Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Babe is Born

On December 1, 2006, my baby boy was born. I felt like Mother Mary only without the Immaculate Conception.

I gave birth to a precious soul and in the process my life took on new purpose. My heart expanded. My joy exploded. My Mother Self engaged. My SHINE ignited.

Yes – I was shiny before, but when Biddy came into this world, my SHINE took over. It’s amazing how it happened, in an instant, as soon as he was laid on my chest. His blue eyes and sweet love allowed me to SHINE, demanded me to SHINE, for him and for my Self.

Before his arrival my path was somewhat aimless, wandering, and fueled by insecurity and indecision. Before his arrival I was selfish. Since his arrival three-years ago, I have become childish–childish in the sense of caring completely for my children – my son and my little Kimi.

Having Biddy gave me permission to play, laugh, enjoy the present moment, learn, explore, and be bold and fearless. Having Biddy has allowed me to heal the wounds of my inner child and heal past pain, hurt, abandonment, sadness, and self-hatred. Having Biddy has allowed my mamma bear to come out to protect, teach, care for, champion and nurture. Having Biddy has allowed me to love unconditionally.

Sometimes you need a catalyst to SHINE. Biddy is my catalyst. Thank you my boy for gracing me with your presence. I love you more and more and more each day.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dog Bite

It's Thursday, September 3, 2009.

We're late.
Biddy get your Crocs.
Do you have the camera?
Get in the car.
We need to be at Frank's at 11:30 am.
Papa and Nana, can you follow us in your rental?
B's dad and stepmom are visiting.
We need enough room for Frank when we go to lunch.

Pile in.
Hit the accelerator.
We're off.
Don't lose Papa and Nana.
Oklahomans don't know Colorado roads.
We arrive at Frank's house at 11:30 am on the dot.
Frank is B's godfather.
Pile out.

Warm hugs.
Papa and Frank haven't seen one another since the early 90's.
Oops...I forgot the camera in the car.
I'll get it.
Enter the house.
Everyone's in the living room.
It's as artistic as Frank is.
Skulls and paintings adorn the walls.

Biddy asks where the doggies are.
Repeatedly saying he wants to see them.
Where are the doggies?
Can I see the doggies?
The last time we visited they'd been put away.
The dogs aren't used to kids.
Frank's an 82-year-old bachelor.
He lives alone.

We look at Frank's art.
He is modest and humble.
We comment on a sweet portrait.
Nana blushes as Frank showers her talent with affection.
Everyone is happy.
Papa and Frank genuinely enjoy seeing one another again.
I take pictures documenting the occasion.
The energy is festive.

Biddy asks after the dogs again.
He wants to play with them.
Where are the doggies?
Can I see the doggies?
Frank wants to show us his studio.
We walk through the dining room to the kitchen and out the back door.
Along the way we pass B's cala lilly photograph.
It's hung with pride.

A Husky greets us as soon as we enter the backyard.
Biddy is delighted.
There's a doggie!
No one is paying much attention.
Everyone is looking at the railroad ties Papa laid years before.
They're still there.
The backyard is tiered and beautiful.
Papa's handiwork is still evident.

Biddy spots a ball.
He picks it up and throws it.
The dog has no interest in playing fetch.
Biddy fetches the ball himself.
He picks it up.
He throws it.
The dog again doesn't fetch.
Biddy begins to whine.

No one comments that one dog has been locked in the bedroom and the other one left out.
Instead, we walk through the backyard and into Frank's studio where he paints his fanciful masterpieces.
I stand back taking pictures of the group admiring Frank's newest creation.
I'm aware of Biddy but not focused on him.
B's looking straight at him.
Biddy tries to give the dog the ball.
The dog doesn't want it.
The dog reacts as dogs do telling Biddy to back off.

The sound is deafening.
I know what's happening without seeing.
I scream.
B screams.
Biddy screams the loudest.
The dog attacks.
He lunges at Biddy who falls to the floor.
He lunges again.

While Frank tries to pull the dog away, B is there in an instant sweeping Biddy into his arms.
B runs out the door yelling, "We have to go to the emergency room. We need to go to the emergency room now. Now. Now. Now. Emergency room now."
I'm right on his heel pleading to let me see, to let me assess the situation.
B tries his hardest not to show me, tries his hardest to protect me.
I get a paper towel from the kitchen, wet it, and come out to where B is standing cradling Biddy in his arms.
Biddy then turns to me with tears streaming down his face and blood running down his chin. Part of his upper lip is hanging down.
It's dark red and angry looking.

Apply pressure.
Stop the bleeding.
Run to the car.
B drives; Frank navigates.
I comfort.
Biddy asks over and over, "Why'd the doggie bite me? Why'd the doggie bite me?"
What do you say?
"I don't know baby. Be still. Mamma is here. It's okay."

B darts and weaves through traffic.
Papa and Nana follow closely behind.
We arrive at Boulder Community Hospital.
B drops us off at the door and goes to park.
I carry Biddy into Emergency.
We're both trembling.
I say something like, "My baby was bitten by a dog. Please fix him now."
We're admitted immediately.

We're asked to wait in the waiting room.
B and Biddy sit cuddled together about a foot-and-a-half away from the TV watching an animated penguin cartoon.
Papa and Nana try to console Frank.
I call my mom.
Reception is horrible but she gets the gist and says she'll come down immediately.
She arrives within fifteen minutes.
By the time Meema arrives we've been brought back to a large exam room with five beds in it.
We're the only people in there.

Biddy looks so small in the big hospital bed.
His lip continues to swell but thankfully the bleeding has stopped.
He keeps asking, "Why'd the doggie bite me? Why'd the doggie bite me?"
What do you say?
We tell him the doggie was cranky.
Sometimes doggies are cranky.
He thinks about it for a while taking our explanation in.
For the moment, it seems to suffice.

Katrina, a physician assistant, and a nice red-haired freckly nurse take care of Biddy.
He's so brave.
They examine his lip.
He has one puncture wound through the skin just above the corner of his left upper lip.
They suggest that because it's his face we have a plastic surgeon sew Biddy up.
Sounds good to us.
Dr. Swail is on call.
We know he's good (better than good) by the way Katrina and the nurse react to hearing his name.

Paging Dr. Swail.
We wait.
We're informed the good doctor is in surgery until 5 pm.
It's only about 12:30/1 pm.
We debate calling in another plastic surgeon who's immediately unavailable but free around 3:30 pm.
Katrina and the nurse are not nearly as enthused.
We are told that waiting for Swail will not affect the surgery, scar or healing time.
We decide to wait for Swail.

We're advised Biddy will need to lie perfectly still for the surgery.
Movement equals scarring.
He's two-and-three-quarters years old.
Can he remain completely still?
Some kids can; some kids can't.
B and I both agree Biddy can't.
We're advised about Ketamine.
We choose to sedate our baby boy.

After bandaging his wound they tell us to go home.
They don't typically let patients leave but we get special treatment because of Biddy's age.
They tell us to rest and not to eat or drink anything since Ketamine can induce vomiting.
We walk out with Biddy still wearing his hospital bracelet.
We tell them we'll be back around 4 pm in case Swail's schedule shifts and he's available earlier.
Nana and Frank give Biddy a sweet stuffed penguin.
He promptly names him Happy Feet.
Happy Feet doesn't leave Biddy's sight for the next several hours.

Driving home Biddy almost falls asleep.
We arrive and promptly take him up to bed.
Both B and I lie next to him.
Our eyes meet with sadness.
Our eyes meet Biddy's with strength.
Biddy falls deeply asleep with Lovey, Lovey Boo and Happy Feet nestled next to him.
I can't sleep and go downstairs.
B stays protectively cuddled.

I wake them at 3:45 pm.
Biddy freaks out.
He doesn't want to be touched.
He doesn't want to go back to the hospital.
He tries to hide from us.
He cries and screams.
Finally he calms down.
Hugging helps.

We arrive back at the hospital at 4:30 pm.
We look forward to Swail's imminent arrival.
Instead we wait for hours.
We read books.
We watch TV.
Papa and Nana console.
Frank and Meema console.
Daddy and Mommy console.

It's now 6:30 pm.
Biddy is getting impatient and parched.
He wants apple juice.
Instead we promise him ice cream.
After the doctor comes you can have ice cream.
He agrees.
He wants sorbet from Glacier.
After the doctor comes...

Biddy is hooked up to a machine that will monitor his vital signs in anticipation of Swail.
No one knows for sure when he'll arrive only that he will.
Three adhesive patches are attached to Biddy's chest to make sure the wires stay in place.
Another is wrapped around his finger with tape.
The tape doesn't stick very well and it keeps slipping off his finger.
When it slips, the monitor beeps.
Biddy finds the beeping very funny.
I put it on and it comes off and Biddy laughs.
We did this numerous times. Anything to pass the time.

Biddy exhibits the patience of Job.
I, on the other hand, am losing mine.
I stand by our door watching ER commotion waiting/willing Swail to show up.
I evaluate every man who enters the main doors down at the end of the corridor.
Could that be Swail? Nope.
Could that be Swail? Nope.
Finally at 7:30 pm a tall, lanky, distinguished man strolls in.
Could that be Swail? Yup. Hallelujah.

Swail gets immediately to work.
He is nice enough but all business.
His arrival creates a bit of a frenzy.
He quietly barks orders at the ER staff.
Everyone hops into action.
Swail orients himself with the room, the instruments, with Biddy.
He removes his bandage.
He evaluates his wound.

Nana, Papa, Frank and Meema are told to leave the room.
The bed is lowered so that Biddy is now lying flat.
B and I are told to try and keep him calm.
Two nurses with needles position themselves on either side of the bed.
On three, the Ketamine is injected into his left thigh muscle.
Biddy cries out.
Simultaneously another medication is injected into his right one.
This one is to help combat nausea upon waking.

Biddy settles quickly.
B holds his hand.
He tells him he loves him.
I hold his foot.
I tell him I love him.
Biddy falls asleep with his eyes open.
From where I sit, at the foot of the bed, I can see directly into his vacant eyes.
I stare into them the entire time.

Swail is competent and quick.
The operation takes no more than 20 minutes.
He numbs the area and cleans the wound.
He stitches seven stitches into Biddy.
He tells us to keep it clean, to keep bacitracin on it.
He tells us to make sure Biddy takes all his antibiotics.
He tells us he will take the sutures out on Tuesday.
He then says goodbye and is gone.

It's time to wake up.
We're here Biddy.
It's all over.
It takes over 35 minutes for Biddy to come to.
He is wobbly at first.
His words are unintelligible but we think the first thing he says is "ice cream."
He keeps trying to sit up saying, "I wanna get up now."
Finally he can sit on his own.

Biddy is discharged around 9:30 pm.
He keeps repeating "ice cream."
We all walk out to the parking lot.
Biddy wants to see Meema's dog Harley.
Meema lets Harley out of her car.
Biddy pets him.
I breathe a sign of relief.
He isn't completely afraid of dogs.

Papa, Nana, Biddy, B and I pile in.
Meema and Harley wave goodbye.
We head straight to Glacier Ice Cream in 28th.
I run in and order Biddy a small mango sorbet.
I spoon feed it to him in the car in the dark on the way home.
Be careful of the stitches.
Where did I put the napkins?
Keep it coming, our boy is hungry.

Home Sweet Home.
Biddy and I change into our pajamas.
We cuddle on the couch waiting for B to return with Biddy's antibiotics.
Antibiotics given and go down easily.
We tuck Biddy in.
He falls asleep quickly with Lovey, Lovey Boo and Happy Feet nestled next to him.
I didn't sleep well, neither did B.
Luckily Biddy sleeps like a baby.

Friday, May 8, 2009

I Left My Heart in San Francisco

I LEFT MY HEART IN SAN FRANCISCO (Tony Bennett)

The loveliness of Paris 
Seems somehow sadly gay 
The glory that was Rome 
Is of another day 
I've been terribly alone 
And forgotten in Manhattan 
I'm going home to my city by the bay.I left my heart in San Francisco 
High on a hill, it calls to me. To be where little cable cars 
Climb halfway to the stars! 
The morning fog may chill the air I don't care! 
My love waits there in San Francisco Above the blue and windy sea 
When I come home to you, San Francisco, Your golden sun will shine for me!


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Stow Lake

Biddy and I walked around Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park today. It's one of our most favorite walks, most favorite adventures, most favorite destinations in San Francisco.

We fed baby ducks and big ducks, baby geese and big geese.

We saw great blue heron, turtles sunning themselves on rocks, and seagulls. We jumped a waterfall, explored the Japanese Pavilion, dodged sprinklers, climbed wood-chip piles, chased pigeons and hugged trees.


We smelled magnificent flowers. San Francisco is blooming. It's vibrant. What a beautiful time of year. We're going to miss it.

Monday, April 27, 2009

So Long San Francisco, Hello Rocky Mountains

This post is excerpted from an email I wrote to our San Francisco community on April 23, 2009.

I don't really know how to say this so I'm going to come right out and say it. 

On May 19, B, Biddy and I are moving to Colorado. We are very excited about our new adventure. We will definitely be leaving a piece of our hearts here in San Francisco–a city we truly love. We met here, Biddy was born here, we have beautiful friends and family here, we grew and prospered here -- we have lived an amazing life here. 

We've been talking about making this move since I was pregnant, so we've definitely mulled this decision over. Since Biddy is now 2 1/2 and almost ready for preschool, we agree that now is the right time. We both want him to have a backyard and a street on which he can ride his bicycle, and right now we're unable to give him that here in San Francisco. 

We also have a ton of family in Colorado. My mom, my dad and stepmom, my two step brothers, a bunch of Brandon's uncles, cousins, and his Godfather. His mom is even moving back when she retires in two years (she grew up there) and his dad is only a short RV ride away. We want Biddy to grow up with his grandparents. He deserves that. They come to visit often but it isn't the same as being right down the road.

So we are moving. We gave notice on the apartment last Tuesday and B gave notice at work last Wednesday. We have less than one-month to pack up and say our goodbyes. Goodbyes that will be difficult. 

To all you Mamma Boo fans who check the blog regularly -- sorry for my hiatus last week. Details got the best of me but I'm now back on track for at least a sentence or two each day through the move. I'm sure you'll be gripped by the skinny of packing up five lives (don't forget the cats) and moving half-way across the country. Wish us luck!

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Gene Kelly Moment

"Mommy, go for a walk?"
"Yes Biddy, in a bit. It's a gorgeous day."
"Mommy, wear boots?"
"Biddy, I think you'll be hot and besides, they're difficult to run in. I don't want you to trip."
"Mommy, I want wear boots." he said emphatically holding his red, fire truck inspired rain boots.
"Are you sure?"
"Yes!"
"Why?"
"Puddles."

I laughed. This kid has such a good memory. Last week on an early morning walk after a big storm, we watched two kids jump with delight in each and every puddle they could find. He wanted so badly to do the same, but without his rain boots I nixed the idea saying we would go puddle jumping with boots soon. Although we've been on many walks since, neither of us have thought to don boots...until today.

"I'm not sure how many puddles we're going to find Biddy. It hasn't rained in a while."
"Let's go see."
"Okay, honey. We'll go on a puddle jumping adventure."
"Yes Mommy. Let's find puddles and jump."

An hour later, that's exactly what we did! (Sorry for my off-key singing mid-video. I got caught up in the Gene Kelly moment!)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Painting with Fingers, Painting with Toes

Biddy and I finger-painted the other day. 

In order to prepare, I took Biddy's pants and socks off, changing his diaper in the process (out of courtesy and habit), and put on an almost-too-small shirt we didn't mind getting messy. I also swept the kitchen floor to rid any fallen crumbs. We got out his paints. He has a set we've used before when making a Father's Day masterpiece but he wanted to use his new paints–the ones he'd been given for Christmas. We then got out the big roll of kraft paper.

I laid two pieces of paper on the linoleum. Biddy was giddy as I opened each tube, removing the foil seal, allowing the paint to flow freely. He began by squirting a big dollop of red and then gleefully smearing it. Blue was next–squirt then smear. Green–squirt, smear. Yellow–squirt, smear. And round-robin to red again. 

While Biddy was soaking his sheet of paper with color, I daintily tried to channel Monet and make a masterpiece of my own. I quickly abandoned being Monet's apprentice however, as I got so absorbed in Biddy's process. He was fascinating to watch. He would apply color and then thoughtfully consider where the next hue would go. Sometimes he used a broad stroke while other times a simple finger swirl would do.

  

At one point, we thought it would be fun to make footprints so Biddy stood up and stepped in the red. Squishy and cold between the toes. I wanted him to walk across the paper but instead, he decided to do a happy dance–half on the paper and half on the linoleum. Up until this point, both floor and Biddy were relatively paint-free but that didn't last long. As soon as his wet red foot hit the dry white floor, he slipped and slid and lost his footing. As he dropped to the ground, he began to giggle. I helped him up as he continued to giggle, and slip and slide, and fall down and giggle, and get up and giggle, and slip and slide and giggle some more. It was so funny I had to get it on video, this time with blue paint. We've watched it several times since and each time he sees himself, he giggles once more. Enjoy.


In all, Biddy made five beautiful paintings that day. Three have dried and are signed by the artist, while the fourth, his body art, washed away when he bathed, and the fifth, the kitchen floor, was mopped and scoured and is now shiny once again. 

I realized, as I carried Biddy dripping with paint directly to the bath from the kitchen and again as I spic-and-spanned the floor, why we don't do this activity all too often. While prep time is a piece of cake, clean up is excessive and makes mommy grumble.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Why Biddy?


Have you ever wondered how Biddy got the nickname Biddy? 

When he was itty bitty, B and I started calling him Bitty. Then one day, B called me from the office saying he wanted to officially change Bitty's nickname to Biddy. 

"Why?" I asked.

His answer?

"If Sean "Diddy" Combs can change his name eighteen times then so can our Biddy."

Biddy was born that day.

By the way, we aren't huge Diddy fans–we just admire his name changing hutzpa.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I Heart Adam Lambert

Adam makes me smile. He inspires me. My heart soared last night hearing him sing. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.


Monday, April 6, 2009

We Got Bonked!

"We got bonked?"
"Yes, Biddy. We had an accident." 
"Why?"  
"Well, another car hit us."  
"Why?"  
"The guy said his foot slipped off the brake pedal and hit the gas pedal."  
"Why?"  
"I don't know Biddy. He didn't mean to do it. It was an accident and accidents happen sometimes."  
"Why?"   
Silence.  
"We got bonked?"  
And the conversation began anew.
   
We got rear-ended on Friday coming back from music class. We were waiting our turn, to turn left when it happened. Oncoming traffic was heavy. Biddy and I were looking forward to lunch and a nap, and were only about four blocks from the house, when BOOM–we were hit.
    
My initial reaction was to provide commentary exclaiming, "We were just rear-ended!" I then turned to Biddy asking, "Are you alright? Are you okay?" This is when he began to cry. He calmed down quickly, and was physically fine, but the loud BOOM of being hit and mommy's scared reaction was scary and overwhelming.    

The guy who hit us motioned to make the left before pulling over to exchange information. In shock but still with wits, I realized this was a safer option than jumping out and inspecting the car on a major thoroughfare. I nodded agreement, soothed Biddy, made the left, pulled over, got out shaking, and met the guy that hit us. I think we even shook hands (his prompting, not mine) and then surveyed the damage. Our bumper looked torn up, cut and scarred. His bumper and his hood looked both wrinkled and crushed. Apparently his Civic is lower to the ground than our Passat.   

He greeted me with paperwork in hand. I hadn’t yet thought to retrieve mine. I couldn't think of much else except Biddy, opening the rear door to again make sure he was okay, telling the guy I needed to check on my boy. "I okay, Mommy. I okay." The guy was very nice asking if I needed paper. I said I did. I got my information and gave it to him. Both of us bent over the trunk copying essentials. He took full responsibility saying he would call Geiko at 1:30 pm when he returned home and tell them it was his fault. He said he was sorry about ten times; he asked after Biddy about eleven times.    

Information exchanged, we got back in our cars and drove away. Still shaking, I called B saying, “Looks like a new bumper is in our future!” Admittedly, this was a bit crass but I was venting. When we got home, Biddy and I played for a while and talked. I wanted to observe him, making sure he was fine, and he wanted to talk about what happened over and over.    

"We got bonked?"  
"Yes, Biddy. We got into an accident."  
"Why?"  
"Another car ran into us."  
"Why?"  
"The guy's foot slipped off the brake pedal and hit the gas pedal."  
"Why?"  
"I’m not sure honey. He didn't mean to do it. It was an accident and accidents happen sometimes."  
"Why?"   
Silence.  
"We got bonked?"  
And the conversation began anew.   

We must have had this same conversation at least thirty times throughout the day until Biddy felt satisfied in understanding.   

The accident freaked B out too, so he came home early from work to make sure we were both alright. I made grilled cheese sandwiches for the three of us and then put Biddy down for a nap. He slept for three-hours! Poor guy, he was completely tuckered out. 
  
I called our insurance company and filed a claim. True to his word, the guy called me around 1:40 pm to apologize again and give me the claim number he had just filed. Geiko called immediately afterwards. I spent about fifteen minutes on the phone with them. They're going to fix it, give us a rental car for the time it's in the shop, and they're going to reimburse us for a new car seat. According to California law, if your child is sitting in his car seat during an accident, the car seat must be inspected and replaced. Who knew?

I was out of it after talking to both insurance companies. Instead of doing anything productive, I spent an hour or so reading US magazine in the sun with a heating pad on my back. It was bothering me–not sure if it was from the jolt or just because my back is a bother but it is fine today. After Biddy woke, the three of us headed to Babies R’ Us to buy another car seat as we need to have it on-hand when we arrive at the repair shop next week. 
    
My hands stopped shaking after about an hour but my heart felt shaky until finally falling asleep. It's one thing to get into an accident by yourself but having your baby, (your flesh and blood, your be-all-and-end-all in the car with you) bumps the significance factor up to a whole new stratosphere.   

What if he was hurt? Thank goodness he wasn't. What if it was worse? Thank goodness it wasn't. What if? What if? What if? Thank goodness "What if?" didn’t happen. Thank goodness we only got bonked!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Exhaustion

I'm exhausted. Completely worn out. 

By Thursday–Thursday night to be exact, I'm done. Stick a fork in me, I'm well done. Beached potato on an ocean-colored-couch done. Did I mention that I'm a medium rare girl? Did I mention well done grosses me out? It makes me think grey, bland and void of nutrients. 

By Thursday, the weight of being a stay-at-home mom is heavy. Being a stay-at-home mom is a really hard job!

By Thursday night, all I want is to watch Survivor and not speak to anyone about anything significant. I don't want to talk on the phone. I don't want to read, write, or play on the computer. I don't want to teach, explain, count, sing or answer the question "why?". I don't want to do anything. I'm a zombie. I'm blank. I've given all I can give. 

I don't remember being like this when I was commuting every day.

I honestly think working in an office is easier. When I was employed, I could, at least, carve out a few minutes of "ME time" each day. I could go off at lunch, and veg out in the sun listening to music, or shop at the mall, or sit at my desk and surf the Internet. 

Tonight I'm going to indulge my inner reality-watching, couch-lying, eyes-crossing, mind-blanking self and hang with my SELF and Gracie who is loving the attention and lying in my lap. Meow.

Tomorrow, I'm going to again do what I do best–be a mom, and I'm going to love doing it, every single second of the day.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Hair Magic

B used to color his hair. He was black and beautiful when we first met.

Since moving in, and my telling him I thought his salt and pepper was sexy, he has stopped seeing a colorist. 

Two months ago he was looking a bit pale and in need of some oomph, so I suggested a bit of color might do him good. He was completely game. 

Instead of black we bought dark-brown-in-a-box (more in line with his natural color). Clairol for men, who knew? I've never colored my hair from a box so it was all new to me. It was messy but easy and he looked gorgeous after a rinse and style. 

So last Saturday, B had his hair cut and when he came home, was ready for a color touch-up. I told Biddy I was going to color daddy's hair and asked if he wanted to help.

He excitedly exclaimed, "Yes!"

Biddy then ran to his desk where his art supplies are stored and got his yellow magic marker and ran back to B. Pulling his pant leg indicating he wanted B to bend, he said, "Daddy, I color your hair. I color your hair." He had already pulled off the cap and was ready to paint.

B obligingly bent down allowing Biddy to color. A sweet moment that took some effort to erase from B's scalp and forehead.

Monday, March 30, 2009

B's Birthday

Today is B's birthday. He's 37-years-old. 

Biddy and I have had so much fun getting ready for his party this evening. It's a party for three–our family. Perfect.

We went food shopping this morning and got all of B's favorites. A filet mignon roast, Bernaise sauce, baked potatoes with sour cream, and romaine lettuce, croutons and grated parmesan cheese for a scrumptious Caesar salad made with my own homemade dressing. We also bought Duncan Hines moist dark-chocolate cake-makings and sour cream frosting. I know cake-in-a-box isn't very Betty Crocker of me. I know I could have and probably should have made him something decedent from scratch, but hey–I'm only human and I have a two-year-old. There's only so much one can take on and still achieve grace and style. 

When we got home, we promptly began making the cake. Biddy wanted to make cupcakes so we got out the cupcake pan and spooned in the yummy gooey chocolaty batter. We preheated the oven to 350 and as I bent down to place the tray on the middle rack, I remembered that we had forgotten a key ingredient. Oil. The recipe also called for oil. Crap! Out came the tray, yummy gooey chocolaty batter scooped back into the mixing bowl, oil poured in, mix well and again placed on the middle rack. All steps repeated with love.

While the cupcakes cooked, Biddy and I wrapped gifts. We used Cars decorated wrapping paper we also bought at the store, and lots and lots of tape. Two-year-olds don't get the concept of "a small piece" nor do they understand that if you roll tape between your finger tips, it will get stuck on itself very, very quickly. That said, our presents are wrapped, not with neatness but with lots and lots of love.

In 21 minutes the cupcakes were done. I wish I'd remembered not to fill them almost all-the-way to the top. I wish I'd remembered that cake rises. Needless to say, much of the cake wasn't in the cups any longer, much of the cake had overflowed onto the baking sheet. 

I cleaned the cupcakes up of excess runoff, set them on a drying rack to cool and put Biddy down for a nap. This afternoon after he wakes, we will frost and decorate them with multi-colored sprinkles. 



So, Biddy woke up and we decorated the cupcakes with Daddy's help. He was home and I couldn't keep him away from the fun. We then opened presents. A bunch of books, candles and cards. A nice haul, if I do say so myself.

After we cleaned up, it was just after 4pm. B sheepishly announced he had a brilliant idea. Let me set the stage–he's been wanting crab/lobster for over a month now and although we had sushi the other night with friends, raw fish didn't curb the craving. That said, he sheepishly announced that perhaps we should go get dungeness crab for dinner at the Woodhouse Fish Company, a reasonably priced, New England inspired, seafood restaurant highly recommended by a co-worker. Why haven't I heard about this place in the almost nine-years I have lived in San Francisco? More importantly though...You want to forego the fabulous dinner we bought for you? "Yes," he said, "but only temporarily. We can have it tomorrow night. We could spread my birthday out, right?" OMG. "Right!" I said, "It's your birthday."

We had the most scrumptious dinner. We had a ball sitting in a 50's inspired red vinyl booth. The place was terrific. The food was more than terrific. Go, going, gone. We highly recommend.

  

When we came home we sang B Happy Birthday, blew out candles and ate cupcakes. Biddy ran wild for about an hour afterwards until his sugar high ran out. He then passed out. We let the crab settle and then followed suit.

We love you B.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Pickle Fit

Today started as most mornings do with Biddy waking up around 6am. I went in and got him along with his paz, lovey, and loveyboo, (quite a feat in the dark, I'll tell you) and carried him and his crew back into bed with us. This tradition began when Biddy was six-months-old and graduated from co-sleeper to crib kid. 

He has his own tiny pillow, positioned smack dab in the middle of our massive King-size pillows, so he has a special place to rest his head each morning. He either snuggles up to one of us and falls back asleep (the optimal outcome) or lies quietly, fingering lovey and sucking his paz for 40-50 minutes. When he starts getting restless, is when you know you're in trouble. When he begins tossing and turning, I know I have only a matter of warm, sleepy seconds before Biddy leans over, nose to nose, and asks in his best morning kid-whisper, "Mommy, want to get UP?" Some days I don't, (okay–most days I don't) and either ask for one more snuggle which is accomplished by Biddy shimmying over and sharing my pillow, or just straight up saying I need five more minutes of curled up bliss. This is when I role over, tuck into a fetal position and hope five minutes actually means a full five minutes this time. 

So after "five" more minutes, Biddy gets down and retrieves my comfy pants and sweatshirt from the chest next to our bed. I trained him so well! It's nice not to have to get up out of my toasty bed AND be cold! One assault on the system is enough. He then makes a beeline to the living room to scour for cat throw-up (he's perfected the art of discovery) and reacquaint himself with his toys, while I make a beeline for the bathroom. 

Next stop: the kitchen. The tea kettle is started, the cats are given cookie treats and before Gracie, the queen of shrill, begins to cry incessantly, their water and food bowls are refilled. Speaking of shrill, within about five minutes of being vertical, Biddy wails, "Mommy, I hungry!" When he howls it, I have to act fast with Superwoman speed. Food MUST be produced and inserted in his mouth before his stomach growls too loudly because if I'm too slow or distracted, Biddy throws a Sarah Bernhardt inspired, fling himself onto floor, fists and feet flailing, tear shedding tantrum that can rival the best toddlers in the world. This is something I try to avoid at just past 7am.

Unfortunately, this morning Biddy wanted a pickle for breakfast and I said no. I offered cereal, oatmeal, a breakfast bar, applesauce, apple slices, yogurt and waffles but none of the above were the pickle he wanted and "no" was not the answer he was looking for. His tantrum went from Mach 1 to Mach 5 in an instant and the day was off to a banner beginning. Biddy then, in his anger, hit me. I gave him a stern warning saying if he did it again he was going into time-out, and of course he did it again almost instantly. Argh.


So–Biddy went into time-out, a minute passed, we had a recap convo, he said he was sorry, we kissed and hugged and went on with our day. The next time-out was about seven minutes later for pulling Tigger's tail, and the next about eleven minutes after that for hitting me again, and then another, and another, and yet another. 

I almost cancelled our play date because of the discord, but I really needed a break and an adult to commiserate with. Biddy was a gem–nothing like the snarl-toothed toddler he was before we left the house. I complained ad nauseam to Jennifer and then he proved me wrong. Huh? He was the poster boy for good behavior. Where was the crazy kid who terrorized me this morning?

Of course as soon as we got home, the crazy kid was back. I couldn't wait to put him down for a nap. I counted the seconds. He's now asleep and I'm deep breathing, trying to calm down and ready myself for the afternoon. I'm also thinking about my hair. I know that sounds weird, but it's a wonder I still have it. I seriously contemplate pulling it out on days like today–days when our sweet angelic Biddy has a pickle fit and turns into sour Darth Vader!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Thumbkin

Where is Thumbkin? Where is Thumbkin? 
Here I am. Here I am.  
How are you today, sir?  
Very well, I thank you.  
Run away. Run away.

This is the first verse of a popular children's song. Biddy loves it. It's catchy, and fun, and when coupled with hand gestures makes for an animated good time.  

When you begin, your left thumb extends straight up, while your other fingers close into your palm. You then belt out (hopefully in tune) the question, "Where is Thumbkin? Where is Thumbkin?" and the right thumb rises to answer, "Here I am. Here I am." FYI–If your thumbs have rhythm, they can bob up and down to the lyrics, bending at the knuckle. The left then asks, "How are you today, sir?" and the right primly answers, "Very well, I thank you!” and then the left abruptly runs behind your back and the right follows suit. 

You then repeat the verse giving Pointer, Tall Man, Ring Man and Baby their due substituting each finger's name when their turn is up. 

This song is supposed to be sung with finger puppets so that when your Thumbkins stands up or your Pointers stretch to their full height, your child sees singing puppet heads not naked fingers. 

My question is, what are you supposed to do if you don't have puppet heads? What are you supposed to do if you're puppet-challenged and all you have are naked fingers? I grant you this isn't a big deal for Thumbkin or Pointer or even Ring Man and Baby but it is a big deal, a very big deal, for Tall Man. 

Why?  

While Thumbkin gives off a "groovy, a-okay, it's all good" vibe; Pointer points to an "I've got a thing or two to tell you!" authority. While Ring Man mimics Beyonce's cry to "put a ring on it," Baby deserves a pat on the pinky for signing the I and J in American Sign Language. What's Tall Man got? Infamy! Tall Man is the obscene hand gesture. Tall Man is "The Finger" which sounds more like a mob moniker than a designation. 

So here’s my dilemma. 

How do I teach Biddy Thumpkin without teaching him to unwittingly flip someone the bird? 

Am I over-thinking this? Perhaps so… 

Monday, March 23, 2009

Video Tongue Wars

Biddy's grandparents live far away–both my mom and dad live in Colorado, B's mom is in Texas and B's dad is in Oklahoma. We miss them. Biddy misses them.

To keep them close, we show him pictures and they talk on the phone. The grandparents also make an effort to visit–they need their Biddy time just as much as he needs theirs. Our door has been revolving since Biddy's birth, with our spare bed in use just about every three months. They come like clockwork, welcomed with wide-open arms. 

We also bought a camera for our computer and do video conferencing every so often. 

Yesterday, we conferenced with Biddy's Meema (my mom). They had such fun. She showed him her dog Harley, and he showed her his motorcycles. He showed her his artwork and she asked if he could send one for her fridge. Biddy sang her Happy Birthday and we counted to ten. He proudly showed her his big boy underpants and his digger emblazoned t'shirt. They even got into a "stick your tongue out as fast as you can" contest. Biddy won but mom put on a good show. 


When we said goodbye, I could tell mom was sad. I could see her eyes begin to glisten as we logged off. I called her back a few minutes later to tell her it was wonderful to see her. She told me we had made her weekend. She also shared seeing us was terrific, but difficult. It made her miss us even more, made her wish even more we were already living in Colorado. 

Until then, ain't technology grand? Until then–same Biddy time, same Biddy station. 

Friday, March 20, 2009

How Many Boys Does It Take to Rescue a Race Car?

Biddy and B have taken to racing cars when B gets home from work. When B walks in the door, Biddy is ready, cars-in-hand waiting for him. Barely letting B change his clothes, they sit down on the floor to race. 

Typically they choose to do this in the kitchen as I'm cooking dinner. I've asked B to take the game into the hallway so they and their cars won't get trampled but he says no-can-do. "Why?" I ask as a green racer whizzes underfoot. "Because I just got home and I want to be near you," is his response. Awwww. Secretly, I think the real reason is, B likes seeing me dodge Matchbox hotrods. I have to say, I've gotten pretty good at it.

So they sit on the kitchen floor, revving their engines. On your mark, get set, go and off they zoom. 

The other night, an unfortunate spin out occurred–an out of control, rapid, twist and turn into the wall and under the stove. 

How many boys do you think it takes to rescue one very important race car?

Biddy, B and Tigger. My boys.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Big Boy Underpants

Biddy and I bought big boy underpants yesterday. The underpants have Lighting McQueen and Mater from the movie Cars on them, which is exactly what Biddy wanted. You gotta love movie merchandising!

Potty training hasn't been going very well. Biddy is somewhat interested but me, not so much. The idea of Biddy being potty-trained makes me somewhat sad. He'll be a real kid when he's out of diapers; he won't be a baby any longer. Also, the idea of Biddy being potty-trained makes me sort of anxious. A potty-trained kid adds a whole new level of parental responsibility. You can't just "let it ride" any longer, meaning, you can't eek out one final, final errand before returning home to change his soggy diaper. You can't push it. If your potty-trained kid says he has to poop–you have to stop. You have to locate a bathroom, hope to God it has those paper seat covers and sit there while he does his business which can take longer than you ever thought possible.  

I remember when Biddy was maybe six-months-old, we met my cousin and her kids for tea and music class. Theo, who was still potty training at the time, told his auntie he had to poop. Well, there was only one restroom in this tiny coffee shop and there were a ton of kids and parents crossing their legs waiting for him to finish. I learned that day that sometimes you just can't rush poop. So, I haven't been in a rush to really take on pooping in the potty until now.  

The other morning, during a play date at a friends house, Biddy wanted to pee in the plastic potty set up in the living room. They leave it in plain site so their son will hopefully take the hint and go. Nothing like the power of suggestion! When we walked in, Biddy didn't pay it any mind but after a while it intrigued him, especially after we told him he could flush his pee down the toilet upon successful attempt. That got him. Off came his pants, off came his diaper, he sat right down, and peed. Standing right up, he surveyed results, he grinned big, picked up the plastic potty and proudly beelined it to the bathroom to dump the contents, and flush. Flushing is fantastic to a two-year-old. In the end, he peed three times total and was so proud of himself, he beamed. 

So...that got me thinking that if Biddy is ready, I have to be ready too whether I like it or not.

When we came home that day, I pulled out Biddy's plastic potty and placed it in the living room. I also made a note to go buy big boy underpants figuring he could wear them around the house.     


This is where our shopping excursion came in. 

I washed the underpants (a Cars three-pack) last night and this afternoon Biddy wore them sans diaper, sans overalls.   

Within an hour, we were already on the third and final pair.   
“When you wear big boy underpants you need to tell me when you have to use the potty, okay?” 
“Yes Mommy. Okay.”   

In theory, he should've told me and peed in his potty. In real life, I mopped up the floor.

Thank goodness there’s always tomorrow. Unfortunately, I have to do another load of wash because, silly mommy only bought one three-pack. What was I thinking? 

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

BiddyTube

Biddy likes looking at pictures of himself. 

If I take a picture or two with my iPhone, he immediately wants to see them. Same thing happens if B is shooting with his Nikon. When I download images from the camera onto my laptop, Biddy saddles right up besides me for a slide show. 


Biddy's into mirrors. 

We have a long mirror in the hallway right next to the front door, just above the shoe pile (we have a no shoe policy in the house.) It's the perfect height for our wee one. If we're going out, Biddy checks himself once he's donned his coat and Crocs. We also find him there in his pajamas, standing in the middle of shoes, an inch or two away from his reflection, really close up and personal, in order to inspect. He makes funny faces and weird ones, checks out his hair or his helmet, giggles uncontrollably, dances, sings Thumpkin and Happy Birthday, or looks deeply into his eyes. He's getting to know himself–he's a kid, an adventurer, a clown, a metro-sexual in the making, a future motorcycle rider and lover of head gear. He's got a sense of humor, rhythm, and a voice he isn't afraid to use. He's deep and thoughtful.  He's also possibly a bit vain but if you're cute and you know it, clap your hands!


Biddy's also a YouTube junkie.

B has uploaded a bunch of Biddy videos to YouTube over the last two years. Just a few weeks ago, we showed Biddy his movies. In a matter of an instant, he was entranced wanting, "mo, mo, mo." "Mo" or ten "more" later, he still wanted to see himself. B asked if, instead, he wanted to see motorcycles? Well, that was it. Not only does he love seeing various videos of his own antics but he now can't get enough of motorcycles racing, fire trucks speeding, ambulances accelerating, and dirt bikes leaping. He wakes up in the morning asking me to turn on my "puter." He's in love with the daredevils and heroes


Biddy's our sweet daredevil and tiny hero. We love seeing pictures and videos of him as much, if not more, than he does.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Needing Yoga

Outside of one prenatal class and one postnatal (with Biddy in tow), I haven’t practiced yoga since learning I was pregnant. 

In fact, about a week after discovering Biddy was on his way, my best friend Sho and I participated in a three-day Anusara yoga retreat. We had signed up several months beforehand and even though I was wary of morning sickness, I thought it would be a good way to care for myself, to set the stage for centeredness throughout my pregnancy. Little did I know, I wouldn’t do another downward facing dog for almost three-years. 

Last Tuesday, on Facebook, I stated I was “needing yoga.” My body, mind, and spirit were craving it. I'd been daydreaming about doing warrior pose and child's pose for weeks. About five minutes later, Erin, my other best friend, texted me saying she was going to class that evening. Ask and you shall receive, right? Wrong! I was in a comfy pants, sit on the couch, watch American Idol kinda mood so I begged off saying I couldn’t go.

When I woke the next morning, I almost kicked myself. What a couch potato! After participating in a solitary pity party for several hours, I called Erin and committed to going on Thursday. Thursday came, and yoga went, and I? I participated in my second pity party of the week. Argh!

So, I decided then and there not to change my Facebook status of “needing yoga” until I got my butt in gear and went to class.

Tonight, I kept my promise to myself (and to Erin). Tonight, I breathed, stretched, centered, straightened, and aligned with my Self. I felt strong and free in my poses except when I wobbled off-balance. When I wobbled, I giggled–happy to practice, happy to try twisting into a pretzel, just plain happy.

I was still happy when I got home, where I finally changed my Facebook status. 

Monday, March 16, 2009

Lint Fetish

Biddy has a lint fetish.

Yes, lint–the white, black, red, or whatever color fluff and junk that accumulates between one's toes due to sock residue. Biddy finds it equally fascinating and icky and is simultaneously thrilled yet disgusted when finding a clump. Lint is Biddy's quest, his holy grail. 

There's no rhyme or reason as to when he must stop and check for lint but when the mood strikes, he must indeed immediately stop whatever he's doing and check. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. He could be taking a bath (hard to find lint between wet toes but he gives it a good ol' go), reading books, eating, playing legos or as it happened this morning, riding his motorcycle from one end of the house to the other. 


It's like he's a lint whisperer or perhaps it's the other way around. Perhaps the lint whispers, "Come find me. Please come find me NOW." and all of a sudden he must stop, sit down, pull off both socks and check between his toes. He stretches each apart studying studiously for fibers. As he goes, he mutters "Nope," as he finds nothing, "Nope," as he finds nothing more, and "Nope," as he finds yet one more clear corridor. If and when he does find lint, he picks at it like a teenager might pick at a pimple. And when he finally grabs hold? He holds it up for inspection and then summarily flicks it away. 

It isn't just his lint he's obsessed with either. It's B's and my lint too. B eggs him on, asking Biddy if he wants to check for his lint as soon as he walks in the door from work. Yuck! I wouldn't go near B's toes with a ten-foot pool, after they've been cooped up in shoes for eight hours, but Biddy just dives right in. 

Nope. Nope. Nope. Ahhhh–Jackpot. 

Thursday, March 12, 2009

MLK Jr.

Biddy and I took the train downtown today to meet daddy for lunch. 

On the way to B's office, we practiced shaking hands and saying, "Hi. Nice to meet you." Biddy was primed to greet B's coworkers. He was ready until he walked in and confronted six or so people, all excited to see him. Overwhelm took over and shyness ruled for about five minutes until the initial shock wore off. He never did shake hands with any of them but finally found his voice and jabbered up a storm. 

After about 20 minutes of Biddy cuteness and charm, the three of us left to enjoy the sunshine. Everyone in the office waved goodbye. One girl even told B, when he returned to the office, that Biddy had made her day. We got sandwiches and went to Yerba Buena park. A lovely spot with trees, flowers, a meadow perfect for a picnic, rocks to climb, and a beautiful waterfall. 

While eating, I asked B if he knew where the Martin Luther King Jr. exhibit was mounted. He didn't. After 9 years of living in San Francisco, I had only heard about it while watching the news the night before Obama's inauguration. San Francisco put on two very big, very public, viewing parties–one at the Civic Center (which is where we went) and the other at Yerba Buena near the MLK installation. 


After lunch, B and Biddy did some exploring while I closed my eyes and soaked up some sun. When they came back, B said they had seen a MLK quote etched into a wall near the waterfall. Turns out there is more than just one quote, there are at least ten. The waterfall itself is a monument to MLK–a testament to his vision, his movement, his strength and conviction.

We walked the path, through the falls and behind them, where MLK's most famous quotes lined the walls. The sound of the water was thunderous, evoking a feeling of what it might have been like to witness his "I Have A Dream" speech live. The energy authoritative yet uplifting.


I was swept away by the power of his words, the beauty of his message. Reading his quotes made me aspire to be bigger, better, bolder. MLK Jr. died just 2 1/2 months before I was born. I've grown up with him–this iconic larger-than-life figure but until today, haven't truly understood his power, his gift. The gift of connection, the gift of using ones voice to help, heal, ignite and unite in freedom. 

Biddy, B and I made wishes on pennies (and some dimes) and threw them in the water. Biddy's wish was, "for the people". His words, not mine. I thought them rather appropriate. 


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Word or Two About the Playground

Biddy and I went to the playground this morning. As we parked the stroller, I surveyed the scene and the routine. Both are familiar. 

It wasn't crowded and it won't be until around 3pm when school lets out. There are bunches of mommies, nannies and kids but not many daddies. It's a different, chaotic story on the weekend but today is Tuesday. 

As I looked around, I thought, not for the first time, there have to be a bunch of cool moms here. Cool moms I don't know and probably won't know. Making friends with other moms at the playground is harder than one might think. 

Mommies with younger babies tend to congregate in the sandbox chitchatting while their children happily toss sand at each other, in the air and on themselves. Their kids either can't crawl or can't crawl fast so it makes mommy time possible and productive. Most of these mommies already know one another and have made a prearranged date to meet. They tend to keep to themselves even when Biddy moseys through scouting for toys. I understand. I remember this stage–the in-depth conversations about breast feeding, poop, sleep issues, and introducing solid food. I remember the bonding. It was all newborn all the time and we were in the same unchartered boat.

For the newly walking, it's a whole different game. Their moms never sit down. There goes one mom, and another, and then another following their babes as he or she teeters and twitters and wobbles and bobbles from one end of the playground to the other and back again. It doesn't make sense to try and have a play date with another mommy because with your child's legs in constant motion, idle conversation is less than ideal. More often than not, I see these solo mommies gulping air, with no time for words, as they play chase. When we got to this stage, my old sandbox friends were also busy running after their kids, so we would literally have to talk via cell phone (talk about wasted minutes!) from swing set, to jungle gym, to slide and wave as we zigzagged past one another. If I planned a play date, I would invite a friend who didn't yet have children or one who still carried her baby in a sling or Baby Bjorn. This way she was free to move with me and my Biddy walker. 

In the toddler set (my current set), mommies can sometimes mingle but not for long as we still play a fair amount of chase. Thankfully, a two-year-olds attention span is a smidgen longer than it was last month, so I'm able to get into a quick conversation with another mommy or nanny when Biddy stops, sparked curiously by their child. Unfortunately, this conversation is fleeting because in about five minutes flat, he's up and running, onto the next adventure. I might be able to get a word in edgewise with another parent whose toddler is also hightailing it up a ladder, climbing wall or rope bridge but my number one job isn't socializing at this point; it's performing spotter duties during these gravity-defying feats. Luckily, at this age, Biddy is also starting to play with other kids instead of just staring at them. As long as he has a car in hand, he loves running around with other boys who also clutch cars. This makes meeting new moms easier and pretty straightforward. "How old is your son? Do you come here often? When did his obsession with "all things that zoom" begin?" 

I might not get complete answers before Biddy is up and skipping in the opposite direction, but at least it's a foundation for the next time I circle the playground saying, "Hello again. Nice to see you. Wanna be playground friends? Oh, wait, ummm, I'll be back."
"Hey Biddy, wait up!"

Monday, March 9, 2009

Auspicious Events

On Friday, two very auspicious events occurred. 

First, B found a job listing perfectly suited to my skill set. When I read it, I got so excited. It's like it was written just for me. I applied then and there. On Saturday, I thoroughly researched the company and got even more enthusiastic. And then last night, I had a very vivid, very detailed dream about working hand-in-hand with the Director of Marketing where we made a terrific team. Today, when I woke, I received an email saying they'd received my resume and would contact me if my resume fit the bill. A auto email but an email nonetheless. They also attached an Affirmative Action data sheet to fill out if, and only if, I felt so inclined. I felt inclined and have already faxed it back. I really want this job and as I filled out the fax cover sheet, I prayed that sending it back swiftly would somehow set me apart from the throng of applicants. My hope is that once submitted, they would pull my resume from the stacks of resumes received taking notice of my experience, skills and overall capability. I want them to see me, the real me, through the words of my resume and then have an AHA experience exclaiming, "this is our girl!"

Second, my mom called saying she had just seen a for-rent sign on a sweet house in her neighborhood. Intrigued, I asked her to look into it further, which she did. It has three bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, garage, deck, backyard, and pets are welcome with an additional pet deposit. Sounds perfect! It sits right next to a walking path leading to a lake where owls, herons and eagles are regularly seen. Sounds even more perfect. The perks also include access to a pool, hot tub and workout facility. Sounds perfectly perfect. 

Sticking points? The move in date and the rent. 

Desired occupancy is April 1 with a one-year lease. This is a tad bit sooner than we can manage considering we are still in San Francisco and haven't yet given our landlord 30-days notice. The monthly rent is $1750. It's less than we pay now and completely doable, but only once one of us is gainfully employed. If we already had jobs–no problem, it wouldn't even be an issue but without at least one secure income, the rent is a huge hurdle. 

Sticking points aside, I think it quite thrilling that both things came to our attention within hours of each other. Could it be kismet? Fate? Could the angels be saying we are on the right track, telling us to head East stopping just past the Flatirons? I think so. I pray so.

Keep your fingers crossed that the first comes through so that the second can too.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Birthday Cake

Today's not my birthday but Biddy made me a birthday cake anyway. He even decorated it with candles. Instead of flour and eggs, he used tiny board books. Instead of wax and wick, he used colored markers.


I was playing on my iPhone when he began baking and therefore wasn't paying much attention. When I looked up and saw he had a marker in his hand, I immediately questioned his intentions, somewhat alarmed as he was nowhere near his coloring desk AND the markers are permanent! 


He smiled sheepishly as if he was caught red-handed with his hand in the cookie jar. As his awkward smile turned into a big, wide grin, he gestured towards the coffee table and said excitedly, "I make you a birthday cake mommy." He then yelled, "Surprise!" and began singing me Happy Birthday.

He loves singing Happy Birthday. It's one of his favorite tunes.

"Happy Birthday to mommy."
"Happy Birthday to mommy."
"Happy Birthday to mommy, and daddy, and Tigger, and Gracie, and me too."
"Happy Birthday to you."

Yay! Lots of claps and kisses.

With that, we gathered up Tigger and Gracie, who were lying quite contented in the sun, and blew out the candles. They were a bit nonplussed but since it's apparently their birthday too, Biddy said they had to participate. Leaving one special piece for daddy, Gracie, Tigger, Biddy and I dug into the delicious cardboard cake not stopping until our tummies were full. 

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Ode to The Beanery

I woke in the middle of the night feeling how a turncoat might feel. At 3 am, I was kicking myself for settling down at Java Beach yesterday afternoon. How dare I try someplace new? How dare I branch out and sample another coffee shop's atmosphere? What about The Beanery? Where's the allegiance? How rude!

Yikes! I figured I better make it right today and write about Biddy's and my most favorite coffee shop in San Francisco–The Beanery on Irving (at 7th Avenue). 

Why is it our favorite? 

1. I started going there when I was pregnant for large, soy, chai lattes dubbed "choys" by the baristas. I never liked chai before The Beanery. They use an Oregon Chai and Very Vanilla Soy mixture that is absolutely delectable. I'm addicted and I'm okay with it. When Biddy was born and just home from the hospital, it was the first outing we took together. My mom, me and Biddy, wrapped up warm and safe in his sling, walked the three blocks together. He and I have ventured there almost everyday since.

2. Biddy always brings a car or two from his collection to share with Joey (his favorite guy behind the counter) and Matt (his favorite guy making the drinks). He likes to show them to Rachel too but nothing beats the boys. They shower him with attention and he loves it. When we aren't there, he asks about them wondering what they're doing and where they are. 

3. Since losing my job, it's become our morning destination. We walk down gingerly, stopping to pick up leaves and rocks along the way. When we get there, we sit down at one of the four tiny indoor tables. The Beanery is small and intimate (another reason I like it so much). Biddy orders a cinnamon raisin or sesame bagel with cream cheese or a Madeline cookie. I order my beloved choy. We sit, we eat, we talk and laugh, we people watch and watch the traffic, and I read the newspaper. 

Biddy's belly is full of bagel. Mine is warm with choy. Only the messy table remains.

4. It feels like family. We see most of the same people day in and day out. That might be because everyone is unemployed and in need of a coffee fix but I think it's the vibe. The cozy feel, the warm wooden decor, the tiny tables both inside and out, the yummy beverage concoctions, the tasty treats, the friendly and sweet staff–this is why we come. I think this is why everyone comes. 

Biddy watching for ambulances proudly wearing a Beanery sticker. 

Long live The Beanery!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Day of Care

I dropped Biddy at daycare this morning. A rare occurrence these days indeed. When I lost my job, daycare became one of the first things to go, one of the first casualties in my unemployment war. I miss daycare. 

Don't get me wrong, I love being a stay-at-home mom, I love nurturing Biddy and caring for him 110% every second of the day, but it's extremely exhausting. At the end of the day, when B walks in the door–I'm done, kaput, a wet noodle, emotionally drained and creatively tapped. I'm ready for a massage, a margarita and a minute or two or twenty of complete silence and solitude. Ahhhh...bliss.

I had a dentist appointment today and therefore needed child care. "Hello, Meadow Daycare? Please take my pride and joy for 8 hours. Thank you!"

So far my day has been lovely. I dropped Biddy off at 9 am. and drove to my favorite coffee shop, ordered myself a chai, parked my butt at a table and read for an uninterrupted hour. I'm really digging Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert–getting a lot out of it and highly recommend. I then drove over to the dentist enduring an exam. Teeth cleaned, I made my way to Java Beach (take the N Judah west, all the way to the beach, and get off). 


Here I sit happy, quiet, still and loving life amid the hustle and bustle of this high-traffic coffee joint. Every cell in my body needed a day to myself. 

I've been thinking a lot about work. I miss it. I miss having a job and commuting and going to the office and the camaraderie of co-workers. When I went back to work after 11 months of maternity leave (thanks B for taking care of us while I stayed home), I thrived. It took a bit of getting used to but get used to it I did. I'm the type of woman who needs to work. I love being a member of a creative team overseeing a project to completion. I need the stimulation.

That said, writing stimulates me–it ignites me and fuels me. Yesterday, I daydreamed I was sitting in the most beautiful home office with pale yellow walls and a huge bay window with sunlight streaming through. My desk was an old, large farm table like the one we used as our kitchen table when I was a kid. I had the latest and greatest Mac laptop and the largest and most fabulous flat screen monitor. And the best part? I was writing for a living! Really, actually, truly writing for a living. I was still an at-home mom giving most of my day to my child, but for about four hours of it, I gave myself to my words. I woke from my daydream knowing I had dreamed the same dream before. This time though, I knew when I woke that one day soon my dream would become a reality. Ahhhh...bliss.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

House Cleaning

I turned the cleaning lady away this morning. She usually comes in the afternoon but today, she showed up bright and early at 8 am. As far as I was concerned, bright and early was too early! I was in pajamas still needing a hot shower, B was just waking still needing a hot shower, the living room was in shambles, so was the kitchen for that matter, toys were strewn everywhere and Biddy was running from one end of the house to the other. Not an ideal situation for deep cleaning. I asked her to come back at 1 pm, told her I wasn't ready for her, and copped to the fact that I still hadn't cleaned the house!


Still hadn't cleaned the house? Isn't that her job? Isn't that why we pay her?

Sounds weird? It is weird! Why clean your house to have your house cleaned? I agree it doesn't make sense yet I find the impulse to clean up and to tidy impossible to deny. I must make the house presentable–I must unload the dishwasher and make sure the sink is spotless, Biddy's toys must be neatly stored, the beds must be made. I must, I must, I must is my mantra. I'm pretty sure I learned it from my mother.

I don't remember the ritual my mom went through before the cleaning lady arrived but I surely remember her fastidious routine once the cleaning lady departed.

I use to watch her in awe the morning after, on all fours with damp sponge in hand, craning and contorting herself under the kitchen table to reach the lone cat hair fallen during the night. It was imperative she pick it up, imperative she keep the spic-and-span clean going for as long as possible–so imperative in fact, she nearly threw her back out several times with all her twisting and bending. I used to make fun of her ad nauseam. I used to call her anal (she didn't like that very much)! And now? I do the exact same thing! 

I'm my mother's daughter and I'm proud of it. I call myself anal and I too don't like it very much. That said, I AM anal so I try to embrace it. B teases me, calling me Monica from Friends fame. I not only tidy the house before but pick crumb after crumb off the floor for days afterwards. And yes–I'm down on my hands and knees.

While I'm down there perhaps I should start praying to the goddess of housekeeping. With times tight and getting tighter, I know the lazy days of having my house cleaned for me are numbered. I love my cleaning lady but buying food for the family is so much more important. Perhaps the goddess of housecleaning will come up with a solution allowing us to keep the cleaning lady, magically stock the pantry and fridge to the brim, AND keep the crumb and cat hair dust bunnies at bay between cleanings. Perhaps she can also help with the general disarray of the housing market. Perhaps... 

Monday, March 2, 2009

Clarity

Every year on New Years Eve, I write down what I would like to manifest in the next, new 365 days. I also choose a word and write it down on the same piece of paper. This word encapsulates what I am working on, what I want to achieve, and what I want to live into in the next, new 365 days. At midnight, I burn the note giving it up to the smoke and fire, burning the words in prayer for divine guidance and nurturing along the way.


This year, I chose "Clarity" as my word. 

In choosing clarity, it was clear to me that I could not, under any circumstances, avoid writing any longer. I had to let the words out. Yes! I had to let my words out. You see, I've wanted to be a writer since I was small. I've wanted to write children's books, screenplays, novels, magazine articles, newspaper columns, monologues, and short stories. I've wanted to write, and equally as important, I've wanted to be read. These have been my most precious dreams.

You may say, well, why haven't you? What's the problem? What are you waiting for? To be honest, I've been in jail. A jail of my own making. A jail where the warden's name is Fear and the assistant warden's name is Low Self Confidence. A jail that harbors nasty, soul-stripping thoughts of: I'm not good enough, I can't do it, people won't like my writing, people won't like me. Alone in my cell, my only writing has been in my journal, for my eyes only. I write prolifically but I am not read, never read. In choosing clarity, I choose to break free from my jailor. I choose to bolster my self confidence and face my fear head on. I choose to write and I choose to share my writing. Take that fear! You don't rule me anymore. You can't stop me any longer. I win. Ha! 

Thus, Mamma Boo was born.

It wasn't born overnight, I mean I didn't upload my first post until February 11, but it WAS born and that's the point. Once I decided to blog, it took a while to come up with the name. Quite a while in fact but then, in the car one day, singing a Dixie Chicks tune with Biddy in the backseat, Mamma Boo came to me. 

Why Mamma Boo? Three reasons.

1. I wanted to join the ranks of the mommy blogger. When I became a mom, my creativity bloomed and I owe my inspiration to Biddy. I love writing about him and our family adventures and therefore think being classified a mommy blogger is perfect. Also, mommy bloggers are a cool, hip, sharp, honest, interesting, humble, eloquent, savvy, compassionate, and funny group of women. Sounds like my kind of crowd and right where I belong.

2. Boo is Biddy's word for bear. He has his "Lovey," his blanket that sleeps with him every night. He also has his teddy bear, well, his half a teddy bear anyway. It's a puppet of sorts. The bear has a sweet face and outstretched arms but in place of legs, he has a blanket sewn around his waist serving as a demure skirt. The skirt is the same soft satin-y fabric that Biddy's Lovey is made from. When he decided that this bear was his second most favorite sleeping must-have, B dubbed it "Lovey Bear" which then Biddy translated to "Lovey Boo". It has been Lovey Boo ever since. 


3. I love the mother bear association as I love animal symbology. The mother bear is a fierce warrior when protecting her young. I feel fierce as I write. She gives birth during her winter hibernation and as spring approaches, once the young are strong enough, mother and cubs emerge. Launching Mamma Boo is my emergence.