I won’t complain (much) about that.

What I will complain about is the owner’s attitude.  Once, I was in there to purchase yarn and she was standing there complaining to someone about how she just can’t tell what people want and she tries but blah blah blah, meanwhile, I was standing right there with a blanket’s worth of yarn in my hands wondering if I should shop someplace else.

Today though, today was bad, and I’m annoyed enough I might not go back (even though it is much closer to me than LYS#2, customer service makes a huge difference).  As Wildling and I were paying for yarn for Mellow’s first birthday dress, I was also looking at a few skeins near the register.  One really caught my eye and I picked it up and put it back a couple of times, before finally checking the label.  The owner saw me, and I said that I needed to remember the yarn name so I could look up patterns for it.  I was going to continue by saying I try not to buy yarn without patterns in mind, but I didn’t get the chance because she looked at me kind of condescendingly and said “You may want to look at the price first.” The price, while high, did not shock me. Ok, yes, it was expensive, but I’ve bought pricier yarns.  It was the attitude that shocked me.  I wanted to say something about Will’s and my professions and how I can certainly afford any yarn that I want, or just something to make her not treat me like some street person that walked in and dared to touch her precious commodities.  But I didn’t say anything.  And I’m not going to go on Yelp and give her poor reviews for customer service (but other people have – I checked).

So that’s it.  Those are my LYS (LYSs? How do I make that plural?).  I know I’m lucky to have so many in my local area, though I’m going to be shopping at just two of the three for awhile, until I calm down and forget my annoyance, or until I discover I didn’t buy enough to complete Mellow’s new dress.

Starting Montessori soon

I’ve just finished inputting Wildling’s school schedule into our calendar.  It’s getting real.  She’s really starting preschool soon.

We’ve always called her daycare school, because I want her to associate the idea of going to school with the idea of having fun, and daycare is a lot of fun (or it is most of the time).  But now it’s real school.  There will be actual learning.  Not super structured learning, as it is a Montessori school, but still, she’ll have stuff she needs to do.

I think we’re doing the right thing by moving her from her daycare.  We originally decided to make the switch because we were angry that daycare had decided to keep her in the two-year-old classroom for another year.  When we first enrolled her there, she was 22 months old, and after taking the tour, the school director told me Wildling would be starting directly in a two-year-old room because she was so advanced, and there was no sense in putting her in with the one-year-olds for such a brief period.  That made me think the daycare cared about her learning and her development and they were putting her with kids at her level.

Imagine my surprise when she was moved to the potty-trained two-year-old room last August, instead of moving to a three-year-old one with most of the rest of her class.  I guess maybe I wasn’t surprised, more confused, because I thought she should have been moving up entirely, and I didn’t like the idea of her moving classrooms for two months then moving again,  See, I assumed it was temporary.  But then, after she turned three, she was still there.  And when we had parent-teacher conferences and I asked when she’d be moving, I was informed that she wouldn’t be – since she had a September birthday, she had to stay in that room, because they tried to keep the kids with their future classmates.

I was furious.  Poor Will had to listen to a lot of swearing from me that evening, as I immediately started researching other daycares and preschools.  My brilliant super-advanced daughter stuck with a bunch of barely verbal two-year olds just because of her birthday? A few weeks sets her back a year? Ridiculous.

But Will is a little calmer than me in general, and after talking about it we decided to leave her there as the oldest in her room and let her be a leader.  She doesn’t have great social skills, so we thought it might be good for her. Of course, part of her social problems stem from being so very verbal at such a young age, and having to deal with kids who didn’t understand or couldn’t respond.  She’d get so frustrated that she’d resort to shrieking, and nobody likes that.  I remember once when a kid her own age tried to give her a toy that he had been chewing on.  She very politely said “No, thank you, I don’t want that in my mouth,” but he persisted in shoving it at her (or offering it to her, if you have a kinder perspective on the situation). Then she got mad: “I said I don’t want that in my mouth! Stop giving that to me!” Then, when he still didn’t/couldn’t respond, she shrieked and hit him.  

So we let her stay for another year.  But now, it’s time to move on.  We don’t want her continuing at that daycare – it’s a great place and we love her teacher and we love her friends there, but we couldn’t let her spend a year as a four-year-old in a three-year-old room.  

So we’re making the switch to a Montessori school.  I’m still frustrated that she won’t be able to enroll in kindergarten until the year she turns six, but I think it will work out better for her anyway. As an older student, she’ll have more confidence in guiding the younger ones, plus, with the Montessori, they have three grades together – so even if she is in the three-year-old class now, she’s in there with the fours and the kindergartners all together. 

Selfishly, as an added bonus, the school is biking distance away (yay fitness opportunity!), plus when Mellow starts there, Wildling will still be in kindergarten, so I’ll have one year of an easy commute to one location.  And, as another bonus, this particular Montessori has a split campus – and the elementary school is a very short walk from our house. Planning ahead – in five years, when they’re both in elementary school,  I’ll have a really easy commute.

I hope it works out well.  I hope she adjusts to her new environment in a calm stress-free manner. Of course, I know my daughter and I know nothing is that easy with her, but I can dream, can’t I?

 

 

Be yourself? That advice is Bad and Wrong!

Wildling got mad at the radio.

There was a woman talking about the importance of just being yourself, and not trying to conform to others’ expectations.  She kept mentioning the phrase “you should just be yourself.”  I wasn’t really paying attention, and I changed the station looking for music, when I heard an angry voice from the backseat:

“That’s good that you turned that off.  That woman was wrong.”

For a second, I had no idea what Wildling was talking about, but she sounded furious.  I had to frantically think back to what the radio had been saying.  I tried to ask her to clarify, but my usually abnormally articulate daughter was so angry she could barely get the words out.

“That woman was saying bad things and she was wrong. Mama, she was bad and wrong!”

I finally realized what the voice on the radio had been saying.  “Wildling, she said to just be yourself.”

“Yeah, she was wrong.  That was very bad of her to say that! She was bad and wrong for saying that!”

“For saying ‘just be yourself?'”  This went on for a couple of iterations before I got it: Wildling misunderstood.  Because here’s something to know about Wildling: She has an extraordinarily active imagination, and she’s never herself (unless she’s going to the bathroom, then she’ll announce “I’m Wildling now,” and head off to do her private business before resuming her other identity).  Not only is Wildling never herself, Mellow is always assigned a different persona as well.

In the past week, my kids have been:

  • Eagle and Starling (airplanes/jets)
  • Thomas and Steven (trains)
  • Scarloey and Steven (trains)
  • Angelina Ballerina and Starling Airplane Ballerina (ballerinas)
  • Wilson and Coco (trains)
  • Millie and Steven (trains)
  • Eagle and Finch (airplanes/jets)
  • Lucy Locomotive and Choo-choo Charlie (trains again)
  • Sophia and Wildling (yes, Mellow had to be Wildling in this one)
  • The Orange Train and The Silver Train (obviously, trains)
  • The Pink Truck and Tow Truck Ted (trucks, again, pretty obvious)
  • Jack and Tow Truck Ted (guess)
  • Indi and Tex (kids from the Highlights High Five magazine)
  • Tiny and Buddy (from Dinosaur Train)

Wildling will choose who they are and will only answer to whatever name she has chosen, and will only respond if we play along.  If she’s Eagle, for example, and needs her shoes on, I have to tell her to put the covers on her landing gear.  If she’s a train and I need to comb her hair, I need to comb her cords.  If she’s eating, then she is consuming jet fuel or coal, depending on what she is.

So when Wildling heard a woman on the radio telling her to just be herself, she heard “Stop pretending. Don’t use your imagination.  You are only allowed to be Wildling.”  That’s why she was so furious.  That woman was bad and wrong and about to ruin all her fun.

I did have a talk with her about how when she’s using her imagination and being somebody else, that’s an aspect of her character so she is being herself, but I’m not sure how well it went over with her.  It’s confusing to write (be yourself by being someone else which is just being yourself?) so I don’t know how it translated in her three-year-old head.  But at least I calmed her down so she wasn’t so angry anymore.  

My poor girl.  I’ve never heard anyone so upset at what should be positive encouragement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cancer claims another one

My father’s oldest sister passed away on Monday.  She was diagnosed with advanced liver cancer and clots in her lungs just three weeks ago.  It feels strange to say this, but fortunately, she had Alzheimer’s.  At the end, she never knew how sick she was.  She had enough of her memory to still recognize her children, but not enough to recall that every tiime she ate she became violently ill, and not enough to recall that her life expectancy was measured in days, not years.

Aunt Shirley was the honeymoon baby, the war baby.  My grandparents got married, went away for a weekend honeymoon, and came back to find a letter in the mail telling my grandfather that he was heading off to fight in World War II.  He was gone for the next several years as my grandmother learned she was pregnant and gave birth to my aunt.  Fortunately, my grandfather came home, unwounded despite having been shot twice (shot in the ass but saved my a medal in his pocket, and had his helmet shot off), and they went on to have five more children, including my father, baby #4.  

I didn’t really know my aunt or any of my relatives when we were growing up.  My dad was the one who moved away, so we saw our grandparents occasionally and his siblings rarely.  I do remember Aunt Shirley coming to visit us once or twice, and bringing her a-hole husband and their adopted daughter. She had five older kids from her first marriage, but they were all much older and were already out of the house by then.  She was always nice, and she was always smiling.

The last time I saw Aunt Shirley was at my parents’ house two years ago.  They were hosting a reunion for their siblings.  Alzheimer’s had already hit Shirley, and we were starting to notice the memory loss. At that early stage it was frustrating for her because she knew there were things she couldn’t remember – i think it got easier for her later when she couldn’t even remember that she didn’t remember.  Wildling was a baby at the time, just starting to walk (and run!). Shirley could never remember if Wildling was a boy or a girl, so I tried to subtly put a bow in her hair to save Shirley the embarrassment of forgetting – and I guess I wasn’t that subtle, because Shirley noticed and cried because she was so sorry she kept forgetting and it was so frustrating for her.  

I’m sad for her loss, and I’m also sad for what it symbolizes.  I don’t have any grandparents – cancer claimed my paternal grandmother in 1992, maternal grandfather in 1997, and paternal grandfather in 2006, while my maternal grandmother died of pneumonia in 2007 after years of living with dementia and Alzheimer’s.  And now it seems that my parents’ generation is on the chopping block.  Shirley is the first to go, but I have another aunt who is battling cancer right now, plus my dad just finished up his cancer treatments.  My mother survived cancer five years ago, and my mother-in-law just finished up her cancer treatments as well.  It’s like we’re watching a generation stalked by disease and starting to disappear and with the people go the stories and the memories.

We’re rich in every way that matters (it’s not about money)

Do you know what it takes to be rich? It’s not money. It’s knowing your needs and controlling your wants.  There’s a great deal of freedom in reducing your wants and your needs. 

Will and I, we’re rich.  We have everything we need, and we’re happy.  And that’s why we’re rich – because it’s really not about money.  We live in a nice house, not huge (1200 square feet, two bedrooms, one bath) with a decent yard.  We’ve put a ton of work into the house and garden, and we’ve made it perfect for our small family.  We have two vehicles that are paid in full.  They’re old (a 1997 and a 2001), but they both run and when something breaks, Will can generally fix it.  

Long ago, when we first were dating, Will and I talked about money.  He always said that he would know he was well off when he could go to the grocery store and buy whatever he wanted whenever he wanted.  We can do that now.  Of course, if he wanted steak and lobster every night we couldn’t do that, but who wants to eat that way?  Our whole foods plant-based diet is economically easy to maintain, and we can definitely buy whatever Will wants at the grocery store (or farmer’s market).  

I used to say that I would know we have it made when we can hire a housekeeper and I can go get a massage every week.  That’s never happened, but my wants have changed.  I don’t want a housekeeper – our house is small, so it should be easy to keep clean (hypothetically, if I had the time to worry about it), and anyway, if we had a housekeeper, I’d probably be one of those people who insists on cleaning before s/he arrived so that the housekeeper wouldn’t know how messy we really are.  And though I’d love to get professional massages more often than just birthday and Mother’s day, I don’t want them once a week – if I had them that often, they wouldn’t be special, and would maybe even start to feel like a chore. 

When our kids need something, we can get it  – though we always try and get it used first. I’m not one of those people who loves shopping for shopping’s sake, but if there is something I need for one of my kids, I will happily check Craigslist and go to every thrift store and used children’s goods store within a ten mile radius.  There’s no challenge in buying things new – then you just drive up to the big box store of your choice and pull out your money.  Buying used is like a treasure hunt.  You never know where or when you’ll find it.  

It’s true that we don’t get out much.  There are a lot of local restaurants that are on my list to try.  For the most part though, the food we make at home is better than we could get out.  I don’t want to pay a lot of money for mediocre food.  If I’m going to spend money on a dining experience, it’s going to be nice and it’s going to be special. I don’t understand people who eat out all the time – I wouldn’t want to deal with that hassle, and the easy way to do it, fast food, is unhealthy.  

I know several people who are always obsessed with getting the newest best-of-the-best-with-honors whatever.  Is there a new iphone? They have it.  Was their car over two years old (that’s barely a toddler!)? They trade it in.  Wouldn’t want to be caught driving something old, what would that do for their reputation? I’m not one of those people. My landlord at my office almost towed my truck once, because he assumed it was an abandoned vehicle.  I don’t care. It runs, and it’s perfectly safe to drive.  My brother Ricky made fun of me for it a few years ago, when he saw that I still had the truck (I’ve had it since college).  He told me I could’ve traded it and it’s successor in already, and I needed to upgrade.  I laughed at him and asked him if he liked having a monthly car payment, because I sure don’t.

I want a new bike, specifically, I want a bakfiets (those dutch bikes with a big box on the front).  We’re rich, so we’re getting one.  But we’re not those suckers that pay $3500 for a bike (I am not kidding, that’s the price for a cheap one).  No, I have Will and he’s figured out how to make one for a lot less.  A lot less.  Like $3k less. And I’ll be happier biking around on my original homemade bike than I would be riding around on a pile of cash, which is what buying one would feel like.

We don’t want for much.  Really, we don’t want for anything but time, and we’re slowly reclaiming that from the morass of needy babyhood.  Life is good, we’re happy healthy and well fed.  We really are rich.  

Party planning

When I go to parties, I sometimes (often) end up cornered by someone who thinks I should give them free legal advice, because obviously since we happen to be at the same party, we must be friends and I should go ahead and ethically embroil myself in whatever legal crisis they happen to be having (as if all lawyers are interchangeable and know everything about every aspect of the law: FYI, we don’t and anyone who claims otherwise is an egotistical liar). 

So imagine my relief today at a party for one of Will’s co-workers.  I did get asked for advice, I was questioned extensively for my expertise, but this time it was on something I wanted to talk about: the appropriate food to serve at a rainbow themed child’s birthday party.  Wildling’s second birthday was a rainbow themed extravaganza that was so overwhelmingly rainbow-riffic that people still talk about it in a mixture of awe and horror.  How many rainbows can you fit into a backyard? One million, if I’m the party planner.

I love planning parties.  I’d rather plan and organize a party than just attend one.  In another life, maybe I should have been a party planner.  Maybe I’ll do that someday.  Maybe that will be my retirement job.  Wildling’s first birthday was an insane butterfly themed barbecue with activities, amazing food, and three flavors of cake.  Her second party, the aforementioned rainbow fest involved five cakes and several rainbows of other foods.  Her third birthday wasn’t as awesome, and wasn’t nearly as fun to plan: she reached the age when you start inviting a bunch of little kids rather than just using the party as an excuse to have all your grown-up friends and family over.  Still, there were three cakes.

Mellow’s first birthday is coming up, and I’m already planning the madness.  It will have a bird theme, mainly because it is brunch and ostrich eggs will be involved (along with signature cocktails, which are mandatory for my parties).  

I know my kids won’t remember these early birthday parties, but I don’t care.  I’m selfish, it’s about me.  It’s about me having an excuse to throw a theme party and invite friends over and cook a bunch of food and have fun, and as the party planner, I get to make Will clean up afterwards, so that works out for me too. 

True Confessions: I am that weird lady in the thrift store

You can encounter the weirdest people at the thrift store near my house, for example…apparently, me. Yes, I am the weird one, or at least, other people seem to think so.

Once, for example, I was browsing the store with Mellow in her stroller. A woman walked by, looked in at Mellow, gave me a strange half-smile and a nod, and kept walking. When she got a few feet past me she abruptly turned, came back, looked at Mellow again, and loudly exclaimed “Oh my god! That’s a real baby! You have a real baby in there!” I was, as you may expect, confused by her outburst, because of course it’s a real baby, what did you think I would have in there? And she continued on to say that “I thought it was a doll, I thought you had a doll, but that’s a real baby!” Because yes, I am easily mistaken for a weird person walking around with a real stroller and a fake baby.

But that’s not the best example. This is:

It’s important to note that I am only 5’4″ tall (that’s 1.6 meters to those of you who follow a more logical system of measurements). That makes me just tall enough that you can see from my nose to the top of my head if I’m standing by the dress racks. This is relevant to the story.

So there I am in the thrift store, looking at dresses. Mellow is with me in her stroller. She was about five months old at the time, and she had recently discovered that not only did she have the ability to control those appendages at the ends of her arms and fit them in her mouth, but they were also the tastiest morsels ever created! Yes, her hands were the greatest most amazingly flavorful items in all the world – she could have won on Top Chef simply by shoving her hands in the judges’ mouths. They were absolutely delicious and she derived great pleasure from attempting to devour them.

So there she is in her stroller, moaning and groaning with sloppy and inarticulate pleasure as she chewed and sucked on her own hands. Nothing was better for her than those hands, and she didn’t care who overheard.

And that’s when I noticed the woman a few aisles away staring at me with a look of disgust on her face. Every time I looked over and made eye contact, she shook her head as if reprimanding me. “Whatever, weirdo,” I thought, because as you know, you meet all kinds of crazies in that particular thrift store. This type of interaction continued for several minutes while Mellow obliviously moaned and groaned her way around her fists. And that’s when I realized it – she couldn’t see the baby! The stroller is shorter than me and was completely hidden by the rack. All the woman could see was me from the nose up, so she thought I was having some kind of loud and orgasmic experience right there in the store.

At that point, I could have done one of three things:

  1. Picked Mellow up, held her over my head and loudly proclaimed “It was her, not me! I’m not the weird one here!”
  2. Given the woman a salacious wink and waited for her to complain to the employees about me.
  3. Ignored her and continued shopping.

Unfortunately for the humor value of this story, I went with Option #3.  For the purposes of this post, however, let’s pretend I went with Option #2.  In my imagination, I winked at her and maybe waggled my eyebrows a bit, and her face turned red, and she fled from the store and later told everyone she encountered how that particular thrift store was full of weirdos (but that there is something very erotic about the dress section).