Hodie stuff


I love birthdays. Mine, other people’s… all of them.

I see it as the ultimate moment to celebrate the glorious individual. I think on birthdays, we should be praised, indulged, and reminded of just how special and amazing we are unto the end of the strength of everyone in the vicinity.

And not just because I want to be getting this treatment, either. I like few things more than lavishing this kind of attention on people I love. I have had more than one person who claimed to not much care for birthday fuss tell me the kind of fuss I created made for the best birthday they’d ever had.

Yeah.

So, I am the sort to stretch the celebration. To include the days surrounding, meals and treats in both the run-up and the aftermath. Considerations, extravagances, and indulgences all in the name of birthday awesomeness. Because it is fun. Because I like to. Because I can.

Yet, in the particular case of my daughter it is also true that I am acknowledging my own role in the process of her birth. If a birthday is the day a person is born, it is also often the case that it is the day their mother went into labor to bring about that result. If we measure by that metric, I’d have to start celebrating Hodie’s birthday sometime in the second week of June.

I did not take great care of myself when I was pregnant. I laid around like third base. I ate cheese fries with bacon and two scoops of ice cream every single day of my second trimester. I dislocated my pelvis in my sixth month and moved even less thereafter. I gained 50 lbs and was bordering on gestational diabetes by the end of my term. I was huge and swollen and in constant pain. I loved every minute of it.

Seriously.

Even though I loved being pregnant, by about mid-June I’d been having regular contractions for a week or so and was feeling pretty ready to be done with the whole experience. My trip to the hospital resulted in the attending doctor assuring me these were only Braxton-Hicks, that I needed to be drinking more water, and that I’d deliver much closer to my July 5th due date than I wanted to credit.

Chastened I went home and drank gallons of water, peed every 20 minutes, and timed my contractions. They came quite regularly, but never more often than about every 6-7 minutes. This of course failed to meet the threshold where they would tell me to go to the hospital, but certainly kept me from getting any kind of sleep for both excitement and physical discomfort. This went on for 2 more weeks.

Finally, around 3 a.m. on June 28th the nature and frequency of my contractions changed in frequency. Though not any more intense, they were now coming every 4 minutes like clockwork. After several hours of this pattern, I called the hospital. The nurse told us to come in; even though my water hadn’t broken, my labor pattern warranted checking my progress.

We got to the hospital sometime around 9:30 am but after a quick check by the nurse (3cm) they put me in a room and left me there until my OB came by for his normal rounds at noon. He pulled out the ultrasound and looked at the baby’s lungs, said they looked well developed and patted my protruding belly with tender compassion.

“You’re pretty ready for this baby to be born, huh?”

“YEEEEEES”

He said that given I’d already been in labor for so long, and that despite being technically before her due date, it was clear that the baby was both full term and looked totally healthy, he was willing to induce labor to spare me any more waiting. I started weeping with relief, until…

“So, we’re going to have you come back tomorrow at 8:00 and get started.”

I was totally inconsolable. I wailed about why couldn’t they just start NOW? It was already too late in the day to ensure that I’d deliver in a timely manner and that an early morning induction was simply protocol. He encouraged me to go home and get some rest for the next day.

I had never wanted to do murder so much as I did in that moment.

Nevertheless, home we went for another sleepless night. We called the people who were going to accompany us to the hospital and gave them the schedule. Arrive at 8:00 am, plan on staying till the wee hours of the following day, as that was how the induction usually played out. We all mused it was too bad they hadn’t let me start that day, which would have resulted in the baby being born on her father’s birthday.

June 29th dawned clear and pink. We made our way to the hospital with time to spare. They put me in the gown and checked my cervix (still 3cm). Nurse broke my water and encouraged me to visit the bathroom for the last time before they administered the Pitocin & catheter.

Up to this point my “contractions” had been what I would characterize as “uncomfortable.” Once my water broke, they were immediately different. I had to stop and take a deep breath. There was some groaning. I looked at the nurse and said,

“Well, that seemed to make a difference. Are we sure I need the Pitocin?”

She assured me that once my water was broken we absolutely had to have the drugs to ensure I’d deliver within 24 hours to reduce the risk of infection. I was skeptical it was necessary, but didn’t have the wherewithal to argue about it, since I was already having another contraction.

When they administered the IV they checked me (3.5 cm). This was about 15 minutes after they broke my water and I was in more pain than I was expecting for so early in the game. Once they started the drip, they came harder than I even realized was possible. Classically trained singer I am, I did my best not to scream, and instead chose a note to be SUNG at the top of my lungs every time a spasm hit. This came out sounding a bit like a banshee and was apparently loud enough that one of the nurses from the other side of the ward asked why the anesthesiologist hadn’t been called

“She is SCARING the other mothers!”

Between contractions, I asked the nurse much the same question. She was a snot about the whole thing and had me pegged as some kind of crybaby. When I told her I was in a lot of pain and would like her to check to see if I was ready for an epidural. She cocked an eyebrow at me and said,

“It’s only been about 45 minutes. How much progress do you think you could have made?”

I thought to myself – if I could reach, I’d find out myself you numb cunt!

She refused to check and told me I had a long day ahead of me and would need to toughen up a bit and left the room.

I had never wanted to do murder so much as I did in that moment.

A few minutes later, the much nicer back-up OB nurse came in and we repeated the same conversation. She was just as reluctant to check, but much more compassionate about the whole thing. And then I started having a contraction. She watched with widening eyes and dropping jaw my howling endurance and slipped her hand into a glove before it was even over. (7.5 cm)

That I had progressed 4cm in less than an hour was pretty stunning. They called the anesthesiologist immediately. By the time the epidural was administered half an hour later, I was at 10cm fully effaced and ready to push. They called my OB and let him know that instead of just coming to check on me at lunch, he might want to hurry if he wanted to be there to deliver the baby.

So, at 12:40 my baby girl was born. They handed her to me and I fell instantly and irrevocably in love. As he bent over to look at his daughter I said to her father,

“Happy birthday. I hope you like your present. I made it myself.”

He tells me every year it was the best birthday ever.

Collage of Birth

Collage of Birth

When she was about 5 years old, I took Hodie camping. The outcome was traumatic for both of us in ways that don’t bear exploring too closely, but lead to an intransigence on her part with regard to repeating the experience. Once, years later, in a fit of frustration I said,

“Why do you hate nature!?”

BECAUSE THERE ARE NO TOILETS THERE!”

Which, about summed it up.

My assertion that, indeed all of nature was a toilet, failed to convince and for many years she flat refused to participate in any activity which required her to stray more than 200 yards from indoor plumbing.

At some point, and entirely when I wasn’t paying attention, this attitude changed. I believe I have her father to thank, but I’ve never gotten confirmation on the matter. At some point in the last year she has gone from violent protest over any suggested encounters with the environment to imploring me to take her out into it for days on end, and plotting the purchase of a vehicle which will allow her to more or less live there for months.

Indeed, much like my persistent inability to remember that my daughter suffers from virulent and life-long motion sickness until mid-windy-curvy car ride, this information runs so counter to the template I have in my head *Hodie Hates Nature* that I have trouble reconciling the matter.

Every year we have an ongoing conversation about what she would like to do for her birthday. We ran the gamut from London to Disneyland, but ultimately she settled on the last thing I would have predicted; camping.

We went to Kahneeta last year, which is camping in the same way going over Mt. Hood in a station wagon is akin to doing so in a covered wagon. We slept in a mass-produced tee-pee tent with a metal fire pit on a concrete slab. There were vending machines, a heated pool with water slides, and mini-golf. This did not qualify as “nature.”

This year she wanted the real deal; full on tent camping. We settled on a spot up in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest along the Washougal River. It’s unquestionably a sentimental choice, as it holds almost all of the happy memories I have of my own childhood, and she explicitly chose it for that reason.

“If you have to go camping for 2 days with 3 teenage girls I at least want you to get to do it somewhere that makes you happy.”

She’s a peach, my girl.

Apart from the ROUGHLY THREE HOURS we spent battling Friday afternoon traffic to get out of town, the whole experience was really pretty great. Hodie has good taste in people, and I genuinely enjoyed hanging out with her friends. They are both thoughtful and polite, and deeply amused by my frank and unconventional parenting style. They bore with good grace both my shit-flipping and my earnest attempts to talk to them about conscientious self-care which I think bodes well for them as humans.

Clearly Prepared For Wilderness Adventure

Clearly Prepared For Wilderness Adventure

They responded with equanimity to the fly-by-the-seat scenario we were in with regard to finding a campsite – they can’t be reserved in advance so it’s very much take what you can get – and crucially, lack of bathrooms. They were cheerful in the face of a burn ban, and perfectly content with a tealight campfire. They even reacted well to the ultimate decision to cut camping short in favor of a basement slumber party to avoid the increasing threat of rain for which I did not properly prepare.

The samosas and horror movies courtesy of the electricity at home may have helped ease the transition, but the ultimate outcome was a birthday weekend that everyone – myself included – enjoyed. Not since the triumph of The Enchanted Birthday (age 7) have we had such an unmitigated success on a celebratory activity. If nothing else, it will have been enough to alter the notion that Hodie Hates Nature once and for all.

 

Today marks the beginning of the multi-part and days-long celebration of a truly momentous occasion; on Monday June 29th my daughter, darling, and light of my life is turning sixteen.

Hodie. Beeps. Goobs. Bitbot. Potty-Bear. BuggaDoo. The Pagoda. Future Crazy Cat Lady.

Hodie. Beeps. Goobs. Bitbot. Pookah. BuggaDoo. The Pagoda. Future Crazy Cat Lady.

Apart from the fact I find it bizarre that I am old enough to have had anything happen to me sixteen years ago, I also find it mystifying that I am the mother of a person who as of this year can:

  1. Tie her shoes the non-weird way
  2. Retain gainful employment
  3. Unabashedly sing with me in public
  4. Independently select and purchase gifts for the adults in her life that they really like
  5. Request I make her a cocktail and enjoy the result
  6. Rationally calculate the cost/benefit ratio of a trip to Disneyland and reject the proposition
  7. Articulate that simultaneously training in ballet and carpentry will make her a total badass
  8. Successfully travel the length and breadth of Portland via public transit
  9. Accept and complete commissions for art projects in a variety of mediums
  10. Autonomously conduct her secondary education with only minimal supervision
  11. Plan, shop for, and prepare a multi-course meal*
  12. Own a bank account and ATM card
  13. Meaningfully deconstruct political theory and successfully identify logical fallacies
  14. Drive a car**
  15. Declare her intent to be a crazy cat lady who also has birds and possibly a hedgehog
  16. Speak authoritatively about her preference for a Vanagon Weekender, rather than a Westfalia

She can also take my breath away with her sweetness, stun me with her insight, and reduce me to tears with her humor. She is unquestionably the best thing that has ever happened to me. I am grateful every day that I get to be her mother and that she still appears to like*** me a lot.

Tonight we leave for her requested birthday activity: camping up in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest on the Washougal River with her two best friends. Considering it is one of my favorite places in all the world, and she absolutely my favorite person, I feel like I’m the one on the receiving end of a pretty great gift.

 

*Guaranteed, said meal includes some combination of potatoes/pasta/cheese

**After a fashion and apparently with much greater confidence and ease than when I am present

*** Most of the time.

This is a post from the archives. It’s funny. I thought everybody could use a little change of pace

 

I think it is a safe thing to suggest that we as humans are well served to consider the impact of our communications carefully. Sometimes in our haste to secure a particular outcome, we fail to consider the possible ramifications of our words. I know this happens to me constantly and it is a lifelong lesson for most people.

Apparently not for my eight-year-old.

Because she, she is canny in the extreme. She knows, for example, a staggering variety of curses and epithets, yet you will almost never hear one slip. She pretends to be oblivious to their existence, let alone willing to sink to their use. I know she knows them because I curse like a sailor. Just ask her, she’ll tell you. And though she is ready to turn state’s evidence on her loving mother in a heartbeat when it comes to the use of profanity, she continues to use the language of the sweet little child I want her to be. She does this because I will bust her ASS if she does not.

But this morning, I was treated to an entirely new level of tactical planning on the part of my child. It is one thing to operate under the halo of obedience, but this, this transcended mere self-preservation and displayed something more.

You see, she is too old to believe in the cultural mythologies I have gone to such pains to instill in her wee little head. My own mother, a powerfully crusty cynic of the most virulent stripe, was adamant in her unwillingness to entertain such notions as Santa, the Easter Bunny, or most pertinently in this case, the tooth fairy. Of course, she does believe in SASQUATCH, but that is neither here nor there.

When I became an adult and had a child of my own, I decided that the whole idea of a pantheon of benign gift-givers was a relatively desirable thing to have in your life as a little person. I knew that my own inexperience with this arena might have made me more eager to participate, but what are children for if not to compensate for one’s own misspent childhood?

So I set about assuring her about Santa et al. and all was going well. The first rumblings of confusion on her part came when she was about 3 and she asked rather pointedly, why the tooth fairy wanted all these old used teeth, and why did she get different amounts of money from the tooth fairy when she was at home vs. at her father’s house. I quickly explained to her that the tooth fairy was using the teeth to make crafts. And that market forces determined the value of the teeth at any given time as supply and demand were bound to fluctuate, so you could never tell just how much the tooth would be worth to the fairy on a given occasion. Way to use a childhood mythos to slip in an economics lecture.

She seemed to accept this explanation readily (which might also have been the result of the following internal dialogue: I have no idea what this crazy person is babbling about… ohh candy!)

At any rate, we haven’t had any further conversations about the role or motivation of the pantheon in a while, apart from the “Sarah says Santa isnt real” to which I reply; “Sarah doesn’t know everything.”

Fast forward to present day. I know she knows these people do not exist. I think she KNOWS I know she knows. But we play along together because we both get something out of it: in my case it is a minor bolstering to the ever-more-quickly fading belief that my child is still innocent and fully able to enter into an alternate reality without question as to its validity aka- belief in magic. For her, well, she gets stuff. So.

So she lost a tooth last week. Wednesday to be precise. I wasn’t home when this happened, and her Grandmother (the other non-crusty one) failed to mention it to me so I could act accordingly. When Aria woke up in the morning she mentioned to me that A) She had lost the tooth and B) Demand for crafts must be waaaay up so as to keep the tooth fairy from making to our house to collect her tooth.

Ahem.

So I assured her the tooth fairy would surely be around soon to get her tooth. We put the tooth in an envelope and I tried to make a mental note to take care of it that night. And then, she left for her dad’s and I completely forgot.

And then this morning I rose to find this note sitting on my vanity:

 


BWAAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Because you see, she realized that someone needed to be reminded that the tooth was languishing under her pillow, yet she also knew that she couldn’t come out and say “Mom, hurry the hell up.” or in any way imply that she KNOWS there is no tooth fairy, because she realizes if she does that, the end of the tooth fairy payments will have arrived. She instead opted for her only viable course of action which was to prod me to remind the tooth fairy about her wayward tooth. And it worked. I slipped into her room and slid the envelope from its place beneath her sleeping head and left 4 shiny quarters in its place.

Communication, so subtly crafted. That’s my girl.

There is practically no end to the compliments I receive whenever the child is allowed to spend time with the families of her friends. It happens, without fail. People marvel at how polite, well-behaved, respectful, and helpful she is. I am pleased that she takes her manners with her wherever she goes, but I am always a little stymied at how they seem to consider this to be rare, or an accident of fate, rather than a firmly executed plan. Otherwise known as discipline.

Just last weekend I agreed to let her spend the night with a friend who’s mother had already once failed to be sure the child was returned at an appropriate time. It was as much my fault as hers, but more so the child’s, so I was willing to give things another chance to go well. After letting this woman set the time and place of child return, I arrived promptly and was prepared to be polite and genial. This was until I texted the child for an ETA and received a frantic call telling me they were just setting out and it would be nearly a half an hour before arrival. Aria knows how I feel about punctuality (I see it as a failure of planning, intellect, and manners on the order of intentionally dribbling spittle into a person’s eye, to be late) and was duly upset on account of it. When they finally arrived, I was in the middle of a phone call, and delayed from the plans I had made based on the meeting time SHE had suggested, so I was in no mood to be further delayed by this woman. When they arrived and Aria said her friend’s mother wanted to meet me, I was in no mood whatever to be polite anymore. I told the child as much, and she attempted to relay this information, but instead of taking the hint, this person came over to my car and rapped on my car window to get my attention even though I was clearly  on the phone. Imagine, me thinking she didn’t have the manners to be on time…

When I rolled down the window, the mother proceeded to apologize by blaming the children for making her late. My first internal response was “Wait, I was under the impression you were the adult in this scenario, and thus, in charge of your own destiny?” Instead of saying this aloud (though I was sorely tempted) I made non-committal noises of sympathy for her bad decision making which resulted in her having possession of six adolescent children at once. She then proceeded to tell me how wonderful Aria was to have. I smiled and nodded,

“Yes, I expect her to behave when she is a guest. I’m pleased to hear she did.”

“I just don’t know how you do it!”

“Oh, I beat her. You should try it some time!”

“…hrrmeh…oh!”

This had the intended effect of communicating my scorn for her lax parenting, as well as the bonus feature of ending the conversation forthwith.

Ultimately, a more accurate way of putting it is that I will beat her, rather than that I do. It is absolutely the fact that pushed far enough, she will be faced with the physical consequence of corporal punishment for disobedience or disrespect. Aria is well aware that this is not an idle threat, and because I have always been consistent on this subject, the last time she was actually punished in this fashion, she was 8. She remembers it vividly, and is the first to admit she deserved it.*

I believe people who do not teach their children to abide by rules, respect authority, think for themselves, and be self-sufficient are failing in their most paramount duty as a parent and ultimately leaving their child ill-equipped for life.

  • It is not important to give your child everything they want: it is important to teach them how to work for what they want and to cope with disappointment.
  • It is not important to be your child’s friend: it is important to be a trustworthy support system and arbiter of boundaries and guidelines.
  • It is not important to make everything easy for your child: it is important to help them realize how to face opposition.
  • It is not important to keep your child from feeling bad: it is important to instill empathy

Many of my daughter’s cohorts have been emotionally and intellectually crippled by the way their parents have allowed them a license they are not mature enough to manage. They are unable to understand what it might be like to struggle for anything they desire, to be responsible for their behavior, to respect something other than their own wishes. Aria has more than once expressed horror at the way these children address their parents and treat them with an utter lack of regard. While I find the behavior offensive, I feel that a parent who does not insist upon respect from their child probably isn’t worthy of it.

My child is happy and well-adjusted, in spite of a greater than conventional amount of upheaval in her upbringing, mostly because despite the many changes she has faced, there has remained within our relationship a consistency with regard to boundaries and expectations. She can rely on me to be both supportive and strict, and this frees her from worry over what might happen, should she transgress. She claims to prefer it this way. It’s possible she’s suffering from Stockholm Syndrome at this point…

The vast majority of my interventions involve asking Aria to reflect on her actions, and to draw attention to how she might choose differently in the future. Sometimes it is difficult to get her to attend to how important a given subject is, and the intervention escalates. As she gets older, I resort to that kind of escalation less and less, but I believe that the judicious use of corporal punishment is an indispensable element of sound discipline. In pursuit of that most precious of all parental feelings, child obedience, use your words, by all means. Should more be required, I have a wooden spoon that doesn’t see much use anymore… **

 

 

*The offense for which she was beaten (5 hard swats on her bare rear-end) after a multitude of verbal warnings, was an epic screaming fit she threw over my unwillingness to buy her new shoes, 20 minutes before I was about to sing. At my grandmother’s funeral.

**I have never actually used an implement to strike my child, and never would. If I am going to dish out a spanking, I deserve to feel it.

 

Cheese fries and ice cream did this. There was a baby in there somewhere too, I think.

 

 

I looked like this. Actually, to own the truth, it got worse, but I lost that photo somewhere. Really; I liked to carry it around and show it to newly pregnant women as something of a morality tale: don’t think you can just eat whatever you want there, mommy. This could happen to you!!

I’m actually only at about 37 weeks in this picture. I had, by this time gained 50 lbs, dislocated my pelvis, and developed a set of stretch marks that gave a New York City subway system map a run for its money for terror inducing complexity. I had also been in active but non-productive labor for about 2 weeks. What this basically means is that I was having contractions on a regular basis, but they weren’t accomplishing anything apart from keeping me awake on tenterhooks thinking it might actually be about time to be done being pregnant.  By this point I remember quite vividly looking at my husband and saying plaintively

“I just want to put the baby down for a little while…”

Finally, on the morning of June 28th I fell into a labor pattern that justified a trip to the hospital. They took their sweet time about getting to me (dismissed as a hysterical first-time mother) but acknowledged that the contractions were both regular and frequent enough to consider legitimate. However, my water still hadn’t broken and I wasn’t making progress; the contractions were not causing my cervix to dilate as it should. My obstetrician, Dr DeCastro came out to check on me, and acknowledged my state of extreme misery with great sympathy.

Dr DeCastro was not only my doctor, he also delivered three of my sister’s children. I had met him under those circumstances and liked him a great deal. He was warm and considerate and charming, and best of all, he looked like the guy who played The Greatest American Hero.

Tell me this does not look like a man ready to catch your offspring

 

He knew that I could not move without significant discomfort, due to the dislocated pelvis I had been coping with since my sixth month. Since then (a bowling related injury that was my first -and worst- but by no means only) walking, standing, and sleeping had all become difficult and extremely painful. People told me my waddle was adorable, but really,  it was unavoidable. That coupled with my size and the length of time I had already been in labor prompted him to check on the baby and see if she was ready enough to warrant inducing me even before I was technically due.

Once we agreed that the baby was in fact cooked enough to come out, he said I could come back first thing in the morning to begin the induction. I will own the fact that I literally cried that he wasn’t going to start the process right then and there, but since she was my first he worried I would need a considerable amount of time to labor and wanted an early start after a good night’s rest.

Riiiight.

I was averaging about 3 hours of sleep a night in the week leading up to delivery. This was both because there was simply no position which the human body can achieve that did not leave me tremendously uncomfortable, but also because dammit, I was READY TO HAVE THIS BABY RIGHT FUCKING NOW and was thus too wound up to sleep anyway.

We went home that night and I did not sleep a wink. I puttered around packing and repacking the bag, looking at her room and making sure we had everything we needed, strapping the car seat into the new car and generally counting the seconds until it was time to go to the hospital. Right before we left, I kissed Bob on the cheek and apologized for making him spend his birthday in the hospital…

We arrived at 8:00 am as instructed and immediately discovered that Bob had failed to grab the hospital bag. While he went home to fetch it, they put me in a gown, strapped me to an IV, and unceremoniously broke my water. The nurse told me I could use the bathroom one last time before I would be confined to bed and as I walked back from my last trip to the potty, the first post-water-breaking contraction hit.

AHEM

Up till this point, the contractions had been persistent and vaguely bothersome, but in no way were they painful. That changed in a hurry, let me tell you. I stood with my hands gripping the edge of the bed and turned to the nurse and said

“Wow. That one was different.”

She chuckled a little and helped me climb into the bed. I asked if it really made sense to give me the pitocin after all; if maybe just breaking my water would be enough to kick my labor into gear. She told me that no, once the water was broken, they wanted to ensure that I delivered within 12 hours to minimize the risk of infection, and since it was my first baby, and with my small stature, they didn’t want to take any chances it would go on longer than that.

At the point they began to administer the pitocin, I was dilated to 3.5 cm.

Very soon after this, I began to experience pain like I did not know was possible. One of the two nurses keeping track of me came in shortly after this transition, and I asked her to check my progress to see if I might have come far enough along to have an epidural, since I was in considerable pain. She eyed me contemptuously and asked how much progress I think I could have made in 20 minutes.

“I’m not really sure. I’d check myself, but I CAN’T REACH.

She sniffed and left the room to go check on her other patient. Meanwhile the nicer nurse came in and I repeated my request. She was much more diplomatic and said that I probably had a long way to go yet, and might need to tough it out a while longer before they could call the anesthesiologist. As she was delivering this news I began to have another contraction. Trained by my choir director never to scream in case I might damage my vocal cords, I instead picked a high note and simply sang on pitch at the top of my voice.  She paused and raised her eyebrows. Then she said,

“Wow. That was pretty intense, huh? Let me go ahead and check you…” Her eyes got really wide for a moment, “Well, you’re at 7.5, so I think we can get you something for the pain now.”

In between then and when she got back with the medication, I had another contraction resulting in another top-of-the-lungs exhortation. Shortly after she had administered the shot, another nurse came to the door and asked when they were getting the anesthesiologist up here.

“She is scaring the other mothers!”

By the time they’d drugged me up to the point where I could no longer feel anything south of my chin, I was fully dilated and ready to push. They effectively had to tell me WHEN to push because I was too numb to be able to sense for myself. The dislocated pelvis came in handy at this point though, since I only had to work through about 4 rounds of 5 pushes each before, as Bob winningly put it, the baby “escaped the cave of doom.”



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It remains the best day of my life, and the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to me, and though it was Bob’s birthday, I feel like I got the greatest gift ever.


I’m in Seattle with Hodie visiting her godmother Allison. It’s been drizzly all day, but we had a pretty nice time nevertheless.

We went to H&M and I bought her various accessories because that is what I do.

Then we went out to Ballard and looked at the shoreline a bit. Technically, just Allison and I did this, because by this time, Hodie was interested less in scenery and more in avoiding the drizzle. Which, to be fair, was wise since most of the scenery was clearly visible from the car.

We then went and had dinner at a place called the “Hi-Life” and I can say that the only thing to recommend it was the lovely historic building in which is was situated. The food was underwhelming and overpriced while the service was just plain lousy. Ah well, it was a last resort after Hodie got us kicked out of the first place we went to…

Allison and her husband Michael suggested we go get some ice cream, and they were talking to the right pair of girls. During the course of this outing I kept making accidentally inappropriate comments. By which I mean to say, they were fine in context, I wasn’t trying to be nasty, but then M & A would snort and make them dirty. For example;

M: “You’ll want to take a hard right here.”

me: “Yes because god forbid I do anything that isn’t hard”

(snort, cough,heh)

M: “It looks like Oregon beat Washington 53 to 16”

me: “Yeah, they beat the pants off the huskies and now they’re going to cream the beavers.”

(baha, mert, ha)

Hodie was fairly mystified, thank the baby Jesus.

M also created on purpose hilarity of his own when he said:

“I’m better than average at that; you could call me outcompetent.”

A’s laughter was echoing off the buildings and we had to make sure she didn’t collapse in the street. It was wet there.

(heehee, haha, ahem)

I got up early this morning and made her some breakfast. She wanted bacon and toast. No eggs. I poured her a glass of milk only to be informed that she doesn’t really like milk to drink anymore. I’ll have to start thinking about another way for her to get enough calcium I suppose. We talked about where she ought to keep her phone, and that it needs to stay on silent. That I’d want her to take out the trash for me when she gets home. How she wants to redecorate her room, selling her current bedroom set for something a little less little girl.

And she is less a little girl than ever before. When I mentioned I was excited for her to go to Outdoor School, and that it had been the best week of my life when I was 12 she looked at me seriously and said “Mommy, that makes me kinda sad.”

As she was walking out the door, she submitted to be photographed with relative good cheer. As I looked at her standing there I almost cried, but I think I hid it pretty well. My sweet daughter is not as prone to sentiment as I am, but she would have comforted me gently if I had. I wanted to spare her the energy of having to. She was utterly composed, but then, she is way cooler than I am.

totemafter2

every tattoo i have is both for someone i love and a lesson i’ve carved into my skin.

appropriately, this one hurt much more than any other, as i love the person i had in mind much more than any other. also, the lesson is harder to remember. so.

ariapics-1

i was doing this all day. and now, my baby is 10.

sniffle.

she just keeps…. GROWING!!!

there doesn’t seem to be much i can do to stop it, either.

my sweet.

next? she’ll be headed for vegas…

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