I was browsing at our awesome neighborhood thrift store Noah's Attic the other day with Sonja, picking through some fantastic eightiesness on the blouse rack, when I was approached by a boy. I'd say he was around 10, blonde, a little scruffy. He talked in a kind of muddled but incredibly fast way, starting with some very involved questions about some shoes he was thinking of buying. This led to telling me about how he might try out for football this year, and these shoes might be good for that. Then, on to his father, who used to play football. I was slowly tuning out, a bit distracted with my shopping and the baby. But I snapped back to attention when I heard "yeah, but then I found needles under the trailer...my mom says he was doing lots of heroin." His tone of voice hadn't changed, still that sort of breathless "um and then um and then" way kids can get. "Oh, really?" I said, looking right at him. "Mm hmm, and he was always hiding it, but then he drove into a propane tank...he died, and my mom is says it was cause of his ex-husband(!) ...She smokes, I tell her to quit but she says she's ADDICTED!" Meanwhile, Sonja was beside herself, laughing, clapping, trying to join in the conversation -- oh my god, this big, cute boy is paying attention to us! "Um, it's really hard to quit smoking, but you're right that she should..." I said, lamely. "Yeah, I'm not ever going to smoke!" he said, "I've only done it a couple of times -- " "OH NO, DON'T SMOKE!" I interupted. "But I get it from my MOM," he said, shrugging helplessly. This went on for awhile, and finally I had to extricate myself. "Well, I have to take my baby home now," I said, edging toward the stairs. "Okay," he said, smiling and waving, "hope your baby doesn't eat too much sugar and go all crazy!" Riiiiight. It didn't even occur to my stupid ass until later that I should have asked where his mother was or anything. I wish I had never heard the words "I found needles under the trailer" come out of a child's mouth.
Mine is a freaking superhero! Check her out up on our roof. She and her husband are painting our house and just couldn't quite get the right angle to paint one side of the chimney. After snapping this picture I promptly took to my bed with the vapors.
Okay okay, look -- I unmolded this thing and "decorated" it within the few minutes that Greg was in the shower, without any forthought or the proper materials and with Sonja on one hip. I was like, oh hey, maybe Greg would like his cake on his birthday eve, I can totally get that together right now! Wow, this is one ugly-ass cake. See, every year I get a peanut butter cup Ben and Jerry's cake for him, but suddenly they don't carry that flavor. So I took matters into my own hands and decided to make a Greg-specific ice-cream cake myself. In honor of his afternoon graham cracker with peanut butter habit, I made Peanut Butter Cracker Time bombe cake as follows:
Line mixing bowl with wax paper (or don't, since it gave my cake a wrinkly surface). Line bowl with 2-3 inch-thick layer of Peanut Butter Pandemonium all the way around, leaving a bowl shape in the middle. Put in freezer to re-set. Take out and coat inside with crushed Oreos. Re-freeze. Fill remainder w/ Crumbs Along the Mohawk, cover whole thing w/ remainting Oreos, re-freeze.
Turn cake out onto plate and peel off wax paper. Hastily scrawl a few blue and red hearts around the lumpy, mottled surface. Randomly stick graham cracker pieces on top. Voila! A good idea gone so wrong... it tastes good though, of course. Happy birthday Greg!
I'm continually baffled by the psychological/hormonal effects of pregnancy and motherhood. There are aspects that I had not been told or read about, and maybe they are specific to my chemistry... Early in my pregnancy I began having memories so strong and vivid they were like waking dreams, almost obscuring my sense of my actual surroundings. They were mainly focused around my grandparents and their homes as I experienced them as a young child. Small details such as how the carpet on a staircase felt and smelled, the temperature of the air one morning on the bluffs in the backyard, or the taste of Fruitloops came back with significant-seeming force. I guess I was either connecting to my own babyhood/childhood or with the ancestral contributors to my own little growing project. Of course, there were a zillion of more obvious and well-documented types of hormonal adventures which I experienced on the way to Sonja's current toddlerhood, but today I found myself returning to that early type of memory madness. Over the past few days Greg and I have really been noticing that Sonja is gaining the heft and presence of a person, a child rather than baby. She just feels huge; her legs are so long, her feet can walk up your body and face til she's upside down in your arms before you know what happened! I have this overwhelming sense that I can FEEL her growing. And so throughout the day today I've been repeatedly rendered still and stupid by memories of my youth, broken into specific stages. They were categorized by the mood created by my group of friends and the music specific to that era. It was almost as if I was reliving each block of time, and I realized that there main feeling that you have as a child or a young adult that seems to go away as an adult is EXPANSIVENESS. It must be the sensation of growing! That sense of your fingers extending out, literally and metaphorically, but with the whole body, and of course the heart and mind. I think that my ablility to re-feel it right now is directly related to Sonja's delicious, heavy, healthy body in my arms.
Fourteen month old Sonja has always reminded me of my sister Jill in many ways, and now a new and significant similarity has made itself very clear: She loves animals too much!! Jill has always been soft-hearted magnet for lost or injured animals. She has taken quite the menagerie over the years and has many sad experiences with those who did not survive despite her care. I think most babies like animals, and Sonja responds to them with pointing, laughing, clapping, and exclaiming "DAAA!" for dog, "DAAIY!" for cat, or whatever the appropriate word in her language might be. So yesterday we watched a video online that had been posted on our friend Bob's blog. It was called the "Nom Nom" song or something, and was a montage of cute animals eating stuff: bunnies, puppies, kittens, mice, a little donkey, etc., just rolling around, munching along to a silly, dancey song whose lyrics were only "nomnomnomnomnom, nomnomnom." Sonja reacted with typical joy, exclaiming and pointing. We watched it again. She screeched with delight and indicated that I should play it again. In the middle of the third play she suddenly sort of groaned and then began CRYING -- "oohoo --oohoo" -- tears just poured down her face and she collapsed into my lap! All I can figure is that she was overwhelmed with emotion for the animals. Oh boy. I reeeeeeeeally don't want a frigging dog.