Tuesday, March 31, 2009

If You're Crazy & You Know It ...

Then you're me.

By now you all know how hyper-nostalgic I am. I mostly proud of it, partly embarrassed by it.

When we had our 20-week ultrasound and were ensured I was growing a person, I relaxed. Bought nursery furniture. Let it be real. I bought Dreft, people. It was serious baby time all up in our house. I took tags off the neutral items collecting in the antique dresser in the guest room, threw them all in the warm, sudsy washer, and set about softening up our lil' dude's stuff and things.

Dreft made my house smell like a baby's house, but damn, that stuff is expensive. So, by dumb luck I found All's Baby detergent. Believe it or not, All Baby smelled better than Dreft and was oodles cheaper. Doing laundry had never been so fun! Be gone, pesky little formula stains and blowout messes!

The lil' dude helping me with laundry, three months

Fast forward 15+ months and I'm doing laundry and the lil' dude's garments all are bigger and bigger every week and full of people stains like guacamole and black beans and Naked juice and dirt from the lily beds and crusty toothpaste. And yet I dutifully pour the reliable capful of All Baby into the washer ... when I fill my last cap. I mentally add it to my errand list.

Saturday we're at Target and the place is insane. I ask the Dad to drop me off so I can run in, buy my All Baby and get home and wash me some baby socks- the girl's fresh out and it's too cold for the flip-flops. I run through the store- through the baby section and over to the laundry aisle and swear internally when a red-and-khaki on a Walkie tells me they don't carry All Baby. She's not sure they ever did. I tell her they did. She's already walking away from me.

Well, great.

Later that night, under the cloak of darkness, I enter Wal-Mart under the premise of buying the lil' dude's Easter fare and the biggest vat of All Baby you've ever seen. This IS my Saturday night, people.
I run to the laundry aisle and spy the pretty white bottle with the yellow text and the little yellow ... where's the damn ducky? This is NOT All Baby. It's All Free Clear. What. The. Duck?
I run to the baby aisle. Nope. I am sweating and swearing, externally. I find a blue Walkie and get the answer I already know.

Don't carry it anymore.

I limp home, defeated. Earlier in the day, the Dad said he thought I had been using the big-people Era on all the lil' dude's duds. Ummmm, does she not smell like innocence and sunshine and giggles? That's the All Baby talking. Not her. The Dad suggested it was time to drop the baby detergent act and throw her clothes in with ours. All those tiny, delicious pieces of clothing in with my sweaty gym stuff and his hoodie collection. The gall of some people.

But it's now three days post detergent drama, and she did need socks.
I did what anyone in my shoes would do: I bought her some new ones.

No ... I didn't, actually. After Saturday, Sunday was not about to become The Day Devoted to Finding Her Size in the Right Socks.

So, she's an Era kid now, I guess. I could try the Big K and Shopko for All Baby, but I don't suppose I want another Walkie telling me what I already know: she's not a baby anymore.

Monday, March 30, 2009

If It's Pictures You Want

You have to listen to my story, first.

As I was scooping chocolate chip cookie dough onto the greased cookie sheet Saturday night, the Dad came at me with a spoon.

Mama: "You've had more than enough of the dough. We'll get like, 5 cookies out of this."
The Dad: "Man, I love raw cookie dough. So good when it hits the lips."
M: "Knock it off. It's so bad for you. Raw eggs."
TD: "Rocky ate raw eggs and he thrived!"
M: "Did you just say survived?"
TD: "No, thrived. THR-IV-ED. Did he, or did he not thrive?"
M: "I need to get these in the oven."


Friday, March 27, 2009


Go, 'Cuse, go!

... Fighting for the Orange staunch and true.
Rah! Rah! Rah!
Vict'ry's in sight for old Syr-a-cuse,
Each loyal son knows she ne'er more will lose,
For we'll fight, yes, we'll fight, and with all our might
For the glory of old Syracuse.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

In Time

“Sabrina fair,
Listen where thou art sitting
Under the glassy, cool, translucent wave,
In twisted braids of lilies knitting
The loose train of thy amber-dropping hair.”

John Milton

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


If you could see where I spend my work days, you'd see how I remember things. There are Post-It notes of every flavor and variety in every square inch of my world.

I have measurements to make the lil' dude's library bag. I have the name of an Etsy seller in case things go wrong and I have to buy one. The email address of the girl who can embroider her name on it.
Notes that say Use Pampers Coupon b4 3_31.
I have the name of the books to return to the library.
The books I need to order from Amazon.
The names of the magazines and the order forms to fill out for April birthdays.
The number to call and RSVP the lil' dude for this Saturday's Run & Read at the Community Ed. Center.
Appointments to make- orthodontist.
Order contacts.
Cancellation codes for flights and hotel rooms.
Recipes for Paula Deen's grilled pork tenderloin.
Yesterday's grocery list the Dad accomplished for me.
Quilt patterns for baby quilt projects.
Serial numbers for rebates.
An idea for monogrammed stickers for the lil' dude- gave to the Dad.

It's how I remember- and I am generally good at remembering.

But where do I place all my other remembers? The things that aren't things, but need to be remembered? The things that aren't to-do's, the things that don't expire?

Like how the lil' dude ran up to her grandma-great Sunday and gave her "knucks" and the astonished look on my grandma's face?
The lil' dude begging her uncle for the lemon out of his water and her squirmy-faced joy of tasting it?
How she'll lay on her tummy in the hallway reading a book, with her knees bent so, swinging her feet?
Giving a decorative Easter bunny a bath in the Beagle's water dish, and toweling it off?
Mastering the stairs, up and down, without help?
Her finally pointing to her nose correctly, when prompted?
Her drowsy, quiet grins and milk mustache on the way in each morning?
Her devouring a cherry-almond scone, fresh out of the oven, at Grandma's?
Her pointing out puppy! from two blocks away?
Begrudgingly sharing a fruit snack with Mama, contemplating if she should or not?

All of these Post-It notes I have to put somewhere. I don't want to ever lose them.

Monday, March 23, 2009


A morning spent in pajama's ...

At your Grandma G's side ...

Cookin' up delicious homemade spaghetti sauce.

You're such a big girl, lil' dude. You were so content to stand on the cooking chair- the chair I stood on as a kid. You were so patient as Grandma listed off her ingredients.

Italian sausage- mild
Ground beef
Yellow onion
Fresh mushrooms
Tons of fresh garlic
Bay leaves ...
and on and on.

You would hand Grandma a spoon, and say "more please". You had two different spoons going at once, one to cool, one to eat off of, and repeat. Watching you two together made my heart so happy. I know the lasagna that night tasted the best it ever has.

Friday, March 20, 2009

In Her Words

I used Wordle to create this word profile off the blog. Fancy stuff! You might have to click on the image to make it bigger. I love how it pulled please as the focal word ... it was the lil' dude's first signed word, and so very important at our house!

If the lil' dude could Wordle her vocabulary, it would be using these words:

the Beagle
Lil' Dude

Such a talker! I wonder where she gets THAT from??

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Dad Sessions

I had a brilliant idea last weekend.
Interviewing the Dad for the blog! Getting his word out there to all of you. Give the lil' dude some Daddy perspective.

I emailed him, seeing if he had any interest. He replied, telling me he thought so. Later that evening, at home, he says to me, "so what's this blog idea of yours? You just want to poke fun of me again? Like you always do? Poke, poke, poke?"
I told him I never poke fun of him. It's the content he supplies, is all. He's great material.

Anyways, he agreed to let Mama ask him some questions. Here is the long-awaited Dad Sessions!

Mama: What do you think of your wife putting your life out there on the Internet?
The Dad: Fine by me. I know how much she like to write and she doesn't get to do that at her job, so this is a good way to get her writing out there.

Mama: Do you ever catch yourself thinking "Oh oh, THIS is going on the blog," when you do or say something?
The Dad: All the time. I give her a hard time when she makes fun of me on the blog, but it's fine with me as long as I can make some people laugh out there. It's all good.

Mama: Describe the lil' dude in your own words.
The Dad: Where to start ... She has a mind of her own, she is a crazy one. Evil Kneivel. She will do ANYTHING without thinking about what will happen. If she gets hurt doing something, she will go back and do it again after about 10 seconds. She's very independent.

Mama: What is it like being the father of a girl?
The Dad: It's great, I have no complaints at all. She is such a daddy's girl, which makes it that much more fun.

Mama: How would you describe your idea of the 'perfect day'?
The Dad: Lil Dude sleeps to 9! We get up, Mom makes French toast and maple sausages from the market, while we start watching Toy Story. Go play outside in the Beagle's Kingdom (the yard). All four of us take a walk around town. Take an afternoon nap. Grill steaks for supper. Go downstairs for some "tasties" and park ourselves in front of the TV for a basketball game (preferably a 'Cuse or Timberwolves game) and have the lil' dude watch the whole game beside me- inside of running or climbing all over everything like she does.

Mama: Tell the truth: how did you handle labor and delivery?
The Dad: I was a pro. Didn't know I would actually be right in there helping and grabbing one leg, but there was only one nurse around so we took control. It was a long few days. Only once did I get worried and I was really worried (just ask my wife about the look on my face) but that was only for a minute.

Mama: Have there been any times you and your wife disagreed on parenting?
The Dad: Not really. She might have not liked when I tried to get rid of the Nuk so early, but we both decided after one year it was enough. I probably wanted the lil' dude to grow up way too fast for my wife's liking. I wanted her to walk and play and run around right away, and she wanted the little, cute baby.

Mama: What shocks or surprises you most as a dad?
The Dad: Well, I'm not shocked at anything anymore being a dad. But I'm still surprised at how much she changes day to day, especially now...everyday it's something new. And these lil' dudes are so smart...they know what's going on all the time and they pick up on everything.

Mama: What's your favorite thing about your daughter?
The Dad: She looks just like me. Daddy's girl...loves to shoot hoops outside, inside on her little hoop, and in the tub ... yes, she has hoops everywhere! She goes with the flow and is laid back, just like me. Nothing worries her. Everyone is her best friend.

Mama: What's your favorite thing about your wife?
The Dad: Best friend in the world. No one I would rather hang out with. She is such a great mom. So smart. Might be the fastest reader in the world. Loves sports. And loves me for being my crazy self! And, for sure, the hottest MILF around!

Mama: Anything you'd like to add for the benefit of your faithful readers?
The Dad: Parenting is one of the best things. Do it the way you want to or think is the right way. Everyone is going to have an opinion on how to parent your child. It might work for them, but not for you. Thank you to all the supporters of my wife's blog, this is something that she truly loves to do. I would love for her to make it her job someday!

I promise, dear internetz, I did not change anything the Dad said. Yes, he made me cry more than once.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Happy St. Patrick's Day!

There is no Irish in my heritage, but that never stopped my family from celebrating today. As a kid, I was taught to respect any and every culture, and take from it what I could to appreciate life, learn, and explore the world's vast human landscapes.

As a boy, my dad's mother, my Grandma Pancake, would serve her family the traditional Irish meal of corned beef and cabbage, boiled carrots and potatoes, and Irish soda bread. When my parents were married, my dad urged my mom to continue the tradition- for his sake. This year, she'll prepare and serve the meal for the 26th time in their marriage.

So lil' dude, as a small girl with heavy Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Hungarian, and German patchwork ancestry, I give you a traditional Irish blessing on today, St. Patrick's Day ... and everyday, too.

May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back. May the sunshine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sunlight at the End of the Tunnel

Spring, lil' dude, is about to be sprung.
We went to the park Saturday- our spring fever was at its limit and we needed out of the house!
We had to abandon the stroller in the slush, and Mama got soaked through her Uggs, but we managed.
This week, the final week of winter, has forecasts in the 50s ... we might see 60 today!
Hurry up, spring! Someone is very anxious to meet you!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sleep Over Rules

Lil' dude, you are going to a sleep over tomorrow night at your man J's.

Please be on your very best behavior.

Please don't pee the bed.

Please don't eat so much junk like Cheetos, Tootsie Frooties, Fruit Roll-Ups, or Easy Cheese on Ritz.

Please do not drink anything but the water and milk I pack for you.

Please don't touch any of Auntie K's fancy things.

Same goes for Uncle M's jackknife collection.

Please don't call me or Daddy to come pick you up because you have a bad dream.

Please don't chew on J's delicious little arms.

Please don't forget to sign please.

Please make sure you build at least one fort in the living room with all the cushions and blankets and pillows you can find.

Please remember your goodnight kisses.

Please don't steal any of J's cool John Deere toys.

Please brush your teeth before you go to sleep.

Please clean up after yourself.

Please do have fun.

Mama loves.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Love Hurts

She bit me last night.

We were sitting side by side in the recliner watching Top Chef on TiVo. She was curled against my side, right arm slung across my belly, head resting against my side. I was surprised I was able to calm her down, as everything was tormenting her, pissing her off. She hasn't been herself for the better part of a (long) week. I was petting her soft head, whispering to her and she seemed content. I felt her little body relax against me. And so we sat.

In an instant, she turned her face to my side and bit me hard- on the side of my boob. Through my sweatshirt and t-shirt and my startled, painful cry in turn startled her. She burst into tears and buried her head into my lap. I felt my heart break.

I quickly peeked at my wound. Two perfect teeth marks- red, violent welt forming. The skin peeled back on each side.

I pulled her into a hug where she continued to wail miserably. See, she's been doing this biting thing- but not people. She'll gather as much of her pink blanket she can into her mouth and bite. Same with her sleeves, the dishtowels, her stuffed bears. I know her upper two molars are being relentless, causing her so much pain, it's all she can do to not lose her shit. It strikes me to the core, my inability as her mother to not be able to end the pain she's enduring.

She's stopped crying now, pulling her little cheeks away from her mouth, sad, silent tears running down her red face. Her eyes, they are so sad and tired. I take her to the sink to wash her face, give her some water. She is still in my arms and wraps her arms around my neck and we just sway for awhile.

After a quick bath, I settled her into her pink star pj's. I turn on her music, the lullaby rendition of Nine Inch Nails songs. I close her shades against the light of Daylight Savings. We read a quick story about a mouse who wants to become a wind-up toy and turn off the lamp. And now, instead of pulling away from me and pointing towards her crib, she settles against me and pulls her blanket to her face. I imagine she's trying to soothe me after what we went through earlier. Soothe me by letting me hold my still, still daughter tight to my chest for once. I stroke her damp hair, inhaling the scent of Aveeno. It becomes rhythmic, rocking and petting. I feel her body completely go prone and her breath even out into the patterns of sleep.

There we sat. My sleeping baby, safe and comfortable in my arms. As the room grows darker and the music nears the end of the disk, I think about all that has happened in a week. Her ear infection, the Croup. The dose after dose of antibiotics and steroids and Motrin ... how it affects her sleep, appetite, energy levels, and normalcy. Her teeth and the endless runny noses and diaper rash and face rash. I know that bite was not her, but some other frightened, confused version of her tiny self. Still, the welt is there on my skin. Proof she'll do things she'll regret just as I'll do things I'll regret.

But so long as we come back to this place, here in the quiet dark against each other, we'll be fine.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Miss Independent

The lil' dude, trying to put her hoodie on by herself.

One arm at a time ...

Let's start over, shall we?

Never did she get it on.
Never did she let the Dad or I assist.
Never did I think she would be like this, already.
Let's start over, shall we?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Letter from Mama, v15

Happy 15mo. birthday, lil' dude!

Barack Obama was right when he said, it's time for a change. Because change is all you've done since your birthday three months ago. I am getting the hang of referring to you as a toddler now instead of a baby. You've changed how I view the world, how I appreciate the small things, how I process each day. You're speaking words and using your imagination and brushing your own teeth and walking down stairs holding onto the railing. You've changed Mama and Daddy and the ways we relate to each other. You've changed this place, here, where are hearts are.

I realize now I am always telling you to be ... be gentle, be calm, be careful, be quiet, be polite, be patient. I want you to know there are all sorts of other be's I want for you too ... be fearless, be kind, be driven, be sweet, be thoughtful, be resourceful, be friendly, be genuine, be appreciative, be yourself. I don't want to mandate who or what you become, but know I will always encourage you, nudging your little tushie on. Simply, be everything.

What I admire most about you now, as this small person, is your ability to go with the flow. That characteristic is so very important the bigger you get, the more you interact with the world around you. Right now, sweetheart, there is a lot of not-so nice things happening in this world. People are afraid, people are suffering, people's lives are changing. You have to remember that no matter how big your plan is, how stable you think your footing is, things can change in an instant. I want you to be prepared to go with the flow. Refuse to get caught up in the scary, unknowns and instead, adapt. Recognize your strengths in any situation and rise to the occasion.

Mama loves.

Friday, March 6, 2009


Congratulations lil' dude on passing swimming lessons!

We are SO proud of our brave, adventurous little girl.
And, we're pretty pumped about the free Papa Murphy's Pizza cookie dough coupon you got from your instructor, too.

Daddy & Mama loves!

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Sometimes, your perception is spot on, lil' dude.

Yesterday on our way in to daycare and work, you sat sandwiched between two big boxes of empty wine bottles.

Not your typical Wednesday morning, and you knew it. As we bumped along, the bottles shakin' and a rattlin' and rollin' around, you couldn't help but exclaim, "Wow!" over and over again.
Wow is your newest word. Sometimes though, Daddy and I think you are just a sponge who picks things up we say and then you simply repeat them, not knowing what they mean. Like how you started saying your own name the other night, and pointing to your chest when we asked where the lil' dude was. But the next day? when I asked you the same thing? you had no idea where the lil' dude was, and began looking behind you, and by the chair. Shrug?

But wow- now that you get. Like yesterday morning!

Wow: as if to say, why are there wine bottles in the Avalanche? In the morning? Why does it smell like wine in here? In the morning?
All good questions, lil' dude.

You see, your auntie K is a vintner, one who makes her own wine. She and I have a sweet deal where I drink wine, give her the empties to be filled, and she gives me bottles of her newest brew for sampling. It's a beautiful arrangement!

So there you were in your pink snow stuff, 25 clattering wine bottles or so as the bookends to your car seat , looking around and saying, "Wow!" because, really, what else could you say to that.