Thursday, October 23, 2008

He's not quite sure of what he's talking about...

No, I'm not referring to McCain, I"m talking about Ethan.

This is his first year of really having some sense of what Halloween is. The peapod at 6 months and the monkey at a year and a half held excitement and and "how cute is our little kid?!" factor for Husband and I; it was of little to no interest to Ethan.

This year, however, Ethan is all about the ghosts and the mummies and the witches and the spiders (dear god, the itsy bitsy spiders!). We bought his bumble bee costume weeks ago and every time he walks by it in his closet, he exclaims, "I be a bumble bee for Hall'ween!" and then runs through the house making a buzzing sound.

He also insists on carrying around his little plastic jack'o lantern trick or treating bucket, even when I tell him that Halloween isn't for another week (or two, or three). He's found the bucket is handy in collecting match box and hot wheels cars (of which he has eleventy billion). Sometimes the bucket has to come in the car with us and sometimes I can convince him to leave it at the door. Either way, "pumpkin with us" is a big phrase around the house these days.

So the idea is taking shape. He still has no idea that there's candy involved in Halloween and I'm not sure how to handle that element of it--I'm thinking Husband's going to be bringing a huge plastic pumpkin of sugar-laden loot to work with him on Monday of that week. The last thing I need Ethan thinking is that donning a costume and saying "trick or treat" will garner him an endless supply of chocolate.

He's also not quite up on all of his Halloween lingo and imagery. Moments ago we were playing with stickers of spiders and mummies. As Ethan pulled a sticker of a mummy rising up out of a coffin (um, creepy!) and pressed it down onto his piece of paper, he turned to me and said, "Look, he's in the tubby! Mummy's in the tubby!"

I might just eat him for Hall'ween; he's just that sweet.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ethan has a few songs he'd like to share with you...

Excuse the weird lighting halo-y effect (I'm wicked good at using this camera). You'll notice Ethan is in his "flip myself over the couch" position.

Not sure what provoked such a rousing rendition of the ABC's, but it could be that he expected his grandparents (to whom it is dedicated, apparently) to be able to hear it on the East coast, live as it was happening...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

This Land (and pen, and computer, and toe) is My Land (and pen and computer and toe)...

Ethan has discovered the glory of "mine". Sometime a couple of weeks ago I noticed it seeping it's way into his vocabulary and now, pointing out exactly what in this world belongs to him has become his primary motivation for getting out of bed. Also? This getting out of bed in the morning thing now comes with an announcement. "Ready to get up, Mommy", which is code for "if we don't get up and out of bed at this very minute, I am going to start repeating my announcement at regular, quickly successive intervals with increasing intensity and volume until you can no longer take it." Ethan is my alarm clock.

Our days now consist of Ethan pointing out the name of everything and exactly to whom it belongs. While he does tend to focus on what belongs to him ("that's my car," "that's Ethan's paci," "This is my popcicle," "That's Ethan's boo-boo,"), he is also an equal opportunity identifier. Today I alone, Ethan has considerately pointed out to me that I am indeed wearing my shirt, am in possession of my own nose and hair (I mean that separately, not like he was pointing out nose hair, dear god!), and am in fact, the owner of my car.

He is also in possession of a memory of steel when it comes to just what belongs to whom; he can pick up a toy in the backyard that was left by a friend weeks ago and say, "That's Jackson's fire truck", or find a peace pendant in between our sofa cushions and say, "That's Lucy's." Husband and I always find ourselves slack-jawed at his ability to recall these little things. After our playdate with Kingston (a friend of ours is friends of theirs and their nanny; rest assured, I am not BFFs with Gwen Stefani), I mentioned off-hand that a song on the radio was by "Kingston's mommy". Now every single time any Gwen Stefani song comes on the radio, I can hear from the backseat, "That's Kingston's mommy."

One down-side to the dawn of the age of "this is mine and this is yours" is when there's confusion over exactly what qualifies as "IS" is that equation. In the mind of a two and a half year old, the deciding factor seems to be desire, period. I want that car that you're playing with, ergo, it is "mine", or it is "my turn! my turn!" to grab it out of your white-knuckled grasp. These are good times. Obviously to be expected, what with the age and the completely self-absorbed developmental state and all, but it really does make one long for the day when one could put one's baby down on a blanket with four other babies and know that they wouldn't kvetch over the toys because they barely even knew they were there (they being the babies themselves). Ah, the good old days when the only thing that stressed me out was the colic. Oh, wait. That was hell. I'll take this any day.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Thoughts on Blogging, Yodelling and Potty Training

Or "randomness"

I promise to start writing more often (yes, I delude myself into thinking it matters to you, vast internet). For some reason I have fallen into a "once a week" pattern and by the time the weekend rolls around, I'm overwhelmed by what story to tell and the idea that's it's got to be really good because it's all I'm going to have to show for the week. So from here on out, there will be more for you to read, and less pressure for me to make it good. Get ready for a ton of Sarah-created mediocrity (except of course for the pictures and news about Ethan; he is anything BUT mediocre).

Where to begin? Oh! First of all, WHO taught my son to yodel? Yeah, you read that right.

Somewhere in the last couple of weeks, Ethan has started chiming in with "Yoo-del-ay-hee-hooo" when we are playing or driving or changing a diaper, or any other random activity that happens to NOT be climbing the Swiss Alps (that is where they yodel, right?) I have no idea where it came from; Husband rarely ever yodels (read: never) and I am not a yodeler, period. Jews don't yodel. So any of you out there who read this and happen to spend time with my child, 'fess up; I'm thinking one of you has been giving my kid yodeling lessons. I need to figure out who you are so I can thank you because I would never have thought to teach him such a, erm, skill and it is freaking cute. My goal for next week is to get it on video so I can share it with you.

One thing I will NOT be sharing with you any time soon is stories about Ethan using the big boy potty. Not only because there are some things I just don't think need to be televised in full-length detail (says the girls who wrote about pole dancing class). But more so because there's a good chance the child is going to be heading to college with a year's supply of Depends and I'll be telling you stories instead about how proud I am of him for learning to change his own diaper.

Yes I know he's young yet and Husband and I aren't in any hurry to force it on him. Honestly, the lazy girl in me secretly (um, or not so secretly) dreads the idea of having to be so vigilant about the process and the "do you have to go?" and the cleaning up the accidents and the dealing with "Mommy, I have to poop" in a public place.

Part of me hopes that one day, as we near his 3rd birthday, he will grab a copy of the NY Times, announce that he needs some privacy and then abscond to the bathroom for 20 minutes, returning with freshly washed hands and saying, "I need real underwear. The ones with Thomas on them. Let's go to Target."

I realize that he'd be the only child in the history of the world to do so, but damn, wouldn't that be sweet?

I did recently try to introduce the idea, slowly, with some Pull-up diapers. The kind with Lightening McQueen on them (or as Ethan calls him, "Ca-chow! car") However, the diaper itself became such an attraction that I doubted Ethan would ever opt to live without them, thus putting a big damper on the "Do you want to take them off and go potty on the big boy potty?" Because that would mean parting with "car diaper"!

He did enjoy pulling them up, though, and announced that he was "a big boy!!!" each time he got a chance to; but I fear that his journey to big boy (and the toilet) will be stuck at this point for awhile. Whenever we ask him if he wants to use the potty, he is adamant that, no indeed, he does not (and often runs away from us).

So for now we have to be content that we did get to dance around the house doing the "potty dance" once in August. Perhaps we were too enthusiastic the one time he did use the potty. Do 2 year olds have the capacity to be embarrassed? Because it's not like Mommy & Daddy did the conga and sang "he pee-pee'd on the potty! he pee-pee'd on the potty!" in front of his friends or anything....

That's all from me for now; as much as I've not been writing my own blog, I've not been keeping up with others' either (what the hell have I been doing with my time???!!!). So now I am off to read what I can before I get fed up with the crazy guy sitting next to me in Panera who is regaling his friend (I cant' believe she would possibly be his girlfriend) with his impersonation of Chewbacca from Start Wars. Oh yeah, I'm serious. I love LA.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

How Sarah Got Her Groove Back...

Just a note: this entry is not for those who may have known me as, or still see me as, a sweet little girl. Just saying, you might want to slowly back away from the post now and come back another day.

Because last night I took a pole-dancing class. Yes, that's right. A pole. Like strippers use. For stripping.

Now, dad, if you're reading, don't get on the phone to your lawyer and write me out of the will or anything (besides, I totally warned you not to read, so it's your own fault). I'm not rethinking career options. I'm exercising.

Turns out, those girls get quite a work out. And here in the land of beautiful bodies and healthy living, they've figured out a way to take that work out and teach it to girls who have no intention of letting drunken bachelor party attendees or lascivious, dirty old men stick dollar bills into their panties.

A girlfriend of mine who's been taking the class for a long time invited me along to an open house/introduction class. I wish I could say I hesitated (because, you know, it's less shocking then, right?) But I really think (and maybe I'm wrong) that there's a tiny little piece of every woman who wonders what it might be like to take a swing around that pole. Not in front of people and not wearing tassled pasties and a g-string or anything, but just to see.

I'm not going to give tons of details about what all is entailed in one of these classes because my blog's not meant to be a peep-show (and yes, this is one entry I'll most likely NOT include should I one day print out the blog and present it to my child(ren) as a chronicle of their early years), and while I'm not at ALL uncomfortable with having participated in the class, I imagine some people who read my blog and know me probably don't need the visual. The majority of the class was basically what I'd call sexy yoga, followed by a few exhilarating minutes flying around a shiny silver pole to a room full of applause (by my fellow class mates, not skeevy men).

But I have to say, it was kind of like jumping out of an airplane. Only on a yoga mat, and by candle light. And with a bunch of women I don't know (and one or two that I do). I've not had the greatest relationship with my body, well, ever. But especially not in the past couple of years. Pregnancy was not kind to my body (is it to anyone's?), and I have not been kind to it since, either.

But I felt that changing last night. Not that I'm thrilled with the extra roll of flab around my belly, or ecstatic about that fabulous back-fat I'm rocking under the bra strap. But I found a strength in myself last night I forgot I had, and I remembered what I'm capable of, outside of getting the laundry done and chasing my child around the park. Not that I don't love those things (well, who am I kidding? Laundry? Hate it), but it's nice to dig deep and find other pieces of myself.

Sure, I could have gone for a run, or something else more conventionally exercise-y; but I never do go running and I rarely do things that are conventionally exercise-y. And when I do, they don't make me feel like I did last night. Today, my muscles are killing me--it's an insane workout, no doubt.

But I also feel a sense of myself and my strength that I haven't felt since I took my first yoga class more than a decade ago. Those yoga classes in a gym aeorbics room next to a noisy raquet ball court changed my life way back then, bringing me out of a depression that was the darkest place in my life. It was new, it introduced me to muscles I didn't know I had and pieces of my psyche I'd ignored all my life. I felt that last night, too. Who knew an almost 37 year old mom in a velour track suit could get her groove on stripper-style?! Only in LA, my friends. Only in LA. And that alone, makes it just a little bit more worth it.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Catching Up...

All right; lest you think I've gone all "crazy cat lady" on you and you assume that I'm at home, sitting shiva for the felines, I suppose I should actually post something. It has been a tough week, and I appreciate all of your kind words and condolences about the kitties. It really is odd and empty-feeling to sit on my couch at night and not have a soft furry ball at my feet, purring and adoring. But I'm muddling through, usually with just one good cry a day, normally when I realize it's 9pm and my feet are cold, when they would otherwise be warmed by the aforementioned purring ball o' love.

But, such is life, and we move on.

So this weekend, after 90+ temperatures and not a drop of rain for 90+ days, we were graced with a day of full-on overcast and drizzle and temperatures that didn't get out of the 60's all day. I was tempted to strip down to my underwear (unpleasant) and go lie out in the front yard to bask in the chilly drizzly goodness of it all; seriously, my entire being is so parched from living on the surface of the sun for the past three months that nothing sounded more appealing to me than communing with the east-coast-esque weather for just a little bit.

Instead, though, we decided to get into the spirit of the fall weather, knowing it would be fleeting (it was 104 degrees today), and we dressed Ethan in long sleeves for the first time in eleventy billion years and probably the only time we'll be able to until December, and headed to the pumpkin festival.

Let me just pause here for a minute to say: OMFG, Panera people!!! I ordered an Orchard Harvest salad 30 minutes ago and have had to go up and inquire about it TWICE!!! One time I was given something else with mandarin oranges and walnuts in it--NOT what I want. Get it right! I'm HUNGRY! I'm sure someone else in this vibrating restaurant is currently dining on my order (or 1/2 way through digesting it given how long it's been since I freaking paid for it!), but I am still sitting here by the soda machines with a rumbling tummy!! FEED ME!

Okay--I can focus again having gotten that out. I have been promised my salad for a 3rd time. We will see if it arrives. If not, I will be eating the heart of the fool behind the counter because I am just that hungry and annoyed.

So, back to the pumpkin festival. We took Ethan in the drizzly rain (have I mentioned how happy I was about the drizzly rain? hmmmm??) and let him have at it. Honestly, the place should have been called the "big giant bounce house and scary-ass choo-choo" festival, because that's really all Ethan cared about.

The choo-choo was our first order of business after making our way through the farmer's stand type country store. Ethan loves him a choo-choo so as soon as we saw it, we imagined we'd be stuck there for a good portion of the rest of our natural lives, handing over activity tickets to the carney conductor. Fortunately for us, and less so for Ethan, the train was more along the lines of a thrill ride in that it whipped around the tiny track at what must have seemed to Ethan like break-neck speeds. Our Sunday morning choo-choo at the farmer's market is a bit of a lolly-gagger (I'm thinking hung-over carney-induced sluggishness), so this one was a shock to Ethan's system. The first couple of times around he put on a brave face, but after the fourth or fifth time around, there were tears. And screaming. So we bid farewell to the train, and what we figured would be any chance of Ethan getting on any other ride for the rest of the day, and headed over to the bounce house

(Panera update: The correct salad has arrived, and with a complimentary cookie to boot. That could either be a really sweet "we effed up; let us make it up to you" gesture, OR the woman can sense that I was threatening to eat her heart and she gave me the cookie on the off chance that I have a deadly peanut allergy. Either way, yummy salad. yummy cookie. All is well. Except that I keep dropping field greens all over myself like I've never eaten with a fork before. I'm super charming.)

The bounce house was a success once I hauled my adult-sized self through the child-sized entrance. It was AWESOME for my confidence and ego when I asked the two slack-jawed teenaged girls if I could get into the bounce house with Ethan. They thought I meant to actually jump and they looked at each other like, "um. she'll like totally like bust that thing like to pieces if we actually like let her in there." That felt good, that glance between them, I can tell you that. When I clarified that I simply intended to crawl in to show Ethan that it was safe and that then I'd just sit on the "floor" while all 21lbs of my child did the actual bouncing, you could hear whatever air was left in their heads woooooshing out in relief.

So bounce house it was. Sure, he ran through the rows of pumpkins after we begged him to and he got on the carousel after several "are you sure you don't want to get on the carousel???"'s (nothing like mandatory fun!), but the bounce house was where it was at. And considering the nap he took afterwards, we're seriously contemplating getting a bounce house for the back yard.

No tears yet, but see how he's hanging on for dear life...

Aaaaand, there they are; the tears of complete and abject terror. "Why did my parents put me on this and why are they taking pictures of me in my agony??!! I am so filing for parental emancipation when I get off this damn thing! Mommy!!"

Attempting to ease the post-choo-choo nausea...

Promising never to make him ride on the scary-ass choo-choo ever again and begging forgiveness for being such a bad mommy (clearly he's not convinced)....

Behold, five minutes later, the return of jovial Ethan, courtesy of the bounce house!

You've heard of James and the Giant Peach, no? Meet Ethan and the giant tractor wheel...

...and Ethan and giant bales of hay....

...and Ethan avoiding the giant pumpkin...

Awkward self-portrait: can you tell we've not had any pictures of ourselves taken in, oh, about 2.5 year? (And yes, I realize there's a joke in here somewhere along the lines of "the giant nose", but I'm too tired to go fishing for it, so add it at will.)

Ethan's new "I will go about my life and let you snap all the pictures you want, crazy lady; but I will NOT look at you!! You can't make me". Sadly, he is correct.

More of the "this pumpkin stalk is wayyyyy more interesting than your camera lens, woman."

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Los Angeles--Apparently Where Cats Go to Die...

So we've been here for three months and both of my cats have seen fit to up and die on me. I guess that pretty much firms up what they think of being moved cross country in their golden years.

Miss Independence seems to have had a couple of lungs full of cancer; at least that's what the xray I found myself staring at last night at midnight showed us. Abby stopped eating yesterday and around 6pm she was having a hard time breathing. I thought I'd take her in to the vet this morning, hoping that it was a respiratory cold, but by 11pm last night I was feeling neglectful and selfish for not taking her in, so she and I took that long, sad ride down the street to the emergency vet clinic.

So I found myself once again, for the second time in just over two months, murmuring my gratitude and farewell into one of my kitty's furry ears while the vet just made it all go away.

We had fifteen years together and I have to say it was a bit heart-ripping to wake up this morning after the few hours of sleep I managed to get, and find that I'd left the hallway door open (we normally close it so she can't come in to our room and rattle our window blinds to wake us) and that there was no kitty to feed, for the first time in my adult life.

When Penny died, I had days to process it; there were tons of tests and "is this the right thing?" and time to snuggle and soak in all her Penny-ness before saying goodbye. With Abby it happened so quickly and urgently, I am still finding myself surprised by her absence and catching my breath when I realize that, "oh yeah, she died last night."

So thanks Miss Abby, for being my kitty and keeping me company on this part of the journey. Like I told you last night, I will miss you every day.