Thursday, September 29, 2005

Wow! Today was La Nanny's first day and I am so happy. The woman scrubbed my countertops, like moved the canisters of flour and such and wiped away the grime that had been accumulating under them. Then she said she couldn't find the Windex so she couldn't do the windows!

This is a direct quote: "I hope they take longer naps tomorrow because I want to clean the refrigerator."

Sigh. I just put Nutmeg down for a late nap and actually wandered aimlessly through my house, wondering, what is there left for me to do?

Also, Nutmeg was totally happy and relaxed with her. Nutmeg willingly ran from me to her and gave her a big hug goodbye. As La Nanny was leaving, Nutmeg called out "bye" and "adios" to her, with her name. It took at least weeks before Nutmeg was this comfortable with the previous nanny. That may have been mainly because it was the first time I had left Nutmeg with anyone. But in part it has got to be that La Nanny is just much more gentle and huggable, whereas the old nanny was kind of in-your-face and loud. Like when she was trying to soothe a child to sleep, and she yelled, "Go to sleep!" right in the child's ear. Funny thing is, though, as shocked as I was by that, the old nanny somehow always got the kids to sleep better, easier and longer than we could.

Speaking of which, Nutmeg is carrying out an animated conversation with herself in her crib after half an hour in there, so I guess a late nap ain't happening.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Seventeen months after my child was born, I am still getting promotional e-mails from the stylin' maternity store Japanese Weekend. Do they not understand that pregnancy is a temporary condition? They just expect me to keep buying a few new maternity items each season to round out my wardrobe?

Continue, if you will, on this inbox tour, and we come to an e-mail titled Hygienetown e-News. Ooh, you think -- hip, ironically titled new band? No -- it's actually a newsletter for actual dental hygienists, with disgusting tips like "Simply slip the “Prophy Ball” extender into your high-speed suction, insert a saliva ejector, and pop a prophy paste cup into the indentation on the ball and enjoy effortless access to prophy paste while polishing."

I wonder how I got on that list.

Tonight, Bert came over and chatted with me and had dinner, and then we woke up Nutmeg from her late nap and the baby played most enthusiastically with Bert. She was so happy to see her, she was like a little puppy shaking her butt all over the room. Then, she acted out a scene from her Curious George book. Not the train book, but this Chinese one we have that we just make up as we go along. There's a scene with CG getting rescued by a helicopter. After the reading, Nutmeg stuck her arm straight up in the air, and called, "Nutmeg help! Nutmeg help!" I, of course, pulled her up into my arms and spun around saying, "helicopter, helicopter." So for the past half hour she's been alternating "Nutmeg help" with spinning herself in circles and crying, "helicopter!"

This kid is getting more fun to play with every day. I used to think she was a nice baby, even a delightful one. But now, I'm thinking, babies suck. I want to keep our next kid in the womb until it's a toddler. But if we do that, I think I'll give the natural childbirth thing a pass.

Monday, September 26, 2005


I think we're entering a highly humorous stage of toddlerhood. And since I got into this parenting thing for the laughs, I'm thinking, it's about time.

Today Nutmeg was in her high chair, the bottom half of her face covered with black sauce from some black beans she'd been eating. She'd insisted on wiping her own face, but she just dabbed at her chin once with the washcloth and thought she was done.

"Nutmeg," I told her. "Wipe more."
"More," she said, and compliantly made one or two other dabs. The ratio of sauce removed to sauce left on her face? I could only express it using many, many digits to the right of the decimal point.
"Wipe here," I told her, touching my upper lip the way you would if you were trying to subtley cue your date in a restaurant that he has a little whipped cream on his face.
"Wipe ear," she said, and -- still compliant as hell -- did just that.
I rolled on the kitchen floor for awhile, laughing.

Tonight, while I was nursing her, she paused to point to her eye, and said, "Dragon eye." Then she held out her hand and said, "Dragon hand." And, "Dragon foot." I have no idea where she got this.
"Are you a dragon?" I asked.
Did I tell you she was her daddy's girl, or what? Next thing I know, she's going to be waiting in line all night for the Lord of the Rings.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

As I sat down just now at the computer, Nutmeg blurted out: "Mommy check e-mail."

Also, Nutmeg got a postcard from her grandparents this week, who were visiting Germany. In it, they say that they saw a choo choo train. She has been asking me again and again to read the "train card," even though it doesn't have a picture of a train on it. This morning, after I read the part of the train, she said to me, "Grandma saw choo choo train."

Right now she's typing on her own keyboard next to me, and counting: "One, two, three, four, five, six, seben, eight. Yay!"

Gotta go to the park now.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

So ... tired ...

It's 8 p.m., and I am finally sitting down after running nonstop since 7:30 a.m. to run the fundraiser today. Epu and my friend Kay were running hard most of that time too. The results? Well, I am so touched by the generosity and support of many friends. I was disappointed by the turnout at the event, since 26 people RSVP'd and several others told us they'd probably be there. But only 17 showed. Among those who showed were many who made quite generous donations, though, so we still brought in over $300! And most of the people who came also baked something or brought something. Plus, many friends who couldn't come still donated. And some of those who had rsvp'd later warned that they probably wouldn't make it, and had already donated in advance.

So I guess what I'm saying is that my friends rock because they came through for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. However, they fell a bit short when it came to their responsibility to consume beer, wine, soft drinks, hot dogs and baked goods. Fortunately, we were able to send almost everyone home with a nice raffle prize like a case of beer or a bottle of wine.

As we were driving home, we passed the neighborhood bar street, and Erik pointed out that if we walked over there in a few hours with our left-over baked goods, we could sell them all in about half an hour. Sadly, we are so bone tired that I don't think that's going to happen.

Nutmeg had a super-fun day today, although I'm still waiting for her donation. Also enjoying their day were the people at the next picnic down, especially when I walked over with half a tray of leftover jello shots and told them to help themselves.

Charity Case

Uh-oh. I'm about to go to bed, but I am getting all excited about tomorrow's fundraiser and I'm afraid I won't be able to fall asleep. I think we'll be all ready. Two wonderful local companies were kind enough to provide the wine and beer. Tonight we went to Costco and bought a bunch of hot dogs and plastic utensils. Other people are bringing the cups and plates. I made a pan of brownies last night that I was going to bring to work to promote the event, but I undercooked them, then left them sitting out all night, and ended up having to throw them away rather than risk giving all my coworkers salmonella. Because if they all had salmonella, they coudln't come to the fundraiser. Actually only a couple of coworkers will be able to make it, but three of them gave me donations anyway and another told me he had gone to my brother's Web site to donate. People rock!

Did I tell you that Nutmeg has been making out with her BFF, Eliot? The Nanny -- whose last day was today -- had them in the double stroller yesterday and she said they hugged and kissed each other all the way on a 20-minute walk. People couldn't believe their eyes. I also had them in the double stroller on Tuesday and I got the "Are they twins?" question. I will post a photo of them together momentarily so you can see how ridiculous that question is.

When I saw how much attention they get in the double stroller though, I realized that if I want to help my brother raise more money, there is a much easier way than hosting a second event. All I have to do is Leukemia and Lymphoma Society T-shirts made for the babies, take them to Fisherman's Wharf or Union Square, and let them hold the money jar. I bet we would take in hundreds of dollars in just a few hours.

However I kind of want to put together another party later on in the fall, mainly because now that I stumbled my way through this one, now I know how to do it. I could get all the stuff for free. The main thing is to get your requests in a month or more in advance. Hey, I started asking a week in advance and still got most of the stuff for free. But I could have gotten more if I'd done it right.

OK, OK, you came to read about the Nut, I know. So here's a milestone: Nutmeg looked for something for the first time yesterday. I was looking for my slippers, and I brought her with me. "Are they under the bed?" I asked, and we looked there. "No."

Then she said, "Under crib?" and looked under the crib. She thought of that all by herself. Suddenly, my icy toes no longer existed, because all I could feel was the hugging, the hugging, the hugging. Man! I just can't tell you how awesome this kid is.

Just so the Macarthur grant folks can take note, here are a few of the things she's said lately:

"Wait a moment."
(In Chinese) "The Nanny is here."

Yes, she said a full sentence in Chinese. So yeah, I'm a little bummed that today was her last day with the Chinese nanny, despite all our frustrations with her. At the same time, the Sharebear's mom tells me La Nannita will compulsively do things like scrub out my refrigerator while she's babysitting, so I can't say that I'm totally heartbroken. If you saw the inside of my refrigerator, if you understood that it has not been cleaned since my mother visited 17 months ago for the birth of my child, you would understand.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Running in place

You know you're running your hardest when you start to make mistakes all over the place. I guess it's like how they say that everyone gets promoted to their level of incompetence, I forget which so-called law that is. I have made nothing but mistakes for the last 24 hours, so I guess I should pat myself on the back for being so busy. Except for the part where I don't accomplish anything because of all the mistakes.

I got the date of the large items trash pickup wrong and made poor Epu help me bundle and haul out plywood two nights too soon, and now my neighbors will have to walk by the ungainly heaps all day tomorrow (again), which is particularly hard on the person who has to climb over the boards to get into their car. I scheduled a meeting of the union committee I now chair, then forgot what time I scheduled it for and showed up half an hour late, coming straight from the beach with flip-flops on and sand on my toes. Which doesn't win you any sympathy from people who came straight from their desks on their lunch hours. That lateness meant I had no time to fill the car with gas, so when I hopped in the car with barely enough time to make it way out to the suburbs to interview someone, well, I didn't have enough time to make it and we ended up cancelling the meeting. Not soon enough to avoid driving way across the bridge and back, though.

And now I'm bone tired, just back from the overwhelming but exciting annual Preschool Preview Night, which I will have to tell you about another time, because we still have to clean up the place a little and get Nutmeg's food ready for her day with the nanny tomorrow. But I will tell you that I got wine for the fundraiser donated by a local wine merchant, which ROCKS! Yay, local wine merchant! Still working on beer with two days to go. Fortunately, I work all day for the next two days, so even if I fail to secure free beer, I won't have much time to feel bad about it.

Bye, now.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Goodnight peoples

The mommy blogosphere seems to have gone quiet, including this sector of it. Has everyone lost interest? Will Blogger burn out as quickly and as coldly as Friendster did? OK, OK, if the blogosphere is at stake, I'll take a break from my fundraising activities to share my daughter's wonderfulness with the world.

I took Nutmeg to the climbing gym today for the first time in months. She loved it and the gym largely loved her back. As she rambled around in her little white coveralls, one young man came up and said, "You have the most adorable kid I have ever seen." I agreed. Then, he grins and says, "I just can't wait to impregnate a woman!"

After relating this story to Erik and getting no laugh, I should point out that the guy was not at all creepy. He was nice, good looking and a little geeky.

Nutmeg also learned to say "narcissism" at the gym. I was telling Beegs that Nutmeg had said "thyroid cancer" on the day after Rhenquist died. Beegs expressed amazement, so I demonstrated: "Nutmeg, say narcissism. Narcissism." After a couple repetitions from Beegs and me, she tried it, although she didn't manage the second "siss" until she was in the backseat of the car, repeating it over and over.

This seemed to stimulate her little brain, because she proceeded to serenade us in the car on the way home with her own little version of "Goodnight Ladies." It went like this:

"Goodnight Nutmeg
Goodnight Nutmeg
Goodnight Nutmeg
Goodnight Daddy
Goodnight Mommy
Goodnight peoples."

She never gets to the "It's time to leave you now" part. But, sadly, it is time to leave you now, at least for tonight. My ice cream is gone, which means it's time for me to go to bed.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Monkey see ...

Nutmeg now has a favorite book. Curious George Takes a Train. In it, there is a picture of that "good little monkey" riding on a toy train engine.

Today, Nutmeg sat on her Fisher-Price train and tried to ride on it.

Coincidence? I think not. I ony fear what may happen if she gets her hands on "Curious George Goes to the Hospital."

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Little sigh of relief. The RSVP list for the Kegger/Bake Sale for Charity is up to 17 people, not counting us hosts. That means I can officially afford to buy a keg, assuming no one will donate one, and still make money on the event. Tonight I emailed a few local breweries to kegbeg. Also, at work, the organizer of a truly mammoth annual fundraiser that collects lots of money has allowed me to glom on, and hopefully I will collect a bit of cash there too. The only part of the fundraising picture that hasn't come into focus so far is the sale of the Brett Favre jersey. No bids with 23 hours to go.

Meanwhile, little pieces of our lives are as usual falling out of place. We had one of our two potential nannies babysit today, and decided we didn't like her as much as the other one. Then the Sharebear's mom called and said the one we want to hire might be reconsidering. Oh well. They're both good, really. I just want the one who most wants the job, who will take it seriously.

Today I was walking down our street, holding Nutmeg's hand, and she saw something I didn't see and told me about it. She stopped as we passed a parked car and said what sounded like "Cat un car." I looked at the car and couldn't find any cat on it or in it. But she started waving, "Hi cat!" She wouldn't walk any further, like she was not only excited but a little afraid. So I squatted down and, sure enough, saw a small cat hanging out under the car, just off the curb.

Also today, as Epu was holding her and I was standing close by, Nutmeg pointed to each of us, saying, "one, two grownup."

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Evil Eye Cherry Pie

Today Nutmeg got her baby doll and said, "Baby play blocks." She used the baby's hand to push the lid off the box of Lego Quattros, then told the doll, "Great job, baby!" The she had the baby's hand push the button on her train, again and again. Then she tried to put a wooden block in each of the doll's stiff hands, and said, "Thank you, Nutmeg."

Now Epu is putting her to bed, indulging in a little father-daughter talking and singing. This is one of these days when I look at this little blond child -- so different than I imagined any child of mine would look, yet just exactly as I imagined she would be in many ways -- and fear I feel the evil eye flicker across us. Like nothing can be this perfect. Like this child is too like a child actress in a made-for-TV movie, playing the perfectly beautiful and charming child who of course gets stricken down by something dreadful.

Fortunately, all the millions of problems and drudge tasks in the house and outside of it then crop up in my peripheral vision. Look, I tell the evil eye. Look how far from perfect my life is. For god's sake, look at the inside of my microwave oven! Look at my fridge! Look at this parking ticket I forgot to pay that has now doubled! None of the tv movie people have these things going on. So we're good.

Freud, eat your heart out

I suspect my daughter is anal retentive. In the literal sense.

No, we haven't started potty "learning" yet, as the enlightened 21-st century parents call it. But here's what she's doing: I change her diaper right before putting her in her crib for each and every nap. Often, it's full of p-o-o-p. Often with little kernals of corn in there and whatnot (sorry, non parents. for the parents of babies out there, email me for more details on recent diapers or send me some camera-phone snapshots of your own darling's).

Yet, for the past week or so, every time I put her down for a nap, she stays awake chatting with herself. After about half an hour or 45 minutes in there, she cries. I go in to assess the situation, and yep, she's poopy. I suspect she may have realized that a dirty diaper is the only thing that gets her out of that crib, and she's saving a little bit of ammunition for naptime. Aargh.

That's it. From now on, the bedtime routine includes a high colonic.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Aw, I love you guys ...

The Kegger/Bake Sale* hasn't even started yet, and I'm already feeling like giving out lots of soggy smooches and hugs. I loooove you guys! I just talked to Nutmeg's Grammy, and she told me that several of you have made gifts to Uncle Kenny's Team in Training effort without even mentioning it to me. And remember, your gifts are worth double because we're matching them.

For the rest of you who I know are very anxious to make your own donations, feel free to drop me a comment or a private note to let me know, so I can add your gift to my matching list.

*The Kegger/Bake Sale is a local event where we live, which will also generate funds for Uncle Kenny's effort.

Busy, busy weekend what with Eliot's big day, two Cub games (Nutmeg said "Cubs win, Cubs win!") Nutmeg ate some hotdog pieces at Friday night's game. So nice that I was able to hold onto my parenting values for 16 straight months. Almost as bad was yesterday's game, where I caved to a sweet young Giant's fan's request to feed Nutmeg some of his cotton candy. After that, of course, we had to take a long walk around the stadium to burn off some energy.

Mommy: Goooo Cubs!
Nutmeg: Gooo Choo Choo Train!

Nutmeg also went to a Hurricane Katrina fundraiser, and then Mommy went to a concert last night. I may fall asleep while typing this. Today, we took a choo-choo train far into the suburbs to go to a lovely children's park with Eliot and his Mommy. Have I mentioned that Nutmeg loves the choo choo train? The fire engine and the bus are also popular, but no one delivers like the choo choo train in this toddler's world.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Congratulations Keith and Kay

Happy Birthday to Eliot

Thursday, September 08, 2005

What I get for bragging

Nutmeg's wakeup between 3 and 4 in the morning is back for the last 2 nights.

On the plus side, I brought home a Mrs. Potato Head that had been on the ledge next to my desk at work for about four years. After I rinsed it off, Nutmeg played with it raptly for at least 3 quarters of an hour. She was so fascinated that when Epu came in, she called out, "Hi Daddy" rather absently, and made no effort to get up and meet him. Epu said, "Where are you?" And she nonchalantly replied: "Couch."

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Grab bag

We interviewed 2 nannies yesterday. We can't choose. One speaks Spanish and is very well known by the Sharebear's family so she's obviously a very safe bet. She also interacted great with the kids and has two very well behaved and sweet children of her own which obviously speaks well for her. The other one speaks Chinese and Kay and I really like her. But we just don't feel we know enough about her to judge. The Sharebear's mom pointed out that we really liked our current nanny after interviewing her too but now we have major problems with her.

Nutmeg is saying longer sentences now but I can't remember the great sentence she said today. Something about Eliot. She's doing the subject verb object thing now, like "Mommy blow bubbles." Oh, and at dinner today she came out with, "mommy cranky," even though I totally wasn't. Also, while we watched Oprah today and the now-familiar footage of crowds chanting in front of the conventioncenter came on, Nutmeg repeated, "We want help!"

She's sleeping so well now. I'm so happy. Goes right to sleep for naptime and bedtime with maybe one little cry. Slept 8:45 to 5:30 a.m. for a solid week, until this morning when she woke up at 3:30 again. But here's a step -- even though I didn't nurse her at 3:30, she still didn't wake up at 5:30 like usual, but slept right through to 7. Atta girl.

Monday, September 05, 2005

After 8 years...

Ever feel like your marriage is a scripted, decades-long play? Written by the most tone-deaf writer ever and repeated nightly?

Things I am so tired of hearing my husband say:

Let's get a sewing machine! (Which we would put where, on the tower of hardcover books I use for a nightstand? Wedged between the baby's crib and our bed?)

We should move our kitchen cupboards up six inches. (I can only reach the bottom two shelves as it is.)

Let's get a dog.

I need a new computer.

What day is it?

I didn't notice the mess/pile of dirty dishes/squalid conditions.

Things I am so tired of saying to my husband (and he is probably so tired of hearing):

Can you not leave your dirty socks on the living room floor/kitchen table/computer desk? (Sometimes replaced by the silent pitching of said sock bundle at the back of his head.)

Get up and do something while you talk on the phone.

When are you coming home from work?

Oh well, every once in a while he throws me a curve ball, like ... oh, you know, mushy stuff. And neither of us ever gets tired of hearing "Don't we have the most awesomest baby ever?"

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Security blanket

When I first saw this photo, I asked Epu if he could imagine this was taken in the United States of America. He couldn't. Then I looked at again, and said "Oh my God."

In color it's obvious, but in the paper it was in black and white, and it took me several looks before I realized what the woman is holding between her two babies. It's a Taggies blanket.

We have one of those. It just made me realize how close to home this tragedy really is. This woman is not that different from me or any other mom I know. If this crisis in New Orleans really is a symptom that the fraying seams of our nation are finally failing, then the next time around, this woman could be me. Maybe not. Maybe our middle class status will shield us from whatever disaster next tests our systems and infrastructure. Cold comfort, eh?

Nutmeg's playing with Epu in the living room. She just said to him, "Mommy hurt. Mommy crying."

Tell me about it.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Mommy! You love MOMMY, got it?

The drawback of having a freakishly verbal toddler is that you hear exactly how she feels about you, before she's old enough to have feelings. Here's what I mean:

Me (putting Nutmeg down after nursing): I love you!
Nutmeg: I love it! (and to clarify) I love nursie.
Nutmeg: MMM!

A society in decline?

"Small children being raped and killed" in the New Orleans Convention Center.

The reporters did not witness this, it's a quote from a refugee. I wonder if he really saw that or if he heard a rumor or if the heat is going to his head.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Drowning and cruising

I don't usually write about current events, but what's going on in New Orleans just begs for a post. First of all, for any of you who know Eric Houghton of Tremper High School fame, he replied to an e-mail to let us know that he and his charming family are fine. Their house, not so much so.

Now for some unsolicited suggestions. Cruise ships leave from New Orleans all the time. They're now departing from Texas since the port of New Orleans is not operational. It's easy for me to say since I'm not holding any hard-earned cruise ship tickets in my hand, but here goes: I'd like to see people donate their cruises to refugees. It would give the refugees somewhere to live, with plenty of clean water and food, for at least a week.

My other suggestion is more controversial. Shouldn't the nation give a good, long thought to letting New Orleans go? I love the city, don't get me wrong. I mean, come on -- drive through dacquiris! But we've all heard for the last eon that the city is an irrational feat of civil engineering -- below sea level, surrounded by water, sinking year by year. Maybe it's time to tear down those levies and let the ocean take it back.

In fact, we could leave these a-holes running around raping women and girls and taking potshots at doctors trying to evacuate the hospitals. Let the ocean take them too. Sadly, I doubt rescue workers can separate the faith-in-humanity-killing thugs from the helpless when they board the buses.

Meanwhile, another story that pulls the mommy strings:

Parents forced to leave infants behind in NICU
So did they handcuff the mothers to remove them from the hospital? I don't know how I could do it. Because you just wouldn't know if the hospital will have enough formula to last until they can get the baby out. If I was there, I could make sure my baby had a reliable food source -- me. I guess they told the parents that they only had enough resources for the support staff and babies, so if they stayed, they'd be endangering babies' lives further.