Thursday, July 30, 2009

On The Range

I am feeling quite sorry for myself, and I thought you all might want to join me in feeling sorry for myself, too.

Mr. Vesuvius is traveling to Chicago for a few days. At an undisclosed point in time. He is traveling WITHOUT ME. Let me repeat: Mr. Vesuvius intends to abscond with himself, secreted away in the warm confines of a chase, borne across plain and field of corn, SANS HIS COMELY AND MAGNANIMOUS WIFE, to the vast sweeps of the metropolis Chicago.

Wife will remain at home to tend the children and feed the Indians. And you never know what a young wife might do, left alone in the wilderness with but the company of herself, her babes--still in small clothes--and the unsettling yet alluring presence of the savage braves.

Most likely she will live at McDonalds and the giant breakfast food at cherry creek mall.

Feel free to send pity offerings--coffee beans, espresso drinks, books, soft t-shirts, magazines, red wine, dark chocolate, etc--to young wife at her home address. Don't hesitate, my dears. We all know you are charitable indeed. But most humble about it, at that.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Raising Junior

When Ayla was a newborn, I thought she was Uncle Junior from the Sopranos.

Yes, really.

I don't expect you to understand. I can only tell you the truth. You see, when I gave birth to my first child, my hormones served me up a pretty wild cocktail. Some women get lovey-dream-unicorn potions. Some seem to get bliss in a bottle. I think mine must have had the hormonal equivalent of absinthe in it, because I was pretty sure my life was over, and that in my arms, all day long, I cradled and rocked and soothed Uncle Junior.

I was terrified to leave the house. Not because I was worried about germs. I was worried my baby would scream and people would stare at me and judge me and know I was a bad mother for having an infant that actually cried, and may even report me to social services, because that woman's baby was CRYING, for heaven's sake, and what kind of mother gave birth to a child that would actually CRY? Because you know what they say about babies: Crying in public one day, raising communist armies the next.

So I was spending most of my time sitting on a couch holding Ayla and watching tv and trying not to think about how I'd never be able to read a full magazine article again, let alone an actual book, and writing? Forget about it. That was a dream for people without uteri, clearly. So we were watching The Sopranos. A lot. Episodes back to back, three or four a night. I don't remember a lot about season one, but I do remember this: Uncle Junior was a tyrant. He ruled that family. He kept them all on a short leash, and they were obliged, nay, forced, to be at his beck and call. You did what he wanted, when he wanted it. If Uncle Junior wanted baked ziti at 4 a.m, you made it for him. If he wanted to throw it up all over you afterward, yet let him do that too. You didn't piss off Uncle Junior because he would throw a tantrum. Raise an almighty ruckus. And if he did, you might end up crying, feeling helpless, feeling out of control of your own life. You could find yourself curled into fetal position in an old Toyota on the New Jersey turnpike, rocking yourself and knowing that life as you knew it was over. Or standing in the dog food aisle at Target holding nursing pads and four boxes of Abuelita and trying to remember how you got here in the first place and whether or not you actually have a dog. He might deprive you of sleep, if you did not comply with his demands. Or, you know. Put a bullet in your brain pan.

Are you starting to see the connection? Little burrito-baby Ayla Beloved was ruling our lives surely as Uncle Junior ruled those Sopranos. That, my Green Fairy hormonal happy hour special, and Ayla's beautiful but scrunched, wrinkled, wizened little face, were all causing me to gaze down into the eyes of my nursing baby and become convinced that I was, in fact, nursing Junior Soprano.

(Note to those of you considering having babies: Newborns make you so deliriously tired that you may actually hallucinate you have birthed an 80 year old,bespectacled, cranky mob boss. Or maybe these days, you will think you're nursing Naveem from Lost or Admiral Adama from BSG or Tracy Morgan. Just know you are not alone.)

Ayla no longer reminds me of--or appears to actually be--Uncle Junior. I mean, sure, yesterday she did demand I drive her to her favorite Italian bakery for cannolis and on the way there arranged a hit on Brobee, that monstrous green thing from Yo Gabba Gabba that she hates, but what kid doesn't want to see Brobee get what's coming to him?

No, friends. Ayla cut her own bangs on Sunday. As soon as I find my hook-the-camera-to-the-computer cord, you will see pictures. But for now, you'll have to satisfy yourself with this knowlege.

These days, she reminds me of Amelie.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Poor Me

At swim class today, I told Miss Taylor that I had reminded Indy not to let go of the wall if Miss Taylor wasn't holding her. I said this because I wanted to remind Miss Taylor that Indy is prone to letting go of the wall when Miss Taylor isn't holding her.

While Ayla did the best damn backfloat that has ever been done in the history of any Starfish level swimmer at Eisenhower Park, and heck, for all we know, at any swimming pool across the entire country, Indy hung onto the wall.

Then Indy climbed out. She told Miss Taylor, "I have to go see my mom! Oh. Mom's gone." (Mom wasn't gone, but was sitting outside the fence as the instructors requested) And she climbed back in.

While another child was doing a backfloat that was sadly far inferior to Ayla's-- hopefully he will not feel too bad about when he wakes up from nap and realizes that his good backfloat was all a dream and in reality, Ayla had him trumped for sure--Indy climbed out again. Then she did a stance that is meant to communicate alpha-ness to the swim park wildlife. She bends forward at the waist and pulls both her arms back in the air. She looks as if she's about to jump, but she's not. What she really looks like is an NFL coach screaming at a ref who has just made a bad call and lost them the game. Then she shakes her head back and forth as she talks. She wasn't screaming at any child, just sort of hulking over and jabbering at all of them, but it was most definitely meant to show dominance.

I am beginning to see that Indiana might be a problem.

Then it was Indy's turn to backfloat. Indy doesn't perform on request. She would like you to know that she is not your little cymbal-armed monkey with a coin box, thank you very much. After a moment of hanging on to Miss Taylor's shoulders, Indy came to her own conclusion. She would do a backfloat, but only because she wanted to, not because Miss Taylor asked her to. You got that, Miss Taylor?

At this point Ayla, from amidst a crowd of kids, began chanting "In-dy! In-dy! In-dy!" and mom shed a tear and stored this memory away to use the next time Ayla screams that Indy can't play with her anymore and Indy screams back "Poo poo YOU, AI-YA!!".

Indy backfloated for about five seconds before shooting her butt down and her chin up into the V-position. "Why'd you stop?", bemoaned Miss Taylor. "You were doing so well!"

Poor Miss Taylor. She has not mothered Indy for the last three years, else she would know the answer to that question. Indy does as Indy wants. If you think this is due to a lack of discipline, I invite you to come and witness Mr. Vesuvius and I trying to discipline Indy. It's like trying to stop a volcano from errupting. The volcano will errupt, no matter how many times you put it in time out or take away it's toys and treats or put it to bed early or tell it "NO NO NAUGHTY VOLCANO!!". It sees what you're trying to do and all, but it doesn't really care, it has hot lava to spew, thank you.

I do not have dominion over Indy anymore than I have dominion over the real Vesuvius.

After swim class, we went to the park. Yesterday Ayla and Indy found a third little girl to play with. For awhile they ran around in the grass and it was amazing to watch. Ayla and Indy shifted in precise alignment with each other without warning or words. They were like a flock of birds. They held their arms outspread and swooped and dived in perfect union. Like they had rehearsed this already, like some olympic choreographer had taught them ahead of time. But of course, they hadn't. They just moved together, intuitively, as one.

Today things did not go so well. Ayla wanted to play with a pair of older girls. One of them was that type. You know the type. I knew it the minute she condescended to ask Ayla how old she was. "I'm nine," she announced, as if she were announcing that her saliva was made of gold and she was going to single-handedly end world poverty. The two older girls spent a few minutes leading eachother from swing to slide, holding hands and ignoring Ayla.

Ayla, disappointed, wandered over to me.

"Mom," she said. "I can't play with them because they're stuck together."

She really did say that.

For a moment she looked so sad that I opened my big, recession-aching mouth and told her we'd go to McDonalds.

Which will probably be a better lunch then they had today, as I once again proved myself a total failure as a mother, ran out of jelly, and fed them peanut butter and Hersey syrup sandwiches.

But they were good.

(P.S. We found a bike for Ayla! Also, I did in fact take pictures this morning, but now I have lost the cord to upload them to my computer so you'll have to wait. Sorry.)

Monday, July 13, 2009

I'm Not Joking

The girls had their first swim lesson today at Eisenhower.

I failed completely as a mother and forgot to bring my camera. It was the first time I have ever had to get the girls to a class or lesson on time by myself in the morning, and I was a bit stressed. I don't know how I'm going to manage when Ayla starts preschool on WEDNESDAY AUGUST 19.

I thought the girls would splash in the kiddy pool and I would flip through a magazine in the shade, but alas. Even the best laid plans, and all that.

Ayla tells her teacher, Miss Taylor, that her name is Eva.

Indy grins, slaps her chest, and says (loudly) "My name Indy Gosa!!"

Indy dives into the kiddy pool and splashes around and generally ignores the teacher, who later says "Who can get their whole head wet like Indy?". I can tell Miss Taylor likes Indy because even though she's not exactly listening, the kid is cute.

Ayla was the first kid to be the leader in follow the leader, alligator walk style.

Then it was time for the big pool.

In a replay of an event that occurred in this family some 20 years ago, Heather playing the role of Indy and myself playing the role of my own mother, Indy jumps into the pool when Miss Taylor isn't looking and sort of propels herself forward but mostly sinks til all but the crown of her head is underwater.

I go running toward the class, shouting "She's! She's!"

Because clearly, "She's!" is the international word for 'my child can't swim but she thinks she can and now she's sort of failing could you please help her out with that?'.

Miss Taylor spots Indy, pulls her up, says she's sorry, and perches all the kids on the ledge for a SECOND lecture about how they must hold on to the wall when she's not holding them herself.

Indy jumps out of the pool and comes running at me--in the middle of class--and Miss Taylor says to me, "Sorry!", and then to Indy, "Walk! Don't run!"

I put Indy back in the pool.

Children kicking.

Indy breaks free again.

I put her back. Again.

Whilst I am putting her back, some other mom steals my chair.

Ayla volunteers to go out first on the paddleboard and does some first class kicking while Miss Taylor wields her around the pool and I watch Indy for another solo attempt.

Luckily, no more solo attempts were made.

Ayla has been trying to teach Indy to say her name. Indy's first word, at about 9.5 months, was "Awa". In the morning, and after nap, Indy would stand in her crib and call "Awa! Awa!". Which meant, of course, Ayla. At some point she stopped saying Awa and moved on to Ai-ya.

They go like this:

"Indy. Say 'ay'"


"Now say, 'lah'"


"Now say, Ayla!"

"Say four. Saaay fooour."

"Indy. INDY! Say Ay-luh. Ayla! Say Ay."


"Say luh!"

"Aiya say four. Say fooouuur."

Ayla sighs. "Just forget it."

Ayla gets frustrated but I think it's karma for the idea that pops into her head when she sees this picture at Blockbuster:

She smiles and slyly says, "I want that picture to go in Indy's room."

(P.S We are on the BIG TIME LOOKOUT for a 16 inch girls bike for Ayla. The two my mom has kindly bought her in the past are too small for her now. If you see a good deal while out garage-saling, please call me. Loves.)

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