Monday, July 28, 2008


Us working in the garden - Jo planting her very own 'hens and chicks' plant - Jo balancing a pink bell on her head, pretending it is a party hat - and a random cowboy at Fridays After Five -

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sweet Friendship

There's nothing sweeter than the ability of a two year old to make a friend.

We were at Cville Coffee to meet up with a friend of mine who had a son a month or so after Sam - Ezra is Sam's first little friend and playmate- I should say droolmate at this point -, and his mom and I took photos of the two of them together specifically so we can show them off when they are graduating from high school. (pics to come) Jo was very patiently playing by herself.

Then there were some kids Jo's age, so we hung out for a little while longer. One was this girl in ladybug boots. Soon it was just these two girls, suddenly playing together like they'd known each other forever -which is almost the truth. I heard the girl's name called, and looked at the mother - and realized after a while that I met this woman for the first time over four years ago, when I auditioned for a play she was directing - and then met her and her daughter at church when the girls were about 9 months old, but hadn't seen them since. What a surprise!

As the mom and I started chatting - about life, motherhood, work, identity - our girls played and played - laughing, giggling, scampering about. I've never seen Jo take to someone like this where the feeling was totally mutual - it actually gave me chills - and when we left, the new friend gave Jo a hug and wouldn't let her go! The mother literally had to untangle the two. She said her daughter never did this kind of thing, either. Obviously, we'd have to get together again.

I remember when I was about 9 years old deciding that when I grew up, I would always look people in the eyes; I would become an adult without losing myself; I would always stay real. I promised myself. But the road to 33 has been hard, and I'm not always real, I don't look strangers, even friends, in the eyes all the time.

I replay that embrace between Jo and her friend in my mind, and the simple, pure, fearless, uninhibited affection of that act both breaks and bolsters my heart.

Oh to open my arms to those I love, those I like, to those who need it, without fear of reprisal, judgment, rejection, aggression... Even if those things happen, just for that one moment of shared warmth, isn't it worth it?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Geography, Anatomy, Home Ec

1. During lunch, I spun my father's globe around. I showed Jo the North Pole, where Santa lives with his mother, Fairy Wintersnow. I showed her where Grandma Helen and Aunt Kiki and Grandma Hocker live, in Texas; California, where I was born; Florida, the yellow finger where her cousins live; Virginia, the green triangle where we live now. I showed her Japan, where my cousin's wife comes from. I showed her England, where Henry lives. I showed her Africa, home of Curious George. And I pointed out France, residence of Madeleine.

In one of the Madeline books, the little boy Pepito goes to live in England. I remind her of this, and Jo says, "Pepito lives with Henry?" "Sure," I say. "Remember how Pepito goes to live in London? London is in France."

"London is in England," she says, ruefully.

I feel this is a satisfactory geography lesson!

2. Jo was giving me 'shots,' inspecting my ears, putting medicine in them - all with foam letters, mind you - the J, her favorite letter, sticks nicely in my ear, the T is a good shot, etc. - and I said to her, "Oh thank you, I feel so much better, you're a great doctor."

"I'm not a doctor," she informed me. "I'm a hammer-er."

I realize that she's been "fixing" me - something a doctor does, something she does with her tool set - and she loves her hammer - guess it makes sense...

3. A fake pear balanced on a tiny teacup: "It's peeing!"

4. Jo idolizes the female lifeguards at our wading pool. She gets all starry-eyed and shy around them. Today was Safety Day, which meant that if you could name one of the pool rules, they let you pick a piece of candy. I coached Jo to say "No running." She got in line - I held her hand - she doesn't really know what standing in line is - and when it was her turn, she stood in front of the lifeguards, stunned, transfixed, silent. Finally, I was able to get her to whisper in an ear. Too cute.

5. I wish I could have taken a picture today of Jo and Sam both leaning out of their double stroller to watch Billy poo. They both had the same droll expression - they truly could be twins sometimes. This week Jo has really started engaging him so much - she can make him laugh so hard - it's hilarious and heartening.

6. Not sure what to do except wait it out on this one: Jo has told us every day "I not grow bigger bigger. I stay small. I little. I don't want get bigger-bigger." We tell her growing big is fun and exciting, one can ice skate and ride roller coasters, use scissors, drive cars. She doesn't care. I'm thinking that maybe her potty training struggles - she's had some issues, some medical, I think - are making her feel like it's too hard to grow up? She wants the ease of diapers. She begs for them. And of course, there's the Sam factor. Poor kid.

6. Me, I baked bread, sewed curtains and pillows, did laundry, cooked an Indian dish, repaired the front screen door with my drill, had Jo help me wash all her play kitchen items, had Jo make cookies for dinner guests, did the recycling, planned a garden. Domestic goddess, no? For some, this is routine; for me, it is an adventure into the miraculous. I wear the fabulous apron my mother made for me, apply mascara, put on a Pink Floyd album, and go to town.

I also started bathing the children after lunch, instead of trying to do it in the chaos after dinner - and it works. They both eat - Sam is eating solid foods, bananas, oatmeal, avocado - they both bathe - Sam can sit fairly sturdily in his bath chair now - then they both nap. Then I get to sleep or meditate and do yoga. It's lovely.

7. Sam - or Bam! as we call him - is all hands, grabbing everything, alert, excited, ready to go at it. Trying to sit up all the time. Sleeping heavily for long stretches. Doing well.

They're both doing well. I'm finding an amazing satisfaction in my days with them.