Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Claraism du jour

On examining the grilled-cheese sandwich and spinach salad dinner Mummy had heroically assembled on a day when Mummy had a stomach virus (thank-you Winton!) and it was approx. 100F outside:
"That's not a dinner.  It's not cooked.  That's not OK with me, Mummy."

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Discoveries and definitions

Winton is afraid, particularly, of a cow that he imagines roams our hall at night.  One with "Yellow eyes and a black and white tail."  Wait.  Hardie has a black and white tail.  I think our lumbering droopy hound looks like a cow to the boy when night's shadows bend everything into the weird.  At night, Winton is afraid of the dog.

Clara [gesturing to a generic-looking, recent-ish model audi SUV]: "That's a fashion car, Mummy"
Me: "What do you mean by 'fashion' Clara?"
Clara: "Well, it's an old car they painted silver to make it look new.  It's a fashion car."

Thursday, June 21, 2012

On the nose, again

Like: 3-year-old muscling his way into bed to snuggle in the early morning.

Not like very much: 3-year-old dropping his head onto my nose so that I have to make a quick, bloody exit in order to hang my gushing and florid nose over the bathroom sink.

As I stood watching myself bleed in the bathroom mirror I had some time to reflect (haha--mirror pun) on the fact that this was the second time in his short life that Winton has head-butted my nose to a bloody pulp.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Light Sleeper

I am a light enough sleeper that these things wake me:

1) Husband snoring, in the next room (we don't share a room because his snoring prevents me from falling asleep in the first place)

2) Pepita sliding a toy mouse back and forth underneath the door to Clara and Winton's room

3)  The dog snoring

4) The dog's stomach whining and pinging as, with morning's approach, he beings to get hungry

I'm tired.

Monday, June 18, 2012

What Winton Said

"I keep my magic in my belly, Daddy keeps his in his leg, Mummy keeps hers in her foot and Clara keeps hers in her head."

Friday, June 15, 2012

Mulberry Trees

I take great, enormous, disproportionate pleasure in urban foraging with my children.  It combines the morally righteous current fads in food and child-rearing (eat local, teach your children where the food comes from) with the unexpected (food growing wild in Baltimore city) and, bonus, the illicit (it's not really stealing, but it feels like it in a very Huck-Finn wholesome way).

Recently I identified mulberry trees and ascertained that their fruit is edible.  We've been grabbing a couple here and there on our walks of late.  The fruits look like a blackberry, but are sweeter inside with a hint of tropical musk like a guava.  They are also surprisingly sticky inside, like okra.

This morning we were in a relatively safe alleyway.  I was leaping and leaping off the curb trying to catch at mulberry leaves so I could pull a cluster of fruit far enough down to harvest when I heard a voice from inside the house whose yard backed onto the alley where I was jumping.

"What are you doing?"  The man asked.
"Getting berries.  You want some?"  I replied.

This free fruit thing has me excited to an evangelical pitch, so much so that I picked berries for Clara, and Winton and then displayed a few attractively in my palm for the man, who emerged from his house wearing boxer shorts and a handgun tattoo.

"These won't kill me?" He asked.
"We eat them and we're OK" I said, gesturing at my sticky, bepurpled children.
"They're sweet" He said.
"Yup!" I chirped delightedly.  "So good, and right behind your house!  You could make pie"
"Uh-huh" he said, "thanks."

And then he lay down on the weight bench in his back yard and started doing bench presses while I wondered if I had just made contact with someone I ought to have been scared of.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

What Winton Said

On the dogwalk this morning:
W: "Look, there's a cow windchime!"
Me: "Yup."
W: "I don't like it."
Me: "Yeah, you're not keen on cows, are you?"
W: "No, Mummy.  I hate cows.  I'm scared of cows!"

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Claraisms du jour

To her teacher, after being told that her art smock was on backwards:
"What's it to you?"

To me, on presenting me with a thoroughly bloodied pillow this morning:
C:"There's a wet bit that's dried out."
Me: "Um, that's blood.  Did you have a nosebleed?"
C: "I was sleeping.  And it was too hot in here.  I don't know about my nose.  I think you did it, Mummy."

Monday, June 11, 2012

Imperfection: a yogic post

I read Claire Dederer's Poser while I was travelling, and what I take from its ruminations on yoga in the American context, and as an antidote to the culture of striving to be the perfect mamma, is this: accept imperfection.  It's never going to be perfect.  My yoga practice will always (should always) have lumpy, crampy, difficult bits: the difficult bits are, in fact, what make me pay attention, and paying attention (aka "being present/ mindful") add up to that great sanskrit-ty goal: yoga citta vrtti nirodah (yoga stills the mind's fluctuations).

It's a good lesson today, for there are imperfections (my son's best friend moved up to a new class for summer camp, so my son, still in the old class, cried this morning, full of disappointment).

And there is flexibility: I called the school and asked if Winton can move to the older group tomorrow to be with his friend.

And more imperfections: I'm getting a cold!

And more flexibility: I'll try to knock off work early today.

And then there's the always fluctuating mind, faced by a week's worth of email and administrivia to catch up on and new Freshmen on campus to try and orient. Flutter flutter goes my mind . . . but, helpfully, snotter snotter goes my nose, keeping it real, keeping it slow, keeping it imperfect.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Solo in Portland

I'm here for work, staying in a nice hotel.  I've a big, pristine bed with white linens and no cats or cat hair on it, and a deep clean gleaming bathtub at my disposal.  It's 12.26 in the night Baltimore time, 9.26pm in Portland.  I miss my kids.

I've spent the day being shocked by the fact that the old Me, the pre-kid, pre-marriage one, is resuscitate-able under these rarified conditions.  In an academic setting, on my own, I revert to someone I vaguely remember being.  I drink several cups of coffee, I walk everywhere and do it quickly, I don't clock-watch, impatiently, as there is no rush to get anyone from preschool.  I eat dessert, in the open, where anyone can see me do it.  But: I miss my kids.

It's a surprise that I've met a person or two at the workshop who seems quite interesting (yes, I'm an arrogant, misanthropic twit).  One person and I got to talking about work, but then about our kids.  His son is 12.  He asked the ages of my kids (5 and 3). 
"Oh!" he said, "I can't imagine!  Department Chair, and Kids So Young and getting away to a workshop!  I couldn't have done that!" 
In my heart his comment translates as  "I shouldn't be here.  I should be with my kids."

Of all the things I do, they are the most important.  Should I be here?  I'm enjoying being here.  But I feel guilty.  And:  I miss my kids.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Check List

-upcoming trip to workshop for department chairs in Portland.  Check!
-anxiety about leaving children.  Check.
-upcoming visit from in-laws who are helping with kids while I'm in Portland. Check!
-concerns about cleanliness of house.  Check.
-plans to do yoga in Portland. Check!
-vast pile of unfinished work on desk in Baltimore. Check.
-anticipation of clean, lovely hotel room with bathtub.  Check!
-anticipation of irksome departmental self-study on my return.  Check.