Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Just call me Mrs. Fields.

My nieces, aged 2 and 4 were over tonight. Now my nieces are two of the most terrific, talented, beautiful and creative preschoolers out there, but they play big and they play loud. And why not, say I. But I was anticipating having to put Baby D to bed, and so I was trying to think of something we could do that would be of a -- if not quiet -- semi-controlled nature. I decided we should make cookies. Hooray for me! What a fun thing to do! What a brilliant and superior aunt I am. I pre-measured everything in my French glass nesting bowls. Perfect! We would only have to dump everything in and watch the mixer go around. Send me a Mensa form! They are in need of my services!

Everything was going perfectly according to plan. Older E was in charge of the wet ingredients in the mixer. Younger N was in charge of sifting the dry ingredients. I have a lovely, sturdy Kitchen Aid stand mixer. It is perfect for making all kinds of treats to delight the epicurious, but it does require a delicate touch at the control. (You see where this is going, don't you?) I rarely can get C to operate it because it doesn't take much to take it from "stir" to wheeling off its stand at number 8. Well, we were sifting and mixing and mixing and sifting and having such fun. I was giving E a little help which she was perfectly glad to get when adjusting the Kitchen Aid. Hooray! Cookies! Mmmmmm! Things were going so well, the girls decided they would like to switch jobs. Why not! We've made it though the tough parts of the egg and the vanilla. E dumped the flour into the bowl and N got ready.

"Okay, N," I said. "I'll just help you get it turned on" . . . at which point tiny, little 2 year old N gave that switch a big tug up to six. Flour . . . everywhere . . .everywhere . . . everywhere. For the first time since they had gotten to my house, there was silence.

At which point I threw back my head and laughed. Well, why not? What did I think was going to happen when you let a 2 year old at the mixer? And weren't we having fun?

Yes, we were . . . and eating mighty tasty cookies, too.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Live and Let Dye

My computer is back and I could not be happier. I know there's a lot going on in the world, but . . . well, I'm glad it's back. If anyone reads this besides my husband, you should send me an email because my address book is gone.

SO, I've been coloring my hair since I was 16. If God had wanted me to keep my mousy dirty dishwater color, he wouldn't have invented Clairol. But He did and I do. This week I talked my hair stylist and aunt of my choosing (not my blood) Sharon (There's one aunt, in particular I would simply trade straight up and if you are my aunt and you have bothered to read this I guarantee it's not you, particularly if you remember where the Mississippi River is.) into dying it a variation on my own shade -- I think. (It's been a long time. I'm not sure what that shade is.) I'm into truth these days or a close proximity of it anyway.

Baby D and I have not nursed in a week. It's not going too badly. He's fine. I'm the one who needs to recover. My mood has gone from dark to black. Brent has packed a bag for me and it sits threateningly near the door. (Oh, not really.)

If I do take off, it will be to hunt down C's "social therapist." She's an odd little shadow of a woman who cannot make eye contact. Ironic, isn't it? Social therapist and all? I have discovered today that she has changed C's Individual Education Program (IEP) for the second time in two years without notifying us at all, much less the 14 days required by Minnesota state law. Honestly. She's the Social Therapist. Am I the only one who see that this is very, very wrong?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

It's always darkest at 5 a.m.

Baby D was such a good sleeper until we stopped nursing last weekend. I'm hoping this has something to do with teeth or a cold he caught at ECFE but every now and then guilt wins. I am a bad mother. I quit too early. The rest of the world nurses their babies until they are two.

We made it nine months which is longer than I thought we would. I would have been thrilled if we'd made it six months. (Maybe I have said all this already.) He still doesn't have teeth which may have played a significant role. The rational part of me suggests I should be proud of what I have achieved instead of upset at what I have not. Welcome to the story of my life. (Malmberg Cousin Underachievers unite!!)

So, anywho, now D and I get up at twice at night and for good at 5 a.m. This is not enough sleep for me. I need 8++ hours. I am deeply tired. (If you remember the show "Square Pegs," I am totally tired. Totally.) This does not bode well for my ability to function. In my mind, everything I do is not nearly good enough. My house is a mess. I weigh too much. I spend too much. My roots are hideous. I am lonely. I talk to myself a lot. Today a lady at Target tried to engage me in conversation at the clearance rack and I nearly told her she had interrupted my in-depth conversation with Baby D over what size he thought he'd be in six months.

I try to remind myself to be grateful I am not a prairie pioneer girl getting my sod hut ready for winter. Sometimes this works.

Monday, September 17, 2007

My pet dinosaur

Today was another ECFE day. When coordinator Cathy asked me how it was going. ("I mean how are you adjusting.") I answered that it was quite the adjustment as Brent and I had been heading toward retirement or at least empty nesting and now we had a new baby. The girls eyes glazed over and then they went right on as though I were not there pouring my little heart out about how difficult it has been to have such a U-turn at this point in my life. Well, I don't really blame them. When I was 22-28, I could have cared less. When I was 22 I could not imagine life after 35. It never, ever, ever occurred to me I would be pulling preschool duty after age 40. And yet here I am.

Remember in Genesis Sarah's reaction to the news -- straight from God's messengers -- that she would have a baby by the time they came back next year? She laughed. What kind of laugh I wonder. Joy? Bitterness? Hysteria?

Garrison Keillor in Sunday's newspaper ( wrote that becoming a parent again toward the end of your prime child bearing years brings a particular sweet sadness and heartache. (He says it much better and more subtlety than this.) I think he means to say that one is so much more sensitive to the preciousness of parenthood when you have one beyond age 35. There is so much more to give and yet less time to give it.

Part of me wants to shout at these girls, "You fools! Stop whining! It's over too soon. Watch it! Soak it up! Do what you can before it's too late!" But I know, too, that it's a long night with croup and the freedom they felt not so long ago seems miles away right now.

Good heavens, I've made myself cry.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Live and let die

While trying to send virtual flowers to my friend Sylvia, the actress in Los Angeles, (read all about her at sylverlining. my hard drive died. If this were not the second one in three years perhaps I would be taking it better, but I had just gotten my new igoogle page set up just the way I liked. Hmmmm, now when I write that, it seems a little silly. I guess there are worse things going on in the world, but if you're waiting for an email from me, you're going to have to keep waiting another 3-5 business days for my new hard drive to arrive and maybe longer if I've lost your address . . .

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Those crazy Thessalonians

Baby D and I started a new Bible study at church today. (Well, I started a new Bible study and D went to the nursery. He had a very good time.) It's a study on Thessalonians. "T 1 and 2," as I think I will call them now, are much more interesting if you read Acts 17 first and realize Thessaloncia was one of those places that our old friend Paul was encouraged to leave quickly because a mob was running after him.

Most of the ladies came in and sat down with their Bibles and a cup of coffee. I brought my coffee, my notebook and my pencil bag containing pencils, pens, highlighters, a small scissors and a glue stick. (What can I say? You never know when you might need to glue something.) I feel a little like a huge geek and then again, so what? I will feel much worse if I am sitting there listening and I feel the urge to write, highlight, cut or glue and do not have the correct supplies.

I am leading one of the small break-off groups at this study and I was a little worried. I also led a group at this time last year and in my group was a woman who just wanted to say "black" if I said "white." I was hugely pregnant and ended up going to the Bible study coordinator in tears. We ended up combining my group with another and I was still the leader (I think I was hoping to be relieved of duty) and this seemed to irritate this particular lady even more. On our first day as a new combined group I had everyone go around and introduce themselves and say their favorite Thanksgiving dish (or something) as an ice breaker. When we got to this lady she introduced herself and said she was not going to name her favorite dish because it was a "ridiculous waste of time." At prayer time that day, we prayed in a circle ("Squeeze the hand next to you when you're done.") and she announced that we would have silent prayer during her time.

Makes a Christian sister want to act violently.

Anyway, today's group seems fine. So far, so good.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Baby's got remote

I let the baby watch TV this morning. I was just reading in Parents magazine or somewhere that's one of the worst parent offenses out there right now. Great. How can you even keep up? When Colin was a baby it was verboten to let babies watch TV and then all that Einstein stuff came out and babies were going to be brilliant from watching them and now again watching TV is akin to letting him ride up front in the car without his seat belt on.

Dairy? No Dairy? Gluten? Chicken Pox shots? Good heavens, I stood on that hump in the backseat of my mom's purple Duster when we traveled. I'm not recommending that, but I am still alive. I didn't watch all that much TV though and I think it's made me a better, if not slightly addicted reader. (Be sure to check out and say I sent you.)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Lessons from ECFE

One day at Mount Rushmore Brent watched a couple in their 20s heave-ho their stroller down a flight of stairs along the trail. We had decided to forgo that trail for that very reason -- we did not want to lug the stroller down the stairs.

He said something like, "We're old."

"Yes," I said. "But we have a much nicer stroller."

So, Daniel and I went to ECFE "Baby and Me" class today and I learned several things (not the least of which was I seemed a bit of a cult hero for managing a shower every day). I learned that:
* My in-laws pretty much leave me alone.
* Girls in their early 20s think very little can be accomplished past age 40.
* I have married a very nice man.
* I am more together than I think -- because in spite of the girls concern that women who wait until they are almost 40 to have children face an uphill battle, parenting at an older age brings a peace and a patience I would never have had until now.

So there.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Manner die Tiefe

The new Tassimo beverage package I opened this morning was in German which added an exciting European flair to coffee time. Yesterday when I unpacked the box, this package had an extra paper attached to it -- which I saw were the instructions, wondered why they would add extra and promptly threw in the trash. Now, 6+ years of German class is useful for things like going to basement parties ("Pass auf dem Kopf!") and going to the movies (to see "Manner die Tiefe" perhaps), but we never prepared espresso drinks. Fortunately, the Tassimo isn't that hard. Insert disk. Press start.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Cindy from USC

The other day C and I were watching his new favorite channel, the Game Show Network. (I have to admit, it doesn't take a whole lot for me to sit down and watch an old episode of Family Feud or Let's Make a Deal with him.) On this day, we were watching Match Game '76 when Cindy from USC was presented as a new contestant. Cindy introduced herself as a home ec major. Whatever became of home ec majors? Actually I know. They became sociology majors like my aunt, the professor of sociology. But, now really, why? Do we not still have homes? Do we not need economics in them? Perhaps now more than ever?

I ask because I have just noticed a fly living in Baby D's exersaucer. It had a good life there. Lots to eat. I feel for the fly but have nevertheless scrubbed the exersaucer out. I need a few college level home ec classes. Heck, I need a few high school home ec classes. My graduate level work in Milton is doing me very little good right now.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Why so tense, Bob?

Do you remember the Sanka commercial where the man fighting with the window shade is confronted with an overly concerned Robert Young? It turns out Bob couldn't handle that second cup of coffee and the window treatment at the same time. He switched to Sanka and became in the words of Charles Dickens, "as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world."

It was the first thing I thought of when I woke up this morning thinking about crabby Baby D and my beverage consumption yesterday. Lets' see one tasty Tassimo latte with the morning's email, two glasses of iced tea at lunch (each with two packets of raw sugar, yes!), one Caramel Cooler at Caribou (yum!). Huh.

C and I were done nursing at about five months. It was Thanksgiving and he refused to nurse but would take a bottle, held by himself in his bouncy seat in front of the Macy's parade. Baby D and I are at nine months and still going strong. I'm not sure how I feel about this. It's not really any trouble, but it's no longer a loving moment of nutrition between a mother and son, but more of a wrestling match with pinching, pulling and biting. I'm still winning these matches but I don't know for how much longer. When I start to lose -- that's when we are going to be done for sure.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The first day

Baby D acknowledged C's return to school by crying all day. Not just a whiny, irritated cry, but a truly sad deep wail. Finally at suppertime, it occurred to me that it could be more than just pity for C and perhaps he was hurting and/or teething. A dose of Tylenol perked him up for a while, but he is crying again.

I responded with a headache in the upper right quadrant of my head. My sister "Nurse Practitioner" Sarah and my husband "Dr" Brent assure me that it is not a brain tumor (I am easily spooked), but probably a sinus headache. Sarah and Brent are not trained medical professionals, but truly missed their calling as such. They plan on opening a store front clinic some day. (Don't ask. We are an easily amused people. We like to make up creative if fictional plans.)

C seemed to have a good day at school. His paraprofessional said he did. He was in a good mood when he came home. His teacher this year is "old school." She had vowel flash cards on her desk when I went in and I signed a note saying, yes, I would be a "room mother." That's okay. I think C will respond well to structure. I thought my day would be super organized with him back at school, but with the crying and the headache and all . . . well . . . some days are just more productive than others. I just wish I were a little more go with the flow myself -- or there was a third grade teacher from the old school running our home.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

There's an enterprising squirrel out my window

Nothing like a 9 hour sleep in your own bed and a cup from one's own faithful Tassimo to refresh. The house is covered in snack wrappers, newspapers (which were delivered even though I put my account on hold) and dirty socks. It was a successful trip all round.

I never did get my South Carolina plate. Perhaps I will have to bring my sticker book on our planned Florida road trip in the spring. It seems cheating a little to hold a list over though. I guess I'd better find another sticker book or just start over with my Palm Pilot list.

(That's my Lila Marie tribute for the day, friends and loved ones.)