Thursday, August 27, 2009

Frak 'U'

We are having a hard morning.

Ayla is obsessing over her letter.

Preschool starts with circle time. You sit on your letter on the circle rug. The first day Ayla sat on the letter 'A' and was pleased as pink punch.

But Ayla did not get assigned the letter 'A'. Pert, upright, charming little 'A'. Ayla was assigned the undulous,unctuous, sinking depths of 'U'. My first born likes things to be neat and orderly. She decides, with her own reason, how things should go, and she has a very difficult time if life does not unroll the way she imagined it would and should. Ayla starts with 'A', she sat on 'A' first, 'A' should have been her letter.

"How was school?" I ask Ayla.

"I sat on the 'A' and then I got up to use the bathroom and a girl sat on my 'A' and the teacher told her to move but she wouldn't move."


"Ayla, at school today you will play outside, you'll play in the house, you'll sing a song, maybe you'll draw a picture. . . "

"But will I have to have circle time?"


Silence. Folded arms. Cross face. "I HATE circle time. I don't want to go to school!"

All of this stress (it is stressful for a child like Ayla for there not to be order where she believes it should be. I feel stressed when there's no order in my life, and I'm not four) and disappointment culminated in an Ayla who, this morning, asked me nicely if she could stay home, folded her arms and demanded to stay home, shouted at me that she HATES school, and finally, in the hallway, began crying and begging me please to take her home, she did not want to go to school, she wanted to play with me and Indy.

She was out of school on Tuesday with a bit of a cold. Otherwise, I'm telling you: I would have whisked her out of there.

Ayla was coaxed, crying, to the inferior 'U' on the circle mat. Indy was pulled out of the classroom, crying and kicking (her usual leaving Ayla routine). I stood in the doorway hiding from Ayla but watching her sad little face with tears rolling down.

Miss Kim persuaded me to leave but I wanted to punch her in her smiling face. The umbilical cord thirsted for her blood. It will not abide the sound of tears.

Then Indy and I walked to Starbucks and walked home. We do this a lot in the mornings, but this is the first time we had ever done it without Ayla. Only Indy skipping along beside me. No Ayla running a block and then getting tired and climbing gangly-limbed into the stroller.

I missed her.

It made me very sad. And so I cried.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Sorry Excuse

Miss Indiana Sophie Tuttle did in fact turn three years old on August 15, 2009.

She did not get blogged about, due to the sturm und drang over Ayla's first day of school.

(Side note: the German term 'sturm und drang' was the inspiration for the name of the school Durmstrang in the Harry Potter novels)

Noah made some really good food and if you want to see a lovely picture of it, head over to my sister's blog.

It was fun to have Indy's birthday because the beast is a charmer and she gave us a multitude of happy exclamations to soothe our tired ears. Wow, cool, awesome, great, and thank you all poured like sweet honey from her lips. And unlike Ayla, Indy was not apt to open a present, throw it down, and start crying because you bought her a purple sparkly live unicorn with rainbow hair instead of the pink one that she asked for.

Happy Birthday, Indy. Thanks for being my daughter. I couldn't survive motherhood without you (and your sister too).









(A note on Indy's outfit: Yes, I would have loved for my Indy to look a bit more gussied up and prettified for her 3-day pictures. But my little fashionista changes her clothes about every 33 minutes. (JUMP!) If you don't let her choose her own clothes, she cries. It's not worth the battle. Plus, what kind of mother makes her lively little lovely cry on her own birthday?)

POST-EDIT: That is not a third nipple on Ayla's chest. She fell on the raw metal edge of her scooter handle bar. Domo Arigato, Hello Kitty.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

First Day of School--Ever

Ayla was excited and wouldn't let me hold her hand in the hallways.

They filed in, hung up their backpacks on the hook by their name, and sat in the circle for story time.

I was doing ok until we started to leave
and Indy started yelling
"C'mon, Aye-yah! Aye-yah, C'mon! Let's go!"

Then she started crying but not
I did.













Friday, August 14, 2009

Dear Mom


Dear Mom,

I don't remember which Halloween it was that I was Rainbow Brite. Maybe you don't either. But I bet you remember sewing that costume. It was perfect. I remember that to me, it was absolutely perfect. It had the big puffy arm things and the big puffy rainbow leg warmers. In my memory, dad painted a star on my face.

I remember being in a room with you. I think it was on Dexter street, but of course, I'm not sure. You were interviewing me. Well--you were interviewing Rainbow Brite. I believe I requested an interview and you obliged while getting me into that costume. You asked me questions about my horse, Starlight. About the sprites, and my favorite sprite, Twink. I think you asked me what it was like bringing color to the world.

I loved Rainbow Brite. I loved that huge, homemade costume. I don't think at seven or eight or nine, I was sentient enough to know that the costume I so loved was an expression of your love for me. But I know now.

A mother-daughter relationship is messy. We end up all tangled up in one another. Enmeshed. Some mothers--like the Other Mother in Coraline--consume their children. Some undermine them, rob them of confidence or sense of self. You did so much better than all of that. You gave me what I try to give Ayla and Indy--the freedom, and the ability, and the courage, to be myself. Not an actress, like you. Not a crafty sort of person. Maybe (here's the tricky one!)not even a Lutheran. (Uh-oh. I guess giving your children freedom to pursue their own passions can be a double-edged sword. Now watch Ayla and Indy grow up to be gender-role worshiping anti-feminists. Or Fundamentalists. Or Republicans. Horrors!)

Which is important. Equally important as everything else you did, when we were small. Driving to field trips. Baking cookies in winter. Blasting music on Christmas and Easter morning (it still feels festive to me). Listening to me, and never laughing at me. Being a woman of strength so I could learn to be one too. Reading The Secret Garden to me--and then letting me read The Secret Garden to you. Once, on Humboldt street, I woke up from a nap and found you and dad in the kitchen. I was sure, at that moment, that you had never been happier to see anyone or anything in your life than you were to see me. (Now, as a mother of napping toddlers, I realize your feelings upon seeing me up and at 'em again may have been something less like joy and more like resignation. But I didn't know that, then.)

All those things were so important.I want to tell you how much all that means to me now. But mostly, I just want to say thank you. Mostly, I just want to say that I love you.

Happy Birthday, Mom.



Monday, August 3, 2009

I'm So Excited

I'm so excited! I'm so. . . well you know the rest.


Since many of us have been so enjoying The Time Traveler's Wife, I thought you might like to know that Audrey Niffenegger's next book, HER FEARFUL SYMMETRY, will be released next month. September 29, to be exact.

You might be interested to know that like virtually everyone in the literary world, Niffenegger is friends with Neil Gaiman. She did a large amount of research into graveyards for HFS, and so when Neil Himself needed to learn about graveyards for his Newberry award winning novel THE GRAVEYARD BOOK, Audrey, in a moment of fearful synergy, showed him around London's Highgate Cemetery, and, we can only assume, displayed to him her fearful savvy.


While we are on the subject of books:


THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO is the first book from Swedish author Steig Larsson. I picked it up after hearing it reviewed positively on NPR. It is a crime novel.

Yes, that was hard to admit.

Crime novels and mysteries are not usually my cup of joe. But after reading Tana French's incredible IN THE WOODS and her eerie follow up, THE LIKENESS, my mind was softened toward the genre. Let me tell you, if you don't read certain books because they are considered genre novels, you're only hurting yourself. You are sparing yourself from some truly wonderful writing simply because you are a bit of a snob. Take a deep breath and get comfy with your snobbery. Then try admitting that someone who writes "fantasy" (like Tolkien, LeGuin, Gaiman?) or "mystery" (Wilkie Collins, Edgar Allan Poe?) could conceivably be. . . a decent writer.

Dragon Tattoo author Steig Larsson died after turning in the manuscripts for three books. The books have since been hugely successful. He was a journalist and an activist, exposing racism and sexism in Swedish government, and because of his views received many death threats during his life.

The book is very intelligent. It deals with government and politics and Swedish culture, while at the same time unravelling a great mystery. Many mysteries seem to get a bit of a kick out of killing off young women in all sorts of horrendous ways. Larsson uses the death of or violence against women in his novels as a way of saying, Look. See what is being done.

Mainly I enjoyed it because the main character spends a lot of time driving around Sweden downing latte after espresso after coffee after latte. I enjoyed the book taking me to snowy Sweden, eating strange Swedish sandwiches (egg, cheese, caviar) and bacon pancakes. And downing all that coffee.

Off to have a latte and dream of snowy climes.

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