quick update before the xmas explosion

So you’re all on the edge of your seats wondering how the birthday thing went, right? I kept you waiting out of sheer wickedness. Wickedness, and the fact that I am both lazy and sick with a cold. What’s up with all these damned colds? They’ve been rotating through our house like some sort of white elephant gift, passing from one person to another and, frankly, making me rather pissed off. I AM THROUGH BEING SICK, DO YOU HEAR ME? Also, I am running out of tissues.

Anyway: the party was a success, if a little under-attended (one group of guests had apparently been sure it was the next weekend, at which point they e-mailed me going “Um, did you know that your party was a week ago? You probably did.” Which was funny, and I may have LOLed, but only very quietly and to myself). The kid had a fabulous time. He helped me decorate the littlest cupcakes (which he decided were meteors). No one else had any idea what the cake/cupcake spread was supposed to be, which was fine. I guess.

Also a (qualified) success: the rocket softie. I made some modifications to a pattern I found in One Yard Wonders (which is a pretty fabulous book, if you’re into that sort of thing) and it turned out kind of awesome. The kid likes it, which was the important part.

In other crafty news, I finally slipcovered the Fabulous!Rocking!Glider! (the exclamation points are to emphasize the fact that I love the lovely glider and am not going to get rid of it despite the increasing impracticality of having it in our house). A favorite snuggling spot for both kid and cats, the F!R!G! was sort of disgustingly stained and matted with cat hair, and since the cushions were both a) cream-colored and b) upholstered, cleaning it was a pain. ENTER CRAFTY MAMA, with her IKEA fabric and her barely-passable sewing machine skills! Given that I don’t have the first clue what I’m doing, I think it turned out pretty well.

All those other grand ideas I had? Not going to happen. I was totally going to make garland, and ornaments, and stuff. But what did I do instead? I caught a cold. (I did make gingerbread men. I’m not dead.)

all holiday, all the time

December is full of busy in the Cranky abode – the kid’s birthday is followed so closely by that one big holiday, and all of it comes right on the heels of that other big holiday, the one that involves a lot of overeating and the generation of vast amounts of leftovers.

This year is no different, except for the part where the kid is SUPER EXCITED!!! about all of it. Last year? Meh. This year? OMG birthday! OMG Christmas! Is it Christmas yet? CAN SANTA BRING ME AN INSECTOSAURUS TOY?*

But I? I am a shopping master this year, and am already done with gift acquisition, thanks to the glory that is the Internet.

And we got a tree! A real tree, made of wood and green stuff. Someone brought it to us on a bicycle. (Have I mentioned lately how much I love Portland?) We decorated the other day (the tree, not the bike messenger) and I took one look at the finished product and OF COURSE decided I need to craft various felt-based ornaments to pretty it up. (Still talking about the tree, here, people. Keep up.) I’m thinking garland, for one thing (found a super-simple tutorial on Anna Maria Horner’s site – the kid could even help, which would rock). Also various and sundry hanging decorations (like the ornaments featured on Fantastic Toys and the Felt Circles ornament featured on Craftzine, which purports to be much easier than it looks). Someone also mentioned Shrinky Dinks, which – I love Shrinky Dinks, and how much fun would that be? And I totally got the kid a Shrinky Dink set for his birthday, because nothing says Christmas like robots, amirite?

Speaking of, I’m making a crapload of felt toys for the kid’s 4th birthday party, which we are hosting at our miniscule apartment because we are crazy people. I figured I didn’t have enough to do, what with Christmas and the business and the book release and all. Why not also make the solar system out of baked goods (related: I still love you, Pluto) and hand-sew a huge rocket pillow to give to the kid (and miniature versions thereof as party favors)?

Aside: party favors? Did not exist when I was a kid. Or else I just went to the wrong parties. Because I never got swag, and now everyone does it and I totally can’t be the only mom who’s all ‘hey, I gave you cake, what more do you want?’. But then I get all psycho overachiever and decide it would be so much cooler if I made favors myself, and that’s where you get the pre-party mama meltdown. Which is not going to happen this year, FYI. It’s totally not.

*He’s decided that an Insectosaurus toy is the most exciting thing anywhere ever, and every time he mentions Santa Claus he asks if Santa can bring him one. Which was a little dicey for those of us who do Santa’s shopping for him, since the damn thing’s apparently a collector’s item or some crap. Thank god for eBay, is all I have to say.

birthday

35It was my birthday last week. Yes. I am 35 now, a solid, respectable age. I would have posted about it sooner, but usually I loathe my birthday for reasons which have absolutely nothing to do with age and absolutely everything to do with that one time when I was 14 and no one came to my party, but this year? My birthday did not suck! In fact, it was as lovely as a birthday of mine can be (which, as it turns out? Pretty lovely). Not So took me out for a phenomenal dinner at bluehour, which is pretty much my favorite restaurant anywhere ever, and we partook of the cheese plate, about which sonnets could be written. I also had two lemon drops, and anyone who knows me will recognize that 2 lemon drops = 1 drunk me. (This picture illustrates, pre-inebriation, how ridiculously excited I was to go out on a date with my husband. Behold, the massive smile and flushed cheeks!)

almost a week late, but who’s counting?

My very small child is a somewhat less small child now, and I’ve got to say, I’m a little melancholy about it. Not that I want to stunt his growth or anything. What? I totally don’t, and categorically deny any rumors to the contrary.

I don’t miss all-night wakeups, endless nursing sessions, teething, drooling, or spit-up. I don’t miss his frustration over not being able to walk – which, if you recall, he got over pretty damned early – or talk. I don’t miss having to lug the stroller with us on every outing (although, let me just say, if we’d gotten an Ergo sooner my life would have been SO MUCH EASIER OMG). I don’t miss poopsplosions or chewed-up books. And I really, really don’t miss being pregnant.

And yet.

ho ho ho baby love hand

But my big kid (he’s three! Seriously. I would not kid about a thing like that) is pretty cool, too. He likes Doctors Who and Horrible . He enjoys pirate songs on YouTube. He’ll say “That’s pretty weird” when confronted with things like Hamster on a Piano. He thinks birthdays are the greatest thing ever, with Christmas a close second. He won’t get out of bed in the morning until we “Guggle some more!” And he’s, you know, crazy handsome.

grin Cutting out cookies grin

A friend on Facebook said “You know, you two really have a responsibility to the world to have another child. I mean he is just so cute.” She’s right. He really is.

Happy (belated) birthday, kid.

slugs and snails and puppy dogs’ tails

When I was first pregnant with Happy Fun Baby, I knew I was going to have a boy. I knew it. All my dreams were of a little boy, the stupid necklace trick said “boy” – how can anyone argue with such solid evidence?

Several TV hours of Gilmore Girls later, I found myself longing for a girl. I know girls. I get girls. Boys? A baffling collection of hair and muscles and testosterone. I started dreaming about baby girls, little girls, daughters. My list of potential girl’s names started to balloon. I loved the idea of having a girl: nothing against boys, you understand, but a girl made sense to me, having been a girl myself.

Naturally, every armchair psychologist in the house is raising their hand at this point and going “Oooh, me, me!” As a little girl, what had I wanted more than anything? A mother who was, you know, reliably present. Parents who liked each other. Stability. What could be more satisfying than writing over my crappy girlhood by Doing It Better Myself? Little known fact: you do win a prize if your kids still like you when they’re grown. Look it up!

Given all that, the ultrasound in which my child’s gender was unmistakably revealed (wow – that sure is a boy, all right! Either that or he’s got an extra limb!) was somewhat disappointing, and the thing I found most disappointing? The clothes. Boy’s clothes are somewhat unthrilling. My dreams of a tomboyish daughter in stripey knee socks and boots took their reluctant place in my Maybe Later file, and I started thinking about how on earth I was going to raise a son.

Happy Fun Baby answered that question for me the moment he was born. He looked straight at us with his huge, calm eyes and I knew, instantly, that he belonged to us. Not in a sense of ownership, but in the “Oh, of course” sense you get when you solve a problem that seems complicated but turns out to be deceptively simple. Of course this was my baby. Of course.

The best thing a parent can do is give a child the opportunity to be the best they can be. Maybe it’s easier when your child is already so obviously himself. He knows what he likes and what he does not. He’s fiercely independent and just as fiercely attached to us. To me – he thinks I’m just the greatest thing ever, which is weird and cool and satisfying and terrifying all at the same time. Which I think goes to the heart of the Gilmore Girls dilemma – can I live up to being the mother of a boy? Can I do this without screwing it up?

I’m not disappointed anymore that we don’t have a daughter. I can’t imagine anything more perfect than my dancing, raspberry-blowing, meat-eating, singing kid.

Happy first birthday, Monkey.

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